Friday, April 7, 2017

Here We Go Again ... Missile Strike on Syrian Airbase (Updated)

Source: "Attacking Syria again? You'll need to get through me: Russian battleship is positioned between US warships and runway hit by Trump's air strike"--Daily Mail.

Some other news articles:

       The United States fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria overnight in response to what it believes was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people.
           At least six people were killed, Syria claimed, but the Pentagon said civilians were not targeted and the strike was aimed at a military airfield in Homs.
             All but one of the missiles hit their intended target, one U.S. military official told NBC News. The other missile failed.
               The strike completed a policy reversal for President Donald Trump — who once warned America to stay out of the conflict — and drew anger from Damascus and its main ally, Russia.
        It adds:
                 A White House official said more than two dozen members of Congress were briefed by administration officials on the missile strike. Vice President Mike Pence returned to the White House after having gone home for dinner Thursday evening and monitored the events from the Situation Room, officials said.
                   Trump was in Florida for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinpeng. Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster traveled to Florida with him.
                     "We feel that the strike itself was proportional, because it was targeted at the facility that delivered this most recent chemical weapons attack," Tillerson told reporters.
                       "There was a thorough examination of a wide range of options, and I think the president made the correct choice and made the correct decision," Tillerson said.
                       Donald Trump unleashed his Tomahawk barrage on one of al-Assad's key bases from the sea to avoid upsetting allies and using the huge US military arsenal built up off the coast of Syria.
                         The US President last night fired 59 missiles at al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs overnight in retaliation for the Syrian leader's horrific chemical weapons attack on Idlib.
                            They were launched from his state of the art destroyers USS Ross and USS Porter which can fire dozens of Tomahawks with pinpoint accuracy from up to 1,500 miles away from their targets.
                             The destroyers' locations are always kept secret but they are believed to have been off the coast of Turkey or Cyprus, around 150 to 200 miles away from al-Shayrat - and fired 30 minutes after they warned the Russians to leave the base and surrounding area.
                               The laser-guided Tomahawk is the US military's most advanced missile carrying a 1,000lb bomb powerful enough to destroy most targets with enough accuracy to avoid hitting any Russians and sparking war between the two superpowers.
                                 In response Moscow has already pledged to strengthen Assad's air defences, will stop sharing intelligence with Washington and has diverted its main Black Sea fleet warship The Admiral Grigorovich to the Syrian port of Tartus. It is currently in the Bosphorus and will enter the Mediterranean later today.
                                   Furious Vladimir Putin has called the US airstrikes on Syria an 'illegal act of aggression' and suspended a deal to avoid mid-air clashes with American fighter jets over the war-torn country.
                                     The Russian President warned of grave damage to relations between Washington and Moscow after 60 Tomahawk missiles were fired at al-Shayrat airbase near Homs.
                                       Syrian Army officials described the attack as an act of 'blatant aggression', saying it had made the US 'a partner' of ISIS, the ex-Nusra Front and other 'terrorist organisations'. 
                                         The US insists the base was used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces to launch a deadly chemical attack that killed 80 on Tuesday.
                                           America used a special military-to-military hotline to warn Russia it was launching an airstrike on a Syrian air base about 30 minutes in advance - but the Trump administration did not ask Moscow for permission. It is likely Russia alerted the Syrians about the incoming strikes but this has not been confirmed.
                                           Reactions vary. The neo-cons, of course, are delighted, as is Israel. Even liberals seem to be mostly on-board, although with reservations of how this will impact future efforts to eradicate ISIS. Only the Alt-Right and populists are openly upset--disappointed that Trump is further dragging us into yet another Middle-East war. (See also these comments from Vox Day).

                                           The Daily Wire briefly discusses some of the more important questions regarding the attack and the consequences, including asking what Russia might do, whether it was worthwhile to engage in the airstrike, and questioning whether the strike should have been carried out without Congressional approval. But we live (and have been for some decades) in the age of Caesarism; Congress (much like the Roman Senate of  Augustus's time) has become mostly irrelevant, especially in matters of the military and foreign affairs.

                                    Update: Links to reactions from populist and Alt-Right.

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