Western media 'whooping for joy' following US missile strike on Syria
On Friday morning, two US destroyers stationed in the Mediterranean Sea launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria's Shayrat airbase, The Pentagon claims they destroyed 20 Syrian warplanes, while according to the governor of Homs province 14 people were killed in the incident.
Russia's Defense Ministry says a storage depot, a training facility, a canteen, six aircraft and a radar station were destroyed. Moscow described the strike as 'aggression against a sovereign state' and warned of grave consequences for the Middle East.
Syrian officials said the attack was not a surprise and will only play into the hands of terrorist groups.
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the US missile strike which saw a clash between the American and Russian envoys.
‘Psychopathic knee-jerk reaction’
Vanessa Beeley, independent researcher and journalist
RT: This dramatic escalation from the Trump administration took many people by surprise. What do you think prompted him to take this drastic step?
VB: What we are seeing is an element of cornering President Trump after he basically defied and confronted his own deep state and the Pentagon with Tillerson’s announcement that Assad’s leaving was to be taken off the table. And then almost instantaneously and on the eve of the Brussels conference we see this alleged chemical attack, and we see this absolute psychopathic knee-jerk reaction to this alleged attack.
We have to understand that within 24 hours of this attack, which, let’s face it, was once again produced – or rather, the report was produced – by, of course, the primarily British government-funded White Helmets, who have a history of producing these convenient attacks at pivotal moments in this six-year conflict…
Again here, as soon as a statement is made by the US administration that says “Assad should stay,” and that going forward a peaceful resolution will include President Assad, we see almost instantaneously this chemical weapons attack, which of course precipitates us towards a frightening escalation in the conflict.
Ted Seay, former US diplomat
RT: Many European leaders support the latest move by Donald Trump, few spoke out against it. Why do they support military action, which didn't get UN approval?
TS: There is pressure on a lot of government to speak out in favor of something like this. There are phone calls that are made behind the scenes we are not even aware of suggesting that a public statement would be helpful after something like this takes place.
RT: The Russian’s point here is we don’t know who did it. A proper investigation into the attacks has never taken place so how can anybody assign blame at such an early stage?
TS: We need to maintain and strengthen the norm against uses of various kinds of weapons of mass destruction. But we need evidence first before we have any kind of retaliation take place. And I am afraid that is exactly what hasn’t happen here. I think there was strong political pressure on President Trump to do something as there often is after an event like that, where there were people who were clearly affected by what looks like a nerve agent. I don’t think the Russian government is denying that nerve agent was released at this point, they are just saying that it came from an entirely different source than the US government is saying.
But that is a lot easier than taking the time necessary to calmly unfold what exactly happened and to prove beyond reasonable doubt to the UN international standard that there is a perpetrator who is known and then, if there is retaliation to take place, that is the kind of thing that the UN is set up to decide. What do we do, when and how?
‘Disregard for international law’
Willy Wimmer, former VP of the OSCE Assembly
RT: A White House spokesperson said the US military action in Syria was a “clear humanitarian response.” What kind of humanitarian response results in the deaths of 14 people, including 9 civilians?
WW: The response was in contradiction to international law and the charter of the UN. This is the problem of everything the US is doing in Syria. And it is not only by this action. They did it already 6 years ago when the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar organized the civil war in Syria. So there is already a long list of problems being created by the United States, and what happened in the last 24 hours was another example of taking unilateral steps with disregard for the UN Charter and international law.
RT: Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev said that the attack was conducted “on the verge of a military clash” with Russia and showed that Trump has already bowed down to the establishment he once used to harshly criticize. What is your take? How dangerous is this?
WW: The whole situation in Syria is dangerous because everything that happened there in the last 6 years was in one way or the other directed against the Russian Federation. In these areas the so-called terrorists are mainly from Caucasus origin and what they want to do is to go back to have war and conflict in the Caucasus region as we had it during the First and Second Chechen war. So, everything [here] is a rivalry between the Russian Federation that wants to protect its own territory and the relationship with an ally and, on the other side, the situation being created by the US to get in control of almost the rest of the world.
Medvedev is quite correct when he talked about having a situation on the doorsteps of the war. And we should not forget that the chance for peace in Syria was created by the Russian Federation when they stepped in two years ago. What happened on Tuesday was perhaps the last effort by the United States to be there as a rival to Russia in the peace negotiations.
Mike Raddie, co-Editor of BSNews
RT: What was the response of the Western and the UK media?
Mike Raddie: They've been practically whooping with joy, as we can expect, I think. Not that long ago, there were pundits in the media calling for Trump’s impeachment. And all of the cruise missile humanitarians in the West, and certainly here in the UK, are once again giving him support. But all across the corporate media there has been nothing but overwhelming support for Trump’s actions, which are just ludicrously reckless...
It has really ratcheted up tension in the region just when it wasn’t needed. And we know that ISIS takes full advantage every time there is a strike against Assad forces. So, it is aiding terrorism, it is completely reckless and it has taken Trump less than three months to become a full-fledged war criminal.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.