The US learns nothing from its wars, not from all the military disasters it set in train in this millennium — Afghanistan and Iraq that did little else but prepare the ground for the Islamist radical take-over. Yes, Saddam Hussain was a bloodthirsty tyrant but Washington supplied him with the chemical weapons he used against Iran in the decade-long war in the 1980s, and against his own Kurdish population. But it was Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran Washington wanted to hurt then by any and all means, including CWs. In this context, Obama’s first charging Bashar al-Assad with CW use and then, on the basis of this charge mounting a punitive operation, is a bit rich, especially because the irrefutable evidence the US says it has collected, has not been disseminated to an international public, which action would have improved Obama’s creds. The only countries jumping onto the American war bandwagon are, predictably, France and the Britain, who are reduced to being hangers-on in the new century. So countries of West Asia will have to brace for another eruption of violence with the Syrian rebel army now leaning on direct help from the US. It is another matter, that this won’t be enough to displace Assad in Damascus. Worse, is the likelihood that the generally secular rebel forces, with the military situation tilted against them, will in time welcome all the armed and motivated Islamist goons from all over to enlarge their fighting ranks and, soon enough, the rebel army will distinguish itself from the Assad regime because of its al-Qaida precepts and philosophy. Lo and behold, actions against Damascus will spur al-Qaida revival. The denseness of the American policymakers is simply appalling. The irony is that, while the initial phase of drone and Tomahawk cruise missile attacks, and stealth aircraft recce runs is underway, the US armed forces, who are always up for a scuffle with a manifestly weaker foe, are wary of intervening in another scrap that could blow up in the American faces. So, it is Obama, twice elected on an anti-war agenda, then who will be driving the US into another conflict, with what consequences can only be speculated.
In this mess, Russia is weighing in militarily on the side of Assad. One of the warships deployed by Moscow in the Mediterranean is reportedly the Moskva helicopter carrier. Not to be left behind, China is doing its two yuans worth to muddy the waters by sending in a small flotilla offshore of the Levant. What these PLAN vessels will be doing mucking around those waters is hard to fathom, except perhaps to snoop around, pick up operational radar frequencies, stuff like that and generally act as a would-be great power poking its snout in other people’s business without the least chance of making an impact.
This analyst for one hopes Chinese ships get in harm’s way, get shot up, and the PLAN flotilla gets involved in an inadvertent firefight with the USAF and the US Mediterranean Fleet, and otherwise gets its tail in the wringer.