News Analysis |
US President Donald Trump targeted his arch-nemesis Russia in strong-worded remarks, threatening that new and ‘smart’ missiles are on their way, in a reference to latter’s alleged meddling in Bashar al Assad-led Syria. The White House occupant fired a series of tweets on Wednesday, in response to Moscow’s claims that it would shoot down any missiles, declaring that Russia should brace itself for the missiles.
The tycoon-turned president also fired a broadside at Bashar al Assad for the alleged chemical attack – which affected 500 people as per World Health Organization reports – terming him an ‘Animal’ and warning Kremlin, not to take sides with the ruler. Moreover, POTUS proclaimed that the ties between Washington and Moscow were worst ‘than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War’.
The 71-years-old US leader also highlighted the areas where Russia needed its help including economy, bragging that it was very easy for US to provide succor. The US president, in another taunting tweet, asserted that much of the bad blood with Russia was owing to ‘Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation headed up by the all Democrat loyalists or people that worked for Obama’.
The probability of an airstrike has also intensified defense mechanism in Syria as the regime is reported to be moving its aircraft to the Russian base at Latakia, hoping that they would be safe from destruction there.
Donald Trump categorically blamed special counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating whether the Trump campaign and Russia colluded to pave way for Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump’s outrage comes on the heels of a warning by Russia on Tuesday that any U.S. missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites would be targeted.
On the other hand, Trump’s fresh Twitter assault prompted concerns in Moscow, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry stating in a Facebook post that “smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not towards the lawful government”. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said any U.S. missile strike could be a bid to destroy evidence of the suspected gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma, for which Damascus and Moscow have denied any responsibility.
Read more: Syria: A vicious cycle of interventions
The chemical attack, which has again become a bone of contention between the Cold War rivals, took place on Saturday, with Syrian opposition activists, rescue workers and medics claiming the death toll to be 40 and alleging that bombs filled with toxic chemicals were dropped by Syrian Government forces.
On the other hand, the government says the attack was fabricated; however, it led to a surrender deal the following day by local rebels as Jaish al-Islam, the dominant opposition group in Douma, expressed consent to vacate the town, which is the last besieged town under opposition control in eastern Ghouta. Douma’s chemical attack is reminiscent of 2013 nerve agent attack that took the casualties to 1000, enhancing the role of Washington in Syria.
The US president, in another taunting tweet, asserted that much of the bad blood with Russia was owing to ‘Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation headed up by the all Democrat loyalists or people that worked for Obama’.
With Trump occupying Oval office, the verbal spat between Russia and US escalated, the climax of which was an April 2017 missile strike in Syria in response to chemical weapons at the site, from which Trump thought the chemical attack was launched. Earlier, on Tuesday, the UN Security Council discussed the situation of Syria but Russia and western allies failed to compromise on a concerted international response to the use of chemical weapons.
Each side voted against other’s proposals for the formulation of a body to investigate the repeated use of poisonous gas in Syria. The US delegation said it had done ‘everything possible’ to accommodate Russian views but Russia said the issue was being used by the US and its allies as a pretext to attack Syria.
On the same day, Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Premier Theresa May held phone consultations with Macron informing newsmen that ‘a decision would be made in the coming days following exchanges of technical and strategic information with our partners, in particular, Britain and America’. He, however, hinted at the possibility of airstrikes saying if they came, they would target Syrian government chemical facilities.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said any U.S. missile strike could be a bid to destroy evidence of the suspected gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma, for which Damascus and Moscow have denied any responsibility.
The Syria crisis is luring in more international players as Theresa May convened a meeting of her national security council. Downing Street statement suggested some UK caution by stating that the chemical weapons attack had not yet been confirmed.
What bolsters the perception that May would be retreating on any military action is the fact that British Prime Ministers cannot send UK forces into combat action without a support of MPs – which May’s predecessor, David Cameron failed to win over taking military action against Assad in 2013. The probability of an airstrike has also intensified defense mechanism in Syria as the regime is reported to be moving its aircraft to the Russian base at Latakia, hoping that they would be safe from destruction there.
Looking at the Syria canvas, it becomes visible that Trump might be intent on grounding as much of the Syrian air force, but he might not wish to destroy Russian planes, owing to fears of another full-scale war.