Russia seems to want to make trouble in the Middle East. It is sending in warplanes. The Russian forces are there to help Syrian President Assad stay in power. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the real enemy is ISIS.
Many in the West think Mr. Putin has other ideas. They say he wants to be a power player in the Middle East. Others say any new country going into the area will make matters worse.
The United States and its allies are trying to remove Assad. President Obama says there can be no peace while Assad is in power. The U.S. supports some of the groups against Assad.
Observers say the U.S. wants a diplomatic solution in Syria. Both the U.S. and Russia want to destroy ISIS.
How do all these parts fit together? They do not. Keeping Assad in power will only keep the Syrian conflict going. How can Russia support Assad without threatening the forces backed by the U.S.?
In the meantime, the refugee crisis worsens. People are giving up hope. Syrians and Iraqis are dying whether they stay in their homes or leave them. Sunni and Shia branches of the Muslim religion are behind much of the struggle. These Muslim sects had lived in relative harmony until the U.S. war in Iraq.
Western nations are worried. Can they absorb the flow of people into their societies?
What is the path to bringing peace to the region? President Obama does not believe that bringing in armed forces will end the struggle. He is providing help to Iraq and anti-Assad groups in Syria. He is trying to put ISIS in disarray by attacking them from the air.
He believes diplomacy has to solve the problem. A stable Iraq and Syria will be able to deal with ISIS. This is the long view.
Today, Russia has made things harder for every nation in the region.
Source: The New York Times September 29, 2015