WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Thursday, the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the United States and the closing of two Russian diplomatic compounds. The United States also introduced new sanctions against six Russian individuals, majority of which top intelligence officials, and five entities, including Russia’s intelligence services.
Ohio State University Professor Emeritus of International Law John Quigley said "If Russian-US cooperation in fighting Daesh is impaired then US security will be negative affected."
Quigley argued that developments in the fight against extremism favoured the resumption of cooperation between Washington and Moscow in the fight against Daesh.
"Hopefully, the United States and Russia can collaborate in regard to fighting the Islamic State in Syria. To the extent the United States makes progress against Daesh in Syria, it will open the way for the Syrian government to move back into Daesh-controlled territory. That is likely to be viewed favourably by Russia," he said.
Quigley also predicted that US President-elect Donald Trump would act rapidly to scrap the new sanctions Obama imposed on Russian individuals and entities.
"Trump as president is not likely to continue these or other sanctions. To that degree, what President Obama is doing is temporary. The expulsion of diplomats as personae non grata can be reversed by Trump by allowing re-entry. Sanctions against institutions can also be reversed," he said.
Crimea responded by organizing a referendum in which more than 90 percent of the residents voted to rejoin Russia. The move prompted the United States, European Union and some of their allies to impose an initial round of sanctions on Russia.
"These actions are the product of a chain of events dating back to US repudiation of the re-incorporation of Crimea into Russia. … It was unfortunate that the United States took the view it did… to Crimea. Since then relations between the US and Russia have gone downhill," Quigley added.
Middle East Institute analyst Tom Lippman observed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had chosen to ignore Obama’s potentially incendiary move in imposing new sanctions, preferring to wait until he could discuss bilateral issues with incoming President Trump and his new secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
"Note what Putin did… nothing, despite the recommendations of the [Russian] foreign ministry that Russia retaliate in kind," he said.
Putin was waiting to see what kind of relationship and agreement she could negotiate with Trump before making any move, Lippman noted.
"It seems to me that Putin is waiting for Trump to be sworn in before anything dramatic happens — one way or the other," he said.
Obama had made his decision to impose the sanctions believing that he had to retaliate against Russia and knowing he had very little time left in office, Lippman remarked.