by Jason Ditz
In an interview on Syrian state media today, top Syrian government adviser Bouthaina Shaaban claimed that there is a “tacit agreement” between the US and Russia on coming to some sort of agreeing on the ongoing civil war, and that some sort of negotiated settlement could happen soon.
The Russian government has been making claims to this effect for months, but the latest comments come just a day afterState Department officials publicly disavowed the notion and condemned Russia, suggesting they oppose the Russian strategy of negotiated settlement unless it includes unilateral surrender of the Assad government.
Yesterday’s State Department denial was particularly noteworthy, however, because months of other comments to the same effect came without an official peep, and with private suggestions from US officials that they were indeed warming to the idea of a “unity” deal before suddenly declaring their opposition to it.
If that wasn’t confusing enough, Pentagon officials are now talking up the idea that there are “overlaps” of interest between the US and Russia on Syria, suggesting the two sides could work together. They also, however, talked up the need for a “transition” to a new pro-US government.