No, Mr. Secretary, Russia Has Not Contributed to Progress in Syria
The Obama Administration’s foreign policy has gone from ineffective to simply baffling. Today in Moscow, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “Russia has been a significant contributor to the progress” the world has made on Syria. In one statement, Secretary Kerry ignored reality on the ground while giving Russia the free rhetorical gift of approval from America’s highest diplomat.
In case Mr. Kerry forgot, Russia hasn’t helped in Syria. In fact, ever since Russia engaged in the country, things have gotten worse:
- Russia partnered with Iran to bolster the Assad regime and destroy moderate rebels fighting ISIS—including those backed by the United States.
- Russia has not primarily focused on attacking ISIS, the main focus on U.S. efforts in Syria.
- Russian operations in Syria have resulted in an estimated 500 non-combatant deaths, including more than 150 women and children. Russian bombing is reportedly far from precise and results in heavy collateral damage.
- Russia has deployed advanced air defense systems in Syria that will protect both their own troops and Syrian troops, as well as make it more difficult for the coalition to employ no-fly or safe-zones in Syria.
- Russia has supported the Assad regime, which has prosecuted a civil war that has resulted in 250,000 deaths since March 2011 and created 22.4 million displaced Syrians.
So how can Secretary Kerry be serious that Russia has been a “significant contributor to the progress” in Syria? In reality, Russia has joined with Iran to enable the barbarous Assad regime to cling to power, refused to vigorously target ISIS, and attempted to destroy the only fighters that would give the Syrian people an alternative to murderous authoritarianism on the one hand and radical Islamic tyranny on the other. Russia’s actions are directly contrary to American interests, the Syrian people’s well-being, and regional security.