Somewhat to my surprise I find myself agreeing with something that Donald Trump says about Syria!

According to POTUS (not to mention Fox) there is evidently a bad unpopular leader in the Syrian affair who represents a minority, is responsible for killing civilians without compunction, and is not above supporting the use of weapons which don’t meet acceptable moral standards. Trump thinks this leader has to go! And so say all of us!

I do have the slight reservation that Mr Trump has got the name of the bad person muddled.

If the leader in question does not enjoy popular support it can’t be President Bashar al-Assad because in the last election in 2013 for his current seven year term as president he got something like 80% of the vote with his nearest rival scoring less than 4%.    You certainly wouldn’t want to keep a President whose popularity drops below 50% !   (I guess POTUS is intending to suggest the less than 4% man in Syria as his preferred leader for that nation!) Don’t forget the UN observers and representatives from 30 countries thought that the Syrian Presidential 2013 election was fair and square. Nor have recent events done much to shift public feeling in that last year (2016) they had the party votes and al Assad’s party and coalition partners again scored over 80%. Like the turnout of POTUS inauguration supporters at the Washington Memorial, that’s YUGE!

Mr Trump was almost certainly echoing the horror of a global audience when he talked of his reaction to the sight of children suffering from gas attack.   However we have enough TV evidence ourselves to wonder if this was a newly manufactured display of emotion.    Certainly on this occasion we witnessed Donald Trump who came out with: “even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered at (sic)  this very barbaric attack.  No child of God should ever suffer such horror!”     But had he already forgotten he said in the election campaign that he advocated the killing of terrorists’ families.  Surely families include children and wasn’t this a rebel village being targeted.  So does he really care about the children?   What of his reaction to the eight year old Yemini -American girl Nawar al-Awlaki killed in the US assault on a suspected Al Qaeda compound in Yemen.    That time there was zilch regret or concern for the small girl.   It was more concern that at the Generals for not making the raid to be more successful and rather than expressing concern for the child victim we heard POTUS  proclaim that the Navy seal’s death was now a legacy “etched into humanity”.

Now back to the killing of civilians in Syria…..
Quick fact check…. Who killed the most civilians in Syria last month?

As expected, ISIS (aka ISIL or the Levant) were pretty bad. The Syrian network for Human Rights (SNHR) claimed ISIS had been responsible for the deaths of 119 civilians in Syria in March. Among these were 19 children and 7 women.

The Russian and Assad’s Regime were probably even worse.  In the same month Russian and Assad forces were believed to have killed 224 civilians. The Russian/plus regime score of 224 civilians included 51 children and 42 women. That alone should qualify for the US disapproval in the strongest terms.

But there was one other group who were even more destructive. Unfortunately for Trump, the SNHR also claimed the international coalition forces, led by the US, (presumably accidentally) killed 260 civilians,  including 70 children and 34 women.

Well I agree with POTUS. Whoever the Commander in Chief responsible for the series of US Coalition attack on innocent civilians in March 2017 may be, he should indeed be encouraged to fall on his sword as soon as possible. And who is that??

There is the small matter of illegal use of US designed Sarin and illegal barrel bombs many of which distribute chlorine as a way of sowing panic. There is a slight problem here in that given the way the first responders were helping the child victims of the Sarin in the film reportage, the symptoms weren’t right for Sarin and the first responders were clearly doing it wrong in that they were touching the children without gloves and must surely have themselves become victims which was far from apparent in the film.

But the real moral issue is the question of why Saudi Arabia bombers have been dropping illegal barrel bombs in Yemen yet are acceptable allies of the US in the US led coalition in Syria. Surely there are not double standards at work! It almost reminds me of the Sarin sold by US agents to Saddam Hussein and used against the Kurds some years back, not to mention the glass contains held up in the UN Assembly by Colin Powell (containing a form of toothpaste) as proof positive of weapons of mass destruction.    And now I come to think of it, the last time the US used rendition of suspected enemies ex CIA operative told the New Statesman.  “If you want a serious interrogation you send them to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured you send them to Syria.  If you want someone to disappear -never to see them again – you send them to Egypt.”   If the new POTUS and Commander-in-Chief had not already made it plain he wanted to re-institute water-boarding we might find his new conscience a little more plausible.

The last point we might consider is that a consequence of removing Assad from office would destabilize the remaining Assad controlled areas of Syria.

Even without this removal Syria will clearly need outside support. The UN reports currently state it would take $3.2bn to help the 13.5 million people, (6 million children), who will require some form of humanitarian assistance inside Syria.

The UN say about 70% of the population in Syria is without access to adequate drinking water, one in three people are unable to meet their basic food needs, and more than 2 million children are out of school, and four out of five people now live in poverty.

It occurs to me that although many buildings including many of the schools have been destroyed if the Assad Loyalists then become the enemy “We ain’t seen nutting yet.”

Thus far President Trump is ignoring this UN report and sees the rebuild as a side issue which doesn’t fit his America first policy. As he (and Fox) see it
• more air-strikes may be needed
• The US gives too much money to the UN anyway
• After talking with the few experts he does trust eg his daughter (who evidently told him to go ahead with the last strike in Syria), his son in law who is now an expert because he has now visited Iraq, and his Alt Right strategy chief Steve Bannon, it is all very simple. Bashar al-ASSAD must go!

What do the readers think?

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