The civil war in Syria that’s killed anywhere from 320,000 to 450,000 people and displaced roughly 5 million people has taken its toll on everyone, and now it’s finally impacting President Trump.
Following the chemical weapons attack in Idlib earlier this week, Trump ordered a targeted airstrike using Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield in response. It was, for many Americans including a number of Trump supporters, the beginning of America’s next war. For others, it was a pinprick and measured strike to change Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s behavior.
Many Syrians are conflicted on the conflict, like Hassan Shibly, a 30-year-old Syrian American who was born in Damascus, but moved to the United States when he was four years-old. He visited family every summer before the civil war broke out in March 2011.
“It’s been horrific to watch the world do nothing as half a million innocents have been killed by Assad and most recently see Syrian children literally choking to death […] after chemical weapons were used against them,” Shibly told Red Alert Politics. “Obama’s red line [was] effectively meaningless. In seeing the action that Trump has taken [on Thursday night], it appears that Trump is trying to show Obama how you enforce a red line.”
At the same time, Shibly feels that these airstrikes were staged in the sense that the Russians were warned of the airstrikes ahead of time. Instead, this was meant to “save face” and appease the public into thinking the U.S. is taking action. “We need to make sure that it was not staged theatre and that the lives of the Syrian people aren’t meant to be taken as a reality TV show for public appeasement.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Friday that the U.S. is “prepared to do more” with respect to Syria. Shibly noted that the U.S. is largely responsible for the problems in Syria because of the 2003 Iraq war.
“[The Iraq war] destabilized the region and led to the creation of groups like Daesh [ISIS], which the Assad regime has used to justify his barbaric assault against the Syrian population,” Shibly said. “Because we share in the responsibility, we must share in the solution both in terms of leading the international community to hold Assad accountable and in opening our doors to welcome refugees, who are not refugees by choice.”