United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said Friday that the U.S. “is prepared to do more” to stop Syrian President Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons, issuing a new warning to the regime after American missile strikes against a military base there.
“The moral stain of the Assad regime could no longer go unanswered. His crimes against humanity could no longer be met with empty words. It was time to say, enough. But not only say it. It was time to act,” Haley said at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday. “The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary.”
Haley, who has appeared to be the most outspoken representative of President Donald Trump’s administration in the days since Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack in a rebel-controlled portion of Syria, said the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles was “fully justified.” She said stopping the spread and use of chemical weapons was in the “vital national security interests” of the United States.
In addition to her harsh words for Assad, Haley also laid blame for the chemical weapon attack at his regime’s two most prominent sponsors, Iran and Russia. She said the Iranian government “has propped up and shielded Syria’s brutal dictator for years” and said Assad launched his attack only “because he knew Russia would have his back.”
Russia served as a guarantor of a 2013 deal in which Syria was supposed to have turned over its entire stockpile of chemical weapons. Haley said Russia had either allowed Assad to keep some of the prohibited weapons, been incompetent in ensuring their destruction, or “the Assad regime is playing the Russians for fools.”
“Every time Assad has crossed the line of human decency, Russia has stood beside him,” Haley said. “The United States will no longer wait for Assad to use chemical weapons without any consequences. Those days are over.”