Russian moves in Syria baffle US

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kerry lavrov
Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria has perplexed the Obama administration and left it in a quandary as to how to respond, complicating Washington’s efforts to both combat Islamic State extremists and assist moderate rebels trying to oust Syria President Bashar Assad.

Underscoring U.S. uncertainty about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions, Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday placed his third phone call in 10 days to Russia’s foreign minister, seeking clarity about Moscow’s moves, the State Department said. “Kerry made clear that Russia’s continued support for President Assad risks exacerbating and extending the conflict, and undermining our shared goal of fighting extremism if we do not also remain focused on finding a solution to the conflict in Syria via a genuine political transition,” the department said in a statement.

In the afterglow of the Iran nuclear deal, which was hailed by the Obama administration as the kind of diplomacy that can be achieved when Russia and the United States cooperate, U.S. officials had hoped for a change in Russia’s position about Syria, potentially even enlisting its support to move Assad out.

Moscow’s latest actions, however, have taken many by surprise and further muddied efforts to fight Islamic State militants while trying to promote political transition in Syria.

In recent days Russia has sent about a half-dozen battle tanks and other weaponry — along with military advisers, technicians, security guards and portable housing units — to Syria with the apparent goal of setting up an air base near the coastal town of Latakia, a stronghold of the Syrian president.

But U.S. officials say Putin’s intentions in Syria, particularly in the medium- to long-term, remain a mystery.

“The decision-making process in that country is rather opaque,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of Russia, adding that Moscow has long used Syria as a “client state.”

That history, he said, might indicate that Putin has a long-term goal, but what that might be is “not clear exactly.”

Some officials believe Putin may simply be protecting Russian assets, others that he is betting on Assad’s survival and still others that he may be laying the groundwork for a large Russian presence in a post-Assad Syria.

Viable options appear few and far between.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, likened the menu of options to “spaghetti on the wall.”

Longstanding calls from Turkey to create a no-fly zone in northern Syria could be revisited, the official said. However, neither the administration nor its allies are eager for any kind of direct confrontation with Russia.

Sanctions for supporting the Assad regime could also be imposed, but since such penalties have done little to deter Russian activities in Ukraine, some in the administration question their effectiveness, the official said.

State Department spokesman John Kirby held out the possibility of new sanctions on Russia but would not commit. “These actions inside Syria could very well lead to further isolation for Russia,” he said.

Unease over the uncertainty led to Kerry’s call on Tuesday, which came shortly after Putin defended his military assistance to Assad’s government. Putin said it is impossible to defeat the Islamic State group without cooperating with Damascus and urged other countries to join the cause.

The administration’s argument has been the reverse, blaming Assad for the rise of the Islamic State and warning that attempts to prop him up will only prolong the conflict. Last week, President Barack Obama said that Putin’s strategy is “doomed to fail” and the White House reinforced that message on Tuesday.

“We’ve made clear that further support, military or otherwise for the Assad regime is destabilizing and counterproductive, principally because Assad has lost the legitimacy to lead that country,” Earnest said. “Russia’s decision to double down on Assad is a losing bet.”

He renewed calls for Russia to cooperate with the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes to degrade and destroy the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

“The Russians indicate that they share that goal, and we’d like to see them work cooperatively with the rest of the international community to advance it,” Earnest said.

Amid the uncertainty, and under criticism from some for not doing enough to help Assad’s foes in the first four years of the conflict, some U.S. allies may be wavering in Putin’s direction.

Last week, British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond told Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee that his government was willing to accept compromises with Russia and Iran that could see Assad play a role “for some months” in a transition process.

And yet, U.S. officials categorically reject such a scenario. Kerry will discuss the matter with Hammond during a visit to London this weekend.

“Nothing’s changed about the fact that we don’t want to see the Assad regime getting any support,” Kirby said. “There can’t be a role (for) the Assad regime in efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria, much less go against ISIL.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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45 responses to “Russian moves in Syria baffle US”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    The Russian mind-set. ‘Have a Vodka. Tomorrow is another day.’
    I would say Putin decided he had heard enough flapping gums … and since he had ‘economic interests’, and it looked like his stock certificates might actually become wall-paper, he’s decided to do the one thing which was needed from the beginning. Put Booties On The Ground … and MAKE some kind of peace. He also didn’t really like the prospect of a pile of refugees flooding Moscow … he may need to contend with some from the Ukraine.
    Consider that Communists don’t like other Gods.
    ‘Who cares’, says Putin, ‘WHICH sectarian idiots are left running around? As long as they are quiet and business can happen. WE will make it so.’

