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Russia, Syria And The Assad End Game47:16

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The Russia factor, with Syria, ISIS, Iraq, Iran. Obama and Putin sit down. We dive in.

Russian President President Vladimir Putin addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP)
Russian President President Vladimir Putin addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP)

Through years of crisis, Russia was a quiet hand behind Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad as Washington insisted he had to go. Syria fell apart, civilians suffered and fled, ISIS arose. Washington had no effective answer. Now, Russia’s beefing up in Syria. Fighter jets, attack helicopters, Russian troops on the ground. And more. Russian intelligence in a “control room” in Baghdad with Iraq, Syria, Iran. To fight ISIS, back Assad, leverage Russian power. Yesterday, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin met in New York. This hour On Point, the Russia factor now, in Syria and beyond.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Farnaz Fassihi, senior writer and former deputy bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. (@farnazfassihi)

John Kornblum, senior counselor at Noerr LLC. Former U.S ambassador to Germany and former assistant secretary of state for European Affairs. Senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Julianne Smith, senior fellow and director of the strategy and statecraft program at the Center for a New American Security. Senior vice president, Beacon Global Strategies. Former deputy national security advisor and former acting national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. (@Julie_C_Smith)

Joshua Landis, associate professor and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Author of the Syria Comment blog and president of the Syrian Studies Association. (@joshua_landis)

From Tom’s Reading List

Foreign Policy: Obama Opens the Door to a Syria Deal With Russia and Iran -- "President Barack Obama said Monday he is willing to work with two longtime military foes — Russia and Iran — to end nearly five years of civil war in Syria but stood firm on U.S. demands that President Bashar al-Assad give up power as a necessary pathway to peace. Obama’s olive branch was the flip side of the uncomfortable new reality he now faces in Syria and Shiite-led states in the Mideast."

The Wall Street Journal: Obama and Putin Clash Over Syria — "President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday clashed publicly over how to resolve the conflict in Syria, in a showdown in front of the rest of the world’s leaders that added uncertainty to the burgeoning crisis in the Middle East."

Quartz: Why the US should give Putin a free rein in Syria — "As long as US strategic interests are met, Washington probably shouldn’t care if Russian actions—or those of China or Iran—help, or even are primary, in achieving American objectives. If the aim is to stabilize Syria and, if possible, Iraq, it shouldn’t matter that Putin has swooped in at the last minute to prop up Assad, and bolster his regime against ISIL."

This program aired on September 29, 2015.

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