On the evening of Thursday, the 6th of April, the United States of America committed an act of war against the Syrian Arab Republic. The US Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at al-Shayrat airfield (South East of Homs, and North East of Damascus, not far from Syria's border with Lebanon) from the USS Porter and the USS Ross. This was in response to an alleged sarin gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad against the town of Khan Shaykhun (Maarrat al-Nu'man, Idlib Governorate) which is about half way between Turkey and Lebanon. The sarin attack was from the air and killed 86 people. The Russian Federation (ally of Syria and the Assad regime) stated that the Syrian military struck a warehouse used by terrorists to make bombs. Those bombs were allegedly toxic in nature.
The Syrian attack on Khan Shaykhun is just one of many actions in an on-going Syrian civil war that started in 2011 following Arab Spring protests in Syria. The Syrian civil war is a military conflict between the Assad regime, the Syrian Opposition, Rojava, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, and Da'ish (Islamic State).
The Assad regime came to power in 1971 when Hafez al-Assad declared himself President. There were immediate demonstrations and revolts against his presidency by Sunni extremists (largely the Muslim Brotherhood). Assad was successful though, and he was in power until 2000 (he died). Bashar al-Assad is Hafez's son, and he came to power through an election following the death of his father. There was a period of hope in Bashar's election, and some political debate took place. This debate was called the Demascus Spring, and it cuminated in the Statement of 1000 in 2001. This statement called for the end to one party rule, an independent judiciary, an end to institutionalized discrimination against women within the government, the end of martial law, the release of political prisoners, the return and amnesty of exiles, and the right to form political parties and civil institutions. The Syrian government then released political prisoners and closed the Mezzeh prison which was used to house said prisoners.
Following the end of the Demascus Spring, several outspoken participants and organizers of the Spring were arrested and jailed. Many of these were members of the Hizb Al-Sha'ab Al-Dimuqratiy Al-Suriy (The Syrian Communist Party). Most of the forums for debate (muntadayāt) were closed. One of them, however, was permitted to continue. This was the Jamal al-Atassi National Dialogue Forum. This forum was shutdown in 2005 due to ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
It was the 15th of March in 2011 that fervent protests sprang anew in Syria. In April that year, protesters began calling for the overthrow of the government instead of reform. Later that month, as tensions escalated, the government began to use force in quelling protests. Armed rebellion began on June 4th that year. Turkey started backing the the Free Syrian Army by October 2011. Despite all of this, the Syrian government released over 1000 political prisoners. In late 2011, special operations groups from the USA, France, and the UK were actively supporting the rebels. In 2013, the US public was so steadfastly against US government intervention in Syria, the Obama could not setup an out-right invasion along the lines of the Iraq war. By 2015, Da'ish controlled over half of Syria. On the 30th of September in 2015, the Russian Federation began direct military support of the Syrian government in the civil war. As noted at the beginning of this article, the US entered the fight on the 6th of April 2017.
This brings us to the following setup: Syria: Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, the DPRK, Algeria (awkward for France?), Venezuela, Iraq (awkward for USA?), Lebanon, Belarus, China; Syrian Opposition: the USA, the UK, France, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood. Rojava, Tahrir al-Sham, and Da'ish have their own interests.
So, the US attacked al-Shayrat in response to a Syrian attack on Khan Shaykhun. The Syrian government does not control Idlib Governorate. They control territory surrounding all but the Northern-most edge of IG which is the border with Turkey. Khan Shaykhun is on the border of territory the Syrian government does control.
So, you now have all of the major information. The question becomes: what the fuck does any of this shit have to do the USA? Why would the USA risk increasing tensions with Iran and Russia over something that in absolutely no way affects US freedom or well being?
Supposedly, this was meant to diminish the Syrian government's ability to use air power against the Syrian people and the Syrian opposition. That is immaterial. Unless the US government is willing to wage war against the Russian Federation, there will continue to be a military facing down the Syrian opposition. So, we are left to ask whether or not this is a prelude to a world war. We are left to ask if the USA has gone mental and wishes to risk war against a nuclear armed opponent. This is precisely the sort of shit that President Donald Trump ran against. For a guy who "wasn't a politician," he sure learned very quickly how to be one.
US entry in the Syrian Civil War will also only serve to lengthen a war that has been hell for the people of Syria. It furthers and lengthens the suffering of millions. Why would anyone wish for this? WAR IS HELL. For a moment, a brief moment, the people of the USA were against war in 2013. That sentiment changed the course of the military industrial complex for a time. The opinion of the people has apparently changed. Where is the anti-war left? I suppose that they can't really have any credibility standing against war now. They supported Obama and were silent as he doubled down on war. The mainstream media has finally found something to like in the Trump administration.
I hate war and death and sarin gas as much as anyone. That said, there is not a "good guy" in this fight, and the veracity of the claims against the Assad regime have not been confirmed. Of course, the USA loves going into war with faulty intelligence. So, continuation of policy I suppose? The only group that actually shares any ideology with the supposed US ideological bent would be Rojava (the Kurds). Of course, the USA is allied with the Turkish government which has consistently persecuted the Kurds. The USA should not be involved in this at all. The USA hasn't the money to fight this war. The USA hasn't the moral right to fight this war. The USA has nothing clear to gain by fighting this war. The USA risks war with Russia, China, and Iran by fighting this war. This is a supremely bad idea.