    1. nagy_michael2 Avatar
      nagy_michael2

      I heard the Russians are flying Chechens to fight alongside ISIS too. this way they don’t have to deal with Islamic terror at home. so i believe the rumors and Assad has no choice anyway since he is controlled by Iran and Nassrallah.. Then Assad blames the west for the terrorists. it’s a fair game.. lol

      1. Anti ISIS Avatar

        Yep, in this war Nagy you’ll hear a lot. The truth is however, no one really knows what the fuck is really going on. It’s all a big game at the cost of thousands of innocent lives. It’s all business with the man ensuring he’ll get paid for the weapons he is selling to these dumb morons. On a more lighter note, hope you and yours are doing well.

      2. Hind Abyad Avatar

        Nagy, i don’t know where you “heard” Russians are flying Chechens to fight alongside ISIS too. this way they don’t have to deal with Islamic terror at home”.

        Russians owe their Christian Orthodoxy to the “Eastern” Assyrians Church. Western and Eastern branches of Christianity 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, split in the Great Schism of 1054.

  2. Caribbean Avatar

    the real help from Russia is coming too late! why wait for all the destructions and see your friend paralyzed by a gang of Zionists beast from across the globe and not come to her aid.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Because the last time they tried it, they were blamed for the ‘destructions’. This time, they let ASSad do it first. (Wonder if their little ‘bomblets’ hidden in toys are still active .. hmmm)

      1. Hind Abyad Avatar

        DONATE NOW: Refugee crisis in Europe
        “Donors living outside the US and Canada, please use our
        international donation form”

        (outside US & Canada)? Haha…!

        https://engage.rescue.org/donate/emergencies?ms=ad_refg_ppc_rw15_jc_150904&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Refugees&gclid=CjwKE

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          Well, maybe we can say that Canada isn’t being sucked in any more … OR we can say we got smart at the right time … OR we can say all the past imports don’t want any more. Take your choice … but times have changed, … apparently. Probably something more to do with computerization … banks can’t figure thing out fast any more either.
          http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/09/haven-canada-conservative-refugee-policy-150915082517641.html

        2. 5thDrawer Avatar

          That one IS confusing … seems to have the same Acronym as the Red Cross. Turkeys.

          1. Hind Abyad Avatar

            How you know where the money goes..it’s theatrical, good night.

  3. Hind Abyad Avatar

    George Soros W2EU Group Is Giving Handbooks to Fake Refugee Invaders
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3Tk74-O-so&list=TLZTQ13UkRrcwxNjA5MjAxNQ

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      ‘How to’ books on ‘Being Illegal’. Nice. Do they tell them how to pick a good boat and row it properly?

      1. Hind Abyad Avatar

        This is not extra-planetary Henry V.. it’s planetary.
        It doesn’t ‘baffle’ US.

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          True … we got the proof right there … and I’d believe anything these days …

          1. Hind Abyad Avatar

            So don’t believe this Report: George Soros is bankrolling Democratic voting rights lawsuits..you’re so nice
            http://twitchy.com/2015/06/05/report-george-soros-is-bankrolling-democratic-voting-rights-lawsuits/

          2. 5thDrawer Avatar

            Thank you … always thought you were nice too. And when did I say I didn’t believe??

  4. boy, that Reset button Hillary and Obama did really worked out well.

    1. Hind Abyad Avatar

      I received this message, don’t understand it

      1. “Hind Abyad Barry
        42 minutes ago
        I received this message, don’t understand it”

        NO KIDDING!!!!
        Btw, not the first time you didn’t understand. And more than likely won’t be the last.
        Hail khara immi.

        1. Hind Abyad Avatar

          Barry
          “boy, that Reset button Hillary and Obama did really worked out well.”

          You can understand all about Reset hilarity buttons..

      2. 5thDrawer Avatar

        Something local, I’d guess … American political stuff … don’t worry about it.

        1. Hind Abyad Avatar

          Not my cup of tea…

          1. 5thDrawer Avatar

            Tetley? Or Red Rose?

          2. Hind Abyad Avatar

            Twinning gun powder tea.

          3. 5thDrawer Avatar

            MMmmmmm … 😉

        2. Hind Abyad Avatar

          This is new i get messages not addressed to me, just got Intouchable comment in Forward, how’s that?

