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Facing the Facts: ‘US Must Approve Putin’s Strategy in Syria’

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According to the US magazine National Review, Washington should accept an uncomfortable truth: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is pursuing the right strategy in Syria.

 Accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stance on Syria is an uncomfortable necessity that Washington should acknowledge if it wants to degrade and destroy Daesh, journalist Jay Hallen writes in an article published by the US magazine National Review.

According to Hallen, it is “understandably difficult” for the Obama administration to publicly align with Russia, “but the least we can do is offer tacit support.”

“This means we should stop offering nonstop criticism of Russia’s activities in Syria, and halt obstructive moves such as persuading Greece and Bulgaria to close their airspace to Russian planes flying in arms,” Hallen writes.

He adds that approval of President Putin’s policy on Syria is one of the three “uncomfortable truths” that the US administration should recognize in order to resolve the Syrian gridlock.

Apart from Putin’s Syria-related strategy, Hallen’s other painful pills to swallow for Washington’s politicians are “the admission that the Middle East was a safer and more stable place with Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi in power,” and that “realist foreign policy has triumphed over an idealistic one, at least when the Middle East is concerned.”

Proceeding from these three assumptions, the author comes to the conclusion that right now, it is necessary for the US to side with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“To support Assad, therefore, is to accept that our idealistic goals are unachievable and that only hard-nosed realism can support our strategic interests, at least in the Middle East,” Hallen says.

From his point of view, supporting Assad is “the only realistic path” that will help return the pre–Arab Spring stability to the region and that will destroy Daesh.

“No one is more motivated to defeat Daesh than Assad, who would like to reassume Syria’s internationally recognized borders and seek revenge on atrocities that Daesh has committed against captured Syrian soldiers,” Hallen points out.

September 30 saw the beginning of the Russian air campaign in Syria, with more than fifty Russian warplanes, including Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 jets launching precision airstrikes on Islamic State targets at the behest of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Earlier that day, the Russian upper house of parliament unanimously supported the request of President Vladimir Putin to deploy units of the Russian Aerospace Forces abroad. Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad, for his part, confirmed that Syrian Army strikes, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, were being carried out against armed terrorist organizations, rather than political opposition factions or civilians.