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US Defense Secretary James Mattis claims last week's US missile strike on a Syrian airbase damaged or destroyed 20 percent of the country's air force.
He also warned Syria against using chemical weapons, an allegation Damascus denies.
The sudden pivot by President Trump on the Syrian conflict appears to break a campaign promise many of his supporters once praised him for: namely, abstaining from routine military intervention abroad.
RT: The White House has said Washington could take further military action in Syria. What can we expect to see happen?
Richard Black: We need to look at what occurred. We know with absolute certainty that Syria did not drop poison gas - because there has to be a motive. There was no motive. Syria was advancing and defeating the jihadists on every front. Why would President Assad enrage the world and order to kill a handful of civilians? If for some reason, he decided to use poison gas, why would he use it against heavily entrenched terrorists instead of killing a gaggle of women and children? The whole thing is totally irrational; a child should be able to see through it. Now what we do know for a fact is that CNN reported on September 13, 2016, - just five months ago - that US B-52 attacked a major ISIS poison gas facility in Mosul. Where did that poison gas go? Where did the sarin gas and so forth that they produced go? It WENT INTO artillery shells, and it was distributed to warehouses. I believe the Syrian air force did drop bombs on a warehouse. Why do I know that? Because under the protocols that were established Syria notified the US so that they could de-conflict aviation going over there. My guess is that what happened is that they bombed a warehouse, it had poison gas belonging to the terrorists and some of those shells were damaged in the attack and that was the cause of the release. It gets back to this point. I was a prosecutor in the Pentagon; I was the top criminal justice authority in the Pentagon. You always look to the motive. There was absolutely no motive. And I defy anyone to come up with a satisfactory motive why President Assad would incur the wrath of the world over just to kill a handful of women and children walking down the street. It is utterly ludicrous; there is no possibility that it occurred.