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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Putin warns of global "chaos" if the US attacks Syria again

Por Nina

President Vladimir Putin warned that if Washington took new actions against Damascus there would be "inevitably" a chaos in international relations. The declarations of the Russian president take place in the middle of a growing pulse between the two countries, after the United States, France and the United Kingdom attacked three objectives of the Syrian government for the supposed use of chemical weapons against the civil population of the locality of Douma. Although after the bombings Moscow criticized them and assured that they would have consequences, it is the first time that Putin warns of sequels if Washington insists on taking new actions against Syria.

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions continue in violation of the UN Charter, they will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations," a statement from the Kremlin said. According to the text, during a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, both leaders agreed that the bombings last Saturday against Syria damaged the possibility of a political resolution of the Syrian conflict.

After the operations in Damascus and Homs, the White House is preparing to increase the pressure against Bashar al-Assad with new economic sanctions to Russian companies that have supposed links with the Syrian government, confirmed this Sunday the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. Meanwhile, Moscow, which failed to get the UN to approve a resolution condemning the attacks on Saturday, was defiant of this possibility. In an interview with the US television network CBS, Haley announced that her country would impose new economic sanctions against Russian companies "that were dealing with equipment" related to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian president.

In response to the announcement of the ambassador, Deputy Director of the Defense Committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament, Evgeny Serebrennikov, said that Moscow was "ready" for sanctions. "They are difficult for us, but they will cause more damage to the United States and Europe," the official said, quoted by the state agency RIA. On Saturday, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles against what the Pentagon considered chemical weapons facilities of the Syrian government, in retaliation for the alleged attack on April 7 in Douma. The three powers blame Al- Assad for the attack that according to some witnesses and humanitarian organizations, left dozens dead. The Syrian government and its allies Russia and Iran deny it and claim that it is a montage of the West.

A team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria on Thursday to investigate what happened and was scheduled to begin operations on the ground over the weekend, the Dutch-based agency said in a statement. Chemical weapons are prohibited by international laws and on several occasions the Syrian government has been accused of using them in cities taken by rebels during the internal conflict that has lasted more than seven years.

Prior to the bombing, Russia had threatened the possibility of a war conflagration if the United States attacked Syria. The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vasili Nebenzia, warned last week that the possibility of a "war" between his country and the United States could not be ruled out, if Washington decided to launch an attack against Syria. Finally, Trump ordered the military actions, although until Sunday, Russia's response had not gone beyond criticism and the search for a condemnation before the UN Security Council. However, the Pentagon clarified that the operations in Syria were designed in such a way that they did not affect the troops that Moscow or Tehran has deployed there. And although the United States said it had not alerted the Russians to the imminent bombing, France later confirmed that it had notified them in advance. In fact, according to Syrian state television, the authorities of that country evacuated days before the facilities bombarded by a notice they received from Russia.

After the supposed chemical attack last week, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, assured that not only Syria, but also Russia and Iran "would pay a price" for violating international norms again. Several analysts have warned that, after the bombings, the new scenario of confrontation between Russia and the United States over the situation in Syria will be at the level of international relations. In fact, since last week, the UN Security Council has been the scene of bitter protests between those who support Damascus and those who criticize it.

During the session on Friday, the general secretary of the organization, Antonio Guterres, considered that the dispute between the countries involved in the conflict is the greatest current danger for international security and peace and described it as a "new Cold War". "Growing tensions and the inability to reach compromises to establish a mechanism of accountability (on the use of chemical weapons in Syria) threaten to lead to a total military escalation," he said. Guterres considered that this new Cold War also presents the danger that the formulas that existed decades ago to manage risks are no longer present, so he asked all countries to "act responsibly in these dangerous circumstances."