Last night, shortly after Donald Trump ordered the United States military to fire fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles into an air base in Syria, MSNBC reported on-air that none of the missiles were aimed at the air strips. I posited that this meant Trump’s attack was all for show, and was intended to do no damage to Syrian President Assad or to Russian interests in Syria (link). Sure enough, Reuters is reporting today that the base is still functional and is launching warplanes as we speak.
This tweet from Reuters Top News an hour ago says it all: “JUST IN: Syrian warplanes take off from air base hit by U.S., carry out strikes in Homs countryside – Syrian observatory for human rights.”
JUST IN: Syrian warplanes take off from air base hit by U.S., carry out strikes in Homs countryside – Syrian observatory for human rights
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 7, 2017
The U.S. military knows full well that the only way to disable an enemy air force base is to destroy the airstrips. Otherwise, the enemy can simply turn around and launch any undestroyed planes, or quickly bring in replacement planes and launch them. The only reason the U.S. military would have carried out such a pointlessly ineffective attack last night is if it was ordered not to take out the airstrips.
Why would Donald Trump have insisted that the air strips at the Syrian base be left intact? The only plausible explanation is that Assad and Russia wanted it that way, and Trump wanted to keep them happy. CNBC is reporting that the U.S. did indeed tell Russia about the Syria attack in advance (link). And in turn the Washington Post is reporting that Russia had S-400 surface to air technology in place in Syria which could have shot down the Tomahawks (link) – but Russia declined to use it last night.
Since when does the U.S. carry out big and bombastic military action that has no intention of doing any real damage to the air base it’s targeting? And since when does Russia sit back and fail to defend its own close ally Syria against a military attack it knows is coming? The most logical theory is still the same one I settled on last night (link): Vladimir Putin knew the U.S. attack on Syria would be harmless because Putin orchestrated the whole stunt. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report