President Obama's sudden about face in deciding to attack IS in Syria on 21 September - without express approval of Syria or a resolution of the United Nations Security Council - has provoked a strong response from Russia and Iran - President Assad's main supporters in his three years struggle to remain in power in Syria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on 23 September:
Such actions must be carried out exclusively within the boundaries of international law. That means not formal unilateral 'notification' of strikes but the clearly expressed approval of the government of Syria or the passage of a decision by the United Nations Security Council.
Iranian President - Hassan Rouhani - reportedly said the US-led airstrikes were illegal and constituted an attack on Syria - while also condemning Islamic State militants as "barbarians."
Their strictures were issued following the admission made to Chuck Todd on Meet The Press by America's ambassador to the United Nations - Samantha Power - on 19 September - that training of moderate rebels in Syria would help both US efforts to destroy IS as well as the rebels' ongoing struggle against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad:
But may I add, the training also will service these troops in the same struggle that they've been in since the beginning of this conflict against the Assad regime...
Putin and Rouhani would have been very concerned that the US led attacks on IS in Syria were undertaken with the active support of Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – all members of the "London 11" – whose communique released on 22 October 2013 had declared:
We agree that when the TGB [Transitional Governing Body] is established, Assad and his close associates with blood on their hands will have no role in Syria. There must be accountability for acts committed during the present conflict.
It is clear Assad will not be inviting anyone into Syria if there is any suspicion that they are there to preside over his demise. It is equally clear that when someone like the Iranian President calls IS "barbarians" – that international action must be taken to eliminate IS at the earliest possible opportunity.
Rouhani did not directly condemn the US-led air strikes against IS in Syria when addressing the United Nations on 25 September –but issued the following warning:
I believe if countries claiming leadership of the coalition are seeking to perpetuate their hegemony in the region, they'd be making a strategic mistake. Democracy can't be delivered in a backpack. It's not a commodity to be exported from west to east. It needs a foundation.
Rouhani offered this sage advice:
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