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USA Today: General Clark considers Russia a threat in Syria

Wesley Clark

The U.S. army General retired Wesley Clark, during the Kosovo war who commanded the forces of PATO, shares his thoughts on the conflict in Syria in an article for USA Today. He urged to admit: «although ISIS is a real threat the U.S. and its allies, Russia is more dangerous».

«Since Bashar al-Assad and Russia is currently winning, they have little incentive to strive for long-term settlement of the Syrian war, which would return control over Syria the Syrian people,» writes Clark. The decision of U.S. President Barack Obama to refrain from a ground operation he endorses and calls «wise».

«You have to understand that «Islamic state» is not just a terrorist group, but rather a geo-strategic «artifact» resulting from the power struggle between Iran and its «almost ally» with Iraq, on the one hand, and Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the other, the article says. ISIL is a Frankenstein formed from heterogeneous, competing and poorly coordinated efforts by Sunnis to overthrow the Assad regime in order to thwart Iran’s ambitions for regional dominance and to clear a path to the Mediterranean sea».

Turned-ISIS militant groups received external Finance, arms, intelligence, and sometimes guidance, indicates Clark. «Islamic state» was playing on the hostility between Qatar and the Saudis, on the ambitions and the fears of Turkey fear the Kurds to predominantly Shia Iraq, Sunni hostility toward Hezbollah, the Sunni contempt for Shiites and many other regional contradictions. «First of all, the group was kept afloat the decades of enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And the US is definitely not interested in is still hostile to America, Iran has become the hegemon in the region between the Mediterranean sea and the Persian Gulf,» writes the author.

«If it is true that the only realistic solution to [the Syrian crisis] related to the diplomatic activity aimed at easing the standoff between Iran, Kurds, Turkey, Assad regime and Saudi Arabia, so it is possible to create an effective coalition against ISIS, we need to find a lever that will reduce the importance of the role played by Russia. While the Assad regime again starts to threaten it, neither he nor Iran will have no reason to make concessions,» says Clark. He adds, what is the impact on Russia, furthermore, «will ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria and weaken the pressure on Turkey, a NATO member, and facilitate the migration crisis in Europe.»

Former commander of NATO forces warns: «Putin aims to restore domination in Eastern Europe, to maintain control over energy supplies to Europe, strengthening its presence in the middle East and, ultimately, the lifting of sanctions. If this happen, it would effectively mean the end of the EU and NATO failure. Putin does not behave like a frightened, cornered the head of weak power, and as a purposeful and deceitful leader, ready to achieve goals to use force and take risks major conflicts. History shows that such leaders cannot cajole — they need to confront.»

The tool of influence on Russia could be «tougher sanctions from Europe,» offers Clark. For example, you can type new package of punitive measures, arguing his «contribution of Russia to the humanitarian catastrophe, which begins in Northern Syria». In addition, NATO would «more strongly to strengthen the boundaries of Western values in the Baltic States and Ukraine». Finally, «our friends in Saudi Arabia controlling the oil valve could punish Russia by persistence of low oil prices or to agree to reduce oil production and raise prices on it to convince the Russians to return home in exchange for economic revitalization — continued the retired General. — There are other possible measures, such as restricting the movement of Russian aircraft and ships, to intensify special operations against the Assad regime forces troops in Saudi Arabia, UAE and USA. Speech can go and about the global deployment of additional American forces in places where Russia’s presence and interests».

«Successful diplomacy requires more leverage, added Clark. — Vice President Biden recently said that the U.S. might try to find a «military solution» in Syria, but more needs to be done».

USA Today: General Clark considers Russia a threat in Syria 12.02.2016

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