THE PUTIN ANSWER AT THE UNO
By Franck Felix Gutenberg, US Africa News. Updated 2015-10-02
On the eve of the 70th session of the General Assembly of the UN, Putin didn’t pull any punches in the interview he gave US journalist Charlie Rose for CBS and PBS, when he made the following comment: "…according to some of our international partners, [Syrian president Assad] is facing opposition, but in reality, in life, Assad's army is fighting terrorist organizations.” He also insisted the UN “should adapt to the ever-changing world.”
While not excluding Russian air strikes, Putin ruled out sending combat troops on the ground to fight against the terrorist group, Daesh (ISIS), and explained the presence and the role of Russia in the region: "Concerning our, as you put it, presence in Syria, as of today it has taken the form of weapons supplies to the Syrian government, personnel training, and humanitarian aid to the Syrian people."
There is ample evidence that the Syrian problem is causing tension between these partners and their international counterparts. The Kremlin’s strong man was quick to respond to Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, especially since it is known that the two leaders have the goal of seeing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deposed; early in his speech, the US head of state had also accused Assad of being a "tyrant" who "massacre[d] innocent children." In an implicit reference to Putin’s position, Obama denounced the logic of supporting "tyrants like Bashar al-Assad" under the pretext that the alternative "is surely worse." This indicated that the meeting between the two leaders, scheduled for late afternoon on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly would to be tense. Especially as the leader of a Kremlin reminded his counterparts, "I respect my colleagues, the US president and the French president, but I don’t think they are Syrian citizens, so I don’t think they should be deciding on who should lead Syria."
In Vladimir Putin’s mind, this is indeed true and logical. Assad represents a legitimate government with whom refusing to cooperate would be an enormous error in facing the jihadist Islamic State group: "We believe it's a huge mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian authorities, with the government forces, those who are bravely fighting terror face-to-face….We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and [Kurdish] militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria," the Russian president stated. He called from the UN podium for a "broad international coalition against terrorism", similar to "the anti-Hitler coalition” during World War II.
Russia also proposed a resolution to the Security Council on Monday, supporting a political and military coalition that would equally include Iran and the Syrian government, the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin told reporters.