EDINBURGH (Sputnik) — Washington should cooperate with Moscow in order to ensure political settlement of the Syrian civil war, Kilcullen said.
He added that differences between the Russian and Western positions on Syria could be overcome.
“As I read it, the difference between the Russian position and the Western position on Syria is about [Syrian President Bashar] Assad himself and whether he needs to step down and when that should be. Frankly, having been a diplomat, I don’t think that is an irresolvable problem as we all have a common interest in stopping the expansion of ISIS,” Kilcullen pointed out.
Kilcullen's book, “Blood Year: Islamic State” published last week, labels the decision of the West to invade Iraq as the “greatest strategic screw-up since Hitler’s invasion of Russia.”
“The mother error from which everything else proceeded was the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. It’s pretty clear that if we had not done that there wouldn’t be an ISIS today,” Kilcullen pointed out.
Russia recognizes Assad as the legitimate authority in the country, stressing that the Syrian people should be free to choose their leadership without outside intervention. The United States and some of its allies since the beginning of the conflict have been supporting the so-called moderate Syrian opposition, while urging Assad to resign.
Russia and the United States reached an agreement on the ceasefire in Syria on February 22. The truce excluded the Islamic State and the Nusra Front terrorist groups, both of which are outlawed in Russia.