Russia: US attack on our Sovereign ally Illegal

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday slammed the Trump administration for its strike on Syria, calling it “illegal” and based on faulty intelligence. The Russians reaffirmed that they will cease sharing their Syria flight information with the Americans.

The information sharing had been done to avoid US planes colliding with Russian ones. But now, the Kremlin is implying, they think it unwise to let the US know what the Russian Aerospace Forces are up to in Syria.

The Russian news organ Sputnik alleged Friday that Putin charged that “US attacks on Syria as an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that. . .”

Sputnik quotes Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, as saying: “At the same time, in Putin’s opinion, total disregard for the use of chemical weapons by terrorists only drastically aggravates the situation.”

BBC Monitoring reported that Peskov castigated the US for the cruise missile strike on Shuayrat Air Base “as effectively helping Islamist militant groups active in Syria, including the so-called Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front.”

Interfax quoted him, “We don’t actually know what Washington’s aims were when they decided to carry out these strikes. . . But what is unmistakable is the fact that the strikes were in effect carried out in the interests of Islamic State, the al-Nusra Front and other terrorist organisations. This is regrettable.”

He affirmed, in answer to a question, that the US had struck a Russian ally: “Since we are providing support to the Syrian armed forces in accordance with a request from the Syrian leadership, Syria is our ally.” He denied that there was any point in the US and Russia trading information about military aviation in Syria to avoid incidents between the two. He said that Putin had not plans to contact Trump about the missile strike.

Russia Today Arabic, a Moscow government mouthpiece, compared Trump to the Bushes, saying that he couldn’t find any other way to demonstrate his masculinity to his critics than to hit an obscure little airbase in Syria. This level of ridicule directed toward Trump is rare in the Russian press.

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Related video:

France 24, “US missile strikes on Syria: Russia condemns attack as a ‘violation of international law’

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30 Responses

  1. And so it begins. Here is Lindsey Graham giving Tucker Carlson a contorted explanation as to why Trump should send 7000 US ground troops into Syria. Carlson isn’t buying.

    Pay attention to when Graham insinuates that if we had troops in Afghanistan prior to 9-11 that fateful day might not have occurred….even though the hijackers were almost all from Saudi Arabia. The neocons are back in the saddle.

    link to mediaite.com

    • What does the hijackers’ origins have to do with where the operation was commanded from?

  2. Maybe they should have tried to help Bernie win instead.

    It might have worked out better, for everyone.

    • The Admiral Grigorovich will be shadowed by submarines. Any large warship is a sitting duck at this point to a capable adversary. The tonnage of the Admiral Grigorovich is just 4000 loaded in comparison to almost 9000 loaded for each of the USS Porter and USS Cole, albeit Admiral Grigorovich is a 2013 issue warship while the USS Porter and USS Cole are about fifteen years older. Even without the submarine thread or the menace of an attack by American planes from nearby Mediterranean airbases, the Admiral Grigorovich would be hard pressed to sink both the USS Porter and USS Cole at the same time.

      Moreover the Admiral Grigorovich is one of just three such Russian frigates while the US has 62 Arleigh-Burke class destroyers in service. The Russians would not like to trade the Admiral Grigorovich against even three such US destroyers.

      What the Admiral Grigorovich could do though is interfere with cruise missile launches electronically as well as shoot down a fair number of the departing missiles. Whether that non-aggressive hindrance would inspire the US to try to sink a Russian navy vessel is an open question.


      The bigger picture: Trump’s cruise missile strike has turned a co-operative neutral and occasionally allied country into a military adversary. The geopolitical situation has changed radically and we stand much closer to direct armed conflict between Russia and the United States. The moment that starts I cannot wargame a scenario where the conflict does not escalate within a matter of about a week to full on nuclear war. None of us are safer, not even Syrians.

      That the neocons and MSM are cheering Trump indicates just how bad an idea this illegal act of war was.

      • The possibility of going to war with Russia sends cold chills down my spine. To go to war with Russia led by an ego maniacal former game show host as our commander in chief could spell the end of civilization as we know it.

      • Your take on this is unfortunately close to the reality of this situation. I am so glad that I am not a young man anymore.

      • alec – The Admiral Grigorovich will be shadowed by Russian attack submarines as well.

        Trump’s cure for his erectile dysfunction has already cost U.S. taxpayers well over $60M in expended cruise missiles to what end? Tillerson wants the oil in Iraq and the pipelines in Syria. So, ground war in Mesopotamia is inevitable. All that is needed is the trigger.

