Western strikes are too little, too late

Photos and videos of little children foaming from their mouths and nostrils haunt the world even today.

Published: Sat 14 Apr 2018, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 14 Apr 2018, 9:59 PM

The United States and its European allies have bombed three government sites in Syria targeting chemical weapon facilities. The strikes were a success, claimed UK Prime Minister Theresa May. "Mission accomplished," said US President Donald Trump. And the Pentagon stated that air strikes have set Syria's chemical weapons programme years backward. As impressive as it might sound, there is still no reason to celebrate or cheer as no solution is yet in sight for the Syrian imbroglio. The strikes led by the US were supposed to send a message that chemical attacks will not be tolerated. A little over a year ago, in April 2017, the US administration had taken a similar approach and struck Syria after Assad's regime launched a chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. More than 80 people were killed due to the chemicals. Photos and videos of little children foaming from their mouths and nostrils haunt the world even today. Heart-wrenching pictures of men and women; young and old; children and infants flood the news feed even now. Nothing has changed, except that it propelled Western nations into action, again.
However, what's next is the real question. US Secretary of Defence James Mattis has said this was "a one-time shot". Internationally, multiple attempts have already been made to negotiate an end to hostilities. Yet, no concrete progress has been made. The country has turned into ruins and its people into refugees, hoping against hope to return to their land one day and stake rightful claim on what is left to be called home. The Syrian conflict is a proxy war many times over. Therefore, the level of foreign involvement means that the war will not cease until external actors decide that it should. But who will decide? So far the Assad regime and its allies, mainly Russia and Iran, have had an upper hand at making territorial gains and regaining major parts of the country back from the rebels. The United States has mainly remained a bystander, not taking any moral responsibility. It's time the US developed a coherent policy and gathered the support of its allies to resolve this crisis. Strikes in isolation won't go a long way.

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