YEREVAN. - Although there is no immediate or direct impact on the South Caucasus region from the recent U.S. missile attack against Syria, there are significant indirect repercussions, Director of the Regional Studies Center (RSC), Richard Giragosian, told Armenian News – NEWS.am.
According to the political scientist, first, the decision by President Trump to order the missile attack against one Syrian airbase was more of a political move than a strictly military operation. “For Trump, this was an important way to present a different and more decisive action than President Obama. More specifically, this was also a reaction to the Syrian use of chemical weapons, which as stated by then-President Obama represented a “red line” that the Syrian government cannot cross or violate. In this context, Trump wants to distance his Administration from his predecessor’s and in this way, take military action where Obama did not,” he said.
Besides, this was also an early signal to Moscow that Washington will not blindly follow or allow complete Russian initiatives and objectives for its own military presence in Syria. “And lastly, this was perhaps designed to improve relations with Turkey, as this U.S. attack is a move long called for by Turkey,” Giragosian said.
At the same time, the political scientist noted that the recent events do not yet represent any deep or decisive shift in U.S. policy toward Syria: Rather, it may be a one-time response, with limited aims and with even fewer strategic goals.
Referring to the outlook for a possible confrontation between U.S. and Russia in respect of Syria, the expert noted that it is simply too soon to say. "Although their interests are clearly diverging, there does not yet seem to be a change in U.S. policy. Although possible, the real and more immediate conflict will be between Russia and Turkey, driven as their earlier crisis in relations was, by developments in Syria,” he concluded.