News Release

On Syria, U.S. and Russia in “Game of Chicken”?

obama-biden-12-12-13-300x200[On Wednesday ExposeFacts, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy, is co-sponsoring a news conference on CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling with Reporters Without Borders and RootsAction.org. The event will take place at the National Press Club. Cornel West and former former CIA case officer John Kiriakou are among the speakers. See media advisory.]

JOE LAURIA,  joelauria at gmail.com,  @unjoe
Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the UN since 1990. He has written for the Boston GlobeWall Street JournalLondon Daily TelegraphJohannesburg StarMontreal Gazette and other newspapers.

He just wrote the piece “Obama’s Most Momentous Decision,” which states: “With the Russian-backed Syrian army encircling Aleppo, cutting off Turkish supplies to rebels and advancing on the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa, a panicked Saudi Arabia and Turkey have set up a joint headquarters to direct an invasion of Syria that could lead to a vast escalation of the war. And there’s only one man who could stop them: President Barack Obama.

“It is probably the most important decision Obama will make in his eight years in office since a Turkish-Saudi invasion risks a direct showdown between Russia and NATO, since Turkey is a member of the alliance.

“The U.S. traditionally has held tremendous power over client states like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. So, an order from Washington is usually enough to get such governments to back down. But Ankara and Riyadh are being led by reckless men whose continued existence in power might well depend on stopping a Syrian government victory — helped by Russia, Iran and the Kurds — and a humiliating defeat of the Turkish-Saudi-backed Syrian rebels, who include some radical jihadist groups. …

“On Saturday, Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s not known what they discussed about a possible invasion of Syria. However, if Obama threatened to intervene if Russia doesn’t end its military support for the Syrian military offensive, we could be in the middle of the most serious game of chicken since the Cuban missile crisis.

“Nor do we know what Obama is telling the Turks and Saudis. On Monday, both countries toned down their bellicose rhetoric. Perhaps Obama delivered the only sane message possible: avoid a military confrontation with Russia at all costs. But it seems the lights will remain on at the Kremlin and the White House as the two nuclear powers look for some way to avoid a collision.”

See Lauria’s past pieces, including “Saudis Goad Obama to Invade Syria.”