US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has said that a new White House warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad on the use of chemical weapons also applies to Syria's Russian and Iranian allies. Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov dismissed the provocation, accusing Haley of spending sleepless nights thinking of ways to defend terrorists.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced that the US had "identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children." Spicer warned that if President Bashar Assad does launch such an attack, "he and his military will pay a heavy price."
Speaking before a House panel on foreign operations Tuesday, US UN Ambassador Haley confirmed that the US was looking to send a "message" not only to Assad, but to his allies as well. "The goal is at this point not just to send Assad a message, but to send Russia and Iran a message," she said.
"That is, if this happens again, we are putting you on notice. My hope is that the president's warning will certainly get Iran and Russia to take a second look, and I hope that it will caution Assad," Haley added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry blastedWashington's 'warning', saying that it was highly reminiscent of the insinuations about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction made in 2003. Moscow stressed that the US claims were "nothing less than an invitation for terrorists, extremists and armed opposition in Syria to fabricate another mass provocation using chemical weapons."
Responding to Ambassador Haley's remarks, Senior Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov, well-known for his pithy commentary on foreign affairs issues, sarcastically dismantled her claims, tweeting that the official "can't sleep at night" because all she seems to think about is defending terrorists.
"Haley has said that Damascus, Moscow and Tehran would be found guilty of 'any use of chemical weapons in Syria'. She can't sleep at night – defending the militants instead."
As for Washington's claims about the Syrian military's "preparations for another chemical weapons attack" in general, Pushkov suggested that these kinds of accusations were on par with the 'fake news bullsh*t' put out by mainstream media networks like CNN.
"The US's accusations against Damascus are akin to the kinds of fake news CNN broadcasts for the sake of ratings. A CNN producer has given them a concise definition: bullshit."
Earlier this week, Project Veritas released an undercover video showing a CNN producer admitting that the network's coverage of possible collusion between Trump officials and Russia during the 2016 presidential race was "mostly bullsh*t."
Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly denied the US claims that the Syrian government was responsible for the April 4 chemical attack in Idlib province, which killed 80 people and prompted the US to launch cruise missile strikes against a Syrian airbase.
The US has refused to provide any evidence of the Syrian government's alleged chemical attack preparations, claiming the information was "an intelligence matter." Washington had previously acknowledged that Damascus had destroyed its entire chemical weapons arsenal in 2014, under a deal brokered with Moscow's help.