Syria talks in Vienna
A new round of international talks on a solution to the Syria crisis starts today in Vienna. For the first time Iran - alongside Russia, the most important supporter of the Assad regime - will be at the table. In view of the conflicting interests of the different players a quick agreement won't be on the cards, some commentators predict. Others argue that the war in Syria can only be ended by deploying ground troops.
Long and stony path to a solution
A quick agreement is nowhere in sight, the liberal daily Der Bund writes in view of the conflicting interests of the parties involved in Syria: "A post-war order that reflects Syria's large majority of Sunni Muslims won't suit either Iran's or Russia's interests. For Iran, Syria is Hezbollah's back door through which weapons for the fight against Israel reach Lebanon. For Russia, it is a political partner and arms buyer. ... For the rebels, the majority of whom are Sunni, any solution in which Assad's regime remains in power is unacceptable. They see the war as a conflict between Islamic persuasions and feel strengthened by the role adopted by the Shiite power Iran - and now also by the Russian intervention. The Americans don't have enough influence to impose peace on a majority of rebels. And the Gulf States under the leadership of Saudi Arabia have no interest in that. ... The way out of this inferno will be long and stony."
All eyes on Putin now
The West lacks a concrete strategy for Syria, the conservative daily Le Figaro writes, and pins its hopes on the Russian president: "Certainly the importance of Tehran's return to the diplomatic scene must not be underestimated. But it would be far more welcome in the context of a balance of power. However the strategy of the United States - and Europe in its wake - is like a vacuum. Barack Obama should know that his 'leadership from behind' can only work with solid allies (and even then it can't be really effective). Now that he is leaving the field to Putin, let's hope Russia can obtain the only transition worth pushing for: an alliance of Syrian forces against the IS and an end to the civil war that is forcing an entire population to flee certain death."
Peace in Syria only possible with ground troops
The war in Syria can only be resolved by sending in ground troops, writes the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "Anyone who really wants to change the situation using military means will ultimately have to send soldiers into the country. The question is only when and how many. In today's asymmetrical wars in which one can hardly tell who is friend and who is foe, precise airstrikes are barely possible without ground support. And drones won't bring peace to a country. But it's also clear that states for which the lives and dignity of each individual are a priority will be reluctant to risk the losses such operations entail. … Peace in the country - whenever it happens - can ultimately only be achieved by the people and without a dictator. Germany, whose soldiers are providing accommodation and food for the refugees from Syria, must also have great interest in seeing this happen."