        Consider the carrier group en-route to the Korean Peninsula? Seen as an act of war by North Korea? You bet. Interests on the West Coast of the U.S. will become active targets.

        Travis – the Guardian piece if read explains the relevance as do all the links provided. A hyper-stimulated psychopath now has his finger on the button who is being encouraged by those who will never serve nor will any of their kin.

        don – More likely North Korea than Russia.

      • If anyone can take control of Trump and his cabal it is the neocons, it took just 11 weeks to prove it.
        What do they expect to gain? It will take maybe centuries for the ME to recover if the planet can survive it. The victory of a scorched earth policy is to win a scorched earth.

    • Its not now handy to check all your links, but that one to the Guardian was 5 months old.

      Regardless, Putin, of all people, is now in the position of having to handle, for lack of a better word, a spoiled child with a loaded gun.

      Actually, that understates his problem massively. And the circumstances have undoubtedly now been further aggravated by the positive reinforcement being given to T by all sorts of people for his impulsiveness.

  3. Trump says he’s not going to telegraph his response;
    Trump then tells the Russkies and some Allies whats
    coming and when;
    Putin passes this info on to Assad;
    Assad evacuates the Target;
    Navy makes beautiful video of missile launches;
    Trump tells people about wonderful mission;
    After 59 hits, Evil Airbase is back in operation
    the next day;
    Navy submits requisition for 590 missile replacements;
    Neocons cream in jeans

  4. Volatile as the situation you describe is, it goes through the roof with T and his little hands involved. Obviously.

    What makes it even worse is that Putin cannot back down if T goes for a straight up major naval confrontation, say by dispatching a carrier task force to evict the Russian naval presence.

    When T took office we all knew things were going to go badly, individual political values aside. It was only a matter of when. I was rather thinking he’d arrest Hillary before this sort of scenario loomed. Now that it has (accidentally, since he cannot grasp how foreseeable what follows is), he’ll be drawn to it like a moth to fire.

    Dust off those Duck and Cover drills.

  5. This is a further win-win for Putin. He gets to hammer on the lack of morality shown by the US and help provide cover for his ties to Trump. Somehow, no one is questioning why Syria still has chemical weapons even though Putin agreed to take them away.

    • Everybody is conveniently forgetting that UN special inspectors for chemical and biological weapons took part in every phase of the Syrian handover. To castigate the Russians for “incompetence” or “collusion” is disingenuous at best, lying propaganda at worst. The UN inspectors declared in late 2016 that all Syrian chemical weapons had been transported out of the country ( some, apparently, on US maritime vessels.)

    • No evidence has been presented yet that Syria’s army still has chemical weapons. The Russian are saying that the chemical weapons were in an ISIS arms depot and inadvertently blown up by conventional bombs. Current indications and track record over the last fifteen years with official announcements suggest the Russian are telling the truth and that Trump, his American intelligence sources and the American MSM are telling fibs again. Strangely, the Daily Mail removed that 2013 article last week.

  6. Prof, you appear to misunderstand the meaning of a deconfliction agreement.

    It isn’t to stop planes “colliding”. Radar is all you need for that.

    It’s to stop the two sides from treating the other as a “hostile”.

    One radar-lock and the rules-of-engagement could have the pilots shooting at each other. A deconfliction agreement prevents that.

    Russia isn’t signalling that it “doesn’t want the US to know what they are up to”. Again, the Americans have radar for that.

    What the Kremlin is signalling is that they now reserve the right to light up USAF planes with targetting radar, and if they don’t like what those planes are doing then they reserve the right to shoot first and ask Trump later “wot’s up, dude?”.

  7. Trump’s stunt was as as phony as Trump “University”. Sadly, much of the media and the punditry fall for it just like it was 2002/2003 all over again.

  8. Dr. Cole —

    W/R/T to the article’s headline and first paragraph, how come no confirmation of the illegality as per the UN Charter and international law?

  9. President Donald J. Trump owns Raytheon stock. Not only can he kill and maim Muslims at will but make personal profit doing so. How Christian of him.

    link to freakoutnation.com

    Apparently, dining at Mar-a-Lago makes POTUS an instant military guru, a 21st Century Clausewitz.

    “The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!”

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2017

    Got it.

  10. At the rate at which we are going, will there be countries left in the Near East that we don’t invade or attempt to change regimes. We keep telling people that our track record alone in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya should be enough to dissuade people of these interventions, but it’s no use. Even supposedly liberal commentators now insist on the righteousness of bombing Syria. One begins to wonder just what evidence do people need to reassess their hawkishness.

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