So last night, I recommended readers turn a skeptical eye towards all of those “alt. media” sites that have, for the last 15 or so months since Russia constructed an air base at Latakia, reveled in casting the Kremlin as the liberator of the Syrian populace.
Just because Washington’s allies in the region (read: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar) have chosen to support Sunni extremist elements many of which might very well have designs on harming Western interests and/or killing Westerners doesn’t thereby mean that Moscow is the good guy by default. It just means that it doesn’t make sense for Moscow to support the Sunnis when their ally in Tehran is Shiite and when Sergei Lavrov and Maria Zakharova can kill two birds with one stone by bombing Sunni rebels (they get to 1. prop up their ally in Assad, and 2. shame the US and its allies for not being effective enough when it comes to stamping out terrorist elements).
Of course what the Russians are really doing is just bolstering the Assad regime and Quds commander Qassem Soleimani’s ground forces with a vicious air campaign that Moscow knows rebel elements are powerless to stop.
Does this all of this mean the US is in the right with its various covert forays into the country’s six year-old bloody civil war? No. What it does mean is that Russia is part of the problem not the solution and Lavrov’s insistence that all the Kremlin is trying to do is rid the country of “bandits” and “the terrorists” a whole bunch of Putin pettifoggery designed solely to hide the fact that the Russians are, if they’re doing anything, exacerbating the conflict.
Here’s the latest on the war from Bloomberg who’s far less likely to spin things deliberately in favor of the Russians:
Ending the fighting in Aleppo and renewing negotiations on a political settlement in Syria depends on “big magnanimous” gestures from Russia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after a meeting of foreign ministers in Paris.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the Syrian opposition is ready to go back to negotiations without conditions, though he didn’t detail which divided rebel groups would be represented.
Kerry said Russian and U.S. teams were meeting in Geneva today to work out details on how surrounded rebel groups may be allowed to leave Aleppo.
Why should you believe that, you ask? Because if you’re the opposition you’ve lost something like 97% of the ground in Aleppo. This is over. Loose confederations of Sunni rebels can’t go to war with Iran and the Russian air force. So it’s either negotiate or be summarily shot in front of their families by the Alawite government. Everybody’s willing to negotiate once they’ve definitively lost.
Oh by the way, while the Russians are busy encircling the rebels in Aleppo…
…ISIS is back in Palmyra seeking to recapture the ancient UNESCO heritage site. But who cares right? The war is won.
With regard to the exodus from Aleppo, John Kerry had the following to say this week: “Russia and [Syrian President] Assad have a moment where they are in a dominant position to show a little grace.”
Let’s see how that turns out…