Trump's Dangerous "Mission Accomplished" Boast About His Syria Strike

Bessie Dean
April 15, 2018

USA officials said they gave Russian Federation no specific warnings of the attacks or the targets, but used the usual hotline with Moscow's military to ensure the airspace was clear. He criticized the U.S. and its allies for launching the strikes without waiting for inspectors from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog to visit the area.

At a news conference in Moscow on Saturday, Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy said at least 103 cruise missiles were fired into a number of targets in Syria, with 71 of them being successfully downed by Syrian forces.

He said France, together with the USA and the United Kingdom, would soon submit a draft resolution on Syria, aimed at dismantling the chemical weapons program in the country, eradicating terrorism, ensuring a cease-fire and finding a sustainable political solution to the conflict.

· The three nations reportedly fired around 100 missiles.

Paris said that Moscow, the main ally of Damascus, had been warned of the strikes.

"At this critical juncture, I call on all member states to act consistently with the charter of the United Nations and with global law, including the norms against chemical weapons", he said.

Several European leaders, including Belgian, Spanish, Czech and Italian Prime Ministers have issued statements in support of the Western missile strikes on Syria.

Russian Federation said it was being "threatened" and said the air strikes "will not be left without consequences" in a statement from its ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, posted on Twitter.

What was the result on the ground?

"It proves high efficiency of the Syrian armament and professional skills of the Syrian servicemen trained by the Russian specialists", Rudskoy said at a Ministry of Defense media briefing.

· France said the strikes had destroyed a "large part" of Damascus' chemical weapons stock. But the military seemed less than troubled as it claimed that Syrian aerial defenses managed to shoot down most of the missiles and divert others. He claimed back then that the air field had been the origin of a suspected sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's Idlib Province on April 4, 2017.

General Sergei Rudskoi told reporters in the Russian capital that two sites linked to Syria's chemical weapons program that were targeted were partly destroyed though they have always been out of use and had no personnel or equipment, he said.

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She said she authorised British action after intelligence showed Mr Assad's government was to blame for the April 7 chemical attack.

The message in both cases has also been the same: that the strikes have damaged the Assad regime's capabilities, and that they don't indicate that the US mission in Syria has changed.

"President Bashar al-Assad would never use chemical weapons on his own people".

Since last year's strike, multiple chemical attacks have been reported in opposition areas, a lot of them involving chlorine rather than the nerve agent sarin, as was used in 2017, suggesting the government may have adjusted its tactics. And despite bluster about global law at the United Nations (an obscene observation, given the Kremlin's craven embrace of Assad, who should be prosecuted for war crimes), it appears that the two nuclear-armed superpowers will avoid any direct military confrontation.

Trump drew some criticism for his choice of words: former president George W Bush notoriously stood on an aircraft carrier just a few weeks after the initial Iraq invasion in 2003 in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Prime Minister May defended the strikes as "right and legal", highlighting that the goal had been "to alleviate further humanitarian suffering".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said all 29 of its members in the alliance backed the airstrikes.

Israel described the strikes as an "important signal" to Iran, Syria and the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

"The Syrian regime and its supporters are responsible for the gravest violations of global humanitarian law in modern history", Braithwaite said.

Even in a conflict already as debased as Syria's vicious civil war, there must be global norms and laws that civilized nations enforce.

The Kremlin released a statement from Putin saying the strike was an "act of aggression against a sovereign state which is in the front line in the fight against terrorism", and that there was no proof a chemical weapons attack had taken place. "The President must obtain congressional authorization to use military force in Syria, and it is unacceptable that he did not do so before ordering tonight's military action". "We humiliated their missiles", said Mahmoud Ibrahim, who waved a Syrian flag as he hung out of his auto window.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asked for restraint on Saturday.

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