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Trump's 'Mission Accomplished' claim sparks questions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump makes a statement about the situation in Syria at the White House in Washington, April 13, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump's declared “Mission Accomplished” hours after missile strikes on Syria with the help France and the UK, but questions remain unanswered on what was actually the mission and its possible achievement.

The strikes hit three sites -- one in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and two in the city of Homs -- which President Donald Trump claimed were "associated with the chemical weapon capabilities" of the Syrian government.

The aggression, however, was limited to a single night, with US Defense Secretary James Mattis saying it was a "one-time shot" to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A Syrian military statement, however, said most of the missiles fired from both the sea and aircraft were shot down. The Russian military also confirmed the Syrian air defenses' shooting down of the Western missiles.

Trump’s “Mission Accomplished” tweet drew comparisons to a similar declaration made by former US president George W. Bush.

In May 2003, Bush stood on an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" banner and said "major combat operations in Iraq have ended" - just six weeks after the invasion of the Arab country.

The war, however, dragged on for many years and the banner became a symbol of a US premature judgment.

Ari Fleischer, Bush’s White House press secretary at the time of the speech, tweeted Saturday, "I would have recommended ending this (Trump's) tweet with not those two words."

Additionally, many analysts and media outlets said the tripartite attack on Syria had accomplished nothing but rather raised questions about the US mission in Syria.

The Guardian said, "The real question now is not what damage the strikes have done to the Assad regime’s remaining chemical stockpiles but its wider calculus for the ongoing war."

"The strike brought home Mr. Trump’s competing impulses when it comes to Syria — on the one hand, his manful chest-thumping intended to demonstrate that he is the toughest one on the international block, and on the other, his deep conviction that American involvement in the Middle East since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been a waste of blood and treasure," The New York Times reported.

Washington, London and Paris said their aggression was in response to last week's alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb town of Douma, which they blamed on the Damascus government.

Some critics argued that if Trump was truly concerned about the victims of the alleged chemical attack in Syria, he should reverse his policy of barring Syrian refugees from the US.

“The ongoing bloodshed and war crimes in Syria are a stark reminder that Syrian civilians need our support now more than ever,” Noah Gottschalk of Oxfam America said in a statement.

“Yet the Trump administration still lacks a coherent strategy to actually bring an end to the conflict and instead has sought to slash humanitarian aid and slam the door on Syrian refugees," he added.


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