Russian President Vladimir Putin said two interesting things during an interview with the Associated Press and a Russian television station about his support for embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The first item, which most of us have heard before, is that Putin finds the idea of Assad using chemical weapons to be “absurd” since Assad’s forces appear to have an advantage over the “so-called” rebels in the city where the attack occurred. We all know by now why Putin views these rebels as suspect…
Second, Putin left the door open to concurring with a US missile attack on Syria:
[Putin] said he “doesn’t exclude” backing the use of force against Syria at the United Nations if there is objective evidence proving that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its people. But he strongly warned Washington against launching military action without U.N. approval, saying it would represent an aggression. Russia can veto resolutions at the U.N. Security Council and has protected Syria from punitive actions there before.
Perhaps that’s Putin’s version of a hedge in case Assad’s forces actually used conventional chemical weapons against Syrians.
I also thought about Putin’s crazy meeting with Saudi intelligence head, Bandar bin Sultan where bin Sultan gave Putin a subtle threat about security during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Could Putin be worried?
Or…given the Syrian conflict’s roots in a pipeline disagreement, Putin needs to have a deal in place that protects his Gazprom peeps.
I doubt that negotiations are dead, so let’s see the posture Russia takes during the next few days…
song currently stuck in my head: “i don’t need nobody else” – lou courtney