… from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: I did a Press TV news show last night and then another this morning. The first was on Assad’s statement that Damascus has shown flexibility in the Geneva talks and that the military progress on the ground was creating better conditions for a political settlement.
That was a barbed dig on those whose strategy of trying to hold the talks hostage with demands of Assad stepping down was “dead on arrival” from day one.
This morning, we see Assad making his first statement on the political transition, building on the above, but adding that he “agrees” with following the UN mandate of ALL parties being involved. Note he is not making “demands”, even though the Syrian coalition has shown the world they have been backing the terrorists and their State sponsors… so far.
While Kerry was publicly trying to show in Moscow that he was pressuring the Russians to pressure Assad to step down, the Russians have countered that those who agreed to the initial “all parties involved” Geneva agreement should follow through or they will suffer loss of credibility.
Assad then moved on to the huge reconstruction topic — one which we have always urged them to push harder on, as that punishment should be shared via reparations payments from those that supported the anti-Syrian terrorism effort. The sooner and more credible the rebuilding program is the bigger effect it will have in stopping the refugee flow and begin to reverse it.
We feel that is one of the biggest levers at getting the EU to stop riding the dead horse of “Assad must go”, as that has morphed into a self destructive “EU stability must go” program, the result of horrible leadership on their part, especially Merkel’s.
She flung open Germany’s doors to thousands of refugees without solving what was generating those refugees — ending the war and confronting those who had been supporting it. While tens of billions of dollars are being spent on the huge refugee inflow, it is obvious that the counter terrorism effort has been vastly under-funded and may not even be salvageable due to the huge hostile immigrant population in Europe now… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … March 30, 2016 –
The Pentagon has acknowledged Russia’s “constructive role” in the Syrian peace process, which might ultimately lead to a “resolution” of the years-long conflict.
“It’s being clear that they have focused more of their military attention on ISIL. We think that is a good thing. We encourage that from the start,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said during a briefing on Tuesday.
“They’re playing a constructive role with regard to the cessation of hostilities,” he added.
The Pentagon official said that no other player has more “leverage” than Russia to nudge the Syrian government toward a political transition.
“And we would hope that they would use that leverage in as constructive a fashion as possible. And we would encourage them to do so,” he noted.
Cook said the United States will continue with its military campaign against Daesh, “but at this point, we’re not at a position to cooperate with Russia in that effort.”
In recent months, the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air power, has been making major gains against terrorist groups, recapturing several strategic areas from their grip, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.
In an interview with Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency published on Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hailed Russian support and recent advances against the militants.
“Russia’s military support, the support provided by Syria’s friends and the military achievements of the Syrian army – all this will lead to the speeding up of political settlement, and not vice versa,” he said.
Moscow began a campaign of airstrikes against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria on September 30 last year upon a request by the Syrian government.
The Pentagon for months had accused Russia of being disingenuous by saying it was targeting Daesh terrorists while it was actually bombing US-backed militants operating inside Syria.
A ceasefire agreement in Syria, brokered by Russia and the United States, entered into force on February 27. The Syrian government accepted the terms of the truce on condition that military efforts against Daesh and the al-Nusra Front terrorists, who are excluded from the ceasefire, continue.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the crisis in the Arab country has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people and displaced nearly half of its pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.