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Kerry in Moscow To Talk Cooperation While Saboteurs Run Rampant in Washington

July 14, 2016 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Moscow today, for two days of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Syria, Ukraine, and other issues. (Putin also received Kerry today.) A major topic of discussion on their agenda is reportedly proposals for U.S.-Russian military cooperation against terrorist groups in Syria. Back in Washington, there’s a huge policy fight going on within the Obama Administration over overtures of cooperation with Russia in the military realm; opponents of such policies are attempting to sabotage them by means of leaks to the news media.

The most prominent receiver of these leaks is the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, who published, late yesterday, an eight-page document titled "Approach for Practical Russian-American Efforts against Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra and Strengthening the Cessation of Hostilities," which proposes the establishment of a Joint Implementation Group in Amman Jordan for carrying out coordinated military action against Jabhat al Nusra. This new document "would open the way for deep cooperation between U.S. and Russian military and intelligence agencies and coordinated air attacks by American and Russian planes on Syrian rebels deemed to be terrorists," Rogin reports. "What hasn’t been previously reported" about the plan

"is that the United States is suggesting a new military command-and-control headquarters to coordinate the air campaign that would house U.S. and Russian military officers, intelligence officials and subject-matter experts."

The document, while still maintaining many of the Obama administration’s axioms about Syria and its president, Bashar al Assad, nonetheless represents a major shift from the policies of the recent past. Rogin’s publication of the leak is "a signal to all the enemies of this sort of thing to get going and stop it," as New York University Professor Stephen Cohen told radio host John Batchelor on July 12. Cohen was actually describing an earlier leak by Rogin on White House consideration of executive actions on nuclear policy, but his description holds true in this case, too, as Rogin himself clearly indicates.

"Even in the best-case scenario, where Russia and Syria hold up their end of the bargain, the result could be major advances for the Assad regime,"

Rogin concludes. "While Jabhat al-Nusra is a problem, teaming up with the Russian air force might not be the best solution."

The possibility that Kerry might be bringing some sort of proposal to the Kremlin has already been circulating for days, and the word in Moscow is "be cautious."

"We know that in such issues ‘the devil is in the details.’ The U.S. State Department spokesperson says that our positions on Syria are not that ‘far apart,’ but he doesn’t specify where exactly we do stand ‘far apart’ and where we stand closer to each other,"

Andranik Migranyan, Russian political analyst and professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) told Radio Sputnik.

"Thus we should treat such comments with cautious optimism. We should wait and see exactly what suggestions John Kerry will bring to Moscow, then we’ll be able to understand how close we have come to each other on the Syrian issue,"

he added.

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