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‘US, UK terrorist attack on Syria was mainly symbolic’

“The terrorist attack by the U.S. and U.K. (Russia says there were no French missiles) on Syria seems to have been mainly symbolic,” an Australian expert on the Syrian conflict said.
Dr. Tim Anderson

In an interview with Balkans Post, Professor Tim Anderson said the objective of the attack “seems to have been some combination of domestic ambitions (Trump's poll rating did increase), plus some sort of cover or diversion for the jihadists.”

Here’s the full transcript of the interview:

The United States, accompanied by Britain and France, attacked Syria in the early hours of Saturday. What’s your analysis of the consequences of the attack? How do you think the event would unfold over time?

Tim Anderson: The terrorist attack by the U.S. and UK (Russia says there were no French missiles) on Syria seems to have been mainly symbolic. Fortunately – amazingly – no people were killed, and Syria reportedly shot down 70% of the 100+ missiles.

However the attack has not changed the progress of the war one bit. The proxy terrorist armies backed by NATO, Israel and the Saudis are all but destroyed.

So the objective seems to have been some combination of domestic ambitions (Trump's poll rating did increase), plus some sort of cover or diversion for the jihadists.

Following the attack, the three countries said it was the right thing to do to deter the further use of chemical weapons. What’s your take on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government?

Tim Anderson: There has never been genuine independent evidence confirming Syrian Arab Army use of chemical weapons at any time during this long war. To the contrary, in each of the CW incidents, from 2013 onwards, independent evidence has discredited the claims, and has implicated the jihadist groups in false flag incidents, often involving the murder of some of their hostages.

Further, the al Qaeda groups have used chemical weapons on several separate occasions. They have even admitted it.

The United States pressures or attacks Syria whenever the Syrian government has the upper hand against the terrorists. Is this a regular pattern?

Tim Anderson: Yes a fake incident, in attempts to gain 'high moral ground' often comes at a critical point, in the past when there was a peace conference and in more recent times, as the Syrian Arab Army is on the verge of a new victory.

But these are increasingly desperate measures. Those al Qaeda groups are almost gone.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump said Saudi Arabia should pay if it wants continuing U.S. presence in Syria. What could you say about this?

Tim Anderson: There do appear to be tensions between the Trump administration and both Israel and Riyadh. Of course the Saudis have already paid far more than Washington, in support of their sectarian gangs.

As they lose we can expect to see more of these frictions, as we have seen between the Saudis and Qatar, and between the U.S. and Turkey, and indeed amongst the terrorists in Idlib.

 

Tim Anderson has degrees in economics and international politics, and a doctorate on the political economy of economic liberalisation in Australia. His current research interests relate to (i) Development strategy and rights in development, (ii) Melanesian land and livelihoods, and (iii) Economic Integration in Latin America. He is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He has studied the Syrian conflict since 2011.

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