"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.
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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.
"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.
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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.
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