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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 7, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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east coast. this is msnbc live with our continuing coverage of the airstrikes against syria, launched by president trump a few hours ago. i'm ayman mohyeldin. let's give you a rundown of what happened this evening. at missiles launched on the syrian airfield. 59 tomahawk cruise missiles inside a target in syria. department of defense released this video showing those missiles at the moment they were launched. they rained down on shayrat airfield. launching the planes that carried those chemical weapons. ammunition supplies, air defense systems and radars. the strikes were a response to tuesday's horrific chemical weapons attack that killed and injured hundreds of people, many
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of them children, as seen in these disturbing images on your screen, images that apparently moved the president and led to change his year's long stance against intervention in syria. in fact, here is part of what the president said in a brief statement overnight from his mar-a-lago resort. >> tonight i ordered a targeted military strike on the air field in syria from where the chemical attack was launched. using a deadly nerve agent, assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. it was a slow and brutal death for so many, even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. no child of god should ever suffer such horror.
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>> the syrian government, however, says accusations that they were responsible for that chemical attack are fabricated. official confirms that russians were warned ahead of time in advance to that missile launch. more than two dozen members of congress, including the gang of eight, including both democratic and republican leaders of both the house and senate were briefed prior to the strikes. the question now, is this just a retaliatory strike or first step in a greater incursion for the united states inside syria? here with an early read on the first military action by president trump, at the foreign policy research institute and former fbi double agent. good to have you with us. let's answer that question if we can. is this, do you think, a precursor to a larger u.s. incursion in syria or is this a one and done type of strike to send a very simple message in
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retaliation for that chemical attack that the u.s. alleges syria carried out? >> i think it's the latter. i think you're exactly right. this is -- there is no follow-up needed. this is a very traditional military strike. you know, years ago when i was a young -- starting off as an intelligence officer in the navy, one of the questions iraqis actually asked americans why do you like to bomb buildings so much? for them, they took their stuff, took it out of the buildings and it was safe. exact same thing. very traditional american military strike where you go after traditional infrastructure. most likely assad moved the aircraft and the tactical implications are pretty limited. it is a one and done. we didn't have to use aircraft, didn't have to take out air integrated systems. we sent a very cursory message to assad. >> if you had to picture yourself being in that room when the president is being briefed and the military is presenting
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him with options, they're probably also asking him what are the military objectives that you want to accomplish? what do you think the military objectives of this strike were this evening? >> i hope it wasn't just military objectives. i hope there's at least some forethought into what is the strategic objective? what is our plan in syria? what is our plan in the region? i think at a certain point the mission planning that went into this was how do we make sure there's no further escalation? when you talk about one and done, part of that will be based on how the syrians and, more importantly, how the russians respond. clearly, we took great care to make sure this strike did not warrant escalation by the russians. and i think that's probably a large part of the plan. >> obviously, the battlefield in syria is so complex. there are many dynamics. in fact, many different conflicts are at play. you've got the fight against isis and terrorist-affiliated
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groups, fighting the assad regime. in some instances you have the turks fighting the kurds. does this change those conflicts, somehow emboelden, perhaps, the rebels to try to seize more land, to feel, perhaps, that the u.s. has their backing or no? >> you know, that is -- i think that is the heart of the question here. the problem with syria is that the status quo kind of keeps everything in check. it also has resulted in the death of over 500,000 people. so, you know, if you tip one -- that is, you weaken assad or weaken isis, then one of the other groups, by default, will become more powerful. if you look at the kurds, if the kurds take more land, turks are indictme diametrically opposed. if there's not a strategy and we
