“If somebody’s strong, then you don’t have to send in your army to prop up your ally,” President Barack Obama said on Tuesday, taking a break from the ASEAN summit in California to speak to the press about the US Supreme Court and the Syrian crisis.
“They have legitimacy in their country, and they are able to manage it themselves, and then you have good relations with them,” Obama added. “You send in your army when the horse you’re backing isn’t effective.”
Obama was doubling down on a claim made in December last year that Russia was getting bogged down in an“inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict” in Syria. He dismissed the recent victories of the Syrian Arab Army and the Kurdish fighters north of Aleppo as “initial advances,” and said that three quarters of Syria was still controlled by forces other than the government in Damascus.
“What would be smarter would be for Russia to work with the United States and other parties in the international community to try to broker some sort of political transition,” Obama said.
“The fact that Putin finally had to send his own troops, and his own aircraft … and invest [in] this massive military operation … was not a testament to a great strength; it was a testament to the weakness of Assad’s position,” Obama reiterated, refusing to recognize the anti-terrorist nature of Russian military operation in Syria.
The US president mentioned Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) only once during his “Putin propping up Assad” answer, when he quite ironically said that Russia’s actions “has not distracted us from continuing to focus on ISIL.”
Obama is blaming Russia because the US has been working to subvert the Syrian government for years, inciting and arming the rebels, Todd Pierce, a retired Major with the US Army JAG Corps, told RT.
“He doesn’t want to give Russia any legitimacy, not does he want to give Syria, or Assad any legitimacy. The intruders, the ones operating from outside the country are in fact the US and the West,” Pierce said. “Assad is the legal government of Syria, and Russia has been invited in to help them. Inherently they have legitimacy because of that.”
The president’s remarks show that Washington does not care about defeating the so-called Islamic State, but has reverted to the old policy of championing regime change in Damascus, Brian Becker of the antiwar coalition ANSWER told RT.
“Russia’s intervention, not the US, is turning out to be the decisive international factor aiding the SAA, which has done the bulk of the fighting and dying… to stop ISIL,” Becker said.