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    A file picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows Syrian citizens walking in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, who boast of having destroyed ancient sites in Iraq, threatened the ancient jewel of Palmyra, a UNESCO heritage site in the Syrian desert, on May 14, 2015
    © AFP 2019 / JOSEPH EID

    ISIL Cannot Be Defeated Without Russia's Help - Israeli Publicist

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    Speaking with Radio Sputnik, Israeli publicist Avigdor Eskin commented on the ongoing battle against the Islamic State terror group. Noting that only regional powers can truly defeat the terror threat, Eskin also stated that any long-term solution will require the assistance of Russia, a country with strong historical ties with both Syria and Iraq.

    Asked to comment on the potential for the US military to reassert itself in Iraq, given the recent special operation to kill ISIL leaders, Eskin noted that the people of the region "are afraid of American involvement; they remember Iraq, that it was a really quiet and peaceful place 20 years ago; they remember Libya, which was not perfect under Muammar Gaddafi," but which has become worse following intervention.

    "Probably everybody will agree with me that Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Libya under Muammar Gaddafi were not perfect places: the human rights records of these two leaders were probably very different [from those of Western countries], but the Middle East is not the US Mid-West. And by entering the Middle East with major forces, Americans [have] always caused more problems than they have solved."

    Eskin voiced his hope that the US does not expand its involvement, noting that "the experience of the American peacekeeping –of sending bombs instead of humanitarian aid, [has been going on for] too long in the Middle East, and the best thing for the Americans is to go home."

    The expert emphasized that following the conflict in Libya, even "the US Congress totally opposed direct US involvement in Syria, and this is why we don't see it today…They have learned something and we just have to go with this line, to support them in not getting involved, because there's no positive experience of American intervention in such cases in the world. I can't remember [a single] one."

    The United States needs to forge a new strategy to deal with the Islamic State following the militant group’s recent victories in Iraq, two US experts told Sputnik.
    © AFP 2019 / US NAVY / MC2 JACOB G. SISCO
    Commenting on Western interventionist foreign policy more generally, from direct military intervention to sanctions policy, Eskin noted that "one should be very careful when coming up with a certain remedy in a place, when he's not really familiar with its historical traditions. It's very dangerous to make major evolutionary changes. You never know where you will begin and where you will end up."

    Solution to Middle East Crisis Must Involve Moscow

    Asked to comment on Syrian-Iraqi cooperation, and possible US-Syrian cooperation in the fight against ISIL, Eskin noted "it's not a secret that there are talks between Washington and Damascus. And there was no opposition by the Syrian government for the [recent] American ground operation, by the way."

    "But there is another important player here, and that is Russia. Russia still has a lot of influence in Iraq and Syria. Unless the Americans bring Moscow into this negotiation process, the job that the Americans are trying to carry on will be impossible. Russia is known for its close connections with Damascus, and there are still many people in Baghdad who look toward Moscow as [a country which] can assist in peacemaking. It's especially important now that the State Department understand [this]. It's not a time to hand out another portion of cookies…They have to change the tone, the style of talking to the Russian side. Together we can control the situation in Syria. If not, we will see hundreds of thousands more people killed there because ISIL is not going to be stopped by force alone. So, the sooner the better."

    Western Hopes for Syrian Rebels Have Not Matched Up With Reality

    Regarding the terrorists' war against Bashar Assad in Syria, Eskin noted that the conflict is "the direct result of regional Western policies to support all those who rebelled against the president of Syria. And they wanted to see people in [neck]ties, with lawyers to defend them –some fighters who will uphold human rights and learn all the laws of the UN by heart. I don't know what the Americans thought, but instead [it turned out that] those who fight against President Assad are real savages." Commenting on ISIS's recent capture of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, which is now slated for demolition while non-believers are persecuted and get their heads chopped off, Eskin noted that the US wanted one thing "and they got exactly the opposite."

    Speaking about the need for achieving regional instability in the Middle East in general, Eskin stated that the problem is one of lack of stability. "The regimes in the Middle East are not stable at all. It's not only a matter of being democratic, totalitarian or authoritarian. It's not a matter of one's likes or dislikes. It's a matter of being stable… Unfortunately, one cannot trust any regime which is not based on solid ground. When the basis of power can be changed so quickly it's a problem for America and for Russia." Eskin noted that Russia's task now, in countries like Egypt, is to assist in the creation of "such a power structure that will carry on and will not be changed again in a few years."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    Daesh, terrorism, peace, peace process, expert opinion, commentary, stability, Bashar al-Assad, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Avigdor Eskin, Syria, United States, Russia, Iraq
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