Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Moscow's Syrian policy looks like a hedge fund of sorts--one that hedges it also against Russia's and Syria's own interests

What does Russia have in common with the US and Saudi Arabia, the two arch-enemies of Syria [besides Israel] when it comes to Syria and the current crisis? Lavrov explains (the Russian Foreign Ministry's own transcript): "As I said, this matter was discussed by the foreign ministers of Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States today. EACH of these countries is making efforts to SEE THE OPPOSITION groups work out a COMMON APPROACH for the negotiations with the REGIME ..."

Thus, the answer: 1) like the US and Saudi Arabia tries to help as Syria's "ally" do what Syria's enemies are trying to do--to unite the anti-Assad opposition and help them work out one "common approach," strategy, demands ... and 2) as Syria's "ally," Russia is also fine with using for Syria the lexicon or delegitimizing, negative terminology, calling the Syrian government led by Bashar al Assad "the regime."

This is how Russia officially supports or does not support the Syrian government in its fight for its own existence. Lavrov: "[We have] our commitment to working with all the representatives of the Syrian people with no exception, including the government and all opposotion groups, without pinpointing or favoring anyone." Sounds like coming from an "ally," doesn't it?

And this is how Lavrov speaks of Bashar al-Assad, the true leader of his nation who has been leading his people against a combined onslaught of terrorist armies supported by the West and regional despots. Referring to his talks with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Lavrov said: "Today, we talked about how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not pose any real threat. Perhaps, we can discuss issues that arose in Syria and continue to escalate, but al-Assad does not threaten any neighbouring country, whereas ISIS threatens not just Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and says so publicly, but this terrorist mechanism is also making some maps that cover territories from Spain to Pakistan. So, here we need to see how these two threats stack up against each other."

Concerning Syria, Russia says that there should be a transitional government, that anti-Assad opposition should be "united," and that the resolution and transition needs to include "the entire spectrum of opposition forces." Imagine if Russia dared to suggest this for Ukraine! Well, it would be clearly a different Russia. Or imagine if Syria also declared that these similar "principles" should also be applied to Russia herself and that, to this effect, Syria too would gladly invite and host groups of anti-Putin opposition in order to "unite it" for the sake of a new "transitional government"!

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