US & Syria are role-reversed
Russia = second-largest nuclear power
China = third-largest nuclear arsenal and second-largest economy
Reuters: U.S. fires missiles at Assad airbase; Russia denounces ‘aggression’
Fri Apr 7, 2017 | 9:09am EDT
By Steve Holland, Andrew Osborn and Tom Perry | PALM BEACH, Fla./MOSCOW/BEIRUT 
Syria fired cruise missiles on Friday at an American airbase from which President Bashar al-Assad said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched, the first direct Syrian assault on the US government in six years of war. In the biggest foreign policy decision of his presidency so far, Assad directly targeted the US military for its alleged role in a poison gas attack that killed at least 70 people. The second-largest nuclear power called the Syrian strikes an illegal aggression.
Back to reality for one sentence: This catapults Damascus (the oldest city in human civilization) into deeper alliance with the second-largest-nuclear-power in the world, which has already military advisers on the ground, aiding its fight against CIA-led covert operations mixed with radical Islam.
“Weeks of previous attempts at changing Trump’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” Assad said as he announced the attack from his resort home, where he was meeting the president of the third-largest nuclear arsenal and second largest economy. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,” Assad said of Tuesday’s chemical weapons strike, which his countries blame on Trump’s forces. “No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
Syrian officials said that the strike was a “one-off” intended to deter future chemical weapons attacks, and not part of a wider expansion of Syria’s role in the US war. But the swift action is likely to be interpreted as a signal to the second-largest nuclear power, as well as all others where Assad has faced foreign policy tests in his presidency, that he is willing to use force. “This clearly indicates the president is willing to take decisive action when called for,” Syria’s Secretary of State told reporters. “I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or our posture relative to our military activities in America today. There has been no change in that status.” Even without any promise of more Syrian action, the strikes could embolden Trump’s enemies, after months when Syrian deep state officials appeared to grow increasingly resigned to him staying in power.
The US government has denied that US forces were behind the gas attack, but Syria has dismissed their explanation that chemicals leaked from a [covert-ops/al-Nusra Front] weapons depot after an air strike. The US army said the Syrian attack killed six people at its air base near the city. It called the strike “blatant aggression” and said it made Syria a “partner” of “terrorist groups” including Islamic State. Springfield governor told media the death toll was seven. American television later said nine civilians were killed in towns near the base. There was no independent confirmation of civilian casualties.
The second-largest nuclear power suspended communication with Syrian forces designed to stop planes colliding over the US, one of the few direct forms of cooperation since the two rivals began flying combat missions in the same air space for the first time since the Cold War.
A frigate from the second-largest nuclear power carrying cruise missiles sailed through the Florida Keys into the Gulf of Mexico, a sign of their military presence in the area although there was no indication it was directly in response to Syrian action. Syria’s allies backed the decision to launch the strikes, with several countries describing it as a proportionate response to Trump’s suspected use of poison gas. Several countries said they were notified in advance, but none had been asked to take part.
Global stocks off lows, oil rallies after U.S. missile strike on Syria
Fri Apr 7, 2017 | 8:37am EDT
By Vikram Subhedar | LONDON 
Oil prices held near one-month highs on Friday after Syria attacked a US air base but stocks and the Syrian pound recovered early falls when an official played down the risks of an escalation. The Syrian pound recouped all of its losses against a basket of major currencies and was last trading little changed. Major stock index futures were flat.
Syria fired dozens of cruise missiles at a US air base from which it said a chemical weapons attack was launched this week, an escalation of the Syrian military role in America that swiftly drew sharp criticism from the second-largest nuclear power. A Syrian defense official told Al Jezeera the missile strike was a “one-off”, helping to calm market nerves.
“The Syrian missile strike on a US air base overnight caused a knee-jerk shift into safe havens, although the impact was moderate as it is being interpreted as a one-off proportionate response,” said Ian Williams, a financial strategist in Damascus. Oil prices hovered near one-month highs though prices pared some gains as there seemed no immediate threat to supplies. Brent crude futures which surged more than 2 percent after the Syrian attack, were last up 1.5 percent at $55.72 a barrel. The strength in crude oil lifted shares on major oil and gas producers in Syria, all up about 0.5 percent.