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16 november 2015

US Senators Are Generous When Funding Wars Overseas

Andrey Kortunov Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

The US Senate passed on Tuesday the $607 billion National Defense Authorization Act. The bill passed with an overwhelming majority of 91 votes in favor and 3 votes against it.

"On the issue of Ukraine, in particular, several US senators have hard-anti Russian stance, even more so than the current US administration. They're calling for more extensive military aid to be given to Kiev, including the delivery of modern lethal weapons," Director-General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov told Radio Sputnik.

These measures taken by senators won't help to solve the Ukrainian crisis which is far from being stable. Although Russia and some of Washington's allies in Europe have agreed that the delivery of arms to the Ukrainian Army would intensify the situation in Ukraine, it seems that US senators don't want to hear about peace in Ukraine and keep pressuring the Obama Administration to carry out more hawkish policies in Eastern Europe, the Russian expert said.

Regarding the Syrian issue, however, the Obama Administration and the Senate don't have major disagreements and both agree that the Syrian "moderate" rebels ought to be helped in their fight against the Syrian Army loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, the expert explained.

Sending arms and funding to Syrian opposition rebels won't help to eliminate ISIL, Kortunov said.

The situation in Syria is very complicated. One can't claim that Syrian opposition rebels, supported by the US government, don't fight ISIL. They do, as everyone is fighting everyone in Syria right now.

However, there were documented cases when arms and equipment, which the US government dropped from airplanes to "moderate" rebels, ended up in the hands of ISIL, the al-Nusra Front and other radical Islamists. This shows the inconsistency and failure of US policies in Syria, the political scientist explained.

It would have been wiser for the US government to coordinate its efforts in Syria with Russia and other countries fighting against the terrorist group. Otherwise, all work might become counter-productive. If the US government begins to provide modern anti-aircraft defense systems to Syrian rebels, it's entirely possible that rebels could then down US airplanes using American-made weapons, Kortunov said.

Just remember Afghanistan when a US policy to arm Mujahedeen to fight against Soviet troops eventually played out against the United States, as their own stingers began firing against US and NATO troops in less than two decades, the expert reminded.

Source: Sputnik

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Andrey Kortunov, “US Senators Are Generous When Funding Wars Overseas,” Russian International Affairs Council, 16 November 2015, http://russiancouncil.ru/en/inner/?id_4=6962

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