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US Uses Salisbury Case 'to Gin Up Anti-Russian Hysteria' Amid Election - Analyst

© Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova
2018 Russian Presidential Election
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Radio Sputnik discussed the presidential election in Russia as well as Moscow's relations with other countries with George Szamueli, Senior Fellow at the Global Policy Institute of London Metropolitan University.

Sputnik: In your view, what is the most likely outcome of the election?

George Szamueli: The outcome is obviously a major victory for Vladimir Putin. The Western governments will, of course, dismiss it all, suggest that it's all rigged, fraudulent, Putin is simply a dictator. Serious issue is, of course, what happens now with regard to Western policy towards Russia. I think that Putin is going to have his work cut out, quite serious crisis — on the horizon. Russia really does need a very safe pair of hands. I mean it's clear that a number of crises around the world are reaching boiling point and could well lead to some kind of a serious armed confrontation.

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Right now, I think the most serious flash point is Syria where there seems to be preparations of afoot for some kind of an American military intervention, some kind of a bombing attack. There are plenty of hints coming from the US government officials that something like this is happening. The Russian government has already made clear that this is totally unacceptable, particularly as it's likely to be the result of a completely bogus pretext, namely, the chemical attack. They are going to suggest that President Assad has launched a chemical attack and that this would provide a phony pretext for some kind of a major military onslaught on Damascus. Russia will have to respond. It can't just sit on its hands as it did last April with a similar type of attack. This time Russia will respond. So therefore a very serious crisis is in the offing.

Sputnik: What is your prognosis generally, regarding the development of Russia and its relations with other countries during the next presidential term? What's your take on that?

George Szamueli: I think there will be some form of military confrontation. I really do think that this is coming. I do hope that cooler heads will prevail, but if you look at the American team, which is now being assembled around Donald Trump, these are the most belligerent, anti-Russia hawks imaginable. There is at the moment nothing on the horizon that can diminish this. There isn't any major political figure — either in Britain, in the United States — who say "let's cool it, let's just see whether, you know, don't get too far." I mean Jeremy Corbyn has done this to a certain extent, but even he has been bullied and vilified and, you know, humiliated. Look, what happened to him.

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But in the United States, there isn't even any Corbyn-like figure. I think these people are likely to prevail and will urge some kind of a military action. And we'll see what happens once the Russians respond. The sudden and still unexplained dismissal of Rex Tillerson suggests to me that some kind of a military action by the Americans is imminent. Otherwise, there is just no real reason why he should suddenly have been dismissed. Maybe, Tillerson wasn't ready to go along with this whole Assad using chemical weapons and then providing a pretext for an attack.

Sputnik: [Regarding the Salisbury case] What is the average man is saying in England at the moment? What are you and your colleagues saying about this? What is the average person is saying in the UK?

George Szamueli: My feeling is that she [Theresa May] is really being played by the Americans. I don't have any evidence for this, but that's the impression I get that this is a policy that is being decided in Washington. And Britain is falling in line much as Tony Blair fell in line with George W. Bush and all the Iraq weapons of mass destruction. He was told to get with the program and he also came up with the sexed up dossier with all the ridiculous claims about Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction. […] This is what the United States is doing. They are using the events in Salisbury to gin up the anti-Russian hysteria and provide the pretext for an attack on Syria. I really do think that [Theresa] May's role in all of this is to provide the pretext for war against Syria.

The views and opinions expressed Dimitri Speck are those of the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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Skripal poisoning, Syrian crisis, presidential election, conflict, Russia, West
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