War in Syria: Germany’s role in the crisis

AllemagneThousands of children, women, and young men today are trying to escape the devastating conflict in their home country Syria, in hopes of reaching a safe haven in Europe. If you ask their destination, the answer is most frequently Germany. Homeless children hold up signs with Germany, Germany plastered on them; the same chant we hear from the crowds standing at closed borders and walking up the highway.

gerrs170,000 Syrian refugees, in 2015 only, have arrived in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel has made her position clear: she plans to welcome Syrian refugees, claiming that those who reach the country may claim asylum in Germany; nonetheless, Germany will do whatever stands in its power to end the crisis. Germany has not been involved militarily and, with the number of refugees exponentially growing, states and cities are increasingly nervous. Could the migration flow ever be stopped? What is Germany actually doing to end the crisis?

Since September 2014, Germany has been taking part in a US-led Coalition against ISIL, a key threat in the Syrian Conflict; however, conversely with France, Australia, the US, and Russia, it has not performed any airstrikes or otherwise been militarily involved. Although many politicians believe a “Bundeswehr” operation against ISIL is indispensable, Merkel still bets on soft power. Earlier this month, Merkel demanded that Syrian President Assad be involved in political discussion in order to attain a resolution, and that Germany turn its back on the US which has refused any negotiations with the Syrian Regime since its use of chemical weapons in 2011. It is important to note that Germany does not seek to strengthen the Assad Regime in cooperation with Putin, but that negotiations should simply aim to stabilize the region and quell the conflict within Syria to contain ISIL.

gersyr2Merkel and other Western leaders continuously stress that all key players, particularly the Gulf States, must be involved in solving the crisis. Of those key players are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, though they are also Germany’s biggest customers in terms of arms exports. Recently, a significant debate flared up concerning Germany’s supplying weapons to Gulf States who are carrying out Proxy Wars in Yemen and Syria and whether this would mean Germany is actually working against a solution. For now, neither the exports nor the migrants flows will be stopped.So, refugees are fleeing weapons to find asylum in a country that supplies them… what a paradox. Good luck negotiating, Merkel…

by Pauline F.