Tampa is 6,654 miles from Syria but whatever President Donald Trump has planned for retaliation for the chemical attack that happened this past weekend, will go through MacDill Air Force Base the home to U.S. Central Command. Defense Secretary James Mattis, himself a former CENTCOM boss in Tampa will contact Joseph Votel, a four-star general in the United States Army who has been commander of CENTCOM since March 2016.
This morning at the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and CENTCOM, in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East, were compiling target lists and attack options to be presented to President Trump and his national security team within hours, defense officials told News Talk Florida.
According to multiple media reports, there were at least 42 people were killed in air strikes on rebel-held Douma late Saturday and local aid groups said more than 500 cases were brought to medical centers “with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent”.
The Syrian troops backed its Russian and Iranian allies, dismissed U.S. allegations of its responsibility as “fabrications.” But in his strongest language yet President Trump pointed the finger of blame directly at Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump was joined in condemnation of Russia and Syria by representatives of the European Union and Turkey. But the questions on how to react to the attack have been tricky and will be a coordinated effort from other countries, France, Brittan, and Germany among the group likely to be involved.
This would not be the first time that President Trump ordered an attack on Syria. In April 2017, Trump ordered a targeted missile strike on a Syrian air base after another chemical weapon attack blamed on Damascus.
As President Trump is like to do he made his displeasure with what happened in Syria known across the world via Twitter.
“Many dead, including women and children, in a mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” he wrote in the first of three tweets. “Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price… ….to pay.”
But no matter what President Trump decides CENTCOM will be a key player in the execution of his plans.