Back in 2012, as the Syrian civil war was worsening, President Barack Obama stated that if Syrian dictator Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, that would be a “red line” that could necessitate U.S. intervention.
In 2013, Assad used those weapons, and the Obama administration proved just how useless that “red line” was. Now, Russia and Iran have issued their own “red line” threat against the United States.
In a statement released Sunday, two days after the Trump administration’s strike on a Syrian air base, a joint command center comprised of Russian and Iranian forces as well as Syrian militias loyal to Assad said that the United States had crossed “red lines” and that they were ready to use force to deal with any further U.S. “aggression.”
“What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well,” the statement read, according to Reuters.
In a phone call, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said the strike violated international law.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, said that the strike was “a strategic error, and a repeat of the mistakes of the past.”
“The Islamic Republic has shown that … it does not back off and its people and officials … do not retreat in the face of threats,” Khamenei said.
Barack Obama’s “red line” was useless because he refused to enforce it, deciding instead to make an ill-starred bargain with Russia that his administration hoped would quash Syria’s chemical warfare capabilities. That worked out swimmingly, as we discovered this week.
The red lines from Russia, Iran, and the sundry militias coalesced around Assad are similarly useless, but for a different reason — they don’t have the wherewithal to do anything.
As The New York Times points out, the only nation aside from the Russia-Syria-Iran axis that came out against the strikes was Bolivia, a nation not exactly known for its military might.
Nations supporting action against Assad for crossing the “red line” of chemical weapons use include: Germany, France, Poland, the United Kingdom, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Japan, and Canada.
Russia has an impressive military, but it comes nowhere near matching that sort of alliance. Iran’s superannuated military may be rebuilding itself after the previous administration’s pitiful Iran deal, but it’s hardly in any shape to compete with the West.
So, good luck on enforcing those “red lines.” I get the feeling Putin, Rouhani, and Assad’s lackeys just wrote a check their alliance can’t cash.
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