~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “steps are under way” to form an international coalition to remove the president of Syria Bashar al-Assad after Tuesday’s chemical bombings in Syria.
Partial transcript as follows:
TILLERSON: Well obviously, the events that have occurred in Syria with the chemical weapons attack here in the past day I think have just horrified all of us and brought to the front pages and to our television screens as well the tragedy that is part of the Syrian conflict. There is no doubt in our mind and the information we have supports that Syria, the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad are responsible for this attack and I think further it’s very important that the Russian government consider carefully their continued support for the Assad regime.
REPORTER: Does Assad have to go?
TILLERSON: Assad’s role in the future is uncertain and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people.
REPORTER: And what steps is the United States prepared to take in order to remove him from power?
TILLERSON: The process by which Assad would leave I think requires an international community effort, both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country, to avoid further civil war and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving.
REPORTER: So will you and President Trump organize an international coalition to remove Assad?
TILLERSON: Those steps are under way.
REPORTER: Has President Trump been talking about that with other leaders.
TILLERSON: We are considering an appropriate response which violates all previous U.N. resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements between parties including the Syrian regime, the Russian government and all other members of the U.N. Security Council. It’s a serious matter. It requires a serious response. Thank you.
In a land of MACHO weakness and permissiveness are not rewarded.
Netanyahu Issues Official Statement on U.S Attacks in Syria
Israel’s prime minister has welcomed the U.S. attack on a Syrian air base saying he “fully supports” President Trump’s decision.
Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in a statement that “In both word and action” Trump “sent a strong and clear message” that “the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.”
Israel’s Channel 2 TV said Israel along with other allies was notified about the U.S. strike.
The attacks in neighboring Syria have worried Israel, which has warned against “game-changing” weapons reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon from the country, which supports the militant group. Last month Israel shot down an anti-aircraft missile fired at its planes as they struck a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy.
Israel also has treated several thousand Syrians wounded in fighting and provided humanitarian aid to some Syrian communities near the Israeli frontier in the Golan Heights.
The Syrian airfield targeted by United States airstrikes early Friday was “almost completely destroyed,” a human rights group in the country said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missile attack damaged over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base. About 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, a small installation with two runways.
At least seven Syrian soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the airstrike, the country's military said. The governor of Homs province said he did not believe the strikes caused a large number of “human casualties.” A Syrian official the attack caused deaths and a fire, but did not elaborate.
The U.S. missiles hit at 3:45 a.m. local time in Syria. Syrian state TV called the attack an "aggression" that lead to "losses."
"Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government's ability to deliver chemical weapons," Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said, according to Reuters.
Davis said the U.S. was still assessing the result of the 59 Tomahawks it fired, expressing hope that Assad's government learned a lesson. He said it was ultimately "the regime's choice" if more U.S. military action would be needed.
Syria's state TV showed footage of a fast sequence of orange flashes that lit the dark sky in the distance before the crack of dawn.
The shaky footage, apparently filmed with a mobile phone camera and aired Friday, came hours after about 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles hit the base in Homs province, causing extensive damage to the base.
In a different sequence after day break, the Syrian TV station al-Ikhbariyah showed another short clip of smoke billowing in the distance, hovering over a raging fire, the tip of which emerges and a forest of trees is in the foreground.
The U.S. launched nearly five dozen cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians, the first direct assault on the Damascus government since the beginning of that country's bloody civil war in 2011.
U.S. officials called the airstrike a “one-off” and said there are no plans for escalation.
The U.S. airstrike in Syria was an "aggression against a sovereign state" and in violation of international law, the Kremlin said in a statement. Shortly before the strikes, the head of information policy commission in the upper house of Russian parliament, Alexei Pushkov, said on Twitter said that if Trump launches a military action in Syria it would put him in "the same league with Bush and Obama."
President Trump on Thursday called for all “civilized nations” to join the U.S. “in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.”
A survivor of the chemical attack in a northern Syrian town says he hopes the U.S. missile attack could help put an end to Syrian government airstrikes, creating a safe area for civilians.
Alaa Alyousef, a 27-year old resident of Khan Sheikhoun, said Friday the U.S. missile attack "alleviates a small part of our sufferings," but he worries it will be like "anesthetics," to save face. AlYousef said the U.S. is capable of "paralyzing" Syrian warplanes.
"What good is a strike on Shayart air base alone while we have more than 15 other air bases," he said.
'It's Good to See America Lead':
Nikki Haley Received a Text Message From Inside UN After Russia Speech U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley boldly confronted Russia and Syria during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday, staring down the Russian ambassador in moment that went viral. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked the Russian ambassador in front of the world.
Later that night, Haley made an appearance at the Women in the World Summit in New York City and revealed the text message she subsequently received from another member of the U.N. Security Council.
"Thank you for what you said today. It's so good to see America lead,” the text reportedly read.
Haley insinuated that the message was meaningful to her because leading is exactly “what we’re trying to do.”
