After day one of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are still divided on how to stem the bloodshed in Syria, though both leaders reiterated their commitment to ending the violence and bringing about negotiations.
“Of course our opinions do not coincide, but all of us have the intention to stop the violence in Syria, to stop the growth of victims and to solve the situation peacefully including by bringing the parties to the negotiations table in Geneva. We agreed to push the parties to the negotiations table,” Putin said Monday after a bilateral meeting with Obama, the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders in a year.
“With respect to Syria, we do have differing perspectives on the problem but we share an interest in reducing the violence, securing chemical weapons and ensuring they’re neither used nor are they subject to proliferation. And we want to try to resolve the issues through a political means, if possible, and so we will instruct our teams to continue to work on the potential to work on a Geneva follow-up to the first meeting,” Obama said.
The two world leaders met Monday, just four days after President Obama concluded publicly that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his people. In response, Obama announced that the U.S. would arm the rebel forces with automatic weapons, light mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, in the U.S.’s most significant intervention in Syria’s more than two-year-old civil war.
Great Britain and France, among the eight nations convening in this week’s summit, had previously confirmed the use of chemical weapons and petitioned the European Union to lift an arms embargo on Syria’s rebel factions in late May. British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to continue to support and assist the rebels, but stopped short of committing to arms in a Friday statement.
He said Monday that there was “a big difference” between the western nations and Russia on how to resolve the Syria conflict. As Assad’s most powerful ally, Russia is alone among the G8 in its support of the regime. Assad gained a strategic advantage in recent weeks by securing key strongholds with the aid of Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters and arms sent from Russia.
Putin criticized the U.S. decision to arm the rebel forces Sunday in comments to reporters, citing a video supposedly showing a rebel fighter eating the heart of a dead soldier. “Do you want to support these people? Do you want to supply arms to these people?” Putin asked, characterizing the rebels as those “who kill their enemies and eat their organs.”
The United Nations released findings last week showing upwards of 93,000 people have been killed in the 28 months since fighting began in Syria, with a large number of deaths thought to have gone unreported.
Ya know, I never did think I would agree with Putin bout anything, but in this case I think he makes some valid points and I would hope that our pres listens to we the people and not the idiots pounding the drums of war. Regardless, Obama has stated that we are not taking sides in this, but merely trying to unseat Assad and not the entire government there. Well when you got Russia on one end of the spectrum and us on the other and we are both helping the different factions, how is that NOT taking sides? 70 percent of the people are saying NO!
I think Putin is mostly right on this. From an historical stand point, I am trying to remember someone we 'armed" that we didn't have to go deal with later. I'm sure there are a couple, but it just seems to me that we aren't learning some lessons that we need to be learning when it comes to issues like this.
Playing devil's advocate here. Right now I agree with you guys but I have a deep unease about it all.
'Putin criticized the U.S. decision to arm the rebel forces Sunday in comments to reporters, citing a video supposedly showing a rebel fighter eating the heart of a dead soldier. “Do you want to support these people? Do you want to supply arms to these people?” Putin asked, characterizing the rebels as those “who kill their enemies and eat their organs.” '
Powerful piece of propaganda. They could as well have been Hezbollah soldiers doing that.
Put aside for a moment Bush's lies about Iraq and the U.S. history of arming the people who end up using our weapons against us Put aside for a moment our disastrous economy and the fact that we cannot afford to be involved in a war.
Some very important arguments that have convinced me that we should not intervene...but for the sake of discussion put it aside for a minute.
There is a country that is experiencing a civil war. This country is lead by a brutal but very intelligent leader. It is not about suppressing his own people (not to mention gassing them) it is part of a larger powerplay with other countries in the region for domination of the Middle East and beyond. What I want to know is what is Russia's motivation here? They are *not* humanitarians...there is something in it for them and I really want to know what.
With the victory of Assad, what will the dynamics be? Will the West really be unaffected?
Yeah, I want to leave it alone and hope for the best, I don't really see a good outcome either way.
What I am saying though is what is happening right now in Syria is not an isolated movement, I believe it will lead to a much more serious global crisis even if we stay out of it.
'Jordanian King says Jordan can protect itself from Syrian war spillover "if the world does not help as it should."'
Jordan is a moderate country and more of a democracy than any of the other nations in the region.
I think if we go barreling head first into this it could end up being another world war and one that will alter life for all on the planet. This is a civil war, no one, not Russia nor the US nor Iran have any business taking sides. And once you unseat the leader? No end game either. We already have a stand off with
russia over us entering the game. When does it cease to become about syria and their civil war and more about two super powers facing off with Iran in the middle which I belive are allys with Russia (correct me if Im wrong). I know very little about the working of all of this but my gut says hell no, leave it alone or provide humanitarian aid like we have been doing.
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