Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Trump defends his 'Mission Accomplished' tweet on Syria

Trump defends his 'Mission Accomplished' tweet on Syria

President Donald Trump has defended his use of the phrase "mission accomplished" over the US-led missile strikes on Syrian targets after it was seized on by the media.

The president responded to the outrage early on Sunday morning.

It was an unusual choice of phrase, given that George Bush notoriously posed in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner - six weeks into the failed American invasion of Iraq.

Donald Trump claimed the limited airstrikes were "perfectly executed" and that he "could not have had a better result".

What is certain is that Assad has been punished; a message has been sent without drawing the USA closer into the conflict, but may set an important precedent. The U.N. Security Council met to debate the strikes, but rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies. Senator Angus King, an independent who serves on the armed services and intelligence committees, noted that the missile strike Trump ordered previous year had failed to prevent Syria's continued use of chemical weapons.

Trump has made clear he wants to withdraw the roughly 2,000 USA troops in Syria involved in the anti-Islamic State campaign, and his administration has suspended support for Syrian rebels, evidence of his desire to disengage from Syria.

In his televised address from the White House on Friday evening, Trump said the USA was prepared to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until the Syrian leader ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons. In the aftermath, the president tweeted "Mission Accomplished".

Theresa May joined Trump in ordering bombing raids on Syria without getting approval from MPs first.

"It's a tough contradiction for him to sort out", the official said. Albeit minor, and a far cry from what Assad deserves for his unrelenting brutality against the Syrian people, the presence in the Mediterranean Sea of the largest USA air and naval strike force since the Iraq War in 2003 indicates that US oversight of affairs in Syria will likely remain, as will the capacity to damage Assad's forces once again.

Assad and Russian Federation deny using chemical weapons.

While there appears to be no immediate alternative to the so-called Geneva Process that would lead to a political transition in Syria, several senior USA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, insisted it has failed and it was time to rethink. He said the US knew of no civilians killed by allied missiles.

He said, "Ten days ago, President Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria".

Trump's approach, he said, "is not about the balance of power in Syria". Although more determined than Obama, Trump has acted just twice against the use of chemical weapons during his presidency; a time in which dozens of chemical attacks have been alleged.

Haley said the joint military strike "put a heavy blow into their chemical weapons program, setting them back years" and reiterated that if Assad uses poison gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded". "The strikes don't alter that reality", Ross said.

No military response from any actors in Syria - including Iran and Russian Federation - has been seen, the Pentagon said.

"Putin has the political will and the endurance to stay the course in Syria and he has demonstrated that for nearly three years", Maksad said.

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