‘We feel the strike itsef was proportionate’ — Tillerson
Russia failed to carry out 2013 agreement to secure Syrian chemical weapons, says Moscow was either complicit or incompetent in its ability to carry out agreement: Tillerson
The World had looked on in horror as children choked to death on poison gas, and their rescuers were targeted with a second wave.
The gas was reportedly Sarin. A toxin so noxious even the Nazis didn’t use it.
The world watched intently to see if Trump would sit on his hands and ignore the problem like Obama did.
He did not.
Here is Trump’s official statement:
My fellow Americans: On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.
Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.
Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically. As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.
Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail.
Goodnight. And God bless America and the entire world. Thank you.
by Amy Tennery (Reuters) 10:34 PM
Do NOT underestimate how tough a call this was to make.
Russia, you must recall, is allied with Syria. Hitting Syria could escalate tensions with Russia. A big enough misstep might even reboot the Cold War.
(That would be a REALLY strange play for a ‘Russian puppet’, don’t ya think?)
But the SECOND use of a chemical gas so deadly that it’s only been used three other times in history (Once by Assad, once by Saddam Hussein, and once by terrorists in Japan) required an answer of some kind.
Trump has responded. In two ways.
On the diplomatic side, to show the world he is not just being a ‘cowboy’, he is gathering a coalition to press Assad out of power.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that “steps are underway” on an international coalition to pressure Bashar Assad from power, as President Trump was being briefed on military options for Syria – though what specific steps the U.S. and its allies might take in response to the latest deadly chemical weapons attack remained unclear.
America’s top diplomat addressed the Syria crisis a day after Trump declared in the Rose Garden that the chemical strike would not be tolerated. Tillerson pointedly said Russia should “consider carefully” its support for the Assad regime, while calling for an international effort to defeat ISIS in Syria, stabilize the country and ultimately work with partners through a political process that leads to Assad leaving power.
Asked if the U.S. would organize a coalition to remove Assad, Tillerson said: “Those steps are underway.”
“It’s a serious matter, it requires a serious response,” Tillerson said, adding the recent attack “violates all previous U.N. resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements.”
Tillerson made his remarks in West Palm Beach, Fla., after welcoming China’s President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit with Trump. En route to Florida, Trump also said the attack “shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”
Asked if Assad should go, Trump said, “He’s there, and I guess he’s running things so something should happen.”– Fox
On the smack him down and let him know he can’t do this with impunity side, Trump ordered a cruise missile strike on the air base believed to have been responsible for the attack.
59 Tomahawk missiles targeted ‘aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars’: Pentagon spokeman
by Derek Caney 10:43 PM
U.S. officials said the military launched dozens of cruise missile strikes against an airbase controlled by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to the chemical attack on Tuesday in a rebel-held area.
Facing his biggest foreign policy crisis since taking office in January, Trump took the toughest direct U.S. action yet in Syria’s six-year-old civil war, raising the risk of confrontation with Russia and Iran, Assad’s two main military backers.
Some 50 Tomahawk missiles were launched from U.S. Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea, striking multiple targets – including the airstrip, aircraft and fuel stations – on an airbase in Homs, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Further details and damage estimates from the strikes, which were conducted at 8:45 p.m. EDT (0045 GMT Friday), were not immediately known.
Trump ordered the strikes just a day after he pointed the finger at Assad for this week’s chemical attack, which killed at least 70 people, many of them children, in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.
Trump appeared to have opted for measured and targeted air attacks instead of a full-blown assault on Assad’s forces and installations. —Reuters
A senior military official said that 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had hit Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. The missiles were aimed at Syrian fighter jets and other infrastructure but did not target anything that may have had chemical weapons.
He said that no Russian planes were at the airfield and that the cruise missiles did not target any Russian facilities.
The Pentagon informed Russian military officials, through its established deconfliction channel, of the strike before the launching of the missiles, the official said, with American officials knowing when they did that that Russian authorities may well have alerted the Assad regime. “With a lot of Tomahawks flying, we didn’t want to hit any Russian planes,” he said. —
This is the biggest test of Trump’s leadership yet on the international stage. One where he is stuck in a conflict pitting a bloodthirsty tyrant willing to gas his own people against ISIS soldiers.
There are no easy answers to this problem.
Under similar circumstances back in 2013, Obama held back.
Today, Trump is launching missiles against Assad’s air base.
Which one got it right? Or is there a third way that neither of them managed to take?
Let us know what YOU think in the comments.