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Friday, October 21, 2016

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday struck a more conciliatory tone ahead of this week’s G20 summit, saying Moscow would take “decisive” action if the West proved who used chemical weapons in Syria.

Putin’s comments came as U.S. lawmakers begin rallying behind President Barack Obama’s plan to launch military strikes against Syria over a suspected poison gas attack outside Damascus that killed hundreds.

And as Obama seeks to cobble together an international coalition to back his plans for military intervention, France was Wednesday to hold an emergency parliamentary debate on the Syrian crisis.

Putin, in an interview apparently aimed at presenting a more pragmatic face to the world ahead of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, said he did not exclude Russia agreeing to U.S.-led military strikes if it was proven Syria’s regime had carried out the August 21 attack.

But, he told state-run Channel One television, the West still needed to put forward watertight proof of the circumstances of the attack, which some Russian officials have blamed on rebels.

If there was clear proof of what weapons were used and who used them, Russia “will be ready to act in the most decisive and serious way,” Putin said.

Asked whether Russia would agree with U.S.-led military strikes if it was proven that the Syrian regime had carried out the attack, Putin replied: “I do not exclude that.”

But he said it would be unacceptable for the West to go ahead with military action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad without the assent of the UN Security Council, where Russia has veto-wielding permanent membership.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, the United States has frequently lamented Moscow’s support for President Bashar al-Assad and its decision to block any UN Security Council action to censure him or to use military action against his regime.

With relations between the Kremlin and the White House considered as brittle as they have been since the end of the Cold War, there are no plans for Obama and Putin to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

But the Russian leader’s latest comments may at least help the leaders maintain a modicum of cordiality when they are forced to interact at leaders’ meetings and public photo ops.

Obama’s aides have said the U.S. leader will use the summit to try to lobby international support for his strategy for a “proportional” military response.

Since British lawmakers voted down a bid to take any military action against Assad’s regime, Washington has found a strong partner in France but is seeking other allies.

Paris backs punitive military strikes against the regime and has urged its European Union partners to unite in response to the Syria crisis.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • docb

    Putin blinked..Hmmmm!

  • Dominick Vila

    Maybe Vladimir sees an opening for more business opportunities if his friend, Bashar, is booted out of office.

    • daniel bostdorf

      I agree—

      • CPAinNewYork

        You’re not smart enough to agree. You’re full of shit.

  • daniel bostdorf

    Russia/Putin, China, Iran and Hezbollah incited this messs….Assad is the puppet dicator who lost control because of his megalomia…Putin knows this….he is back peddling out of necessity, and hopefully, will get Assad out and into Russia…

    There will be no retaliation by Russia, Chine or Iran. It is not in their collective best interests to provoke this any further escalation as it means we will shut down the Straight of Hormuz and other vital ports that these countries need.

    Assad blew it by using chemical weapons….he needs to step down and allow the UN to broker a demilitarized zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for reconciliation. While not perfect—transitional government in Lybia is holding together…

    Removing Assad and his weapons of mass destruction is really what is in the best interests of all parties including the nations of this planet.

    I really HATE bombing anyone…but…History teaches us to act early against despotic dictator megalomaniacs like Assad who are backed by powerful countries (like Russia and Iran) with money. Germany pre 1938 is an example of the world’s failure to act and appeasement of a dictator, and it led to WW2 and 40 million deaths…

    • Allan Richardson

      As a general rule, I agree with you. But as for the specific case of 1938, there may be another explanation: not appeasement but stalling for time to rearm. The great science fiction and alternate history author Harry Turtledove, writer of “The Guns of the South,” the “World War” series in which World War One involves the Confederacy and the United States, and “Agent of Byzantium”, and a well-trained historian, is partway through a series of volumes titled “The War That Came Early.” The first volume, “Hitler’s War,” begins with Chamberlain standing up to Hitler just as a Nazi leader in Czechoslovakia is assassinated and Jose Sanjurjo, heeding his pilot’s advice and not dying enroute to Madrid, takes over the Spanish Fascists instead of Franco. The result, through the first five volumes, is a much WORSE World War Two, starting a year sooner. So maybe Chamberlain was buying time to prepare before fighting Hitler, not simply trusting him to be good if he got the Sudetenland.

      The time to take on Hitler would have been earlier in the 1930’s when he was building up arms in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, with strict economic sanctions combined with relief directly to the people if they were to overthrow him. But that was not possible, since the fastest growing market had not joined the League of Nations, and its private business leaders saw too much profit in dealing with the Nazis. By 1938 he was ready for war and waiting for an excuse, but Britain and France were not ready yet.

      Syria today, on the other hand, we might be better equipped to stop. We have more sophisticated and automated weapons today, such as cruise missiles. It may even be possible to navigate a Tomahawk to a soft landing to act as a “sleeper” bomb, and impose conditions on Assad for us to disarm it, temporarily or permanently.

