The West cannot ignore Russia; dazed Germany sitting on the fence

Russian President Vladimir Putin presides a meeting on relief efforts following a fire in Kemerovo. March 27, 2018. Kemerovo. Presidency of Russia photo.

After the missile attacks by the Western trio of US, Britain and France against Damascus and other positions in war torn Syria, the Russian overlords and Assad regime in that part of the world, continues pursuing their agenda, as if nothing happened. From a certain angle truly nothing has changed regarding the military and political situation on the ground. The dynamics of the Bashar al-Assad government forces, fully supported and controlled by Russia, don’t seem to have been damaged. Even the British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, confirmed, that the missile attack was not actually aimed and changing the military situation on the ground or undermining the Damascus regime.

No later than a few days after the attacks and the Assad army is preparing one more major military aggression against the opposition forces. According to information published by the Reuters agency on 17 April, “The Syrian army started shelling a jihadist enclave south of Damascus on Tuesday in preparation for an operation to retake the area, a commander in a pro-Damascus regional military alliance said. The commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the operation would target the Islamic State and the Nusra Front groups in Yarmouk Camp and the adjoining al-Hajar al-Aswad area”.

Who is winning?

One after the other, the Assad enemies are being targeted and exterminated, because the West has committed not only tactical blunders by changing targets all the time, but also by not having clear strategic goals. The previous US administration under former President Barack Obama was too late to understand what was at stake in Syria. As for Donald Trump, the President of ‘America first’, one week after he had asked his generals to prepare a withdrawal from Syria, he ordered the firing of tens of Tomahawks in a face saving effort.

It’s not an exaggeration to allege that Trump reacted to the TV images of children being affected by Assad’s poisonous bombs, in a media persona’s way he definitely is. We cannot believe, though, that a person like Trump was truly and deeply moved by the suffering of the Syrian people. No doubt then, Trump’s reaction to attack Damascus with missiles, was more of a media affair rather than a calculated tactical step serving a clearly set strategy to solidify US position in the region.

The bigger picture

So, today, the West under the leadership of Washington, appears not only indecisive about Syria, but also deeply divided in relation not only to targets but also about alliances. The tight bonding of France and Britain in Syria and more so vis-à-vis Russia has created a deep European divide. There is a lot more at stake than the future of Assad. In the wider image, what happens in the devastated country has opened the way for Russia to assume a really pivotal role in the Middle East and strengthen her role elsewhere.

Moscow has not only cemented a pivotal role in shaping the future of Syria. It has achieved to develop close relations with both the major Muslim countries of the Region. Russia has a close political and military alliance with Iran in Syria and, on this base, she has developed strong political and economic relations with the Shia Muslim leadership in Tehran. At the same time, Putin has managed to conclude a very important agreement with the Sunni Saudi Arabia about the pricing and the production of crude oil.

This pact has helped the two countries to significantly increase their income from the exports of crude. They both badly need the extra profits, being totally dependent on oil exports and both encountering grave problems in financing their government budgets. Not difficult to explain then why King Salman is the first Saudi monarch to have visited Moscow. The Russia-Saudi pact is so economically important for both sides, that none of them would easily endanger it for anything.

Russia’s grip on the Middle East

Apart from that, Russia has up to certain degree dragged Turkey away from the Western block and Putin has paid good attention to maintain a good level of working relations with Israel and more so with Egypt. The result is Russia, with an economy thirteen times smaller than the US, has managed to restore its sway in the Middle East, a region of global strategic importance, where the old USSR had a leading role. All that makes Russia not only a casual contender of US’s position, but a real challenger of American supremacy. More so because Moscow has based its relations with the two major powers of the region, Iran and Saudi Arabia on sound business deals.

The turn of Europe

Also, in Europe, Moscow has primarily based its political standing on sound economic facts. Germany depends on Russian natural gas. The two are currently working hard to further increase this link, by building a second pipeline through the Baltic Sea alongside the first one. It’s about the Nord Stream Line I and II. No wonder then if Germany, the largest and richest European Union country, can’t really decide on which side she stands. The Syrian knot revealed that Berlin watches Russia with awe. This was more than evident in relation to the Western missile attack against the Assad regime and his Russian masters.

