Adviser: Deal shows Russia and U.S. can work together

Beyond the chance of easing one of the world’s most intractable military conflicts, the deal reached Saturday to eliminate Syria’s stock of chemical weapons could lay the groundwork for a new relationship between the United States and Russia that goes beyond President Obama’s “reset” effort, Kremlin adviser Sergei Karaganov said Saturday.

“The reset, which was built on the old agenda of limiting arms and reducing nuclear weapons, has grown seriously outdated in conditions when it is absolutely clear that Russia and the United States are not going to fight each other under any imaginable scenario,” said Karaganov, the honorary chairman of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, a Moscow-based think tank.

“The Syrian crisis demonstrated that the two countries can work together quite productively to avert and resolve this and any other conflicts in the region and elsewhere.

“So far our joint efforts are a visible and palpable success, but a lot still depends on forces inside and outside Syria, like Sunni (Muslims) in the Middle East who put their stake on Syrian rebels,” Karaganov said. “If the Russian plan with U.S. assistance proves capable of overcoming that resistance, the two countries could and should seriously think about setting up a new agenda in their relationship based on new challenges and new global problems.”

BEIRUT, Lebanon

Syrian rebel groups clash, killing at least five people

Al-Qaida-affiliated rebels battled more moderate Syrian opposition fighters in a town along the Iraqi border on Saturday, killing at least five people in the latest outbreak of infighting among the forces opposed to President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Clashes between rebel groups have grown increasingly common in recent months, undermining the opposition’s primary goal of overthrowing Assad.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday’s fighting took place in the town of al-Boukamal between the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant against more mainstream rebel groups.

Observatory director Rami Abdul-Rahman said the more moderate rebels used mosque loudspeakers Friday to demand the Islamic State and the Levant leave Boukamal. When it was clear Saturday that they had no plans to decamp, the mainstream groups attacked, he said.

— From news service reports


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