Syria

The horror! U.S. sides with Israel over Syria

Featured image Every year the joke that is the United Nations passes a resolution condemning Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights. Every year, the U.S. abstains from voting on the resolution. Every year, it passes with only Israel voting against it. But not this year. This year, the Trump administration decided to oppose the resolution. It passed by a vote of 151-2. Bravo, President Trump. The Golan Heights tower over Northern Israel. »

John Kerry regrets [UPDATED]

Featured image Former Secretary of State John Kerry has written a book: Everyday Is Extra. Margaret Brennan of CBS News must be one of the few who have read it. This Sunday on Face the Nation, she pressed Kerry on his admission in the book that the U.S. paid a price for not enforcing President Obama’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Kerry does some dancing, »

A Trump-Putin deal on Syria?

Featured image According to David Ignatius of the Washington Post: “The catastrophic war in Syria is nearing what could be a diplomatic endgame, as the United States, Russia and Israel shape a deal that would preserve power for Syrian President Bashar al -Assad in exchange for Russian pledges to restrain Iranian influence.” Is this true? The words “is” and “could be” leave me unclear whether Ignatius is speculating or reporting what he »

Rapprochement with Russia?

Featured image Amir Taheri suggests that Vladimir Putin wants to reach out to the United States to reduce tension and consolidate his gains. Taheri says this desire is based on Andrei Gromyko’s “duopoly” theory — the idea that only the USSR and the United States counted as powers that could truly affect things. The relevance of duopoly theory to today’s world, in which China is more important than Russia, seems dubious. Moreover, »

The emerging strategy to undermine the Iranian regime

Featured image Several sources report an Israeli attack on a military airport in central Syria, an area where Hezbollah militias are located. There are conflicting reports about whether the attack was successful. Syria claims that its air defense system thwarted the attack. Syrian rebels say Israeli missiles destroyed that air defense system. The Israeli government has yet to comment. Jonathan Spyer, writing in the Jerusalem Post, provides context for the growing number »

A direct IDF strike in Syria

Featured image The IDF has posted a video of a direct hit on a Syrian SA22 air defense battery in connection with its response to the 20 rockets launched by Iranian forces from Syria toward Israel last night. As the Jerusalem Post puts it, “the video appears to be filmed from a camera loaded on the Israeli rocket. The rocket flies down toward the Syrian SA22, a combined short to medium range »

Israel strikes Iran in Syria

Featured image Israel Defense Forces conducted predawn retaliatory airstrikes targeting dozens of Iranian bases, command centers and weapons caches in Syria. Targets included sites throughout Syria. On Twitter, retired IDF spokesman Peter Lerner reports that targeted Quds Force positions include intelligence observation posts, logistics command positions, military command posts and bases, and a weapons depot at Syria International Airport, and the vehicle on which the rocket launch that provoked the strikes. Israeli »

Breaking: Israeli Air Strike in Syria?

Featured image News out in the last few hours of a large explosion at a Syrian army base in Hama, where Iranian military are said to have a presence, supposedly the work of an Israeli missile strike. So far there is scant coverage by the cable news networks, and AP’s first report is pretty sketchy—maybe everyone is hungover from last night’s bacchanal at the White House Correspondents Dinner? In any case, the video »

About that Syrian scientific research center

Featured image One of the main targets of our air attack on Syria the other day was described by the Pentagon as a “scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area.” We attacked it because it’s “a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare.” But how central is it to Assad’s chemical weapons program? If we can answer that question, we will have a »

An “unbelievably small, limited” strike?

Featured image In 2013, when the Obama administration was trying to convince Congress to authorize an attack on Syria to enforce its “red line’ against Assad using chemical weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” He often used the word “degrade,” rather than “destroy,” to describe the impact of the contemplated attack on Syria’s chemical weapons program. Kerry received plenty »

Notes on the Syrian strike

Featured image President Obama drew his infamous “red line” (“red line for us”) against the use of chemical weapons by the the Syrian regime on August 20, 2012. It proved to be something of a Chamberlainite red line “for our time.” The Syrian regime employed chemical weapons against civilians in Ghouta one year later, in August 2013. In the event, President Obama revealed his “red line” to be imaginary. He invited Vladimir »

U.S. and our allies strike Syria

Featured image President Trump has kept his promise to strike Syria in response to the recent chemical attack launched by the Assad regime. Tonight, U.S. air power attacked three Syrian targets. The first was a research center believed to be used to develop chemical weapons. The second was a chemical weapons storage facility. The third was a command center believed to be used in connection with chemical warfare. The U.S. acted together »

Can Russia “play” Trump?

Featured image Today, President Trump tweeted: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all. . . .” I think Trump is reacting to criticism that by threatening an attack on Syria he tipped of the Syrians and the Russians, in contradiction to his oft-repeated argument that we should leave our adversaries guessing. In his tweet, Trump seems to be saying »

Should Trump be previewing Syrian strike?

Featured image During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump often refused to say what action he would take in response to various world hot spots because, he argued, it is foolish to tell our adversaries what we’ll do before we do it. I viewed this response at least in part as an evasion — an excuse for not discussing policy. But the response made some sense and Trump may not have been entirely »

Trump previews Syrian strike

Featured image In his his fourth tweet this morning President Trump provides a striking (no pun intended) preview of coming attractions in Syria. The theme of “collusion” grows more absurd every day. Trump advises his supposed buddy Putin: “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” Speaking of the Putin-Assad partnership, this brings us to the first of “Five catastrophic decisions” logged by Victor »

President Trump on Syria: Playing chess or clueless?

Featured image President Trump seems intent on withdrawing American forces from Syria in the very near future. He takes the position that we are in Syria only to defeat ISIS. With this objective nearly accomplished, he argues, it’s almost time for our forces to come home. Over the weekend, however, Trump responded to the barbaric gassing of Syrian civilians by blasting “Animal Assad,” calling out Russia and Iran as responsible for the »

Another chemical attack in Syria

Featured image At least 49 civilians have been killed and many more injured in a lethal chemical attack by Syrian government forces on a rebel-held suburb of Douma in eastern Ghouta. Reuters reports on the attack here, the New York Times here, and the Wall Street Journal here (behind the Journal’s paywall). The New York Times adds the caveat that it is “not possible to independently verify the reports because Douma is »