Over the past week the world’s attention has been focused on Syria, where a US strike now seems inevitable after President Barack Obama confirmed that he believed the regime of Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against its own people.
If an attack does occur, it might be carried out by the US alone. Though a strike was supported by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the UK parliament voted against military intervention in Syria.
“President Obama’s decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States. He believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable,” said US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden.
In response to the US’s statements, Russia, one of the Assad regime’s closest allies, has sent an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the region, a development that has heightened tensions further. Russia already has a naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus, where some 10 Russian ships are currently stationed.
For its part, Warsaw has distanced itself from the conflict, with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk stating unequivocally that Poland would not get involved.
“I spoke with [Foreign Affairs] Minister [Radosław] Sikorski and I asked him to tell our partners that Poland is not planning participation in any type of intervention in Syria,” Mr Tusk told the media last week.
The prime minister explained that while he understands the motives behind a possible strike, he does not believe that such an intervention would “bring the expected results” – that is, ending the violence in the country.
“Our experience from that region shows that despite having a good and justified reason to intervene there, it rarely brings peace,” he said.
General Stanisław Koziej, chief of Poland’s National Security Bureau, added that the Polish army doesn’t have the capabilities needed to participate in such an operation.
“We don’t have aircraft carriers, we don’t have strategic bombers which are all necessary for such military activity,” he said in an interview with news station TVN24.
He added that Poland could get involved in the conflict only if military operations spill into Turkish territory, since Turkey is a member of NATO.
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