BERLIN/WASHINGTON/DAMASCUS | | syrien

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." more…

"Rebels"

DAMASCUS/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | syrien

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. more…

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

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. more…

DAMASCUS/MOSCOW/BERLIN | | syrien

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. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

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. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/MOSCOW | | syrienrussische-foederation

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. more…

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is increasing political pressure, in its efforts to have a greater impact in the power struggle over Syria. In view of the civilian population's horrible situation in the fiercely contested region of East Ghouta, east of Damascus - dominated by an al Qaida offshoot and several of its allied militias - Chancellor Merkel is accusing the Syrian government of not waging a war "on terrorists" but on "its own people." Similar accusations have already been raised during the battle to retake Eastern Aleppo, which cost the lives of nearly 3,500 civilians, according to western sources. No such accusations, however, were raised against the anti-IS war coalition - with German Bundeswehr participation - when at least 1,400, and from 9000 - 11,000 civilians were killed in their battles to retake Raqqa and Mosul respectively. Double standards are typical for politicians and media in countries involved in war, particularly when they face defeat. more…

RIYADH/WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | usasaudi-arabiensyrienirak

RIYADH/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - As the findings of the UK-based organization "Conflict Armament Research" (CAR) confirms, the IS had disposed of a significant amount of firearms and ammunition from EU arsenals to defend itself in Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul against the Anti-IS-Coalition. According to this research, two of Germany's most important arms customers - the United States and Saudi Arabia - had acquired military hardware from Romania and Bulgaria to provide it to insurgent militias in Syria, which had transferred some of it to the IS. For example, anti-tank missiles were re-exported to Syria without the knowledge or approval of the original suppliers. The Free Syrian Police, which had been co-financed by the German Foreign Ministry, has also supplied jihadis. It employs police officers selected from al Qaeda's Syrian subsidiary. In at least one case, these officers had facilitated the stoning execution of two women. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - German companies are seeking to favorably position themselves for participation in Syria's post-war reconstruction. Following the Damascus International Fair, which closed yesterday, the director of the Middle East Department of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) noted, the development in the country is being "closely observed" and "a series of cautious initial inquiries" are already being registered. The Damascus International Fair is one of the most traditional fairs in the region and was held again, for the first time, since the beginning of the war. Particularly companies from Russia, Iran and China have good prospects for participating in Syria's rebuilding. Since 2012, the German government has been eager to provide emergency aid and reconstruction. However, this aid was restricted to regions under insurgent control. Idlib Province, today controlled by the al-Qaeda offshoot al-Nusra (renamed Tahrir al-Sham) is one of those regions benefiting. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/BAGHDAD | | iraksyrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/BAGHDAD (Own report) - In light of the western powers' possible massive loss of influence in the Middle East, German foreign policy-makers are intensifying their threats of sanctions on Moscow. Norbert Röttgen (CDU), Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee of the German parliament calls for economic punishment to be imposed for suspected or actual war crimes committed by the Russian military in East Aleppo. The renowned British Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk, strongly criticizes the rampant propaganda campaign raging - also here in Germany - around the hard fought battle for East Aleppo. Fisk notes that it is remarkable that the militias in East Aleppo are being euphemized as "rebels," because one of the most powerful among them is an Al Qaeda subsidiary. After all, that embellishes and is protective toward those responsible for 9/11. Besides, the large number of civilian casualties caused by western air raids in the war against IS is being ignored. A renowned NGO source in the USA estimates currently more than 2,000 civilians killed. The notorious double standards of western propaganda are accompanying the US and European powers' unsuccessful efforts to thwart Russia's rising influence in the Middle East. more…