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start tinkering with one of these groups, either propping them up or hurting them, i think the vacuum that comes out could really make things a lot worse. >> just to be clear, this is not a regime change type of attack. this is not a -- if the u.s. was really keen -- >> absolutely. >> yeah. if the u.s. was keen on regime change or ousting assad, as they had said under president obama, they could have really broken the back of the air force and really tried to hamper the regime from carrying out further air strikes, but this was not that. far from it? >> absolutely. look, if you remember the american strike on gadhafi, they could have -- if the u.s. wanted to send a message that assad's days were limited and only his day tomorrow because the united states decided that he got to do that, they could have targeted the palace. they could have sent a message that said you knock this out, next time we come after you,
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we're not going to miss. they clearly did something very, very safe, again, with limited chance of catch any russians and that was their major consideration here. clearly not -- no one is going to look at this and say regime change. it's a clear warning that says to assad, if you do something again maybe we'll escalate. beyond that, there's not much else there. >> do you think that this at all changes the calculation for president putin in russia? is he watching this today? and to some extent i want to ask you about iran. do they have a calculation that changes today that says look, we have to double down. fine, the u.s. got this one strike in. as of tomorrow morning we're back in this fight, protecting the assad regime, all hands on deck type scenario? >> yeah. lo look, if we wanted to have a positive impact in syria, two major things we could do. we could really address the
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refugee problem. the second is to really put pressure on iran and russia. with this strike we've done neither of those things. your question about iran, that's a very important one. iran really wants to be a region al leader. they really scare the saudis. i think there's a concern here that they may, as you said, double down in syria. the russians, look, they're here to stay. if you think about russia had made a brilliant move, moving into syria. they had inserted themselves not just in the discussion. whatever happens with syria it will involve the russians. a few years ago, that was not the case. not only syria, russians now have a major role -- have the ability to project power and influence in the middle east. i do think that whether they double down or not, they certainly aren't going anywhere. i think that's safe to say. >> it's a pleasure having you with us.
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i know you've been up all night. thanks for staying up late for us. >> appreciate it. three-star admiral joe sistek. i know it's an early morning for you. you commanded the uss george washington in the persian gulf and indian ocean in 2002. give us, first of all, your overall assessment of the strike from a military perspective? we'll talk about the politics of it in a moment. from a military perspective, how have you seen it went this morning? >> we haven't seen the battlefield damage but there is some damage but this strike was as much about the signal it sent than about the military objective by far. we did not strike when that red line was drawn several years ago by president obama. and, rather, when we didn't strike, a russian brokered deal was made that the president of syria, assad, was going to
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remove all these chemical weapons and said he did. now he has done an atrocious, international crime. i don't think there was a choice but to strike because this is a signal to other countries also, such as north korea, that the united states will stand behind its word. there was a brokered deal and it was violated. more can be done. i'm not saying it needs to be. but the united states has to now take advantage of this opportunity diplomatically. we had walked away from the leadership in that region after that red line was not adhered to. we need to work with the russians. we may not like how things have gone, but we have no choice. it was just said a little earlier. it's not about just going in with the military. it's how do you want it to end? what is our objective? and only diplomacy is going to bring this about. >> so, to pick up on that point, diplomacy is the only way to bring an end to this conflict, then what is the purpose of the military objective? what are military planners
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working under the assumption to achieve this evening with this strike? >> i think they have really wanted to send a signal. it's what you often do with our united states military. the presence of us there and then the presence when a hideous crime is done and that more can be done. there's not a question that we can take out not only the fixed wing aircraft of all the fields of syria. it would be tough? darn right it would be tough. there's air defense missile systems there. it's gotten tougher because we didn't strike right after that red line a few years ago. but this is a strong signal. if it's followed up that we mean business, that we have to bring about a peace there -- because without u.s. leadership in the world, things are going to get settled maybe not to our interests. so, again, i'm not advocating at all for ground troops, anything close to that. we shouldn't be doing that. our dog in this fight was isis.
