Russian Inaction Helped Fuel Syria Chemical Attacks, Tillerson Says
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 10, 2017,
Apr 10, 2017, 11:13
Johnson said Saturday the situation in Syria has changed "fundamentally" following a chemical weapons attack on civilians and a US missile strike on a Syrian airfield.
Tillerson said he will continue to press Russian Federation on its meddling in last year's USA presidential election through hacking and leaking Democrats' emails, which US intelligence agencies have concluded was ultimately aimed at helping Trump win the White House.
After last Tuesday's chemical attack in Syria, Trump said his attitude toward Assad "has changed very much" and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said "steps are underway" to organize a coalition to remove him from power. Trump would have been better served to have put Assad on notice that action would be taken once the Hague-based, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team concludes its investigation into this incident.
Though Trump in an emotional statement on Wednesday said that the gas attack has completely changed his attitude toward Syria and Assad, it is highly unlikely that the reasons for Trump's actions were exclusively emotional.
"It's important that we keep our priority straight and we believe that the first priority is the defeat of ISIS".
Though Russia has denied all the reports of the chemical attack as a "factual misinformation" and claimed that the gas might have leaked from the rebels' own chemical weapons depot, its military has, at the same time, announced that it would bolster and increase the effectiveness of Assad's air defenses.
He pointed out the USA attack "on a country whose government fights terrorism only plays into the hands of extremists, creates additional threats to regional and global security".
"But as he consulted with us by notice on this attack, it's incumbent upon him to consult with Congress". Eighteen people were reportedly killed in one strike alone in Idlib on Saturday. Russian Federation maintains a close political and military alliance with President Bashar Assad's government and has been accused of supporting its attacks against Syrians opposed to Assad's rule - something Moscow adamantly denies.
In January, Mr Johnson said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be allowed to run for election to remain in power and warned that Britain may have to "think afresh" about how to handle the crisis after failing to live up to its long-held position that the dictator must go.
"But Assad's principal backer is Russian Federation".
"What the Americans did is a strategic mistake and offense". But I think there's a shared view and no disagreement as to how risky the situation has become. Spokesman Sean Spicer said the missile attack sent a clear message to Assad, but he avoided explicitly calling for the Syrian to leave office.
It comes as UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said Russian Federation was to blame for "every civilian death" in the chemical weapons attack last week in Syria.
But speaking on ABC News's This Week, Tillerson emphasised that the Syrian people would eventually decide Assad's fate. Russian Federation and Iran stepped in militarily to assist and together they were able to successfully reverse Assad's battlefield fortunes. "We will react firmly to any aggression against Syria and to any infringement of red lines, whoever carries them out", said a statement on Sunday from the Syria-based joint operations room for government backers Russia, Iran and allied forces including Lebanon's Hezbollah.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that a few days later we see this", Rubio added during the interview.
That sentiment was echoed by Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. "I think we ought to ask them that question".
"It's very hard to understand how a political solution could result from the continuation of the Assad regime", McMaster said.
Since the attack, Trump has struck a tough tone, saying "something should happen" with Assad, but not yet saying what that should be.
Haley noted that the United States' first priority is still to defeat ISIS, but that there can be "multiple priorities". He has also said there was no role for Assad in Syria's future.
McCain, who hasn't been the biggest supporter of the billionaire, said he was pleased with Trump's decision to listen to his administration's advice on the foreign situation. Together we can bring an end to the needless suffering of the Syrian people.
"The American strikes did nothing for us".