ISIS will be defeated if double standards are rejected

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
© Stringer
Important meetings on the situation in the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq and the fight against ISIS, have taken place in Doha, Qatar.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the situation with his counterparts from Qatar, as well as those from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. There took place a trilateral Russia-US-Saudi ministerial. Hopefully, this dialogue has contributed to a better mutual understanding when it comes to the protracted crises in the Middle East.

The Russian side was building on the initiative that President Putin put forward in St. Petersburg last June, namely to create a united front against terrorism in the region. Such a broad coalition would bring together all those who are combating terrorists on the ground and outside the countries capable of assisting in that struggle.

Recent developments, including the announcement by the United States that the US-led coalition would provide air force protection for training camps of Syrian opposition fighters, and their force on the ground, show that the Russian proposal has yet to gain support. However, we are convinced that only joint efforts, based on international law and without double standards, can yield results.

Everyone acknowledges that airstrikes alone cannot solve the problem of ISIS. Therefore, a coalition of the like-minded must be established, including government forces from Iraq and Syria as well as Kurdish armed groups. So far, the US-led coalition hasn't recognized the Syrian government as a partner in fighting ISIS.

Moreover, there we are still talking past each other, they have been conducting airstrikes within Syrian territory in blatant disregard for the sovereignty of that country. Now, they intend to go as far as strike against Syrian government troops. Yet these are the same troops that have been making the most important contribution to anti-ISIS efforts in Syria. So the policy is not only illegal under international law, but is also counterproductive from the pragmatic point of view. The whole international community, not to mention the Syrian people, will win if these short-sighted strategies are reconsidered.

Aren’t there too many hidden agendas? Does the US want all of us lose on both counts? Is it, indeed, that difficult to choose between “good grammar” and “good taste,” as an old adage goes?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.