From out­rage to a united back­ing for pun­ish­ment

The Observer - - News - Han­nah El­lis-Petersen & Peter Beau­mont


Iran’s supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei called the airstrikes a “mil­i­tary crime”. “The Amer­i­can pres­i­dent, the French pres­i­dent and the Bri­tish prime min­is­ter are crim­i­nals, they will gain noth­ing from it.”


Ger­man chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said the strikes were a “nec­es­sary and ap­pro­pri­ate” re­sponse. The US, UK and France had taken “re­spon­si­bil­ity ... to main­tain the ef­fec­tive­ness of the in­ter­na­tional re­jec­tion of chem­i­cal weapons use and to warn the Syr­ian regime against fur­ther vi­o­la­tions”.


Nato sec­re­tary gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg said the strikes should be sup­ported be­cause they would “re­duce the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to fur­ther at­tack its peo­ple with chem­i­cal weapons”. “The use of chem­i­cal weapons is un­ac­cept­able, and those re­spon­si­ble must be held ac­count­able.”

Euro­pean Union

Euro­pean com­mis­sion pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker said the world “has the re­spon­si­bil­ity to iden­tify and hold ac­count­able those re­spon­si­ble” for last week’s “heinous chem­i­cal weapons at­tack” in Douma.


China’s for­eign min­istry said any mil­i­tary ac­tion that by­passes the UN se­cu­rity coun­cil was a vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional law. “China be­lieves that a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion is the only re­al­is­tic way out for the Syr­ian is­sue.” .

United Na­tions

UN sec­re­tary gen­eral An­tónio Guter­res said that while use of chem­i­cal weapons was “ab­hor­rent”, he urged cau­tion in re­tal­i­at­ing. “I urge all mem­ber states to show re­straint and to avoid any acts that could es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion and worsen the suf­fer­ing of the Syr­ian peo­ple.”


Tur­key’s for­eign min­istry said it wel­comed the strikes as an “ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse”. Ankara said chem­i­cal weapons at­tacks that in­dis­crim­i­nately tar­get civil­ians “con­sti­tute crimes against hu­man­ity” and should not go un­pun­ished.


Canada’s prime min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, who ruled out his coun­try’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in mil­i­tary ac­tion in Syria, gave un­equiv­o­cal sup­port for the tar­geted bomb­ings, adding that those re­spon­si­ble for the chem­i­cal at­tack in Douma “must be brought to jus­tice”.


Is­rael, which was re­cently ac­cused by Iran of car­ry­ing out its own airstrikes on mil­i­tary bases in Syria, was among the first to praise the strikes. “Last year, Pres­i­dent Trump made clear that the use of chem­i­cal weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, un­der Amer­i­can lead­er­ship, the US, France and the UK en­forced that line.”


The Iraqi for­eign min­istry said the airstrikes were “a very dan­ger­ous de­vel­op­ment”. “Such ac­tion could have dan­ger­ous con­se­quences, threat­en­ing the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of the re­gion and giv­ing ter­ror­ism an­other op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand.”

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