Trump gets more bouquets than bricks for Syrian strikes

While the media in the West and the Sunni Arab world eulogise Trump’s action, their counterparts in Russia, China and Iran aren’t too amused by the strikes on the Syrian airbase

Photo from Twitter
Photo from Twitter

NH Web Desk

America’s bombing of the Syrian airbase with 59-odd Tomahawk missiles on Friday is drawing powerful reactions from the governments and media worldwide. The western countries including Israel have thrown full support behind US President Donald Trump for shunning his non-interventionism approach to foreign policy. Even western media outlets like The New York Times and The Guardian, which have been scathing of Trump administration’s policies, have lauded the President’s latest action in Syria.

The Sunni Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia, also seems to be backing Trump at this stage, never mind the love-hate relationship Muslims have shared with the American president since he entered the White House in January.

The reactions from Russia, China and Iran, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more critical.

Arabs express joy on social media

News outlets reported that Arabs took to social media to thank Trump for the strikes against Assad’s regime. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that Trump was being fondly referred to as Abu Ivanka (Ivanka Trump’s father) and Abu Ivanka al-Amreeki (father of Ivanka, the American) by Arab social media users in the wake of the surgical attacks.

Trump’s decision ‘courageous’, says Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said it was “courageous” of Trump to launch the strikes in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

“A responsible source at the foreign ministry expressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's full support for the American military operations on military targets in Syria, which came as a response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians,” a statement run by Saudi’s state-controlled news agency, the SPA, read.

Strikes will reverberate in Pyongyang and Tehran: Israel

Donald Trump’s ally Israel has expressed “unconditional support” for American strikes on Syria, saying the message would reverberate in Pyongyang and Tehran, two other foreign powers which are at odds with the West over their weapons and nuclear programme.

“In acting as it has, the United States serves as an example to the entire free world, which must support any step required to bring the atrocities in Syria to an end,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was quoted as saying in English daily Jerusalem Post.

Trump has shown he will not be ‘intimidated’

Prominent English daily The Telegraph gushed over Trump’s decision in an editorial published on Friday. The newspaper supported America’s use of “proportionate” force in “defence of a humanitarian principle”.

The London-based publication criticised the United Nations over its inaction in Syria till date, as it hoped that US and its allies will remain the “the pre-eminent force for decency in the world.”

The editorial noted that Trump had been slowly veering in the opposite direction after campaigning on the platform of non-interventionism, a likely reference to Trump’s criticism of conventional US foreign policy of meddling in overseas disputes during his successful presidential campaign.

‘Sometimes the right thing can be done by a wrong person’

Another UK-headquartered publication, The Guardian, also lauded the American strikes. An article on its news website, however, was qualified in its support for Trump, saying that the impact of the strikes would depend on the events yet to unfold.

“For one thing, we don’t yet know if the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles that rained down on the Shayrat base in the early hours of Friday morning were a one-off or the start of something more,” The Guardian article read.

The publication quoted a Barack Obama-era official warning Trump to not to let the situation escalate in the wake of the strikes.

“The US intervention in Libya, which he backed, began with a very narrow, legitimate goal – the protection of civilians from an imminent threat of slaughter – but ended in regime change,” The Guardian reported on Anthony Blinken’s, a former under-secretary of state under Barack Obama, comments.

Emotionally satisfied, but worried about implications

The New York Times, which has often found itself in the firing line of President Trump, was also restricted in its praise of the American missile strikes.

“It was hard not to feel some sense of emotional satisfaction, and justice done, when American cruise missiles struck an airfield in Syria on Thursday,” an editorial on the NYT website read.

But the American daily also questioned if Trump had thought out the implications of using force in Syria. “But it is also hard not to feel unsettled by the many questions raised by President Trump’s decision.”

The influential daily didn’t miss the chance to pan Trump for backflipping on his campaign pledge of not interfering in foreign wars, saying that such steps didn’t “inspire confidence.”

“However sincere this sentiment, the spectacle of a President precipitously reversing course on war and peace on the basis of emotion or what his defenders describe as instinct does not inspire confidence,” the NYT editorial said.

It’s a show of force by America, should be probed: Chinese media

On the other end of the spectrum, while the Russians have made no bones in criticising Trump’s move terming it as an “aggression”, the Chinese media also reacted on similar lines saying the American strikes on Syria were hostile. An editorial in Communist Party-controlled Global Times condemned Trump for flouting international rules in unilaterally hitting the Syrian airbase.

Saying that the decision was “show of force” by Trump, the editorial read, “He (Trump) wants to prove that he dares to do what Obama dared not. He wants to prove to the world that he is no businessman president and that he will use US military force without hesitation when he considers it necessary.”

The Global Times predicted that Trump’s actions in Syria would end up escalating the war and displacing more civilians.

“Neither Russia nor Iran will remain silent on the attack nor sit idly by and accept the fallout. The Syrian civil war is entering a new phase. More refugees will flee the region and Europe may have to pay the price.”

America is fighting on the same side as ISIS and Al-Qaeda: Iran

Iran, a staunch Assad ally and whose nuclear program is censured by the Trump administration, didn’t mince words in attacking Trump as it backed Syrian government claims that it didn’t possess nuclear weapons.

The state controlled Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) quoted the Shia regime’s foreign minister as condemning America for perpetrating a military act on “groundless accusations.”

“US aids Saddam’s use of CW (chemical weapons) against Iran in (the) 80s; then resorts to military force over bogus CW allegations: First in 2003 and now in Syria,” foreign minister Javad Zarif was quoted as saying in ISNA.

Compiled by Dhairya Maheshwari

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