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Obama Hammers Putin — Went into Syria ‘Out of Weakness’

Friday at a press conference at the White House, President Barack Obama said Russian President Vladimir Putin went into Syria and conducted airstrikes on civilians that oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “out of weakness.”

Obama said, “Now, last point I just want to make about this because, you know, sometimes the conversation here in the beltway differs from the conversation internationally. Mr. Assad — but out of weakness, because his client Mr. Assad was crumbling and it was insufficient for him simply to send them arms and money. Now he’s got to put in his own planes and his own pilots. And the notion that he put forward a plan and that somehow the international community sees that as viable because there’s a vacuum there. I didn’t see after he made that speech in the United Nations suddenly the 60-nation coalition that we have start lining up behind him. Iran and Assad make up Mr. Putin’s coalition at the moment.”

“The rest of the world makes up ours,” he continued. “So I don’t think people are fooled by the current strategy. It does not mean that we could not see Mr. Putin begin to recognize that it is in their interests to broker a political settlement. And as I said in New York we’re prepared to work with the Russians and the Iranians as well as our partners who are part of the anti-isil coalition. Nobody pretends it’s going to be easy. But I think it is still possible. And so we will maintain lines of communication but we are not going to be able to get those negotiations going if there’s not a recognition that there’s got to be a change in government. We’re not going to go back to the status quo ante. And the kinds of air strikes against moderate opposition that Russia is engaging in is going to be counterproductive. It’s going to move us farther away rather than towards the ultimate solution.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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