At the Paris climate summit, President Barack Obama touted that there was progress being made in the coalition campaign against ISIS, known as the Islamic State. This coalition campaign is being led by America, but Obama warned that getting President Vladimir Putin’s cooperation fully is likely not going to happen, and that expectations for Russian full cooperation could be kept minimal.
Obama was speaking right before he had left the climate summit and he said that over the next several months, there will be a shift in the calculation, and this means that it is about time to close the Civil War going on in Syria. Obama then said though that Russia has been sitting the opposition targets in Syria, and some of these Syrian opposition targets are being supported by the United States. Obama said don’t expect a 180 degree turn on Russian strategy within the next several weeks, and America should not have any illusions on ISIS targets being hit by Russia anytime in the coming weeks or near future.
Even though Obama expressed optimism about the Syrian civil war and the progress being made against the Islamic State, Obama’s comments basically say that this is going to be a very slow path towards a resolution. The path towards a resolution over in Syria and the potential to defeat ISIS is being made slower because of Russia and Putin’s unwillingness to give 100 percent in defeating the terrorists. The issue for Russia is that even though Putin opposes the Islamic State as a whole, especially after ISIS claimed it brought down the Russian flight that was over Egypt, Russia actually supports Bashar al-Assad, who is the Syrian leader.
Obama continued to say that while Assad is in power there will be no ending to the civil war, and he hoped that various diplomatic talks would end up making change a reality one day. The hope is also that there will be cease-fires going on in Syria as a result of these diplomatic talks. Even then, Obama said that the Islamic State is a very deadly organization, partially because the social media support that helps the organization get resources, and also ISIS has some very experienced members who know how to fight in all ways. Obama said that the threat is there enough both in the Middle East and in the West, as the extremist threats are putting fear into people from all over the world, and that this would be a big fight to bring them down.
Obama’s two-day trip over to Paris have largely been more about ISIS, since the attacks a month ago in Paris that killed over 130 people was credited to ISIS. Obama wanted to turn the anger towards the ISIS-linked attacks in Paris and also the Russian passenger jet shoot-down, and make that into a new common link to bond everyone together in order to fight ISIS and fight them harder. Turkey and Russia has also underwent a diplomatic crisis within the last month as Turkey shot down a warplane from Russia who Turkey claimed violated airspace around the Syrian border. Both Russia and the United States see Turkey as the ultimate in order to resolve the conflict in Syria, so Turkey has to be on board for it all to work out.
Obama even said that the ally’s of NATO have a right to self-defense, and he also said that there was a definite commitment by the United States to help Turkey’s security and also its sovereignty. Obama also said that both sides in the middle east needed to try to de-escalate their conflict and not become distracted by the ISIS campaign. It seems that Obama is trying his best to really calm the tensions between the nations, but also made it very clear that it will take everyone banding together to fight off ISIS. Without Russia being completely involved in the process it will be that much harder though so it will take that much longer.