Donald Trump strikes at Syria’s Bashar al-Assad

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NO DOUBT Donald Trump was keen to emphasise his decisiveness, in contrast with his predecessor’s dithering. There were hints earlier in the week that the president was thinking of doing something. After a nerve-gas attack by the Syrian air force killed more than 85 people in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4th, he said that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, had crossed “many, many red lines”. In the early hours of April 7th, Mr Trump took action.American ships fired 59 cruise missiles at the al-Shayrat airfield, from which planes carrying the chemical bombs are believed to have taken off. The strike was limited and targeted. Even so it debunked the idea that the use of any kind of force in response to the barbaric behaviour of the Assad regime was no longer possible because of fears that it would mean confrontation with his Russian ally, which has been operating in Syria since September 2015. The Russians were informed of the strike in advance, but they were not, apparently, consulted over it. It is not clear whether any Russians would have been at the base. But the warning, doubtless passed on to the Syrians, seems to have given the latter enough…Continue reading
Source: Economist