Italy prefers Putin; analyst gives some reasons why

Illustration from the Italian poll

Giampaolo ROSSI

November 30, 2015

Translated from Italian by Tom Winter, December 1, 2015

THE SURVEY A recent survey by SWG, completed after the terrorist attacks in Paris, shows 49% of Italians approve the work of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, while only 32% agree with the action of the American. The survey is indicative if you consider that Italy is historically pro-US and that in recent years we have witnessed a constant beatification of the American president and the criminalization of the Russian one, in the press, the TV, the “talking heads.” The Barnum circus of talk shows, columnists, think tanks and academics and the swampish environments of manipulative power, despite the ongoing commitment of means and money, are not always able to transform reality to their own use.

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Putin was recognized for the determination and effectiveness he is demonstrating in the fight against ISIS, battling openly and paying a high price. Obama is penalized for his ambiguity about facing Islamist terrorism; for responsibility (shared with the French and the English) in the Libyan disaster, the most incomprehensible and senseless war in recent years, that has opened a Pandora’s box of jihadismo in the Middle East; wavering between bellicose desclarations, hesitations, and unexplained links with those who created and are still funding Isis.

Hollande, Putin

SUMMIT WITH HOLLAND But Putin’s victory is not just a question of image; It is above all a matter of diplomatic and political substance. The confirmation is the recent visit of the French President François Hollande in Moscow; formally aligning military action in Syria, in fact, to undertake to meet the demands of Moscow in the UN and NATO. The attacks in Paris convinced France to line up on the same side with Russia in the fight against ISIS.

In the joint press conference, not a few in the West must have wanted to clamp their ears when Putin declared: “Those who apply two weights and two measures when dealing with terrorists, who use them to achieve their political objectives and who engage in illegal activities with them, are playing with fire. ” And when the Russian leader directly attacked Turkey, not only for the downing of the jet, but for their murky role in oil dealings that feed the economy of the Caliphate, and that would involve Ankara, Hollande did not blink. Putin reiterated the existence of images (shown to the international community at the Antalya Summit) of columns of tanker trucks en route to Turkey day and night delivering oil “on an industrial scale, from the regions of Syria now in the hands of terrorists”; a sort of real “living pipeline”.

Hollande, for his part, offered not the slightest defense of an allied country of France as a member of NATO; rather he even insisted that the destruction of the convoys and oil refineries — “main sources of ISIS livelihood” (and exactly what Russia is doing), is essential to defeat the Isis. Indeed, he has even offered his condolences on the death of Russian pilot shot down by the Turks, an act not to be discounted considering that Obama, after the incident, immediately took up the defense of Erdogan.

Putin and Hollande put some other topics on the table: 1. The Ukrainian issue, agreeing on the Minsk accords (repeatedly violated by the government of Kiev) and the application of the Normandy format, settled on in recent months by the quartet of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. 2. The need for an anti-Isis coalition at the UN (requested long since by Moscowand until recently not wanted by Washington). 3. A transition to democracy in Syria, where Hollande would not want any role for Assad, while Putin has reiterated that only the Syrian people can decide. But it is mainly on coordinating the war ISIS that the most dramatic changes have occurred.

Putin confirmed that, from the Russian point of view, “the army of President Assad and Assad himself are our natural allies in the fight against terrorism”. Hollande reiterated that France will support groups “that can reverse the situation on the ground and recover the territory” taken by ISIS. But for the first time, the French president said that we must focus our attack “against Isis and terrorist groups.” A clear sign that France does not intend to support the jihadist organizations of Al Qaeda (like Al Nusra Front) that America is so determined to include among the famous “rebel moderates” and which represent one of the greatest failures in the fight against the Caliphate .

CHECK TO THE KING In short, Putin emerges out of the shadow where the hawks in Washington had tried to lock him up, and has become the director of the diplomatic game in the Middle East, and the leader in the fight against ISIS. Russia stands as a global power capable of solving international crises, and not just endure them, dictating the political and military agenda. In Europe there is a growing awareness that Moscow is not an opponent, but the main ally against the Islamist threat. Perhaps it is not yet Putin’s victory; certainly it is the defeat of many of his enemies.

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