Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Alexei Borodavkin on Friday suggested the remaining US military presence in Syria after the “victory over the Islamic State” arouses his government’s concerns.
“We believe that after the victory over ISIS there is no need for the US-led coalition to further remain in Syria, especially given that they had not been invited there,” the diplomat said. “So, we are calling on the Americans to pack their rucksacks and go.”
According to Borodavkin, there is a broad strategic understanding between Russia and the United States concerning Syria. “Our stances on some issues differ but nevertheless we hope that we will be able to maintain both political and military interaction and cooperation with the United States,” he said, explaining the future plan as follows: “Our military will remain in Hmeymim and Tartus. So, we will help our Syrian partners in the fight against international terrorism, in particular, Jabhat al-Nusra, which is still active in Syria.”
Of course, Jabhat al-Nusra, a former al-Qaeda affiliate, is part of the Syrian Sunni rebel army, supported by both the US and Israel against the Iranian Shiite insurgency. Indeed, a key Russian demand, according to Borodavkin, is that the Syrian opposition “abandon its demand for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”
Now, isn’t that special…
Borodavkin said the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia, is the forum where Syria’s conflicts will be best handled. “Everybody should join the active preparations for the congress, working on the list of its participants, agenda and possible results, as Russia, Iran and Turkey have been doing,” the diplomat recommended.
Borodavkin also said that “allegations that the Sochi congress may undermine the Geneva political process” were groundless. According to him, “the Sochi event may help build positive momentum at the Geneva talks.”
“These are mere speculations and attempts to create artificial obstacles preventing serious preparations for the forum,” the Russian envoy said. With that in mind, he demanded that “the delegation that comes here from Damascus should be called a delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic’s government, not a delegation of the regime.”
“The opposition should also probably think about showing support for the peace efforts, stopping the warfare, and creating and maintaining the de-escalation zones,” he recommended.
Those “de-escalation zones” are little more than a clever way of allowing Iranian insurgents and Iran’s proxies in Syria, such as Hezbollah, enjoy safe havens near major Syrian population centers, as well as just north of Israel’s border.
With that in mind, Borodavkin advocated the capitulation of the Syrian rebels, stressing that “it is necessary that the opposition clearly indicate in its documents that it sees no military solution to the conflict in Syria, but intends to work on a political settlement.”
“But the problem is that we don’t see the leaders of the opposition delegation—formed in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)—are ready to discuss these issues,” Borodavkin complained. “On the contrary, they have been focusing on their unacceptable and categorical demand for Assad’s resignation, which is unreasonable under the current circumstances.”
The problem, of course, is not that the Russian envoy to Geneva is claiming victory for his country’s Syrian puppet Assad and demands that the Americans go away and their allies surrender – the problem is that the Trump administration might buy it.