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Are Israel and Turkey Trying to Scuttle US-Russia Plan on Syria?


The dust is still settling after a hectic week in the Middle East, but it’s worth taking a look at an interesting chain of events. First, John Kerry traveled to Moscow and agreed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to hold a “Syria Conference” in order to “bring both sides to the table,” as Kerry said. The US and Russia have “some very significant common interests with respect to Syria,” like “stability in the region” and “not letting extremists create problems,” Kerry also noted, as the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Shared interests and a conference are all well and good, but Israel and Turkey seem to have read between the lines and not liked the message.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has spoken up, somewhat testily, that the US needs to do more: “We want the United States to assume more responsibilities and take further steps. And what sort of steps they will take, we are going to talk about this.”

“It is clear the regime has used chemical weapons and missiles,” Erdoğan continued. The Assad regime in Syria crossed Obama’s red line a “long time ago,” he said.

Then Israel took a shot at Russia and, perhaps intentionally, undermined the US-Russia joint effort on Syria. As the WSJ reports: “Israel has warned the U.S. that a Russian deal is imminent to sell advanced ground-to-air missile systems to Syria, weapons that would significantly boost the regime’s ability to stave off intervention in its civil war.”

Very interesting. Immediately after the US and Russia announce plans for coordinated action (or inaction) on Syria, both Israel and Turkey quickly do things to make those plans harder to pull off.

[Putin and Obama images courtesy of Getty Images]

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  • wigwag

    This is just one more example of the Obama Doctrine, “Leading from Behind” in action. Obama and Kerry are literally desperate to avoid doing anything in Syria at all. In their attempt to get Russia to take the lead they will do almost anything, including humiliating themselves and their country. I read on Elliot Abrams blog (Pressure Points) that Putin left Kerry waiting three hours before he would see him; according to Abrams, the point was to deliberately humiliate Kerry.

    If there is a bigger dolt in the American Government than John Kerry, I would like to know who it is.

    • Corlyss Drinkard

      “If there is a bigger dolt in the American Government than John Kerry, I would like to know who it is.”
      Valery Jarrett, to whom Obama has ceded virtually all the decision-making in the WH. The woman has never had a job on which she was held accountable. All she’s ever had are sinecures. The only thing she was any good at was backing Obama when he was less than a political nobody.

  • Corlyss Drinkard

    I didn’t have any hope for “the plan” to begin with. Look who the sponsors are. Two of the biggest leadership losers on the international scene today. I wish Israel and Turkey all the success possible if they are indeed trying to scupper “the plan.”

  • Jim Luebke

    So what could we get from Russia that’s worth crossing two regional powers we want good relations with?

  • Lorenz Gude

    Something seems wrong here to me. I suspect that what Putin did to Kerry is a key clue that there really isn’t much likelihood of meaningful cooperation between the US and Russia because they are still rivals. Russia, China, Iran etc are pretty solidly in the bloc that wants to reduce American power and I would expect only very limited cooperation based on very narrow areas of common interest. So I would discount the timing of Turkey and Israel acting because the cooperation really isn’t much of a threat to either country. Maybe I’m missing something here so I’ll take the possibility on board.

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