Obama Launches War in Syria; Russia Warns of Consequences
As of this week, President Obama has de facto launched another U.S. war in the Middle East—this one against Syria. First came the announcement a week ago that the U.S. and Turkey had agreed on establishing a so-called "ISIS-free zone" inside Syria. Then came the decision announced two days ago to provide U.S. air cover to any "friendly forces" the U.S. is supporting inside Syria, who are actively trying to overthrow the Assad government in that country. This Obama decision of course means that the U.S. could at any time attack military forces of the Assad government—no U.N. mandate, no Congressional approval, just another de facto war.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke to the press after meeting in Qatar Monday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, and he denounced the U.S. decision as "counterproductive." Air strikes alone will not stop ISIS, he said; you need a coalition with the Syrian and Iraqi governments, and with the Kurds.
"We told our U.S. colleagues that the most important [thing] is, that up until now, all examples of US instructors training militants, the so-called moderate opposition, on the territory of neighboring countries, resulted in the vast majority of those militants ending up on the extremists' side." He added:
"I hope that these gentlemen [Kerry and Jubeir] offer their assistance."
Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Moscow-based Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, which advises the government, stated, "The danger now is that IS may seize the whole of Syria," Interfax reported. That same point was emphasized in an Aug. 3 RT article, which uses a quote from a Syrian journalist, Alaa Ibrahim, as its headline: "US air cover to Syrian rebels could be game-changer." RT further quotes Ibrahim saying that
"this could be very dangerous for the Syrian Army, because the main advantage it has over rebels right now is having an air force. If that is diminished, the rebels are more capable of providing a higher number of fighters because of the ongoing influx of foreign fighters crossing in from Turkey into Syria to join in the fight against the Syrian government."