Bring Syria’s Assad on Board, If You Want To Combat Islamic State Successfully: Russia Tells US

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By Kalyan Kumar | August 26, 2014 1:22 PM EST

Russia has cast doubts about the US strategy on Islamic State and asserted the mistakes the US committed to handling Al Qaeda was very much evident in its approach.

Reuters
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad delivers a speech after being sworn in for a new seven-year term, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.

Reuters reported the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, making a case for the indispensability of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the anti IS plans of the West.  The Russian argument was that the threat of IS cannot be handled by the US and its allies without the backing of the Syrian ruler.  So, they have to shed the hostility towards the Assad regime in Syria.  

Replay of Blunder

Lavrov faulted the US by drawing patterns of the US strategy in handing Al Qaeda threat in the past. Lavrov alleged that the America and European powers encouraged the Islamic State initially, as the group was fighting Bashar al-Assad in Syria. It was much the same way the US encouraged Mujahideens in Afghanistan who were fighting the Soviet Union in the 80s. But that support later gave birth to Al Qaeda and hit the US on September, 2001.

According to Lavrov, the West has to choose between its desire to change the regime in Syria or face the risk of total collapse sans a consolidated approach against the IS.

The Assad regime had its biggest supporter in Russia, which stood by it in the civil war that broke out in early 2011. The civil war against Assad had the blessings of the United States and the West including many Arab states who wanted the rebels to oust him.

The Russian foreign minister said it is high time that the Americans and Europeans acknowledged that the main threat was not the incumbent Syrian government, but IS terrorists who are aiming to seize power in Syria and elsewhere in the region.

According to the UN, the uprising against the Syrian ruler killed more than 191,000 people since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

Syria Wants Coordination

Meanwhile, Syria made it clear to the U.S that before any anti IS operations in its territory, it must be taken into confidence. Lavrov supported the stand of Syria and said, "to combat the Islamic State in Syria or elsewhere, the cooperation of legitimate authorities have to be obtained."

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(Photo: Reuters / Sana )
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad delivers a speech after being sworn in for a new seven-year term, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
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