Pedestrians walk in front of the ancient fortress in Aleppo, Syria (Photographer: Michael Luongo/Bloomberg)

Syria and Allies Ready for War If Trump Attacks, Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- An adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad likened President Donald Trump’s threats of a missile strike to the “delirium” of a losing sports team, saying her country and its allies are ready for a U.S.-led war if it happens.

Talk of a U.S. attack on Syria is part of a“psychological war meant to project power that the West has lost,” Bouthaina Shaaban, Assad’s media and political adviser, said in an interview late Wednesday with Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen TV. She predicted the showdown would end with a diplomatic settlement, and accused Israel of instigating the confrontation.

Assad’s victory in the seven-year civil war “will change the map of the region,” and the “biggest loser” will be Israel, she said.

Israel Worried

Israel has watched the winding down of the war on its northern doorstep with trepidation as Syria’s allies in the conflict consolidate gains. Israel has said it won’t let Iran entrench militarily in Syria, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the occasion of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day to warn Tehran not to test his country.

Trump is still weighing options for military action over a suspected April 7 chemical weapons attack near Damascus, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday. She said the president has been in talks with several key allies in recent days. France and Saudi Arabia have signaled willingness to take part in a joint response to the attack.

“We don’t want a war, but we don’t fear it and we’re ready for it,” Shaaban said. Syria and its allies -- Russia, Iran and the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah -- are coordinating and on “high”alert, she said.

“All this delirium by the Western forces is a sign of weakness,” just like a football team that loses and then “starts attacking and threatening the winning team.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.