Despite Donald Trump’s view that American troops should be out of Syria and he should be doing something about the gassing of civilians in the countries ongoing civil war with Russian and Iran backing Syrian President Assad?
Defense Sec. Mattis is hesitant to change up the American policy there….
Bolton, who is just a talking head from Fox News it is reported is pushing for some sort of military action in response to the gassing ….
Trump is talking the other countries helping the American military there….
Bolton and Mattis clash on Syria strikes. Discussions between the Pentagon leadership and President Trump’s National Security Council continue today over a possible military response to the alleged chemical weapons attack late last week in the formerly rebel-held Douma suburb of Damascus.
The quick take, according to Just Security’s Kate Brannen, citing two sources with knowledge of the talks: “There remains tension between what President Trump and National Security Adviser [John] Bolton want and what the Pentagon is advocating. Defense Secretary [James] Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [Gen. Joseph] Dunford are concerned with managing escalation and preventing blowback on U.S. troops.”
The New York Times echoes that take, reporting from Capitol Hill earlier on Thursday: “Mattis pushed for more evidence of President Bashar al-Assad’s role in the suspected chemical attack” on April 7, “telling the House Armed Services Committee that retaliation must be balanced against the threat of a wider war.”
Said Mattis to lawmakers: “We’re looking for the actual evidence,” said Mattis, noting that UN inspectors would arrive in the country “probably by the end of the week.”
Mattis’s fine line: “We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people… But on a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control — if you get my drift on that.”
This hesitation, a senior defense official told the Times, “was an acknowledgment of a lesson from the Iraq war about what can go wrong after a military assault without a plan… It also sought to ensure that the United States and European allies could justify the strike to the world in the face of withering criticism by Russia — Mr. Assad’s most powerful partner.”
The Russian military says that an alleged chemical attack in Syria was staged and directed by Britain.
Volunteer first responders and activists claimed a chemical attack by the Syrian government killed over 40 people in the town of Douma, which drew international outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response. Moscow warned against any strikes and threatened to retaliate….