gpolit.com
gpolit.com April 21, 2018


Syria attack 'very soon or not so soon at all!'

16 April 2018, 01:34 | Rufus Hill

Image Christopher Furlong PA Wire PA Images

UK Cabinet to discuss military action in Syria

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he believes there was a chemical attack in Syria and that the United States is looking for the evidence.

Addressing the Security Council, Haley laid out Washington's case for resorting to force, challenging Russia's claim that military action would be in violation of worldwide law.

Officials also said that the USA has compiled intelligence from the US and other countries, including images, that indicate the Syrian government was behind the weekend attack.

The United States is consulting with Britain and France about a joint military response to an alleged toxic gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma that medics and rescuers said left at least 40 people dead on Saturday.

The prospect of a confrontation between Russian Federation, the Syrian government's ally, and the West have been running high since Trump said on Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to the attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had said it meant to send investigators to Douma to look for evidence of a chemical attack.

At the House hearing, Democrats grilled Mattis on the wisdom and legality of Trump ordering an attack on Syria without explicit authorization from Congress. Mattis argued it would be justified as an act of self-defense, with 2,000 US ground troops in Syria; he insisted he could not talk about military plans because an attack "is not yet in the offing". The Syrian government has denied the allegations.

Speaking to reporters at the White House later in the day, Trump said a decision had not yet been made on a course of action.

The French president does not need parliamentary permission to launch a military operation. "Not to react is to prove to the rest of the world that what we say does not matter".

He said even if the investigative team verifies the use of chemical weapons, "we will not know who did it".

Asked about the risks of US military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties. May isn't legally required to do that, though it has become conventional since the 2003 invasion of Iraq for lawmakers to be given the chance to vote before British forces are deployed.

Formally, the prime minister has the right to go to war without approval from parliament, but a convention has been established in previous conflicts where MPs have a vote either before or shortly after military action begins.

Britain has been launching air strikes in Syria from its military base in Cyprus, but only against targets linked to the Islamic State militant group. This is in contrast to an incident one year ago in which the USA government had video and other evidence of certain aspects of an actual attack by Syrian aircraft, which involved the use of sarin gas.

It has been observed in subsequent military deployments in Libya and Iraq and many British lawmakers and voters are deeply sceptical of deepening involvement in the Syrian civil war. Multiple IS terror attacks have targeted France, including one last month.



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