Germany’s Syria policy is one of the most paradoxical within the European Union. In contrast to her French and British counterparts, Chancellor Angela Merkel has opposed all forms of military intervention and lethal aid designed to topple Bashar al Assad’s regime.
Yet a steady stream of German Muslims continues to enter the war zone and embrace jihad. To be fair, sizable numbers of Muslims (as of early December, between 1,500 and 2,000) from across Europe have managed to travel to Syria because of lax Turkish border policies and the wide latitude afforded to those with Western passports.
The mushrooming influx of German fighters into Syria prompted a worrisome reaction earlier this month from Germany’s domestic intelligence head Hans-Georg Maaßen.
The agency’s inability to prevent the departure of extremists for Syria was captured in Maaßen’s appeal to “Turkey as a very important factor in the region” and as a country with which Germany “hopes and expects to have a significantly closer working relationship.” His boilerplate diplomatic language reflects the reality that Turkey’s dangerously porous borders have allowed European Muslims to enter what is arguably the world’s largest mix of foreign jihadists. […]