Germany is so confused by the West-Russia division, that members of the government in Berlin cannot find a compromise between them, about the challenging questions of our times. According to the respected and reliable news group Handelsblatt, Heiko Mass, German Foreign Minister said “Nobody can imagine that anyone who uses chemical weapons against their people can be part of that solution”. At the same time and in direct contrast with Mass, Jürgen Hardt, the leading foreign affairs spokesmen for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, “quickly rejected that notion. It is obvious that Russia cannot agree to a solution without Assad he said”.

Germany frozen

Clearly Germany feels tied with Russia in a way that brings the country in direct conflict with her closest European ally, France. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared overtaken by what happens in Syria between Russia and the West. She said, “To simply do nothing is also difficult.” It’s as if the largest and richest European Union country has developed reflexes and attitude of an overgrown Belgium.

All in all, Russia has managed to gain a strong position in world affairs and this probably has repercussions even on the US political agenda. The alleged implication of Moscow in the American presidential election of November 2016 and the current judicial prosecution of Trump’s top aides for colluding with Russians to help him get to the White House, are very characteristic.

In short, the world that was united after the fall of communism in Europe, is now taking some steps backwards. The fact, though, that there are no two well shaped and structured camps, which can be centrally controlled as in the old days may prove to be a problem. This makes an accidental ignition of a wider military confrontation more plausible and more difficult to control, because some players may chose the…difficult position of ‘doing nothing’.

 

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Women Empowering inside Medical Schools

JADE Spring Meeting 2017 – day 3: JADE Academy trainings, networking session and gala dinner – Excellence Awards winners revealed

3 ways to fight stress at work

Rule of Law: European Commission takes new step to protect judges in Poland against political control

The three biggest challenges for India’s future

Fleeing violence, Cameroonian refugee arrivals in Nigeria pass 30,000, reports UN refugee agency

How debt for climate swaps could spur a green recovery

Further reforms will promote a stronger and more inclusive Hungarian economy

Robots and chatbots can help alleviate the mental health epidemic

The EU Spring Summit set to challenge austerity

COVID-19: Why we must take the widescreen view of workforce uncertainty

Why this city is paying people to move there

To build a circular economy, we need to put recycling in the bin

Digital Single Market: New EU rules for online subscription services

The new crisis is already creeping into the financial system

Digital democracy: a Swiss view on digital trust

European Citizens’ Initiative: A game of much publicity and one big lie

Few countries are pricing carbon high enough to meet climate targets

East Africa locusts threaten food insecurity across subregion, alerts UN agriculture agency

Commission welcomes political agreement on Recovery and Resilience Facility

A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

Team Europe increased Official Development Assistance to €66.8 billion as the world’s leading donor in 2020

COVID-19: MEPs call for measures to close the digital gap in education

Children are so hungry in one British town they are eating from bins

How man and machine can work together in the age of AI

COVID-19: A new drug is tested, and other top science stories of the week

Being blinded by labels stops social change. Art helps us see a better future

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

I have a rare disease. This is my hope for the future of medicine

EU to relocate 40,000 migrants across the bloc: first step of a long due substantial reform?

Iceland to take vacated US seat on Human Rights Council

EU attempts to make new deal with Turkey as relations deteriorate

UN mission welcomes Afghan government’s announcement of Eid holiday ceasefire

Rehn ready to sacrifice part of the real economy

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Can the EU afford a trade war with China?

Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker’s visit to the White House

Trump’s America divides the world, bullies China and Europe

China Unlimited – The chinese tourism in Lisbon

Rights of ‘gilets jaunes’ protesters in France, ‘disproportionately curtailed’, say UN independent experts

Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible trade restrictions by Mondelēz

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: MEPs demand action to protect citizens’ privacy

Protector or polluter? The impact of COVID-19 on the movement to end plastic waste

The EU Commission lets money market funds continue the unholy game of banks

Learning lessons from across Europe – the hidden costs of COVID-19 on lung cancer

China repels EU allegations of export subsidies

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

Failing to agree climate action would ‘not only be immoral’ but ‘suicidal’, UN chief tells COP24

Agreement reached on new EU Solidarity Corps

New identity cards deliver recognition and protection for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

UN ‘prioritizing needs’, ramping up aid, as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas

How this one change can help people fight poverty

Haitian President at General Assembly calls for essential development aid as UN mission shifts away from peacekeeping

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

Commission welcomes provisional agreement on the European Climate Law

UN Chief says ending poverty ‘a question of justice’ on International Day

Go early, go hard and keep it simple: how Senegal is staying ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s