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Putin, Obama Should Team Up For WMD-Free Mideast

The channel opened between the United States and Russia to resolve the Syrian chemical-weapons crisis could provide leverage for ridding the Middle East of all non-conventional weaponry.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama are pictured on a video screen installed in the press centre of the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg, September 5, 2013.           REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (RUSSIA  - Tags: POLITICS)   - RTX138DW
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When US President Barack Obama latched onto the proposed Russian compromise to back off his Syrian attack plans, he was acting in accordance with the ancient Jewish saying, “When you need a thief, take one down from the gallows.” Just a few weeks ago, on Aug. 8, the US president canceled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was to take place at last week’s G20 summit as “punishment” for his Russian counterpart’s decision to provide political asylum to Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Russia’s steadfast support of the Bashar al-Assad regime, along with that of Iran and Hezbollah, was reminiscent of the bad old days when the Middle East was a central arena in the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. And now, overnight, Putin has turned from war monger to Obama’s guardian angel. On the other hand, it’s safe to assume that absent the US threat to attack Syria over Russia’s head, Putin would not have volunteered to extricate Obama at home from a controversial military adventure and from the international portrayal of the United States as an isolated and toothless giant.

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