Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has called America’s bluff in naming two possible locations in northwest Idlib Governorate where a possible chemical weapons false flag attack could occur. She named Saraqib and Ariha as two probable locations where terrorists could stage a false flag attack. Idlib is one of the few places west of the Euphrates where terrorists still occupy and control a considerable amount of Syrian territory.
“Indeed, there is new intel. We believe that this staging, this provocation is being prepared”.
Zakharova called threatening statements from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley promising renewed aggression against Syria in response to a chemical attack which by the admission of the US not yet occurred, a “harbinger of a new intervention”.
This comes as Nikki Haley told the US Congress’ House Foreign Affairs Committee,
“You can’t have Assad in power with the healthy Syria.
A post-ISIS Syria doesn’t mean all goes back to where it should be happy and good again”.
Haley’s trite remarks contradict official US State Department policy which as recently as the 22nd of June indicated that regime change in Syria is not something the US considers a realistic option.
Russia has responded to the US threat of aggression against Syria with a single voice. In addition to Zakharova’s comments, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has condemned US threats against Syrian sovereignty and both Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have condemned US threats in stronger terms than Russia has previous used to condemn US meddling in Syria. In the case of Lavrov, there was even a very frank suggestion that Russia could militarily retaliate against any further US aggression against Syria’s sovereignty.
By contrast, the United States has been sending mixed signals, even within the last 24 hours.
US Defence Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has stated that the US wants to work with Russia to avoid further conflict and does not seek to get sucked into a deeper war in Syria. Hours after these remarks were made, Nikki Haley once again implied that regime change is on the table and that the US opposes the legitimate government of Syria.
One therefore is witnessing a highly decorated retired US General saying something entirely different to the US Ambassador to the United Nations, a woman who has no previous experience in foreign policy or military affairs.
It is tempting to believe that Mattis is the more responsible voice, but given the confusion of the Trump administration, it is difficult to say this with absolute certainty. America’s highest ranking diplomatic, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been eerily silent for much of the week.