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Warning or plea? Putin cautions US against strike on Syria

Last Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 23:40

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Moscow: Seeking to send a loud and clear message to Barack Obama and American people, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday wrote an opinion piece in New York Times, seeking to present a strong case against any US military strike on Syria, saying it would unleash a new "wave of terrorism".

Titled smartly – "A Plea for Caution From Russia", Putin`s op-ed wears a warning tone topped with the tinge of an appeal as the Russian leader slams America`s frequent military intervention in internal conflicts as alarming.

Reiterating what he has been saying since US planned military strikes on Syria as a punitive action for chemical attacks, Putin warned that any US act without UN nod would constitute an act of "aggression" and it would trigger a new wave of terrorism and throw the entire international system and Mideast out of gear.

Published online in New York Times just few hours before US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia`s Sergei Lavrov are to meet in Geneva to discuss Syria handover plan proposed by Russia, Putin seems to make his case against the US strike in a similar way that Obama had used to try to muster support over his Syria strike plan.

In what sounded as a counter-comment to Obama, Putin said that the world saw the US "not as a model of democracy but as relying on brute force".

It is remarkable to note what Obama in his Rose Garden speech had said: "I am mindful that I`m the President of the world`s oldest constitutional democracy. I`ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Further hitting out at US in an indirect refernece, Putin said, "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation."

"There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too," he wrote.

Speaking about the negative ramifications of a potential strike by the United States against Syria, Putin said it will "result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders".

Extending the adverse effects to Iran, Israel-Palestine, Middle East and North Africa, Putin warned that the attack could "undermine multilateral efforts to resolve" various internal inflicts and destabilize the entire region.

Talking about the use of chemical weapons, Assad said he had no doubt Sarin gas was used but not by Assad regime. Putin blamed the rebels for having used poison gas.

Strengthening his case to avert US strike, Putin said, If an attack could be avoided it would lead to a better atmosphere in international affairs and increased mutual trust.
"We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement," he said.

Putin`s latest appeal-cum-warning to the United States over Syria comes at a time when permanent members of the UN council are to meet to discuss Russian plan on handover of Syria chemical weapons.

There exists a deep divide among the five permanent veto-weilding members on how to enforce the chemial stockpile handover plan with France, UK and US demanding a binding resolution for Syria that would call for penalties in case of non-compliance, whereas Russia has said it was unacceptable to put up a resolution with the threat of military strikes.
Russia also objected to putting any kind of ultimatum for Syrian disarmament.

First Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 11:36

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