SPLASH! News for April 7, 2017

Dive Into the News of the Day

Kiran Opal


Russia Plans Second Air Base in Syria Homs

The New Arab – (2015) Russia is looking to scale up its military presence in Syria with the opening of a second airport in eastern Homs, around 25 kilometres south-east of the provincial capital.

The move could see Russia’s air fleet bolstered to over 100 war planes, while 1,000 ground troops are also on their way to Syria according to al-Rai Media Group.

These new Russian troops would be used in “selective battles” in Syria, and to provide security for al-Shayarat airport in Homs province, according to a high-ranking military officer.

The US Has Been Pushing to Overthrow Assad in Syria for 10 Years

alternet – (2015) The accepted story in the United States of what’s happened in Syria is just that, a story told to make narrative sense of something completely un-understood.

In Southern Sweden a giant round rock lies on flat farmland, and the lovely story my ancestors used to tell to explain how it got there came down to this: a troll threw it there. As evidence, in a nearby castle, one can find a horn and a pipe that come into the story. The horn contained what today would be called chemical weapons, which burned the back of a horse when the hero of the story was smart enough to dump it over his shoulder rather than drinking it. Man and horse got away by riding across the furrows of a field, because everyone knows that trolls must run back and forth the full length of each furrow, which slows them down tremendously. The facts all fit. Some fringe conspiracy theorists may question the very existence of trolls, but such arguments need not be taken seriously.

Hillary Clinton: US Should ‘Take Out’ Assad’s Air Fields

CNN – Hillary Clinton called on the United States to take out Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s Air Force on Thursday, days after a chemical attack killed more than 70 people in the war-torn country.

“Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days,” Clinton said in a speech at the “Women in the World” summit in New York City. “And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”

Rand Paul: Trump Needs Congress to Authorize Military Action in Syria

The Hill – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Thursday night that President Trump needs congressional authorization for military action in Syria after Trump ordered an airstrike in retaliation for a deadly chemical attack earlier this week.

“While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked,” Paul said in a statement shortly after reports that the U.S. had launched more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles against an airfield in Syria.

“The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate,” Paul said. “Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer, and Syria will be no different.”

Senate Goes  ‘Nuclear,’ Ends Democratic Blockade of Trump Court Pick

Reuters – Senate Republicans on Thursday crushed a Democratic blockade of President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee in a fierce partisan brawl, approving a rule change dubbed the “nuclear option” to allow for conservative judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation by Friday.

With ideological control of the country’s highest court at stake, the Republican-led Senate voted 52-48 along party lines to change its long-standing rules in order to prohibit a procedural tactic called a filibuster against Supreme Court nominees. That came after Republicans failed by a 55-45 tally to muster the 60-vote super-majority needed to end the Democratic filibuster that had sought to deny Gorsuch confirmation to the lifetime post.

The Senate’s action cleared the way to confirm Gorsuch by simple majority on Friday, with a final vote expected by late morning. Republicans control the Senate 52-48. The rule change was called the “nuclear option” because it was considered an extreme break with Senate tradition

US Missle Strike Against Syria

RT – 10:52 GMT
Meanwhile, a Syrian Army officer told RIA Novosti that the US strike had left 10 Syrian soldiers dead.

10:46 GMT
Four Syrian military personnel died, two more are missing and four others suffered burns in the US missile strike at the airbase, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov stated during a briefing.

10:33 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss the US missile strike on a Syrian airbase at a briefing session of Russia’s Security Council in Moscow, the president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

10:19 GMT
Italy believes the Syrian conflict should be resolved with Russia playing a “constructive role” in UN-supervised negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition forces.

The Syrian conflict resolution must come through “negotiation that includes the forces of the regime and the opposition, overseen by the UN, with a decisive and constructive role for Russia,” Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said, as cited by Reuters, adding that both France and Germany support this position.

Gentiloni doesn’t see the overnight strike as a step towards a military escalation of the conflict.

Syrian Base Hit in US Airstrike ‘almost completely destroyed’; Russia reacts

FOX News – President Trump, who warned against Syrian intervention as a candidate, authorized airstrikes aimed at a Syrian airbase that hit the country at about 3:45 a.m. local time. The Trump administration appeared to be cautious about its approach to the Syrian conflict, but Trump said that seeing images of babies gasping for air after Tuesday’s attack made him change his views on President Bashar al Assad. Shortly after the airstrikes, Trump told reporters that, “No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”

Early reports from Syria indicate that the U.S. airstrike punished the intended target: the airbase at Shayrat. A human rights group in the country said the missile attack damaged over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base. At least six Syrian soldiers were killed in the airstrike, the group said.


President Trump called on all “civilized nations” to join the U.S. in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria. World leaders reacted:

RUSSIA: Airstrike was an “aggression against a sovereign state” and in violation of international law.

SYRIA: State TV called the attack an “aggression” that lead to “losses.”

ISRAEL: PM Netanyahu said “in both word and action” Trump “sent a strong and clear message” that “the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.”

AUSTRALIA: PM Trumbull said government supported the “swift and just response” of the U.S.

TURKEY: Airstrike an “important and meaningful” development, but urged the world to take an even tougher stance on Assad.

IRAN: Foreign Ministry spokesman: “Unilateral action is dangerous, destructive and violates principles of international law.”

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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SPLASH! News for April 7, 2017