Nekrassov’s CNN piece, dissected as propaganda, was a considerable expenditure of human capital, since western media would detect a pattern of repetition. By this reasoning, a more specific purpose is required than chatting up cooperation by asserting existence of a nascent U.S./Russia partnership that doesn’t exist. The “written by Nekrassov” writers should listen to Kerry.
Informed speculation gets a boost from the recent disclosure by Assad’s government to monitoring groups of additional chemical weapons sites (Reuters). Past cooperation of the Syrians on this issue has bought them little, and it has been widely suspected that they held some in reserve. The timing of these new disclosures is interesting.
The image of the Syria in the West in 2011 was of a police state ruled by a very small Alawite minority, in which unspeakable tortures were widely and frequently used as an instrument of political control over the Sunni majority. Western sympathy could have been aroused by the seemingly modest idea that with rule by the majority, the use of coercive methods would at least subside in frequency. But in a partial recapitulation of the neoconservative strategy of the Bush Administration, an attempt was made to find Syria’s heroes of democracy and crown them. Perhaps, if they had been found, the passive policy then in vogue would have been supplanted by something capable of keeping ISIS a mere figment of the imagination.
Today, the Syrian regime of Bashar Hafez al-Assad doesn’t look so bad. But Kerry says, “There Is Evidence That Assad Has Played ‘Footsie’ With ISIL.” My personal sentiment is that in a world of bad, bad, bad, bad people, this is worth only two bads.
It is possible that the Russians, sensing the inertia of U.S. policy, would like the U.S. to decide that Assad is not so bad, and they would like us to think it is our idea. Encapsulating the idea in a propaganda piece would certainly be novel. But this notion is helped along a little by the chemicals disclosure, for which there is a heavy real-world price. Those chemicals could have had a use against ISIS. Assad’s regime, now a homeless waif in the international community, is up for adoption.