Posts Tagged ‘Assad’

Assad’s March East Compounds West’s Syria Dilemma

August 17, 2017

BEIRUT/AMMAN — Syria’s war has entered a new phase as President Bashar al-Assad extends his grip in areas being captured from Islamic State, using firepower freed by Russian-backed truces in western Syria.

Backed by Russia and Iran, the government hopes to steal a march on U.S.-backed militias in the attack on Islamic State’s last major Syrian stronghold, the Deir al-Zor region that extends to the Iraqi border. Damascus hailed the capture of the town of al-Sukhna on Saturday as a big step in that direction.

The eastward march to Deir al-Zor, unthinkable two years ago when Assad seemed in danger, has underlined his ever more confident position and the dilemma facing Western governments that still want him to leave power in a negotiated transition.

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The war for western Syria, long Assad’s priority, has shifted down several gears thanks to the ceasefires, including one organised by Moscow and Washington in the southwest.

But there is no sign of these truces leading to a revival of peace talks aimed at putting Syria back together through a negotiated deal that would satisfy Assad’s opponents and help resolve a refugee crisis of historic proportions.

Instead, Assad’s face has been printed on Syrian banknotes for the first time, and his quest for outright victory suggests he may retrain his guns on rebel pockets in the west once his goals in the east are accomplished. Attacks on the last rebel stronghold near Damascus have escalated this month.

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to end CIA support to rebels further weakened the insurgency in western Syria, while also depriving Western policymakers of one of their few levers of pressure.

They can only watch as Iranian influence increases through a multitude of Shi’ite militias, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, that have been crucial to Assad’s gains and seem likely to remain in Syria for the foreseeable future, sealing Tehran’s ascendancy.

Assad’s opponents now hope his Russian allies will conclude he must be removed from power as the burden of stabilizing the country weighs and the West withholds reconstruction support.

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With hundreds of thousands of people killed and militias controlling swathes of the country, Assad’s opponents say Syria can never be stable again with him in power.

“There is little doubt that the Russians would like a political solution to the war. The war is costly for them, and the longer it lasts, the less it will appear to be a success for Putin,” said Rolf Holmboe, Research Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and former Danish Ambassador to Syria.

“But the Russians want a solution on their terms, which is one where Assad stays in power,” he said.

“The ceasefires do two things. They allow the Russians to take control of the political negotiations and look good internationally. But more importantly, they allow Assad and the Iranian-backed militias to free troops to grab the territory that Islamic State is about to lose.”

THE WAR FOR DEIR AL-ZOR

The eastwards advance has on occasion brought government forces and their Iranian-backed allies into conflict with the U.S. military and the forces it is backing in a separate campaign against Islamic State.

But the rival campaigns have mostly stayed out of each other’s way. Government forces have skirted the area where Kurdish-led militias supported by Washington are fighting Islamic State in Raqqa. The U.S.-led coalition has stressed it is not seeking war with Assad.

Bisected by the Euphrates River, Deir al-Zor and its oil resources are critical to the Syrian state. The province is entirely in the hands of IS except for a government stronghold in Deir al-Zor city and a nearby air base. It is also in the crosshairs of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters on Wednesday there would be an SDF campaign towards Deir al-Zor “in the near future”, though the SDF was still deciding whether it would be delayed until Raqqa was fully captured from Islamic State.

But questions remain over whether the government and its allies, or the U.S.-backed militias, have the required manpower. IS has rebased many of its fighters and leaders in Deir al-Zor. The Syrian army is drawing on the support of local tribal militias in its advances, local tribal figures say.

A Western-backed Syrian rebel with detailed knowledge of the area said Deir al-Zor would be a tough prospect. “Deir al-Zor tribes are more intertwined with those of Iraq,” the rebel said, describing them as religious hardliners.

Andrew Tabler, a Syria specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think-tank, said Assad hoped to regain international legitimacy through the campaign against IS.

“They believe that by doing so they can get reconstruction money, and they believe that things are going to go back to the way they were before. That’s just not going to happen,” he said.

There has been no sign that Western states are ready to rehabilitate Assad, accused by Washington of repeatedly using chemical weapons during the war, most recently in April. Syria denies using chemical weapons.

RULING “ATOP RUINS”

The April attack triggered a U.S. missile strike against a Syrian airbase. But the U.S. response was calibrated to avoid confrontation with Moscow, and has not resulted in further such action.

Trump’s decision to shut down the CIA programme of support meanwhile played to Assad’s advantage and came as a blow to the opposition. Rebel sources say the programme will be phased out towards the end of the year.

