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How Obama Lost the Mideast to Putin


Vision, strategy, and courage might have prevented the disaster we see today in Syria. But those elements were nowhere to be found.

LONDON — The Middle East is in flames. Just as Iraq was President George W. Bush’s catastrophic legacy, Syria will be Obama’s. Bush’s sins of commission wrought no less chaos than Obama’s sins of omission. If the Stop the War lobby’s primary motive was to avoid civilian casualties, then by any standard they should slither away shamefully into voluntarily redundancy.

By latest human rights accounts, Syria’s five-year civil war has left 470,000 dead. To add to our disgrace, we don’t even know how accurate these figures are because—as if in despair—the United Nations gave up collecting statistics 18 months ago. Syria has spiraled into the biggest humanitarian, political and security challenge of our time. The Cuban Missile crisis of 2016.

Last week in Munich, the “well-meaning but under-powered” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry optimistically announced a temporary ceasefire, leading up to UN-brokered peace talks scheduled for Feb. 25. Onlookers meanwhile, wondered what sort of “cessation of hostilities” allows Russia to continue hostilities, and questioned whether depressing realities on the ground truly reflect Kerry’s sleight of hand.

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Obama has turned Putin into the world’s most powerful leader


By Benny Avni

September 29, 2015 | 1:21am

The baton was officially transferred Monday to the world’s new sole superpower — and Vladimir Putin willingly picked it up.

President Obama (remember him?) embraced the ideals espoused by the United Nations’ founders 70 years ago: Diplomacy and “international order” will win over time, while might and force will lose.

Putin, too, appealed to UN laws (as he sees them), but he also used his speech to announce the formation of a “broad international coalition” to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

“Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces” to fight “those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind,” he said.

And who’d lead this new coalition? Hint: Moscow has always celebrated the Allies’ World War II victory as a Russian-led fete.

Oh, and if anyone wondered which Syrian players the coalition would rely on as allies, Putin made it clear: “No one but President [Bashar al-]Assad’s armed forces and Kurd militia are fighting the Islamic State.”

That, of course, isn’t Obama’s view. America’s president said he opposed the “logic of supporting tyrants.” After all, Assad “drops barrel bombs on innocent children.”

But Putin has troops in Syria, is arming Assad to the teeth and signed a pact of anti-ISIS intelligence-sharing with Assad, Iran and the leaders of Iraq (the ones America fought to put in power).