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By Saagar Enjeti
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley diplomatically indicated that the U.S. may take action against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad for a chemical weapons attack Tuesday in an address she gave to the U.N. security council Wednesday.
“When United Nations fails to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,” Haley declared.
Her statement is the most explicit of several possible hints by Trump administration officials that the U.S. may act against the regime. Secretary of Defense James Mattis told Pentagon reporters that the chemical weapons attack was “a heinous act and will be treated as such.”
Haley also admonished Russia, the Assad regime’s main sponsor. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked the U.N. security council.
“You’ll see,” President Donald Trump told reporters, when questioned Wednesday about whether he will pursue a new Syria policy.
The White House statement following the Tuesday attack blamed former President Barack Obama for failing to act against Assad saying, “these heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution. President Obama said in 2012 that he’d establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing.Trump himself however tweeted in 2013 urging Obama not to take military action against Syria warning that “there is no upside and tremendous downside.”
A representative to the U.N. from the United Kingdom said in a statement: “The United Kingdom, with our allies, will continue to seek justice for the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and elsewhere. We will continue to pursue other avenues for action.”