(MPN Op-ed) — The Trump administration now seems poised to launch an attack on the Syrian government in response to any type of military operation targeting Syria’s Idlib province, according to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. Speaking on Fox News on Wednesday, Haley stated that any Syrian attack on Idlib, regardless of whether or not chemical weapons are allegedly used, would be “dealt with” and provoke a U.S. response, before ominously warning the Syrian government, “Don’t test us again.”
Haley’s comments fit with recent reporting regarding Trump’s alleged plan to conduct a “massive attack” against the Syrian government if a “massacre” occurs – even if only conventional weapons are used. Those same reports also indicated that the Trump administration was also considering whether or not to expand military strikes to include not just Syrian government forces but also the forces of Syria’s military allies in the conflict, Iran and Russia.
During her Wednesday interview, Haley went on to characterize Syria’s Idlib province as being populated only by “civilian people,” even though the U.S. government admitted last year that Syria’s last “rebel-held” province is the “largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.” Since 2017, Idlib has been largely under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham — Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch and formerly known as al-Nusra Front — or one of its affiliates, like Ahrar al-Sham.
Haley’s recent comments downplaying the Al Qaeda presence in Idlib follow those recently made by James Jeffrey, the U.S.’ new representative for Syria engagement, who told The Washington Post last week that “rebels” in Idlib are “not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator.”
However, despite Haley’s threats, the Syrian government seems to preparing for its upcoming offensive on the Idlib province, as the Syrian Arab Army launched a large assault across the Idlib-Hama border on Thursday, targeting al-Nusra positions and shelling the al-Nusra-controlled town of Tamanah, which is in the southern part of Idlib.
As the Syrian government seems determined to proceed with its ultimate goal of liberating Idlib from rebel control, the U.S. – as Haley had hinted – seems to be making military preparations of its own. Indeed, early Thursday, another U.S. guided-missile destroyer – the USS Bulkeley – entered the Mediterranean. According to RT, the Bulkeley’s recent arrival will allow the U.S. to have up to 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles available in the event the Trump administration chooses to take military action against Syria.
U.S. to Move With or Without a Chemical-Weapons Pretext
The Russian military presence in Syria has warned that a “chemical weapons” justification for an imminent U.S. strike is likely to be forthcoming, as the controversial White Helmets group began filming mock chemical weapons attacks on Tuesday and have since filmed nine videos purporting to show civilians exposed to chlorine gas and then being “rescued” by the White Helmets.
As MintPress has noted in the past, the White Helmets are funded by the U.S., U.K. and other foreign governments, and were founded by a former U.K. military intelligence officer turned mercenary. Over the course of the war, the White Helmets have been caught staging attacks, kidnapping children, and also cooperating with terrorist groups — including the dominant group in Idlib, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
Conveniently for the Trump administration, the imminent release of videos blaming the Syrian government for a staged chemical weapons attack comes just as the U.S. announced that it would maintain its illegal military presence in Syria “indefinitely,” after “redefining its goals” to again include regime change in Damascus and efforts to contain Iran’s regional influence.
Whether staged evidence from the controversial White Helmets is used or the order for military action is given without chemical-weapons accusations, the U.S. seems determined to embroil itself in another quagmire, all in a last-ditch effort to remake and forever dominate Syria and the entire Middle East.
Watch | Nikki Haley Tells Syria, Russia and Iran Not to ‘Test’ Us
This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
Since you’re here…
…We have a small favor to ask. Fewer and fewer people are seeing Anti-Media articles as social media sites crack down on us, and advertising revenues across the board are quickly declining. However, unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall because we value open and accessible journalism over profit — but at this point, we’re barely even breaking even. Hopefully, you can see why we need to ask for your help. Anti-Media’s independent journalism and analysis takes substantial time, resources, and effort to produce, but we do it because we believe in our message and hope you do, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting and finds value in it helps fund it, our future can be much more secure. For as little as $1 and a minute of your time, you can support Anti-Media. Thank you. Click here to support us