Kerry in Moscow: What is more important for America: Defeating ISIS or overthrowing Assad?
By Edward Lozansky and Jim Jatras - Monday, July 18, 2016ANALYSIS/OPINION:
The top agenda items during Secretary of State John Kerry’s talks with President Vladimir Putin and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, were Ukraine and Syria. But getting Washington and Moscow on the same page is a daunting if not impossible task given the fundamental differences between U.S. and Russian policies.
The contours of any possible deal on Ukraine are unclear. Kiev has failed to pass legislation necessary for local elections in the Donbass, which was supposed to have happened by the end of last year under the Minsk II agreement. The breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk republics, whose independence Moscow has declined to accept, reportedly are planning “primary elections” as a way to try to force Kiev’s hand. Nobody thinks that will work, as Ukraine spirals toward failed state status, now possibly the poorest country in Europe.
Agreement on Syria should be easier to achieve since both Washington and Moscow share the view that the Islamic State must be destroyed. They believe the same about the al-Nusra Front, the local arm of al-Qaeda. The problem is so-called “moderate” jihadist groups armed, trained, and financed by Washington to eventually overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but who also at times join forces with al-Qaeda and ISIS, with whom they share a Wahhabis ideology. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/18/kerry-moscow-what-more-important-america-defeating/