US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Friday that no decision had been taken about military action against Syria, but use of force would be in response to multiple chemical attacks carried out by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Haley made clear that the US administration was taking time to assess the full implications of military strikes on Syria after Russia warned that it could lead to a dangerous US-Russian war.
Addressing the Security Council, Haley laid out Washington’s case for resorting to force, challenging Russia’s claim that military action would be in violation of international law.
“Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria,” Haley said.
“But should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree.”
Citing US estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons “at least 50 times” in the seven-year war, Haley said: “All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons.”
The United States is consulting with Britain and France about a joint military response to an alleged toxic gas attack in Douma that medics and rescuers said left at least 40 people dead on Saturday.
Syria and Russia have denied using poisonous gas in Douma on April 7, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Moscow had “irrefutable” evidence that the attack in Douma was a “staged event.”
Ahead of the meeting, Haley sounded a note of caution, saying there should be no rush to launch air strikes even though “at some point you have to do something.”
“You don’t rush decisions like this,” Haley told reporters. “If you do, you make a mistake.”
– Point of no-return –
Echoing the US stance, France’s Ambassador Francois Delattre said Assad’s government had reached a “point of no return” with repeated use of chemical weapons.
“France will shoulder its responsibility to end an intolerable threat to our collective security,” he added, before calling for an end to the “chemical weapons escalation in Syria.”
Russia’s ambassador accused the West of using allegations of chemical attacks as a pretext to advance its sole aim in Syria of overthrowing Assad and keep Moscow’s influence in check.
“The sole thing that they have an interest in is to oust the Syrian government and to deter, contain the Russian Federation,” Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council session.
He called on the United States, France and Britain “not to bring the world to such a dangerous threshold.”
Russia has told the United States that it will not allow its troops on the ground in Syria to be put at risk by military action, even though the two countries have contacts to avoid such direct confrontation.
The warning from Moscow came as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that increasing tensions over Syria could lead to “full-blown military escalation.”
Guterres urged the Security Council to “act responsibly in these dangerous circumstances.”
‘Trump literally just confessed to the crime’: Pennsylvania Democrat
Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) believes President Donald Trump confessed to bribing or extorting Ukraine in an effort to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
The president told reporters Monday morning at the United Nations that he had withheld foreign aid from Ukraine as he discussed alleged corruption involving Biden, the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
"It's very important to talk about corruption," Trump. "If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?...It's very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption."
GOP mass exodus: ‘staggering’ number of House Republicans leaving – one way or another – since Trump became president
The ongoing GOP mass exodus is even larger than many may have realized. Nearly four out of every ten Republican Representatives who were in office the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president no longer are or have announced they no longer will be U.S. Congressmen or Congresswomen.
The Washington Post reports that in the almost three years since Trump took office, due to resignations, retirements, and election losses "nearly 40 percent of the 241 Republicans who were in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving."
Trump’s jumbled response to Ukraine scandal is a strong signal of what’s to come: columnist
On Monday, President Donald Trump denied allegations that he extorted the president of Ukraine for information about Joe Biden. “It’s a ridiculous story,” Trump said during an appearance at the United Nations.
The controversy emerged after an anonymous whistleblower in the intelligence community logged a complaint with their agency about improper behavior by the president on a phone call with a foreign leader. “It’s a partisan whistleblower,” the president added.
Previously, the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had traveled to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Critics worry that during a conversation with the president of Ukraine about rooting out corruption in his country, Trump suggested he offer information about Biden in exchange for funding.