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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Putin lays it all out on the table for Obama regarding Syria

Mike Whitney

Why is John Kerry so eager to convene an emergency summit on Syria now when the war has been dragging on for four and a half years?

Is he worried that Russia's air campaign is wiping out too many US-backed jihadis and sabotaging Washington's plan to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad?

You bet, he is. No one who's been following events in Syria for the last three weeks should have any doubt about what's really going on. Russia has been methodically wiping out Washington's mercenaries on the ground while recapturing large swathes of land that had been lost to the terrorists. That, in turn, has strengthened Assad's position in Damascus and left the administration's policy in tatters. And that's why Kerry wants another meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pronto even though the two diplomats met less than a week ago. The Secretary of State is hoping to cobble together some kind of makeshift deal that will stop the killing and salvage what's left of Uncle Sam's threadbare Syrian project.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Iran had been invited to the confab which will be held in Vienna on Thursday. The announcement is bound to be ferociously criticized on Capital Hill, but it just shows to what extent Russia is currently setting the agenda. It was Lavrov who insisted that Iran be invited, and it was Kerry who reluctantly capitulated. Moscow is now in the drivers seat.

And don't be surprised if the summit produces some pretty shocking results too, like a dramatic 180 on Washington's "Assad must go" demand. As Putin has pointed out many times before, Assad's not going anywhere. He's going to be a part of Syria's "transitional governing body" when the Obama team finally agrees to the Geneva Communique which is the political track that will eventually end the fighting, restore security, and allow millions of refugees to return to their homes.

The reason the administration is going to agree to allow Assad to stay, is because if they don't, the Russian Airforce is going to continue to blow US-backed mercenaries to smithereens. So, you see, Obama really has no choice in the matter. Putin has put a gun to his head and made him an offer he can't refuse.

That doesn't mean the war is going to be a cakewalk for Russia or its allies. It won't be. In fact, there have already been some major setbacks, like the fact that ISIS just seized a critical section of the Aleppo-Khanasser highway, cutting off the government's supply-lines to Aleppo. This is a serious problem, but it is not a problem that can't be overcome nor is it a problem that will effect the outcome of the war. It's just one of the obstacles that has to be dealt with and surpassed. Taking a broader view, the outlook is much more encouraging for the Russian-led coalition which continues to cut off supply-lines, blow up ammo dumps and fuel depots, and rapidly eviscerate the ability of the enemy to wage war. So, while the war is certainly not a walk in the park, there's no doubt about who's going to win.  

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