Air Defense for the Exile Leadership

DAMASCUS/ANKARA/BERLIN | | syrientuerkei

DAMASCUS/ANKARA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr is possibly on the verge of a deployment directly at the Syrian border. According to reports in the media, today, Turkey will officially request that NATO station "Patriot" surface-to-air missiles on its southwestern territory, supposedly as protection from Syrian combat jets and missiles. The German government has agreed to participate with up to 170 military personnel. As a matter of fact, the stationing is planned not only for the territory, where, for quite some time, conflicts with Kurdish separatists have been escalating. According to concrete plans drawn up by top-ranking Turkish and US officers and presented to the White House, they also lay the groundwork for establishing a no-fly zone over Syrian territory. The objective is to create conditions, over the next few weeks, allowing the recently - in Qatar - founded Syrian exile leadership to leave exile and become established in northern Syria, which requires security from aerial attacks.

Against Rockets and Planes

As the German daily, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported, German military personnel are on the verge of being deployed at the Syrian border. The article explains that today, Turkey will officially ask NATO to station "Patriot" anti-aircraft missiles in the southeast of its territory, allegedly seeking protection from Syrian aerial attacks. Stationing batteries of "Patriots" will also show that Ankara can depend on NATO. In fact, the NATO Supreme Commander in charge is prepared to fulfill Turkey's request. The German government has already made clear its approval. This is significant, because only Germany, the Netherlands, and the USA have the modern PAC-3 rockets at their disposal, which have the capability of equally warding off planes as well as missiles. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the plan is to send one to two "Patriot" squadrons. Since up to 85 soldiers are required to service one squadron, a contingent of up to 170 German military personnel is under consideration. Because this only involves a redeployment within the realm of the NATO alliance, the German Bundestag may not even have to grant its approval.[1]

Stationing in the Area of Conflict

Stationing "Patriot" missiles in southeast Turkey is an explosive venture for several reasons. For one thing, the PKK has clearly expanded its separatist activities over the past year in the Kurdish-speaking region at the border with Syria. Since some time, Damascus has been unable to exercise control over Syria's Kurdish-speaking region, where the PKK-affiliated PYD (Party of Democratic Union) is predominant. In July, the PYD took control of several Kurdish towns in northern Syria close to the Turkish border. Since then, Ankara has been apprehensive about the possibility of the PKK expanding its cross-border activities and of an uncontrollable escalation of Kurdish separatism. The Turkish military has therefore been more aggressively attacking the PKK. The region, where the "Patriot" missiles will probably be stationed, is, at least in part, identical with the area of this conflict.

No-Fly Zones

Secondly, if the "Patriot" radar systems are in fact stationed at the Turkish-Syrian border, they will have various areas of Syria, where the insurgents have taken control, under surveillance, and simultaneously any counterattacking Syrian helicopters and fighter jets pursuing the insurgents in these areas. Therefore, stationing "Patriot" missiles would lay the groundwork for establishing a no-fly zone, as influential sectors in the West and Syrian insurgents have been demanding for quite some time. Last week, Turkish media reported that high-ranking Turkish and US-American military officers have drawn up a plan calling for the installation of "Patriot" missiles at the Turkish-Syrian border. This plan has since been presented to President Obama, for his approval. "Patriots" have a range of several dozen kilometers - enough to thwart a Syrian air force intervention within a large radius of the border.

The New Exile Leadership

No-fly zone plans have an immediate importance through the recent negotiations for the creation of a government in exile in Qatar. A few days ago, a new leadership was named, under enormous western pressure. This leadership includes the western protégé, the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syrian National Council (SNC), which has named a new leadership. (The previous leadership proved to be too incapable of taking action.) According to reports in the media,[2] the leading figure at the Qatar negotiations, was Riad Seif, a member of the Syrian opposition, who as far back as the 1990s had maintained contact to Berlin's foreign policy establishment and, last June, actually took up residence in Berlin. Seif is involved in the activities of a multinational "working group" on the transformation of the Syrian economy, directed from an office in the German foreign ministry - under German direction. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) In Qatar, Seif promoted the naming of Moaz al Khatib, as the new chair of the "National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces." Khatib, a former cleric at the prominent Umayyaden Mosque in Damascus, is generally described in the German media as a moderate member of an influential family cultivating Damascene traditions. Critics point out that Al Khatib has publicly expressed sympathy for Yusuf al Qaradawi, currently considered one of the most influential Islamist Muslim Brotherhood clerics, residing in Qatar.[4] In addition, he has expressed contempt toward Jews and Shiites.[5]

Relocation Plans

Al Khatib's exile leadership plans to leave exile, in the next few weeks, to get installed in northern Syria,[6] where the insurgents have a large area and a majority of the border crossings to Turkey under their control - the latter insuring the possibility of logistic supplies to the insurgents. The only thing endangering the exile leadership's relocation plans are attacks by the Syrian air force, which up to now could not be blocked by the insurgents. However, a no-fly zone could. The stationing of the "Patriot" missiles would thereby, lay the groundwork for the insurgent government to become established in Syria and to further pursue the insurgency. With German "Patriot" squadrons, the German Bundeswehr is actively involved.

Other reports and background information on Germany's policy toward Syria can be found here: War Threats against Syria, Iran's Achilles Heel, War Scenarios for Syria, War Scenarios for Syria (II), With the UN toward Escalation, Market Economy for Syria, The Yemenite Solution, Smuggle Supervisors, The Day After, The Day After (II), The Day After (IV) and The Islamization of the Rebellion.

[1] Bundeswehr soll in die Türkei; www.sueddeutsche.de 17.11.2012
[2] Eine neue Koalition gegen Assad; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 13.11.2012
[3] see also The Day After (III)
[4] see also Die kommenden Kräfte
[5] Islamist-In-Chief; www.foreignpolicy.com 14.11.2012
[6] Eine neue Koalition gegen Assad; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 13.11.2012