Trump announces syria strike Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Trumps oorlogsbeleid in Syrië

LONDEN – Het is duidelijk dat het laatste woord nog niet is gezegd over de aanval met chemische wapens op Khan Sheikhoun in de Syrische provincie Idlib, op 4 april, waarbij 85 mensen omkwamen en naar schatting 555 personen gewond raakten. Maar er moeten drie punten – over de verantwoordelijkheid voor de aanval, de Amerikaanse militaire reactie erop, en de gevolgen van deze episode voor het verloop van de burgeroorlog in Syrië – worden gemaakt.

In de eerste plaats liegen alle regeringen, niet uit principe, maar wél als het ze uitkomt en ze ermee weg denken te kunnen komen. Dit moet de basis zijn van iedere poging om de waarheid boven water te krijgen over wat er is gebeurd. Een goed uitgangspunt is dat democratische overheden minder vaak liegen dan autoritaire regimes, omdat het minder waarschijnlijk is dat ze ermee weg kunnen komen. Dus moet je de voorkeur geven aan het verhaal van de Russische president Vladimir Poetin boven dat van de Syrische president Bashar al-Assad, en aan dat van de Amerikaanse president Donald Trump boven dat van Poetin.

Volgens Assad was het bloedbad een “verzinsel.” Poetin geeft daarentegen toe dat het bloedbad heeft plaatsgevonden, maar beweert dat de voorraad chemische wapens zich in rebellengebied bevond, en ófwel met opzet was ingezet om het regime in diskrediet te brengen, ófwel per ongeluk door regeringsbombardementen was geraakt. Tenslotte wijst de regering-Trump op beslissend bewijsmateriaal dat de aanval was gepland en uitgevoerd door de regering-Assad. Alle drie roepen ze op tot een “objectief” onderzoek naar de omstandigheden rond de “gebeurtenis,” maar ze zijn het er niet over eens wat als “objectief” kan gelden.

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