          1. 5thDrawer Avatar

            Everyone wants to ‘LINK’ .. or Link you to everything you ever looked at … so they can decide what you are (in a political sense) and estimate your ‘theoretical opinion’ on anything … this kind of crap guides ‘policy’ these days. 🙁
            So, a comment from someone in a site you looked at – with them – appears in another site they looked in … and in the true ‘Facebook Sense’ … it links you to their comment.
            ‘Oh, George likes this cake … you will probably like it too, because you know George … Tell us if we were right. ‘Click’. We’ll send you more stuff.’
            ‘George has 20,000 friends. Want to be friends with them? ‘ …. :-)))))

          2. Hind Abyad Avatar

            Fed up..it said unsubscribe to crap, i did.

          3. Hind Abyad Avatar

            Twice a day i click Facebook in spam..
            Changing subject..i hated Ann Coulter since a long time now suddenly she appears in.. .
            http://forward.com/news/321092/ann-coulter-uses-f-word-in-diatribe-about-jews/

          4. 5thDrawer Avatar

            Sorry .. must go out … will catch it later …

      3. They promised new, better relations with Russia (as opposed to Bush). They presented the Russians with an enormous Reset button as a sort of good will gesture. The Russians were not amused and they took this as American naivete. They were correct. And relations have never been so bad betwixt those two countries since the Cold War.
        Now Hillary wants to be president. When asked about which accomplishments she would run on as Sec of State, she dismissed the question as moot.
        Moot indeed.

        1. Hind Abyad Avatar

          I see…

  5. I figure Putin thought to himself, It’s now or never. So it is now. He is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  6. “Russian moves in Syria baffle US”

    Not hard to “baffle” yanks.
    Maybe yanks should get an education.
    Yeehaw

  7. Both America and Russia will not let Syria and Iraq have freedom…both need Arabs oil to run billions of engines and machines in the west and Russia,including their killing machines..whites race invented too many killing machines…without oil their civilization,economy and politic would collapse.Both side.America and Russia need their Arab,s regimes..they can,t share Arabs oil fairly.That why you see their troops..weapons,armeis advisers.air crafts,war ships,drones in Arabs countries.If not for oil why they came here to dominate Arab,s world ?.For democracy?..don,t fool me..it is fake..they want oil.These news machine and engine really make Arabs rich..at the same times…destroying them at it worse..Arabs have no guard on their black gold..oil…they have no proper weapon technology to stop an oil robbers .

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      I thought everyone came for the Persian Carpets. 😉 Story books talked about ‘flying’ some. :-)))

      1. he he he..it is fairy tales.I guess you have one.

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          Yah .. but it lost a few threads … apparently they were too old to find replacements in the world of ‘Just in Time’ manufacturing … My Jin gave up. No-one had them in stock.

          1. he he..he..

          2. Shocking Video [Powerfull Ruqyah Against Magical Power 2]..on you tube..you can see what called Jin.

          3. 5thDrawer Avatar

            The ‘spiritual healing’ …. looks like … casting out the devils … helps to speak the language …

          4. many of us can cure this kind of trouble..including me and some of my friends..if you have problem alike..ask me..i will help you. .it is hard to cure its.it is many ways to care it…Hospital can,t cure it…they will give you tablets ..after years its ruined you nerves as well as your brain.

          5. 5thDrawer Avatar

            Yes, the medical people tend to go with the drugs for everything, which is not necessarily a very healthy approach for a body. Here we can agree – although problems in the mind are never easy to sort out … drugs are most often a ‘quick fix’ to stop people from killing themselves or others or becoming a vegetable with anxieties. But drugs are more like ‘Windows’ is for IBM … an ‘overlay programme’ of ancient software not understandable to most … instead of better and new software to begin with. 😉

            The ‘Laying On Of Hands’ has been popular in many cultures as a method of ‘getting in touch’ with life. It’s a way of making people finally realize they are not alone – we are all in this dung-heap ‘together’. And some minds have been ‘better’ at helping others, because they are more ‘in touch’. The DESIRE to ‘help’ is strong in some … they have better success. But I am sure if people learned how to ‘self-analyse’ rather than simply blame external forces all the time for why they feel the way they do, we might not have the psychotic drugs being found in minute amounts in ALL world water supplies after the last 100 years of ‘experimenting’. (since those molecules are smaller than water ones, and get past most filtration) One COULD eat a Magic Mushroom … ;-))

            Did you ever experience a sort of ‘Self-Hypnosis’ while a pair of hands applied a long, warm, and relaxing massage in a quiet room? Indeed … ‘Meditation’ works wonders … but another human helping with it can be MUCH more of a ‘release’ of those daily frustrations we all have in living a life.

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