US warning to Russia ‘unprofessional, threatening, tactless & undiplomatic' - fmr. British diplomat
The US is threatening to end cooperation with Moscow in Syria unless “Russian and Syrian attacks on the city of Aleppo stop.”
The ultimatum was made in a phone call between US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
The US State Department says it's also looking at non-diplomatic options for responding to the situation.
Reacting to State Department spokesman John Kirby, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Russia is aware there are US specialists in Aleppo planning and controlling terrorist operations.
He also accused Washington of covering up its real motives on the ground in Syria by saying it is working to separate the terrorists from the moderate rebels.
RT spoke to several experts about Washington’s unwillingness to join with Russia to try and defeat ISIS.
RT: The US State Department has warned that extremists could attack Russian cities if Moscow doesn't stop its campaign. Do you think this was sincere advice or intimidation to be more cautious?
William Mallinson: It was highly unprofessional, hysterical, threatening, tactless and undiplomatic. It stands in direct contrast to the remarkable Russian restraint by the likes of Lavrov, who is a seriously professional diplomat. It is extreme Cold War language. I think it reflects two things: First, the fact that the US are losing. Second, and this is quite important, there is an election coming up in the US and the State Department is indulging in what I call ‘Billary Clinton’ electoral rhetoric. There could even be a number of people who hope to get a promotion if she wins. The whole thing is irresponsible because Russia is still trying to achieve stability and peace. And it seems to me that everything the US and its so-called allies have done since the very beginning has been what I would call the ‘Kissingerian’ double-track diplomacy - pretending that they are against ISIS when they in fact they are arming ISIS, pretending that there are moderates and non-moderates, which is pure nonsense because you can’t encapsulate the human mind into some psychological formula like that. Anyone with a gun who is attacking a legitimate government is a terrorist, full stop. Also, let’s not forget that because the news moves so fast, we’ve already forgotten how America - undoubtedly on purpose with Britain and Denmark - targeted and killed 62 Syrian soldiers, thus helping the extremists again… I’m glad the Russians are being restrained and carrying out a job they set out to do from the very beginning, which America isn’t.
John Graham, former US diplomat, and director of Giraffe Heroes International told RT: "This war of words is getting out of hand. It is nasty. I would hope that both sides can step back and take a deep breath. I hope that Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kerry can do that. One thing is for sure, I think everyone would agree is that the escalation of the war in Syria is a gift to ISIS and it is a gift to Al-Nusra."
RT: Syrian government forces have made several major gains in Aleppo in the past few days. Do you think Assad's success can somehow be linked to Washington's statement?
WM: They have and I think they are going to continue that. I think perhaps the American Special Forces that are working there and the British Special Forces are going to have to get out at some point because they are being killed slowly, to put it bluntly. And Russia has inexorably continued to support the legitimate government of Assad, which, let’s face it, is the only force in Syria that can achieve stability because without that – just like in Libya without Gaddafi - you have chaos afterwards. And that is unacceptable…
'America has lost the plot in Syria'
It's been a year since Russian planes first hit targets in Syria. Since then, Moscow's anti-terrorist air campaign has had considerable success in turning the tide of the war there.
The offensive began on September 30th, 2015 after an official request by the Syrian government for military help against rebel and jihadist groups.
Peter Ford, a former UK ambassador to Syria.
RT: Russia has faced a lot of criticism since it became involved in Syria. ISIS has lost a lot of territory since then though. Doesn't that suggest its campaign has been effective?
Peter Ford, a former UK ambassador to Syria: It certainly does. It was not until Russia began to attack ISIS that the ISIS –controlled oil facilities were targeted. Mysteriously the Americans didn’t seem to regard them as valid targets. Perhaps, because they were doing business with Turkey, who knows. But anyway, after Russia came in and started targeting these facilities that radically affected the finances of ISIS and began to be reflected in the loss of territory on the ground, loss of money to pay their fighters and then the Western coalition came in on the back of that and claimed the credit. But in fact it was Russia that began this move.
RT: A lot of baseless accusations have been made against Russia in the last year. Why is everyone so quick to presuppose Russian guilt?
PF: It is a sad phenomenon and I am afraid it is a reflection of the American control over mainstream media. They control the narrative, the overarching narrative of Russian and Syrian villains and Western Islamists are the good guys. It is very difficult to break through this narrative. I was on CNN the other day and all they tried to do was discredit me. It’s very hard to get a hearing.
The Americans were unable to provide maps showing where it was okay for the Russians to bomb, for the simple reason that all the Islamist forces have joined up with the Al-Qaeda group, Al-Nusra. So America does not have a solution; all they are doing is reacting, and now they acting with frenzy, hysteria, and neuroticism. It just shows they have lost the plot.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.