(Defensive these days)
"The United States has warned Russia that it would be ready to strike Syria again if President Bashar Assad and his government use chemical weapons in the country, the Bloomberg news agency said on Friday citing own sources.
According to the agency’s sources, the warning was conveyed by National Security Adviser John Bolton to his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, during their Thursday’s meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
The agency says that Washington “has information that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may use chemical weapons as he seeks to recapture one of the country’s last rebel-held areas” – in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
During the talks with Patrushev, Bolton said the United States would respond with stronger military action that it has used in Syria in the past – in 2017 and 2018." Bloomberg and AMN
"Militants of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), aided by British intelligence, are preparing to stage a chemical attack in northern Syria that will be used as a pretext for a new missile strike by the U.S., the UK and France on facilities of the Damascus government, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced on August 25.
“According to the information confirmed simultaneously by several independent sources, the active terrorist grouping Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is plotting a new provocation with the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government forces against civilians in the Idlib province … A special group of terrorists who have been trained by specialists of the UK private military company Olive to handle chemical warfare agents has also arrived in the area of Jisr ash-Shughur,” Konashenkov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Konashenkov revealed that the U.S. is already preparing for the new missile strike. According to the statment, the US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago while a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the al-Udeid air base in Qatar.
“The actions by Western countries contrary to public statements are aimed at another dramatic escalation of the situation in the Middle East and at disrupting the peace process on the territory of Syria,” Konashenkov warned.
Earlier this week, the U.S., the UK and Franc released a joint statement, in which they condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Damascus government. The three countries vowed to “respond appropriately to any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.”" SF & Russian MoD
Bolton, Pompeo and the neocons have made it clear that they at least have not abandoned Regime Change in Syria as their objective. Whether or not Mattis and Votel are fully on board with this is unclear to me. They may well be playing some separate game of their own involving a madcap desire to maintain a US dominated zone in Syria east of the Euphrates River. Trump's hand is not visible in this for me. Power appears to have fractured in Washington with regard to ME policy
The Regime Changers seem to believe they will have another bite at the apple during the Idlib liberation campaign when a White Helmet style "gas attack" can be staged and then used to obtain Trump's acquiescence in a sizable set of attacks against Syrian forces this time as well as facilities.
The Israelis seem to be out of the game on this one having made a deal with Russia and Syria over stability on the Golan front line.
Well, good for them. pl