The main question after the attacks on Syria: how will Russia react?

For the President of trump to choose targets and launch cruise missiles to punish the Syrian regime for the use of nuclear weapons this week, it was a relatively obvious solution. The problem is, what will happen next.


The military had prepared plans for attacks on the forces of President Bashar al-Assad even before 2013, when the Syrian dictator has killed more than 1,000 Syrians fatal nerve gas.


On Tuesday a chemical attack, the blame for which lay on the Assad regime, claimed the lives of dozens of civilians. In response, the Pentagon late Thursday released about 50 cruise missiles at Syrian airbase.


“The main issue has not changed, says Phil Gordon (Phil Gordon), a former senior official of the Obama administration, at the time, repeatedly took part in the debate about how to punish Assad. — Can I use military force to deprive the Syrians able to use chemical weapons, and what will they do in response, if you do this?”


However, the difference between 2013, when President Barack Obama last threatened to strike at the forces of Assad airstrikes, and the present is that now the risk expansion of the conflict has become much more.


Initially, the American military plans in 2013 suggested that attacks against Assad would have first to deprive him of the ability to use chemical weapons, says former us official who participated in the discussion of this issue. In this direct attack on the storage of chemical weapons was deemed too dangerous for the civilian population, as it could cause the release of toxic gas.


In the result, the military has prepared a list of goals, in which they included units armed with chemical weapons, but also aircraft and artillery, so that they can use. “The challenge was to strike at the forces that use chemical weapons — said the former official, who agreed to talk about military plans on the condition of anonymity. — After that our intelligence unit had to assess the damage, and if the effect is insufficient, we would repeat the blow.”


In addition, trump and now the military has to take into account the presence in Syria of Russian troops and Russian air defense systems that can shoot down American planes. Now Russian forces mixed in with Syria, and any attack on Syrian military targets may lead to losses among the Russian military.


Retired General John Allen (John Allen), who coordinated with the Obama campaign against the “Islamic state” (organization banned in Russia — approx. transl.) in Iraq and Syria, said that the strikes could have a “decisive influence” on the course of the war, if they were incurred in 2013. Obama’s decision not to strike he called “disastrous.”


“Now everything is much harder, says Allen. The United States had to ask themselves one question: how we are outraged by the incident? Enough our moral indignation so we were ready to act, even if the result may die Russian?”


Also concerned about Syrian and Russian air defense system, not previously attacked American planes as they basically fight with the “Islamic state” — the common enemy of the United States and the Syrian regime.


“The Syrians and Russians can be dangerous, says a former senior official of the Ministry of defense in the Obama administration, Andrew X’s (Andrew Exum). — The American aircraft and coalition aircraft in the last two years flying around their air defense systems and through the area. After a blow to the regime, they will have every reason to shoot down a coalition aircraft.


At least, that the Syrians and Russians can scare some of America’s partners in the coalition and force them to withdraw from the battle, considers the X’s.


American planes could be shot down or being forced to strike back at the Syrian or Russian radar. It would have dragged the United States into the chaos of the Syrian civil war. The result is American lives would be under threat, and the war against the “Islamic state” announced by trump’s key foreign policy priority, would be significantly complicated.


Trump could reduce some of the risks, assuring Russians that the purpose of these strikes is to punish Assad for using chemical weapons, and that they are not aimed at changing the balance of power in the civil war. According to some analysts, it is also possible that the missile strikes would be for the United States additional leverage to reach a compromise with the Russians to put an end to the civil war.


“The political signal that would send such a blow, means that the new approach differs from the approach of the previous administration,” said Andrew Tabler (Tabler, Andrew) expert on Syria from the Washington Institute. Such a move is likely to inspire the Syrian regime concerns that the United States can use to their advantage.


“The unpredictability and the creation of uncertainty can provide much more than the behavior of the Obama administration — which did not give anything”, — said Tabler.


Some employees of the Obama administration, even recognizing that the strike is risky and fear of the violent nature of the trump, however, also called for action.


“To do nothing is, in fact, mean to say to Assad and those who support his regime that they should feel free to use sarin, said Gordon, the former in the Obama White house coordinator for the Middle East. — Assad tested Obama strength. Now it checks trump”.