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07 April 2017 - US launches strike on Syrian military airfield

U.S. strikes Syrian military airfield in first direct assault on Bashar al-Assad’s government
Dan Lamothe, Missy Ryan and Thomas Gibbons-Neff (The Washington Post, 06/04/2017)

The U.S. military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield late on Thursday, in the first direct American assault on the government of President Bashar al-Assad since that country’s civil war began six years ago.

The operation, which the Trump administration authorized in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians this week, dramatically expands U.S. military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, both backing Assad in his attempt to crush his opposition.

President Trump said the strike was in the “vital national security interest” of the United States and called on “all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria. And also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”

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Attack on Syria
 
Trump's attack on Syria -- a decisive action, a good speech, but now what?
Peter bergen (CNN, 07/04/2017)
 
President Donald Trump gave one of the best speeches he has ever delivered when he announced late Thursday that he had ordered US cruise missile attacks in Syria -- and that they were directed at the base that sent off the airstrikes on Tuesday that killed dozens with nerve gas, including many women and children.

From his estate in Palm Beach, Trump, visibly moved, described the "beautiful babies" whose lives has been choked out by the gas attacks. In acting against the Syrians over the use of chemical weapons, Trump chose a course that his predecessor, Barack Obama, avoided, even after drawing a "red line" on the issue.

The move was the highest profile use of American military force since Trump took office and it raises several urgent questions for the administration.

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Weapons of Mass Destruction
 
After the Missiles, We Need Smart Diplomacy
Antony J. Blinken (The New York Times, 07/04/2017)

President Donald J. Trump was right to strike at the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using a weapon of mass destruction, the nerve agent sarin, against its own people. Mr. Trump may not want to be “president of the world” but when a tyrant blatantly violates a basic norm of international conduct — in this case, the ban on using chemical or biological weapons in armed conflict, put in place after World War I — the world looks to America to act. Mr. Trump did, and for that he should be commended.

The real test for Mr. Trump is what comes next. He has shown a total disinterest in working to end Syria’s civil war. Now, the administration has leverage it should test with the Assad regime and Russia to restrain Syria’s air force, stop any use of chemical or biological weapons, implement an effective cease-fire in Syria’s civil war and even move toward a negotiated transition of power — goals that eluded the Obama administration.

At the same time, it must prevent or mitigate the possible unintended consequences of using force, including complicating the military campaign against the Islamic State. All this will require something in which the administration has shown little interest: smart diplomacy.

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Diplomacy

The U.S. Air Strike in Syria: First Thougt
(The New Yorker, 07/04/2017)

During his short time in office, President Trump has authorized the stepped-up U.S. bombing of ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq, a commando raid in Yemen, and, on Thursday, a Tomahawk-missile attack on a Syrian government airfield. Trump “campaigned to get US out of foreign wars,” the Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, a U.S. Air Force veteran and strident critic of the President, wrote on Twitter immediately after news of the missile strike broke. “His actions in Syria, Iraq & Yemen show he is acting like a warmonger.”

Some people will disagree with Lieu’s interpretation. On Thursday night, prominent Republicans were queuing up to express support for the attack in Syria. “Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people,” Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said in a joint statement.

It wasn’t just Republican politicians who lined up behind the White House. “The U.S. was right to strike the Syrian Air Force,” Nicholas Burns, a veteran U.S. diplomat who worked for Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said on Twitter. Referring to Bashar al-Assad, the dictatorial President of Syria, Burns went on, “Assad needs to know he cannot use chemical weapons without a response from the U.S.”

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Last update April 7, 2017
Créé le April 7, 2017
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues