Putin will address G8 summit as head of winning Syrian war camp

Russian President Vladimir Putin set the tone for the discussion on Syria at the G8 summit which opened  in Northern Ireland Monday, June 17, when he rounded harshly on British Prime Minister David Cameron in London Sunday for supporting rebels who “kill their enemies and eat their organs.” Hitting back at this week’s decision by US President Barack Obama – whom he will meet privately at the summit – to give the rebels “military support” – Putin asked: “Are these the people you want to supply weapons?”
The lovely lakeside venue for the two-day gathering of US, Russian, Canadian, French, German, Italian, British and Japanese leaders was worlds away from the Syrian killing fields, where 93,000 people have died, according to conservative estimates. But the Russian president will make sure that the voices of his allies, Bashar Assad, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah, are heard loud and clear in the conference hall, until they are acknowledged the victors of the vicious Syrian war. If world leaders hold back, the Syrian and Hizballah armies will continue their march on Aleppo, Syria’s biggest town, for their next bloodbath.

The light arms President Obama proposes to release for the Syrian rebels don’t give them the smallest fighting chance against the fighter-bomber jets, heavy tanks, and unlimited ordnance supplied Bashar Assad’s army by Russia and the missiles and troops coming in from Hizballah and Iran.
This unbeatable preponderance makes the fall of Aleppo and Assad’s victory a foregone conclusion  
Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, speaking in Washington over the weekend, argued that the Syrian army’s successes did not add up to a strategic victory. The Russian leader will present the opposite case to which his fellows in the Group of Eight have no answer. They will therefore hammer at the only point on which they agree, the quest for a political solution of the Syrian crisis by means of an international conference, i.e., getting Geneva-2 off the ground.   
Putin and Obama will therefore need to put their heads together on accepted ground rules for this event.

Although on the face of it, nothing could be more reasonable, debkafile’s Russian and Middle East sources report it is a tall order indeed, given the list of at least four pre-conditions Putin plans to put before the US President on the strength of his partners’ war successes:
1. Geneva-2 will not be convened by the US or Russia, as first agreed, but by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. This would force Washington to stay within the bounds of UN resolutions and not act as did the US and NATO in Libya to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi outside their Security Council mandate.

2.  Bashar Assad must remain in power as the legitimate ruler of Syria. Russia’s sale of arms to the Syrian government in Damascus was therefore legal.

3.  Iran must be given a seat at Geneva-2.
The Russian president is determined to thwart any attempt by Obama to take advantage of Hassan Rouani’s election as president of Iran to supersede the battlefield successes of Russia, Iran and Hizballah in Syria. Ayatollah Khamenei will go along with him on this.
Sunday night, Washington was evidently exploring new diplomatic ground with Tehran when Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff commented that Hassan Rouhani’s election as president of Iran was a potentially hopeful sign. “If he is interested in, as he has said in his campaign events, mending his relations… with the rest of the world – there’s the opportunity to do that.”
But then, he said: “But doing so would require Iran to come clean on its illicit nuclear program.”
This was the Obama administration’s answer to Putin’s comment Tuesday, June 11 when he said: “I have no doubt that Iran is adhering to international commitments on nuclear non-proliferation, but regional and international concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program should not be ignored,” said the Russian leader.
4.  Putin has gone back on his earlier consent to a single, united delegation representing the Syrian opposition at the projected international conference. He now maintains that the rebel front is hopelessly divided and the delegation should truly represent the real situation.
This too will be a Russian attempt to frustrate Western plans for a united opposition camp to speak with one voice opposite the Assad regime, by accentuating the rifts dividing the rival Syrian opposition factions and militias.
As matters look now, Assad’s drive to recapture all of Aleppo will continue after the G8 leaders have gone home. Putin, Khamenei, Assad and Nasrallah will continue their hideous victory march and the US, West and Israel will continue to hold back from intervention that could reverse the tide.

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