In October we reported that a Russian general walked into the US Embassy in Baghdad to inform the US government's senior official in the war zone that airstrikes in Syria would start in 1 hour. It was apparent then that the US strategy (defeating ISIS was of secondary importance to overthrowing Assad in Syria had not only failed but fallen apart, leaving the Obama administration with no way of saving face.
At the time US Secretary of State John Kerry had met British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London to discuss Assad's fate. "For the last year and a half we have said Assad has to go, but how long and what the modality is, that's a decision that has to be made in the context of the Geneva process and negotiation," Kerry told reporters after the meeting. "It doesn't have to be on day one or month one [and] there is a process by which all the parties have to come together and reach an understanding of how this can best be achieved."
A far cry from the hardline rhetoric the US was still clinging to back when that Russian General announced Vladimir Putin was taking control of efforts to defeat ISIS. Putin's line of the future government of Syria was, as it has always been, "Assad stays".
What was clear from the communique issues after the Kerry / Hammond meeting was that the western powers had tacitly recogniised what was obvious to impartial observers from the very beginning: the US backed effort to assist Qatar and the Saudis in overthrowing the Assad regimed and destabilizing Shia and secular regimes in the middle east was doomed from the start.
About a month later, ahead of talks in Vienna, WSJ said the following about Washington's plans for Assad:
The Obama administration entered a crucial round of international talks on Syria’s war prepared to accept a deal that leaves President Bashar al-Assad in place for several months or more during the transition to a new government.
The U.S. shift on the dictator’s future caps months of backtracking on the most significant obstacle to a resolution of the Syrian conflict. While U.S. officials once argued Mr. Assad couldn’t take part in a political transition, they have gradually eased that stance, eventually signaling he wouldn’t have to step down immediately. Now they are planning to negotiate the question of his future in talks being held Friday in Vienna.
The solution Washington sought to broker would “not prejudge the Assad question,” a senior administration official told The Journal.
Of course the Assad "question" has already been "prejudged" - only not by Washington or any of its regional allies. Tehran was never going to allow a US puppet government to be installed in Damascus. Putin was never going to cede his only naval base on the Mediterranean because s US puppet in Syria ordered Russia out. And China was always going to stand by its allies, Russia and Iran.
Losing Damascus to Washington and worse, to Islamist nutters in Riyadh, would cut Iran's supply lines to Hezbollah and diminish Iranian influence in the region. For Russia, it was not just a case of their naval base on Syria's coast (now expanded to be a military headquarters with an air base and an army supply depot), had the US / Saudi axis managed to gain control of Syria it would have opened the way for Washington's long term ambition for a pipeline from the Gulf states to the Mediterranean coast to be fulfilled. This would have enabled the USA and its allies to undermine Russia's oil trade. And Russia was never going to stand for that either.
Establishing a foothold in Syria is of course the first step for The Kremlin on the way to supplanting the US as Mid-East superpower puppet master. Even if Assad is ultimately deposed by his Syrian opponents, the Shia regime will remain in one form or another.
On Tuesday, Kerry was in Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin. As Foreign Policy magazine comments, America's top diplomat was "wicked psyched" that he found a Dunkin Donuts in Moscow. He was also probably "wicked psyched" at the dose of reality he had to swallow on Syria.
Associated Press reported, "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday accepted Russia's long-standing demand that President Bashar Assad's future be determined by his own people, as Washington and Moscow edged toward putting aside years of disagreement over how to end Syria's civil war."
"The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change," Kerry said, adding that the focus is no longer "on our differences about what can or cannot be done immediately about Assad."
That is a testament to the fact that the Obama administration and mainstream media in the west are beginning to understand just how weak America's negotiating position has become due to its failure to deal with Assad. but with a President who in his first campaign admitted to being a terrorist sympathiser what else could anyone expect.
MAIN TAGS: USA >> Russia >> Syria >> Oil
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