Monday, November 30, 2015

Truth and Consequences

"At the moment, unfortunately, our partners are not ready to work as one coalition."
Dmitry Peskov, personal spokesman for Vladimir Putin

"[Russia] is ready to co-operate with the coalition which is led by the United States."
Russian President Vladimir Putin

"Vienna talks cannot go ahead productively without . . . a list of terrorists and a list of opposition groups."
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister

"All those who demanded the resignation of Assad have left and Assad remained."
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem

"There have been requests from Erdogan of a telephone conversation in the past two days."
"We see Turkey's non-readiness to bring elementary apologies over the aircraft incident [negating Putin's response to the calls]."
Yuri Ushakov, Putin aide
The attacks came as Turkey warned that with so many different groups involved, another incident like the downing of the Russia jet could happen unless there was better information sharing
The attacks came as Turkey warned that with so many different groups involved, another incident like the downing of the Russia jet could happen unless there was better information sharing

So then, the perceived utility of a grand coalition has slipped into 'not-bloody-likely' territory. Thanks primarily, it would seem to a psychotic moment of rage on the part of Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan who regrets the inevitable fall-out of his succumbing to that deadly slap-down, but not the urge to succumb to his rage. Vladimir Putin, who knows all about the volcanic pressure to submit to rage has little sympathy for a personality reflecting his own.

In any event, the conceit that Moscow and Washington/NATO have the same goal in the exercise of their self-appointed mandates in Syria cannot be sustained. The two solitudes have decidedly different goals, obvious to any observer who cares to identify political realities. Each of them is acutely aware of the transparency of their differences and between them it is only Mr. Putin who insists otherwise.

France's President Hollande pretends that any differences that exist are minor in nature and easily transcended, but he is deliberately delusional. Somehow, in the execution of his executive role as president of France he has convinced himself that as a great world power led by a great man with a Napoleonic complex he can step with ease into the yawning chasm that the vacant president of the United States has left, 'leading from behind'.

And, it would appear furthermore, that despite Mr. Putin's boast that his military's position in Syria has accomplished far more in the brief time since it has entered the fray in comparison to the pale accomplishments of the U.S.-led coalition over a period of a year and more, the bombing missions, three-quarters of which have targeted the U.S.-supported Syrian rebels rather than Islamic State jihadis, have accomplished little more than demoralizing Syrian Sunni citizens.

Russia has been carrying out strikes in Syria since September, but many have not targeted ISIS strongholds
Russia has been carrying out strikes in Syria since September, but many have not targeted ISIS strongholds

Russia's military entry to the regime-led Syrian bloodbath has added to the civilian death toll and as such done more than its part in creating new migrations of external refugees fleeing an enhanced regime death machine. The aim and accuracy of its 'dumb' bombs has succeeded in accomplishing little it purportedly set out to do, other than aid Bashar al-Assad in his design to blast Syrian Sunnis into oblivion.

Those in the know point out that on the other hand, territorial losses to the Islamic State have diminished entirely as a result of the more effective Western airpower in its provision of close air support interfering with Islamic State offensives and aiding the only effective challenge to ISIL's advances, the Kurdish militias. Degrading and destroying ISIL owes nothing whatever to Moscow's intervention; so not only is President Putin delusional, so too is President Hollande.

Dozens more were injured, and people were pictured desperately trying to save people from the rubble
Russian Bombers killing Sunni Syrians in Ahira, Syria

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