One sticking point will certainly be the fate of the Syrian government. Lavrov made it clear that the US-led coalition against “IS” would have to “forgive” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to the Russian online newspaper RBC. Russia has supported Assad since the civil war erupted in Syria in 2011. The US, however, has said that the Syrian president has no legitimacy whatsoever, and has repeatedly demanded that he step down.
Middle East expert Georgi Mirski, from the Russian Academy of Sciences, told DW that he does not believe that “Putin’s Plan” contains any new ideas. He says there is already a coalition against “IS,” and that the Russian president simply wants to protect Assad. Further, he pointed to recent US statements announcing that they could potentially bombard Syrian army strongholds. “That would be the end of the Assad regime,” says Mirski. “Putin cannot have that.”
The Russian Middle East expert went on to say that Moscow would not be sending troops into the fight against “IS.” That fact was confirmed by Putin’s Speaker Peskov, who also ruled out the participation of Russian air force units in the fight against “Islamic State.”
Mirski described the “Putin Plan” as an attempt to “appear to be taking action.” He doesn’t believe that there will in fact be real cooperation between the USA and Russia on the Syria question: That is hardly possible after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