Speaking today at a press briefing at the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joe Dunford cautioned that any deal Secretary of State John Kerry came to on coordinating with Russia in Syria would have to include measures that ensured the US retains “operational security.”
“We’re not entering into a transaction that is founded on trust,” Dunford insisted, adding that there would be processes in place to limit information sharing to situations based on “mutual interest,” and wouldn’t give the Russians a clear view of everything the US is doing in Syria.
Gen. Dunford has reportedly been involved in the Kerry-led negotiations with Russia, which after months of Russia offering coordination came amid reports the US was keen to expand the fight to include al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. The idea of cooperating with Russia, however, have sparked considerable opposition among military and intelligence officials, and Dunford’s comments suggest he too is determined to limit the extent of the deal.
Despite Russia being clear from the start in Syria they were keen to target both ISIS and Nusra, and offering from the start to share intelligence with the US, many US officials insist the deal s secretly some sort of trick by Russian President Vladimir Putin. This concern has lingered despite the deal apparently being entirely proposed by the US.
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