Sunday, September 27, 2015

Russia to Intervene in Syria

On Monday, September 27, President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This meeting comes after the announcement of Russia militarily building up in Syria. According to the Pentagon, “Russia has sent aircraft, tanks and missiles into the war-wracked country” (CNN). Although Russia has repeatedly criticized US strategy in Syria, they are now taking “initiative in international efforts to end the conflict” (Reuters).

Though it seems as though the United States should be accepting towards the help of Russia in the fight against ISIS, it is actually making it more complicated.

To break it down, there are three political powers in Syria—the Assad government, the Grand Coalition, and ISIS. The United States is against the Assad government and ISIS, and as a result is the leader of the Grand Coalition to free Syria from these groups. Although, Russia wants to join in the fight against ISIS, they want to through partnership of the Assad regime, an idea that the US is fervently against.

Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the western coalition, stated, “We do not support the presence of Syrian government officials who are part of a regime that has brutalized its own citizens.”

What are your thoughts on what is going on in the Middle East? Should the United States accept Russia’s help to fight against ISIS or do you believe it is morally wrong to support a regime that has terrorized its own citizens?



Jeffrey Song said...

This is definitely a complex issue for everyone involved with no easy way out. On one hand, ISIS is definitely a priority threat and one of the primary causes of instability in the region. However, supporting the Assad regime in this case in order to eliminate ISIS would only be a temporary solution to a much bigger and permanent problem. I think that the US is correct in its' no-negotiation policy with the Assad regime; from Warren's description of the regime "[brutalizing] it's own citizens" it becomes clear that the alternative authority in the region to ISIS is really no alternative at all.

Ultimately, major reform is needed in the region which has effectively been the proxy battlefield for foreign superpowers for decades now. Ideally, eliminating both the Assad and the ISIS regimes and then eventually implementing a representative form of government would be the best. Realistically however, the Western Coalition will need to compromise on some of its' policies and ideals in order to enact meaningful & lasting change in the region. It's definitely a sticky situation no matter how you look at it for all parties involved.

Louis Villa said...

I think the US might have to pick its poison in this case. While on one hand, it is a bad move to support a government that is actively attacking its citizens, it might be the lesser of two evils in this situation. ISIS has made very serious threats to many countries across the global, and a joint operation to get rid of ISIS or a major part of its leadership might prove beneficial to many countries. ISIS has "threatened to launch a war against the Catholic Church and an invasion of Rome" along with threats to other countries. While there has been no follow through with these threats up until this point, it might be wise to proceed with caution in light of other major terrorist attacks such as 9/11.

If the US were to temporarily ignore the Assad regime, it would make sense for them to consider action at some later point or trying to create international action through the UN or NATO.

Andy Barnes said...

I agree with Louis’s point, going head to head with Russia on a matter where they have a strong political connection to may not be a good idea. ISIS is a prominent threat in Syria that both the US and Russia can agree on, but if the US were to go against the Assad government and even declare war, it would be deemed illegal by international law, as Russia has strong political ties to the Assad government and has the power to veto in the U.N. Security Council. If we went to war and the U.N. deemed it to be illegal, we would be contradicting our own reasons to go to war in the first place as our reasoning behind the war would be to enforce international law and prevent any chemical weapons from being used (

Unlike ISIS, the Assad government proves no direct threat to the US at the moment, so our focus should be on taking down ISIS rather than not only fighting against the Assad government, but possibly Russia as well.