Q So do you feel that propping up the Assad regime then is the ultimate goal of Russia here? Is that the White House’s understanding of the ultimate goal of Russia?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, based on the military actions that they are taking, it seems that they are interested in continuing or maybe even ramping up their efforts to prop up the Assad regime.
2. Администрация не видит начала качественно нового этапа ни в бомбардировке Сирии российскими крылатыми ракетами, ни в новом притоке туда иностранных боевиков, ни в разрастании миграционного кризиса:
Q Let me ask you, on Syria and Russia, in the last 24 hours Russia has carried out its first naval bombardment. They’ve got a battalion-sized force in the country. I mean this is a significant, impressive buildup. Does the U.S. view this as a game-changer? There’s been a difference on the ground in their behavior. What has changed in your view in the past 24 hours?
MR. EARNEST: Well, what we have seen from the Russians is a willingness to use some different tactics, but it’s entirely consistent with the tactics that we’ve seen the Russians employ certainly over the last week, but even before that.
Q But at the same time, the U.S. has said the flow of foreign fighters, this hemorrhage of refugees, the threat of terrorism, all of this makes what’s happening in Syria of direct concern to this country’s national security. So with this escalation, isn’t it a more immediate threat if it’s worsening the situation and thus making all those problems last longer?
MR. EARNEST: Well, the principal concern of the President when it comes to our national security interest in Syria is our ability to prevent extremists from using the chaos in Syria to carry out attacks against the United States.
3. Администрация не собирается защищать сирийских повстанцев – оппонентов Асада:
Q But at the same time, Russia is taking some of the moderates that the U.S. would like to see in power off the battlefield as well. Doesn’t the U.S. have a commitment to protect them?
MR. EARNEST: Well, what the United States has done is that there are a variety of opposition groups inside of Syria that the United States has supported in one way or another. And the fact is, the Russians have failed to distinguish between the kind of moderate opposition groups that could be part of an eventual political transition inside of Syria and the kinds of extremists that are essentially rampaging across the countryside in Syria. And their failure to draw those kinds of distinctions does, again, serve to pose an increased risk to Russia, both in terms of deepening their involvement in a sectarian conflict, but also opening up Russia to the anger and enmity of an otherwise moderate Muslim Sunni population, both inside of Syria but also inside of Russia.
Q But in the meantime, is the U.S. just going to continue to allow them to bomb, as you say, these moderates and not distinguish between terrorists and moderates?
MR. EARNEST: Well, the President has made quite clear that Syria is not going to turn into a proxy war between Russia and the United States. That certainly would not be consistent with our interests.
4. Рабочих контактов между российскими и американскими военными по деконфликтизации военных действий на территории Сирии по-прежнему нет. Администрация США просто ждет ответа от российской стороны:
Q Do you have an update on military-to-military talks between the U.S. and Russia? Have there been additional talks since I guess last week?
MR. EARNEST: What we have indicated is that the United States continues to wait for the Russians to provide a formal response to the presentation that was made last week to establish some basic de-confliction efforts. That's the way that I’m trying to describe some of the rules of the road, essentially that we would want to see the Russians agree to adhere to effectively de-conflict our military operations and ensure the safety of our military personnel who are operating in the skies over Syria. So these are basic things, like agreeing to use internationally recognized communications channels and observing sort of all of the basic safety regulations that are observed around the world. We're still waiting for a formal response from the Russians to that offering.
Q How long is the U.S. willing to wait? At least on the military-to-military front, you said the U.S. is still waiting on Russia to respond to that offer. Is there a timeline on that?
MR. EARNEST: Well, we certainly would welcome a formal response from the Russians because we believe that even securing a commitment on those basics -- things like established communications channels and the observance of basic safety regulations -- is important to the ability of our military personnel to operate in the skies over Syria. So that is a priority. And the Russians understand that that’s a priority for us, and we’re hopeful that we’ll receive a formal response from them soon.
5. Администрация не препятствует премьер-министру Ирака пригласить Россию нанести удары по территории Ирака:
Q I wanted to ask you -- a senior Shiite politician in Iraq has said that he wants Russia to be involved with airstrikes in Iraq as well. And I believe that Prime Minister Abadi has indicated that he’s open to that idea as well. How does the White House feel about that idea? And what is the White House doing, if anything, or the administration doing, if anything, to try to encourage or warn Iraq away from that?
So is the United States trying to encourage Prime Minister Abadi not to welcome Russia?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Prime Minister Abadi is the leader of a sovereign country, so he’ll make decisions based on what he believes is in the best interest of the national security of his country and his citizens.