The grand problem of the French-British alliance on Syria
By Osservatorio Italiano
France and Great Britain fear a repeat in Syria of the Libyan scenario, i.e. a transfer of diplomatic influence from the Franco-Anglo-American axis to a Mediterranean axis, externally coordinated by a US – Russia agreement.
Such a change has now become necessary given the emergence of new requirements related to the need to contain and eradicate the phenomenon of the infiltration of terrorists within European Union borders.
Paris and London will not willingly give up diplomatic leadership over Syria, given the efforts made to bring down the “Sword of Damocles” that hangs over them after they previously supported rebels and numerous fighters in Syria against Assad. It remains a problem in need of resolution that foreign fighters are stuck in the Middle East, trying through their families to be allowed to return to their countries of origin, but being denied by their Governments that right to return home.
Many of these fighters have expressed willingness to cooperate with Western authorities in order to serve their sentences in their homelands, but authorities have ruled out any negotiation in this regard. Thus, European fighters have no alternative but to die in Syrian or Iraqi prisons or at best to cooperate with Damascus intelligence services in order to combat the Islamic State.
In a quick analysis, one can see that something has definitely changed in European Foreign Policy – possibly as part of a Brexit backlash – which has called into question geopolitical strategies considered until now non-negotiable.
Moreover, parallel diplomatic strategies are increasingly and insidiously emerging inside an Alliance that has currently lost any reference points. In this regard a mass media campaign of disinformation was triggered in order to contaminate and discredit any possible role of Italy in designing a political solution for Syria.
According to Italophile local sources in the Middle East, there was no visit between the Italian intelligence chief, Gen. Alberto Manenti, and Syrian officials last weekend, as falsely reported by the Beirut-based newspaper Assafir and the Gulf News portal. The same sources add that this media campaign was orchestrated from abroad, as a kind of response to the existence of a channel of communication between Rome and Damascus.
In fact, these relations – including with Berlin and Brussels – were never completely broken off, and in some ways have been maintained, especially for managing the migration crisis, the European foreign fighters, as well as the infiltration into Europe of former Syrians rebels and Daesh fighters as they have attempted to flee the war zone.
This fact was, however, twisted, manipulated and taken to the extreme, as if to almost criminalize and hold at bay any Italian attempts to “intrude” into negotiation processes that may already be controlled by other States.
In other words, Rome’s interests in the Syrian case are not considered – a case in which France and Britain want the exclusive European decision-making control, even though Italy is one of the European countries suffering the greatest consequences provoked by the migration exodus, both as a transit country and a “rescue and welcome shore.”