There is no “Mission Accomplished” in Syria. Not Until Peace Reigns

By Abraham M. Keita |

A Syrian man rescues a child after an air strike in eastern Ghouta – Photo credit: Sky News

April 14, 2018

The explicitly vaunted excitement with which US President Donald Trump wrote his “Mission Accomplished” tweet about the tripartite strikes is bone aching and mindboggling. It appears there is so much joy in unleashing military strikes. Whether it was just another game of flamboyant military prowess, I do not know. What I know is that force cannot drive out force. And yes I know, the strikes were in response to this month chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

At both ends, there are commendations and there are condemnations of President Trump’s tweet. Those extolling him are doing so because, at long last, “Trump is now proving to be the leader of the most powerful nation” – one comment reads under his post. Some are of the view that until you use military action as a leader, you are not man or woman enough. On this aisle, Presidents Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron are the “real men”, and Prime Minister Theresa May is the “real woman”.

How war situations are used to prove those who have manned-up is appalling, obsolete and horror-inducing.

On the other hand, there are those who do not necessarily condemn the strikes but the aftermath and the strategy going forward is what leaves them in a pool of doubts and fear. Let me be clear, I find no fault with the coordinated air strikes by the US, UK and France against the Syrian regime, since President Assad and his allies are blood suckers. Even if I did, who am I by the way? I can only nod and murmur. This is geopolitics in play.  Besides, I can only talk about the effects of war from experience, given that I was born and bred in a brutal civil war. For 14 years, my country ripped itself apart – approximately 250,000 of my fellow citizens including my father were killed. Liberia was once a “Syria in Africa”. At a very tender age, I witnessed some of the most heinous offenses human has perpetrated against another human. My memory of “men’s inhumanity to men” informs my conscience to rile up against conflict and violence. I know I am young, just 19, but I cannot stay silent. What affects a Syrian child or an American child affects me. That is my understanding of the Golden Rule.

I still find it unrealistic to term it as an accomplished mission. There is no “Mission Accomplished” in Syria until PEACE begins to reign. That should be the ultimate mission. Syrians have suffered more than they can bear. The state of the Syrian people is at stake. Bombing and destroying a handful of chemical weapon facilities is far from bringing peace and stability. Seven years on, the only accomplishments have been bloodshed, millions displaced, and broken structures and systems.

Chemical weapons and all other weapons can kill people. The mission shouldn’t only be about destroying chemical weapons. It must also be about ending the war. This what the US and its allies must seek, through diplomacy.

The idea that the US must stop intervening in matters of other nations is a hoodwink, argued by those who debunk democracy and violate human rights. More than ever, America must engage countries, not to direct their affairs, but hold them accountable for atrocities.


I am a campaigner for children’s rights and justice for victims of sexual violence. Follow me on Twitter (@VIKeita) and Facebook

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