Trump defends 'mission accomplished' statement after strike on Syria

Left The scene above Damascus after Donald Trump announced US-led coalition strikes on Syria which led to protests

Just over a year ago U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack against its own people.

He tweeted "Mission Accomplished" on Saturday after US, French and British planes and ships launched more than 100 missiles almost unopposed by Syrian air defences. Could not have had a better result, ' Trump wrote.

A banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" loomed in the background as Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq, a claim belied by the years of hard fighting that followed.

The nighttime assault on Syria was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Russian Federation, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.

Syria has been locked in a civil war since the Arab Spring of 2011, pitting rebel groups who seek to depose the Assad regime against Russia-backed government forces.

Russian Federation and Iran called the use of force by the United States and its allies a "military crime" and "act of aggression".

"To succeed in the long run, we need a comprehensive strategy for Syria and the entire region", Republican Senator John McCain said in a statement after the latest strikes.

"We, of course, know our work in Syria is not done", U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on "Fox News Sunday". 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. The U.S. says it suspects that sarin gas also was used.

Trump did the same on Friday, with allies France and Britain, in a response meant to deter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons again, but which was unlikely to change his grip on power.

Trump said Friday that the USA is "prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents".

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Although officials said the singular target was Assad's chemical weapons capability, his air force, including helicopters he allegedly has used to drop chemical weapons on civilians, were spared.

The U.S. -led operation won broad Western support. The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack "necessary and appropriate". The words, which likely left many people in the USA government, congress, intelligence services and military with their heads in their hands, is ambiguous in every aspect: what was the "mission", and what does it mean for it to be "accomplished"? In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned.

MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid tweeted, "Saying "mission accomplished" always works out well for presidents".

What happens next, she said, is up to Assad and to his Russian and Iranian allies.

"The global community will not allow chemical weapons to come back into our everyday life", she said.

When pressed, he acknowledged that some unspecified portion of Assad's chemical arms infrastructure was not targeted. 'It said to some, well, Bush think the war in Iraq is over, when I didn't think that. "It does not exist anymore".

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 US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, insisted it has failed and it was time to rethink. He said Syria's air defences were ineffective and that numerous more than 40 surface-to-air missiles fired by the Syrians were launched after the allied attack was over.

"The Geneva Process hasn't worked and it's time to find something new or change it", said one US official. U.S., British and French attack aircraft, including two U.S. Air Force B-1B strategic bombers, launched stealthy, long-range missiles from outside Syrian airspace, officials said. The World Health Organization said 70 were killed in the attack, with 43 dying from chemical exposure.

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