Moscow must read the writing on the wall
No one is clear what exactly the wrangle is about but there seems to be some misinterpretation that the US-Russian deal is a free pass to Assad to carry on as the boss and that Washington has softened its stance on this factor. However, there is no visual indication of that since the priority was to spike the guns and bring about some sort of closure to the five years of fighting.
At some stage, preferably earlier than later, Russia will have to concede that peace is more important than engaging in mind games with the US over one of the most aggressive regimes in recent history. Their friction at this crucial juncture over Assad when the seven-day truce, however fragile, could signpost the way to the negotiating table and end this horrible splintering of a once proud nation.
Look at it in the long term. Assad cannot be forever and the Russians must also realize that while opposing the US on principle might reflect Moscow’s foreign policy the chances of all these rebel groups settling for talks with Assad propped up as the leader of the future Syria is not going to happen. It is impractical and it is a pointless cul de sac which leads nowhere because the flood of hostility and rage will never allow that bridge to be constructed.
The two major peace brokers, therefore, have to sit down and put their personal battle axes on the ground and get on the same page.
There is no gainsaying the fact that this is the last chance to save lives and a nation and if this peace collapses because of the ambitions of one man there will be only the possibility of a burning swath land once called Syria.
Moscow needs to think beyond the parameters of being anti-Washington. President Putin must also be aware that this is the US political Achilles’ heel when for nearly six months the presidency is on oxygen and there is a 100-day honeymoon for the next incumbent. So decisions are piled up and action is slow.
In these circumstances, the fact the US is open to taking concerted action is an opportunity which Putin should not ignore.
If this bus drives away there may no other service.
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