Putin, Duma warn US over Syria adventurism

Putin, Duma warn US over Syria adventurism
Thu Sep 12, 2013 08:13:10

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Duma have warned against a US strike on Syria, saying such action risked escalating the conflict beyond the country and unleashing terrorist attacks.

Writing in the New York Times on Wednesday, Putin said there were "few champions of democracy" in the 2-1/2-year-old civil war in Syria, "but there are more than enough al-Qaeda militants and extremists of all types battling the government."

Putin cautioned against taking military action without UN Security Council authorization, saying, "We must stop using the language of force."

"The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders," Putin wrote.

"A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism," he added. "It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance."

Putin said it was alarming that intervening militarily in foreign countries' internal conflicts had become "commonplace" for the United States.

"Is it in America's long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy, but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan 'you're either with us or against us.'"
Putin also rejected Obama's assertions of "American exceptionalism," saying: "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional."

The Russian parliament also on Wednesday urged the United States not to strike Syria, warning that military action could be a "crime against the Syrian people".

Air strikes would "lead to new civilian deaths, further destruction of vital infrastructure and, in the end, an irreversible humanitarian catastrophe," the State Duma, the lower chamber, said in a declaration adopted by unanimous vote.

"Those who are prepared to give an order for such an attack should understand that such actions could be qualified as a very crude violation of international law and as a crime against the Syrian people," it said.


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