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Trump defends 'mission accomplished' statement after strike on Syria

16 April 2018, 11:20 | Taylor George

BLOOMBERG•GETTYSyria news US Congressman claims Trump will compromise to find a solution to the Syrian conflict

BLOOMBERG•GETTYSyria news US Congressman claims Trump will compromise to find a solution to the Syrian conflict

US President Donald Trump today defended his use of the historically charged phrase "Mission Accomplished" to describe the recent US-led strike in Syria.

U.S., French and British missile attacks struck at the heart of Syria's chemical weapons program on Saturday in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack a week ago, and the three countries insisted they were not aimed at toppling President Bashar al-Assad or intervening in a seven-year civil war. Could not have had a better result, ' Trump wrote. The phrase immediately evoked former president George W. Bush's premature Iraq victory speech on board the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003.

President Bush addressed sailors on board a Navy ship in May 2003 alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organised an insurgency that tied down United States forces for years.

The nighttime Syria assault was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Syria's key ally, Russia, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.

"Last year, the focus was on the delivery", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Saturday.

Russian Federation has military forces, including air defenses, in several areas of Syria to support Assad in his long war against anti-government rebels.

No military response from any actors in Syria - including Iran and Russian Federation - has been seen, the Pentagon said.

Haley appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and CBS' "Face the Nation". The stated goal of America's military presence in Syria remains the defeat of the Islamic State. In the bigger picture other interests and objectives are at play, and the U.S.is using the plight of the Syrian people to legitimise military intervention, making way for a possible shift in the U.S.'s Syria policy if the situation demands it.

McKenzie admitted the strike did not wipe out all of the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities. In a US military action a year ago in response to a sarin gas attack, the Pentagon said missiles took out almost 20 per cent of the Syrian air force.

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The U.S. -led operation won broad Western support. The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack "necessary and appropriate".

Britain and France joined the United States in launching airstrikes against Syrian government facilities, meant to show president Bashar al Assad that he will not be able to chemical weapons without consequences. The words, which likely left many people in the USA government, congress, intelligence services and military with their heads in their hands, is ambiguous in every aspect: what was the "mission", and what does it mean for it to be "accomplished"? In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned.

During the presidency of Mr. Trump, the mission has been to defeat ISIS.

What is certain is that Assad has been punished; a message has been sent without drawing the US closer into the conflict, but may set an important precedent.

Assad and Russian Federation deny using chemical weapons.

When pressed, he acknowledged that some unspecified portion of Assad's chemical arms infrastructure was not targeted.

"I'm not going to say that they're going to be unable to continue to conduct a chemical attack in the future, but I suspect that they'll think long and hard about it based on the activities of last night", the lieutenant general said. "It does not exist anymore".

While there appears to be no immediate alternative to the so-called Geneva Process that would lead to a political transition in Syria, several senior US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, insisted it has failed and it was time to rethink.



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