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Putin accuses US of backing terrorism in Middle East

The comments of the Russian Ambassador to the UK are worth noting. On the sidelines of the Valdai Club conference, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said the “only logical way” to explain Britain’s behaviour in Iraq and Syria was a desire that Isis would depose Assad.

“The idea was to remove Assad using force, and to use force to seize Damascus. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but this is the only way to explain why de facto neither Britain nor the US has ever properly fought against Isis,” Yakovenko said.

He said with the number of airstrikes Britain had carried out in Iraq, “you could have destroyed the whole region”, but instead Isis had only grown in strength.

An analysis by Reuters of Russian defence ministry data *claimed* to show this week that almost 80% of Russia’s declared targets in Syria have been in areas not held by Isis. Perhaps responding to these claims, subsequently, Yakovenko said he had a meeting at the Foreign Office in London last week in which he asked for intelligence to be shared on the location of Isis targets in Syria, but was rejected. He also asked for information on the Free Syrian Army.

“We are looking closely at the Syrian Free Army. We understand there is not a single command centre, and that some of these divisions have different goals. But if among the FSA there are divisions that are really ready to fight with Isis, who is our main enemy in Syria, and if you think there are people or commanders or other contacts which could be useful and to cooperate with them, we would be grateful for such information,” he said. “We were again rejected.”

This of course was the same message as was shared around the Western media yesterday as ‘Putin says ready to work with Free Syrian Army’ – but stripped of its essential details such as Putin asking the West to ‘tell us where we can find this ‘free syrian army’...

Shaun Walker’s pathological Russophobia means that things are often in quotes, because Walker can’t be seen to be endorsing such things as ‘Playing with words’ and ‘double game’. Surely we all know what a double game is, so that it doesn’t need to be in quotes? – but then we might think that what Putin said was actually true, and that there IS a double game, and we hadn’t been told!

Of course this ‘working with the FSA’ [Free Syrian Army] won’t go anywhere, because there is no such thing as a ‘patriotic’ FSA – all the men who were in the ‘FSA’ but who were patriots have taken amnesty and are maybe now fighting with the SAA anyway, or just keeping quiet.

It doesn’t matter how many times or how loudly Putin or Lavrov talk about the non-existence of the ‘moderate opposition fighters’ or that such a concept itself is ridiculous – what can be moderate about someone who shoots to kill the soldiers of his own country? – but one statement from a Western leader about ‘discussing with FSA leaders’ or some such just reconfirms the lies we have been told by our own media so many times...

The mainstream media have created a chasm here at everyone's peril and we badly need a bridge across it.