Cynical Options

Out of all this mess, nobody is certain exactly what’s going to happen next. However, one thing is certain: Damascus will fall.

Whether it’s today, tomorrow or next year, by bombs and sudden war or slow destruction, Isaiah 17:1 will absolutely be fulfilled.

 

DAMASCUS/NEW YORK/BERLIN (Own report) – In New York, Germany’s foreign minister will take part in talks this week to seek possible alignments of interests between the major powers in reference to the war in Syria. Parallel developments have made it appear advisable for western powers to accept ending – or at least freezing – the war. Russia has grown stronger and can no longer be ignored in Middle East affairs. Simultaneously, the US administration would like to proceed with its announced global political “pivot to Asia” and would like to avoid over-stretching its forces in the Middle East quagmire – as the Bush administration had done. Berlin, and the rest of the EU are currently doing everything to halt the flow of refugees. It can no longer be afforded to bleed Syria dry with this war, according to one author. A similar alignment of interests would already have been possible back in February 2012, reported the diplomat and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari. At the time, according to his account, Russia had proposed to the West that the Syrian government and opposition reach an agreement, following a period of grace, President Bashar al Assad would be forced to step down. According to Ahtisaari, the West, turned down the proposition, based on the assumption of Assad’s assured overthrow and a complete takeover of Syria. Berlin also followed this line of action. The theme discussed in the current talks resemble Moscow’s proposition at that time – three and a half years and hundreds of thousands of deaths later.

A Strengthened Russia

Since some time, Russia has been strengthening its position in the Middle East. Throughout the year, Moscow has been engaged in numerous negotiations concerning the war in Syria with the government in Damascus, various factions of Syria’s opposition, and those regional powers involved. President Vladimir Putin intends to propose the formation of a new alliance against the “Islamic State” (IS) in his speech to the UN General Assembly. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]) At the same time, Russian armed forces have expanded their support for Syrian government forces and their own presence within Syria. Russian interests cannot be brushed aside, as had been the case only a few years ago.

Don’t “Bleed It Dry”

The strengthening of IS and the mass exodus from Syria has increased pressure on the EU to put an end to – if possible – or at least, freeze the war in Syria. Referring to western policy, Volker Perthes, Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), wrote in a recent commentary “the advances made by the Islamic State (IS), as well as the exodus from Syria show what the cynical option, of simply letting the conflict bleed Syria dry, really means.”[4] With her announcement, to include, if necessary, Syrian President Bashar al Assad in negotiations, Chancellor Merkel virtually prepared future talks with Damascus. Foreign Minister Steinmeier held talks with his US counterpart Kerry on September 20 in Berlin. Following the Berlin meeting, Kerry announced that Washington does not exclude an interim solution that will temporarily keep Assad in power. The German government agrees.

Ever Greater Evils

It is not sure, however, that a settlement can be reached or would endure. Influential forces in the USA and Germany are mobilizing against an agreement.[10] “The idea that Assad could be supported as a lesser evil, to later force him into Russian exile is being circulated in the West,” writes, for example, the influential Süddeutschen Zeitung. This, however, is wrong, “the Syrian dictator” is “not at all the lesser evil” in comparison to IS.[11] To overthrow Assad should remain on the agenda. Should that happen, Syria could come under the total control of IS and a Salafist jihadist alliance led by Jabhat al Nusra, the al Qaeda subsidiary. This would be a late victory for Osama bin Laden, whose organization had once been considered the West’s biggest enemy in the Middle East, and had served as the justification for the ensuing wars to restructure that region. It had not been foreseen as Syria’s new ruler.

Full article: Cynical Options (German Foreign Policy)

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