      • ralphkr

        I certainly agree, Alan, that Turtledove has written some great books but I am still waiting for someone to write the story of how the US caused the rise of Hitler & WW2. This first came to my attention when my father was in the hospital after surgery and WW1 came up. He mentioned that he had been a machine gunner and his roommate said that he too had served in WW1 but on the wrong side because he was a German U-boat commander. My father promptly replied, “NO, we were on the wrong side.”

        I thought long and hard about this and realized that WW1 was over and all that was left was to draw new lines on the map (Europeans are very skilled at that) when the US announced that it was entering the war to protect Great Britain (and our bankers’ assets) in 1917. Our entering the war extended it, shattered Germany’s economy, and made it possible for Hitler to gain power. At the same time Germany had sent a sealed train full of socialists to Russia to foment a revolution and get Russia out of the war. IF we had kept to the Monroe doctrine then the German and British armies would have joined the White Russian army to put down the Communists and that would have stopped the Cold War from ever happening. Bear in mind that the King, Kaiser, and Czar were all related.

        • Allan Richardson

          I agree that we fell for our “special” relationship with Great Britain in 1917, which was understandable after the sinking of our ship and the Zimmerman telegram offering Mexico help to reconquer the Southwestern states and Texas in exchange for their distracting us to keep us out of their war (of course, THAT was an attempt by Germany to violate the Monroe Doctrine). But it’s not so much that the US was on the wrong side as that there were such inflexible “sides” in the first place, preventing the “adults” from negotiating when one of the “children” attacked another. NONE of the original powers was free of fault. The Czar wanted to get Constantinople back for both religious and strategic reasons (home of the Orthodox Church and access to the Mediterranean). The other nations just reacted to the tripwire of the Archduke’s assassination and really had no overall strategy. The British also thought their rule of the seas would cut off the supply of Chilean and Pacific island saltpeter (needed for both fertilizer and explosives), not aware that Fritz Haber had found a way to make ammonia, and thus nitrates, from air and natural gas back in 1905 (the process is used worldwide now, which is why Chile is no longer a strategic power, except in astronomy). Their estimate of a six month war was thus way off.

          I disagree that the war was already won by the Allied powers; the trenches had barely moved in three years, there were huge casualties on both sides (so many Frenchmen were killed in the war and the postwar flu that France had too small an army to resist Hitler, contrary to slurs on their supposed lack of courage), and it was expected to go another three or four years.

          Where America went wrong was in not pushing the victors to make the peace more equitable. Since Allied propaganda made the Kaiser out to be the ONLY aggressor, the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were punitive toward Germany, and THIS caused the economic debacle that put Hitler in power. The Czar was going to go down whether Communists went in or not, since he and the Czarina had wasted so much money before the war on Rasputin’s phony cures for the young prince’s hemophilia (ironically, inherited from his grandmother, Queen Victoria), THEN was foolish enough to get involved in the war rather than sitting it out. The next point at which America went wrong was in not joining the League of Nations and giving them some power and authority. We reverted to the Monroe Doctrine at the wrong time.

          Also, just as unknown to heads of state as the Victorian mutation for hemophilia was another biological factor: the so-called Spanish Flu, which we now know was carried by the winds from China to middle America (centered in Kansas), and from there to Europe. Without American troops, Europe would not have been hit so hard by the flu.

          I agree that World War One was just a mutual blundering into conflict between nations that had, and lost due to the war, a great deal of mutual trade as well as rivalry. The conditions AFTER that war created the opportunity for four great dictatorships (or three great ones and one that had the sense to get in power and then shut up) to arise in Europe. Since the British King, the Kaiser and the Czar were related, why did none of them appeal to the others as kinsmen BEFORE the war started? I doubt that Germany would have switched sides; too much blood had been spilled by both sides already. And you did not mention France. Would France and Germany have made up? They still had bad feelings from the Franco-Prussian War as well as the one going on in 1917.

          But I agree that American industrialists and bankers did help Hitler, as did those of other countries. America especially, being naive about “redemption” stories, thought the economic recovery of Germany was a sign that the Nazis were kind and gentle, but business-savvy (the second time, America wisely made SURE that our former enemies were rehabilitated and had positive thoughts about us, with the Marshall Plan). In truth, OUR 1932 election kept fascism of the American variety (such as we see in today’s hijacked GOP) from taking power, by starting to make our economy more humane, before the European variety came to the attention of American voters.

          We can continue this discussion later. Have a good day.

      • daniel bostdorf

        your points are extremely well made.

    • CPAinNewYork

      You’re full of shit. You know what Russia, China and Iran will do? I hate know-it-all blowhards like you. We should go in against Assad, huh? When are YOU going to go in against Assad? You are quick to send other people to do the dirty work, but are too cowardly to participate directly.

