The German Federal Prosecutor's office investigates supporters of Syrian jihadis, who, in fact, receive Berlin's backing.
BERLIN/IDLIB (Own report) - The German Federal Prosecutor's office is investigating the support of a Syrian jihadi terror organization, which has, in fact, profited from the German government's Syria policy. The investigation focuses on an international network financing Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). HTS, in turn, is the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, which controls the self-proclaimed insurgent Idlib governorate in northern Syria. HTS is accused of the most serious violations of human rights, including murdering those accused of "adultery" and "blasphemy." Such executions are a fundamental element of jihadi rule. The German government had repeatedly put Syria and Russia under heavy pressure not to attack HTS - to the benefit of the terrorist organization. The proceedings against HTS are not the first of their kind. Already in 2016, supporters of another terrorist militia had been found guilty by a German court - the same terror militia, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, foreign minister, at the time, had sought to have included, at all costs, in peace negotiations. Read more
Russia and Turkey Reach Ceasefire Accord for Idlib - without German and EU Participation.
BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - Berlin's efforts to use the plight of the Idlib refugees to gain influence in northern Syria, have again been unsuccessful. Yesterday, Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recip Tayyip Erdoğan reached a ceasefire accord for Idlib, due to go into effect today, Friday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously sought participation in that summit meeting, while politicians in Berlin were also threatening to impose sanctions on Russia to have a "buffer zone" created in Idlib - both to no avail. If Moscow can successfully stabilize a ceasefire, it will mean that important prerequisites have been obtained for bringing Syria's economy back into swing. In spite of this, demands for a "no-fly-zone" were raised yesterday at a meeting of the EU's foreign ministers. The EU's foreign policy representative called for a "buffer zone in the airspace." It is regrettable that the Union seeks to "speak the language of power," but lacks the means to carry it out, it was alleged. Read more
EU imposes new sanctions on Syria, blocks reconstruction. Critics speak of a "scorched earth policy".
BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - The EU is expanding its sanctions on Syria, thus erecting new obstacles on the road to the country's reconstruction. The sanctions imposed last week affect several entrepreneurs, continuing the EU's practice of discouraging potential investors from participating in Syria's reconstruction. The Trump administration is pursuing the same objective with the sanctions it imposed last December, described by experts as far-reaching and possibly affecting individuals and enterprises in all countries and "isolating Syria for years to come." According to US experts, these sanctions could drive the population into poverty uprisings, thus reaching, what could not be achieved through warfare - the overthrow of the Bashar al Assad government. In the European Council on Foreign Relations this is referred to as the second "long war," this time with economic measures. Critics call it a "scorched earth policy." Read more
Berlin seeks to use the conflict between Moscow and Ankara to obtain influence in Syria.
BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - At a four-way summit with the leaders of Russia, Turkey and France, Angela Merkel will seek to influence the future of the northern Syrian province Idlib. The summit, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on the weekend is to be held next week. It will explore options for ending the fighting in the province, where, over the past few weeks, Syrian troops have been advancing on militias. Usually referred to as "rebels" in the German media, they are, in fact, dominated by an al Qaeda subsidiary. The combat has deepened dissention between Russia and Turkey on how to go forward in Syria, raising new hopes among western powers for driving a wedge between Ankara and Moscow. Prior to the summit, however, specialists are pointing out that Berlin hardly has any options for exerting influence in Syria. The EU sees the overthrow of the government in Damascus as the precondition for granting desperately needed reconstruction aid. Read more
BERLIN/WASHINGTON/DAMASCUS (Own report) - Syria faces an open economic war with the new EU and US sanctions, experts contend. A recent analysis of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) notes, the sanctions have a "hugely detrimental impact on the most vulnerable members of Syria's population." The sanctions imposed on Syria have been strongly criticized internationally for many years. Already in 2016, the United Nations noted, that it is the "most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed." UN officials cite Western sanctions and not the war as the "principal factor" in the erosion of Syria's health care system. Now that Brussels has even extended its sanctions, Washington is about to impose sanctions on all companies and countries lending support to Syrian government projects to rebuild the country. The ECFR speaks of a „scorched earth policy." Read more
