While publicly, the US has continued to downplay the idea of any coordination with Russia, officials are now confirming that the Obama Administration is pursuing a potential military pact with the Russians on the Syrian Civil War, one which some are presenting as an overt military alliance.
Russia has been seeking military cooperation with the US in Syria for years, and has been repeatedly rebuffed. Under the deal, the US would agree to join military operations against al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in return for Russia agreeing not to attack US-backed rebels.
That’s going to be a tough deal to work out in practice, since as has been pointed out time again the US-backed rebels have considerable numbers of Nusra fighters embedded with them, and many are overtly allied with al-Qaeda.
Still, that the US is considering a deal with Russia at all shows a dramatic shift to US policy in Syria. The prospect of more information sharing might, at the very least, mean Russia knows which rebels are which, in a fog of war in which it is often hard to tell. The major “cost” to the US for such a move will be making it even less credible for them to blame Russia when the war doesn’t go their way.
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