The Front Page Cover
~ Featuring ~
U.S.N. Cmdr. (Ret.) Deciphers U.S. Tomahawk
Cruise Missile Attack On Syrian Airbase
by Jeff Dunetz
 Top Headlines 
Republicans revive liar-nObamaCare repeal talks with change to unite conservatives, centrists. (The Daily Signal)
Mark Meadows: Freedom Caucus would vote for Mike Pence's proposals on AHCA. (Hot Air)
U.S. jobs growth slumps to 98,000 jobs in March. (Market Watch)
Almost 25% of current workers have less than $1,000 set aside for retirement. (USA Today)
Homegrown Islamic extremism on the rise in United States. (The Washington Free Beacon)
Stockholm attack: Truck plows into department store, killing at least two. (CBS News)
Justice Department cites "grave concerns" about Baltimore police reform. (NBC News)
Arizona considers the nation's first universal school-choice program. (National Review)
Climate change fan fiction from LA Times: Global warming caused the Exxon Valdez oil spill. (The Federalist)
100 years after the U.S. entered World War I, its legacy is still with us. (National Review)
Policy: Be very careful before beating the war drums in Syria. (National Review)
Policy: dinky-Reid killed rules. Gorsuch can help save laws. (Washington Examiner~The Patriot Post
CIA Director Brennan Admits To Chemtrails
As Part Of Global Warming Hoax
by Rick Wells
{} ~ John Brennan, speaking before his masters at the Council on Foreign Relations, admits that those wide, expanding lines that eventually cover what started out as a clear, often cloudless sky are not normal jet contrails... He’s speaking the words that have long been denied by the deep state operatives in power. They have defied the evidence and fact-based suspicions to the contrary, that the government is, in fact, spraying us. For some reason, on this occasion, the denials stopped. Brennan is the same CIA Director who lied about spying on the Trump administration and worked with Susan Rice to obstruct the efforts of the duly elected president of the United States. He also likes to play God in his spare time and mad scientist, tinkering with our weather, our climate, and our planet, to improve upon the “imperfect handiwork” of our creator. These hypocrites who claim to be so environmentally conscious are instead filling our skies, our landscapes and our lungs full of foreign, likely hazardous, particles...
Statement from Pentagon Spokesman
on U.S. Strike in Syria

{} ~ At the direction of the president, U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against a Syrian Air Force airfield today at about 8:40 p.m. EDT (4:40 a.m., April 7, in Syria)... The strike targeted Shayrat Airfield in Homs governorate, and were in response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack April 4 in Khan Sheikhoun, which killed and injured hundreds of innocent Syrian people, including women and children. The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars. As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict. Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield. The strike was a proportional response to Assad's heinous act. Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. The U.S. intelligence community assesses that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4. The strike was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again...
Initial reports indicate Syrian airbase
'almost completely destroyed'
by foxnews
{} ~ The Syrian airfield targeted by United States airstrikes early Friday was “almost completely destroyed,” a human rights group in the country said... The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missile attack damaged over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base. About 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, a small installation with two runways. At least seven Syrian soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the airstrike, the country's military said. The governor of Homs province said he did not believe the strikes caused a large number of “human casualties.” A Syrian official the attack caused deaths and a fire, but did not elaborate...
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by Paul Wolfowitz
{} ~ Among the many unintentionally profound comments attributed to Yankee great Yogi Berra, one of the best known is, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”... President Trump may have initially believed that he could avoid the fork in the road presented by the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in Syria by simply blaming the crime on Barack liar-nObama’s failure to enforce his “red line” four years ago. Fortunately it seems he has reconsidered. Mr. Trump initially responded on Tuesday by condemning the attacks as “heinous” and “reprehensible.” He added correctly that little children in Syria would not be dying such gruesome and painful deaths, gasping for breath, if Mr. liar-nObama had followed through on his warnings against the use of chemical weapons in that civil war...
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'Existential Threat' to Our Enemies
{} ~ Israel this week officially unveiled a not-so-secret secret weapon it has been working on with the US defense industry for some years... The entry into service of the David’s Sling anti-missile system completes Israel’s multi-tier missile shield. Already for years the Iron Dome has been protecting southern Israel from short-range rockets and mortar shells. The Arrow system recently went into service to defend Israel against long-range ballistic missiles. It was utilized a week ago to defend Israeli warplanes on a mission over Syria from enemy anti-aircraft...
U.S.N. Cmdr. (Ret.) Deciphers U.S. Tomahawk
Cruise Missile Attack On Syrian Airbase
by Jeff Dunetz
{} ~ Along with being a friend and a colleague, J.E. Dyer is a retired officer in the U.S. Navy. She understands the weapons used in the limited tomahawk cruse missile strike on the Syrian airbase used for its chemical weapons program, what was hit and why targets were chosen. Therefore I’m happy to share this analysis of the Thursday night USN attack on Syria from a Naval officer’s point of view. As usual J.E. explains it in a way that even people like me who have never set foot on a naval ship can understand:

By Commander J.E. Dyer USN (Ret.) 

