29 March 2018   Leave a comment

Russia has responded to the expulsions of its diplomats by expelling Western diplomats in equal numbers.  They expelled 60 US diplomats, exactly the same number of Russians expelled, and closed the US consulate in St. Petersburg in retaliation for the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.  The calibrated response suggests that the Russians do not wish to escalate the crisis and are probably somewhat disconcerted by the unified front displayed by the Western powers.  This move, however, does not mean that the matter is closed.  The British remain quite angry by the use of military-grade chemical weapons on their soil and it is likely that they will take further steps.

 

The Commission for International Justice and Accountability  has been accumulating huge troves of evidence documenting the war crimes of the government of Syria in the civil war that has been ongoing since 2011.  The evidence is overwhelming, but it is unlikely that Syrian President Assad will ever be prosecuted for those crimes in an international tribunal which requires a unanimous recommendation from the UN Security Council and Russia and China both vetoed similar recommendations in 2014.  It is also unlikely that the US will support efforts to bring Assad to justice.  In a speech in Ohio today, US President Trump stated his interest in washing his hands of the situation in Syria:

“We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon….Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon. Very soon, we’re coming out. We’re going to have a hundred percent of the caliphate, as they call it. Sometimes referred to as land, taking it all back. Quickly, quickly.”

The international community will regard its indifference to the slaughter of civilians in Syria with great shame in the very near future.

 

The Jerusalem Post is reporting on an article published in a Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Jarida, that two Israeli F-35 fighter planes entered Iranian air space to conduct a reconnaissance mission.  The report indicates that the planes were undetected by the sophisticated air defense system provided by Russia.  It is impossible to confirm this report but it follows the disclosure by Israel that it destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 which was largely interpreted as a warning to Iran.  The region is also being rattled by calls from Hamas for mass rallies in the Gaza Strip.

F-35 Fighter 

Posted March 29, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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