Assad says U.S. ‘not serious’ about defeating ISIL; Kerry in Moscow with ‘final offer’ on Syria

by WorldTribune Staff, July 14, 2016

The United States is offering Russia a new military pact against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and Al Qaida in Syria, according to a leaked U.S. proposal, but analysts say the U.S. had no choice but to cooperate with Russia on Moscow’s terms after Russia’s show of strength in the region.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s “final offer” to Russia on Syria is seen by many as just another “red line” mirage.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. /Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. /Reuters

Meanwhile, the United States is “not serious” about the ultimate defeat of ISIL, Syrian President Bashar Assad said.

The Russia-U.S. partnership, analysts say, would undercut months of U.S. criticism of Russia’s military intervention in Syria and put the U.S. alongside Assad’s chief international backer, despite years of American demands for Assad to leave power.

Russia would be getting what it wanted, to lead an international alliance, since it first intervened in Syria on Assad’s behalf last September.

A large number of officials at the State Department, Pentagon and U.S. intelligence community are opposed to the proposed alliance, according to several American officials.

Many say that the U.S. painted itself into a corner by issuing a number of unfulfilled threats or “red lines,” including President Barack Obama’s vow that Assad’s days were “numbered” if chemical weapons were used.

U.S. officials said no agreement with Moscow has yet been reached.

Meanwhile, in an interview with NBC News, Assad said the U.S. is “not serious” about truly wanting to defeat ISIL and added “the Russian support of the Syrian army has tipped the scales against the terrorists. It was the crucial factor.”

Assad labels anyone who opposes his regime as “terrorists,” including Western-backed rebels.

Assad also dismissed rumors of a back-channel U.S.-Russia deal, saying that “Russian politics is not based on making deals — it’s based on values.”

Assad said the “very frank” relationship he has with Russian President Valdimir Putin is rooted in their shared values and common interest: “defeating terrorists.”

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