Ryan Bridge: US airstrikes help Islamic State

OPINION: Islamic State (IS) terrorists will be shooting their AKs in the air in celebration after the United States launched airstrikes on Syria.

Fifty-nine tomahawk missiles smashed into a Syrian Air Force base, from where it's thought the Syrian government launched a chemical weapon attack on its own people on Tuesday.

It looks like a sign of strength from President Donald Trump who, despite saying he would never do what he's done and lambasting Barrack Obama for even thinking about doing the same thing in 2013, says he has acted in direct retaliation to the chemical attack.

OK fair enough. Chemical weapons are bad.

But so is IS. 

In sending a message to Syrian president Bashir al-Assad, Trump has also become the defacto air force for IS.

The forces of Assad and his allies, namely Russia, are battling IS in Syria and Iraq and their work is one of the main reasons the terror group has lost so much ground in recent months. 

Trump has taken out fighter jets and runways from an air force that would otherwise have been bombing IS.

An enemy of Assad and thereby Russia is a friend of IS.

On one hand, it feels good to bomb the hell out of something after seeing images of a chemical attack on children. It's moral warfare.

But on the other hand, the US is hardly going to continue bombing Syria and force a regime change ... so why target Assad at all? 

To deter his use of chemical weapons. 

Admittedly, it is a compelling reason.

But it is the wrong one and a flawed decision has been made.

Hurting Assad puts Syria on a path to becoming another Iraq without Suddam Hussein, lawless and ripe for IS 2.0 to step in and instigate an even more brutal regime in parts of the country it doesn't yet control; a terrorist one.

My only hope is that the airstrike was enough to simultaneously deter Assad's chemical tendencies, avoid a Kremlin backlash and provide some sense of hope for Syrian civilians while at the same time, having no impact on Syria's ability to fight IS and avoiding reaction from interested parties which might force the US to continue bombing Assad into oblivion.

Today, the United States successfully launched a military attack on a brutal dictator, but it may also have, at best, prolonged the fight against IS and, at worst, put itself on a slippery slope towards regime change in Syria which could create yet another Middle Eastern power vacuum. 

Ryan Bridge is the host of Your Sunday on RadioLIVE between 10am and 2pm. As part of a new weekly segment called Flashpoints, this Sunday he'll be joined by international experts in geopolitics and Syria's civil war to discuss the fallout from Trump's airstrike.