The coordination of American, British and French forces used air strikes to diminish chemical weapons in Syria after their president allegedly gassed his own people.
The targets of the airstrike were a research center in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage center west of the town of Homs and a chemical weapons storage facility and command center outside of Homs.
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron gave statements about the air strikes.
“Today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality,” President Trump said in an announcement from the White House.
In the statement that France gave, President Macron said they joined this coalition because a “red line” that they set regarding the Syrian incidents had been crossed.
U.K. Prime Minister May said she “authorized British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.”
As of now, the Pentagon is not aware of any casualties to Syrian people from the strikes. Syrian state-run television did report three civilians were injured as a result of the strikes.
Thomas Ambrosio, a professor of political science at North Dakota State that has a focus in authoritarian regimes, said he does not think the air strikes in Syria are something to worry about but does note they are definitely something NDSU students should be aware of.
Ambrosio said the Syrian Civil War has been going on for about seven years and has pulled in countries such as the U.S., Russia, Iran, Israel, Turkey and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf to fight the Syrian government, the Islamic State, the Kurds, al-Quida and other smaller rebel groups.
“It is clearly a mess, and situations like this will likely become a more common occurrence in the world moving forward,” Ambrosio said.
Ambrosio also said the airstrike in Syria is a normal presidential reaction.
“Obama drew the famous ‘red line’ against the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons, but got cold feet and did not follow through on it,” Ambrosio said.
Ambrosio said there are two key components that we should look for going forward. First, Russia’s reaction because the airstrikes went against their wishes. Second, how involved the U.S. becomes in Syria. If this is a one-time event, we should not be worried, but if our involvement in Syria deepens there is a lot of uncertainty.
Ambrosio finally wants to remind students that there seems to be an American impulse to ‘do something’ in these situations. However, he believes we need to think more about what our goals as a nation are, and if ‘doing something’ gets us closer to those goals.
“I don’t think the Obama administration knew, and I don’t think the Trump administration knows either,” Ambrosio said. “Policymakers and ordinary citizens need a clearer sense of what we want to accomplish before acting in such a way that makes them feel like they ‘did something.'”