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Spotlight: U.S. wrestles with Russia in Syria for settling scores among powers
Last Updated: 2018-04-12 07:23 | Xinhua
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The allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria seem like a front for settling scores between major powers and that was obvious in the recent tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump against Russia.

In one of his tweets on Wednesday, Trump described the relationship with Russia as the worse ever been.

"Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War," he tweeted, a day after his country and Russia clashed diplomatically in the UN Security Council over the draft resolutions to deal with the allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria by the Syrian forces.

Both powers vetoed each other's draft resolutions, with the Russians accusing the U.S. of prejudging the outcome of the investigation of the chemical weapons use in Douma district east of Damascus while the Americans said the Russians were trying to carry out the investigation their way.

But for many observers, the chemical weapons pretext is just a front behind which the U.S. aims at targeting Russia's interests in Syria, particularly after the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance has almost won the war in Syria, while the U.S. side has been largely marginalized.

For the U.S., undermining the Russian role in Syria is the main goal, while for Israel, eliminating the Iranian role is the main goal.

So the equation is Russia versus U.S. and Israel versus Iran.

Before his tweets on Wednesday, and while commenting on the chemical weapons allegations, Trump said "If it's Russia, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out," he said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin, "everybody's going to pay a price -- he will, everybody will."

After the U.S. warmongering rhetoric against Syria and its allies, Russia warned the U.S. of striking Syria.

Russia's envoy to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said his country has warned the U.S. against striking Syria, stating that "Russia has warned U.S. representatives, publicly as well as through proper channels, over the grave consequences that could arise if these strikes happen and whether deliberately or otherwise Russian citizens are hurt."

Also, Russia's ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin said Wednesday that his country would respond to any U.S. missiles fired at Syria by shooting them down and targeting their launch sites.

In another tweet Wednesday, Trump made remarks about Russia's remarks of targeting U.S. missiles.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready, Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart!" Trump tweeted.

After taunting Russia in his tweets, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook that "smart" missiles would destroy any evidence of a suspected chemical weapons attack.

"Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legitimate government that has been fighting international terrorism for several years on its territory," she said.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu official twitter account reported that he spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and reiterated that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria.

"I have a message to the rulers of Iran," Netanyahu said, warning "Do not put to test Israel's resolve."

This comes as Israel targeted the Syrian T-4 airbase in the central province of Homs a couple of days ago, killing 14 soldiers including Iranian fighters amid Iranian warnings.

On Wednesday, Iran vowed to retaliate for the recent attack on the T-4 base in Syria, while blaming Israel for the strike.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Wednesday that Israel's "crimes will not remain unanswered."

Meanwhile, Bouthaina Shabaan, the political and media adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, said Wednesday that her country is not fearing the U.S. threats of striking Syria.

In an interview with pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV late Wednesday, Shabaan said the U.S. threats of striking Syria aim to make more gains, stressing that consultations are ongoing among the allies of Syria and will not leave things to go Washington's way.

Shabaan said the results of the Syrian war have come against the Western approach in terms of the emergence of the Russian, Syrian, and Hezbollah alliance, calling it the "alliance of the future."

The axis of resistance, meaning the Syrian allies of Iran and Hezbollah, has its choices and dealing quietly, Shabaan said, adding that the rule of clashes has changed in favor of the Syrian side.

"The victory of Syria will change the map of the region and the world," she said, adding that Israel is feverishly trying to prolong the Syrian war "because it would be the biggest loser."

She said that Israel is the main ignitor of the war on Syria, adding that the Syrian and Russian sides have made all preparations after the Israeli attack on the T-4 airbase a couple of days ago.

Shaaban concluded by saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has always been strong and calm.

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