'Shock-and-awe', it most certainly was not, but it was nevertheless illegal and reckless. The US, UK and France jointly produced a 'show of force' in Syria last night after a tense week in which Western threats of bombing Syria as 'punishment' for its government's alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in Douma left many wondering how Russia would respond, and whether that would spark off 'WW3'.
This time around, the declared mission was to "take out Assad's chemical research infrastructure," a military strike that amounted to 103 cruise missiles - almost twice as many as the 59 the US fired at Shayrat airbase almost exactly one year ago - targeting mostly empty buildings and airfields on the outskirts of Damascus and Aleppo. Among the targets, however, were also alleged "chemical weapons sites in areas around Damascus and Aleppo". Forgive me for nitpicking, but doesn't that mean that FUKUS (France, UK, US) used missiles to explode chemical weapons sites in residential areas in Syria in order to make sure that Assad cannot use those chemical weapons against civilians, for example, by exploding them in residential areas?
Anyway, Syrian media is reporting that just three people were injured. Russia claims that it did not even bother to activate its own anti-aircraft/missile systems in Tartus and Latakia, although they did mention that, since 2016, they have been upgrading and modernizing older Syrian systems.
Highlighting the limited extent of US capability in the region, Defense Secretary Mattis announced today that this operation was a "one time shot." The Syrian and Iranian governments of course condemned this as a "barbaric" and "criminal" violation of Syria's sovereignty that would only embolden the remaining terrorists there - which it will - while Putin described it as "an aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism."
The British government stated that its airstrikes were carried out by four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s, which launched 'Storm Shadow' missiles at a former missile base 15 miles west of the city of Homs. Why did they target that site? Because, they said, the Syrian government keeps a stockpile of chemical weapons "precursors" there, which could of course be any multiple-purpose chemicals. Another of the destroyed targets was a 'scientific research center' outside Damascus, a facility that housed civilian educational and scientific laboratories. Anything, it would seem, that could be associated with 'chemicals' was fair game.
The Western Coalition of the Dubious is hyping up the operation as a successful show of force. France released videos of the jets' takeoff, and the UK released video of their jets' prep work. They all insist Assad's guilt is "beyond doubt" (Macron), that the attack was "right and legal" (May).
The fact that last night's airstrikes occurred just hours before OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) investigators were due to arrive at the scene of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, near Damascus, also speaks to the West's desperation. Rather than wait to hear news from those inspectors that would likely indicate or prove that no such chemical attack had occurred there last week, the Americans, French and British raced to 'spend' their 'justification' for military action before the cheque bounced. The investigators have now reached Damascus, and if they're allowed to actually do their work properly, they will discover what their organization certified four years ago: the Syrian government has neither 'stockpiles' nor 'production facilities' of chemical weapons.
Read more at SOTT..