Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Anger after Russia protects Syria at UN

Anger after Russia protects Syria at UN

In Washington, at a news conference with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary-general, President Trump was asked by the BBC's Jon Sopel if he thought it was possible that Syrian forces could have launched the alleged attack without Russian Federation knowing about it.

The US blamed the Assad regime for the attack and accused Russian Federation of trying to cover it up. While Arterbury does not see high likelihood for a US-Russia deal on Syria in the near future due to "the delicacy of ongoing investigations" about Trump associates relations with Russia, "something can still be done".

Any hope in Russian Federation that the Trump administration would herald less confrontational relations has been dashed in the past week after the new USA leader fired missiles at Syria to punish Moscow's ally for its suspected use of poison gas.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government troops and allied forces have already entered Madaya, one of the opposition-held towns evacuated of rebels. So, I felt we had to do something about it. On Russian television today, after the meeting, President Putin repeated denials that Assad's government was to blame for the attack, adding that it may have been faked by Assad's enemies.

The vote came the day after Trump spoke by phone to President Xi Jinping of China, whom he hosted last week at a summit at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida.

Yet the president last week approved the first United States military action against the Assad regime.

- President Donald Trump switched his rhetoric about Russia Wednesday, in stark contrast to his campaign trail praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"There is a low level of trust between our two countries", Tillerson said. "The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship", he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blasted USA claims that it has "irrefutable evidence" of election interference. He noted a shared vision of an "uncompromising" war on terrorism. Moscow and Washington have agreed to create a working group dedicated toward solving low-level problems.

For any political solution, however, in Syria, the Trump administration could see itself turning to Russian Federation.

He also rejected American claims of certain evidence that Assad ordered the chemical attack.

But Russia, an ally of Syria, blocked a draft UN Security Council resolution which would require President Assad to provide information about air operations and grant inspectors immediate access to air bases.

But the United States must convey to Russian Federation (probably multiple times across various diplomatic meetings) that instead of a respite, it faces more sanctions as a result of its actions (or inactions) in Syria. Moscow knows the "obsession" with overthrowing a dictator, Lavrov said.

The shifting terms of the USA relationship with Russian Federation have come under particular scrutiny during the first few months of Trump administration.

The US now assesses that Syria has re-established a unit of personnel associated with chemical weapons that existed before the 2013 agreement in which the Syrian government pledged to give up its weapons inventory.

The President's reversal on Russian Federation and China is part of a series of policy flip-flops that have seen Trump abandon campaign positions on NATO, Israel, the Iran nuclear agreement and U.S. alliances in Asia. "This is what we're facing", said Peter Bartu, a lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley.

A House Republican aide said it was hard to see a war authorization, formally known as an Authorization for Use of Military Force, moving forward at this point, given that the White House has said it's not planning to go into Syria. Western leaders backed the US action, saying Assad had brought it on himself.

But he renewed his demand that NATO's members boost military spending to at least two percent of the gross domestic product. While such claims may have been useful to boost sales of Russian arms showcased in Syria, they turned out to mean little: Russia failed to intercept the United States missiles.

Secretary of Defence General James Mattis spoke earlier in the day at a Pentagon news conference about the Syrian chemical weapons attack last week, which killed 86, and the subsequent United States response.

"I just don't get a good feeling that whatever we're doing has been thoroughly thought out and there's some kind of a plan", said New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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