US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (on the right) and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel share a laugh before their bilateral meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 2, 2017. [State Department photo/ Public Domain].

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (on the right) and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel share a laugh before their bilateral meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 2, 2017. [State Department photo/ Public Domain].

The US – Russia rapprochement, as having been set in motion by the new tenant of the White House, is to be tested first and foremost in Syria and Ukraine. Washington and Moscow support opposing sides in two catastrophic and bloody civil wars, which have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and thrown millions of refugees out of their homeland. While the millions of Syrian refugees have shook Europe and the world, the refugee flows from eastern Ukraine towards Russia must be underscored too. The mainstream media in the West tend to ‘forget’ it. It’s shameful though, for the US and Russia to still play their games over the human and otherwise ruins, as if they were a chess fixture.

In any case, if this major U-turn in the US foreign policy introduced by Trump is to bear wider results, the two powers have to start coming to terms in both Syria and Ukraine. Not by accident then, during the past few days both the US and the Russian administrations have shown tangible signs, if not of reconciliation, but surely of mutual interest. However the whole issue of reciprocal respect, and why not friendship, is much more difficult for Donald Trump to make acceptable in Washington, than for Vladimir Putin to roll it through in Russia. The Russian President is the absolute ruler in his country, while Trump just thinks he is.

Washington’s U-turn

Apart from the unyielding resistance by Democrat lawmakers against Trump’s strategic changes, important US republican senators like John McCain are denouncing the US inaction in Ukraine during the past few days. McCain points out very loudly that Russia has reactivated her proxy forces in the Ukrainian civil war, which has been ravaging the eastern parts of the country for many years. McCain is not alone in that. It’s pretty clear then that the Trump policies with regard to Europe including Russia, will face detailed scrutiny in Congress, and the White House had better be ready to produce convincing arguments. The heavyweight oil tycoon confirmed by the US Senate as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a friend of Putin, will become the driving force of the new US administration, in pressing the new Russian Trump policy in Washington.

In his first day in the State Department, Tillerson, according to Reuters, said “I know this was a hotly contested election and we do not all feel the same way about the outcome.” In this way he directly threatened those 900 department employees working all over the world, who signed the petition against Trump’s suspension of the US refugee program and the restrictions on travelers from seven Muslim countries. However, the powers and the reasons for conviction of the new US President about Russia are quite strong. In Washington there is no doubt that Trump’s Russian policy will prevail.

VP Pence mobilized

Already, Vice President Mike Pence, a authentic mouthpiece of Trump, said at the beginning of this week that the US may altogether lift the sanctions imposed on Russia by the previous US administration of Barack Obama. Pence clarified that this may be done in the coming few months, if President Putin cooperates with the administration’s fight against the Islamic State. But, for Putin, to cooperate with the US against the islamists is not a condition, it’s his long time dream. Because Russia, and the ex USSR before her, have been fighting Sunni extremism all along the past many decades. On the contrary, it’s the US who keeps some communication doors open with the Sunni militants, through Saudi Arabian connections.

Not to forget, Osama bin Laden, offspring of a powerful and immensely wealthy Saudi family, and his murderous al-Qaeda, the mother of all jihadist groups, were, initially, a direct product of the CIA ‘laboratories’. Al Qaeda and CIA fought together a debilitating war against the Russian occupying forces in Afghanistan, and chased away the ex USSR from that country. In many respects, this first Afghan war and the Russian defeat in it, economically and politically weakened the USSR so much that practically caused the fall of the communist world. Putin, on many occasions, has made very bitter comments about the fall of the USSR.

Who fights the jihadists?

Moscow under Putin had to fight another destructive war, in Chechnya this time, once more against Sunni jihadists. Russia still to this day pays a heavy price from Sunni jihadist terrorist acts, which have claimed hundreds of Russian lives. The latest victim is the Russian ambassador to Turkey, who was the catalyst for Ankara abandoning her Sunni extremist proxies in the Syrian war. The result was the fall of Aleppo to the hands of the Shia Muslims of Bashar al Assad and Iran. It must be a revelation then for the Russian rulers that the US, with Trump, seems ready to really fight the Islamic State.

However, some logical questions arise here. One should take well into account the fact of the gradual retreat of the Jihadist butchers stance in both Syria and Iraq. Experts say that their end is now visible, at least under the current form of Islamic State. It must, then, be a bit awkward for the rest of the world to believe that the US will lift the sanctions and become ‘friends’ of Russia, just in return of Moscow’s ‘cooperation’ in the fight against ISIS.

