Trusting Russia to keep its word in Syria is rather like believing in good faith that its intelligence agents only visited the UK to see Salisbury Cathedral.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new peace plan — forged with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan — to protect the three million civilians crowded in camps in Idlib is staggeringly hard to take at face value for a multitude of reasons — not least, because of Putin’s history of denying all allegations against him, despite the mountain of compelling evidence.
Only last week, Putin sided with the implausible story told by two of his military intelligence agents, claiming that they were only in the UK as tourists. British authorities have amassed tomes of evidence implicating them in a brazen attempt to commit murder.
Such is Putin’s disdain for truth, his sudden peace plan in Idlib can only be read as a cynical attempt to dodge what would have been a barrage of condemnation at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) next week.
Without President Donald Trump pushing the US to stand in his way, Putin can run roughshod over all reasonable objections to start the final battle for Idlib.
His use of Turkey’s autocratic leader to help pull the wool over the international community’s eyes smacks not just of opportunism, but also a strategic resolve to draw this NATO partner out of the alliance. [Continue reading…]