While mystery still surrounds the statement by now-former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who on Monday - when he already knew he was fired - said that Moscow is "clearly" behind the poisoning of Russian double-agent Skripal in the UK and that the Russian action would "trigger a response", and whether this was a tacit defiance of Trump as he no longer had anything to lose, it is clear that relations between Russia and the US, if not so much Trump, are once again at rock bottom, if not worse.
Confirming this, one week after the WaPo reported that the US is considering new military action against Syria over Assad's alleged chemical weapons attacks (as on every other prior occasion), the Russian military threatened action against the U.S. if it strikes Syria's capital city of Damascus. The threat, by Chief of Russia's General Staff Valery Gerasimov, was reported by Russia media sites such as state news agencies RIA and Tass, according to CNBC.
The General also said Russia had "reliable information" about militants preparing to falsify a government chemical attack against civilians. In other words, another US-false flag attack, like the one launched in 2013 which nearly caused military conflict between Russia and the US.
Gerasimov predicted that the U.S. would then use this attack to accuse Syrian government troops of using chemical weapons. He added that the U.S. would then plan to launch a missile strike on government districts in Damascus.
"In several districts of Eastern Ghouta, a crowd was assembled with women, children and old people, brought from other regions, who were to represent the victims of the chemical incident, " Gerasimov said, according to RIA.
But far more ominously, Gerasimov said Russia would respond to a U.S. strike on Syria if the lives of Russian servicemen were threatened, targeting any missiles and launchers involved: "In case there is a threat to the lives of our military, the Russian Armed Force will take retaliatory measures both over the missiles and carriers that will use them," the Russian General said.
The comments come as Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime, which is supported by Russia, continues to carry out airstrikes over the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta just outside Damascus, and where the US has alleged Assad has again used chemical weapons.
The United Nations Security Council had demanded a ceasefire in Syria two weeks ago; on Monday, the U.S. threatened to "act if we must" if the UN ceasefire resolution continues to be ignored. U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hailey, said Monday that the U.S. was drafting a new ceasefire resolution with "no room for evasion" and warned the country was prepared to act.
"It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again," Haley told the UN Security Council on Monday. "When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action," she added.
Meanwhile, the Syrian proxy civil war, in which the U.S. and other allies have supported "moderate" rebel groups to topple the Assad regime under the pretext of fighting ISIS, goes on: the war is also seen as a battle for influence between Russia and the West in the Middle East. As ISIS' influence has waned and rebel-held locations reclaimed, Assad has regained the upper hand in Syria, and so has Russia.
This is why the US has been increasingly eager to provoke Russia.
Still, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that establishing more deescalation zones in Syria was not a priority for now, Reuters reported. He told reporters that it was important to prevent violation of ceasefire agreements in eastern Ghouta, a situation which he planned to discuss with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who is on a visit to Moscow.
Finally, if the US does indeed pursue military action against Syria using the worn out "chemical attack" false flag, and if Russia does indeed retaliate against US warships in the region, remember to go all in stocks, because nothing is quite as bullish - to Keynesians - as World War III.