Trump boasted on Twitter that the US-led strikes on Syria last weekend were a “mission accomplished”, which drew criticism from many who likened it to Bush’s infamously premature statement about Iraq.
There were differing reports about how many missiles were shot down by Syria’s Soviet-era air defense systems and the scale of damage that was wrought by the ones that did get through the country’s anti-missile shield, but the general consensus is that Trump’s mission didn’t accomplish much and may have even been more militarily ineffective than last year’s strike in reaction to the Khan Sheikhoun false flag chemical weapons attack from that time. Furthermore, a bold statement such as “mission accomplished” implies a victory much broader than just launching some missiles, most of which are regarded as having never even made it to their targets.
Trump’s known for his grandiose and hyperbolic statements to stir up support among his base and generate widespread attention, but he may have inadvertently walked into a narrative trap entirely of his own making with this latest tweet. Just a few weeks ago he was talking about withdrawing from Syria, but then all of a sudden the Douma chemical weapons false flag attack was used as his pretext for launching the failed missile strike against the country. Not only that, but his UN Representative Nikki Haley later declared that American troops will remain in the Arab Republic until the US’ goals were accomplished, which she described as responding to reports of chemical weapons attacks, ensuring Daesh’s defeat, and keeping an eye on Iran. These open-ended objectives suggest that Trump’s Syrian mission is far from accomplished.
Building off of the US’ new publicly declared goals in Syria, Washington will likely rely on its supposed anti-Daesh mission to justify expanding its military commitment to its allied Kurdish proxies in the northeast of the country, which could potentially see the US pushing for Damascus to recognize their unilaterally declared “federalization” from March 2016 in order to de-facto legitimize a new American client state in the region. This would complement the US’ real objective of “containing” Iranian influence in the Arab Republic, which it’s becoming more comfortable publicly admitting, especially in light of Israel’s threats to continue bombing suspected IRGC and Hezbollah targets in Syria. As the anti-terrorist phase of the conflict more openly returns to its original multidimensional proxy one, Trump might regret having prematurely declared that anything of significance was accomplished there.
Niall Bradley, editor and analyst for the independent news site SOTT.net, and John Mesler, retired local government employee and musician who’s now a peace activist, commented on the issue.