Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, appeared before the global entity on Friday, one day after the United States launched a Tomahawk missile strike on the Syrian Air Force base responsible for Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack that left dozens dead. The ambassador established a clear position regarding the intent of the strike and the potential for ongoing military action against Assad’s regime.
“The joint investigative mechanism has found beyond any doubt that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own people multiple times,” Haley said. “Assad did this because he thought he could get away with it. He thought he could get away with it because he knew Russia had his back. That changed last night.”
“The United States took a very measured step last night,” Haley said. “We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary. It is time for all civilized nations to stop the horrors that are taking place in Syria and demand a political solution.”
Haley also had pointed comments directed at Russia, who have already made a series of statements calling the missile strike a “violation of international law.”
“Every time Assad has crossed the line of human decency, Russia has stood beside him,” Haley said.
Russia has responded in kind via multiple Kremlin owned news outlets and in statements made by various spokesmen. Conflicting reports of communication lines between U.S. and Russian forces in the region being severed have appeared on multiple outlets, with some U.S. officials claiming that the lines remain open, but Russia declaring an end to their cooperation with the U.S.
“We strongly condemn the illegitimate action by the US,” said Russia’s deputy United Nations ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov. “The consequences of this for regional and international stability could be extremely serious.”
The Bolivian Ambassador also relayed his nations criticisms, comparing Thursday’s action to former Secretary of State, Colin Powell’s remarks to the UN that called for an invasion of Iraq due to the belief that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction in 2003.
“The United States not only unilaterally attacked, but while we were discussing here and demanding the need for an independent investigation an impartial investigation, complete investigation into the attacks, the United States has become to that investigator, has become the prosecutor, has become the judge, has become the jury,” Bolivia’s Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz.
The United Kingdom spoke in stark contrast to Russia and Bolivia’s statements, calling the U.S. action both appropriate and necessary, and directing their own jabs at the Russian government. United Kingdom Ambassador to United Nations Matthew Rycroft said the UK supports the decision to strike the airfield “because war crimes have consequences and the greatest war criminal of all, Bashar al-Assad, has now been put on notice.”
“The US strike was a proportionate response to unspeakable acts that gave rise to overwhelming humanitarian distress, Rycroft said. “It was also a strong effort to save lives, by ensuring such acts never happen again.”
The Ambassador went on to address Russia directly; “Russia has given Assad everything he could dream of. Without Russia’s seven vetoes in the Security Council, defying the views of other members of this council, Assad would now have faced sanctions and justice.”
He added, “Russia sits here today humiliated by its failure to bring to heel a puppet dictator, entirely propped up by Russia itself and Hezbollah and Iran.”
Image courtesy of ABC News