Damascus has been pressing ahead with its strategy for pacifying western Syria, pursuing local agreements with rebellious areas that have resulted in thousands of rebel fighters being sent to insurgent areas of the north.

But significant areas of western Syria remain in rebel hands, notably Idlib province in the northwest, a corner of the southwest, an area north of Homs, and the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus.

In the southwestern province of Deraa, one of the areas in the U.S.-Russian truce, the government is seeking investment in reconstruction, the provincial governor told al-Watan newspaper, saying the “shelling phase” was over.

Shunned by the West, the government hopes China will be a major player in the reconstruction. Seeking to project an image of recovery, Damascus this week will host a trade fair.

“The regime is quite keen to imply by signals that it doesn’t care, that ‘we are fine, we are really utterly prepared just to sit atop ruins, and to speak to friends who will help us with our project’,” said a Western diplomat.

Mohanad Hage Ali, director of communications at the Carnegie Middle East Center, said the Assads have been “masters of the waiting game”. Time is on their side, he said. “But they have two challenges: political normalisation with the world, and the economic challenge, which is significant.”

(Writing by Tom Perry; editing by Giles Elgood)

“Without justice in Syria, there will never be peace and thus no future.”

August 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Del Ponte made the shock announcement earlier this month that she would resign from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria

GENEVA (AFP) – A UN commission probing Syria rights abuses has gathered enough evidence to convict President Bashar al-Assad of war crimes, an outgoing member of the commission said in interviews published Sunday.

Veteran former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is preparing to step down after five years serving in the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss media the evidence against Assad was sufficient to secure a war crimes conviction.

“I am convinced of that,” she told Le Matin Dimanche and the Sonntagszeitung weeklies, adding though that with no international court or prosecutor tasked with trying the Syria war crimes cases, justice would remain elusive.

“That is why the situation is so frustrating. The preparatory work has been done, but nevertheless, there is no prosecutor and no court,” she told Sonntagszeitung.

“It’s a tragedy.”

Del Ponte, a 70-year-old Swiss national who came to prominence investigating war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, made the shock announcement earlier this month that she would resign from the UN commission because it “does absolutely nothing”.

She lamented that “everyone in Syria is on the bad side. The Assad government has perpetrated horrible crimes against humanity and used chemical weapons. And the opposition is now made up of extremists and terrorists.”

In Sunday’s interviews, she said she had handed in her resignation letter last Thursday, and that she would officially step down on September 18, after the commission presents its latest report to the UN Human Rights Council.

UN chief Antonio Guterres appealed last week for the commission to continue its work despite Del Ponte’s departure.

– Resigning to provoke action –

The commission has been tasked with investigating human rights violations and war crimes in Syria since shortly after the conflict erupted in March 2011 with anti-government protests that have evolved into a complex proxy war.

The continued violence has left more than 330,000 people dead and displaced millions.

The commission, which once Del Ponte leaves will count just two members, has repeatedly urged the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, in vain.

“I do not want to be an alibi for an international community that is doing nothing at all,” Del Ponte told Le Matin Dimanche, explaining her decision to leave the UN commission.

“My resignation is also meant as a provocation,” she said, adding that she hoped it would “put pressure on the Security Council, which must deliver justice to the victims.”

Del Ponte however said that if an international judicial process is eventually established for Syria, “I am ready to take on the position of international prosecutor.”

She stressed that international justice was vital for Syria, where the crimes committed were “far worse” than what she had seen in the former Yugoslavia.

“Without justice in Syria, there will never be peace and thus no future,” she said.

EU sanctions 16 more Syrians over chemical attacks

July 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley holds photos of victims as the UN Security Council meets in an emergency session in April about a suspected deadly chemical attack that killed civilians, including children, in Syria

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions against 16 more high-ranking military Syrian officials and scientists over chemical weapons attacks on civilians, a statement said.

The move by the bloc’s foreign ministers brings to 255 people now facing a travel ban and an assets freeze over President Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown on civilians during a five-year civil war.

“The EU added these 16 persons for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population,” an EU statement said.

The EU will release the names of those hit by the sanctions on Tuesday, it said.

The UN’s chemical watchdog, the OPCW, last month concluded that sarin was used as a chemical weapon in the April 4 attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhun that killed at least 87 people including children.

The sanctions decision “shows the resolve of the UK and the rest of our friends in Europe in dealing with those who are responsible for chemical weapons attacks,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told reporters just before the decision was announced.

Syria is already subject to an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, as well as export restrictions.

It also is under sanctoins on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.

Russia sees growing acceptance of Assad as key to Syria talks

July 15, 2017

By Tom Miles
Reuters

July 15, 2017

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AFP photo

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.N.-led Syria talks have a chance of making progress because demands for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad have receded, Russia’s ambassador in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin, told reporters on Saturday.

