What has changed during a year of Russian engagement in Syria, and is there a real chance for peace? Sputnik correspondent Ilona Pfeffer asked Willy Wimmer, former State Secretary in the German Ministry of Defense and former Vice-President of the OSCE, to assess the situation in Syria.
Sputniknews: Mr Wimmer, the fighting in Syria does not stop and agreed on cease-fires are repeatedly violated. The interference of the US and Russia is partly misleadingly documented in the media. How do you assess the situation in Syria?
Willy Wimmer: We are dealing with a protracted development that five years ago tragically culminated in the civil war and the conflict, when in reality the conflict between Syria and Israel over the Golan Heights seemed to be eliminated. They were on the verge of on agreement which could have meant peace for the entire Middle East if there had not been certain forces that had shown no interest in this peace settlement. As we know, at the beginning of the Syrian tragedy, British, French and American special forces have been traveling in this country to bring about this civil-war-like and then international dimension. So we have antecedents that would have been very hopeful if it had not been reversed. Since then, we have experienced a tragedy, the Syrian people seems to bleed to death. Now it is important that we find an end to this misery and do everything we can to ensure that the Syrian conflict is not sparked off in other countries and in our region, because that would mean the great war.
In this context, I would also like to deliberately make a connection to the investigation’s report about the downing of the Malaysian airplane, which has been presented in the Netherlands. You have to ask yourself: Are they interested in the elucidation of a tragedy, or are they looking for a casus belli? That is the dimension we are dealing with, and that is why Syria is not far away. We must do everything to contribute to a peaceful solution, and that for us it does not mean to enter the region with weapons, finance and armies.
Russia has been in attendance for a year, what successes are achieved? And what about the Americans and their partners?
The American and Western European engagement in Syria is a clear violation of international law. It is a military operation in the territory of another state which is not legitimised by the United Nations or international law. All the misery that is evident in Syria is, of course, we owe to these forces. If there is any chance that the bloodshed will end in Syria it is thanks to the effort of the Russian Federation, which is working on the side of international law to ensure that it is not unhinged. This is what the United States have been demonstrating since the war against Yugoslavia, which was a violation of international law. This is an on-site struggle in Syria, but also an controversy about whether the United States can actually accomplish the global clean sweep that they have been doing since 1999, or whether the world still has a chance to return to peaceful cooperation between peoples. Without the Russian involvement in Syria alongside the legitimate government, the world would have no chance at all.
What objectives do the US pursuit in Syria in your oppinion?
The US obviously want to draw a new map south of Western Europe and the Russian Federation. That is why we have a belt of conflicts and wars between Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, extending to the southern edge of the Mediterranean up to Mali. These are all regions where the United States are involved, waging wars, contributing to mass misery and destruction of civilisation. And they are far from stopping with it.
The Russian Federation entered into the conflict in Syria due to a legitimate liaison with the Syrian Republic and President Assad, and is on the level of international law. This makes the big difference between the United States and the Russian Federation. The United States stand for murder and terror in our surroundings and are also the cause of the migratory flows that hit us. The Russian Federation stands for the return to negotiations and reason and to a peaceful coexistence between the peoples.
The tragedy for Syria is that everything is carried out on the back of the Syrian people and that is why there is no way around to get to peace. Perhaps it will be possible to keep up the leftover of reason in Washington beyond the intringments.
Now, on the brink of the presidential election the problem with the United States is that it takes place in the most dangerous time the world can ever be in. The forces that virtually determine the United States want to commit the future American government to everything they do. That means a war is as probable as anything else, but a war that goes beyond Syria.
With the cooperation between the two superpowers it does not really work well up to now, but Russia time and again is showing willingness to cooperate. What do you think: What are the factors for the failure so far, and what chances do you give the cooperation?
Considering all the uncertainty how it ill procede, I think it is possible for both ides to come to a reapproachment, because there is much more at stake than the Syrian images reveal. Tomorrow, it may hit us in a much larger region, and the Russian Federation’s effort to prevent this and curb the conflict is adverse America’s interests. That means, that not Obama’s government determins this, but the forces that hope that Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election. This is a well-known pattern. I only hope that the dimension of the conflict is that dramatic for Washington that agreements will be obtained. If this fails, we will experience a disaster that goes beyond Syria.
Western media coverage may suggest an impression that Russia is responsible for destroying and killing civilians in Syria. How do you judge this coverage?
You have to keep two things apart. By addressing Russia it is in a position to reply itself. And that is what it does. What affects me as a consumer of Western media and what really enrages you, is the falsification of all the facts that we have experienced for years. Pluralism has once been an important part of our media landscape, but it has been abolished. We are only beaten to war anymore. This has been seen in a perverted way this year. The press officer Jamie Shea, who has beaten us to the Yugoslavian war in 1999, was even officially honored this year in Berlin for his merits. There you see what’s going on with our media landscape! The Western European democracy is going to the dogs.
Whose interests are being pursued here, and what message shall be transported?
The message here is: we are beating the war drums, even in terms of the Russian Federation. Two years ago, during the Maidan coup in Kiev, we only came within a whisker of a conflict with the Russian Federation. This is the goal that we have been able to see in American politics since 1999, and that is what kills us all.
You spoke of the American interests. But what role does Germany play?
With Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder, we have seen that they still had enough backbone to represent German interests within NATO and not participate in armed conflicts. Have a look at the situation today, where our defense minister goes to Iraq and announces further German military engagement. To my disappointment, I must say that Berlin is not on the level of Bonn, as far as the perception of German interests is concerned. •
Source: https://de.sputniknews.com/politik/20160930/312765719/willy-wimmer-wir-werden-in-krieg- gepruegelt.html?utm_source=short_direct&utm_medium=short_url&utm_content=csyV&utm_campaign=URL_shortening of 30 September 002016
(Translation Current Concerns)
“In early summer 1988, the Working Group Defense of the CDU/CSU faction of the German Bundestag flew to Washington. Since my election as a chairman, we met there every year with representatives of the Congress and the American government to discuss foreign and security policy issues. The talks were always intense and open. We coordinated important issues of Alliance policy there. This year, however, was a surprise. The bus, which we had taken at the airport, did not go to Downtown, but instead turned westwards towards the Potomac River. The trip went directly to the headquarters of the CIA at Langley. We were astonished to hear remarks of a completely new American policy against the Soviet Union: We should free ourselves – so the message at the big round table – from what we had been hearing over the past decades about military potentials and strategies in the conflict between East and West in Europe. The results of a study on this topic were said to be clear: the Soviet Union was said to pursue purely defensive intentions. It was all about defense to protect ’Mother Russia’. It was said that the past strategy of the Warsaw Pact was ultimately only a consistent response to the murderous attacks of Napoleon and Hitler, and this had nothing to do with aggression at all. This new view of things was maintained for a long time by the White House.”
Willy Wimmer. Die Akte Moskau, 2016, pp. 11
(Translation Current Concerns)
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