Everything You Need to Know About Syria Right Now
You might have heard about the crazy shit that’s going down in Syria. Yesterday, the United States attacked Syria in response to the suspected chemical attack that killed at least 80 Syrian civilians. This included children, and it’s being investigated by the United Nations as a potential war crime.
There are so many facets to this super complex issue, so here’s a rundown of what that led up to this conflict, and what could happen next.
Syrian Civil War
Syria has been at war since the Arab Spring in 2011, which was a series of democratic uprisings in several Arab countries. The presidents of Egypt and Tunisia were overthrown, and the entire region was left off balance.
However, the Syrian uprising was different. In March of 2011, a series of peaceful protests took place condemning the government-caused death of a 13-year-old boy who was tortured for writing graffiti in support of the Arab Spring.
In response to this uprising, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad launched an attack on his own civilians: hundreds of demonstrators were either killed or imprisoned. A few months later, some of Assad’s military split off and formed a rebel group called the Free Syrian Army, to fight him and the government.
For the last seven years, a full blown civil war has basically raged between Assad and the rebel groups. More than 470,000 Syrians have died in the crossfire, and 55,000 of them were children.
For the complete story on the Syrian War, you can click here.
Now how does the United States fit into that? Well, Obama didn’t really do anything about the Syrian civil war for the past seven years. The US never intervened, even though almost half a million Syrians were killed.
But for some reason, this most recent attack on 80 Syrian citizens made the Trump administration spring into action.
The U.S.bombed one of Syria’s military bases last night.
The attack might have been a surprise to some. But Ambassador Nikki Haley told the United Nations Security Council shortly before the strike that the U.S. may “take our own action” against Syria while holding up photos of victims from the attack. This seemed like a hint that we might attack Syria.
President Trump said he was moved by those photos from the chemical attack, and attempted to justify the missile attack by saying it would help “end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria,” according to the Associated Press.
But the U.S. might have killed some Syrian civilians. Nine people, including four children, were allegedly killed by the American strike, according to the Telegraph. While the strike was intended to send a message to Syria, we may have bitten off more than we can chew.
Russia’s role in the Syrian civil war is basically the reason why the U.S. hasn’t intervened until now.
Russia is one of Syria’s closest allies, and despite reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump are all buddy-buddy, Putin has condemned the strike as an “act of aggression,” and said it violated international law according to CNN.
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And it appears that Russia might actually already be planning to retaliate. That’s despite the fact that we warned Russia before the attack. According to new reports, armed Russian warships are allegedly moving in on the U.S. Navy ships that fired the missiles from the Syrian coastline in the Mediterranean.
Hypocrisy in Action
But the most bizarre part of Donald Trump’s actions is that he’s always said he was going do the literal exact opposite of what transpired last night. Surprise, surprise, right?
In a few telling tweets from 2013, Trump urged President Obama not to attack Syria and said the rebel groups were just as bad as Assad’s regime.
We should stay the hell out of Syria, the “rebels” are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS?ZERO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2013
If we are going to continue to be stupid and go into Syria (watch Russia), as they say in the movies, SHOOT FIRST AND TALK LATER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2013
So what do we take away from all of this? Yes, it’s totally hypocritical of Trump to attack Syria without congressional approval, especially when he said previously that Obama would have needed it to act. But was he justified?
Ambassador Nikki Haley seems to think so, saying that the actions were “fully justified” because Assad used chemical weapons, according to CNN. That’s different from regular warfare and big effing deal.
But even then, wouldn’t letting refugees into the U.S. be more productive in saving lives? If Trump were truly disturbed by the photos of the attack, he wouldn’t have imposed a travel ban to keep them out.
Despite Twitter sounding off in anxiety about a potential war between the U.S. and Russia, it’s hard to tell what will come of this. The reactions from politicians around the world have been mixed, some saying the strike was long overdue. But tension will likely be running high for awhile.