The seventh round of talks, which ended on Friday, had produced positive results, especially a “correction” in the approach of the main opposition delegation, the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee, he said.

“The essence of this correction is that during this round the opposition never once demanded the immediate resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and the legitimate Syrian government.”

The HNC and its backers in Western and Gulf capitals had realized that peace needed to come first, and then political reforms could be negotiated, he said.

“Assad must go” was long the mantra of the HNC and its international backers, a call flatly rejected by Russia, which is widely seen as holding the balance of power in Syria because of its military involvement and alliance with Assad.

But over the past year the opposition suffered military defeats at the hands of forces loyal to Assad, and neither U.S. President Donald Trump nor French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for his immediate ouster.

Assad’s negotiators at the U.N. talks have avoided discussion of any kind of political transition, preferring to focus on the fight against terrorism.

They have not yet had to negotiate directly with the opposition because there is no unified delegation to meet them, since the HNC and two other groups, known as the Cairo and Moscow platforms, all claim to represent the opposition.

In the seven rounds so far, U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura has met each side separately, a laboriously choreographed negotiation that has succeeded only in deciding what to discuss: a new constitution, reformed governance, fresh elections and fighting terrorism.

The three opposition delegations’ leaders have been meeting to try to find common ground, raising hopes of direct talks at the next round in September.

Borodavkin said the success of such a unified delegation would depend on its willingness to compromise with Assad’s team.

“If they will be ready to make deals with the government delegation, that is one thing. If they again slide into… ultimatums and preconditions that are not realistic, then this will not fly. This will lead the negotiations, be it direct or indirect, into a deadlock.”

He also called for wider opposition representation, citing the Kurds as a striking example, since they were Syrian citizens with their own political and military influence.

But he said it was up to de Mistura to decide how and when to incorporate them in the peace process.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Ros Russell

Trump says time to work ‘constructively’ with Russia — Progress starting already in Syria and Ukraine — “Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections.”

July 9, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump meeting Friday in Hamburg, Germany

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump pledged Sunday to work “constructively” with Russia but ruled out an immediate easing of sanctions while the countries remain at odds over the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

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In a series of tweets on his return from Europe, Trump said he had confronted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over evidence from the US intelligence agencies that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election when the two leaders met for the first time in Germany on Friday.

And while he welcomed an agreement for the start of a ceasefire in Syria, Trump said it was too early to consider any easing of US sanctions on Russia “until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved.”

“I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election,” Trump said of their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit. “He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..”

Trump said he and Putin had talked about the idea of setting up what he called “an impenetrable cyber security unit” to prevent hacking in future elections, without giving details.

He also said the two men had discussed the implementation of a ceasefire in Syria which began on Sunday, saying “it will save lives.”

“Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!”

– Friction over Syria –

Syria has been a particular source of friction between the two countries, as Russia is a close ally of President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow was furious when the Trump administration launched a cruise missile strike against Syrian forces in April, in retaliation for what Washington said was a chemical weapons attack by Assad’s regime against civilians.

Moscow has warned that a program of sanctions imposed by the US, which was tightened last month, threatens their whole relationship.

Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama ordered the seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in the US last December after accusing Russia of trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

And last month, the United States added 38 individuals and entities to its sanctions list targeting Russians and pro-Russian rebels it blames for the fighting in Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea.

“Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved,” said Trump.

The US president has previously equivocated over whether Russia did try to tilt the outcome of last November’s election contest against Hillary Clinton in his favor, amid an investigation into whether members of Trump’s campaign team actively colluded with Moscow.

– ‘Strategic alliance’ –

So his public assessment that Russia did meddle has triggered questions over whether his administration planned to bring in more sanctions.

Asked on Sunday whether new sanctions were in the pipeline, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told ABC television: “We have sanctions that are already on the table and we expect to enforce those sanctions.”

Mnuchin also insisted that Russia and the US could work together on cyber security, despite criticism in some quarters that the two sides had diametrically opposing goals.

“What we want to make sure is that we coordinate with Russia, that we’re focused on cybersecurity together, that we make sure that they never interfere in any democratic elections,” he said.

“This is like any other strategic alliance, whether we’re doing military exercises with our allies or anything else. This is about having capabilities to make sure we both fight cyber (crime) together which I think is a very significant accomplishment for President Trump.”

The US and Russian sides have issued sharply conflicting accounts of Friday’s meeting, with Putin saying on Saturday that Trump had been “satisfied” by his denials of any Russian interference in the polls.

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Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the Russian denials had been expected but cut no ice.

