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    Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York

    Putin Offers Realistic, Constructive Approach to Syria - Think Tank

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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call at the UN to include President Bashar Assad in a compromise peace process in Syria is much more realistic than repeated US calls that Assad be toppled, Institute for Research Middle East Policy Director Grant Smith told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In his speech, Smith noted, Putin urged the creation of an international coalition against the Islamic State comparable to the Grand Alliance of the United States, the Soviet Union and the British Empire that defeated Nazi Germany in World War II.

    "Putin expressed a lot more of the traditional realist view of the region that used to be the consensus assessment of US policymakers and experts for so long."

    Smith pointed out that Putin’s call to respect the legitimacy of existing governments and create a broad coalition to contain and defeat extremist forces reflected values that the United States maintained through the Cold War.

    "It used to be the dominant and accepted view in foreign policy circles in the United States," Smith explained.

    Putin argued in his address that the solution to the Syrian refugee crisis was to restore stability and security to Syria by establishing a compromise political settlement that included Bashar Assad. Russia considers the Assad government to be the legitimate authority in Syria under international law.

    By contrast, Smith argued that US President Barack Obama failed to make any headway with the General Assembly audience, while Putin took a more moderate and inclusive approach that sought compromise between the different Syrian factions and the government.

    Putin's speech was "interesting and productive," Smith concluded.

    More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed and one million injured since the civil war began in Syria in 2011, with estimated 12 million people forced from their homes and now four million of them becoming refugees abroad.

    On Monday, Obama repeated his determination to topple Assad in his address at the UN General Assembly. His speech, however, was received with disquiet by the audience because of the unilateral use of force and refusal to acknowledge the concerns of international law.

    "When Obama spoke on the Middle East, the silence across the General Assembly was striking. It really sinks in."

    Moreover, Smith added, the United States continues to fail to present any credible opposition military force to combat the Islamic State in Syria.

    In its most recent setback, a small group of US-trained New Syrian Forces troops earlier this month allowed al-Qaeda forces to seize their US-supplied vehicles and 25 percent of their ammunition.

    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)


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