King Obama finally condescended to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday about the deteriorating Syria situation, which has plunged into dangerous territory with Wednesday’s bombing in Damascus.
The bomb attack killed Syria’s defense minister and his aide, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law.
The United States and Russia have been on a collision course in Syria since Obama began supporting — Putin says instigating — the Arab Spring rebellions that have roiled the Middle East and overthrown several governments.
The chief radical group behind the various rebellions has been the Muslim Brotherhood, whose ambassadors have had repeated contacts with the White House.
Putin and other sources indicate that the Brotherhood, with Obama’s encouragement and even financial support (without congressional approval), are the largest contingent of rebels behind the struggle against Assad’s leadership.
Russia has sent warships to the region to support Assad, and NATO has been holding military exercises in the area.
Now, the White House is calling on Russia and other countries to back UN sanctions against the Syrian government and also to support a transition plan to give Syria over to control of “the people” — by which the White House means the Muslim Brotherhood.
Russia so far has resisted U.S. efforts to control the outcome in Syria, and the discussion between Obama and Putin on Wednesday did not reach a conclusion on the major issues, just a general agreement of joint interest in a peaceful resolution.
“The window is closing, we need to take action in a unified way to help bring about the transition that the Syrian people so deserve,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Complicating the situation in Syria is the involvement of Iran, and provocations by Turkey, which shares a border with Syria.
Turkey, whose ambassador went to Russia this week to meet with Putin about Syria, has been overflying Syrian airspace, and one of its spy planes was shot down by the Syrians, which has pushed Turkey and NATO into adopting a ready military stance.
Iran, which is a longtime ally of Assad’s, is being blamed for a bus bombing that killed six Israelis at an airport in Bulgaria, a former Soviet Bloc country and now NATO member.
Of particular concern is information received last week from a Syrian defector and from Israeli agents that Syria is preparing to use chemical weapons against its enemies, including sarin, mustard gas and cyanide.
While we here in the U.S. focus on the presidential election and what Obama has done and will do to the country, it’s Obama’s bumbling in the Middle East that may yet cause real problems for us and the rest of the world.