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it isn't the removal of assad. therefore, you must bring about a deal. think about this. you have turkey now. that's a large dynamic that has changed where their military is involved. yet you have syrian kurds, strongest force of the rebels that is down there. if we just keep supporting them with arms and a few special forces that are out there, that means what happens when everything is done and turkey does not want syrian kurds setting up an autonomous kurdish region. this is not about a military resolving -- militaries can stop a problem. they never fix a problem. you can look at iraq and see that. >> in terms of the end game, admiral, do you think that tonight at all changes the dynamic on the battlefield in some of these conflicts that you've outlined? we've taken about the rebels and the syrian regime, coalition of
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isis, turks against the kurds. does this embolden the rebels now that the u.s. has skin in the game? >> you've seen statements by the rebels that, yes, this is something they've been waiting for. that doesn't mean we take the next step. it does mean that perhaps one of the most hideous, worst types of arsenals that assad has probably won't be used again. that dynamic alone has changed, i think. if they are used again, the united states will have to and must strike and that means it will strike the rest of the aircraft that are there. and there's russians that are protecting those air fields with their surface-to-air missile systems. so i think there's a dynamic here that only diplomacy is going to resolve this. it may resolve it to where the rebels may not like the outcome but at least we have an opportunity with this strike to work hard with turkey, with
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actually russia itself, with iran. and it's not going to be brokered any other way. john kerry tried to do that. it wasn't successful. but i believe part of the reason was that we had drawn a red line that we would use force if chemical weapons were used, and we did not follow up on that. look, i can't tell you with assurity that they are up to by the trump administration to take care of diplomacy but it must. i hope that they recognize that without our engagement in the world we can't bring about better peace and prosperity for america. >> let me ask you, admiral, real quickly, to put on your military hat. if you're a military planner in the pentagon, a commander of one of those ships out in the mediterranean, are you at all concerned? and, if so, what would you be concerned about in terms of a possible syrian retaliation against u.s. interests or forces? >> i'm not worried about syrian
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retaliati retaliation. it it's whether putin does something. he has a tendency to actually want to go quid -- one for the other. i think that's the real challenge. i don't think it will be in a traditional way if he does something. they have a fleet out there, very small in the eastern mediterranean. i don't want to overplay it at all. when their ships came around, you know, they were asking countries like spain for port call because they're basically broken. putin's power should not be looked at like the old soviet union. not at all. they're pretty good on what they call the near abroad. it can be right there in ukraine or right there in syria. but beyond that, they don't have much heft except for their cyber power. so, therefore, we may expect something like that, but that's why it's important that trump picks up the phone, starts talking to putin and say hey, we both want this conflict to end. how do we do it? >> admiral joe sestak, great to
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have you with us. thanks for getting up early or staying up late, whichever it is, i'm sure it's one or the other. >> thanks for having me aboard. unintended consequences and they are serious. what did vladimir putin know and when did he know about it about u.s. plans to retaliate for syria's use of chemical weapons? that and much more, straight ahead.
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tonight i call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and
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blood shed in syria. and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. >> joining me now nbc news' matt bradley in beirut for us. good to have you with us. obviously, lebanon unaffected by what happens inside syria. these strikes could certainly have an implication on lebanon. what is the reaction, the mood there this evening? we don't have matt bradley with us in beirut. we'll get to him in a second. christopher dickey, news editor for the daily beast and msnbc contributor. good to have you back with us. let's talk about what i was going to ask matt bradley, the impact on neighboring countries and how they're all seeing this from their perspective. walk us through the region, how the various countries may be seeing this unfolding and what impact it may have on their stances in this conflict?
