Iran and Russia threaten retaliation
Bashar al-Assad could always count on friends Russia and Iran to speak up for him. Both issued a joint communique condemning the American attack on a Syrian air base from where planes dropped chemical bombs. Supposedly they were dropped on rebels in Idlib province but they hit civilans killing and injuring scores.
The Iranian President Rouhani has asked for an impartial investigation into the incident. But the evidence for the use of chemical weapons on these people by the Syrian air force seems to be overwhelming. Autopsies done on the bodies show chemical weapons were used by the Syrian air force.
Both Putin and Rouhani have said they will hit back at the US militarily if another air strike hits Assad's military infrastructure.
Rex Tillerson American Foreign Minister is on his way to discuss with his Russian counterpart the situation in Syria. It seems Tillerson will be robust telling the Russians in no uncertain terms that the UK and US expect Putin to distance himself from Assad but Putin stubborn man that he is will not be taking lecturing off the US. If anything he will stand on his ground saying Russia will not take no lecturing off the USA as Russia can stand up to the USA and not be bullied.
This disagreement between the US, Russia and Iran could fragment the alliance against Islamic State who are currently on the backfoot and this would certainly benefit them. All sides in the Syrian conflict need to tread carefully now as with the strike on the Syrian air base we have reached a pivotal moment I feel.
Bio of Hassan Rouhani
1) Born 12 November 1948
2) Born Hassan Fereydoun
3) Father ran a spice shop
4) Father was involved in political activism against the Shah
5) In 1960 Hassan Rouhani studied at Seman Seminary
6) Went to Qom Seminary
7) Studied religious subjects at above places
8) Continued studying at Glasgow Caledonian University of Scotland
9) Joined Ayatollah Khomeini's protest movement
10) First to describe Ayatollah as Imam
11) Elected to Majlis or Iranian Parliament in 1980
12) Before that was in the military
13) Sat on an advisory council on military matters during Iran - Iraq War
14) Served 20 years in the majlis
15) Was elected President in 2013 to present
16) Is married to his cousin Sahebeh Erabi
17) Is a champion of human and womens rights