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Lavrov, ‘ISIS’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks during a news conference in Moscow. Photo: Reuters

Even though U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on bolstering cooperation between his country and Russia to take on extremist groups in Syria, namely ISIS, his counterpart Russia’s Sergey Lavrov continues to blame the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq for the group’s rise.

In his speech to a youth forum Lavrov said that the West’s policy in the Middle East is what had led to the current dilemma faced by the region, Russia Today (RT) reported.

Lavrov argues that Washington by agreeing to sack military officers who had served in Saddam Hussein’s administration had directly caused the sidelining of the Sunni population in Iraq, and forced many of the officers to join ISIS and other hard-line armed groups.

Moreover, Lavrov said there are no guarantees on the Libya scenario not being repeated in Libya in case the regime head Bashar al-Assad is removed from power.

Assad’s Russian allies call on removing him from authority before any counter-terrorism takes place, however, Moscow only sees Assad’s leave possible through elections!

Contradicting notes call on the true question; is the Russian FM Lavrov really looking into a possible solution, or is he looking to buy time as to defend Assad? If Lavrov seeks solutions, most of them lie in learning from previous experiences and not in blaming others.

Before ISIS was established, al-Qaeda appeared in Iraq, and it was defeated. ISIS being Qaeda’s worse, had only emerged as a result of the lack of serious political resolution in Iraq— no real political action managed to halt sectarian-based cleansing in Iraq or to eradicate Iranian interference. When U.S. President Obama decided on swiftly pulling out of Iraq, the political state was far from stabilized.

Should Russia’s Lavrov truly seek serious solutions, and preventing such ultra-hardline groups from reemerging, then he should draw wisdom from the Soviet Union’s experience on invading Afghanistan in December 1978, which is quite similar to what Russia shares with Assad today.

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban group was established, further fortified presence, and later annexed what was then known by the “Arab Jihadists” who later gave birth to Qaeda movement. The rest of the story is known well.

What Lavrov says on Assad and the U.S. shapes well for debates to be held by journalists- not decision making politicians.

What is needed today is the presentation of solutions which spare bloodshed by putting an end to the Assad killing machine that has taken the lives of half a million of Syrians and displaced other millions. Assad’s regime has proven to be today’s source of terrorism and the spring to all lurking dangers facing the region and the West.

Which brings us to the conclusion that Lavrov’s statements prove one thing alone, it remains difficult for us to trust in the Russians, or to believe that an understanding can be reached with them.

Maybe the Russians really do wish to arrive at an agreement somehow; however, it will not be materialized through political negotiations and persuasions, it is only realized when Russians witness a serious U.S. and western action taken for Syria, especially on the battlefield itself. Other than that it is all but a waste of time and souls.