New developments in the Middle East?

km. There are numerous analyses and opinions regarding the current situation in the Middle East. But there is no consensus in their assessment. Thus it makes sense to be cautious. But it seems like the German government’s signals, searching for a common ground with the Russian government regarding Syria and the fight against the IS which is inappropriately called “state” in its long form and even to give up its present claim of the immediate resignation of the Syrian President Assad, is matching the latest analysis of William F. Engdahl (“Jetzt hat Washington im Nahen und Mittleren Osten verloren”, Kopp-Online from 21.9.2015).
Engdahl writes that since 2003 the US “had succeeded in gambling away all their strategic influence and all their allies in the whole Middle East and the Gulf region”. Russia, however, increased its influence in the Middle East and the Gulf region and is now, according to Engdahl, “calling for the formation of an international coalition, inviting the US to join it, together with the countries of the region and the members of the Collective Treaty Organization (CSTO).” In his explanation, Engdahl writes: “At their meeting on 15 September 2015 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the heads of states of the CSTO member states condemned the terrorism in Syria and Iraq, especially the terror of the Islamic State. They declared to be willing to send troops to Syria under the supervision of the United Nations, just like NATO. It is a new development, not appreciated by Washington, that all of a sudden there is now a second player playing the same game. The CSTO countries want to discuss their strategy to form a global coalition against ISIS during the UN general assembly, end of September. The CSTO includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.“ But Russia has also succeeded in including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Engdahl writes: “Obviously, the new Saudi King and his consultants have realized that the neo-conservative falcons who are feeding the ISIS, Al-Qaida’s Nusra Front and the Muslim Brothers in the Middle East, are now targeting the monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states.” And, according to Engdahl, Israel, due to various interests in the exploitation of natural resources in the Mediterranean, is also searching closer ties with Moscow. William F. Engdahl is not the only one to observe this; these considerations are also mentioned in a German Deutschlandfunk interview (24.9.2015) with the former Under-secretary of State in the Foreign Ministry and Ambassador to the USA, Jürgen Chrobog. In the interview, Chrobog states that “Netanyahu’s visit in Moscow was an indication that they are joining the Russian line.”
The radio station headlined the interview with “We need Russia” and indeed the former German politician is arguing along this line. There were “common interests between the West and Russia” in Syria, he said. Russia was feeling “threatened by the Islamic State. In the Northern Caucasus, the IS is already building up its own structures. This is highly dangerous for Russia. So there is a common ground which eventually can form a structure for the future between the West, the Americans, and Russia, in order to take action against the IS.”
Chrobog is not pleased that Russia is supporting the Syrian President Assad and gaining influence in the Middle East. And yet he says: “It has been realized that it will not work without Russia. Russia will be needed, also in the fight against the IS, also in finding a peaceful solution in Syria one day, one has to approach Russia.” Then he adds: “Russia has been highly neglected in the past. Just imagine how Russia has been treated: in 2014, Obama spoke of a regional power. Russia has been disqualified – and this is the response.” Chrobog is speaking of Moscow’s increasing influence in the Middle East. Regarding collaboration with Assad, he later adds that it would not imply treason towards the moderate rebels in Syria: “The rebels are widely pushed back. With respect to the war, they hardly play a role. And if you imagine what could now happen after Assad’s resignation: The country would probably dissolve, just like we saw it happen in Libya. Nobody can be interested in this. What we need now is structures.” We could now be resentful and ask: Have you said this to your allies in Washington, too? But we won’t do this here. Instead we finally want to point to an article in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” of 24 September 2015. The title was: “Russia welcomes Merkel’s proposal for a dialog with Assad.” In the article we read: “Russia has welcomed Chancellor Merkel’s (CDU) assessment that talk about ending the war needs to include the Syrian ruler Baschar al Assad. The Chancellor’s position is conforming to Moscow’s position, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told the News Agency Interfax on Thursday. It was ‘unrealistic’ to exclude the ‘legitimate president’ of Syria from the search for a conflict solution. ‘The Chancellor’s declaration agrees with what President Putin has already stated several times: Only the Syrian people can decide Syria’s fate.’”
Europe and Germany are standing with their backs to the wall. Angela Merkel will be aware of that, too. Millions of people who were living in Syria and fleeing from the violence are on their way to Europe; Europe and the EU states are facing immense challenges. To continue closing our eyes to the dangers which the IS creates, directly and indirectly, can have catastrophic consequences. The neo-conservative playing with the fire is threatening to set the whole of Europe ablaze. Also here the collaboration with Russia is in Europe’s central interest. New nuclear bombs in Büchel are absolutely not suitable here.    •