JNN Newsletter - April 7, 2017

“Scatter the nations that delight in war.” Ps. 68:30

JNN URGENT UPDATE: USA MISSILE ATTACKS ON SYRIAN AIRFIELD FOLLOWING SYRIAN GOVERNMENT CHEMICAL ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS AND CHILDREN: On Tues. 4 April 2017 as many as 100 people, including at least 11 children, died from suffocation and an estimated 557 people were incapacitated following a toxic gas attack prompted by Syrian government forces. The brutal assault happened in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria. Syrian government or Russian jets pounded Khan Sheikhoun in the morning, and a rocket hit in the afternoon. The projectile struck a hospital, bringing down rubble on top of medics who were trying to help victims. Doctors treating victims at makeshift hospitals in the area say dozens of victims from Khan Sheikhoun showed signs of sarin poisoning, including foaming at the mouth, breathing difficulties and limp bodies. The death toll is likely to rise according to sources. In response to the chemical attack, five dozen American Tomahawk missiles were fired from the Mediterranean Sea at Syria's al-Shayrat airfield in the early hours of Friday morning, 7 April 2017. (J.Post) JNN editors will continue to keep readers updated on this Middle East turn of events. Please intercede for the innocent civilians, including many children, along with medical officials who have been incapacitated and injured in the latest brutal chemical attack on the part of the Syrian government. Pray for help, comfort and recovery.

TRUMP STRIKES ASSAD IN DRAMATIC TURNING POINT IN SYRIAN CIVIL WAR: Five dozen American Tomahawk missiles were fired from the Mediterranean Sea at Syria's al-Shayrat airfield on Friday morning, 7 April 2017, fundamentally changing the dynamics of Syria's protracted and bloody civil war. USA President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to strike an airbase that played host to the very planes which on Tues.4 April 2017, laid chemical siege to a civilian town in Idlib province, killing close to a hundred people and incapacitating an additional 557 victims. Trump's operation was an unprecedented American assault against the embattled government of Syrian President Assad. Trump was deeply disturbed by the images of innocent children killed in Assad's attack and was compelled to respond, he told the American people in an evening address. "Babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror," Trump said. "Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children," he said, withholding comment on his future plans to strike Assad.

Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, "The most significant implication of tonight’s attack is that it signals a fundamental shift in USA policy from the Obama to the Trump administration. The White House did not seem interested in reaching some diplomatic resolution of this incident even using the threat of force to elicit some political gain but rather appeared committed to sending a message that such heinous behavior will be punished - unilaterally by USA action. This marks a huge course correction for USA policy toward Russia under the Trump administration," Satloff added, "and in terms of Iran, marks the first substantive example of the USA pushing back at Iran’s long reach for influence throughout the Middle East." (J.Post) Intercede that the USA’s message to Syria’s brutal regime will establish proof that harsh actions will taken against those perpetrating heinous acts of murder, torture, terrorism and mayhem in the Middle east. May Iran, the Hezbollah and all other terrorist entities take heed.

TRUMP: ‘ALL PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE ASSAD’S BEHAVIOR HAVE FAILED’: "Numerous previous attempts at changing Syrian President Assad’s behavior have all failed dramatically. As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies," USA President Trump said in a televised speech addressing the nation on America’s military strike on Syria. "Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syrian and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We asked for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world." Trump consulted America's allies before conducting the strike, according to senior officials. Assad operates six airfields in the country, five of which remain operable after Friday's 7 April 2017 attack. This military development puts Assad’s regime in unexpected peril, dependent on Trump's next steps. Should Trump proceed with future strikes, he would be challenging both the Syrian regime as well as Moscow, which has invested significant resources in propping up Damascus. Trump may choose to proceed with additional attacks targeting more Syrian airfields, or may alternatively choose to escalate the conflict, targeting Syria's broader military infrastructure. (J.Post)

ISRAEL PRAISES USA MISSILE ATTACK ON SYRIA: Israel’s prime minister has welcomed the USA attack on a Syrian air base saying he “fully supports” President Trump’s decision. PM Netanyahu said on Friday 7 April 2017: “In both word and action Trump sent a strong and clear message that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.” Israel’s Channel 2 TV said Israel along with other allies was notified about the USA strike. The attacks in neighboring Syria have worried Israel, which has warned against “game-changing” weapons reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon from Syria, which supports the terrorist group. Last month Israel shot down an anti-aircraft missile fired at its planes as they struck a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy. Israel also has treated several thousand Syrians wounded in fighting and provided humanitarian aid to some Syrian communities near the Israeli frontier in the Golan Heights. (Washington Times)

