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AKİF BEKİ >Wrong message worth $100 million to al-Assad

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The chemical massacre in Syria’s Idlib drove U.S. President Donald Trump crazy; he was blinded by anger, he ordered the Shayrat Air Base, which was used for the attack, to be hit badly. The Tomahawks took off one by one; Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fell apart; his air force was in complete disorder, the Shayrat Air Base was wiped off the map…  

Pentagon said all 59 missiles hit all the targets; this would be enough for al-Assad; the murderer had taken his lesson. 

As if they had finished al-Assad, as if his back was broken and as if it was sure that he would never be able to get up… 

The White House was intoxicated with victory. They explained that Trump had made a tough decision to retaliate in 72 hours; now they have closed that chapter because they gave a very clear message to al-Assad for once and all. 

But, it was actually a hit and run. They withdrew. 

Spokesman Sean Spicer started beating around the bush, saying their Syria policy did not change just because they hit; the “America First” foreign policy was continuing. “First and foremost, the president believes that the Syrian government, the al-Assad regime should, at the minimum, agree to abide by the agreements that they made not to use chemical weapons,” he said. 

It looks as if this turn was a roundabout. They turned round again in 24 hours. It was a sudden turn to the selfishness of “Syria is not our problem; al-Assad is a real politic.”  

As a matter of fact, it all looked real. Putin was upset and Iran was upset because the causes were false; it was a hostile attack. 

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was also angry. “The U.S. attack on an airfield in Syria has been conducted ‘on the verge of a military clash’ with Russia,” he said. 

Hearts were at mouths; it was like at the brink of a world war. Without one Russian defense missile being able to be fired, without any soldier being slightly wounded, we experienced sentiments as if almost a war between Russia and the U.S. had broken out.  

Here in Turkey, there were predicted outbursts. There was a lot of dust raised. Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli was also affected. He said, “Al-Assad got what he deserved. The missiles fired have hit their targets. He got what he deserved.”

Ankara started to expect the rest. For instance; a no-fly zone, for instance; an immediate safety zone declaration…  

However before the dark, the dust settled. Al-Assad looked good; he was on his feet. From the Shayrat Air Base, which was flattened by the missiles, planes from al-Assad’s destroyed air force took off. They continued from where they left. 

Damascus showed off with patronizing grins, “Look this missile operation will be good for us.” It did prove good… 

Russia cut its air security line with the U.S.; their military will no longer coordinate to avoid accidents. 

The Tomahawks did not stop al-Assad but they have actually stopped Trump. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would reinforce al-Assad’s defense system. In other words, in the next round, there is no guarantee that the S-400s will not respond. 

They will no longer be able to fire missiles at al-Assad. In a way, the Syrian air space has become an insecure zone for the U.S. 

It seems that Russia has only allowed one show; they have turned their head to another direction and let them hit an empty airport.

Trump used his one chance to play with fire; now he does not have any other chance. Trump has somehow proved himself; he proved he was a trustworthy leader who kept his promise. 

Putin, on the other hand, strengthened his hand; he became the only master in the Syrian skies. Al-Assad has been deterred; so he now has the license to conduct any massacre he wishes, except for anything chemical. 

Even in the mind of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the doubt of “was this a cosmetic attack?” occurred. 

For the share of al-Assad, there was a wrong message worth $100 million. 

Those citizens of Trump, who paid the bill of the $100 million used for the missiles, bought the story that their president is a truthful leader. 

Humanity, on its share, had its hopes dismantled.

April/10/2017

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