Bolton: U.S. Is ‘Barely a Bystander’ as Russia, France Strike Syria
New reports indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his Navy to work with French forces in the fight against ISIS.
A group of French aircraft carriers is scheduled to arrive in the area soon.
French President Francois Hollande said yesterday that he wanted to speak with Putin and President Obama about the three nations working together.
Hollande is scheduled to visit Russia on Nov. 26, two days after a scheduled visit to the U.S.
Bill Hemmer reported this morning that the French have carried out more than 300 airstrikes targeting ISIS in the last 48 hours.
Meantime, Moscow has carried out 2,300 sorties against Syrian targets, which includes anti-Assad groups supported by the United States, along with ISIS.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton said on “America’s Newsroom” that the fast-moving developments involving France and Russia highlight the “lack of effective American involvement” in the region.
“Into the vacuum that we are creating, France and Russia are moving for their own reasons,” said Bolton.
He noted that Putin has now acknowledged that a Russian airliner was brought down over Egypt by a terrorist bombing, killing 224 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We are not the dominant player anymore. We are barely a bystander,” Bolton said, pointing out that U.S. airstrikes have increased in recent days mainly because of “political pressure.”
Watch his analysis above.
The city is the self-declared capital of ISIS in Syria and is patrolled by as many as 5,000 jihadi members.
Putin is set to mobilise 150,000 reservists who he conscripted into the military in September.
Yesterday, following the Paris attacks, Putin hinted he was ready to join forces with the West to tackle Islamic State.
He told David Cameron: “The recent tragic events in France show that we should join efforts in preventing terror.”
Russian jets pounded terrorist targets and blew up a command centre, potentially killing dozens of fighters.
Confirming the successful raids, Andrei Kartapolov from the Russian army vowed to ramp up the pressure, saying: “We will not only continue strikes… We will also increase their intensity.”
Speaking at the time of the attacks, in October, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “Over the past 24 hours, Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets have performed 20 sorties and hit nine Islamic State installations.
“A bunker-busting BETAB-500 air bomb dropped from a Sukhoi Su-34 bomber near Raqqa has eliminated the command post of one of the terror groups, together with an underground storage facility for explosives and munitions.
“These and other highly exact means of attack in recent days have been used to target objects of Islamic State terrorists.
“Command posts, stores of weapons and oil products, workshops where weapons of suicide bombers are made.”
Meanwhile a terrorism expert revealed to Express.co.uk ISIS have vastly exaggerated their military strength and called on Western leaders to launch a co-ordinated fightback which would obliterate the hate group.
Dr Afzal Ashraf said ISIS has become its own worst enemy with its campaign of terror against the West, which has prompted an international backlash.
He said: “This mythical state will disappear in a matter of hours once the international community decides to act.
“It won’t take very long at all to drive them, if not out of all of Iraq or Syria, then certainly the majority of their territories.
“They will hide in towns, but I would say do not to follow them as they would use innocent civilians as human shields.”
David Cameron initially gave the Russian air strikes a cautious welcome and said the UK would need to look “very carefully” at Putin’s operations.
He told the BBC: “I have always said I think that it is sensible that we should, ISIL [ISIS] don’t recognise a border between Iraq and Syria and neither should we but I need to build the argument, I need to take it to parliament, I need to convince more people.
“We won’t hold that vote unless we can see that parliament would endorse action because to fail on this would be damaging, it is not a question of damaging the government it is a question of not damaging our country and its reputation in the world.”
He has already pledged to “beef up” the SAS and double the number of British drones to combat ISIS militants in an interview ahead of today’s Conservative conference.
The Prime Minister said investment in special forces and surveillance was essential to meeting the terrorist threat facing the UK.
He revealed the UK will buy a fleet of 20 new Protector drones capable of targeting IS extremists in Iraq and Syria.