Obama Willing to Work with Iran, Russia to End Syria Conflict
The United States is willing to work with Iran and Russia to try to end the Syrian conflict, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday, but insisted there could not be a return to the status quo under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reports.
“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama said at the annual gathering of world leaders. “But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.”
In voicing a willingness to deal with Iran and Russia, both staunch backers of Assad, Obama was openly acknowledging their influence in Syria and swallowing a somewhat bitter pill for the United States.
After Four Years of Failure in Syria, Obama Looks to Russia and Iran for Help
“In what was generally a boilerplate paean to democracy, the rule of law, and the virtues of diplomacy, Obama conceded ‘nowhere is our commitment to international order more tested than in Syria’ where ‘realism dictates that compromise will be required,’” writes Christopher Dickey at the Daily Beast.
“Reality also demonstrates that Obama’s efforts to shape a policy over the last four years of violence have been utter failures, with the latest humiliations including the defection of U.S.-trained Syrian rebel forces to the ranks of al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate,” says Dickey.
When it came to future of the Assad government, however, Obama laid out a platform that includes the Syrian president’s two biggest backers, Tehran and Moscow, while carefully stating that a return “the prewar status quo” would be impossible.
According to Dickey, “that point would seem to be moot. Syria has changed forever, and it will be a miracle if, at the end of the day, it can be held together as one integral nation, let alone the country it was five years ago. And while Obama seems to be personalizing the enemy as Assad, Washington has always acknowledged quietly that the institutions of his government can and should be preserved.”
US-Russia Tensions on Show as Putin and Obama Clash Over Syria
“Russian actions in Syria have exacerbated the dilemma in Washington and allied capitals over what to do about the Syrian conflict,” write Ian Black and Julian Border of the Guardian, as the presidents of both Russia and the U.S. traded jabs Monday at the United Nations in New York.
While the White House has said it would welcome a Russian role in the fight against Islamic State, it insists Assad’s departure from power must be part of any political solution: a move to which Moscow, one of the Syrian government’s most powerful allies, is directly opposed.
“We support the legitimate government of Syria,” Putin said at the U.N. on Monday. “And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering their help in fighting terrorism, but at the same time urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.”
Top image: Russia’s Vladimir Putin waits to begin his address to the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
- The Guardian: UN’s 70th general assembly: the greatest political show on earth
- Al-Arabiya: Obama is not going to save Syria
- Slate: Putin’s Real Mission in Syria
- Al Jazeera: With Putin in the limelight, edgy UN awaits clarity on Russia’s Syria move
- The Carnegie Endowment Putin’s Plan: What Will Russia Bomb in Syria?
- BBC: Viewpoint: West ‘walking into abyss’ on Syria
- Al-Monitor: Will US, Russia find common ground in Syria?
- The Huffington Post: Vladimir Putin Wants To Fight All ‘Terror’ In Syria – Except His Brutal Friend Bashar Assad
- Foreign Policy: Obama Opens the Door to a Syria Deal With Russia and Iran