Russia's Syrian gambit exposes Obama’s misguided policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 28, 2015. © Kevin Lamarque
Watching President Obama last week at a White House news conference, I couldn't help but be struck by the apparent hypocrisy of his statements. The President's remarks were tantamount to saying that there are such things as good and bad terrorists.

The fact is this impression that the President is giving, and that others like Sen. McCain are doing, is at the very least misleading if not downright wrong. To make a categorical statement without producing evidence, even for the President, that Russia is not hitting ISIS targets is disingenuous.

Further he asserted that Iran and Syria's President Bashar Assad represented Russia's entire coalition "and the rest of the world makes up ours ('America's')." 

Specifically I would like to address Obama's illogical criticism of Russia's air strikes against Islamic extremists in Syria.

His own Secretary of State for Defense, Ashton Carter stated recently to paraphrase "We can't find enough 'good terrorists' to train and fight against both Assad and ISIS.” Yet Obama contended Russia in its first few days of bombing struck this relatively small insignificant CIA trained group of 60 persons (numbers made public by US Administration officials) instead of hitting ISIS; what nonsense. Of course the Russian AF is striking ISIS.


Lavrov in contrast used a simple well known phrase to describe who Russia was and is hitting with their airstrikes in Syria, and soon, by the way, to do so in Iraq at the Iraqi governments invitation. Lavrov said very logically "If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist - it's a terrorist."

Obama is lying and there are no other words to describe it. America has been supplying arms and support to extremists in Syria and in Iraq, even in Libya, through Turkey, with weapons that then end up in ISIS' hands. This fact has been established by others, not me, and there is plenty of evidence of this insane American policy if one makes a cursory research of this matter.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addresses the media during the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in Manhattan, New York, October 1, 2015. © Andrew Kelly

Remember the logic that then US administration used to justify the Iran-Contra madness of the mid 1980s.

Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict is a very responsible grown up act towards global peace and in the war against terrorism. But it has, for the Americans, created a whole new ballgame.  It's been over a year, I repeat over a year of 'Operation Inherent Resolve' by the United States and other allies, thinking that their air supremacy would be enough to degrade and destroy ISIS. It didn't work.

A senior experienced Pentagon official, who will remain nameless, told me that he thought the US military could destroy ISIS, in all its locations, in under a week.


Someone in Washington is lying but why? Is it a policy to support “good Islamic terrorists” as said by some to be backed by the powerful Muslim Brotherhood lobby in Washington?

The Kremlin’s Syrian action upended the entire chess board.  Let’s remember, Russia plays chess, America and its allies play draughts (called checkers in the US), and Obama is simply feeling stupid as Putin has outwitted him because the Kremlin’s military move into Syria represents a geopolitical checkmate against Washington.

Brilliantly, Russia has been able to change the minds of much of the world's public opinion in just two weeks not only but including many in the United States, but specifically the Secretary of State John Kerry, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and even the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and several other world leaders, on the subject of Bashar Assad’s future.  Putin and the Kremlin played this move coolly, succinctly, and successfully.  Kerry’s comment on Assad's departure“It doesn’t have to be on day or month one” opened a wide door but it was curiously at odds with his President last week who contradicted Kerry on the subject of Assad's role in the transition of power. So what exactly is America's policy when within a few days its President and Secretary of State contradict each other?

Listen with incredulity to Senator John McCain advocate arming ‘good terrorists' in Syria, the fictitious Free Syrian Army (FSA) recommending that they shoot down Russian planes in effect on America's behalf, which would lead inevitably to WW3; is McCain mad or just senile or worse, does he reflect a growing feeling on the Hill in Washington?

To boot, the Americans and their allies seem to be losing support for their air coalition.  It is telling that key Arab countries, notably Egypt, are displaying signs of an emerging split that, if true, would fall into line with Russia’s emerging military strategic actions in Syria, Iraq and hopefully soon in Libya.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter © Robert Galbraith

The emergence of the Commonwealth States Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the BRICs are in fact organizations that offer an alternative world order, separate from the United States and a much weakened and ineffectual Europe.

The time has come to expose the hypocrisy of American doctrines as the eminent philosopher Noam Chomsky has endeavored to do, of free markets, globalization, and 'liberal PC democracy'.

The Chinese inevitable play an important role, which is to be expected, by establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Thus, let's face it; the geo-political order is undergoing a dramatic fundamental shift.

It is this alternative view of the present geopolitical doctrine that threatens the USA. America has become a dangerous country using tools against citizens of the world like intrusive Orwellian type surveillance and intelligence gathering, covert use of special forces, and engaging unregulated 'cowboy' American private military security companies (PMSCs).

The West's Iran deal helps Tehran become a major player, bringing a sort of balance and equilibrium to the East - West tensions of the world, and Iran must be given the due respect it deserves by the super powers. Iran's major critic Saudi Arabia lives in the 14th Century, beheading people like animals much in the same way as ISIS. Persia is an ancient civilization. There is no comparison between those two countries, with the clear sponsor of Sunni terrorism being apparent to all.

In addition, we also importantly saw various unprecedented strong speeches at UNGA70 by many world leaders including Iran's President Rouhani's and particularly Putin’s powerful speech equating what is happening in Syria today and the rise of Islamic extremists to the emergence of Nazi fascism in the 1930s. Think carefully who exactly supports these Sunni fanatics - it's not Iran.

America's relationship with the Persian Gulf Arab states notably Saudi Arabia and with Israel MUST change if we are to avoid World War III involving Russia as astonishingly advocated indirectly by one of America's most senior Senators, McCain.


Strategically and politically the most important GCC state is not Saudi Arabia or UAE, for the West, but Oman; the others are unimportant despotic regimes while Oman has remained a 'sea of stability' with a 2,000 mile coast line facing Africa.

This is becoming a very serious and disturbing world for the MENA region in particular and the period we are now going through is far more dangerous than the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

America and its satellites particularly Israel and Saudi have become the aggressors who threaten world peace in the 21st Century by bombing other countries; let's finally have the guts to say it; to call a spade a spade.

We should in the West welcome Russia's help against Islamic extremists and hope that the new US President and Administration to be elected next year will have the wisdom to follow diplomacy not war and reach out to Russia as a friend. The Cold War ended long ago and it should be consigned to history.

Richard Galustian, for RT

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