The US air strikes on Syria were planned before the Khan Sheikhoun massacre

Veteran Arab journalist Abdel Bari Atwan says no Arab or Muslim should back American intervention in Syria given the US’s track record of destroying and dividing the region.

I was not surprised by the American bombing of the Syrian military airfield with Tomahawk missiles, which destroyed its runway, six warplanes, a fuel depot and killed about 12 people, including five children. And I was not surprised by the exaggerations centered around the ugly chemical massacre of Khan Sheikhoun which suggested that the strike was coming.

Donald Trump, the new US president, said he was considering reprisals, including the military option, and his UN representative, Nicky Healy, said after the Security Council was unable to make a decision that her country would resort to unilateral action.

So the US government issued its ruling, condemned the Syrian government for the massacre in the first minutes, and did not wait for any fair, transparent and neutral international investigation. And this confirms the theory that this aggression was planned before the massacre, and it was used as a cover.

Yes, this is an American aggression that reminds us of what happened in Iraq, Libya and Yemen under pretexts that later proved to be false and fabricated. This aggression is not based on any UN mandate, and it aims to restore the greatness of America and to portray its new president as a strong man against a weak and war-torn nation.

I do not accept that a country like America – which has attacked at least four Arab countries and turned them into failed states and a battlefield for bloody wars and terrorism – can talk about humanity and human rights. This country has committed massacres that have killed more than one million Iraqis, 100,000 Libyans and 300,000 Syrians by supporting their allies with money, arms and training. It is the last country to talk about humanity.

Donald Trump announces the air strikes

I have already said that I am against the chemical massacre and I condemn it. I consider it a war crime, but we want compelling facts which come from a neutral international investigation, especially after we have suffered many lies and fabrications in Iraq and Libya and paid a very high price for the lives and blood of our martyrs.

Moscow has strongly condemned the strikes and its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “It was an aggression that was prepared in advance and came to strengthen the status of armed terrorist groups.” This aggression will mix all the cards, restore the Syrian crisis to Square One, destroy all peace efforts and initiatives, and raise the possibility of war and bloody clashes.

The Russian leadership has also announced the suspension of the Russian-American understanding on the security of air operations in Syria and decided to reinforce Syrian air defenses, suggesting that it may have provided or will deliver the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian army.

This American aggression will not bring down the Syrian regime, just as a previous US administration failed in response to two al-Qaeda suicide attacks on the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 to eliminate al-Qaeda. Or indeed to do that after 9/11.

It is unfortunate that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the first to welcome this aggression, followed by the Turks and Israel. Not surprisingly, these three countries share one common denominator: engaging in attacks against their neighbors, the first in Yemen, the second in Syria, and the third in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria.

The Arab region, after this aggression, is standing on the crater of a volcano, waiting for the match that may be the big bang. Arabs and Muslims will be the victims as will be their security and stability and their future generations, who may find nothing but destruction, bankruptcy and hunger.

This is the time to sort out those who stand in the trenches of the aggression and those who stand in the trench facing it. Our choice is clear and unambiguous. We are with Syria and with its people in all its classes and factions, just as we stood against the aggression on Iraq and Libya and Yemen.

This article originally appeared on the raialyoum website and has been translated from Arabic. The views expressed here are the author’s alone.

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