We’ve struck Syria before. Do they deserve another round?

Matt Saintsing
April 09, 2018 - 1:01 pm

Photo courtesy Department of Defense

Another suspected chemical attack against civilians in Syria over the weekend has renewed talk of a possible U.S. strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The alleged chemical attack, which killed dozens, was denounced by President Donald Trump on Monday, who said he would make a decision in the next day or two about whether the U.S. would retaliate militarily, as he did to last year.

“It was atrocious. It was horrible,” the president told reporters Monday before a cabinet meeting. “This is about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen.”

There’s already been an apparent strike against Syrian targets over the weekend, and Russia and Syria are both blaming Israel for it.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis didn’t rule out another U.S. strike against Assad’s regime on Monday, and the U.S. military has a wide range of options in the Middle East that could carry out a strike against the regime.

Trump ordered a missile attack last year from the USS Rodd and USS Porter, both Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, after a similar chemical strike killed scores of Syrian civilians. The attack last April involved 59 tomahawk cruise missiles aimed at the Shayrat Airbase under the Syrian regime’s control.

The strike was the first military action the U.S. directly against Assad, and now, another may be looming, at the same time Trump is welcoming his new national security advisor, John Bolton, to the job. 

During a speech on March 29, Trump said ""we're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now." Since then, Trump and senior administraiton officials have repeatedly said that a full withdrawal would only come when ISIS is destroyed. 

For now, at least, Assad's alleged chemical attack only serves to complicate the quagmire further, with Trump weighing the potential escalation of a brutal civil war now entering its eighth year.