      • daniel bostdorf

        Great command of the language and control over your ridiculous, idiotic, driveling and sniveling theories that mean nothing and only meant to disrupt this site…

        You are a TROLL: Glad we have an illustration of you too…

        A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

  • rhallnj

    Will Putin and Obama at G20 come up with a nonviolent solution to this, possibly involving Russian custody and removal of the chemical weapons?

    • daniel bostdorf

      Ideally that would be remarkable…but…Putin is an ex KBG cold warrior, narcissist, supporting Assad, and is incapable of even being remotely associated with helping Obama do anything. As long as it would be putin’s sole idea…well–yeah…great suggestion by you 🙂

  • howa4x

    Putting is a ex KGB official who has never had the interests of this country in mind. He is playing a game because Assad is one of the only dictators still loyal in the mid east. Putin wants Russia to regain the prestige they once enjoyed as a super power. If he can delay us from making a strike it shows Syria his influence and power are still there. This allows Syria time to move strategic assets far from the attack zone, and Putin to seem pragmatic. Syria is Russia’s largest customer for armaments and spends 15 million/day on them. Putin’s statements come just prior to the G20 summit where Obama is seeking European support. He want everyone to see he is a statesman far above the slaughter that his government supports with weapons and advisors. To trust Putin is to trust a man that has stolen democracy in his own country and replaced it with a dictatorship.

    • RobertCHastings

      Except we have not declared where the strike zone will be. While Assad may assume that the US would strike his chemical weapons, it would be easier for us, in just a few hours, to generally degrade his entire military capacity.

      • daniel bostdorf

        The targets are his weapons and command and control systems and well known to us via NSA/CIA and PRISM satellite surveillance as we watch and listen as to where Assad is positioning…

        • RobertCHastings

          Based upon recent incursions by the US military, the first target will be command and control, IF the purpose is to soften Syria up for an invasion. As Congress will NOT approve that, next option is to degrade his ability to use his chemical weapons. This option is problematic as we do not have a 100% certainty as to their location, and they can be easily moved. Either his easily located conventional weaponry or any symbolic buildings important to the regime (Twin Towers?) would be the more likely targets. As Obama and Kerry have both stated we do not desire to remove Assad and his regime, a building or location of importance (Pentagon?) is the most likely target, to start with.

          • daniel bostdorf

            Thank you very much for the thoughtful response…
            You stated: “…we do not have a 100% certainty as to their location, and they can be easily moved.”

            With our NSA/CIA PRISM communications monitoring satellite technology, with another satellite launched a week ago by us tasked for Syrian surveillance, as well as Israel’s launch 4 days ago of similar surveillance satellite, we can have not 100% certainty….but we will have real time monitoring and access to Assad’s moves…Asssads’s military has been moving assets, but that action also allows for further tracking and monitoring from point A to point B as well…

            Yes—not 100%, but taking out 90% of command control storage and moveable trucks etc is better than nothing.

            We are not physically removing Assad, but the goal after this massive strike would be for him to step down, go to his buddy Putin and ask for asylum which probably is in the works already.

            Great post by you!

          • RobertCHastings

            I am not up on the technology involved or how much we can actually see. It is good to have it explained in such a way that a technophobe can grasp it. Surveillance has come along way from the U2 flights of the Eisenhower and Kennedy era, although they are still in use. Thanks for the input.

          • daniel bostdorf

            no thank you—first exchange here without the usual National Ma emo troll gang of lana ward, obozomustgo and a dozen others…

          • RobertCHastings

            Lana, I fear, is beyond redemption. However, Obozo comes across as reasonable and willing to listen, sometimes. I have learned a thing or two from him. While I frequently disagree with his choice of sources, at least he DOES research his points.

          • daniel bostdorf

            point well taken although obozo postings in 2008 and some recent ones are a bit oo trollish for my palate…i like free exchange of ideas, but hyberbole and rediculous of topic quotations in disguise of discourse is not my cup of tea.

          • RobertCHastings

            I agree, but we all have our little idiosyncracies. Don’t kill the messenger, just dispute the message, it is much more productive and can lead to surprising epiphanies.

          • daniel bostdorf

            agreed…just dont listen to the messenger 🙂

          • RobertCHastings

            As in – don’t read his postings? Daniel, how impolitic! Just think what you would miss!

          • daniel bostdorf

            I guess I am too facetious 🙂

      • howa4x

        I would hit his refinery and thereby limit his ability to buy arms

  • RobertCHastings

    But is he still calling Kerry a liar about al Qaeda in Syria?

    • daniel bostdorf

      So why is that important?

      • RobertCHastings

        If Putin considers Kerry a liar, why would he soften his stance (or change it) regarding a US incursion into Syria? He either believes what Kerry has presented or he doesn’t. He either thinks Kerry is a liar or he doesn’t. If he still believes Kerry is a liar, why would he change his position?

        • daniel bostdorf

          Thanks for expounding. I understand your point better!