Russia: Syria Position Unchanged

US Keeps Touting Single Comment as Proof of Major Shift

by Jason Ditz, December 14, 2012

In an effort to tamp down Western media reports that they had decided a rebel victory was “inevitable,” Russian officials today insisted that their position on Syria has not changed and that they remain determined to find a negotiated settlement to the ongoing civil war.

That didn’t stop US officials, and particularly government-funded outlets, from pushing the narrative that Russia was poised to abandon Assad and embrace the rebel fighters.

The uproar started yesterday when the Deputy Foreign Minister told officials that a rebel military victory “cannot be ruled out.” US State Department officials took this to mean that rebel victory was inevitable, and are already pressing Russia to join them in backing the rebels. Others have speculated the comment was a “misstatement” by the Russian official.

Absent from the discussion is the possibility that the comment was a frank assessment of the ongoing civil war, and the reality that since neither side seems to be able to win in the near term, the war remains undecided.

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