United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley took a veiled shot at the Obama administration during remarks Saturday about U.S. airstrikes against Syria, saying when President Donald Trump draws a "red line," he enforces it.
In coordination with Britain and France, Trump ordered air strikes against Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons infrastructure Friday night. Trump, who previously warned of a "big price to pay" for last week's chemical attack in Douma, said the air strike was meant to deter the spread and use of chemical weapons.
"I spoke to the president this morning, and he said if the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded," Haley told the U.N. Security Council. "When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line."
President Barack Obama in 2012 said the usage of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would be a "red line" for him, but a year later, he ultimately balked at taking military action when Assad's regime used such weapons. A Russia-brokered deal to remove Assad's chemical weapons stockpile was ultimately struck, but Syrian atrocities since then have revealed he still has such capabilities.
"We acted to deter future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime responsible for its atrocities against humanity," Haley said.
Haley has been one of Russia's fiercest critics in the United Nations, saying its cover-ups for Syria are a "travesty,' and she said Saturday Russia should take a "hard look" at the company it keeps.
"We call on Russia to take a hard look at the company it keeps and live up to its responsibilities as a permanent member of the council and defend the actual principles the United Nations was meant to promote," she said. "Last night we successfully hit the heart of Syria's chemical weapons enterprise, and because of these actions, we are confident we have crippled crippled Syria's chemical weapon program."
Haley said the U.S. was prepared to sustain the pressure if the Syrian regime was "foolish enough to test our will."