Hollande plans attacks against IS in Syria
French President François Hollande has reversed his stance in foreign policy and is considering ordering airstrikes against IS targets in Syria, he announced on Monday in Paris. Hollande is simply trying to cast himself as a political man of action, some commentators criticise. Others see his initiative as a way of tackling the migration crisis at its roots.
Hollande's strongman tactics
The only goal of Hollande's planned airstrikes on IS positions is to cast Paris in a leading role, the centre-left online paper Mediapart criticises: "Hollande's change of course despite the fact that nothing has really changed in the past two weeks looks a lot like strong man tactics meant to convey the impression that France is trying to tackle the 'immigrant crisis' at its root. … Especially since in terms of scope and impact, the decision to bomb targets linked to the Islamic State is a drop in the ocean compared with the problems to be solved in Syria and the surrounding area. … Without sufficient resources or a global strategy to speak of, François Hollande's short-sighted initiative is not up to the task at hand."
Tackle the problem at its root
Syria has been left to its own devices for long enough, the liberal daily Il Sole 24 Ore writes praising French President Hollande's plans to bomb IS positions: "If the Mediterranean is really made up of mutually dependent states with northern and southern coasts, then the European countries must also assume more tasks and responsibilities. Including military ones, of course. The decision to let the Syrians 'deal with Syria' on their own was one cause of the humanitarian crisis. Stopping the flood of refugees or opening the door to all those fleeing the Syrian conflict won't serve any purpose without intervention aimed at tackling the root of the problem."
Doing nothing no longer an option
Germany should at least consider participating in the airstrikes against the IS, the conservative daily Die Welt demands: "Politicians must consider the use of military resources more carefully than any other measure. But every deliberation must come to a conclusion otherwise it's just evading responsibility. We Germans tend to do that. True, bombs alone won't bring peace. But until the military dominance of the IS is broken any political solution is hopeless. … We can use our unique relations with the Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle East to contribute to a negotiated solution. We can help push through protection zones. In the case of Syria we have tested only one option thoroughly: doing nothing. And with that we failed. If we don't recognise that now we are ignoring the history of the people who are coming to us as well as the people themselves even as we help them."
Regional players preventing solution in Syria
The different interests of the players in the region are preventing a political solution in Syria, the liberal paper Hürriyet Daily News points out: "Saudi Arabia ... will also rest only after its sees al-Assad fall. Riyadh continues to support supposedly 'moderate' Islamic groups to secure this, but also has no answer to the 'what then' question. If al-Assad goes, the authority vacuum will most likely be filled by the Muslim Brotherhood at best and ISIL at worst. It sees both as its arch-enemies. Riyadh's real aim is to keep Iran, its main regional rival, out of Syria; the continuing war ensures, at least for the moment, that Tehran is kept at bay in this respect. Invert the Saudi position and you have the Iranian position, which is based on ensuring that Sunni powers, starting with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, do not become key players in Syria, and therefore Tehran remains resolute in its support for Assad."