Russia and America Must Jointly Confront Islamic State

By David SingerKerry

The possibility that Russia and America may at long last be seeking common ground on confronting Islamic State has been increased with US Secretary of State John Kerry revealing that his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov has approached America proposing military talks over Syria.

Kerry told reporters:

The Russians proposed in the conversation I had today and the last conversation specifically that we have military-to-military conversation and meeting in order to discuss … precisely what will be done to de-conflict with respect to any potential risks that might be run, and to have a complete and clear understanding as to the road ahead and what the intentions are,”

Russia is concerned to ensure that America will not take the opportunity to use any jointly agreed action against Islamic State as a pretext to try and oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or weaken his hold on power.

America suspects that Moscow’s motives in sending 200 Russian naval infantry soldiers, seven tanks, a portable air traffic control station and components of an air defense system to an Assad-stronghold airbase near Latakia on the Mediterranean coast is part of an ongoing military build-up to support Assad’s continued hold on power.

Russia would also not have been too impressed with White House spokesman Josh Earnestreportedly stating a few days earlier:

“What we would prefer to see from the Russians is a more constructive engagement with the 60-member coalition that’s led by the United States that’s focused on degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL,”

Eleven members of that US coalition comprise a group known as the London 11 supporting and arming the rebels fighting Assad for the last five years.

The time for procrastinating, arguing and blaming is surely over

American and Russian distrust of the other’s possible motives in Syria were successfully put aside when they co-operated to have all chemical weapons in Syria held by Assad and his opponents destroyed by jointly securing the passing of Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013) on 27 September 2013.

Such agreement – reached between Russia and America without threatening to either restrict or extend Assad’s hold on power – was an impressive diplomatic achievement.  However it only came about after they both decided to focus on destroying all chemical weapons in Syria—rather than focusing on whether Assad or the rebels was responsible for the use of chemical weapons that caused the deaths of 1429 Syrians on 21 August 2013.

Security Council Resolution 2118 ended the deadlock that had paralysed the Security Council’s efforts to end the civil war in Syria for the previous thirty months.

Russia and America now need to solely focus on defeating Islamic State – whilst putting their support for Assad or his overthrow on the backburner until Islamic State is defeated.

They can achieve this by jointly sponsoring another Security Council resolution under Chapter VII article 42 of the United Nations Charter which empowers the Security Council to:

“take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”

Every day’s delay in securing the passage of such a resolution – and acting on it – means further deaths, injuries and suffering for the Syrian and Iraqi populations at the hands of Islamic State. Internal displacement of those populations inside Syria and Iraq, or to neighbouring countries – or even into the European Union – has had disastrous consequences that have shocked all people of compassion and goodwill over the last three weeks.

The time for procrastinating, arguing and blaming is surely over.

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  1. I very much doubt that the venal, self seeking leadership of the United States and its NATO allies is capable of such a leap into the realms of reason and wisdom. Going by precedent, it is more likely that they will sell the World to Islam in exchange for some Petro Dollars and a ranch or estate. Napoleon said it of the British, but it now true of the World’s Democracies, “They are a nation of shop keepers”>

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  2. It’s not a bad idea if USA-Russia would collaborate to deal with ISIL.
    I doubt that a duo of USA & Russia could succeed in any collaborative effort. We haven’t the strong team that Russia possesses. Obama can never be equal to Putin in either guile or strategy, and Kerry would be pathetic vs. Lavrov. If “Appeasement” is a positive, then Obama-Perry could be effective, appeasement is all they’ll ever bring to the table, let alone bring military pressure onto ISIL.
    We were once informed by the Obama regime that the USAF would bomb ISIL to smithereens, that they were only “a JV team” anyway. All of that talk was empty boasting. The Russians have had their problems in the past with Muslim extremism in Chechnya. Russia employed a “no quarter military campaign” in Chechnya, took casualties. But, it also made far more casualties among Chechen fighters and they couldn’t lose that many martyrs to Putin, so hostilities ceased.
    Obama drew two lines vs. Syria. He said they were “red lines,” which turned out to have been made with disappearing ink.

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  3. The US, like the UK and India, is past redemption. All democracies go through this cycle, where, in the absence of all standards, those with wealth are worshiped, ethics and human values are underplayed and the electors grow less literate, more uneducated and become prey to superstitions and cults. The back lash, inevitably, is either Fascism or Communism brought on by self contempt and disgust with the effluvium of the earlier dispensation. All “democratic” dispensations are driven by the ambitions of those who wish to subvert the resources of the nation to their personal pomp, pelf, pleasure, perpetuation and perversions at the expense of the laity. Where traditions are upheld and respected in the form of a “Crown” (as in Britain, Thailand or Japan) or in the shape of effective laws through competent courts with a modicum of integrity, or a priesthood devoted to learning and equity and held to poverty as in Aryan Brahmanism, the pace of collapse is moderated. The pendulum of social self contempt is presently askew. The cult of Islam is one beneficiary while Fascism and Communism battle each other on the corpses created by reckless greed and ambition.

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