In a Sunday phone conversation between President Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, described by the Kremlin as “frank and constructive,” the two world leaders discussed the Syria crisis, with Mr. Putin appealing for cooperation in the struggle against global terror.
Mr. Putin emphasized the need for a unified anti-terror front and the abandonment of “double standards,” by both nations.
According to a Kremlin press release, Mr. Putin urged President Obama to harmonize their respective defense apparatuses to execute a maximum-effective military operation against ISIS.
Alternatively, Mr. Obama insisted the Russian government end its bombing campaign against “moderate” Syrian rebel groups and, on two issues Mr. Putin agreed with, stressed the importance of humanitarian assistance delivered to the beleaguered population in the war-torn country and their mutual want for a ceasefire to be implemented.
A White House statement on the conversation revealed both Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama would continue talks regarding the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the coalition of nations and economic groups which is overseeing negotiations to end the five-year-old conflict.
Despite the collegiality of the phone conversation, this matter will not be resolved without cooperation by both men, two nations and each country’s military.
It is worth mentioning both Obama and Putin are intimately familiar with the folly of forcible regime change.
Given the vast body of historical precedents in every corner of the globe, often with tragic results, a regime change would stir chaos should Assad be removed prior to ISIS and Syrian opposition groups being subdued.
A premature departure by Assad would inspire rebel groups and the arch-sinister ISIS to intensify their effort to gain power in Damascus. Such a drive could not be halted by appeals for a ceasefire and no proposal for negotiations would be assessed as worthwhile by warring groups.
For example: It is no surprise the Russian government is ambivalent, if not wholly refusing, to halt its bombing campaign against ISIS and Syrian opposition groups. All military matters considered, it makes little sense for Russia to abandon airstrikes when they have created openings on the ground for the Syrian army to benefit and drive ISIS and Syrian opposition groups from their lairs.
While Mr. Obama’s demand Bashar al-Assad step down is entirely appropriate, and a business Mr. Putin does not appear to disagree with, it is crucial Obama renounce his opposition to Assad remaining and engage in combined political and military effort.
Only a joint and resolute effort between the United States and Russia can bring ISIS to their knees and order be re-established in Syria.
[The Guardian] [RT News] [Kremlin.ru] [WhiteHouse.gov] [Photo courtesy thezimbabwedaily.com]