External Affairs

Trump’s Abrupt Actions Against Assad Raise Concerns About a Future Syria of Roving Militias

If Damascus becomes a battleground for gangs and militias, millions of civilians will join the 11.6 million who have already fled their homes in the civil war.

President Bashar al-Assad, who was blamed for the chemical attack earlier this month in Syria that led to the US missile strike. Credit: Reuters

President Bashar al-Assad, who was blamed for the chemical attack earlier this month in Syria that led to the US missile strike. Credit: Reuters

President Trump’s cruise-missile strike against Syria was celebrated by establishment politicians and media, their glee at striking a blow against Bashar al-Assad swamping any rational discussion of what happens next.

Assad is undoubtedly the most despicable war criminal in power today. His forces have ruthlessly starved and bombed hundreds of thousands of his own people and tortured and executed thousands more. But the enthusiasm to take military action against a hated leader is highly reminiscent of the run-up to US interventions in Iraq and Libya. And the US is even less prepared to cope with the potentially disastrous consequences in Syria.

Throughout his campaign, Trump condemned regime change, and it seemed as if he had learned from previous presidents’ mistakes. Even as late as last month, UN ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters “our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out.”

Read more at The Intercept.