FUCK TRUMP WE STAND WITH SYRIA!
Update 3:11 PM EDT: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is calling for President Assad‘s ouster.
President Trump’s campaign stance, moving away from the US trying to impose regime change on Syria, appears to have been totally abandoned at this point, with reports that he has informed some members of Congress that he is considering a military attack on Syria.
Trump is said to be discussing the different options on such an attack with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and that he is likely to rely on Mattis’ judgement on the matter. Officials say the Pentagon has had such plans ready to go for quite some time.
The shift in Trump Administration policy is publicly being justified by a bombing attack in northwest Syria Tuesday, allegedly a chemical weapons attack. President Trump insists Syria has “crossed many lines,” and is insisting that his position on Syria has changed, adding that “I now have responsibility when it comes to Syria.”
US, British, and French diplomats are once again pushing for UN action against Syria now, though a Russian veto at the Security Council is assured, with Russian officials saying the resolution is based on “fake information.” US officials are already looking beyond the UN and threatening unilateral action.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley insisted the UN has “consistently” failed to act against Syria, and warned that states would as a result be compelled to act unilaterally without UN authorization. Haley added that Syria’s “illegitimate government” was committing “untold atrocities.”
All of this sounds remarkably familiar to the statements by US officials when the Obama Administration was planning to attack Syria, and while it’s not clear President Trump is willing to risk war with Russia by launching such an operation, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s warning that Russia needs to reconsider its continued support for Syria, suggesting that at the very least the administration is fine with continuing to raise tensions with Russia over the matter.
The gas attack incident, however, still has a lot of questions, with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons still just starting to probe the incident, and is well short of assigning responsibility. US officials, along with British and French officials, immediately had a complete narrative fitting with their interest in moving against Syria, and are refusing to consider any possibility that runs counter to that, including Russia’s suggestion that a conventional air strike had caused a leak in a rebel chemical cache.
The Pentagon claimed they’d detected the bombs on radar and confirmed they were from a Syrian warplane. Of course, because chemical and conventional bombs don’t show up differently on a radar, this still does not discredit Russia’s version of events.
The shift in US policy, however, really began before the alleged gas attack even took place, as in the days ahead of it, officials were again demanding Assad’s ouster, and rebel officials were reporting that the previously halted CIA arms shipments had been resumed recently. This is just serving as a justification for being more public with it, and hyping a war of regime change.
Obviously, all of the same problems with the US moving against Syria militarily, which Trump pointed out in presidential debates, are still problems, and that may ultimately deter an American attack. Either way, the Trump Administration is looking to rebrand their official stance as a hostile one, and one which is likely to please other NATO members, who see it as a chance to forestall any normalization of US-Russia ties.
Says Assad Will Have ‘No Role’ in Syria in the Future
Not long after officials began confirming that President Trump was “considering” military action against Syria to remove President Bashar Assad from power, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has confirmed that “steps are under way” in the administration for Assad’s ouster.
Exactly what those steps are isn’t totally clear, but Tillerson talked up the idea of an “international community effort” that would both defeat ISIS and remove Assad from power, in additional to “stabilizing” Syria as a whole. Comments from officials familiar with the situation suggest this is almost certain to be military action.
Tillerson went on to say that Assad could have no role in the future government of Syria, and that the US would take an “appropriate response” against him to ensure that this does not happen. Tillerson has insisted only a few days ago that the US was not seeking regime change.
But while seemingly every political figure in the Trump Administration is on board for this war, military and intelligence personnel are said to be increasingly concerned with the narrative line of the government, saying they have major doubts about the Assad gas attack narrative, and are concerned this will escalate into war on a false pretext.
Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi was interviewed on the matter, saying many US intelligence officials believe the Russian narrative that the Syrian airstrike was a conventional bomb that hit an al-Qaeda chemical cache. He added that the US narrative made no sense because Assad would have no motive to launch such a strike.
BEIRUT (AP) — President Bashar Assad’s government came under mounting international pressure Thursday after a chemical attack in northern Syria, with even key ally Russia saying its support is not unconditional.
Turkey, meanwhile, said samples from victims of Tuesday’s attack, which killed more than 80 people in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, indicate they were exposed to sarin, a highly toxic nerve agent.
Syria rejected the accusations, and Moscow warned against apportioning blame until an investigation has been carried out.
The United States said it hopes for a vote late Thursday on a U.N. Security Council resolution that would condemn the chemical attack.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with The Associated Press that “unconditional support is not possible in this current world.”
But he added that “it is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow. This is totally wrong.”
Russia has provided military support for the Syrian government since September 2015, turning the balance of power in Assad’s favor. Moscow has used its veto power at the Security Council on several occasions since the civil war began six years ago to prevent sanctions against Damascus.
The two countries “enjoy a relationship of cooperation, of exchange of views and full mutual support,” said Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin. Assad and his army are “the only real power in Syria that can resist terrorists on the ground,” he said.
Syria maintains it didn’t use chemical weapons, blaming opposition fighters for stockpiling the chemicals. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun.
“I stress, once again, that the Syrian Arab Army did not and will not use such weapons even against the terrorists who are targeting our people,” Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Damascus.
President Donald Trump has condemned the attack, saying it had crossed “many, many lines,” and put the blame squarely on Assad’s forces. Speaking Thursday on Air Force One, Trump would not discuss what the U.S. might do in response. He said the attack “shouldn’t have happened, and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”
On Wednesday, his U.N. envoy Nikki Haley strongly hinted some U.S. action was coming if the Security Council doesn’t act.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes Trump will take military action, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency quoted him as saying.
Erdogan said Turkey would be prepared to do “whatever falls on us” to support possible military action, the news agency reported.
At the U.N., the United States, which currently holds the presidency of the Security Council, it drafted a resolution along with Britain and France that condemns the use of chemical weapons, particularly in the attack on Khan Sheikhoun, “in the strongest terms.”
Russia objected to key provisions in the resolution and negotiations have been underway to try to bridge the differences.
Britain’s deputy ambassador Peter Wilson said “what we want is a unanimous resolution … and we want to see this done soon.”
A day earlier, Russia had argued against holding Assad’s government responsible.