Regarding the April 7 news article “U.S. hits Syrian military targets with missiles”: The N&O’s news coverage of the U.S. attack on Syria stated that Obama “... backed away from a planned assault on Syrian government sites ... after a similar chemical attack (in 2013).” No further explanation is offered, casting the aspersion that former President Obama, unlike the attacking President Donald Trump, was indecisive and ineffectual.
Obama built a coalition of United Nation allies to threaten large scale military action against Assad in light of his use of chemical weapons in 2013. Assad avoided such retaliation only by capitulating to the demand that he destroy his large chemical weapon arsenal. Destruction of that arsenal was monitored by the UN in 2014. Thus he avoided attack by the U.S. and its allies.
Was Assad then unable to ever produce chemical weapons ever again? No. But his large arsenal of these weapons built over many years was destroyed. This was a significant outcome reached through consultation with allies and the involvement of the U.N.
Assad, emboldened by his new alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, decided to return to a favored ruthless tactic in attacking his domestic enemies. After all, Putin and Trump are buddies. But a quick missile strike always does wonders for a president’s low job-approval rating. Sorry, Vlad.