“This is Russia trying to save face,” she told CNN. “And they can’t. They can’t.

“Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections.”

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Erdogan hosts Russia defence chief amid Syria border tensions

July 2, 2017

AFP

© AFP | The United States views the YPG fighters as the most effective fighting force against IS jihadists in Syria

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday held talks with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Istanbul as tension soared on the Syrian border between Turkish troops and a Kurdish militia.

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Sergei Shoigu

Turkey and Russia were long at loggerheads over the Syrian conflict, with Ankara seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow remaining his chief international ally.

But cooperation had tightened markedly since last year, with the two countries jointly sponsoring peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.

Sunday’s meeting took place at Istanbul’s Tarabya Palace by the Bosphorus, the presidency said, with images showing Turkey’s top general Hulusi Akar and spy chief Hakan Fidan were also in attendance.

Last August, Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield cross-border operation aimed at clearing the border zone in northern Syria of both Kurdish militia fighters and jihadists.

The operation was wound up in March but Erdogan has not excluded a new cross-border offensive should the need arise.

Turkish troops and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have repeatedly exchanged cross-border fire in recent days and there is speculation Ankara may be planning an assault on the group in Afrin.

Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group and the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

But Washington is arming the YPG and the group is heavily involved in the US-backed operation to oust Islamic State (IS) jihadists from their stronghold of Raqa.

The Sabah daily said Sunday that pro-Ankara Syrian rebels were on standby for an operation against the YPG and Russia could ensure security in the air.

Asked about the possibility of an operation around Afrin, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Saturday: “We take all measures to protect our borders and national security.”

He said the Turkey would “instantly” hit back against any threat from Syria, be it from IS, the PKK or the YPG.

France Says Watchdog’s Report on Syria Proves Sarin Gas Used in April — Russia Says Chemical Watchdog’s Report “Biased”

June 30, 2017

PARIS — France said on Friday that a report by the world’s chemical weapons watchdog that nerve agent sarin was used in an April attack in Syria was “unequivocal” and that the organization’s members should act firmly on its findings.

“The conclusions of this report are indisputable,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The OPCW and its members must assume their responsibilities and condemn, in the strongest terms, this intolerable violation of the non-proliferation regime.”

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Bate Felix)

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Russia Says Chemical Watchdog’s Report on Syria Attack Is Biased: Agencies

MOSCOW — A report by the world’s chemical weapons watchdog that the banned nerve agent sarin was used in an attack in northern Syria in April is based on “doubtful evidence”, Russian news agencies quoted Russia’s Foreign Ministry as saying on Friday.

The report, seen by Reuters on Thursday, was circulated to members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, but was not made public.

The attack on April 4, when dozens of people were killed in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Idlib province, was the most deadly in Syria’s civil war in more than three years. It prompted a U.S. missile strike against a Syrian air base which Washington said was used to launch the strike.

“Unfortunately, after a first reading of this document we are forced to note that its conclusions are based on extremely doubtful evidence,” TASS news agency quoted Russia’s Foreign Ministry as saying.

“The contents of the report compiled by a special commission of the OPCW, are largely biased, which makes us think that the activities of this structure serve a political order,” TASS quoted the ministry as saying.

Russia and its allies in the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deny that his forces deployed chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun.

Moscow has said the attack was carried out by Assad’s opponents, who, Russian officials alleged, made it look as though it was the work of government forces.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov and Christian Lowe)

See also:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4385534/Syrian-father-watched-22-relatives-die-gas-attack.html

US-backed forces cut off last IS escape route from Raqa

June 29, 2017

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An American sniper with the Syriac Military Council (SMC), Christian fighters battling alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State group, on the western outskirts of Raqa on June 27, 2017

BEIRUT (AFP) – US-backed forces cut off the last escape route for the Islamic State group from Raqa on Thursday, a monitor said, trapping the besieged jihadists inside their de facto Syrian capital.

Fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces captured two villages on the southern bank of the Euphrates River the jihadists had been passing through to withdraw from the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It was the latest setback for IS, which declared its “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq three years ago but has since lost most of the territory it once controlled.

It came too as Iraqi forces announced the recapture of an iconic mosque in IS’s last major Iraqi bastion Mosul, prompting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to declare “the end” of the “fake” jihadist state.

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces backed by the US-led anti-IS coalition, broke into Raqa on June 6 after spending months chipping away at jihadist territory around the city.

Its fighters have since captured two eastern and two western districts of the city and are pushing towards the city centre, where IS fighters are holding tens of thousands of civilians.

The SDF had surrounded the jihadists from the north, east and west but they were still able to escape across the Euphrates, which forms the southern border of the city.

