April 17, 2018

Operational-Level Strikes Finally Enforce Obama’s Red Line

By all accounts, Friday night’s strikes against the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons facilities were successful — they reduced their targets to rubble, and there were no reported threats to allied forces or equipment in their aftermath. Armchair strategists are quick to point out that the strikes didn’t fit into any broader American Syria strategy. But the chemical-weapons attack of April 7 demonstrated, once again, the Syrian regime’s flagrant disregard for international moral and legal norms. And unlike last April’s retaliatory American strike on aircraft used for chemical-weapons delivery at Shayrat Air Base, Friday’s strikes sought to hit the heart of the regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities, and were coordinated with our oldest and closest allies.

They also marked a departure from Obama-era analysis paralysis in Syria. It was the Obama administration that delayed striking Assad and preventing future chemical-weapons attacks almost five years ago. It was the Obama administration that argued chlorine gas was a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2014, though it was widely known to be used on the Syrian battlefield throughout Obama’s time in office. It was the Obama administration that was caught by strategic surprise when the leadership vacuum left by the United States led the Russians to enter the Syrian fray in the fall of 2015, bringing with them high-tech military equipment for battlefield testing and deployability and bolstering their standing on the world stage. It was the Obama administration that argued a false choice between catastrophic nuclear war and limited strikes on targeted regime elements.


Read the full article at National Review

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