Pentagon Briefs Trump: There are 3 Ways to start WW3
Thursday, 06 April 2017

The Pentagon has briefed President Trump on various military options the US can conduct in response to the poison gas attack in Syria that killed scores of civilians, and which Washington rather quickly blamed on the Syrian government, a U.S. official told Reuters.

Options include things like implementing a "no fly zone" or grounding aircraft used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, an official quoted by Reuters said. Another option also includes the use of cruise missiles - which allow the United States to strike targets without putting piloted aircraft in the skies above Syria. The official did not comment on how likely military action might be which, if any, options might be recommended by the Pentagon.

Among the valid military targets in Syria would be Syrian military airfields, air defenses and other types of Syrian military installations. The official played down the idea that Russian military infrastructure might be a target.

The official also said that Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have been discussing the matter: Mattis is due to meet with Trump later in the day at the president’s Mar-a-Lago retreat, where a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping is underway. Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump said that “something should happen” with Assad after the chemical attack, calling what happened in Syria “a disgrace to humanity.”

There is no doubt in our minds, and the information we have supports, that the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad are responsible for this attack,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Florida on Thursday, adding that “there is no role for Assad” in Syria after this.

In case of an accelerated military escalation, the US Navy currently has two warships on alert in the East Medditerranean to strike in Syria if necessary, officials say cited by Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson, who adds that USS Ross and USS Porter are the 2 Navy warships in close proximity and ready to strike Syria, if necessary. 

Trump's accusations against Assad put him directly at odds with Moscow, the Syrian president's principal backer. Trump's contemplated action also goes directly against Trump's tweets in 2013, when he urged against a military escalation in Syria. But now that Trump is in the White House, things are a bit different, someone else pulls the string, and it doesn't look it's Trump.

Reuters notes that any U.S. action against Syria's government would open a new front in Syria's fighting, with consequences that are difficult to foresee. Entering into such a confrontation might complicate the fight against Islamic State - a group seen to directly threaten the West - and very likely draw in Russia, which nearly entered into an armed conflict in 2013 when John Kerry backed off an airborne campaign targeting Assad in the last moment.  The difference between now and 2013, however, is that Russia is already present in Syria, and is conducting regular military missions.

The U.S. military, which has illegally deployed around 1,000 troops in Syria,  without the invitation or consent of Syria's government, has long said its singular focus in Syria has been allegedly on the war against Islamic State, although many have said that the real motive from the beginning of US involvement in the conflict was to eliminate the Assad regime and partition the country. In any case, the conflict is reaching a critical point as U.S.-backed Kurds isolate the city of Raqqa - the militants' de facto capital - ahead of an eventual assault.

Earlier on Thursday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced he would oppose any military action without a vote in Congress.

“The President, if he decides to do something in Syria, he would come to Congress and ask for a declaration of war. Short of Congress voting on it, I'm opposed to illegal and unconstitutional wars," Paul told Fox News radio show ‘Kilmeade and Friends’.

Paul was promptly opposed by senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), both of whom called for Trump to attack Syria.

"The United States should lead an international coalition to ground Assad's air force," they said in a joint statement Thursday. "This capability provides Assad a strategic advantage in his brutal slaughter of innocent civilians, both through the use of chemical weapons as well as barrel bombs, which kill far more men, women and children on a daily basis."

Earlier on Friday, Damascus denied using chemical weapons, saying it doesn't have any, and that its jets targeted an arms depot where chemical weapons stockpiles were stored by Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front militants. Later in the day, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that account of events. 

Previously, we had reported that Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration had something to do with the terrorists posession of chemical weapons.


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