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The Daily Vertical: A Tragedy, A Crime, And A Harbinger (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

First and foremost, the assassination of Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara yesterday was a tragedy and a crime.

Any time that any diplomat from any country is killed, it represents an assault on the very notion of diplomacy.

An attack on an any ambassador anywhere is a threat to all ambassadors everywhere.

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But this assassination is also illustrative of the new reality Russia is entering with its intervention in the Syrian conflict and its assault on Aleppo.

It shows that Russia's victory in Syria could turn out to be Pyrrhic.

Because by aligning itself with Bashar al-Assad and with Iran, Vladimir Putin's regime has turned itself into the enemy of Sunni Muslims.

It's injected Moscow into the heart of the tinderbox that is Middle Eastern politics.

It's exposed Russia to the rage and anger of Sunnis from Turkey to the Middle East to Central Asia.

Putin's intervention in Syria has long been seen as a masterstroke.

It wrong-footed the West, upended the balance of power in the Middle East, and returned Russia to the ranks of major powers.

But intervening in the Middle East is never, ever without costs.

So yes, the assassination of Andrei Karlov was a tragedy and a crime.

It could also turn out to be a harbinger.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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