RUSSIA, IRAN CONDEMN USA AIR STRIKE IN SYRIA AS BRITAIN, TURKEY GIVE SUPPORT: Russia and Iran condemned a USA strike on a Syrian airbase on Friday 7 April 2017, as Australia, Britain and Turkey gave their support, with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull calling it a "proportionate" response to the use of chemical weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin claims the strikes broke international law and seriously damaged USA-Russia relations. Likewise Iran’s Foreign Ministry denounced what it called the “destructive and dangerous” strike. Meanwhile, Britain gave its backing to the USA strike: "The U.K. government fully supports the USA action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime and is intended to deter further attacks," a government spokesman said. Turkey viewed the strikes positively and Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said the international community should sustain its stance against the "barbarity" of the Syrian government. He added that Assad's government must be fully punished in the international arena and the peace process in Syria needed to be accelerated. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Russia and Iran needed to understand that supporting Assad made no sense and that the escalation of the USA military role in Syria was a "warning" to "a criminal regime". (Reuters)

LIBERMAN: ‘THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACK WAS CARRIED OUT AT ASSAD’S BIDDING’: Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman addressed this week’s chemical weapons massacre in Syria’s Idlib province. Liberman said that “the murderous chemical weapons attacks on civilians in the Idlib region in Syria and on the local hospital were carried out by direct and premeditated order of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Syrian planes. I say this with 100 percent certainty. The cruelest thing,” he added, “is that those who were evacuated from the area of the bombing to the hospital were struck a second time with chemical weapons as Syrian army planes attacked the hospital. Assad tried in the past to obtain nuclear weapons through North Korea, and the other ‘masters’ in the area like Hezbollah and Nasrallah are no different than he is.” Liberman added: “What we have here is people who are cannibals. When they ask me why there isn’t peace in the Middle East it’s like asking if a cannibal can be a vegetarian. The word ‘peace’ is not relevant to the Middle East. We can come to regional arrangements, but not to peace." (Arutz-7)

‘HOW MANY MORE CHILDREN HAVE TO DIE BEFORE RUSSIA CARES?’ USA Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed Russia's continued support for Syrian President Assad at the UN Security Council on 5 April 2017, following chemical weapons attack in Syria. "Yesterday morning we awoke to pictures of children foaming at the mouth, suffering convulsions, being carried in the arms of desperate parents," Haley said in a speech to the Security Council. "We cannot close our eyes to these pictures, we cannot close our minds to the responsibility to act." She said that world powers had tried to hold the Assad regime responsible for its crimes against its own people, but Russia stood in the way of this accountability. "How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked. She added that the failure to stop the carnage in Syria is an indictment of the failure of the UN to protect innocents. "There are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action. We regularly repeat efforts in support of a peace process that is regularly undermined by the Assad regime,” she said. “If we’re not able to enforce resolutions preventing use of chemical weapons what does that say for our chance of ending the broader conflict in Syria? What does that say of our ability to bring relief to the Syrian people? If we are not able to enforce resolutions preventing the use of chemical weapons what does that say about our effectiveness in this institution?” (Arutz-7)

PENTAGON MEMO: SYRIA HAS ‘RIDICULOUSLY HUGE’ STOCKPILE OF SARIN GAS: Syria produced a “ridiculously huge amount” of deadly sarin gas, says an internal Defense Department memo written amid the Obama administration’s effort to remove and destroy all the country’s chemical weapons. That stockpile, which Obama aides declared was reduced to zero by summer 2014, is again in the headlines. President Trump on 5 April 2017, accused Syrian President Assad of once again committing mass murder against his own people by unleashing sarin gas on a town in Idlib province, killing dozens of innocents. His words raise the question, where did the sarin come from? An intelligence official said, that at this point, the USA does not know. “Our incompetence did not get all of Assad’s chemical weapons,” said James Dolbow, a former Republican Senate defense aide. It was Assad’s brutal use of sarin in August 2013 that prompted then president Obama to plan airstrikes on a wide number of Syrian military targets. The raids were averted when Russian President Vladimir Putin, an Assad protector, intervened and proposed that Syrian voluntarily give up its chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia has “failed” in its responsibility to deliver on a 2013 commitment to secure Syria’s chemical weapons. Tillerson briefed reporters shortly after the USA launched cruise missiles against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a gruesome chemical weapons attack. The secretary says Russia has either been complicit or “simply incompetent” in failing to deliver on its end of the agreement. Tillerson will make the first visit to Russia by a Trump administration official just days after the USA launched cruise missiles against an air base in Syria, where Russia’s military is on the ground propping up its ally, President Bashar Assad. Until the 7 April 2017 attack, the USA had avoided striking Assad’s forces, largely out of concern about being pulled into a military conflict with Russia. Growing disagreements about Syria are just the latest obstacle to any plans President Trump had to closer align the USA and Russia on the world stage. (Washington Times) “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies.” Ps. 5:9

The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff