In December, the German Bundestag hastily decided to participate in the anti-IS campaign in Syria led by the U.S. There was a mere 77-minutes-long discussion by MPs before the majority decided to send up to 1,200 German soldiers to war in the Middle East. As a result, perhaps the most fatal and dangerous military deployment in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany has begun. Nothing is clear. There is no strategy. We do not even know whom we are fighting in Syria, and who is our ally.
The reason for this military expedition is grotesque: the German government wants to respond to the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on November 13. Germany has developed an increased interest in "fighting terrorism" according to the country’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. But instead of taking the threat seriously, immediately closing the borders, and trying to gain an understanding of the chaos caused by mass migration, the German Chancellor maintains the dangerous Willkommenskultur (welcoming-culture policy). Potential terrorists can continue traveling to Europe without any problems. Neither the Chancellor nor the mainstream media mentions this subject. To the contrary, they imposed a political taboo onto citizens and themselves as well. The issues of immigration and security policy should not be mixed, they say. Unfortunately, a potential terrorist does not see it the same way. The so-called Islamic State had announced several months ago that thousands of fighters are infiltrating Europe.
Who are our enemies, and who are our allies in the Syrian theater of war? Neither the German government nor the opposition appear to be clear about this. Germany is to fight on the side of the so-called "anti-IS coalition" led by Washington, which includes states like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Both countries officially support terrorist gangs in Syria; they finance and organize their supplies. These supplies often land right in the hands of the terrorist brigades of the "Islamic State." Even the Bundesnachrichtendienst (German Federal Intelligence Service) pointed out the negative role of Saudi Arabia in the Syrian war. The Berlin government responded with disinterest. Meanwhile, Berlin maintains embargoes and sanctions against precisely those states that effectively combat terrorism in Syria: Syria itself as well as Russia and Iran. The Syrian army could be more successful in fighting the IS and other terrorist groups, if Berlin would work to ensure that the EU freezes all sanctions and embargoes against Damascus for at least the duration of the war. Germany could thus play an important role in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East without jeopardizing the life of a single German soldier.
All these factors were not even considered in the parliamentary debate that lasted 77 minutes. If it were not for war or peace, the whole thing might have been dismissed as typical Berlin incompetence. But this decision involves the lives of German soldiers and the German national security interests. Such fundamental concerns have hitherto never really interested Berlin.
Picture: Panzergrenadiere bei einer Übung mit dem Ausbildungsgerät Duellsimulator, kurz AGDUS, auf dem Truppenübungsplatz Jägerbrück bei Torgelow (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). ©Bundeswehr/S.Wilke