DAMASCUS/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Berlin and the EU are intensifying pressure on Damascus in view of the Syrian troops' presumed imminent offensive in Idlib against the jihadi militias, including al-Qaeda's Syrian offshoot. According to a German government spokesperson, it is "anticipated" that the Russian government will "restrain the Syrian regime's escalation." Washington is threatening with an unspecified intervention, should chemicals weapons be used. Syrian jihadists have used chemical weapons in the past, and would be in a position to provoke this US intervention. Since last summer, the Syrian al-Qaeda offshoot Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is in control of Idlib Province, with some 30,000 combatants. Additional smaller, mostly salafist jihadi militias are also ready to battle the Syrian army. By referring to them as "rebels," politicians and media are downplaying the jihadists - including al-Qaeda - as the 17th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches. Read more
DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - In view of Syria's reconstruction, German business circles are preparing to establish a German business office in Damascus. According to a participant, German small and medium-sized enterprises are interested in orders from this war-ravaged country. Syria, however, prioritizes enterprises from countries, which had supported President Bashar al Assad during the war, or, at least, were not engaged in efforts to overthrow him. In recent years, Berlin has pursued a sort of reconstruction in Syria - however, only in insurgent-controlled areas. Today this aid is benefiting jihadis, including the Syrian al-Qaeda offshoot. In the framework of Syria's reconstruction, Berlin is hoping for the speedy return of Syrian refugees. It is also expecting that the 221 students, who had benefited from the state-financed DAAD scholarship program in Germany for the past few years, will return to Syria and aid in securing German influence as "bridge builders" between the two countries. Read more
DAMASCUS/MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Germany should participate in an exclusive group of four countries to "stabilize" Syria, as Russian government circles confirmed, following last weekend's meeting of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. By reconciling their interests, Russia, Germany, France, and Turkey want to create a basis for Syria’s reconstruction. For the first time since 1945, the United States is not a participant in a strategically important rebuilding phase in the Middle East. Washington should use its 2,000 soldiers - stationed, devoid of any internationally legal basis, in the Kurdish controlled regions of northeast Syria - as leverage, according to Britain's former foreign minister. Furthermore, China is expected to play a key role in rebuilding the country. Berlin is threatening to withhold funds for reconstruction, if its political interests are not being taken in to account. Read more
BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - Berlin and the EU are seeking to use Syria's hardships for leverage to gain influence on that country's political development. Berlin will provide humanitarian aid for the Syrian population, German Foreign Minster Heiko Maas announced at yesterday's Syria conference in Brussels - aid that is also seen as helpful in preventing a new wave of mass migration to the EU. However, aid for the country's reconstruction will only be granted, if Damascus makes political concessions, Maas declared. Berlin considers reconstruction aid a promising lever, because Syria, most likely, will not be able to raise the more than €200 billion necessary, and its closest partners, Russia and Iran are low on funds due to the western economic sanctions. Experts warn that, for example, in Raqqa, under the control of Syrian opposition forces and the USA, another insurgency could develop should reconstruction continue to be delayed. A US journalist calls Raqqa's level of destruction the worst he has ever seen in the Middle East. Read more
BERLIN/DAMASCUS/MOSCOW (Own report) - The German government, after having applauded the bombing of Syria, is now demanding participation in the country's reorganization, once the war has ended. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her intentions to have a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin "in the foreseeable future," to discuss particularly the development in Syria. The enormous costs for Syria's reconstruction, which can hardly be covered by Russia alone, are viewed as a means of leverage on Moscow. Berlin also sees itself in a position to mediate between Russia and the USA in view of Washington's threat to attack Russian positions in Syria. While the German government is going on the offensive to win influence, new foreign policy controversies are developing among the EU member states. In addition, questions are also being raised about the legitimacy of Saturday's illegal air strikes: A renowned British journalist reported that doctors in Douma have doubts that chemical weapons had been used in that city on April 7. According to the OPCW, the research institute that had been bombed on Saturday had had nothing to do with poison-gas. Read more