Russia and Iran are allies of Syria and Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani have not taken kindly to the attack by the U.S. that damaged a Syrian airbase from where a chemical attack was launched. They have borrowed a phrase coined by Barack Obama to say that the U.S. has crossed a ‘Red Line’ through its cruise missile strike on Syria. Incidentally, the strike ordered by Donald Trump was a fallout of a nerve gas attack in Idlib, a rebel-held province, and it left more than 80 people dead, many of them children.

Attack on Syria could feature in the G7 meeting

Sky News reports that Russia and Iran want to take up this issue in the forthcoming meeting of G7 foreign ministers to be held in Tuscany. Simultaneously, the US and UK have conveyed a message to Russia that it should undertake constructive work to rebuild the country, instead of supporting bashar al assad.

Boris Johnson and Rex Tillerson have dangled a carrot for Putin and have said that Moscow could rejoin the G8 if it agrees to part company with Syria or else it will have to face the consequences of further airstrikes on Syria. It will be up to Vladimir Putin to take the final call.

The U.S. policy in the Middle East

Another point for discussion in the G7 summit could be U.S.

policy in the Middle East. This has become necessary because statements made by Rex Tillerson are at a variance to that made by Nikki Haley.

Nikki Haley is the US Ambassador to the United Nations and she indicated that the priority of President Donald Trump was to get a change of regime in Syria. However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that the first priority of Donald Trump was to defeat the Islamic State.

This has created confusion in the mind of leaders regarding the policy of the U.S. in the Middle East and the leaders want to use the G7 summit in Tuscany to clarify this aspect. Does the US want to oust Bashar al-Assad or does it want to defeat the Islamic State? Of course, Donald Trump’s national security adviser Herbert HR McMaster has made an attempt to clarify the affair and said that the US wants to defeat IS and also to remove Bashar al-Assad but G7 leaders do not appear to be fully convinced.

This should be an eye-opener for the Trump administration because people who hold responsible positions must be tuned to the same frequency and must talk in a single voice to avoid giving a wrong impression to others about the duplicity of thought. The Middle East is a boiling cauldron and it must be attended to in a proper way to ensure that the heat does not spread to other areas.