US to hit Rus­sia with new sanc­tions over Syria

Starkville Daily News - - FORUM - By HOPE YEN and ROBERT BURNS As­so­ci­ated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Sun­day de­fended his use of the phrase “Mis­sion Ac­com­plished” to de­scribe a U.S.-led missile attack on Syria’s chem­i­cal weapons pro­gram, even as his aides stressed con­tin­u­ing U.S. troop in­volve­ment and plans for new eco­nomic sanc­tions against Rus­sia for en­abling the gov­ern­ment of Bashar As­sad.

Step­ping up the pres­sure on Syria’s pres­i­dent, U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley in­di­cated the sanc­tions to be an­nounced Mon­day would be aimed at send­ing a mes­sage to Rus­sia, which she said has blocked six at­tempts by the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to make it eas­ier to in­ves­ti­gate the use of chem­i­cal weapons.

“Ev­ery­one is go­ing to feel it at this point,” Ha­ley said, warn­ing of con­se­quences for As­sad’s for­eign al­lies.

“The in­ter­na­tional community will not al­low chem­i­cal weapons to come back into our ev­ery­day life,” she said. “The fact he was mak­ing this more nor­mal and that Rus­sia was cov­er­ing this up, all that has got to stop.”

In an early-morn­ing tweet, Trump said the strike was “per­fectly car­ried out” and that “the only way the Fake News Me­dia could de­mean was by my use of the term “Mis­sion Ac­com­plished.” He added that he knew the me­dia would “seize” on the phrase, but said it should be used of­ten. “It is such a great Mil­i­tary term, it should be brought back,” he wrote.

Trump tweeted “Mis­sion Ac­com­plished” on Satur­day af­ter U.S., French and Bri­tish war­planes and ships launched more than 100 mis­siles nearly un­op­posed by Syr­ian air de­fenses. While he de­clared suc­cess, the Pen­tagon said the pum­mel­ing of three chem­i­cal-re­lated fa­cil­i­ties left enough oth­ers in­tact to en­able the As­sad gov­ern­ment to use banned weapons against civil­ians if it chooses.

His choice of words re­called a sim­i­lar claim as­so­ci­ated with Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush fol­low­ing the U.S.-led in­va­sion of Iraq. Bush ad­dressed sailors aboard a Navy ship in May 2003 along­side a “Mis­sion Ac­com­plished” ban­ner, just weeks be­fore it be­came ap­par­ent that Iraqis had or­ga­nized an in­sur­gency that would tie down U.S. forces for years.

On Sun­day, Ha­ley made clear the United States won’t be pulling troops out of Syria right away, say­ing U.S. in­volve­ment there “is not done.”

Ha­ley said the three U.S. goals for ac­com­plish­ing its mis­sion are mak­ing sure chem­i­cal weapons are not used in a way that could harm U.S. na­tional in­ter­ests; that the Is­lamic State group is de­feated; and that there is a good van­tage point to watch what Iran is do­ing.

“We’re not go­ing to leave un­til we know we’ve ac­com­plished those things,” she said.

Ha­ley said the joint mil­i­tary strike “put a heavy blow into their chem­i­cal weapons pro­gram, set­ting them back years” and re­it­er­ated that if As­sad uses poi­son gas again, “the United States is locked and loaded.”

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Bri­tish Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Karen Pierce, left and U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley share a note dur­ing a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing on the sit­u­a­tion in Syria, Satur­day, April 14, 2018 at United Na­tions head­quar­ters.

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