US and Russia at 'low point' after no breakthrough in Moscow
- Author: Zachary Reyes Apr 13, 2017,
Apr 13, 2017, 17:59
US President Donald Trump's stance on Syria has seen a "complete turnaround", embracing what could be a trilateral strategy to fight Daesh, weaken Bashar Assad and attempt a bargain with Russian Federation, an expert has said.
"Right now we're not getting along with Russian Federation at all", Trump said flatly during a White House news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Soltenberg.
Tillerson again said the USA has "conclusive" evidence Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime planned and carried out a chemical attack on its civilians last week. He said "it would be a fantastic thing" if the two nations got along better but cautioned that "it may be just the opposite".
While Arterbury does not see high likelihood for a US-Russia deal on Syria in the near future due to "the delicacy of ongoing investigations" about Trump associates relations with Russia, "something can still be done".
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the "bulwark of worldwide peace and security" but its European members "must pay what they owe", US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (April 12) alongside the political head of the military alliance.
Trump's comments come as his administration had slammed Russia's support for Syrian leader President Bashar al-Assad and questioned the Kremlin's interference in elections in Montenegro. Russian Federation says rebels were responsible for whatever chemical agent was used, which the Trump administration calls a disinformation campaign.
Trump's performance seems likely to reassure Western governments and much of Washington's foreign policy establishment, which has been uneasy with Trump's criticism of NATO and support for Putin - who the USA president had praised as a stronger leader than Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump reinforces turnaround on Syria and Russia Trump on North Korea-China relations: "I realized it's not so easy" Trump campaigned on coal and has governed in climate denial MORE.
"We discussed our view that Russian Federation as their closest ally in the conflict perhaps has the best means of helping Assad recognise this reality", he said.
After last week's chemical weapons attack that left almost 100 Syrians dead, former Obama advisers now say they always knew that not all of chemical weapons were eliminated - and that turning over all their weapons is not exactly what tyrants tend to do. "No one showed us anything, no one said anything, although we repeatedly asked to produce the details on which these unfounded accusations lie".
He also rejected American claims of certain evidence that Assad ordered the chemical attack.
Such chatter remains, however, early in the game as no breakthrough emerged after Tillerson held his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the USA continues to seek to increase its leverage inside Syria.
But even if there is a definitive finding of Russian complicity, it's not clear the Pentagon or the White House would make that information public, a senior USA official said. Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told the council that "the main problem was that the draft resolution by the Troika appointed the guilty party prior to the investigation, prior to an independent and objective investigation". If the goal is to end the civil war in Syria, then careful consideration must be given to the role and requirements of all the stakeholders involved in the war, without which no sustainable agreement can be achieved.
But such hopes appeared optimistic as the diplomats outlined their sharply diverging views on Syria.
Speaking of the missile strikes he authorized against the base the carried out the chemical attack, Trump later added: "I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing".
Tom Malinowski, an assistant secretary of state for human rights under Obama, laments: "The hard and debatable choice the Obama administration ... made not to use military force when Assad last used nerve gas against his people (in 2013) will shape our thinking about this and similar crises for a long time to come".
China typically sides with Russian Federation in the Security Council, including in opposing USA -backed measures to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons.
The stark language is the most blunt terms Trump has used to describe the Syrian president who is accused of war crimes in an attempt to hold onto power during a prolonged civil war. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated as much, saying the US will stick to its plan to prioritize the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) over regime change in Syria. The U.S. intelligence report directly blames the Russians for trying to cover up Syrian responsibility. Putin's decision to host Tillerson signalled Moscow's intent to maintain communication with the USA even as the countries bash each other publicly in louder and louder tones.
"We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria", Lavrov said, referring to the 59 Tomahawk missiles Trump launched at a Syrian air base to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.
Assad's patrons Russian Federation and Iran will take such a warning seriously because, notwithstanding their public bluster, neither wants to engage the United States militarily, especially now that Trump has established his credibility to take punitive actions to stop the senseless killings, as well as his unpredictability as to when and how he will act. He said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering the request. The US scoops up such a large volume of communications intercepts in areas like Syria and Iraq, the material often is not processed unless there is a particular event that requires analysts to go back and look for supporting intelligence material. Any expectations of an easy rapport have crashed into reality amid the nasty back-and-forth over Syria and ongoing US investigations into Russia's activity connected to the USA presidential election.