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9 Apr, 2018 14:25

Enter Bolton: Trump’s new security adviser comes with chemical casus belli on hand

Enter Bolton: Trump’s new security adviser comes with chemical casus belli on hand

On Monday evening, President Donald Trump will meet senior Pentagon officials with his new mega-hawk National Security Advisor John Bolton taking part. Bolton enters the office with a brand new pretext to bomb Syria.

Bolton, a key player in building the George W Bush administration’s fraudulent case for attacking Iraq, starts his tenure in the Trump administration this week. One of the first matters requiring his advice will be America’s reaction to a reported chemical-weapons attack in Syria. Reports of the alleged attack came from pro-jihadist sources and could not be confirmed by Red Crescent medics on the ground. But Trump has already threatened Syrian President Bashar Assad with consequences for the strike, and also invented an insulting nickname for him.

So what advice can Bolton – a man with a long record of advocating more military action against Syria, Iran, North Korea and whoever challenges America – give to his determined boss? We can only wonder, although some say digging fallout shelters may be a good idea now.

Trump already ordered an attack against a Syrian airbase over an alleged chemical weapons attack last year. The news of Tomahawk missiles striking Syria arrived just in time for dessert at a dinner he held for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Even Trump’s fiercest critics in the media acknowledged that ordering the strike was “presidential”.

The ego-inflating effect of last year’s action was somewhat moderated by the fact that the base was reportedly empty when attacked, with only a handful of defunct aircraft left behind as a sacrifice to the “fire and fury”. Russian advisers stationed there were evacuated beforehand, thanks to a tip from the Americans. Moscow fumed in public and criticized the justification for the attack as unsubstantiated, but the incident was apparently considered resolved.

The new reported chemical weapons attack in Douma coincidentally arrived a year after the bombing of the Shayrat base. A year during which Trump lost a few cabinet members with relatively moderate views and scored a bunch of new accusations from the media about how he had colluded with Russia to become president. Russia’s new Cold War with the West has become somewhat lukewarm since then too.

Moscow had warned earlier that it would respond militarily if an American attack threatened Russian troops on Syrian soil, which can easily be seen as a challenge to Trump. Bolton’s first day in the job was called a “baptism of fire” by severalcommentators. One can only pray that that it does not become literal this week.

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