BtS Issue Update April 10, 2017: Syria
Between the Synapse issue update on the Syrian chemical weapons attack and subsequent US response.
According the AP, US officials have concluded that Russia knew of the chemical weapons attack in advance based on the appearance of a drone operated by Russians near the hospital where victims of the attack received treatment. Hours after the drone departed, the hospital was bombed by a Russian-made fighter jet in an apparent “attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.”
Senator John McCain said on Sunday that comments made by people in the Trump’s administration are “partially to blame” for encouraging Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his people. McCain particularly pointed out remarks made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson right before the attack that the Syrian people would determine Assad’s fate and that removing him from power wasn’t isn’t a top US priority.
The US missile attack on Syria’s Shayrat air base likely cost around $60 million dollars. However, the cost to replace the 59 tomahawk missiles will likely run about $89 million as the 2017 budget reveals an increase from $1 million to $1.5 million per missile. Despite the large ordinance, Shayrat opened for operation one day after the attack. The number of planes destroyed in the US barrage remains uncertain with estimates ranging from 9 to 20.
Lastly, check out these opinion pieces on the dangers of Trump’s incoherent foreign policy. The first by TNR Senior Editor Jeet Heer and the second by James P. Rubin in the NYT’s.