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syria99Tassos Symeonides
(RIEAS Academic Advisor)

Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (www.rieas.gr) -Publication date: 11 April 2017

Note: The article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of the Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS).

The US cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base has spread fears of immediate escalation of Syria’s conflict into a US-Russian confrontation. How real are the risks of a war involving these powers?

First of all, a word of caution. The parties involved in the Syrian quagmire pursue incompatible objectives which shift according to imprecise and confused criteria. Prima facie analyses of the attack speak of a “decisive shift” in the conflict thanks to President Trump’s snap decision to shoot. Reality though is different. There are unanswered questions about the timing and purpose of the attack. There is little information about how the decision-making in the White House worked against the backdrop of intensifying personality conflicts within the Trump inner circle. And last but not least, those who understand the dynamics of such crisis situations see strong words with Russia as a “natural” corollary in the inevitable mutual muscle flexing, especially at a time when US power is questioned by many potential adversaries after the failures of the Obama years. As things stand now, a broadened conflict involving the US and Russia appears low on the risks dial...Read more

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