Putin pries Western leaders from anti-Assad stance
We've noted that the proximity of Western and Russian military forces in Syria holds the potential for escalation to World War 5, even if both sides are ostensibly part of the global convergence against ISIS. Now comes a further sign that the centripetal tendency will prevail—the common interest in figting jihadism propeling the situation back into World War 4. At the UN General Assembly session in New York, British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad can be part of a transitional government, although adding that Assad has "butchered his own people" and that "Assad cannot be part of Syria's future in the long run." This comes across as weak lip service in light of his capitulation. (Al Arabiya News, The Guardian, The Telegraph)
This capitulation is the fruit of wooing by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called for a regional "co-ordinating structure" against ISIS. BBC portrayed this as sign of a thaw between Assad and the West. Obama outwardly remained firm in his anti-Assad rhetoric. But after a 90-minute private meeting between the two leaders, Putin emerged confident. "We have a lot in common," he said. While "disputes remain," he declared that "we have sound grounds to work on the points of concern together." (NBC)
The thaw would basically mean dropping the pretense of supporting the Syrian revolution, as the West has actually been tilting to Assad in any case.
Meanwhile, France carried out its first air-strikes against ISIS positions in Syria, destroying a training camp in the eastern town of Deir al-Zour. France, like the UK, has previously confined its air-strikes against ISIS to Iraq. Speaking in New York, President Francois Hollande called for. a political solution to the Syrian crisis, but said Assad could not be part of it. (BBC News)
We shall see how long this facade is maintained.