8 Apr 2017 – U.S. Message to Assad: The Game Has Changed | Rob Richer, Former Associate Deputy Director for Operations, CIA
“The biggest message it sends is that, in terms of this Administration compared to the last, the game has changed. That’s not a political judgement, it’s just what it says on the ground. As you remember, in the previous Administration, twice we drew a line in the sand, twice the Syrian military used chemical weapons, and twice we blinked. In this case, they used them once and within a very short period of time, there was a limited, very strategic attack carried out, which went after the place where the attack originated.”
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U.S. Shows Allies & Opponents: We Are Willing to Use Force | Admiral James Stavridis, Former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO
“This was a proportional, legal, and professional strike that won’t change the facts on the ground or have significant, tactical impact. But it is a big strategic message to three audiences: the allies (NATO, Saudis, Gulf States); the domestic audience (Trump Administration is decisive and fast to react); and above all, the opponents (Assad, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China).”
Network Take: Do U.S. Airstrikes Mark Emergence of a “Trump Doctrine?” | The Cipher Brief Staff
The Cipher Brief reached out to our Expert Network– Lieutenant General (ret.) Guy Swan III, and Ambassador James Jeffrey, former U.S Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey – to get their take on Thursday’s airstrikes, asking what message this sends not only to Syria, but to Russia and Iran as well.
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Syria: This Could Be Good Time to Press for Ceasefire | Ambassador Dennis Ross, Counselor, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
This would be a good time to press for a real ceasefire in Syria, especially if it is clear the Administration will respond to violations by the regime. The Administration should be clear in its messages to Russia and Iran: “we don’t seek escalation but we will answer threats to our forces and favor getting serious about ending the war in Syria.” Read all yria: This Could Be Good Time to Press for Ceasefire
April 7, 2017 | Ambassador Dennis Ross – Former Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for the Central Region
The U.S. military launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles from two naval warships in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat air base near Homs in Syria, on Thursday night. The Pentagon said the base was used by the Assad regime to store chemical weapons.
It was the kind of direct intervention in Syria’s six-year-old civil war that President Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama avoided.
The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani asked Ambassador Dennis Ross – Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former senior Middle East adviser to three U.S. presidents – how this could change the balance in Syria.
The Cipher Brief: Would a strike like this change the dynamic on the ground?
The base was the one used for the chemical weapon strikes. It is unlikely to change the dynamic on the ground, but it could make Assad and, certainly the Russians, more cautious and maybe more open to a real ceasefire. Of course, they could choose to test the Administration, but that could be risky.
TCB: What message did it send to the Assad government?
If it uses chemical weapons, it pays a price. Take U.S. words seriously.
TCB: What does signal to Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran?
Dennis Ross: To the Russians and Iranians, the U.S. won’t accept the lack of limitations on Assad’s behavior. Will this mean they will impose on Assad in a way they have not until now?
This would be a good time to press for a real ceasefire in Syria, especially if it is clear the Administration will respond to violations by the regime. The Administration should be clear in its messages to Russia and Iran: “we don’t seek escalation but we will answer threats to our forces and favor getting serious about ending the war in Syria.”
Q: What should the U.S. do next?
DR: There will a general sense that the U.S. is going to live up to its responsibilities in the region. Ironically, this also makes our friends more likely to respond to our requests.
Q: How will this be received in by traditional U.S. allies in the Middle East?
DR: [It will be received] very well by our friends, who feared we might limit our actions to rhetoric.
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Read all https://www.thecipherbrief.com/column/strategic-view/syria-could-be-good-time-press-ceasefire-1091