Saturday, July 16, 2016
To seek peace in Syria, US has to deal with Russia
By Jim Emerson, staff writer
The Obama administration is getting desperate and is making what might be its final offer to Moscow to end the hostilities in Syria. Obama is calling for enhanced intelligence and military cooperation with Russia against the Islamic State and other extremist groups in the nation. Obama is also calling for President Bashar al-Assad and the Russians to honor a UN brokered ceasefire with U.S.-supported rebel groups which includes Assad’s removal from power.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russia's top diplomat to discuss Syria's civil war and Assad's future. Apparently desperate for a Nobel Peace Prize, Kerry is trying to “resuscitate the cessation of hostilities” and get Russia to end its attacks on U.S. backed rebels. The big obstacle to any agreement involves the future of Bashar al-Assad, as the Russians are not interested in removing him from power and having him replaced by a Muslim Brotherhood puppet regime. Obama, of course, has been pleased to practice that pro-terror diplomacy throughout the Middle East.
Secretary Kerry will fail as long he insists on ushering Assad out of power. The ceasefire will fail as long as al-Qaeda and ISIS are operating in a Syrian war in which the lack of uniforms makes it difficult to tell the rebels from the terrorists. Peace will only come to Syria when one of the factions kills off all of the others. Diplomacy is a poor countermeasure against the Islamic State and al-Qaida, especially when Humanitarian aid deliveries to rebel held areas are sporadic and grossly inefficient. It’s likely that such supplies are being looted by tribal and terrorist groups.
The Obama administration sent a proposal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that would mandate the U.S. Military share Intelligence and friendly forces in Syria with the Russians. In exchange Russia would halt attacks against U.S.-supported rebels
The Pentagon opposes the Obama Administration’s plan to strengthen military cooperation between the United States and Russia in the fight against ISIS in Syria. It’s likely the opposition of Pentagon officials is driven by Russian attacks against U.S.-backed rebel forces. Russia is not getting any help to locate and fight Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s arm in Syria. The Pentagon hasn’t been providing the location of U.S. supported rebels to the Russians, leaving the rebels at the mercy of the Russian coalition. Another sticking point involves a Russian attack helicopter shot down with a US missile by ISIS fighters near the city of Palmyra. The Russian military claim that the helicopter was shot down with an American TOW anti-tank missile.
A Pentagon official told the Daily Beast that the Defense Department is “already attempting to constrain coordination efforts and the amount of intelligence shared between Washington and Moscow.” Pentagon officials do not trust the Russian to honor any agreement with the Obama administration. In any event, it’s likely the disagreement is routed in the State Department since Russia’s goal is to maintain the Bashar al-Assad’s Regime whereas Obama wants to remove him. Russia is well aware of what happened in Egypt, Libya and Yemen during the Arab Spring and does not intend to lose its military in the region.
What Does Syria Think?
Syria's President al-Assad accused the Obama Administration of not being serious about defeating ISIS. In his view only the Russians are interested in destroying ISIS in which case al-Assad would reclaim any captured Syrian territory “within months.” Assad told NBC “the US did not have the same determination as the Russians to defeat ISIS.” Assad prefers working with Russia because President Vladimir Putin hasn’t demanded that he step down and is not making demands of him in his war against terrorism. President Assad is confident that the Russians will not accept any deals with Secretary of State John Kerry that would call for his removal.
The future of Syria will be decided by its own people; that is, the ones who remain as opposed to refugees who cut and run.