Syria attack ‘major step backward’ for Trump: Graham

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)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stands in an elevator in the Senate Basement on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The recent missile attack by the United States, France and the UK was a “major step backwards” for President Donald Trump, says top Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, arguing that the attack failed to weaken Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.

"We’re becoming the chemical weapons police, we don’t have a strategy about why Syria matters," Graham said of the last week attack, which saw British, French and American warships and fighter jets fire 105 missiles at Syria over an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta.

The strike has drawn global outcry since it was carried out before the international chemical weapons watchdog could probe the incident.

Describing the strike as a “missed opportunity,” Graham said the military action was smaller in scale than he expected and that it did nothing to slow down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s advances against militant groups.

"The military strike itself was a tactical response well short of what I thought was justified. So he’s been a good commander-in-chief in general, but this is a major step backwards," the South Carolina lawmaker explained.

The attack came days after Trump announced that he would pull America's nearly 2,000 troops out from Syria.

Unlike Graham, his close ally, Senator John McCain, expressed his support for the US strikes on Syria in a statement.

The Arizona senator, known for his hawkish stances, also thanked London and Paris for taking part in the mission.

However, he held the same view as Graham that Washington needs a better strategy to stop Russian and Iranian influence in Syria and the Middle East region.

Syria and Russia, one of Assad’s key supporters in the fight against foreign-backed militancy, have both denied any use of chemical weapons by the government of Assad in the Arab country's conflict against foreign-backed militants.

Washington says it has proof that Syrian government forces conducted a deadly chemical weapons attack on April 7, without providing any evidence.

This is while the Syrian government surrendered its chemical weapons stockpile in 2014 during a process monitored by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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