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04 Feb 2016
ISIS

“I never said that I view the US as a threat to our national security”-Putin



The Russian president tells in a gathering of politicians at the Valdai International Discussion Club in late 2014 that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ and acting in self-interest.

Vladimir Putin, casually accused Washington of backing terrorism in the Middle East and double-crossing the countries it claims as allies.

The gathering in the Valdai Club occurred prior to ISIS’ attack on Paris which injured more than 100 people and killed nearly 130 Parisians on November 13, 2015. On a group of international analysts and politicians, Putin claimed in his speech that the US has experimented on using terrorist groups as “a battering ram to overthrow regimes they don’t like”.

“It’s always hard to play a double game – to declare a fight against terrorists but at the same time try to use some of them to move the pieces on the Middle Eastern chessboard in your own favour. There’s no need to play with words and split terrorists into moderate and not moderate. I would like to know what the difference is,” Putin is quoted saying.

Moscow, indicted for targeting moderate rebel groups in the Syrian bombing by Western capitals, has its eyes aimed at targets connected with the Islamic State. Nevertheless, statements issued by government officials and Putin’s claims of Washington playing with words convey Moscow is under the impression that the rest of the armed opposition to Assad is a justifiable target.

When Putin received Assad at the Kremlin, he was quoted saying he considered the Syrian government to be “fully legitimate” despite the non-recognition of its classification as a State by other Western capitals. He further lambasted the West for failing to see the high threat that ISIS imposed while being blinded by the abominable figure of Assad.

“The so-called Islamic State [Isis] has taken control of a huge territory. How was that possible? Think about it: if Damascus or Baghdad are seized by the terrorist groups, they will be almost the official authorities, and will have a launch pad for global expansion. Is anyone thinking about this or not?”

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Furthermore, Putin stressed that it was incorrect to address the issue of Assad’s stepping down without first undergoing a much-needed dialogue.

“Fifty years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me that if a fight is inevitable, you have to hit first. As far as I understand from my discussion with Assad, he’s ready for this,” Putin said.

Putin further claimed that Assad responded positively when asked about Russia forming “armed opposition groups who are really ready to fight terrorists in Syria.”

On the possible partition of Syria as the solution to its conflict, Putin verbalized that “This would be the worst and most unacceptable option, and will not lead to the conflict being solved. It will make it worse and give it a permanent character. If you split the country into different parts they will fight among themselves forever, it will be unavoidable.” The future of Syria would be bleak.

A recent survey showed that Putin’s approval rating had reached a record high of nearly 90% as an aftermath by the Syrian airstrikes conducted from an initial 58.8% rating back in January 2012 prior to the crackdown on opposition and Crimea’s annexation.

“The idea was to remove Assad using force, and to use force to seize Damascus. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but this is the only way to explain why neither Britain nor the US has ever properly fought against Isis,” according to Yakovenko.

“We are looking closely at the Syrian Free Army. We understand there is not a single command center, and that some of these divisions have different goals. But if among the FSA there are divisions that are really ready to fight with Isis, who is our main enemy in Syria, and if you think there are people or commanders or other contacts which could be useful and to cooperate with them, we would be grateful for such information,” he said. “We were again rejected.”

Reuters of Russian defense ministry data, however, show that 80% of Russia’s official declared targets were, ironically, towards areas in Syria not under the clutches of ISIS. Information from the Free Syrian Army was then later asked as well as to the sharing of intelligence as to the location of ISIS targets in Syria in a meeting Yakovenko attended at the Foreign Office in London.

What continues to baffle the public is the continuous growth in numbers and strength of ISIS. Yakovenko said that the number of airstrikes carried out by Britain against Iraq before could have easily destroyed the whole region. However, recent developments and media coverage says otherwise.

The video below shows the entire speech of Vladimir Putin at the Valdai International Discussion Club back in 2014 which has been circulated anew after the horrendous affront to the safety and security of Parisians during the Friday-the-13th attack last November 2015.


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