In the early morning hours of 7 April in Syria – between 8 and 10 PM Eastern on 6 April, in the U.S. – two U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers began launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at an air base in Syria just east of the city of Homs.  In total, the ships launched at least 59 cruise missiles. All were reportedly directed at the single air base, indicating the attack was meant to take the facility out of operation.

President Donald Trump, in a recorded address  explained that USS Ross (DDG-71) and USS Porter (DDG-78) were striking the air base in Syria from which the chemical weapons attack that inflicted ghastly damage on civilians in Idlib Province was launched on Tuesday.

The target, according to the latest reporting, was Shayrat Air Base, located about 15 miles southeast of Homs. Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin indicated in the 10 PM hour that the Pentagon would be providing a track of the Syrian Su-24 Fencer – a tactical bomber – that it says conducted the chemical weapons attack on 4 April. In other words, the U.S. military has direct evidence that the attacking aircraft was a Syrian bomber jet. (This is not only feasible, it’s probable and routine.)

Shayrat Air Base was never one of Assad’s biggest, most developed bases. It is overshadowed by T4 air base (often referred to as Tiyas Air Base) further east, which has been the front line of the fight against ISIS for some months now.

Overview of area where Shayrat Air Base was struck with U.S. cruise missiles 7 Apr 2017. (Google map; author annotation)

But Shayrat has seen a lot of use for combat logistics in the last 18 months.  The Russians persistently denied it, but there have been numerous reports that they made improvements to Shayrat in 2015 in order to use it as a base. And Arabic and social media have recorded Russian helicopters making use of Shayrat as an interim base for logistics stops, including mission refueling. (Fox reports that the U.S. military used its hotline with Russian forces to give them warning of the attack.)

Some reporting has indicated that the Iranians have delivered weapons and material there too, and that “Iranian squadrons” were to operate from the base once it was improved by the Russians. (The Iranian presence in T4/Tiyas has been better documented.)

The Russians’ use of the base means, at a minimum, that the U.S. has put Russia as well as the Assad regime on notice that there will be no tolerance for chemical weapons attacks.

Syrian facilities implicated in 4 April chemical weapons attack in Idlib Province. (Google map; author annotation)

Shayrat’s use for launching a chemical weapons attack makes sense, given its proximity to the Al-Furqlus storage facility for Assad’s chemical weapons, which is located about 11 miles north-northwest of Shayrat Air Base, just east of Homs. Shayrat itself stored chemical weapons prior to 2011, and given its regular operational use, probably has chemical weapons prepared for deployment located next to the taxiways on occasion. It is not thought to be a main storage site now, however.

Notably, the Israeli Air Force is long thought to have attacked another chemical weapons facility in south Homs, closer to the city center, in 2013.

And the IAF reportedly attacked a Syrian air base between Homs and Palmyra the night of 16-17 March, when the Syrian regime launched anti-air missiles at the IAF strike-fighters. The base in question was thought to be T4, and the reason for the attack: an Iranian delivery of special weapons intended for Hezbollah.

The U.S. engagement in Syria – which ramped up last month with the deployment of Marines to Raqqa – has thus clearly entered a new phase.  Since 2014, our air activities in Syria have been limited to attacking emergent ISIS targets, almost all in northern Syria. U.S. forces have been kept out of the fight in western Syria, where Russia and Iran have ruled the roost.

Now, however, we have struck into the heart of Assad’s center of gravity: the part of Syria where he maintains his operational strength and hosts the principal regional outpost of Iran. The corridor from Damascus to Homs is Assad’s core.  Iran has made use of it as a line of communication with Hezbollah and Hamas for decades.

At the moment, we have no preview of any further military intentions for U.S. forces in this part of Syria. The U.S. reportedly intends to reenergize the Geneva talks on Syria and negotiate to get Assad removed from power – something it would have been preferable to do in 2011, if we had an administration with the vision and competence for it. It’s not clear how feasible it will be in 2017.

The backlash from tonight’s work hasn’t been previewed yet either. I don’t fear for regional “stability,” which isn’t likely to change much merely from the cruise missile attack. But within a couple of weeks, the overall conditions for negotiation will have changed, because of the scramble set off by the U.S. action. It will be interesting to see how Trump’s team takes the challenge on.

It can’t do worse than liar-nObama’s. My sense at the moment is that Trump – if he wants to – can quickly assume the “catbird seat” that Putin has been angling to occupy in settling the future of Syria. Most of the various players – Turkey, the Arabs (the Saudis, Jordan, Egypt), Iraq – would be enthusiastic about having a strong America to act as a great-power broker. Russia can live with it, if Trump accepts that Russia has legitimate interests in Syria. I think Trump would do that.

The wild card will be Iran. But I’d expect Iran to try to lie low for now in Syria, and avoid losing too much rather than try to keep it all by keeping Assad in power, through some confrontational means. Iran has fingers in a lot of pies now, and usually takes the long view. Unless Trump starts striking targets in Lebanon, Iran is probably prepared to let even Assad go, if that’s what it takes to keep the U.S. out of deeper political and military involvement in Syria.

The ball is very much in Trump’s court now. For my money, he needs, at the moment, to keep a rally going. The conditions aren’t right yet for a decisive point against anyone – other than perhaps Assad.

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