Hanso: no political capital for military intervention in Middle East (1)

The conflict in Syria (Reuters/Scanpix)
9/4/2015 1:46 PM
Category: International

According to the head of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Hannes Hanso, no Western nation currently has the political capital to intervene in the military conflict in Syria.

Speaking on ETV, Hanso said the large numbers of refugees overflowing Europe is a symptom of the crisis in the Middle East.

“When we talk about an underlying reason for an illness or a problem, then it's clear a bandage won't help someone with cancer,” he said, adding that the West has made attempts to bring the crisis under control, but these attempts have not been enough and it is not clear if they will be enough, he said.

Military interventions have not offered solutions before and that is one reason Western nations do not want to go to war, Hanso said.

“Interventions have been made, like in Iraq," he said, adding that those interventions cost billions of euros and countless lives. "If we look at Syria, then I argue that had we not fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, then we might have the political will to go in with land troops and intervene. But we have been hurt a lot and the expected results have not been achieved,” he said.

Politicians, who make such decisions become unpopular and there is no one to sanction land forces to go and conquer the entire region, Hanso said.

There are opposition groups in Syria, Hanso said, adding that one opportunity is also to talk to Bashar al-Assad, the autocratic head of Syria. Assad was opposed by the West, Hanso said, adding that what came after him is much worse and the solution could be to back the head of state, who at least kept the nation together.

Libya is another similar example, Hanso said, where Muammar Gaddafi was toppled, with the help of the West, and today there is no functioning central government, and people are leaving by boats to Europe.

“I cannot imagine what it would take for the EU or NATO members to go into war in the region. USA, and nations in the region, including Turkey, already are in an air war against the Islamic State and support forces fighting the Islamic State. But this is different from the deployment of hundreds of thousands of men to the area,” Hanso said.

The asylum seekers arriving in Europe are just the tip of the iceberg, he said, adding that Turkey holds the keys in the region, and it has already taken in two million refugees.

“Turkey is of immense importance. How much more can we ask of Turkey? Turkey itself is in internal difficulties and Turkey is not in a position where it controls 100 percent of its own nation. The Turkish government has done a lot. If Turkey allowed all those two million people to come to Europe at the same time – imagine the stress it would put us under. Turkey is a nation with which cooperation is a priority,” he said.

There is not much reason to be optimistic about the situation with asylum seekers, he said, “I do not want to say it, but I believe it will get worse before it gets better.”

J.M. Laats

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