Trump threatens Syria before allies are on board

By | April 11, 2018

The Daily Beast reports:

Donald Trump’s tweeted bluster that Russia should “get ready” for American missiles to hit Syria has outpaced a crucial U.S. ally’s current decisionmaking on military action against Damascus, The Daily Beast has learned.

Ever since Bashar Assad’s latest alleged chemical attack in Syria on Saturday, the U.S., France and Britain have scrambled to cobble together a concerted response. Russia, Assad’s patron, is taking a harsher stance against their anticipated strikes— substantially raising the prospect of a much larger conflagration between nuclear powers—which apparently prompted Trump to tap out a bellicose tweet telegraphing an imminent attack.

But that response in now ahead of where Trump’s allies are. A British diplomat familiar with the ongoing discussions on Syria told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that London had yet to decide on military action. That decision would come in response to a request from the U.K.’s allies. As of midday Wednesday, no such request had been made. The United States has not officially asked the United Kingdom for assistance in a Syria attack.

Trump’s Wednesday morning outburst on Twitter, a bit before 7:00 AM, came after reports that a senior Russian diplomat told a Hezbollah-run Lebanese TV station that Russia would blunt any U.S. strike on Syria. “The missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” said Alexander Zasypkin, Moscow’s ambassador to Lebanon, implying that Russia would attack U.S. Navy ships in the eastern Mediterranean, the likely source of cruise missile launches. [Continue reading…]

CNBC notes:

President Donald Trump’s tweet Wednesday morning threatening a potential U.S. strike against Syria broke with national security procedures — as well as his own admonishments about tipping off enemies about attack plans. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports:

Syria’s other main backer, Iran – which has signficant ground forces in the country – could also retaliate if its troops are hit on a fraught battlefield crisscrossed by tense rivalries between outside powers.

“It is hard to think of a more risky situation,” said Joseph Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund, an arms control advocacy group. “You have the US attacking from the air against ground forces intermingled with Iranians and Russians. The chances of the US killing Russians or Iranians are quite high. Their reaction is unknown but it is certainly not going to be understanding.” [Continue reading…]

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