As Written By Colonel Allen West:
Over the weekend we’ve heard the news reports and punditry over the Syrian strike conducted by a combined force of the United States, Great Britain, and France.
First of all, we need to realize how important that was: the fact that this was a combined strike operation and not just a singular American action.
Also, important to comprehend is that the French provided confirmation of — and certainly corroborated — the employment of the chemical agents in Douma, Syria by the Syrian government.
Furthermore, we had cooperation from Turkey — who I do not trust — along with Saudi Arabia. The major reasons why you have Turkish and Saudi Arabian assistance stems from the angst towards Iran.
Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Sunni Islamic states, do not want to see a hegemonic dominance in the region by the Iranians, and their proxy terrorist army, Hezbollah. This is a very important leverage point as these two countries have their respective motivations. Turkey would like to be restored as the dominant Islamic nation, a return to the old “Ottoman Empire.” Saudi Arabia is the “keeper of the grail” in the Islamic world, and they would prefer not to lose their prominence, certainly not to Shiite Iran.
Another key ally here is Egypt, and their motivation is not to allow for the border shared with Hamas controlled Gaza to become a transit point for Islamic jihadists and resources.
Lastly, this coalition has Israel, who will not sit back and willingly allow the expansion of Iran into Syria. I would tend to believe that Israel is that tip of the spear when it comes to confronting Iranian incursion into Syria. And it would appear that the Prince of Saudi Arabia has no issue with that fact.
Russia and Iran, and to a wider extent North Korea, have aligned themselves with Bashar al-Assad and Syria. It is imperative that we do not embroil ourselves into a civil war action, and certainly, the US should not be pursuing an effort to topple Assad…remember Obama’s empty rhetoric? What should happen is an isolation of Assad, and cut off the resources he depends upon from Russia and Iran. That is more of a financial and economic measure, rather than a military endeavor. However, no foreign policy is valid without a credible military deterrent, and that is what we saw this past weekend.
What has changed is that we have a presidential administration that is exhibiting strength, resolve, and firmness, and that is a cherished quality sorely missing during the Obama administration who embraced the concept of “leading from behind.”
What I found quite interesting this weekend was the response from the usual suspects: the liberal progressive media. The notion that President Trump did not have the Article II Constitutional enumerated powers to conduct this strike operation as Commander-in-Chief is absurd. The leftist media had very little to say about Obama’s “outsourcing” of our military to Islamic jihadists in Libya. There were those progressive socialists in the Democrat party who stated that President Trump needed to go to Congress to get approval, good luck with that. However, lest they forgot, after Obama’s infamous “red line” assertion, that approval was challenged, Obama dithered and did indeed turn to Congress, and nothing was done.
President Trump acted within his Constitutional power. Now, if there were to be a long-term military operation for Syria, then yes, President Trump would need to go to Congress. The War Powers Act provides the Commander-in-Chief an ability to conduct limited scope military operations, but nothing sustained. Now, how very perplexing to hear the leftist media all crowing, someone sent out the dog whistle, about President Trump not having a strategy. You mean to tell me that Obama had a strategy to engage the Islamic State? Or even Afghanistan? Utterly laughable to the highest degree…and as I heard someone say, if it were not for double standards, the left would have no standards at all.
Here is my assessment of the strategy behind the attacks, which were effects based:
Sure, we could have gone after Assad’s airfields and delivery means, meaning his aviation assets, well, guess what’s also there? Yes, you got it, Russian and Iranian military assets and personnel. President Trump, through his advisers, made the conscious decision to go after the chemical weapons facilities, the center of gravity, and not risk the collateral damage of killing Russians or Iranians. Now, could something happen in the future? Only if we had credible intelligence that Russia and Iran were directly supporting and engaging in the delivery of chemical weapons against innocent civilians.
Therefore, all of those folks who ranting on about creating a broader conflagration were wrong, this was a very well executed, targeted, and precise strike against Assad’s chemical weapons production capability. And yes, we can always go back for more of that capability.
Just remember, this is what Barack Obama did not do. Recall that it was Obama and John Kerry who deferred to Vladimir Putin and trusted him — reset, more flexibility, you get it. So, to hear the leftist media and their talking heads prognosticate about Trump’s affinity for Russia and Putin is delusional. Any objective head-to-head comparison of Obama and Trump on the issue of Russia would lead one to a simple conclusion: more collusion, appeasement, and acquiescence was given to Russia by Obama.
Where do we go from here? Simple, we must keep the pressure on Syria. We must use other means of national power, economic sanctions, to isolate Syria from Russia and Iran. Next month in May, we need to decertify the Iranian nuclear agreement and reinstate economic sanctions against them.
We continue to build the international coalition and case against Assad and Syria, we do not need United Nations permission. And, we let Russia, Iran, and Assad know that we can, and will, pull the trigger again.
However, someone needs to consider this: what happens if Assad were to depart, leave Syria, on his own accord, eventually, which he would if he did not have external support. This coalition needs to consider that transfer of power and to whom. The last thing we need to see is a failed state under the control of multiple islamic jihadist organizations. And that does include a resurgent Islamic State along with Hezbollah and the Al Nusra Front.
One thing for certain, our combined military forces comported themselves with impeccable professionalism, as they always do. All they wanted was a Commander-in-Chief who would give them rules of engagement that enables them to thump the enemy.