Friday, October 23, 2015

Well, Naturally!

"Naturally, [they discussed] issues of the fight against terrorist and extremist groups, issues of the continuation of the Russian operation supporting the offensive of the Syrian Armed Forces."
Dmitri Peskov, spokesman for Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad enter a hall during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015.
Reuters/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

"[Moscow's entry in the Syrian crisis ensured it had not followed] a more tragic scenario. [The resolution must be a political one."
"Terrorism is a real obstacle to a political solution. And of course the whole [Syrian] people want to take part in deciding the fate of their state, and not just the leadership."
"The whole people want to take part in deciding the fate of the state, not just the ruling group."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Well, of course, excluding the Syrian Sunni population. In fact, the reality is that Assad no longer 'rules' Syrian Sunnis. They have disenfranchised themselves, can no longer be regarded as legitimate Syrians, in spurning the leadership of their president. So it naturally follows that the 'whole Syrian people' of whom he speaks so fondly are represented by his Shiite Alawite minority. A demographic that can be relied upon to continue supporting their leader.

For to them he is their leader. The regime helicopter gunships were never sent to target them. They have never experienced what it is like to witness their world destroyed, to bolt in terror from the  concussion of a barrel bomb. To witness others less fortunate than themselves torn by the shrapnel into unrecognizable human strips of flesh and sinew. The bombs are not respecters of the elderly, the infirm, and of children. They were never deliberately starved out, and into submission.

Politely and with all due respect to a fellow tyrant, Assad expressed his gratefulness to Vladimir Puton whose decision on behalf of Syria and himself avoided a larger "tragedy". It's clear when he speaks of tragedy he hasn't in mind the quarter-million Syrians whose tragedy was death, nor the four million who were forced through mind-numbing fear of increasing the mortality rate, to leave their country of origin to find haven abroad, anywhere that would take them; the squalid ill-equipped camps in Turkey, or the perilous journeys to Europe.

In  urn, Putin expressed his appreciation to Assad for his very nice visit. The Syrian people were given high praise for fighting opponents "practically on their own", recognizing the "serious results [that] have been achieved in this battle". Perhaps alluding to the bloodbath that ensued predictably when the majority Syrian population rebelled against their inferior official status as a great achievement. Undiplomatically brushing past the sacrifices of Hezbollah and Iran fighting in concert with the regime, so they that were not "practically on their own".
"Unfortunately on Syrian territory there are about 4,000 people from the former Soviet Union - at a minimum - fighting government forces with weapons in their hands. We, it goes without saying, can not allow them to turn up on Russian territory after they have received battlefield experience and undergone ideological instruction."
"We are ready to make our contribution not only in the course of military actions in the fight against terrorism, but during the political process."
Vladimir Putin, via the Kremlin notetaking

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