Syria: Putin succeeds where Obama failed

Cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey begins across Syria

Another legacy Obama leaves behind, having presided over the most inept adminstration to deal with foreign affairs in a long long time. Liberals may excoriate GW Bush but at least he acted on his convictions. Obama just dithered. And dithered. And dithered.

Honestly can anyone here defend Obama’s actions, or lack of them, in the Middle East? I hope at the very least that all here will celebrate this ceasefire. It’s precarious but I think this one will last and lead to a settlement, if only because the rebels can no longer look to the West for support. It’s clear that Turkey has accepted that Assad will stay as long as they get a buffer zone in Northern Syria against the Kurds.

What should Obama have done? Our track record in involving ourselves in the middle east affairs is terrible, so I for one am glad the US decided to sit this one out.

Yup, even when they were entirely unsupported by the facts.

Let’s face it, Bush’s disastrous and completely unjustified military adventure in Iraq has left the US in a massively weakened position with regard to Middle Eastern foreign policy. It’s hard to blame Arab countries for not accepting the US as a trustworthy broker in local conflicts, and it’s hard to blame Obama for having been saddled with that political reality.

To defend Bush’s irresponsible warmongering on the grounds that it exhibited “conviction”, and to blame the consequent weakening of US influence on Bush’s successor who opposed the Iraq invasion from the get-go, requires a pretty special level of ignorance-promotion.

(By the way, how come your OP is ascribing this deal to “Putin” as opposed to “Putin and Erdogan”?)

So, do Americans have to be involved in all international conflicts, as the OP implies?

God, I hope not.

I can defend Obama’s “dithering” as being morally superior to starting a war on trumped-up charges and falsified evidence.

All hail Putin! He has masterfully done what Obama was never able to in his infinite impotence - a Syrian cease fire. Well, except for the February - July 2016 ceasefire. Or the September 2016 ceasefire. How did those turn out? I seem to recall there being some accusations that Russia and Syria didn’t quite hold up to their end of the last one, with one or both of them bombing the UN aid convoy and all.

Why will this ceasefire be more successful than the last two, other than the hated Obama not being involved in this one? Since the Nusra Front is not covered by the ceasefire, along with who knows how many non-extremist groups, it’s not much of a ceasefire. The U.S. is still supporting the YPG, which also isn’t covered, but the Saudis and others are likely still supporting many if not most of the other rebel groups.

If you think acting on your convictions is better than being cautious even when it involves lying your way into a war that cost 4 trillion dollars, killed thousands of Americans, hundreds of thousands I’d Iraqis, spawned ISIS,and destabilized an entire region, then you’re beyond reason.

The only “success” Putin has had, is in suckering people like you, into drinking the koolaid he sells.

His propaganda people have done a great job of fooling a lot of certain kinds of Americans into turning traitor, and declaring that when Russia lies about it’s accomplishments, that it proves they were right to despise Obama for being a Democrat.

Obama has indeed messed up a number of foreign situations, but if you take Putin’s side, you are not showing even an iota of knowledge of facts about the present, knowledge of the past, or understanding of international relations and manipulations.

Look at what it took to reach this point in Syria. Would Americans support indiscriminate bombing of civilians to weaken the rebels enough so that Syria feels comfortable engaging in “peace talks”. I suspect those talks will be along the lines of “Surrender now or else the barrel bombs will resume.”.

It doesn’t look to me like this cease-fire is because of Putin’s influence, or indeed the influence of any outside force. It looks to me like it’s because the Syrian government has basically won.

Still, the fact that it’s Russia and Turkey rather than the US officially “brokering” it is significant. I just don’t buy the OP’s feeble and partisan argument that what it signifies is Obama’s incompetence.

Also, Obama tried to intervene, and Congress refused to back him. So how is that his fault?

Yes, and they won with the backing of Russia and Iran. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Seriously, I’m not someone who thinks the US has to solve every problem in the world.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I don’t think it’s over in Syria yet. This thing might go on for years still.

Umm you are aware that we have around 500 Special Operations folks on the ground as advisors (raised from about 300 two weeks ago) right? The air piece of the campaign in Syria is over two years old dating back to September 2014. We’ve been “boots on the ground” since October 2015. It’s been assisting the YPG against IS. Since neither of those groups is friendly to the Assad government that’s distracted two of his opponents while he massed against Aleppo. Both are opponents not currently involved in this cease fire. We most definitely have not been sitting this out.

You probably don’t want me to bring up ongoing ground operations in Libya or Somalia. Small elements advising in Yemen popped up in the media earlier in the year too. Obama’s greatly expanded Special Operations and is using the hell out of them worldwide. For some reason even the missions that we openly acknowledge don’t get much media traction. I guess as long as the troops involved have beards nobody can see what ground their boots are on. :wink:

The US didn’t necessarily decide to sit this one out. Rather, we had an incoming president who won an election in which he promised to scale back American commitments. Yet when pressed with the growing instability of the Middle East, the US had no answers. That intersected with other foreign policy problems such as the growing distance between Russia and Turkey from the Western Alliance.

I don’t blame Obama for creating ISIS or instability in the Middle East - he inherited that. But he does get blame for failure to talking about “red lines”, intervening in Libya, and the failure of its diplomatic positions with Russia and Turkey among other nations. There were seismic geopolitical shifts that occurred during Obama’s presidency and he was pretty much caught off guard and ineffectual.

This map (which is slightly out of date since it doesn’t reflect the recent advances in Aleppo) is a pretty good indicator of the massive task in front of Assad for him to “win” in the sense of regaining control over the pre-civil war territory of Syria. The territory that Assad controls is in red. The majority of the Syrian population is in the western part of the country, with the dots roughly corresponding to cities/towns.

Outside of the gains in Aleppo, the map from earlier this month looks tougher for Assad than it did in early-2015. Assad is still a long way from any kind of military victory. He has already burned through his cash reserves and is living off of Iranian and Russian financial aid, particularly since Da’esh captured the limited oil producing/refining locations in Syria. He doesn’t have much in the sense of untapped manpower resources left among his own people. For his own forces, he is relying on mercenaries, militias, and foreign forces for his front-line troops.

Just adding on. His strength problems are highlighted by the recent recapture of Plamyra by IS. Even with IS distracted by US intervention, Assad had to accept risk in his defenses facing them to mass against Aleppo.

Because it is mainly Russia’s work. Without their military muscle in support of Assad there would be no peace talks now.

Well, yeah, when you show yourself willing to spark massive humanitarian crises, you can get things done. I’m not sure whether that’s what the OP is advocating, though.

You don’t think there would be even greater and more horrific humanitarian crises if the war had gone on and on and on? I guess it depends on how many more lives you’re willing to sacrifice in order to topple Assad.