Published: Thu, April 06, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Rubio suggests Trump administration stance toward Syria contributed to chemical weapon attack

Rubio suggests Trump administration stance toward Syria contributed to chemical weapon attack

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said "been there, done that" when it comes to demanding Assad step aside. "We have a new presidency". "Do NOT attack Syria, fix U.S.A.", Trump tweeted, in one of a dozen such protests at the time.

Militarily i'm not going to say where i'm going and what I'm doing. Statements by Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the days before Tuesday's attack suggested the administration was resigned to seeing Assad remain in power.

Robert Mardini, who oversees operations in the Middle East for the International Committee of the Red Cross said the situation was nothing short of catastrophic in Syria. A second US official also familiar with the intelligence told NBC News not to rule out a similar method - either rockets or artillery - in Khan Sheikhoun.

After arguing that Obama's inaction on Syria emboldened Assad, Trump acknowledged that "I now have responsibility".

Trump doubled down on his criticism of the Obama administration's approach toward Syria, but he said that the attack, which has killed at least 72 people, "had a big impact on me" and has changed his approach toward the country.

Trump, speaking at the White House during a visit by Jordan's King Abdullah, said Wednesday that "we see what happened just recently yesterday in Syria disgusting".

Assad's chemical attack is an obvious test for Trump, and Syria is a much more convenient opponent than the other place where his team has been exchanging saber rattles-North Korea.

Since the attack Tuesday in rebel-held territory in northern Syria, Trump has been under increasing pressure to explain whether the attack would bring a USA response. He is upset because Obama didn't solve all of the world's problems for Trump.

The president failed to say what kind of military plan he would have in response to Syria and instead suggested that talking about any kind of policy initiative could make it more hard to fight in the country as had the USA -led coalition attacks in Mosul, Iraq.

That was seen internationally as a major blow to USA credibility and, for Obama's critics, a prime example of weak leadership. "I watched past administrations say, 'We will attack at such and such a day and such and such an hour.' ..." "That responsibility could be made a lot easier if it was handled years ago".

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That left some Assad opponents wanting more. "In essence nearly nodding to the idea that Assad was gonna get to stay in some capacity", Rubio said, according to CNN. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The U.S. has blamed the Assad government for the attack, but Syria claims it destroyed all of its chemical weapons.

"When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action".

At the United Nations, Britain, France and the United States have presented a draft resolution demanding a full investigation of the attack. He called on Russian Federation to "really think carefully" about their continued support for Assad's regime in Syria.

Trump said he would not preview any potential US military action, but strongly suggested he would consider punishing the Assad regime for the attack in Idlib province, which US, British and French officials say came from Assad's air force. Doctors Without Borders says victims were showing symptoms consistent with a chemical "such as sarin gas or similar compounds".

Syria officially relinquished its chemical arsenal and signed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, to avert military action after it was accused of an attack outside Damascus that killed hundreds.

Syria's government denied it carried out any chemical attack.

After a 2013 attack, the USA and Russian Federation brokered a deal in which Syria declared its chemical weapons arsenal and agreed to destroy it.

The president's meeting with Abdullah comes just before an end-of-the-week summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, one with an agenda that includes the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons. Among the dozens of chemical agents it could have been: nerve gasses (such as sarin gas), asphyxiants, blistering agents, and choking agents.

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