Thursday, September 22, 2016

Twin crises in Syria and Ukraine prove the West cannot restrain Russia

"Twin crises in Syria and Ukraine prove the West cannot restrain Russia," The Conversation UK

Image from article, with caption: Russian drone footage showing the bombed aid convoy en route to Aleppo. EPA/Russian Defence Ministry

Only days after the latest ceasefire agreement came into force in Syria, a United Nations aid convoy en route to Aleppo was attacked and destroyed. The UN was quick to declare this both a premeditated attack and a war crime. Citing air space intelligence, the US government released a statement accusing the Russian Air Force of responsibility, detailing the presence of two Russian Sukhoi SU-24 fighter aircraft in the area at the time of the attack. ...
The attack on the convoy follows the pattern of accusation and denial that has characterised the public diplomacy argument between Russia and the West, though chiefly the US: the US or UN makes a statement, and Russia responds with an equally publicly credible alternative. This back-and-forth pattern has played out many times in Syria and Ukraine, with both sides playing to their own constituencies rather than talking to each other – whether over the downing of flight MH17, Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, or the definition of what counts as a “rebel” or “extremist” group. ...

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