Putin states his case in Syria, approaches Saudis

When defending Russia’s application of force in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin told state-owned Rossiya 1 TV he wants to “create conditions for a political compromise” in the embattled Middle Eastern nation.

In refuting Western claims the Russian aerial bombardment revolves around anti-Assad forces, and justifying the legitimacy of the bombing campaign, Mr. Putin responded:

Let me say again that we are acting in full compliance with international law – at the request of the Syrian Arab Republic’s official government.  Looking at the purely military dimension, we have heard reproach from others, who say that our airstrikes are hitting not ISIS and other terrorist organizations like Jabhat al-Nusra and suchlike, but forces belonging to the healthy opposition.

In this situation, we say to our partners, if they know the situation on the ground better than us and have already been there for more than a year – unlawfully, true, but present nevertheless – if they know better than us (and I doubt this is the case, but let’s assume it is possible), they should give us information on targets and we will work against these targets.

Mr. Putin added Russian ground operations in Syria were “out of the question,” and the Syrian government has been apprised of Russian intentions in the region.

Putin made the remarks to Rossiya 1 on the same day he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Saudi Arabian Defense Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman, and Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir.

Commenting on the outcome of the meeting with the Saudis, Sergri Lavrov stated:  “On both sides, as far as I can tell, there is an understanding that today’s meeting can advance our cooperation.”

The meeting between Russian and Saudi representatives produced an agreement to cooperate against the evolution of a “terrorist caliphate” in Syria; notable largely because of the persistent animosity between the Sunni House of Saud and the Assad-led Alawite government in Damascus.

It does not appear as if the Saudis or the Syrians have been pressed into the Russian alliance to defeat terrorists in Syria.

The Russians have grasped the nettle by carefully exploiting the divisions between Saudi Arabia and the United States to expand their coalition in Syria.

Once a strong allegiance, the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has disintegrated due in large part to neglect from Washington and misplaced faith from Riyadh.

Despite a permanent state of hostility between Riyadh and Damascus, Russian diplomacy breached remarkable obstacles in one afternoon.

To prevent Syria from descending into chaos, it may be necessary for the White House to abandon its blueprint for foreign policy, silencing opposition, and embracing a bargain which can assist in the dismantlement of ISIS and remaining militant groups.

 

[Reuters] [BBC News] [The Independent] [Photo courtesy Sputniknews.com]