Hollande hoping to secure Putin as an ally
In his search for allies in the fight against the terrorist IS, French President François Hollande is meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow today. An anti-terror alliance between the West and Russia is unrealistic, some commentators argue. Others believe the fear of attacks will unite the two sides.
Putin and Hollande united in fear of attacks
The fear of concrete terrorist acts will unite Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart François Hollande at their meeting today, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger comments: "The deployment of the North Caucasus fighters in Syria initially brought Moscow and the North Caucasus advantages. … But after the attack on the Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula and the Paris attacks, clearly Putin too is worried that the momentary calm is deceptive and that Russia, like Europe, is threatened by a wave of violence. In a new video the IS promised that 'soon, very soon' blood would flow in Russia. The Islamic State would take the Caucasus away from Russia, a radical imam from the so-called IS government district of Dagestan said, adding: 'We will kill you, we will butcher you, we will burn you.' The threats have convinced many Russians that the Kremlin is not just waging a distant war for Assad in Syria but directly defending Russia's interests."
Terror in Paris has not mended the rifts
French President François Hollande must know that an international coalition against the IS is unattainable even before his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the centre-left daily Le Monde comments: "François Hollande wants to move closer to Moscow - Bashar al-Assad's departure is no longer an absolute prerequisite for him - and at the same time he is consolidating his alliance with Washington. In Washington, however, distrust of Vladimir Putin prevails. The discussions between Hollande and Obama have confirmed that a global alliance is not on the cards. Tuesday's shooting down of a Russian fighter jet shows that both powers continue to prioritise their own regional interests. Before taking off for Moscow the French president is already aware that the Paris attacks have failed to mend the rifts caused by the Syrian drama."
Reconstruction alliance after anti-terror alliance
The difficulty in the fight against the IS terrorist group is not the forging of an alliance between the West and Russia, writes the liberal business paper Il Sole 24 Ore: "Putin is no role model for democracy. But if the IS is a kind of Nazism of our times (in reality a lot less dangerous), then we must realise that the Americans already fought a victorious war with a far more difficult Russian than Putin. The real difficulty doesn't consist in achieving a Russian-American deal by reconciling mutual interests with competing ambitions, but in the fact that the two countries must reach this deal with their respective regional 'clients'. If they fail to do so and don't start building a new Middle East, they will be making the same mistake the English and French made exactly a century ago when they defined the borders of the disintegrating region with all the arrogance of realpolitik."