"America is back!"...Joe Biden's mantra has been particularly on the foreign policy front since taking office. Giving the public and the world a small taste of what this will mean in terms of practical action, he's ordered the first military strike of his presidency a mere little over one month after being inaugurated, becoming the third successive US president to bomb Syria as we covered last night.
Noting that the US has now been bombing Syria since 2014 (with a full occupation of a large northeast section of the country to boot), journalist Michael Tracy points out, "These days you don’t truly Become President until you bomb Syria based on questionable intelligence."
After a four year hiatus America’s military machine is back! ‘Merica! pic.twitter.com/yfllqnsqRZ— @amuse (@amuse) February 26, 2021
D.C. Hawks and interventionists immediately cheered on Biden's actions, which as usual didn't even so much as come with Congressional notification, much less a vote to bomb a sovereign country, as the casualty count rolled in: "The Pentagon spokesman did not mention any casualties, but U.K.-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday that 22 people were killed in the strikes, which it said had hit three trucks carrying munitions from Iraq into Syria."
As expected it's being spun as "defensive" in nature, specifically in 'retaliation' for the Feb.15 'Iran-backed militia' attack on a US base in Erbil which injured American soldiers and left one international contractor dead. A week ago the White House warned that "a response is coming" yet without saying where or when, and crucially without providing proof of culpability for that prior rock attack on Erbil Air Base in Iraq's Kurdistan region. It helps to keep in perspective that this "defensive" strike took place thousands of miles away from US soil.
But there's clearly immense signaling and symbolism behind Biden's choosing to bomb inside Syria - and not where the Erbil base assault took place - Iraq. It means Biden and the hawks in the national security state aren't finished with Assad and Syria after their failed years-long covert war of regime change.
Someone should ask @PressSec her own question verbatim about Biden’s Syria bombing at tomorrow’s briefing (and while the context of her tweet was Trump’s bombing of Syrian forces, the question still applies): https://t.co/9ebYPywQPB— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 26, 2021
This is still about Syria as ground-zero in the US-Saudi-Israeli alliance's war to smash the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis of resistance across the Levant.
After all, does anyone actually think the particular Iraqi paramilitary units which allegedly carried out the Erbil operation are now 'on the run' or quaking with fear when they watch targets hundreds of miles away across the border hit? Also, whatever happened to ISIS? It was never actually about ISIS or 'counterterrorism' at all, but the bullseye was always on Damascus. The Democrats and leftover neocons now running the show in D.C. are not finished in Syria.
Even Reuters acknowledged in its initial reporting that this appears likely only the beginning:
"The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike in Syria against a structure belonging to what it said were Iran-backed militia, two officials told Reuters, an apparent response to rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq.
While the strike could be the first retaliatory moves by the United States following last week's attacks, the move appeared to be limited in scope, potentially lowering the risk of escalation."
This will perhaps serve to 'wake-up' the long dormant antiwar movement in the US, which was last most active in the streets when Obama was poised to unleash a major 'shock and awe' style attack on the Syrian government in August-September of 2013.
To remind Iran who’s boss — rather than conduct the diplomacy he promised — Biden opts to act as ISIS’ Air Force. (That’s who “Iranian-backed militia” have long been fighting) https://t.co/9YGXnpUeyI— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 26, 2021
Despite Syria having long been out of the international headlines, it remains that the population is now being choked and starved by far-reaching US sanctions, and is subject to near weekly illegal Israeli airstrikes, has witnessed its oil and gas fields occupied by US forces bent on stealing the valuable energy resources, and on top of all of this both al-Qaeda and Turkey still occupy large portions of northern and northwest territory.