Fox News is now reporting a Russian warship is heading toward the two U.S. Navy destroyers parked in the Eastern Mediterranean that launched an airstrike on a Syrian airbase late Thursday night.
Fox News reports:
A Russian warship entered the eastern Mediterranean Friday and was heading toward the area where two U.S. Navy destroyers launched missile strikes into Syria, Fox News has learned.
The Russian frigate, Admiral Grigorovich RFS-494, crossed through the Bosphorus Strait “a few hours ago” from the Black Sea, according to a U.S. defense official.
he Russian warship is now in the eastern Mediterranean steaming in the direction of the U.S. warships.
The Admiral Grigorovich is armed with advanced Kalibr cruise missiles.
Russia has heavily criticized American “aggression” in Syria over the past 24 hours, following an airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump carried out Thursday evening. The strike came in response to Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s reported use of chemical weapons to kill at least 70 men, women and children in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on Monday. Hundreds of others were wounded in the attack.
Check out a clip of Fox’s exclusive report below: http://www.mrctv.org/blog/report-armed-russian-warship-heading-towa...
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that "In both word and action" Trump "sent a strong and clear message" that "the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated."
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin praised the U.S. for its airstrike aimed at an airbase called Shayrat. He called on the world to bring an end to the atrocities committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"In the face of the terrible use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, the clear and determined steps of the US Administration and Military under the leadership of President Trump, constitute a fitting and appropriate response to such unthinkable brutality,” Rivlin said.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed support for the U.S. missile attack on Friday saying that the country understood and supported the strategy. Abe added that the strikes were "a means to prevent further deterioration of the situation" referring to the suspected chemical attack.
A Saudi foreign ministry official praised "the courageous decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to respond to the (Syrian) regime's crimes against its people in light of the failure of the international community to stop the regime from brutalizing its people." Saudi Arabia is a leading supporter of the rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters that the Australian government supported the “swift and just response” of the U.S. airstrikes.
"This was a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response. It sends a strong message to the Assad regime, and ... has been struck at the very airfield from which the chemical attack was delivered,” Turnbull said.
Turkey welcomed the airstrike, calling it an “important and meaningful” development, but urged the world to take an even tougher stance on Assad.
“We see the (airstrikes) as positive, but we believe that this should be completed," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said. "The Assad regime's barbarism must immediately be stopped."
The attack was criticized by the Syrian government, as well as Russia and Iran, which back Damascus in the grinding, seven-year civil war that has ravaged the nation.
Assad's office denounced the U.S. strike as "reckless, irresponsible behavior." The Syrian military called the attack a "blatant aggression" that would undermine Syria's "fight against terrorism." The government refers to all groups fighting against it, including mainstream rebels, as terrorists, and has denied any involvement in the chemical attack.
The Kremlin said in a statement Friday that the airstrike was an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.” President Vladimir Putin believes that the U.S. authorized the strikes under a “far-fetched pretext,” the statement said.
Russian deputy envoy to the U.N., Vladimir Safronkov, said Russia had warned the U.S. to "think about what military actions have led to in Iraq, Libya and other countries," according to the Interfax news agency.
Iran also condemned the airstrikes. Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in a statement that the missile strike the “unilateral action is dangerous, destructive and violates principles of international law.”
Meantime, Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese group, which has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to bolster Assad, claimed the "foolish" strike would lead to a "dangerous escalation in the region."
I have mixed feelings about all this. Has it been verified beyond a shadow of a doubt that Assad was behind the chemical attacks? Is it possible it was a setup? From what I understand he has been gaining ground from ISIS, and it wouldn't make sense for him to have used them. It just seems there was a very short window from the first reports of a chemical attack, to us firing Tomahawk missiles. It would seem to me that it would be difficult to get all the facts in such a short period of time. I'm all for taking decisive action when needed, but a little prudence can also go a long way.
If it was just Assad things would be simple, but there are other players in the mix. How will Russia respond? Will they escalate things? Could this broaden to a larger conflict? The Russians are invested in Syria, because its home to their only naval base in the region. And what about ISIS? If Assad is toppled who will take his place? If we don't fill the vacuum, it only helps the terrorists take over... or Russia\Iran. All these unanswered questions make me apprehensive about this situation. Plus the middle-east has proved to be one big quagmire time and again.
They are saying that Russia tried to cover up the chemical attack after Assad did it. Just heard that on the news.
All very good questions and concerns. I have many of the same questions and concerns as well. Apparently they say they have the proof that Assad did it.
I heard Kathryn Herrige (sp?) of FOX News answer the question you posed. Apparently our intelligence agencies watch the Syrian civil war rather closely since we have troops in the area. She talked about Russian drones being in the area of the gas strike at the same time that Syrian aircraft passed thru the kill zone twice within 9 minutes. She said there is little doubt in the intelligence community that Asad ordered the strikes.
I didn't see her segment on this but I trust her sources.