- Iran and Russia threaten 'we will respond to any aggression' by the US in Syria
- President Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles be fired at al-Shayrat air base
- It followed a nerve agent attack on town of Khan Sheikhoun, blamed on Assad
- Boris Johnson has cancelled a visit to Russia for talks with his counterpart
Iran and Russia have threatened to hit back if the US follows up on its air strike in Syria last week, ramping up tensions in the Middle East.
It comes after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled a trip to Moscow and prepared a new diplomatic offensive against Russia.
He is also set to urge the Russians to pull their forces out, something which would involve a major loss of face for President Putin.
Eighty-nine people, including 33 children, died on Tuesday after a nerve agent was used in an attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria.
The Assad regime has denied it was responsible and the Russians have claimed it was a 'false flag' incident carried out by jihadists who want to stir up tensions between Russia and the US.
President Trump infuriated Moscow when he authorised an airstrike on a Syrian air base on Friday, which killed at least six people.
British Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said today it was the 'right call' for the Americans to bomb the air base as retribiution for a 'barbaric, immoral and illegal' act by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who he described as a Russian 'proxy'.
But in a joint statement the Russian and Iranians said: 'We will respond to any aggression'.
The Sun reported that a joint command centre in Syria said: 'What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.'
- Russian and Iranian forces warned US they would retaliate with military action
- It comes after Donald Trump crossed a 'red line' with bombing of Syrian forces
- The Russian Embassy in London suggested the situation could lead to ‘real war'
- Boris Johnson to push for Russia to face tough sanctions over support for Assad
Russian and Iranian forces last night warned Donald Trump they would retaliate with military action if he launched more airstrikes on Syria.
In an ominous threat raising the prospect of war, they said the US President had crossed a ‘red line’ with his surprise missile bombardment on Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
‘From now on we will respond with force to any breach of red lines and America knows our ability to respond well,’ the military chiefs said in a joint statement with Hezbollah.
The Russian Embassy in London last night suggested there could be ‘real war’ if Moscow is presented with an ultimatum over Syria.
In a further sign of increasing tensions, the Russian Embassy in London responded with anger to claims the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and America – could today agree to slap Putin with the threat of sanctions unless he pulls his troops out of Syria and ends his support for Assad.
In a series of provocative tweets on its official account, the embassy suggested that if Russia were given an ultimatum, the outcome would be either, ‘war of clowns, war of muses, a conventional war or a mix of the above’.
It added: ‘If G7 ultimatum to Russia brings us to real war, what is your trust in @realDonaldTrump as a wartime leader & @BorisJohnson as his lieutenant?’ Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last night said the US had made a ‘strategic mistake’ by attacking Syria.
He made clear he was not intimidated by claims the airstrike was a warning that America was willing to target other countries. Tehran has been a key backer of Assad in Syria’s six-year civil war.
Khamenei said: ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran will not leave the field in the face of threats. Former American officials created Daesh [Islamic State] and the current leaders are reinforcing it.’
Donald Trump entered military terra incognita on Thursday by launching an illegal Tomahawk missile strike on an air base in eastern Syria. Beyond the clear violation of international law, the practical results are likely to be disastrous, drawing the U.S. deeper into the Syrian quagmire.
But it would be a mistake to focus all the criticism on Trump. Not only are Democrats also at fault, but a good argument could be made that they bear even greater responsibility.
For years, near-total unanimity has reigned on Capitol Hill concerning America’s latest villains du jour, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Congressmen, senators, think-tank strategists, and op-ed analysts all have agreed that Putin and Assad are the prime enemies of “peace,” by which is meant global American hegemony, and that therefore the U.S. must stop at nothing to weaken or neutralize them or force them to exit the world stage.
Until recently, in fact, just about the only politically significant dissenter was Trump. Accusing reporters of twisting the news at a tumultuous press conference in late February, he told them, “Now tomorrow, you’ll say, ‘Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia, this is terrible.’ It’s not terrible. It’s good.”
As Inauguration Day approached, President Obama’s intelligence chiefs pulled out all stops to persuade the public that (a) Russian intelligence had engineered Clinton’s defeat by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers and placing thousands of embarrassing emails in the hands of WikiLeaks and that (b) Trump was somehow complicit in the effort.
The campaign was highly effective. The alleged Putin-Trump relationship was a major feature at the anti-Trump protests surrounding his inauguration and the major U.S. news media pounded on the Russia “scandal” daily.
Thus, Trump found himself increasingly boxed in by hostile forces. But he still tried to fulfill his promise to concentrate on defeating terrorists in Syria and Iraq. On March 30, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. administration “priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” but to concentrate on defeating Al Qaeda and ISIS instead.
But the more Trump contemplated his predicament in the following days, the more he realized how untenable it had come. Tuesday’s poison-gas incident in Idlib thus offered a way out regardless of who was actually responsible. The only way for Trump to make peace with the “deep state” in Washington was by waging war on Syria.
