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BEIRUT (AP) — In ramping up its military involvement in Syria's civil war, Russia appears to be betting that the West, horrified by the Islamic State group's spread and an escalating migrants crisis, may be willing to quietly tolerate President Bashar Assad for a while, perhaps as part of a transition.
The logic is that prioritizing the fight with the jihadis means accepting Assad as the less bad option despite his own brutal acts, and might produce a more effective and coordinated fight in the air and on the ground
SYRIA: GERMANY LEAVING THE RANKS OF THE US-ALLIANCE AGAINST RUSSIA
In a surprise move Germany left the anti-Putin-alliance formed by the USA: Germany is now officially welcoming Moscow’s readiness to act in Syria and is starting an initiative together with the Russians and the French to bring an end to the war. This is to stop the constant stream of refugees. Germany has ordered thousands of soldiers into readiness.
Germany surprisingly left the alliance formed together with the United States which intended to block Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict.
Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen told Der Spiegel that she welcomed president Putin’s intentions of joining the fight against the extremist organization “Islamic State”. It would be a matter of mutual interests, she said.
A speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added, Germany would welcome additional efforts of Russia in the fight against IS. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even announced the starting of a joint venture between him, Russian foreign minister Lavrov and their French colleague Laurent Fabius with the aim of bringing the Syrian civil war to an end. Lavrov and Fabius are expected to arrive in Berlin this Saturday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called upon the US-Ministry of Defence to coordinate their efforts with the Russian military. Because both sides are actively invested in Syria it would be paramount for the US to reinstate the previously ceased operational cooperation with Russia, said Lavrov on Friday in Moscow. This was intended to avoid “unintentional incidents”. Russia’s military drills in the Mediterranean would be in accordance to international law. Larvrov explained furthermore, that Russia would keep delivering weapons to the troops of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to support their struggle against the extremist organization of Islamic State (IS).
Russia already began a diplomatic offensive weeks ago. The Americans did not precisely indicate whether they would support the Russian initiative. Under no circumstances would the US give Russia credit for solving the deadlocked situation, should Russia in fact be successful. Therefore the US-government warned precautionary of a worsening in the refugee crisis should Russia intervene.
Especially the neocons are issuing warnings of any cooperation with Russia in whatever matter. US-President Obama did not clearly state whether the Russian initiative was done in coordination with the White House. Foreign Minister John Kerry went on a surprise visit to Russia in spring which, however, remained without results regarding the Syrian matter. It is likely that the US-government changed their mind in the face of the worsening of the refugee crisis so that they are now willing to cooperate with Russia in the Middle East.
German Frank-Walther Steinmeier has long been trying to conciliate behind the curtains and is therefore constantly in touch with his Russian colleague Lavrov. It looks like he is the only on in the German government who realizes that the refugee crisis will get completely out of control if the war in the middle east continues. Austria and Spain signaled days ago that a Russian participation in the battle against IS was crucial. Russia began expanding its military activities in Syria.
German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen wants to expand the deployment of the Bundeswehr in Iraq.They Bundeswehr would be ready to continue its successful work in Kurdish regions in cooperation with the Iraqi government, she told Der Spiegel on Saturday. First steps would already be undertaken. Germany delivered medical supplies, helmets and hazard-protections masks. Up to 100 Bundeswehr soldiers are training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq. Weapons were also delivered.
Von-der Leyen also ordered thousands of German soldiers into readiness in the wake of the refugee crisis. If this was done because of the refugees or hints of terror threats is still unknown. The order was given to the troops a day before, said a speaker of the ministry on Friday in response to a report by Der Spiegel. Up to 4000 soldiers are under constant readiness to be deployed. Hundreds of soldiers were deployed to help accommodate newly-arrived refugees last weekend. The solders are financially compensated for their services under this deployment order.
After a difficult meeting marked by heated debate, there was no unanimous agreement on the proposal to relocate another 120,000 refugees across the EU - with mandatory quotas for individual member states. The idea was to take the strain off countries like Greece and Italy, where most refugees first arrive. A clear majority of countries did agree to the proposal in principle, and that would be enough to push it through if necessary, against the wishes of countries like Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic that remain opposed. For now though, there will be further talks in the hope of maintaining unity, at a time when many of the core values of the European Union are being put under close scrutiny. EU ministers also agreed to push ahead with robust measures to process new arrivals more quickly and efficiently, and send home those whose asylum applications are rejected. But critics will be disappointed that more decisive action was not taken, given the scale of the crisis confronting Europe.