Thursday, September 24, 2015

Putin preparing to strike Islamic State 'with or without Obama 'Admin'.

Putin preparing to strike Islamic State 'with or without Obama 'Admin'. (SMH).

Mr Putin's proposal, which Russia has communicated to the US, calls for a "parallel track" of joint military action accompanied by a political transition away from Dr Assad, a key US demand, according to a third person.

The initiative will be the centrepiece of Mr Putin's one-day trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, which may include talks with US President Barack Obama. 

"Russia is hoping common sense will prevail and Obama takes Putin's outstretched hand," said Elena Suponina, a senior Middle East analyst at the Institute of Strategic Studies, which advises the Kremlin. "But Putin will act anyway if this doesn't happen."

The US is willing to discuss coordinating strikes to avoid hostile incidents with Russian planes, but Washington and its allies haven't received a "concrete" proposal from Moscow and won't include Dr Assad's forces in the effort, an official in Washington said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels also seemed to shift on the question of Dr Assad's fate. Fighting in Syria has killed at least 250,000 people and provoked hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in Europe.

Russia has sent two dozen fighter jets to a new airfield near Dr Assad's stronghold of Latakia and deployed hundreds of servicemen to the airbase and a nearby port, according to satellite images and media reports in Moscow. The Kremlin said last week that Russia may enter combat operations if the government in Damascus requests help.

The Kremlin has already drafted a request for the upper house of parliament to approve the deployment of 2000 air personnel to Syria, but has yet to formally submit it, two people familiar with the matter said. Mr Putin is frustrated with US reticence to respond to his overtures, one of them said.

Saudi Arabia, which is arming Syrian rebel forces, is ready to accept the Russian proposal that Dr Assad stay on as president during a transitional period if he is stripped of his powers, according to Anwar Eshki, a retired Saudi general who heads the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah.

Russia's involvement in Syria will help bring stability to the region and bolster the chances of defeating Islamic State, Dr Eshki said. The Syrian opposition should "put its hand in Russia's hand", he added. Hmmm......Sounds like Putin is ready to clean out the Augean stables. Read the full story here.

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