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>> i think the initial reaction in some of the countries, perhaps turkey, certainly in jordan, is good. let's take some measures, stronger measures against assad. but at the end of the day, they all wind up paying the price. the big price they've been paying for quite a while now is refugees. lebanon has the highest refugee per capita right now. millions have gone into turkey and millions more into jordan. it's a hell of a burden for these countries to sustain. turkey has moved its troops and proxies into northern syria and there is a substantial force operating quietly out of jordan as well in southern syria. so, this stirs the mix a little bit. it throws things up in the air. i think they're hoping this is part of a bigger strategy. i think their concern is that a little bit like donald rumsfeld said after the invasion of iraq,
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stuff happens and we'll watch it happen. if that's the case, then they're going to be very concerned indeed. >> surprisingly, we got earlier reaction from at least one of the rebel groups fighting inside syria. one of the morris llamaist groups, i understand. they welcomed any u.s. intervention that could perhaps, as they described it, limit the killing of innocent civilians. how much do you think tonight emboldens rebel groups to perhaps try to, you know, follow these air strikes with some ground operations and seize more territory from the syrian government? >> well, of course they're going to try that. but we don't have any evidence, frankly, that this air strike has done anything that substantially weakens the syrian military or puts assad in danger. there's not much that he's going to do, actually, to change his ways unless he feels he's directly threatened and that's going to take a much better organized, much better and more
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effective rebel force and more united rebel force than any we've seen on the ground so far. i think that they're probably dancing in the streets in some rebel-held areas. but how they turn that into action to affect the regime or bring it down, i don't see that happening any time soon. >> chris dickey, stick around. i want to bring in msnbc's matt bradley. we have him with us now. thank you for joining the conversation. we were talking about lebanon. hezbollah, very dominant and powerful in lebanon, walk us through what the reaction in beirut has been this morning to these overnight strikes. >> well, ayman, we're not exactly hearing yet from hezbollah. hezbollah is one of the primary allies of the assad regime. this is going to be pitting the united states not just against the assad regime, not just against russia, but also against
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one of the most powerful political groups here in lebanon and a group that has enjoyed so much support from iran. just as chris dickey was saying, this is just a sensitive -- shark tank that the trump administration is wading into here. such a triangulation. then, of course, you have tehran and the capital of turkey. these are all going to be sort of upended by this. you have donald trump, who had not really praised but had implied earlier that he was going to be a partner maybe with the assad regime in fighting against terrorism in syria. and now you have the assad regime condemning a move by donald trump and you have groups, as you mentioned, a vowedly islamist group. if donald trump is aware of what they stand for, he would not be in favor of their policies.
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this is just upending this order that donald trump had inherited from the previous administration here in the region. now we're going to be seeing iran wading into this with an even more angry language than they have this morning. one of the things we'll be seeing from here on out, i think, is just that these groups, as you mentioned -- especially these u.s.-backed rebel groups in syria, are going to be emboldened by what they hope will be a more permanent u.s. presence against the assad regime. syrian forces that the u.s. had bolstered under the obama administration, they really were just about fighting islamic state. and donald trump had actually been in support of that. just targeting islamic state and other extremist groups. if this represents a permanent shift in policy by the united states, by the trump administration in its maiden journey into a middle eastern war, then we're going to be seeing a massive shift
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diplomatically and all the countries in the region are going to have to follow suit. we're also talking about the gulf states. those gulf countries had grown used to backing groups and haven't done so much lately. basically they'll be in league and may add support to some of the more violent, morris llamaist groups fighting on the ground against the assad regime against syria. in the next coming days we'll see a massive realignment and e rethinking of how the chips fall in this country. >> matt bradley, stick with us for a second. i want to bring christopher dickey back in this statement. you may recall representative tulsi gabbard met with the syrian regime recently. her statement reads it angers and saddens me that president trump has taken the advice of
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war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the syrian government. this escalation is short sighted and will lead to more dead civilians more refugees, the strengthening of al qaeda and other terrorists and possible nuclear war between the united states and russia. >> at best, some questioning the legality of the action but she is going further. what do you make of it? >> she has always been an outlyer on this conflict, and probably been portrayed as a shell for the assad regime and for the russians. i think one of the things she brought up is interesting. that this will help al qaeda and other terrorist groups. one of the problems we've had -- this is a reflection of just how
