“Last week, President Trump promised to withdraw from Syria. This week, he opened a new front against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad that risks drawing the United States into a broader conflict there,” the Washington Post is reporting.
“By attacking Assad late Friday, the Trump administration says it sought to warn the Syrian leader against what Western nations said was his use of illegal chemical warfare agents, following the gassing of civilians near Damascus last weekend.
“The administration calculated that the need to send a signal to Assad over chemical weapons outweighed the possibility of provoking a response from his allies, Russia or Iran, on the battlefield in Syria, elsewhere in the Middle East or even in cyberspace.
“The risk, analysts say, is that the United States would then end up in a cycle of escalation that entangles the American military more deeply in the Syrian conflict than the administration intended.
“’Given the linkage between Russia, Iran and Assad, an attack that we would consider limited and precise might be misconstrued by one or more of those three parties and justify from their perspective a retaliatory strike,’ said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War. ‘Then what do we do?’”
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