08:48 GMT21 January 2021
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    Washington recently decided to step up its efforts aimed at supporting so-called moderate Syrian rebels (although many doubt that they exist), "putting the lie to President Obama's pledge not to lead the United States into a proxy war with Russia," James Carden noted.

    Carden, who served as an advisor to the US-Russia Presidential Commission at the US State Department, believes that the United States instead should combine its counterterrorism efforts with Moscow's campaign to tackle extremists in Syria. After all, ISIL and other extremist groups, as Russia always points out, are a common threat for everyone. But this is not what is happening.

    Washington is not trying to promote cooperation with Russia largely due to the efforts of US hardliners. "The war party's stand, or goal, is to forever ruin US-Russian relations," Carden noted.

    These day, Russia's supposed "escalation" in Syria is on the war party's mind as evidenced by a hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week.

    US Assistant Secretaries of State Victoria Nuland and Anne W. Patterson testified that Russia's engagement in Syria had an adverse effect on the situation in the war-torn country and beyond. Nuland blamed Russia for exacerbating the refugee crisis in Europe, while Patterson accused Moscow-led forces of hitting unintended targets in Syria.

    "If Nuland's testimony was bad, Patterson's was worse. With a straight face, Patterson told Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that ISIS and Assad 'are linked.' Could she possibly believe this? It would certainly come as a news to Assad, among others," Carden observed.

    To make things worse, those present during the hearing mostly agreed with the State Department assessment of Russia's role in the Syrian conflict.

    "Alone among his colleagues, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher spoke of his frustration over the hostility with which the United States continually treats Russia, especially considering the solicitous nature with which we treat the Sunni Gulf-state tyrannies," the expert noted.

    Nevertheless, Carden hopes that political establishment in Washington might someday understand that the US and Russia are together in the fight against radical Islamic in the Middle East.

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    Islamic State


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