Saturday, October 03, 2015

The pivoting friend

In his news conference yesterday, President Obama provided a fairly vigorous defence of his Syria policy, based mostly on the actual or likely ineffectiveness of the proposed alternatives. However one gap in that defense was evident in his claim that proof of Russia's weakness in its Syria response is that its coalition has 3 members -- Russia, the al-Assads, and Iran, while his coalition has everyone else:

Iran and Assad make up Mr. Putin’s coalition at the moment. The rest of the world makes up ours.

Missing from his Russia coalition list is Iraq, which provides overflight permission for Russian military support to Assads and beyond that says it is in a new military pact with the others against ISIS, which of course is now clear is simply a fig leaf to protect the Al-Assads. And there's the stretched logic of the Obama Iraq policy: if the Al-Assads sustain ISIS by their brutality, and ISIS now is a trans-border threat to Iraq which US support to Iraq is helping them contain, isn't the US now thus undermining in its own policy since the Iraqi government supports the Al-Assads?

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