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complicated this environment is. the enemy of my enemy is my enemy. the assad regime and isis, so-called islamic state, have often been in effective collusion. if i were assad i would encourage or facilitate a new series of terror attacks not by the iranians but the so-called islamic state. then all of a sudden the united states' focus will snap around again. these are very dangerous times ahead. i don't think we should rule ought the possibility of collusion between damascus and raqqa. >> do you think it will change the calculation of somebody like vladimir putin or the regime in iran? could that somehow change how they operate inside syria after tonight? >> i think there will be a more
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defensive posture more anti-aircraft brought in. russian parliament is up in arms. there's talk of war. it's as extreme as what we're hearing from congresswoman gabbard. it's a very, very dangerous situation. nuclear war? no, i don't think that's on the table. but i do think that the russians don't want to be humiliated and they do play on a big chess board. for instance, it's often been said that their syrian intervention was partly a factor of their interest in ukraine. maybe we'll see some action in ukraine that will distract from syria but also be something that will be presented by putin as a trade-off. >> christopher dickey, good to have you with us. it's early for you and it has been an early morning for you as well in paris. thanks for joining us. let's go back to matt bradley in beirut. i know that you had just arrived in lebanon. i want to ask you about the humanitarian situation, how this
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may impact a country like lebanon. we know they have the highest per capita of refugees in the region, a million or 1.5 million refugees in total. are you getting the sense that lebanon authorities are concerned from a humanitarian perspective, going after the regime this time could trigger an influx of more refugees trying to leave damascus and get to a safe place like lebanon? >> reporter: well, ayman, as you know, last thing this conflict in syria needs is a new combatant aligning against a new set of powers. it will just make a complicated situation even more complicated. when it comes to lebanon, about a quarter population, maybe more, of this country in the past couple of years is made up of syrians that fled syria to
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here. they feel they're carrying much of the burden for the entire world. during the 2015 refugee crisis where so many syrians flooded into europe along with many other nationalities, lebanese people said, look, we've been dealing with this for years. we've been sheltering and supporting refugee and migrant communities in our country and getting very little support from the outside world in doing so. now this will be adding a new element, new wrivengle to a situation that was already just so incredibly complex. so, ayman, we haven't exactly heard from lebanese officials or, indeed, hezbollah, we're expecting to hear something in the coming days about what this will do to the refugee population in lebanon. extremely vulnerable population in a country that lacks resources, that lacks a real governance system.
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>> matt? >> reporter: the thing that chris dickey and others have said, this won't necessarily be a sustained intervention against assad by the trump administration. as it seems right now just a shot across the bow of the assad regime. people will be waiting for what comes next. >> i know you spent a lot of time in the middle east. you've live there had. you're very familiar with the skepticism that ordinary people on the streets have when it comes to u.s. military involvement in the middle east. certainly, there will be a lot of people who have already started to question whether or not president assad was responsible for this chemical attack against his own people. what did he have to gain from it. you're hearing all this stuff, all this chart, i'm sure, already. in lebanon, do you get a sense that the lebanese government has the same position that some of its arab allies, including turkey and saudi arabia, have, in fact, the syrian regime was responsible for that chemical
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weapons attack like the united states alleges or are they not yet -- have they not yet reached that same conclusion? >> reporter: well, ayman, as you know, the assad regime is remarkably somewhat popular here in lebanon. quite a few lebanese support the assad regime and see assad and hezbollah and others as kind of a last bastian of support against sort of sunni muslim terrorism. that's the way the sectarian kind of cookie crumbles here in lebanon. people really look at it and align themselves in terms of their sect and what their sect and sectarian leaders, religious leaders, how they form their alliances. all of this was shifted dramatically during this 15-year civil war that rocked this country several decades ago. that's what people will be doing in the coming days here in lebanon. you'll start to see people who
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are aligned with their different sects, how their political organizations, how they align. they're going to start justifying this. if they're fans of assad they're going to believe the assad regime's line, russian line that this strike simply hit a rebel-held munitions factory or supply center. that's the line they're going to take and pair it back to the media and political opponents. >> matt bradley live for us in beirut. thanks for joining us, matt. early read on world reaction to the u.s. strikes inside syria. what are u.s. allies, as well as russia, saying? plus more reaction from capitol hill. members of congress critical of the move from both sides of the aisle. that's straight ahead.
