US Ineffective Syria Strikes Driven by Poor Target Selection - Ex-CIA Officer

© AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster / This April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
This April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The multiple US cruise missile attacks on Syria on April 13 appear to have hit or destroyed or damaged no chemical weapons sites and appear to have been based on bad target selection and intelligence, former CIA officer Phil Giraldi told Sputnik.

"The evidence now leans toward the likelihood that there were no chemical weapons or precursors in the sites that were hit. So if the motive were to remove that capability it might have been based on flawed intelligence or the possibility that there was nothing there to destroy in the first place," former CIA officer Phil Giraldi said.

The attacks were launched right before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was due to visit Douma to seek evidence of the alleged attack, which Syria denies.

"The attack was timed so that the inspectors would not have time to do their job and possibly turn in a report indicating that there was no evidence of gas use, which would have made it difficult to go ahead with the punishment," Giraldi, a former CIA Case Officer and US Army Intelligence Officer said.

Trump’s decision to order the bombardment on Friday appeared to have been driven by political rather than military or strategic considerations, Giraldi said.

"The punishment was more political than anything and had to be done to satisfy the howling mobs in Washington, Paris and London," he said.

READ MORE: WATCH Londoners Slam UK Gov't as May Faces Backlash Over Missile Attack

However, Giraldi predicted that the failure to identify any evidence of chemical weapons or munitions at the targeted sites of the attack might discredit the US government from approving similar strikes in the immediate future.

"There will be no more attacks in the near future given the ridicule that the Friday attack has attracted," he said.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer and crew, being deployed to launch strike as part of the multinational response to Syria's use of chemical weapons, is seen in this image released from Al Udeid Air Base, Doha, Qatar on April 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Uncertainty also still surrounded the issue of how many of the sub-sonic US, UK and French cruise missiles fired in the attack were shot down by the Syrian air defenses, Giraldi noted.

"Assessing the effectiveness of the strikes is difficult, but more vexing is the issue of how many cruise missiles were brought down by S-200 response because that might well condition the likelihood of further attacks," he said.

The US government has said none of the missiles were intercepted and shot down, however, Syria and Russia are claiming three-quarters of them were, Giraldi noted.

"I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between, but it means that the United States is basically engaging in a big lie to make war by cruise missile more palatable to the American public," he said.

Giraldi said he believed President Donald Trump still wanted to pull all US military forces out of Syria, but Trump faced immense opposition from Congress, the US military, within his own administration and from US allies in the region.

"US ground forces will likely leave soon if Trump has his way but he is being opposed by Israel and much of Congress, which means it could go the other way and they will stay to disrupt Iranian activity," he said.

READ MORE: US Presented Missile Strike on Syria as Act of Retaliation — Russian Envoy

A missile is seen crossing over Damascus, Syria April 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Within the administration, National Security Adviser John Bolton, Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will push for US forces to remain in Syria, warning that to do otherwise would repeat the Iraq fiasco in which the United States left too early, Giraldi concluded.

On April 13, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom launched 105 missiles on a number of targets in Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma.

The views of the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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