The United States has announced that it is “suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia,” citing Russia and the Syrian regime’s unwillingness to uphold the fragile cease fire and accusing the alliance of trying to “bomb civilian populations into submission.”
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry -who claims he is fighting both Russia and the US Congress- lamented that the fault of American diplomatic failure in Syria is in a large part due to the failure of Congress to allow the full might of the US military be used in the region.
“I lost the argument,” Kerry said to Syrian attendees at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations. “I’ve argued for the use of force. I’m the guy who stood up and announced that we’re going to attack Assad for the use of weapons.”The bottom line is that Congress refused even to vote to allow that We have a Congress that will not authorize our use of force.”
Syrian civilians have repeatedly questioned Kerry in regards to the Russo-Syrian alliance violating the ceasefire and America’s unwillingness to be more forceful in enforcing the ceasefire.
“The problem is the Russians don’t care about international law and we do. And we don’t have a basis, our lawyers tell us, unless we have a Security Council resolution,” Kerry said.
“We don’t behave like Russians. It’s just a different standard,” he continued.
Kerry’s remarks on Russia’s behavior in the region reflect today’s suspension of talks and how the US has become frustrated with a participant who is unwilling to participate.
“Everybody’s patience with Russia has run out,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in regards to the decision.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in his statement on the suspension of negotiations.
US military and civilian personnel that were sent to Geneva, Switzerland, to work with the Russians on the Joint Implementation Center -in an effort to work jointly with the Russians in targeting ISIS- have been given orders to return to the United States.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a statement that “The decision we have made is a signal to Washington: attempts at talking to Russia from the position of strength, in a language of sanctions and ultimatums while continuing selective cooperation with our country … where this cooperation benefits the United States will not succeed.”
Earnest said Russia had lost credibility by “making a series of commitments without any indication they were committed to following them,” accusing Russia and its Syrian regime allies of trying “to bomb civilian populations into submission.”
According to CNN, Officials said that the US and Russia will continue to communicate via direct military-to-military channels in an effort to “de-conflict” Syrian airspace and prevent accidents between the two global powerhouses.