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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Middle-East - Burning Ember of Hatred - Part 5

On 7th April 2017, US President Donald Trump ordered US Navy to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against identified targets in Syria as a retaliation against the 4th April Sarin gas attack against Khan Sheikun.

Tomahawk cruise missile

Of the 59 missiles, it was alleged only 23 managed to find their intended targets.
The missile strike marked a reversal of Trump's so-called foreign policy; he had campaigned against involvement in Middle-East. Apparently, all he needed was just a prod from his daughter, Ivanka Trump.

US Involvement in Syria
US is very much involved in the conflict in Syria. Syrian rebel forces, both secular and Islamic-based groups were supplied with weapons and munitions by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

US involvement in Syria was modeled around their involvement in Libya, using local forces to fight against the regime.
At the beginning of the civil war, US was indiscriminate in supplying weapons to these forces. This resulted in US supplying weapons and munitions to both Daish and Jahbat al-Nusra (this had been covered in the earlier article).

The indiscriminate supplying of weapons and ammunition to Daish and Jahbat al-Nusra later turned into an uproar in Capitol Hill when US forces in Iraq found remnants of supplies being used to launch IED attack against US troops in Iraq.

Same complaints were received from both Iraq and Iran; radio parts were traced back to US.

Somehow, the response to this issue was rather muted and within 2 or 3 months in 2013, these news no longer appear in mainstream media.

After the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi, US involvement in Syria began to intensify with air strikes against designated targets. Many of these targets were actually Bashir's military, hampering Syria's defence.

These eventually slowed down with Russia's intervention. Instead of Syrian government soldiers, the targets shifted to pro-government militias and other terrorist groups, specifically Daish.

The retaliatory strike against Syrian government targets had indirectly exposed several inconvenient truths, affecting both US and Russian interest.

US Tomahawk Missiles May Have Lost Effectiveness
Despite US military claim that all missiles hitting their intended targets, only 23 missiles were accounted for.

Where and what did the rest had hit? Does it mean US has lost its teeth?

Flipside, it may also mean that the rest managed to hit key installations which both Syria and Russia were reluctant to admit. 

But this is unlikely to have happened. US would have revealed these as further evidence of Russian and Syrian complicity.

The Strike Against Shayrat Air Base did not result in destroying chemical weapon
No chemical weapons were found leaking at any locations destroyed on the attack.
This actually vindicated both Syria and Russia.

On the other hand, any chemical weapons would have been moved just prior to the attack.

If this was the case, would not US published this? The locations, especially Siryat air base would have been monitored via US ISR assets to identify and monitor outward movements or attempts to remove the chemical compound from the area.

Russia's S400 System is Ineffective
Russia has placed the much vaunted S400 in port town of Latakia to protect Russia's access to the port.

The S400 with a range of between 150km to 590km, did not even manage to launch to intercept the Tomahawk. On its maiden operational mission, it had technically failed as it had not managed to shoot down any targets. This now brings question on the effectiveness of the system and would it be able to protect Moscow from similar attack?

However, this may not be the case. As some media had broken out the news that Russian military were informed in advance on the US impending strikes.

But would not that defeat the purpose?

Message to Pyongyang
Some have pointed out that the attack against Syria was actually a message for the reclusive state of North Korea.

The North Korean habit of flouting international sanctions, specifically on the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is a major concern to the United States and her allies.

This is worsened by the fact that North Korea has mastered long range missile technology with some parts of the United States are within the reach of North Korea missiles.

The threat was so apparent that former US President Barrack Obama had made it a point to mention it to Donald Trump just before he handed over powers.

With the North Korean belligerence and the current hawkish US administration, added with North Korean president Kim Jong-Un continuous snubbing of China, we have a potentially deadly recipe in the making.

More recently, Russia has also voiced their concerns and reminded the United States not to go for a unilateral action against North Korea. This reminder, coupled with the facts that both superpowers' proxies are fighting a war in Syria, with another proxy war on a standstill in Ukraine, point to a very uneasy feeling that what we are seeing now is the calm just before the storm.

To be continued...

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