At the House hearing, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat of Hawaii, disputed Trump’s legal authority to act without congressional authority and suggested that a USA strike would lead to war with Russian Federation. Such a scenario would allow Washington to claim it made good on its promise to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad without triggering a clash with Russian Federation.
This image released Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria.
And despite firm denials from the Assad government, there is an abundance of evidence that Syrian forces, with Russian connivance, have been using chemical weapons against their own people on a regular basis ever since.
Syria’s Assad clearly thinks a strike is imminent, however.
By Wednesday, as Russian and Syrian forces took charge of the formerly rebel-held area that was bombed, Trump was explicitly threatening on Twitter to launch more missiles. A day after warning Syria, Russia, and the world that missiles “will be coming,” President Trump clarified Thursday that he didn’t say when.
That’s a discussion that seems more productive than the latest Trump-Washington tit vs. tat, played out against the backdrop of the coming missiles.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday that the usa wasn’t afraid to target Russian assets in its strike on Syria, but a report from a Russian website says the United States has been coordinating with Russia to avoid hitting its troops, and will provide a list of targets before a strike to avoid escalating warfare between the world’s two greatest nuclear powers. I would hope that it’s true that the administration is in contact with the French and other allies, so it becomes not just a USA strike, but a coalition strike, if you will.”And then we’ve got to think about what’s the next step”. The Kremlin’s ambassador to Beirut vowed that Russian forces would try to shoot down any U.S. missiles.
Meanwhile, the world is holding its breath.
Russian military police were deployed in Douma on Thursday in accordance with the rebel surrender deal, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
“The big concern here is always mistakes, unintended consequences”, said Zilberman. Local residents said Wednesday that the militants had insisted on emptying their magazines into the air instead of handing them to the Syrian military, and wounded civilians in the process. “We’re still working on this”.
Retired Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky, the former chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s worldwide department, warned that Russia has thousands of military advisers in Syria “practically in every battalion”, and a strike on any Syrian facility could jeopardize their lives.
Winnefeld said the best way for a Russian officer to avoid being hit, is to stay away from Syrian military installations.
Trump had on Monday warned of a quick, forceful response once responsibility for the attack was established.
The Kommersant newspaper quoted anonymous Defense Ministry sources as saying that Russia’s General Staff was in touch with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and expected to receive coordinates on airstrike targets from the Pentagon in order to avoid Russian casualties. British media reported Wednesday that May has also ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria.
“France will not allow any escalation that could harm the stability of the region as a whole but we can’t let regimes that think they can do everything they want, including the worst things that violate worldwide law, to act”, Macron said. He said France will respond at the time of its choosing.
But both Washington and Moscow suffer from credibility problems that could increase the chances of escalation. That then deterred the US administration of Barack Obama from similar action.
“The resulting confusion is a problematic element of uncertainty, at a time when the post Cold War worldwide order is eroding rapidly”, warns Toucas. “We’ll see what happens”.