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there can be no dispute that syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the u.n. security council. years of previous attempts at changing assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically. >> all right. i want to bring in msnbc military analyst and medal of honor recipient, colonel jack jacobs and nbc correspondent
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jack perry. gentlemen, thank you for joining us. years haven't changed president assad's behavior. do the strikes change that behavior going forward? will we see a different assad on the battlefield, diplomatically in relations with his own countrymen going forward? >> i don't think we'll see the use of chemical weapons again, certainly not any time soon. but there's not going to be any impact by these strikes -- by this strike on the long-term arc of what's taking place in syria. i don't think that's going to happen at all. they'll shake this off and go about their business, same as before. it may have some impact on how we and others who are participating in this deal with each other in a diplomatic sense. >> right. >> maybe that's more hope than -- that's a hope and a prayer. >> i know that you interviewed president assad twice at the beginning of all of this unrest.
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you have a good sense of how determined he was early on when this was a peaceful protest all the way now to having u.s. military strikes against him. you know how determined he was. >> yeah. >> will this change his behavior inside syria? >> no. in fact, it may only embolden his position. president assad needs to reassert his power on national television. this is a man fighting for his survival. this is a man who will do nothing to stop being removed from power. there is no proportional response to chemical weapons being used against civilians. there is no end to what this regime is willing to do to kill its own people. a refugee crisis of biblical proportions. 54 missiles at a single target will not change anything on the ground i do hope that it stops chemical weapons. that should be a line for all
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countries. >> throughout the course of the evening, we were talking about the domestic calculation for president trump to do something like this. we know what we're talking about when we say chemical weapons and trying to be a deterrent. but surely there is a domestic aspect to why president trump carried this attack out. what do you think that domestic aspect is? >> he's not doing very well in the polls. he also castigated president obama for drawing a line in the sand and not doing anything. he drew several lines and now he has to do something. he sort of gets hoisted with his own -- but lots of other domestic reasons for doing this. they're not all our domestic reasons. don't forget there are other audiences, and we call them international audiences but they're domestic from where they are. the russians are an audience. i think less so people in the middle east but also the chinese, with respect to the north koreans. but, yeah, there's always a domestic -- every time putin does something, it's for
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domestic consumption as well. it's not to be castigated. if you completely ignore domestic politics, you're in big, big trouble. this is a tactical strike. no long-term effects of this really. it's a tactical strike, not a strategic strike. if you were going to do it, you had to do it last night, tonight or tomorrow night. otherwise it loses its punch. >> loses its value? >> that's why he did it. >> failed health care plan, failed immigration planned declared illegal by the supreme court. this is one thing that president trump could do without approval from congress, without approval from anybody other than general mattis and general mcmaster, a one-off strike. don't forget the politics of this. we'll be swearing in a -- >> first images out of the air field in homs today.
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not too long ago. you can see the aftermath of the u.s. air strike. >> it's very likely that we are seeing what they want us to see. we were getting clips of video of what was, i would imagine, pieces of the air field, right? >> do you get a sense that's the result of a tomahawk cruise missile? >> no. it has a warhead of 1,000 pounds. >> looks like a mortar round. >> looks like a hand grenade, an 81 or 82 millimeter mortar round. >> cal brings up a really good point. we're looking at these images for the first time along with our viewers. our assessment of it is preliminary. but you could clearly see what the russians have access to is
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obviously an air field that they're saying has been hit by the united states. we can't independently verify that even is the air field. >> no. matter of fact, you saw those aircraft shelters. >> yeah. >> if a tomahawk would hit that, and the aircraft inside of it would have been destroyed. >> yeah. in the image in the video, you could see that the aircraft was still intact underneath the concrete reinforcement there. >> this is now the information. before this strike took place, when we kind of knew there was a lead-up to this strike, syria hoax started trending on twitter, that it was started in russia. was the strike successful, was it not? are the americans weak? that's what we're seeing in the video. >> let's put out what the pentagon has said. the pentagon has said that they tried to minimize any casualties by the time of day when they carried out this strike. they are describing the launch from their initial assessment as
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being successful in that it severely destroyed or damaged the runway. they targeted the air field, the infrastructure of the air base. they destroyed aircraft. they destroyed the fuel centers, fuel depots on that air base. it probably did not match up with the level of construction i would expect from 59 tomahawk cruise missiles. >> especially when you consider that each one of those is a double tap. so not likely. by the way, very few casualties on purpose and, as we discovered and/or suspected, we told the russians in advance. >> there's no guarantee that's the same air field. >> and we're showing you a picture there, file picture of a tomahawk cruise missile to give you a sense of how big it is. 59 of those hit that air field. did not quite look like that airfield was severely damaged, according to at least what the pentagon was reporting back to
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us. we'll take a quick break. a lot more to talk to about when we come back. so, just ahead, president trump has expected other nations to take action that the u.s. has unilaterally done against the syrian chemical attack. answers next. up on all the moments you might have missed. you seriously can't tell the difference between a bird and a plane? like that time gwen and blake got a little too flirty. that's so inappropriate to talk about us hooking up. xfinity watchathon week ends april 9. the greatest collection of shows free with xfinity on demand.
