Vladimir Putin has issued a “common sense” call to the West to join Russia and Syria in a united front to fight against Islamic State (IS).
Putin was speaking at a security summit in Tajikistan when he made the appeal to the EU and the US to unite with him and President Bashar Al-Assad’s Syria. The Russian President said:
“Simple common sense, responsibility for global and regional safety require uniting efforts of the international community [to fight] such a threat.
“Russia, as you know, has proposed to form a wide coalition to fight extremists without any delay. It [the coalition] should unite everyone who is ready and is already contributing to tackling terrorism.
“It’s obvious that without the Syrian authorities and the military playing an active role, without the Syrian Army fighting Islamic State on the ground, it’s impossible to drive terrorists from this country.”
Putin confirmed that Russia is actively involved in giving technical military support to Syria. Pledging to continue doing so he invited others to join the effort.
Assad backed Putin’s call, as previously reported by Breitbart‘s National Security team, tying it to reform within Syria saying:
“I would like to take this opportunity to call on all forces to unite against terrorism. If you want to implement anything real [in terms of political reform], it’s impossible to do anything while you have people being killed, bloodletting hasn’t stopped.”
Experts on the region have suggested Putin’s efforts in Syria are part of a rehabilitation strategy designed to deflect attention from Russia’s activity in Ukraine, reports EUobserver.
“In the Kremlin’s view, Syria is another country where the United States and Russia fight for dominance, and it seems that Putin thinks that Syria presents an opportunity to win. The West should tread carefully, and take Moscow’s initiative as a further sign that a major diplomatic push is way past due in Syria – but not on Putin’s terms…
“Increasing Russia’s role in Syria presents an opportunity for Putin to put Moscow back in the center of global politics, distract from the quagmire that the Donbas [region in Ukraine] has become, and to score points abroad and at home.
“Russia has always been a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, delivering weapons and shielding his regime from international condemnation by using its veto at the UN Security Council. But the Russian military build-up in Syria late last week caught the West by surprise.
“By signaling to everybody that Russia is fully committed to keep Assad in power, Putin is exploiting Washington’s insecurity about its Syria strategy…
“…Western policymakers should resist the temptation to align themselves with Russia in Syria. They should make clear that they understand that Assad’s terror is the root cause of the violence in Syria and that his bombing campaigns against civilians are the main drivers of the refugee crisis. They should understand that it is time for a major diplomatic initiative to push for a transformation in Syria, in order to set-up a post-Assad government that would be supported by the West in its fight against ISIS. The refugee crisis and Russia’s stepped-up military involvement should serve as a wake-up call: the longer the war in Syria drags on, the more costly it will become, in all regards.”
In fact the West, in the form of the US, several EU countries and some Arab states, already functions as an anti-IS coalition conducting air raids, giving military advice, and training and arming moderate anti-IS forces such as the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Although Western policy seeks the removal of Assad, the coalition works in coordination with his allies Iran, Iraq and the Hezbollah militia from Lebanon.