After a series of threatening messages were exchanged between Russia and the US regarding possible military action in Syria, President Trump tweeted mixed signals on Washington’s next move.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump seemingly took a breather, after responding angrily the day before to Moscow’s threats to intercept any missiles fired at its Mediterranean ally, Syria, and to strike back at the sources of the launches.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’,” Trump had tweeted on Wednesday, not budging from his vow to respond to the regime’s alleged chemical attack on its own civilians last Saturday that killed dozens.
However, in the early morning hours, he took to his favorite social media platform to claim, “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”
This could be seen as backtracking on his bellicose response – or simply a tactic to confuse the enemy as to the timing of an attack. The Syrians had already reportedly begun to move their most valuable military assets to the Russian airbase in Latakia, basing the move on the belief that the US would not want to escalate matters to such an extent as to shoot directly at its former Cold War adversary.
On the other hand, US officials are still deep into consultations with allies France and Great Britain as to what exactly is to be done, and when.
The United States could theoretically attack Syria at any time now if Trump wants to repeat his strike of just a year ago, when the American navy hit an Assad regime military airfield with 59 Tomahawk missiles in retaliation for its launch of a previous chemical weapon attack. The Pentagon has already moved to the Syrian coast two American destroyers that are armed with guided cruise missiles.
And the British paper The Telegraph has reported that Prime Minister Theresa May has already ordered British submarines to move within missile range of the country.
Russia did not react to last year’s attack. This time, however, it appears that Russia has begun moving its Syrian-based warships into the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad took to his social media account Thursday after meeting with a senior Iranian foreign policy advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to warn that any action taken by Western countries “will only contribute to further destabilization in the region.”
Teheran has joined Russia in denouncing the threats of the United States and its allies to take military action. Both have insisted that no chemical weapons were used, and Russia vetoed an American-drafted UN Security Council resolution earlier this week that called for investigating the attack.