Nevertheless, concerns about another disaster in the civil war country are growing
As the EPP’s top candidate for the European elections in May, Weber had raised the claim to the office of Commission head, as his Christian Democratic party family remained the strongest force. Macron, however, denied Weber the experience and, together with other countries, blocked his appointment at the EU summit. As a compromise, the then Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen became a candidate. Weber called Macron’s argument “” rather presumptuous “”. It is not the French president who decides who is suitable for office, but the voter.
After the election, Weber failed to forge a majority in parliament and thus put pressure on the heads of state and government to nominate him. Now Weber criticized the other parties: They had “” not respected the winner, “said the CSU vice-president. “” I was not aware of that in this force – and yes, I also underestimated that. “” The Social Democratic top candidate Frans Timmermans simply disappeared for a week and a half after the European elections. There is also a change in political culture: “” Party interests are placed above the country and the continent. “”
After the election, he experienced difficult months and searched for inner balance, Weber reported. Now he will “” get up and fight “”. Weber left it open whether he wants to become President of the European Parliament in two years.
Assad on the march, a military convoy is on fire. Turkey faces severe defeat in Syria. An escalation of the war could now be the last option for Erdogan.
There is a loud bang, huge clouds of smoke can be seen from a great distance. A semi-trailer truck, loaded with a tank, rescues itself from the haze of the explosion. A fighter plane operated by the Bashar al-Assad regime had previously attacked a Turkish military convoy in Idlib. It can be seen on a video from eyewitnesses. It is not the first time that Turkish troops have been shelling in the Syrian province. Assad’s attack on the last rebel stronghold is in full swing. Thanks to the support of Russia and Iran, the Syrian rulers are certain of victory – and Turkey suddenly finds itself in another Syrian war.
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With a mere military presence, Turkey wanted to stop the Syrian regime from attacking Idlib province. The Turkish government relied primarily on pledges from Moscow not to attack the rebels in northwest Syria. This trust was naive, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now in a quandary: If he lets Assad go, there is a risk of new flows of refugees and a massive loss of power and face for Turkey in foreign policy. In retrospect, the Syrian campaign by Turkey would be a fiasco; central strategic goals were not achieved. If Erdogan wants to avoid failure, he has to send more troops to Syria.courage in to kill a mockingbird essay The risk of escalation increases.
Erdogan’s goals in Syria
Turkish foreign policy under Erdogan follows a neo-Omani agenda. The aim was to expand the country’s sphere of influence and become the dominant power in the region. But Turkey often speculated. In Egypt they allied themselves with the Muslim Brotherhood, who were arrested in large numbers by the army and finally banned. In Syria, Turkey supported the opposition to Assad from the start. The Syrian ruler is an opponent of Erdogan and belongs to a Shiite Islamic movement (Alevitism), while Turkey is dominated by Sunni. This is one of the reasons why Ankara armed radical Sunni Islamists with weapons in the fight against Assad.
For a long time, everything went according to plan for Erdogan, and NATO partners also supplied weapons to the Syrian rebels in the fight against the terrorist militia “Islamic State”. Assad was weakened and only controlled individual areas of the country. Russia and Iran prevented Assad’s defeat by intervening in the conflict in 2015. In just under four years, the Syrian ruler’s army recaptured large parts of the country.
The current balance of power in the Syrian civil war. (Source: t-online)
The rebels backed by Turkey were in retreat. And from Erdogan’s point of view, the strategic situation became even more complicated: right on the Turkish-Syrian border there is a large area controlled by Kurds after the fight against IS. A nightmare for Ankara, because the Turkish government wants to prevent a retreat area for fighters of the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK.
German tanks in Afrin
Turkish troops therefore attacked Afrin and occupied the Syrian province in the northwest with the help of partly Islamist rebels. Tanks made in Germany now also rolled on Syrian soil. Ankara actually wanted to expel the Kurds in the north and northwest of Syria from the border area, but the soldiers stationed there from the USA, Great Britain and France protect the Kurdish militias, which were immensely important in the fight against IS. To Erdogan’s annoyance.
South of Afrin, Turkey extended its influence to Idlib. The province is controlled by radical Islamists. Ankara supplied arms, set up observation posts on the provincial borders and negotiated a ceasefire for Idlib with the Assad regime, Russia and Iran. In return, Turkey promised to take action against jihadism in the region. Both sides failed to keep their promises, and the ceasefire did not last long.
For Russia, the fight against terrorism is a pretext reason to attack. Assad never made a secret of wanting to retake this province as well. Since April 2019 fierce and fierce fighting has raged, Russian soldiers are said to have taken these pictures of night artillery shots in the southern part of Idlib:
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Assad and Russia seem to want to end the fighting as quickly as possible. And the states involved in the war are taking advantage of the fact that the world is currently no longer looking too much at Syria. The air strikes are intense, and according to aid organizations, schools and hospitals are also targeted. The attrition tactic works.
The final catastrophe
But it is precisely for this reason that the civil war in Syria is heading towards its perhaps ultimate catastrophe. After the fighting in other areas, defeated rebels were brought to Idlib in buses with their families. Tens of thousands of well-armed fighters are in the province. It is the last rebel stronghold, so surrender is unlikely.
Great Battle of Idlib: Will the War End in a Massacre?
There are currently an estimated 2.5 million people in the region, many of them refugees from other parts of the country. Unicef expects at least one million new refugees who have no other way out than to head for Turkey.
