New U.S. sanctions against Russia are coming as soon as Monday to punish the country for its support of the Syrian regime, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday.
“You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down,” Haley said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad and chemical weapons use. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message.”
The United States, Britain and France launched airstrikes Friday night against Syrian research, storage and military sites after the Assad regime was blamed for a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians.
The U.S. has vowed to also squeeze Syria’s allies Russia and Iran.
“We wanted their friends Iran and Russia to know that we meant business and that they were going to be feeling the pain from this as well,” Haley said.
The ambassador said the missile attack set back Syria’s chemical weapons capacity by years, and pushed back against critics who said the one-time strikes did little to change the situation on the ground.
“This was very strong attack on the chemical weapons program. We were not looking for war. That’s the last thing the President wanted was war. We were not looking to kill people,” she said. “This was not muscle flexing. We set their chemical weapons program back years…Our job was never to take Assad out. Our job was never to start a war.”
But Haley said the U.S. would not pull its troops out of Syria — despite vows by President Trump to bring the military home — until its goals are accomplished.
That means an end to chemical weapons usage, the complete defeat of ISIS in Syria, and curbing Iranian influence in the area.
Trump has told military commanders to quickly wrap up operations so he can bring the about 2,000 troops on the ground home within a few months, but Haley insisted there was no deadline.
“We haven’t said that we’re going to bring them home in six months. What we are saying is at some point we want to see our military come home,” she said.
Also appearing on “Face the Nation,” Sen. Tim Kaine slammed the air strikes as illegal and reckless without approval from Congress.
“It’s very, very clear Congress has the power to declare war and only Congress,” said Kaine (D-Va.). “President Trump is not a king. He’s a President. He’s supposed to come to Congress to seek permission to initiate a war.”
Kaine said the Syrian operations lack a clear strategy.
“It’s illegal because he didn’t come and ask permission,” he said.
“It’s reckless because as you pointed out there isn’t a strategy,” Kaine added. “We need to defeat ISIS. But we heard different things from the administration. Are we staying there now to topple Assad, to counter Iran, to check Russia, to help the Kurds, to buttress Israel, to rebuild our relationships with Turkey? They haven’t laid out a strategy and military action shouldn’t be taken as a one off. It should be taken as part of a strategy.”
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