‘No option for US in Syria except to support President Assad’

© Stringer
The Russia and US leaders must try to come to some kind of agreement where both sides actually can cooperate instead of one side trying to outmaneuver the other, international affairs expert Patricia DeGennaro from New York University, told RT.

RT: Why is Washington rejecting cooperation with Moscow when ISIS is their common enemy?

Patricia Degennaro: That is really hard to understand. I think some other policy makers on this end are very set in exactly how they want to see things play out in the Middle East. And unfortunately Russia is not included in the decision making. But President [Bashar] Assad has every right to bring them in, just as the Iraqis brought in the US. The thing that concerns me most is that if they are not talking, if they are not cooperating, accidents can happen and it could escalate the situation to a far worst point than it is currently.  

READ MORE: Russia, US work on agreement to coordinate air operations in Syria – Moscow

RT: Russia wants a broad coalition to fight Islamic State, including the Syrian government. Will the US ever agree to this strategy?

PD: I know that it is being talked about in Washington. I am not sure how it is going to come out. I don’t have a lot of confidence that the US government at this point is going to backpedal and start supporting Assad. I can’t see that it has any other option at the moment. Again, the common enemy is Islamic State, the Salafis group there in the Middle East causing so many problems for all states in the region. And I think that is the goal. I’d like to see President Putin as well as President Obama turn down there rhetoric a little bit and try to come to some kind of agreement where both sides actually can benefit from this instead of one trying to outmaneuver the other when neither one of them is going to be able to really calm the situation or get the region stable again.    

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Sochi, Russia, October 11, 2015. © Alexei Nikolsky

RT: The Russian president played host to the Saudi defense minister in Sochi. Both said they're willing to cooperate on Syria. How far is Saudi Arabia ready to go?

PD: Saudi Arabia has a lot to be concerned about because the ISIS group still has its sights on Saudis as well as every other leadership in that region. They are no more legitimate than anyone else. It is unfortunate though that we have such supporters in the region which come from Saudi and different Gulf countries that are still supporting ISIS financially and otherwise. I think some of that support is coming through the Sinai as well.

READ MORE: Putin and Saudi defense minister meet in Russia, agree on common goals in Syria

There are so many hands in this conflict right now. I think if people don’t sit back and start talking and cooperating again it could cause more harm than good in the long term throughout the region. We are not going to see peace any time soon if this doesn’t work… The playing field out there right now is much more level, people need to consider that and they need to understand that it is in everyone’s interest to stop this violence and to stabilize the country so we can get the refugee situation under control and move forward on peace and change in the Middle East.


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