BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) – The ceasefire, set to begin today in Syria, mutes Berlin’s hegemonic ambitions. Negotiated between Washington and Moscow the ceasefire has placed Moscow, for the time being, on an equal footing with the USA in the Middle East, while ignoring Berlin and its claim to become a regulatory power for the region. This is a clear setback for the German government and the hopes it had had four years ago. At the time, German government advisors and foreign policy experts were drawing up plans together with Syrian opposition members for reconstructing Syria after Assad’s expected overthrow. The implementation of these plans would have provided Germany exclusive influence, while pushing Russia, politically, to the sidelines. But, this did not happen. However, the ceasefire cannot be considered stable. On the one hand, it is uncertain that the insurgent militia will respect it and, on the other, if Washington will – as was decided – really engage in joint operations with Moscow against the al Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al Nusra, or its successor, Jabhat Fatah al Sham. Because of the latter’s close cooperation with the so-called moderate militias, the USA risks hitting its western allies, when bombing Fatah al Sham.
Together against Jihadists
The ceasefire negotiated between the USA and Russia late last week – and, according to Russian sources, agreed to by the Syrian government – is entering into force today. It will initially facilitate the supply of humanitarian aid to the currently besieged Syrian towns. The announcement that Washington and Moscow are planning joint military operations against Jihadists’ active in Syria comes as a real surprise. For this purpose they will create a “Joint Intelligence Group,” which will collect all available information and intelligence and coordinate air strikes, not only against the “Islamic State” (IS/Daesh), but also against the al Qaeda offshoots Jabhat al Nusra, or its successor Jabhat Fatah al Sham. This is a novelty because, until now, the USA has largely given free hand to Al Nusra/Fatah al Sham. This change of course is obviously due to the fact that US experts have increased their warning that al Qaeda is taking a stronger foothold in Syria and is planning to use the country as a staging ground for future targeted attacks against western powers – similar to al Qaeda’s activities in Afghanistan preceding the fall 2001.
In Alliance with Al Qaeda
On an Equal Footing with the USA
When viewed from a purely political angle, the ceasefire proves to be a setback for the German government. Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier has praised it as a “truly new opportunity for providing the necessary humanitarian access to the hundreds of thousands in need,” and called for “compliance with the accords reached by Washington and Moscow and an end to the fighting by Monday at the latest.” Nevertheless, the fact that the ceasefire has been worked out between Washington and Moscow – without Germany – is a setback for Berlin’s ambition to play a more prominent role in global politics in general but particularly in the “arch of crisis” around Europe, (german-foreign-policy.com reported ) while Russia, for the time being, has been able to re-emerge as a Middle East regulatory power. Four years ago, Berlin had appeared to be closer to its political objectives than it does today. While experts saw the Assad government teetering on the brink of being overthrown at the time, Syrian exile politicians were regularly meeting in the German capital – under the direction of German government advisors and German foreign ministry specialists – to forge plans for Syria’s reconstruction. Nothing came of the German government’s plans to use this as a means of obtaining direct influence in a pro-western Damascus – while squeezing Moscow out. On the contrary, Moscow has regained an equal footing with Washington in the Syrian war.
Therefore, the German government will expand its activities in the Middle East. It is presumed that the next step will be to send additional German soldiers to Incirlik Airbase in Turkey to operate NATO’s AWACS aircraft. Around 240 Bundeswehr soldiers are already stationed there, to prepare and accompany missions in the war against IS/Daesh with “Tornado” jet fighters and a refueling aircraft. The Air Force is becoming installed for a long-term stay with construction measures estimated in the tens of millions. According to reports, the defense ministry has just earmarked 58 million Euros to construct its own airfield for the Tornados as well as accommodations for the German troops. In addition, the Bundeswehr announced, it will be furnished an ultramodern mobile command post for Incirlik. The expansion of the war to air raids on Jabhat Fatah al Sham will also have an effect on the activities of the Bundeswehr, that was already due to receive additional troops for the AWACS’ enhanced engagement in the war in Syria. The increased activities of the Bundeswehr in northern Iraq should also not be forgotten. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) The ongoing increase in military operations is the means and the price to be paid for Germany’s new global policy toward its still unattained objective of becoming the leading power in the “arch of crisis” surrounding the EU.