Finally, on Thursday, hours before Trump sent a volley of cruise missiles wafting towards Syria, Hillary Clinton taunted him by declaring that America “should take out his [Assad’s] airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people.” The effect was to all but force Trump to show that he was every bit as macho as the former First Lady.
Within hours, all the usual suspects were congratulating one of the most scorned U.S. presidents in history for taking the leap.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described Trump’s missile barrage as “a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons.”
Republican super-hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, previously as anti-administration as any Democrat, issued a joint statement declaring that Trump “deserves the support of the American people,” while liberal heart-throb Sen. Elizabeth Warren also agreed that “the Syrian regime must be held accountable for this horrific act.”
The Guardian, as fiercely anti-Trump as it is anti-Putin and anti-Assad, conceded that “Donald Trump has made his point” and that the next step would be up to Russia. All in all, Trump had never gotten such good press. It’s clear that Official Washington was pleased with Trump’s handiwork and was eager to encourage him to do more.
Did the Deep State blackmail President Trump? Did Jared Kushner orchestrate an internal coup for the Goldman Sachs banksters? Or did President Trump carry out a David Copperfield-like magical illusion that fooled his critics? Let’s start with the facts as we know them today:
- Human rights activists claim 70 people were killed Tuesday morning in a Syrian town when a poisonous gas was released during a bombing raid by the Syrian air force.
- Western governments and news media outlets immediately accused Syrian President Assad of gassing innocent people including children.
- Syria denied that it used chemical weapons. Syria also said their pilots bombed weapons depots of ISIS jihadists and that the gas may have been stored in one of the bombed buildings.
- From London to Washington, politicians accused Bashar Assad of being a war criminal, and that the West had to retaliate to teach him a lesson.
- President Trump ordered the Pentagon to bomb a Syrian air force base last night. US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield.
- John McCain, Marco Rubio and many other critics of President Trump hailed the military action as a sign of decisive leadership. President Trump was applauded for doing what Barack Obama was reluctant to do in Syria.
- US officials notified the Russians ahead of the military strike.
- AP News reported that the Syrian airfield was almost completely destroyed. AP said over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot, an air defense base were hit by the US missiles. Russian military officials said six Russian MIG 23 fighter jets, a radar station, a logistics warehouse, a training building, a canteen, and several repair hangars were destroyed. Russia also claims that only 23 of the 59 missiles hit the base.
- Syria said the US missiles killed seven, including four children, and wounded nine more people.
- President Putin said the strike was a significant blow to US – Russian relations. Russia suspended effective April 8 the joint US-Russian agreement meant to minimize the risks of American and Russian warplanes colliding over Syria.
- The based attacked by the US last night is home to Russian special forces and aircraft deployed to Syria to hunt down and kill ISIS jihadists.
- President Putin denounced America’s action as aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law.
- Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the US attack is illegal and had been “one step away from military clashes with Russia.”
- Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN condemned President Trump’s aggression against a sovereign nation, and that the strengthening of ISIS will be the result of the American action.
- The Russian Defense Ministry said it will strengthen and increase the effectiveness of the Russian-built air defense system in Syria. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement carried on state media, "In order to protect the most sensitive objects of the Syrian infrastructure, a system of measures to bolster and increase the effectiveness of the Syrian armed forces' air defense systems will be implemented.”
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the risk of a direct collision between the US and Russia in Syria had significantly increased. He also said the US bombed the Syrian air base as a benefit for ISIS and other terrorist organizations.
- Russia’s foreign ministry said it is obvious the US attack was planned before the alleged chemical gas attack on Tuesday.
- CNN reported that the Pentagon is looking for evidence that Russian troops were involved in the chemical gas attack on civilians. The US military suspects that a Russian warplane bombed a Syrian hospital after the gas attack to destroy evidence that Assad used chemical weapons.
- US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned Friday that the US "is prepared to do more" in response to Syria's use of chemical weapons. Ambassador Haley also denounced Moscow. She said President Assad gassed children because he knew Russia would defend him.
- Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov said Russia expects the US to provide evidence of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army. He said, “We are awaiting explanations from the US on the availability of what they call unquestionable evidence proving that chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun were used by the Syrian army.”
- Vice President Mike Pence thanked Israeli politicians for the Jewish country’s strong support of President Trump’s bombing of Syria.
- Russian warship Admiral Grigorevich, a cruise missile carrying frigate, turned around in the Black Sea and headed back to Syria.
- Hillary Clinton says she hopes President Trump rethinks his ban on Syrian refugees.
- Sen. John McCain said last night’s bombing of Syria should only be President Trump’s first action to take down President Assad.
I believe there are three possible explanations for why President Trump would decide to attack Syria and potentially start a war with Russia:
- President Trump was blackmailed by Deep State and decided to join them.
- President Trump rolled the dice by pretending to be “one of them” just long enough to get them off his back and change the daily news narratives, putting a big smile on John McCain’s face.
- President Trump secretly worked out a plan with Putin. Assad is to be replaced. Syria is to be carved up into regions. Trump-Putin share Nobel Peace Prize for settling Israel-Palestinian feud. Everybody goes back to making money.
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