West’s Syria policy could backfire: Putin

September 7th, 2012 - 6:54 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Sep 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Western powers that their “dangerous” stance on the Syria crisis could come back to haunt them.

“Today, some want to use militants from Al Qaeda or some other organisations with equally radical views to accomplish their goals in Syria,” Putin said in an interview with the RT international news channel.

“This policy is very short-sighted and is fraught with dire consequences.”

Putin compared alleged Western funding of radical Islamic militants to help topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with US support for Afghan rebels after the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of its Central Asia neighbour.

“When someone aspires to attain an end they see as optimal, any means will do,” Putin said.

“As a rule, they will try and do that by hook or by crook - and hardly ever think of the consequences.”

“That was the case during the war in Afghanistan. At that time, our present partners supported a rebel movement there and basically gave rise to Al Qaeda, which later backfired on the US itself,” Putin said.

Putin also hit out at Western criticism of the Kremlin’s refusal to back proposed UN sanctions against the Assad regime over the ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East country, and dismissed suggestions that Moscow could alter its position.

“How come Russia is the only one who’s expected to revise its stance? Don’t you think our counterparts in negotiations ought to revise theirs as well?” Putin said.

“Because if we look back at the events in the past few years, we’ll see that quite a few of our counterparts’ initiatives have not played out the way they were intended to.”

“Look at what’s going on in Arab countries. There have been notable developments in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, etc. Would you say that order and prosperity have been totally ensured for these nations? And what’s going on in Iraq?”

“In Libya, there are armed clashes still raging among the country’s various tribes,” he said.

Putin suggested the key to ending the conflict in Syria was to halt weapons deliveries to Damascus.

“I believe that the first thing to do is to stop shipping arms into the war zone, which is still going on,” he said.

“We should stop trying to impose unacceptable solutions on either side, because it is a dead-end. That’s what we should do. It is that simple.”

The Kremlin has said its arms shipments to Syria do not violate international law and do not include equipment that could be used against “peaceful protesters”.

Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed UN resolution on Syria in July over fears that it would lead to foreign military intervention in the Middle East country, a move that US envoy to the UN Susan Rice called “paranoid if not disingenuous”.

The resolution was tied to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which would have provided for the use of force to put an end to the rapidly escalating conflict.

Russia says it has no special interest in seeing Assad remain in power, but that the Syrian people should decide his fate.

Putin has vowed not to allow a repeat of the “Libya scenario” which saw the ouster and killing of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO military campaign last year.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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