By Theodore Shoebat
Germany’s new Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, wants to put thousands of German troops in Syria as a way to help stabilize the region. According to a report from Kurdistan24, Germany wants to deploy 2,500 troops, including scouts, special operations forces, and armored vehicles. She wants this force of German troops to work in conjunction with both Russia and Turkey. In an interview that she did with DW, Karrenbaur said:
“My recommendation is that we establish an internationally controlled security zone in cooperation with Turkey and Russia. This security zone would seek to resume the fight against terror and against ISIS, which has currently come to a standstill.”
Now, Karrenbaur is stating that one of the goals of Germany is to make sure that Turkey does not remain permanently entrenched in Syria. But, she also affirms that the move cannot be done without talks with Turkey and seeing to it that Turkey’s own interests are respected in talks on Syria:
“We have to see to it that on the one hand, Turkey does not remain in northern Syria. We see the invasion as a violation of international law. So the current situation must not be extended. And, on the other hand, that the territory of Syria remains intact as stated in the resolution passed by the United Nations, and that the constitutional process currently getting underway is continued. In my view this requires a strong European initiative, one we should discuss bilaterally with Turkey and Russia. … In my view it is essential that we include Turkey in the discussions, because Turkey undeniably has its own security interests.”
In this, Karrenbaur appears to be duplicitous. For one, she says that Turkey cannot remain forever in Syria nor take more territory. She then says that Turkey’s own interest must be factored in. Turkey’s interests, ultimately, is to control the Middle East. So how can there be any serious discussion on preventing an expanding Turkey if Turkey’s interests are going to be seen as something of importance? Turkey is not in Syria to be limited to only one part of a region, but to completely supplant the Syrian state. Remember what Erdogan said: “We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason”. Turkey’s invasion of Syria is being done to completely remove the Assad government. In other words, its a takeover. Turkey’s interest is domination. So if Germany is going to respect Turkey’s interests, then Germany is going to have to back further Turkish expansionism.
Moreover, if German troops are going to be in Syria side by side with Turkish troops, they are going to abide by the ways of the EU’s alliance with Turkey. Thus, Germany’s military isn’t going to go against Turkey, but just like the US, will be in support for Turkey.
Even if Turkey and Germany are in some sort of “spat,” this does not mean anything. In 2018 they were saying that the Turks and Germans were going through tensions over immigration, and that ended very quickly when Merkel said that the “Turkish economy’s strength is important for Germany.” They were saying the same thing about US-Turkish relations when the American pastor, Andrew Brunson, was in house arrest. But even Erdogan acknowledged that regardless of the state of the pastor the US was going to give northern Syria to Turkey. And it is quite astounding that after Brunson’s release he praised Erdogan and even said that the US should force Fetullah Gülen back to Turkey where he would be imprisoned. In Brunson’s own words: “If it was up to me, send him to Turkey”. Brunson also asked God to bless and use Erdogan. “To me, God will use my pain in favor of Turkey, [and] for Turkey’s blessing. I want God [to] use President Erdoğan. He is Turkey’s leader, even if some like him or not,” he said, adding that he hopes God will “use him to bless Turkey, bring wisdom and justice.”
As soon as this “pastor” was released, the Trump and Erdogan immediately commenced a discussion on Washington’s “Manbij roadmap” which was heavily promoted by Mike Pompeo. Now Turkey is further invading Syria, and even though the US has expressed outrage, this doesn’t change the fact that the Trump administration has been in favor for a Turkish expansion deeper into northern Syria (and this was indicated when Trump removed all sanctions against Turkey). Its the same thing with Germany. Even if you have reports being brought to the public that say that there is a spat between Berlin and Ankara, the reality still remains that since Germany’s unification in 1871, the Germans and Turks have been allies, and all that history isn’t going to change overnight.
The perception of German-Turkish tensions I believe is created to make people think that the Germans and Turks are not completely in cahoots. When Turkey was doing its offense in Afrin in 2018, the Turks were using German Leopard tanks. In January of 2018, it was confirmed that Germany had been supplying Turkey with Leopard 2A4 tanks for its offensive against Afrin. The public outcry over this was so loud that Germany announced that it would suspend a request by Turkey for German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall to upgrade the tanks to make them less vulnerable to explosives. But this was all a show, since Germany did not cease its supply of tanks to Turkey. In fact it was reported by DW:
“Germany continues to authorize the export of weapons to Turkey despite criticizing the country’s offensive in the Syrian enclave of Afrin, German public broadcaster ARD reported Thursday.
The German government has approved the export of military equipment worth €4.4 million ($5.4 million) since January 20, when Turkey launched its offensive against Kurdish militia in Afrin, ARD said, citing a response from the Foreign Ministry to a question by the Left party.
The value of the approvals in the month preceding the offensive was almost €10 million.”
What is occurring is the inevitable result of the United States giving the perception of its absence in Syria. When the United States government announced that it was going to withdraw from Syria, it knew that the Turks would fill up the vacuum. Now, of course the United States is not completely absent in Syria, but nonetheless there is an international perception that America’s empire is losing its ubiquitousness. The enthusiasm to fill the void has now suddenly flared, with Russia and Turkey putting their militaries in Syria, and now with Germany wanting deploy her military force in that country. When the biggest empire in history, the United States, decides to leave anything, the other powerful countries will seek to take her spot. The empires of the passed — Ottoman, Russian, German, Japanese — are all seeking to bring back their old glory. The Turks used to control the Middle East, and they are still the most powerful of the Islamic nations and thus, with the US giving them the green light, they are in a perfect position to revive their past strength.