Germany sees ISIS menacing ‘entire’ MENA region
ISIS has become an existential threat to Iraq and the entire Middle East region, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said (13 August 2014).
He made the comment in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on the attacks by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ terrorist group in Iraq (12 August):
“ISIS has become an existential threat to Iraq and the entire Middle East region,” Steinmeier said. “To us in Europe, too, this poses a danger which should in no way be underestimated. Even in a region where people for a long time have had to cope with everyday violence, hatred, suffering and oppression the monstrous brutality of this group beggars belief.
“It is in our own best interest that ISIS be stopped and its further advance in the region prevented. Those opposing ISIS and providing shelter for defenceless people therefore deserve our full support.
“It goes without saying that all persons in need of protection and all those providing aid deserve our humanitarian assistance, but we will have to examine whether we can or indeed must do more. We will therefore discuss with our European partners as quickly as possible how we can live up to our responsibility. In view of the dramatic situation I think we really have to go to the limits of what is feasible here in political and legal terms.” Steinmeier didn’t elaborate.
Most European diplomats and policymakers still seem to be treating the growth of ISIS as a development separate from and unrelated to prevailing sentiment in the Middle East, communities in Europe and elsewhere in the aftermath of the carnage in Gaza. But fears that ISIS will exploit the mood after Gaza are increasingly shared in European diplomatic communities. Some analysts see ISIS menacing not only the entire Middle East, as Steinmeier rightly notes, but also European countries with large Middle Eastern communities that are exposed to radicalisation in response to a succession of events in the MENA region.