Turkish President Erdogan is facing a severe defeat in Syria. (Source: imago images)
A problem for Erdogan: Turkey has already taken in more than 3.7 million refugees. In view of the economic and lira crisis, the Turkish population is becoming more and more annoyed. That is why the Turkish government is increasingly bringing refugees back to Syria, preferably in waves of resettlement to Afrin, in order to counter a Kurdish majority on the Turkish border.
“” Our soldiers are there on the ground “”
The new offensive will finally turn the Syrian war into a dead end for Turkey, and a way out is difficult to see. If he wants to prevent defeat, Erdogan currently only has the option of sending more soldiers to the neighboring country. But war is expensive, especially in times of massive decline in the lira, and the Turkish population is tired of war.
“” Decisive victory “”: Syrian troops invade rebel city
A new Turkish offensive would also be dangerous. Because Russia also operates with ground troops in Idlib. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently confirmed this: “” Of course we are not just following the situation, our soldiers are there on the ground. “”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has played off his Turkish counterpart by attacking Idlib. Ankara and Moscow have a very ambivalent relationship anyway. When a Russian fighter plane was shot down by Turkey in 2015, war almost broke out. After Erdogan’s apology, the two countries grew closer again. Most recently, to the annoyance of NATO, Turkey bought an air defense system from Russia. In Syria, however, the two countries are pursuing different goals and Putin is counting on Assad.
Turkey base encircled
And now soldiers of the NATO member and the nuclear power in Syria face each other. The situation is particularly dire in the Mork region, on the border with Idlib. Here is a Turkish observation post that has meanwhile been surrounded by Assad troops. Turkey still does not want to withdraw. “We have no intention of setting up the observation post anywhere else,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu. “The Syrian regime shouldn’t play with fire.” “Russia wants the post to be relocated, which would mean that Turkey withdraws completely from the south of Idlib. “” We are in contact with Russia at all levels, “said Cavusoglu.
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Nevertheless, concerns about another disaster in the civil war country are growing. If Erdogan decides not to withdraw from Idlib, this would lead directly to a direct war between Ankara and Damascus. If he accepts the loss of face, Turkey will be dependent on the goodwill of Putin, who is the main actor in Syria. But giving up its goals in Syria would take a serious blow to Turkey’s self-image as the successor to the Ottoman Empire and as the dominant country in the region. A dilemma, especially for the power politician Erdogan.
Sources used: Erdogan’s own research Putin presents (SpiegelOnline) With material from the news agencies afp and dpaTwitterSyrianwarmap (English) show more sources less sources
For the USA, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea is a nuisance that they hope to stop with sanctions. Russia and Germany, however, are sticking to the project. However, the construction will probably take longer.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US sanctions may delay the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline until 2021. “We will certainly bring this to a close on our own – independently and without the involvement of foreign partners,” “said the Kremlin chief on Saturday at a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in the Kremlin in Moscow. At the same time he announced his support for a Libya conference in Berlin.
Putin also said that the end of the construction of the pipeline through the Baltic Sea will move a few months back. “I hope the work will be completed and the gas pipeline will be operational by the end of this year or the first quarter of next year,” “he said. Not long ago the Ministry of Energy in Moscow was optimistic that Nord Stream 2 could be connected to the grid by the end of the year.
Swiss specialist company withdrew
US sanctions had initially stopped the project because the Swiss company Allseas withdrew its special ships for fear of fines. Special ships are required to lay the pipes at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The US justified its action against Nord Stream 2 with the protection of energy security in Europe.
Putin added that he appreciated the attitude and support of the federal government on the energy project. Merkel again emphasized that Nord Stream 2 is a purely economic project. However, several EU countries and Ukraine are against the project. The USA is being criticized for wanting to sell its own, expensively produced liquid gas in Europe.
The conflict between the USA and Iran was also an issue
The Chancellor last visited Russia in 2018. This time she was accompanied by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD), who was holding bilateral talks with his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov. The Chancellor’s meeting with Putin focused on the tensions between the US and Iran and the civil war in Libya.
The Kremlin chief declared his support for an international conference in Berlin, at which a peace solution for the civil war country should be reached. “Some things still need to be prepared, but it would be a good step in the right direction,” said Putin. However, this must be precisely coordinated with the Libyan side.
Merkel stressed that she hoped that Russian efforts to reach a ceasefire in Libya would be successful. “” Such a Berlin conference can only be the prelude to a longer process, “” she said in Moscow. The conference should come about under the leadership of the United Nations. It is important that the interests of the Libyans themselves are in the foreground.
The German government has been trying for months to find a political solution for Libya, where civil war has raged since the overthrow of long-term ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011. A conference with international conflicting parties was actually planned for the end of 2019 and then pushed back to January. Putin, who is on the side of the influential General Khalifa Haftar, and his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a ceasefire on Wednesday. The conflicting parties should therefore stop their hostilities at midnight on Sunday night.
Merkel and Putin want to save the nuclear deal
Another topic at the rare bilateral meeting with Putin was the explosive situation in Iran. Berlin and Moscow are in favor of the so-called Vienna Agreement of 2015 being implemented in the nuclear conflict with the USA, said Putin. Merkel stressed that Germany wanted to “” keep the agreement with Iran “alive”. All diplomatic channels must be used for this, she demanded. “” Iran shouldn’t get nuclear weapons. “”