It was an especially disastrous Friday the Thirteenth for many innocent civilians in Syria as the United States, Britain, and France joined forces to conduct missile strikes against the country this past week. The coordinated attack was a direct response to President Assad’s alleged chemical attack near Damascus on April 7.
Our Tweeter-in-Chief quickly took to Twitter to declare the success of the attack, although his accomplishments were overshadowed by a statement from the Russian Military that stated that Russia intercepted 71 of the 103 missiles launched. Details from the affair are still murky, and there have been many conflicting reports as to whether the facilities hit were operational or whether they had been abandoned long ago. Much of the confusion seems to lie in the fact that reporters and inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have not been allowed much access to the sites. Many western officials have blamed Russia for interfering with the OPCW while Russia has maintained that the chemical attack was staged, chastising Westerners for getting their news from the rarely reliable social media. Russian officials also questioned why the United States would carry out an attack before the inspectors could actively confirm that a chemical attack took place.
The situation has increased international tensions with Russia, reminiscent of the Cold War era – ah, happy days. While this may seem far-fetched, it is undeniable that tensions between the West and Russia have steadily increased since Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election. However, despite all its usual posturing, Russia hasn’t done anything in retaliation. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stated that Britain would need to prepare for any Russian action against Great Britain, but as of yet there has been no move on Russia’s part. This, of course, assumes that Russia did not block OPCW officials or tamper with evidence, which Russian officials deny.
Even though Russian and Syrian officials have claimed that the attack caused no damage and that many missiles were intercepted, they have yet to provide any evidence of this. This implies that the reason Russia is so quiet is because President Putin is having to come up with a new international strategy, given that there is now proof that Russia is incapable of protecting heavily defended assets from United States attack.