January 26, 2015 | The Guardian

US Changes its Tune on Syrian Regime Change as ISIS Threat Takes Top Priority

While Moscow does not guarantee Assad’s personal future, it will continue to support his regime as Syria’s legitimate government in any Geneva talks. For its part, the US continues to hope Assad will be removed, but is no longer publicly insisting on it as a precondition for a peace deal.

“What’s curious about these Russian priorities is the extent to which they dovetail with White House talking points,” said analyst Tony Badran. “A year-end statement posted on the Facebook page of the US embassy in Damascus defined the US role as leading efforts ‘to meet humanitarian needs, defeat Isil [Isis], and foster a peaceful resolution to the conflict’. Nothing in there about removing Assad,” he wrote.

“Moscow has noted a completely new emphasis in Kerry’s remarks on President Bashar al-Assad and his regime, suggesting that the hitherto irreconcilable US approach has mellowed… It means that Moscow’s and Washington’s positions are no longer as antagonistic,” said Vitaly Naumkin of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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