Australia’s foreign minister calls Assad a thug

    By IANS,

    Canberra : Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has described Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “a thug and a murderer” while justifying US military strike against his regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians, media reported Saturday.

    “What leader other than a thug and a murderer can approve that sort of assault on children?” ABC News reported Carr as saying.

    With Australia assuming presidency of the UN Security Council Sunday, Senator Carr said the Syrian regime “deserves a response” from the international community for using chemical weapons to kill hundreds of innocent people.

    He, however, said he did not think Australia would need to make a contribution to the US response to the crisis.

    The minister added that Australian intelligence figures showed that it was “highly likely” that the Syrian regime committed the attack against civilians.

    Carr said Australia was prepared to support the US but he did not anticipate making a commitment.

    “We think that if a government in this day and age uses chemical weapons against innocent men, women and children, it deserves a response. We’re confident the (Barack) Obama administration has weighed carefully what that response will be,” he said.

    “Given what America has said, there will be no boots on the ground, no commitment to a long campaign.

    Expressing support for the US strike, Carr said the response would be swift and narrow.

    “This isn’t about changing the regime in Syria, it’s not about aligning America with the rebels. It’s going to be a swift and narrow response.

    “Because America is reinforcing here an international norm, that is a view that a nation that gasses its own people with chemical weapons should receive a robust and appropriate response from the world community,” he said.