Tag Archives: Syria’s chemical weapons


BLOG 391 April 16, 2018

    Last week’s blog was written before Assad’s chemical attack. My earlier response was to President Trump’s quip that America would soon leave Syria. Today, that entire scene has changed. The world currently knows that 40 people died from the chemical attack in Douma. Entire families were wiped in an assault that damaged many, many more people.

The Security Council of the United Nation has already begun condemnation of Syria, Russia, and Iran. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Assad and Russia “must be held to account.” Israel does not typically comment on airstrikes although they have struck inside Syria numerous times. The Israelis may have been involved in a bombing response.

With the US shooting missiles at Syria today, the situation is a front-page story again. We need to make sure we are following the situation and have a developing understanding of the situation in the embattled country. At this point in the history of the Middle East, most critics view President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry as having been hopelessly culpably naïve in trusting Russia to guarantee Assad would eliminate his weapons of mass destruction. Obama’s lack of action amounted to inviting the wolf to guard the hen house while the farmer took a nap.

The issue before us at this moment is the possibility of a confrontation between Russia and America.  Russia continues to be Syria’s major ally and probably the only reason that Assad has remained in power and the civil war not ended. Russian news sources on Tuesday reported that Russian military contractors were killed. In February, four Russian citizens were killed in Syriaby strikes related to the U.S.. Russian media claimed private contractors were part of the pro-Syrian government. However, Russia has yet lodged an official complaint.

Lt. General Jeffery Harrigian, commander of the U.S. air force in the Middle East reported that during a skirmish, the Americans. struck a Russian made T-72 battle tank after they took a shot at the U.S. forces.

However, as of this date, the most recent media reports from CBS, NBC, and ABC have indicated the U.S. attempted to avoid striking Russian forces directly. Should Russian and America become embroiled in a direct confrontation, the stakes rise dramatically. However, it is not currently clear if US missiles have achieved any important objectives. At this time, Britain, France, and Israel are standing with American policy.

Putin might want to think twice about direct retaliation.


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Blog 345 April 10, 2017

            A number of years ago, I spent time in Syria and stayed in Damascus, wandering around the municipality and spending time in the ancient city. Walking down the street called Straight (Acts 9:11) proved enlightening. A number of years previous to this experience, I traveled to the Soviet Union (1985), visiting Moscow, Minsk, etc. Like Damascus, wandering down the streets and talking to the people brought insights I never would have expected. These two experiences continue to run through my mind as I listen to media reports about this week’s U.S. Tomahawk and Scud missile attacks in Syria. The past gave me perspective for today.

With the lowest approval rating of any American president in memory, Donald Trump appears to have dug himself out of a hole with the unannounced successful attack on the Syrian base from where Bashar Assad’s air force jets gassed their own people. Outside of Russia and Iran, the world applauded this attack on Assad who is unquestionably a war criminal.

During my time in Syria, I recognized the dictator’s grasp on the Syrian people. Everywhere I went from Taxi cabs to bathrooms, there were two pictures: Hafez Assad, the father smiling; Bashar Assad frowning. Their faces were unavoidable and no one would talk about the pictures or them. Bashar’s brother is a ruthless general leading many of the deadly attacks on civilians. Hafez, the father, rose to power through his military position as a general. I quickly learned that the citizens knew better than to speak ill of the Assad regime.

Could Bashar Assad kill women and children? He and his family history demonstrate they have and will – possibly again.

Russia was a different type of dictatorship that worked at being more of an enigma. From the time of the Czars, the Russian government functioned with deception. When the Soviet System collapsed, the art of deceit didn’t miss a lick. Out of the ashes of the Russian Revolution, the practice of illusion sprang back to life. Putin continues the swindle.

Apart from all of Putin’s huff and puff, Russia is not in a good place. Their economy is in trouble and the drop in oil prices has seriously impacted them. Yes, they have the big Bomb, but even Putin understands the risk of a nuclear threat.

Now, Russia is caught with its pants down in Syria. They either knew about the chemical weapons or were incompetent in handling the situation. Assad promised Obama he would get rid of chemical weapons—which he didn’t. Putin’s efforts to prop up Assad amounts to selling a Sunday School class on the idea of having Al Capone teach on kindness.

Russia will continue to scream and holler – but little more as they have no idea what Trump will do next. Syria is now back in a more defensive posture and Assad is in a kettle of hot water.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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