Wednesday, December 2, 2015

President as Mediator

This week, American President Obama served as would-be mediator between Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan while all were in Paris. Reuters reported Obama met with Putin on Monday during the COP21 Climate Change Conference there. After the meeting, the White House informed journalists that Obama expressed regret over the death of the Russian pilot, but stressed Russia should de-escalate tensions with Turkey. The Daily Mail wrote that Obama told Putin Russian airstrikes in Syria need to target Daesh militants and not attack rebel groups who oppose Syrian President Assad. Yesterday, Obama met with Erdogan and pledged U.S. commitment to Turkey’s security and sovereignty, according to the AP. Erdogan was also asked to ease the tension with Russia and focus on the campaign against the Daesh. Daesh is apparently an Arabic acronym and the equivalent of Isis or Isil. Obama emphasized the common enemy remains Isil. Of course, Turkey accused Moscow of bombing Syria’s Turkmen region, where no Daesh terrorists exist. Russia claimed its plane was shot down to defend existing oil trade routes between Turkey and Daesh, allegedly taking place on an industrial scale, according to TASS news agency. Erdogan promised to resign if Moscow can prove its claim, but stressed that Putin must be the one to resign if he is lying. Though news headlines touted Obama as mediator between Russia and Turkey, he is not truly a neutral, as America actually leads the anti-Daesh coalition. Similarly, the U.K. Independent reported U.S. officials are pressuring the Turkish government to enforce its Northern Syrian border, still used as a smuggling route by the terrorists. On the humanitarian front, Russian airstrike campaigns in Syria have caused many civilian casualties, killing some three hundred non-combatants. No apologies were made and the situation still seems unsettled. It's hard to be a neutral facilitator when you have a stake in the outcome... See more here-- and