Will this bellicose rhetoric by President Trump and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley lead to a change in policy? “Mr. Trump said the images of death inside Syria in the aftermath of the chemical attacks “crosses many lines, beyond a red line, many many lines.” And he said that the death of “innocent children, innocent babies, little babies” has made him reassess the situation and Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. “It’s very, very possible, and I will tell you it has already happened, that my attitude toward Syria and Assad, has changed very much,” Mr. Trump said as he stood next to King Abdullah of Jordan in the Rose Garden for a news conference with reporters. Before the chemical attack, Mr. Trump’s administration has repeatedly said it did not intend to pursue the ouster of Mr. Assad. As recently as Tuesday, Mr. Trump’s spokesman said doing so would be “silly” in the face of the political realities in the country.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/2oaWgiT)

Drama in the Security Council…”The Russian UN ambassador explicitely rejected the idea of a new resolution. (He even called it “your” resolution. If a vote happens in the near future a veto is likely. Meanwhile, US Ambassador Nikki Haley (unlike her boss) cast blame on Russia for protecting the Syrian government. “The truth is that Assad, Russia and Iran have no interest in peace,” she said. Adding “how many more children have to die before Russia cares?” Haley also not-so-subtly suggested that the USA may circumvent the Security Council in the face of a Russian veto and take unilateral action. “When the UN consistently fails to act collectively there are times in the lives of states when we are compelled to take our own actions,” she said.” (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2o6UUG1 )

Zuma Faces Another Test…”South Africa‘s parliament will on April 18 debate a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma brought by the main opposition party after he dismissed the respected finance minister, the national assembly said on Wednesday. Previous no-confidence motions against Zuma have failed as the ruling African National Congress party has a commanding majority. There has been a growing backlash against Zuma over his action to fire Pravin Gordhan from opposition parties and civil society.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/2p1Oqp9)

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