Vijay Prashad on Russia’s Syria gambit

September 30, 2015 7:50 PM

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Vijay Prashad on Russia’s Syria gambit

On the first day of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, both U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin took the stage. Mr. Obama spoke for twice the designated length, but little in his speech was new.Then, he said, hauntingly, “Nowhere is our commitment to international order more tested than in Syria.” The antidote to this test came in one sentence, “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict.” That was that. It suggested that the Western policy toward Syria had failed. Another approach was needed.

Mr. Putin did not offer many details of the alternative direction, but he did propose another view of things. The central crisis in West Asia, he suggested, was the emergence of the “Islamic State” (IS). What caused IS, Mr. Putin argued, was the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. “It is now obvious t...

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