Syria strike and fight against ISIS: Any impact?

President Donald Trump’s decision to strike against the Syrian government came after swift shift of positions from Trump administration toward Assad. What opportunities and risks it carries it terms of fighting ISIS and other radical groups, what impact it may have on this fight? Read few comments.

Ramzy Mardini, Nonresident Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council

I don’t believe there are any opportunities for Trump to gain at the strategic level as opposed to the domestic and political level. While this will be used by the Trump administration as an example of their resolve and strength, it also highlights the extent of U.S. limitations in Syria. This was a very narrow mission, initiated and completed on the same night. The attack was specifically designed to be isolated and non-threatening to Assad’s survival in order to not create an escalation or direct military response by the Syrians or Russians.

However, if there is some form of escalation, it will distract the U.S. from its campaign against ISIS. It may delay or complicate Trump’s own mission to defeat ISIS.

This direct military action against the Syrian regime could also fuel newfound hope and confidence into the insurgency and its regional backers. I don’t see how this action by the U.S. helps brings the civil war to an end.

Mathieu GuidèreProfessor, University of France

This decision is a symbolic move aimed to launch a sign to the Russians that “America is back”. It will not change a lot on the military field but it expresses an evolution in the US policy that might create a dynamic leading to defeat ISIS by local forces.

James M. DorseySenior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University

A lot will depend on how Russia and Syria respond. The Syrian chemical attack was a way of testing Trump. Trump’s response was Syria had crossed a line. The question is does Syria accept the message and if it doesn’t how does Russia respond. Clearly, Russia at this point publicly backs Syria with its demand for a UN Security Council resolution. That however does not tell is what Russia is telling Syria privately.


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