Tri-nation attack on Syria a 'crime' or 'precise and effective' depending on viewpoint

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Global reaction to the April 14 missile strikes on Syria ranged from strong support to labelling the action a “crime”.

Russia called an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to condemn the attacks as “aggression”, but this was defeated, with only three members of the 15-seat council voting for it. President Vladimir Putin said: “Russia condemns the attack on Syria, where Russian servicemen are helping the legitimate government in the fight against terrorism, in the most serious terms.” (Financial Times)

Moscow previously claimed that many of the 100 missiles failed to hit their targets or were intercepted by Russian air defences. But the U.S. said it had evaded air defences “to strike every target at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons program”.

Pentagon spokesman Lieut-Gen Kenneth Mackenzie said the strikes were “precise and effective” (NPR). In the American media, of 16 columns written just before the bombing, 10 openly supported the attack while two from the Washington Post opposed the strikes.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump said the action was “perfectly executed”. He echoed his predecessor George W. Bush, then speaking of the Iraq war, by describing events as “Mission Accomplished“.

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The European Union supported the action, in which two of its members took part. EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherina, said the union “is supportive of all efforts aimed at the prevention of the use of chemical weapons.” The EU has condemned “the repeated use of chemical weapons” by the Syrian regime.

But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the military action was a crime. “ I clearly declare that the president of the United States, the president of France and the British prime minister are criminals,” Khamenei said, quoted on his Twitter account.

Long-time ally Australia did not take part in the action but its prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, voiced support for any action against the use of chemical weapons. Turnbull said the use of Storm Shadow cruise missiles (CNN) would send a strong message to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian leader.

“Good souls will not be humiliated,” Assad tweeted after the strikes.

See earlier WikiTribune coverage of Syria

 

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