Trump serves Putin and vice versa

No wonder then that the Russians are too eager to facilitate this change of policy of the White House. This week Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, an old Moscow fox, responsible for the reemergence of Russia as a world power, did his best to facilitate the rapprochement.  He stated that Russia is to return to the UN Geneva dialogue for a political settlement in Syria. Moscow had abandoned the UN road for peace in Syria, after the US under Obama bombarded the Assad forces the very next day of the peace agreement. So, Russia took her own way for a settlement in Syria by opening the Astana way. Moscow had difficulties but finally managed to convince Turkey and Iran to participate in the Astana Conference, which was a Russia controlled road for a ceasefire and a peace settlement in Syria. In this way, Moscow had left the UN and, in many ways, the US sponsored Geneva peace effort out in the cold.

The obvious target of this Astana initiative then was to leave the US and the West in general out of a final arrangement in Syria. Lavrov and Russia has practically succeeded in that. Last Sunday, however, Lavrov all of a sudden said that Russia will return to Geneva and the UN peace initiative under Staffan de Mistura, virtually abandoning the Astana road. Obviously, Russia now favors the participation of the US in Syria. What could Moscow have expected from a conference with Ankara and Tehran, if she can have Washington’s friendship in Geneva? So out go Turkey and Iran and in come the US as an interlocutor of Russia.

Favoring Trump

On the same occasion, Lavrov didn’t miss the opportunity to remind of Moscow’s generally positive attitude towards the new U.S. President Donald Trump. According to Reuters, he said that under the new US administration “the two countries were in a position to solve bilateral issues, improve ties and coordinate efforts to fight international terrorism, but only on the basis of mutual respect”. Judging from the fact that neither this condition of ‘mutual respect’ is that difficult to be met, both Washington and Moscow must have seemingly resolved the differences they had under the Obama administration.

But the question remains; what can be in Trump’s mind so big and important, that strongly binds together the two until recently fearsome adversaries in Syria and Ukraine? Only Rex Tillerson must know that well and surely what he knows best is about oil and gas. No?

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Eurozone banks to separate risky activities: Can they stay afloat?

Commission’s action against imports from China questioned

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

EU agrees on Ukraine – Georgia visa-free travel amid veto risks and populist fears

Eurozone 2013: Where to?

Facebook wins EU approval for WhatsApp acquisition; just a sign of the times

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

Youth Forum welcomes positive ruling on non-EU student visas

MWC 2016 LIVE: GTI shifts to phase two – 5G – after hitting milestones

EU responds to terror fallout by eroding borderless Europe and molesting the refugees

Britain and Germany change attitude towards the European Union

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

The West definitively cuts Russia off from the developed world

Do academia and banks favour a new Middle Ages period?

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

On Youth Education: “Just a normal day in the life of a medical student”

Businesses succeed internationally

Let your fingers do the walking

The inhumane face of crisis mirrored in numbers

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

China is the first non-EU country to invest in Europe’s €315 billion Plan

The JADE Spring Conference 2017 is casting its shadows before

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: UNFCCC Secretariat Launches Forest Information Hub

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

The EU Commission by serving the banks offers poor support to European mainstream political parties

eGovernmnet for more efficiency, equality and democracy

“These Romans are crazy”, the “Greek Gauls” will be shouting today in Brussels hoping Caesar backs off

De Gucht: More gaffes with the talks on the EU-US free trade agreement

FIAT Chrysler: from Geneva Motor show to the World, and back

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commissioner Mimica looks at how the private sector can better deliver for international development

EU economic governance: More exploitation for the weaker countries

A Monday to watch the final act of a Greek tragedy; will there be catharsis or more fear?

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

The European giant tourism sector in constant growth

Is the EU competent enough to fight human smuggling in 2015?

Italy’s Letta: A European Banking Union soon or Eurozone collapses

Paris agreed with Berlin over a loose and ineffective banking union

Fostering global citizenship in medicine

Bertelsmann Stiftung @ European Business Summit 2014: Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) needs balanced approach

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

It’s EU vs. Google for real: the time is now, the case is open

EU crisis aggravates structural differences, threatens cohesion

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

Can Kiev make face to mounting economic problems and social unrest?

ECB’s unconventional monetary measures give first tangible results

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s