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tonight is not symbolic. i think it has a strategic value to it. what happens next? is there a comprehensive plan to
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follow this up? that's the most critical question. what i hope will happen is i don't think syria will be a stable government any time in the near future but we can take steps to provide alternatives to assad's role. >> senator marco rubio reacting to that. ahead, how this affects relations with russia, ahead of a key visit by secretary of state rex tillerson, expected in moscow next week. you can certainly bet this will be top of the agenda. about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, or an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis
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welcome back to our continuing coverage on syria. from the london school of economics and political science, professor thanks for sticking around for us. i know it's been an early morning for you there, late night. prior to the strike, i know that you describe the choices for president trump really as being risky, regardless of which scenario. and have said any kind of military move would trigger at least a confrontation, direct confrontation with russia. do you think that will happen next week when rex tillerson goes to russia? >> well, i mean, i think what we need to understand for your own
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viewers is that russia is the most decisive player in syria. russia controls the skies and the land. it has some of the most advanced air defense system inside syria. it has been able to change the strategic balance of power on the ground. and the syrian -- the russian response has been extremely aggressive, as you know, in the past few hours. it has decided to discontinue this particular channel of trying to prevent basically accidents between the united states and russia over the skies of syria. my take on it is that putin won't let this go without a particular response. and also, what we need to understand, it's not just about russia. we're talking about an american strike against iran, against hezbollah, american strike against shiite militias in iraq
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itself. the reality is that at the end of the day, this is a limited, targeted response. we should be careful about investing this particular attack with any particular strategic vision. my take on it is that the morning after, the next few day s, the next few weeks, we'll witness, really, a much more confrontational response on the part of the iranians, hezbollah and theussians inside syria to send a message to the trump administration. >> so do you think that this at all changes the dynamics on the battlefield inside syria? does it somehow alter the tempo of operations between the rebels fighting the regime, the regime fighting isis and the turks even, to some extent, fighting the kurds? >> over the last -- one of the lessons we have learned, ayman, over the last six years, is that the syrian conflict is a very complex conflict. multiple conflicts collapse in one. social, ideological, civil wars,
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regional war by proxy and global war by proxy. when president trump said yesterday he called on civilized nations to end the blood bath inside syria, this is a vacuous statement. the obama administration invested tremendous diplomatic and political capital in order to resolve the conflict and it has failed. what are the ideas? what is the strategy, the political strategy of the trump administration? there is no strategy to really be seen at this particular moment. >> i can't say we have any clearer of an answer this evening even though we had these air strikes. professor gerges, good to have you with us this morning. i'm ayman mohyeldin. that will do it for me. we'll be right back.
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it's friday, april 7th. i'm alex witt alongside ayman mohyeldin. we begin with breaking news. the united states has launched cruise missile strikes against a syrian air base. at roughly 8:40 eastern time last night, 59 tomahawk missiles were launched from "uss ross" and "uss porter," targeting the shayrat airfield near the city of hchloms bef

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