15:18 GMT05 December 2020
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    Germany seems to realize that the end of ISIL in Syria is near, but fears it might miss its share of the victory. Therefore it should “join the initiative, but do it without imagining a partnership with Russia”, according to Ingo Mannteufel, head of DW's Russian Department.

    “A coalition with Russia in the battle against the 'Islamic State' is the order of the day,” the author’s opinion article for the German newspaper Deutsche Welle pragmatically states.

    “The presidents of France and the USA, Francois Hollande and Barack Obama, seem to be moving in this direction. Germany should also join the initiative, but do it without imagining a partnership with Russia — and without imagining that it will only take a few years for the collapsing Middle East to develop into a prosperous, democratic part of the world as soon as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ousted from power.”

    “But of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not a partner in spirit,” the author knowingly reminds his German compatriots.

    However, the fear of Germany losing its share of the future glory weighs on him, leading him to rhetorically ask:

    “But does this all mean that an anti-IS collaboration with Russia and, via Moscow, ultimately with Assad, should be utterly ruled out? Absolutely not! Neat and tidy answers to questions of international security are seldom found surrounded exclusively by friends in cozy conference rooms.”

    “Let's not forget: NATO member Turkey and Saudi Arabia also share responsibility for the war in Syria,” Mannteufel argues.

    “It's possible to imagine some members of the "Free Syrian Army," one of the many anti-Assad groups, being capable of committing genocide against millions of Alawites after the fall of Assad. Can the West find a kindred spirit in such opposition groups? And one more concession: Many of the region's problems stem from the dangerous US interventionist policy put in place by former President George W. Bush,” he then elaborates.

    The author, however, seems to understand that Germany somehow is unable to “completely eradicate” the “apocalyptic Islamic sect” without “close military coordination with Russia", and consoles readers by stating: “After all, there is no use in lamenting the fact that Moscow has settled itself in Syria with its military bases and become an important player there."

    Pragmatically, he concludes: “the fact that Putin is scoring propaganda points should be irrelevant for now — as long as the West stands firm on its policy regarding Ukraine.”


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