The rush to judgement in Washington in the wake of the alleged chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's Idlib province has been revelatory. And with US regional allies such as Turkey, the Saudis, and Israelis calling for regime change in Damascus in its wake, and with the likes of the UK, France, and other global US allies doing likewise, the potential for escalation is self-evident.
It is hard to fathom how in the space of just a few days, the Trump administration could move from a stated position of no regime change in Syria to launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a government airbase in the country in violation of international law. As for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, what possible motive could have led to him authorizing such a heinous attack on civilians, especially at a point where his forces were winning the conflict so decisively on the ground, and when his government was making significant progress diplomatically?
And why has Washington dismissed Russia and Iran's call for an independent UN investigation in order to find out what happened? What does the US have to fear?
It is impossible to ignore the spectre of Iraq with regard to this crisis. Fourteen years ago, the Bush administration unleashed the most devastating war the world has experienced since Vietnam, again on the basis of allegations of WMD. Those allegations turned out to be false. Could the US and its allies really be contemplating making the same mistake again today?
On this episode of Hard Facts, John is joined from Washington by political analyst and academic, Edward Lozansky. Together they unpack this game-changing event, exploring its ramifications and the prospects of it leading direct military confrontation between Washington and Moscow.
This is one episode not to be missed.