Syrian sinkhole swallowing Obama and Putin’s credibility and political judgement

October 1, 2015 by David Singer
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President Obama’s continuing focus on removing Syria’s President Assad to secure America’s co-operation with Russia to destroy Islamic State – whilst President Putin has now independently commenced Russian air strikes in Syria – supposedly on Islamic State forces – exposes both leaders lack of credibility and political judgement…writes David Singer.

Obama addressing the United Nations General Assembly on 28 September asserted:

“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo…

… Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader, and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild.

Obama’s acceptance of Russia and Iran as acceptable partners – but not Syria – makes no sense. Russia and Iran have propped up Assad’s hold on power in Syria for the last five years enabling the bloodshed and carnage in Syria to continue unabated.

Putin however argues for co-operation with Syria’s armed forces:

“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and Kurds militias are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations in Syria.”

Putin’s undisguised contempt for the American-led coalition’s efforts to degrade and destroy Islamic State is a harsh – and arguably unfair – indictment.

Nevertheless both Presidents differing viewpoints and responses are now on the public record – and need to be reconciled before any Security Council resolution creating a UN armed force to destroy Islamic State can emerge.

Obama’s preference for a Security Council Resolution can be gleaned from his comments made at a press conference in Russia on 6 September 2013 – shortly after chemical weapons had been used in Syria to gas 1400 people including 400 children. America took the view that Assad was the culprit – whilst Russia considered that the rebel forces battling Assad was the aggressor.

President Obama reasoned:

“You know, there are number a of countries that just as a matter of principle believe that if military action is to be taken, it needs to go through the U.N. Security Council…

… It is my view … that given Security Council paralysis on this issue, if we are serious about upholding a ban on chemical weapons use, then an international response is required and that will not come through Security Council action.

And I respect those who are concerned about setting precedents of action outside of a U.N. Security Council resolution. I would greatly prefer working through multilateral channels and through the United Nations to get this done”

Eight days later – after three days of negotiations between America and Russia – the Security Council in fact adopted a resolution – jointly sponsored by America and Russia – on destroying chemical weapons in Syria – contrary to Obama’s belief that such co-operation was not possible.

Concentrating on their commonly agreed problem – destroying chemical weapons – and not who fired them – averted any possible Security Council paralysis.

Similarly Russia and America need to concentrate on jointly destroying their common agreed enemy – Islamic State – under a UN mandated Security Council Resolution – rather than acting independently – and dangerously – of each other whilst arguing about Assad’s fate as President or Syria’s inclusion in any proposed UN force.

President Putin warned that the stakes of operating outside a UN Security Council resolution are high:

“Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organisations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.

We would get a world dominated by selfishness rather than collective work, a world increasingly characterized by dictate rather than equality. There would be less of a chain of democracy and freedom, and that would be a world where true independent states would be replaced by an ever-growing number of de facto protectorates and externally controlled territories.

On the basis of international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism.

Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are resolutely resisting those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind. And, naturally, the Muslim countries are to play a key role in the coalition, even more so because the Islamic State does not only pose a direct threat to them, but also desecrates one of the greatest world religions by its bloody crimes.”

President Obama also understands the risks of acting unilaterally:

“No matter how powerful our military, how strong our economy, we understand the United States cannot solve the world’s problems alone.”

With Russian airstrikes seriously escalating the conflict in Syria – Obama and Putin need to urgently sponsor that Security Council resolution before the Syrian sinkhole opens even wider.

Comments

5 Responses to “Syrian sinkhole swallowing Obama and Putin’s credibility and political judgement”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    David,

    Regular readers of Jwire would know of my utter contempt in every respect for B. Hussein Obama (aka Barry Soetoro).

    The real game changer would be if Abbas were to call for Russian assistance and “invite” Russian forces into the area. Then Israel will be faced with the real consequences of possibly never being able to do what it should have done decades ago and that is crushing the so called “Palestinian” terrorists and bringing them to their knees once and for all.

    Russian involvement on the ground in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would in my opinion be the real nightmare. With Russian forces in bases kilometres from Jerusalem, the IDF and IAF’s freedom of movement beyond the green line would be severely tested. In this nightmare scenario which I pray never happens, Israel could very well end up at the mercy of Russia, as the consequences of a conflagration with Russia are too horrendous to envisage.

    This is the end result of Israel having dillied and dallied for so long, always making concessions, always ending every flare up/conflict/war (call it what you will) with the “Palestinian” rabble prematurely and inconclusively and certainly never with the intention of imposing a crushing defeat of the enemy.

    David, I’m hoping you are able to convince me that I’m totally wrong in respect to my nightmare concerns of Russia possibly being at Israel’s doorstep.

    • david singer says:

      Gil

      I am an analyst – not a fortune teller.

      Sorry I cannot help you with your nightmares. Try a doctor or sleep therapist.

      What I have concluded based on the evidence actually before me is that America and Russia need the backing of a Security Council Resolution to enable them to act in concert as part of an armed UN miltary force formed to eradicate Islamic State and possibly Al Nusrah Front wherever they are presently operating.

      Confining your comments to the subject matter of my article as encapsulated in the foregoing paragraph would be appreciated.

      • Gil Solomon says:

        David,

        The reality is that the US is supposedly attacking “Islamic State” whereas in Syria, Russian forces are attacking the “rebels”, the same lot that the US thinks are their allies. The US wants to topple Assad while the Russians are supporting him. The reality is that these two don’t agree on anything. What does your analysis say about this?

        • david singer says:

          Gil

          I think my analysis has made clear that America and Russia are now in Syria acting independently of each other and that this has created a very dangerous situation in the absence of any agreed Security Council resolution authorising an armed UN military force with the declared objective of destroying Islamic State.

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    Benjamin Netanyahu was quick off the mark already taking several of his top military and security officials to Moscow to make there would be no misunderstanding between them, coming away with an agreemeent to a joint mechanism between their forces in and around Syria…..

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