Dmitry Medvedev on US airstrikes on Syria: “On the verge of a military clash with Russia”

by: Obert Madondo |  | Published April 9, 2017, by The Canadian Progressive

A poster calls on Canadians to “fight for an anti-war government” during a 2015 Parliament Hill protest against former prime minister Stephen Harper’s draconian anti-terror Bill C-51. Photo credit: Obert Madondo / The Canadian Progressive

Responding to the United States’ 59 tomahawk cruise missile attacks on Syria on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared that the last remaining fog of the US’ 2016 presidential election had lifted. The US strikes were in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s chemical weapon attack on Khan Sheikhoun earlier in the week, which killed 72 people.

“Instead of an overworked statement about a joint fight against the biggest enemy, Isis (the Islamic State), the Trump administration proved that it will fiercely fight the legitimate Syrian government, in a tough contradiction with international law and without UN approval, in violation of its own procedures stipulating that the Congress must first be notified of any military operation unrelated to aggression against the US. On the verge of a military clash with Russia,” Medvedev wrote in a Facebook post.

Since September 2015, Russia has been has been helping the Assad regime with air strikes against the Islamic State and other armed groups supported by western countries.

Responding to Assad’s barbarous attack before the announcement of the U.S. airstrikes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initially told the Globe & Mail that there was need for an investigation by the “international community” to “determine first of all who was responsible for these attacks”. Trudeau also stated that there were “continuing questions about who is responsible”. He emphasized the importance of making “sure that we have all the facts before we move forward.”

Then Donald Trump bombed Syria and everything changed. Mere hours after the US airstrikes, Trudeau had a dramatic change of heart.

“Canada fully supports the United States’ limited and focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many children,” Trudeau said in a statement. “President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue with impunity.”

Has the departing “fog” of the US election now been replaced by the fog of war? Sot it would appear.

The US attack has seriously damaged what analysts had seen as cordial US-Russia relations since Trump’s election last November.

As reported by The New York Times, Russia’ initial response to the US airstrikes was an immediate suspension of a US-Russia memorandum that minimized the risk of “clashes between American and Russian aircraft in Syria airspace.” Russian President Vladimir V. Putin also called the strikes “an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext.”

Over the weekend, Russia and Iran issued a joint statement threatening to “respond with force” if “red lines” are crossed again in Syria, the Independent reported.

Here is Medvedev’s statement in full:

“That’s it. The last remaining election fog has lifted. Instead of an overworked statement about a joint fight against the biggest enemy, Isis (the Islamic State), the Trump administration proved that it will fiercely fight the legitimate Syrian government, in a tough contradiction with international law and without UN approval, in violation of its own procedures stipulating that the Congress must first be notified of any military operation unrelated to aggression against the US. On the verge of a military clash with Russia.

“Nobody is overestimating the value of pre-election promises but there must be limits of decency.

“Beyond that is absolute mistrust. Which is really sad for our now completely ruined relations. And which is good news for terrorists.

“One more thing. This military action is a clear indication of the US President’s extreme dependency on the opinion of the Washington establishment, the one that the new president strongly criticised in his inauguration speech.

“Soon after his victory, I noted that everything would depend on how soon Trump’s election promises would be broken by the existing power machine. It took only two and a half months.”

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Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.