Thursday’s advance saw SDF fighters capture the villages of Kasrat Afnan and Kasab on the southern bank of the Euphrates, cutting off the route the jihadists were using to withdraw to territory IS controls in the Syrian desert and in Deir Ezzor province.

“The SDF has been able to completely encircle Raqa,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Observatory, which monitors Syria’s conflict through a network of sources on the ground.

– 60% of territory lost –

IS overran Raqa in mid-2014 as part of the offensive that saw it seize control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The city became infamous as the scene of some of the group’s worst atrocities, including public beheadings, and is thought to have been a hub for planning attacks overseas.

The United Nations estimates some 100,000 civilians remain in the city, with the jihadists accused of using them as human shields.

Marking the third anniversary of IS’s declaration of a state on June 29, 2014, a leading analysis firm said the jihadists had since lost more than 60 percent of their territory and 80 percent of their revenue.

In January 2015, IS controlled about 90,800 square kilometres, but by June 2017 that number dropped to 36,200, said IHS Markit.

The biggest fall was in the first six months of 2017, when IS lost around 24,000 square kilometres of territory.

“The Islamic State’s rise and fall has been characterised by rapid inflation, followed by steady decline,” said Columb Strack, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit.

“Three years after the ‘caliphate’ was declared, it is evident that the group’s governance project has failed,” Strack said.

IHS Markit said IS’s average monthly revenue had plummeted by 80 percent, from $81 million in the second quarter of 2015 to just $16 million in the second quarter of 2017.

The White House envoy to the coalition, Brett McGurk, visited one of the recaptured areas on Thursday, meeting with local officials in the northern Syrian town of Tabqa.

IS jihadists were ousted from Tabqa and an adjacent dam on May 10 during the SDF offensive around Raqa.

The visit came a day after McGurk met with members of the Raqa Civil Council, the body expected to run the northern city after IS’s expected fall there.

by Layal Abou Rahal
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Kissinger: Chaos in the West Could Give Boost to Russia

June 27, 2017

LONDON — Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned of Russia’s simmering alienation from its western neighbors but says he believed that President Vladimir Putin will ultimately work toward cooperative relationships with countries on its borders.

Speaking at the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Security  in London Tuesday, Kissinger predicted ongoing friction with Russia over Ukraine and Syria.

“Russia has evolved to what amounts to a definition of absolute security (and) absolute insecurity for some of its neighbors,” Kissinger said during the keynote address, adding that Putin’s view of international politics is reminiscent of 1930’s European nationalist authoritarianism. “Russia wants to be accepted by Europe and transcend it simultaneously.”

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LONDON (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Tuesday warned of Russia’s simmering alienation from its western neighbors but said he believed that President Vladimir Putin will ultimately work toward cooperative relationships with countries on its borders.

During his diplomatic career, the 94-year-old senior statesman supported a policy of detente with the Soviet Union, opened relations with China and helped negotiate the Paris Peace Accords, which helped end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He was also involved in negotiating with Syria to stop the fighting that emerged from the 1973 war between Egypt and Israel.

Speaking at the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Security in London, Kissinger predicted ongoing friction with Russia over Ukraine and Syria. Russia, which has backed the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on Tuesday dismissed U.S. claims that Assad was preparing for a chemical weapons attack. The United States has offered no evidence to support the claim.

“Russia has evolved to what amounts to a definition of absolute security (and) absolute insecurity for some of its neighbors,” Kissinger said during the keynote address, adding that Putin’s view of international politics is reminiscent of 1930’s European nationalist authoritarianism. “Russia wants to be accepted by Europe and transcend it simultaneously.”

Kissinger also warned that with political chaos enveloping Britain and the United States, Russia, India and China could gain a foothold in creating a new world order. He also said that without strategic thought, two scenarios could unfold in U.S.-China relations: repeated confrontation or co-evolution born out of a “conscious need to avoid conflict.”

While Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, his career has been marked by numerous controversies, including his involvement in U.S. bombing campaigns in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, support for Pakistan’s military dictatorship in the 1970s against what is now Bangladesh and U.S. involvement in the 1973 coup that overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende.

Macron, Trump Agree to Work Together if New Syria Chemical Attack-Elysee

June 27, 2017

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call on Tuesday that they would work together to find a common response in case of a new chemical attack in Syria, the French presidency said in a statement.

Macron also invited Trump to attend the July 14 Bastille Day celebrations in Paris which will this year commemorate 100 years since the United States joined World War One.

The French leader has previously said that Paris could launch unilateral air strikes against targets in Syria if a chemical attack took place.

(Reporting by Marine Pennetier; writing by John Irish; editing by Michel Rose)

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