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    Political Paralysis: What's Behind Calls for Tillerson Canceling Visit to Moscow

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    The ongoing anti-Russian campaign in Washington paralyzes the White House's foreign policy, Russian political analyst Viktor Olevich told Radio Sputnik, denouncing the situation as absolutely abnormal. Meanwhile, Trump's opposition calls upon Rex Tillerson to postpone his visit to Russia over the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

    The anti-Russian hysteria has gone beyond pale in Washington, Russian political analyst Viktor Olevich told Radio Sputnik, commenting on US Senator Chris Murphy's notion that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should "rethink the timing of his trip to Russia" and not "reward the Kremlin with a PR coup" in the wake of an alleged chemical attack in Syria.

    Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, echoed Murphy in his interview with MSNBC.

    "This is not the time for rewarding Russians with a high profile visit," Schiff said, claiming that it was Bashar al-Assad who "gassed" his people and Russia who continues to "cover him up."

    Schiff also dropped the hint that the US may step in to "ground" the Syrian Air Force.

    Syrian opposition claimed Tuesday that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had used a chemical gas on people in the northwestern province, killing nearly 80 and injuring 200.

    In response, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pointed to the fact that the government of Syria destroyed all of its chemical weapons under international supervision.

    For his part, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem reminded the international community that Damascus has repeatedly warned the UN Security Council and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that the terrorists of Daesh and Nusra Front bring weapons to Syria from Iraq and Turkey.

    "Nusra Front and [Daesh] and other organizations continued to store chemical weapons in urban and residential areas. And we have sent more than a hundred telegrams to the Security Council and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, telling them or sending them information about chemical weapons being brought to Syria from Iraq and from Turkey," Muallem stressed.

    During a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Russian President Vladimir Putin "stressed the unacceptability of making groundless accusations against anyone before a thorough and impartial international investigation," the official statement says.

    Speaking to Sputnik on Wednesday, Russian economist Said Gafurov underscored that "the Americans know that Syria simply does not have chemical weapons."

    "[Damascus] abandoned these armaments in 2014. They have been destroyed. The Americans paid for the process [which was carried out using] Russian technologies. They are fully aware of this," Gafurov said.

    However, bitter opponents of a Russo-American détente jump at every opportunity to drive a wedge between Moscow and Washington.

    "[Tillerson's] visit [to Russia] has been expected for a long time. There are a number of issues of Russian-American relations that both sides want to discuss — the conflict settlement in Syria, the future of Ukraine, and the Korean peninsula crisis. There are a lot of topics to discuss. And this visit will be useful for both the Americans and the Russians," Olevich told Radio Sputnik.

    However, the ongoing anti-Russian hysteria is seriously complicating the process. On the other hand, Trump and his team are still accused by their political adversaries of "collusion" with Russia.

    "All these allegations are absolutely unsubstantiated and groundless," Olevich stressed, "However, any steps towards Russia will be immediately interpreted as actions in favor of Russia. And this situation is absolutely abnormal."

    "The fact that US congressmen — the irreconcilable opposition of the Trump administration — are trying to pressure [Secretary of State] Tillerson into canceling or postponing his visit to Moscow characterizes the tension that continues to simmer in Washington and the problems that the US leadership faces," the Russian political analyst said.

    "In fact, the White House's domestic and foreign policy is paralyzed. And it is very hard for the current administration to maneuver in such conditions," Olevich concluded.

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    Tags:
    US foreign policy, diplomacy, political crisis, The Syrian war, U.S. Department of State, Adam Schiff, Rex Tillerson, Bashar al-Assad, Chris Murphy, Donald Trump, Idlib, Syria, United States, Russia
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