Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address to the UN General Assembly on Monday expressed Moscow’s displeasure with the current state of affairs, but provided no clear strategy, with analysts claiming that most of what came out of Putin’s mouth was “bulls-.”
“Sad commentary that 85 percent of what Putin said was unmitigated bulls— & it still sounded like he is now more relevant than Obama,” David Rothkopf, CEO of the Foreign Policy Group, tweeted.
About one-third of Putin’s speech was appealing to no one, and it would be politically incorrect (even for Mr. Putin) to throw mud at the United Nation standing at its headquarters in New York. Nonetheless, the assembly of world leaders expected clear plans and strategies to resolve the Syrian crisis and fight the ISIS threat, but got only the kind of statements we have been hearing from the Kremlin for years.
What the world expected from Mr. Putin’s address was an unambiguous strategy from an influential leader who could bring the Syrian crisis to an end, but he was not specific in anything he said, including the creation of a broad international coalition against terrorism similar to the anti-Hitler coalition formed during the World War II. And while the proposal seems like it could gain some traction, Russia has already proposed to create similar coalitions and groups at various events and negotiations over the past months.
It seems like Putin is not interested in resolving the Syrian crisis just now, since he suggested to discuss the “coordination mechanism” of the issue at the next UN Security Council ministerial meeting.
Putin supports ISIS by supporting Assad
Thus, Putin disappointed all those who thought the Russian President would suggest a compromise proposal to resolve the conflict in Syria or at least verbally express his willingness to reduce military support for the Assad regime to bring peace in Syria. Instead, he gave a clear idea that the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS will get Russia’s support only in case the Assad regime will be a part of it, adding that Assad and his militia are the only ones who is “truly” fighting ISIS in Syria.
But according to the U.S. and its allies, Putin is dead wrong. By beefing up the Assad regime with its military equipment and the so-called “advisors,” the Kremlin is actually inciting terrorism in the region, including atrocities that come from ISIS.
The Assad regime is a “terrorism generator of epic proportion, engaging in state terrorism against its own people and inciting terrorism from its opponents,” the strategic security firm The Soufan Group wrote in its report in August.The strategic security firm added that there is no justifying the actions of the Islamic State or al-Nusra, “but the Assad regime’s wholesale slaughter of civilians provides the groups with radicalized supporters far faster than Assad’s military can then fight them.”
Putin is a hypocrite and it’s now a fact
And another problem with Putin and his support for the Syrian government is that he will never let anyone overthrow the Assad regime – not now and not anytime soon. According to Putin, he is against any kind of foreign interference in internal affairs of Syria. However, Mr. Putin seems to forget his last year’s annexation of Crimea and his ongoing actions in eastern Ukraine. Thus, not only did Putin “bulls-“ the world in his address to the UN, but also showed his hypocrisy.
By his stubborn stance on the Syrian crisis, Putin forces the West to choose between a bad and an even worse scenario of the conflict in the Middle East. He forces the U.S. and Europe to recognize Assad as a partner in fighting ISIS militants. Putin claims that it would result in an immediate stabilizing of the situation in Syria. But that’s not what the Russian President is truly after. What Putin is after is Russia’s growing role as a major player in global affairs. He also expects that such a scenario would urge the West to lift the sanctions, which were imposed for Moscow’s interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
Russia’s has been gradually stepping up its military presence in Syria since the end of August, while the first half of September saw a sudden large build-up of Russia’s military equipment in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. And while Russia claims that the Russian military equipment deployed in Syria assists the Assad regime to fight against ISIS and other extremists in the region, many experts have noted that Mr. Putin cares more about keeping Assad in power by fighting off U.S.-trained Syrian rebels.
Times of U.S. dominance in the Middle East are gone
If an agreement with Mr. Putin is not reached anytime soon, the deadly conflict in Syria will develop by its current scenario: the war in the Middle East will force millions more refugees to flee the country in the direction of Central Europe. However, there is also a third option – sending American and Western troops into Syria and launching a ground offensive without UN’s mandate. But this option has not been seriously considered by any Western state yet. But for how long?
It’s a tough choice for the West, which still refuses to admit its weakness and inability to influence the Syrian crisis. But the fact is clear: the times of unilateral actions by the U.S. and its dominance in the Middle East are gone, which was indicated by U.S. President Barack Obama’s Monday speech at the UN headquarters. Obama also called for a ‘modern approach’ in resolving world’s problems, saying that the world cannot go back to the “old ways” of “conflict and coercion.”
“But I stand before you today believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion—we cannot look backwards,” Obama said.