President Putin: We Will Not "Budge" on Syria
September 7, 2012 • 9:03AM

Russian President Putin made clear again that Russia will not back down on opposition to military intervention in Syria, and Russia warned Israel and other nations not to attack Iran over its nuclear program, saying the use of force would be "disastrous" for the Middle East and have consequences far beyond the region, the Interfax news agency reported today.

"We warn those who are no strangers to military solutions .... that this would be harmful, literally disastrous for regional stability and would set off deep shocks in the security and economic spheres that would reverberate far beyond the boundaries of the Middle East region," Interfax quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.

Russia sees no evidence that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing weapons, the Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov. "We, as before, see no signs that there is a military dimension to Iran's nuclear program. No signs. We see something different — that there is nuclear material ... in Iran that is under the control of inspectors, specialists of the International Atomic Energy Agency. This nuclear material is not being shifted to military needs, this is officially confirmed by the (IAEA).

"In recent times the tendency to use sanctions to achieve aims that are beyond reach in principle by means of pressure has become a passion that ... politicians on both sides of the Atlantic cannot overcome."

President Putin, in an interview with Russia Today, rejected any flinching by Russia on Syria (or other "regime changes") under the war-threatening demands of London and Obama. "How come Russia is the only one who's expected to revise its stance?" Putin retorted. "Don't you think our counterparts in negotiations ought to revise theirs as well? Because if we look back at the events in the past few years, we'll see that quite a few initiatives of our counterparts have not played out the way they were intended to.

"Take the examples of the numerous countries ridden with escalating internal conflicts. The U.S. and then its allies went into Afghanistan, and now they're all looking forward to getting out of there. If there's anything on the table, it's the issue of assisting them in withdrawing their troops and hardware from Afghanistan through our transit routes.

"Now, are you sure that country has been stabilized for decades to come?

Putin called for an end to shipping arms into the Syrian war zone, and made the direct analogy to Afghanistan in the 1980s: "At that time, our current partners supported a rebel movement there and basically gave rise to Al Qaeda, a United States pet project that later targeted its creator.

"Today some people want to use militants from Al Qaeda or some other organizations with equally radical views to accomplish their goals in Syria. This policy is dangerous and very short-sighted. But in that case, one should unlock Guantanamo, arm all of its inmates and bring them to Syria to do the fighting. I would like to emphasize that this policy is very short-sighted and is fraught with dire consequences."