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Back in the summer of 2012, Barack Obama was unequivocal. He warned that if Bashar Al Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in Syria’s brutal civil war, which had started the previous year, there would be untold consequences – it was a red line.
Twelve months on, Assad launched a sarin gas attack on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus. Up to 300 people, many of them children, died in agony, gagging and suffocating as the gas caused muscle spasms that made breathing impossible.
Obama - Line - Manner - US - Troops
Obama’s red line had been crossed in the most devastating manner. Yet he failed to send in US troops or warplanes – and the shocking atrocities, the use of chemical weapons in Assad’s war of suppression, carried on regardless.
Six years on, nearly 600,000 people have been killed in Syria, with 12million displaced. A £47billion pre-war Syrian economy has collapsed to one of £12billion, dominated by black marketeers exploiting chronic shortages, with the Assad clan as the biggest profiteers.
Doubt - Dictator - Victor - War - Allies
There is no doubt that the Syrian dictator was the victor in the civil war. His allies – Russia, which took command of Syrian airspace, and Iran, which directed hard-fighting Shia ground troops – ruthlessly made sure of that.
Yet until recent days one thing still eluded him. The country’s northern territories, occupied by Kurds as a semi-autonomous homeland, were effectively beyond his grasp. Not any more.
Donald - Trump - Withdrawal - Troops - Syria
Donald Trump’s unpardonable withdrawal of troops from Syria changed things completely. It was an act of betrayal against the Syrian Kurds – perhaps our most important ally in the fight against Islamic State. It has enabled Turkey to unleash a firestorm against them of cataclysmic proportions.
Not only was it a betrayal, it was a strategic blunder that will weaken American credibility, reverse gains against IS, make it harder to build alliances in the Middle East and...
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