End of NATO’s Lone PresenceThe German government is increasing pressure on Moscow at a time, when Russia is reinforcing its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Since 2013, – following nearly two decades of absence – Russian naval vessels are again regularly cruising in the Mediterranean. Last year, they held their first joint maneuver with the Chinese Navy. Previously – in February 2015 – Moscow had reached an accord with Cyprus for Russian naval vessels to use Cypriot ports. Ten Russian ships are currently underway in the vicinity of Syria’s coast. They have fired cruise missiles in the course of the Syrian conflict – also to demonstrate their capabilities. Just a few days ago, the Russian aircraft carrier, “Admiral Kuznetsov” set sail from the Arctic Sea headed for the Eastern Mediterranean, where it is also expected to take up position off the Syrian coast. It can carry more than 50 aircraft, has heavy weapons systems and is being escorted by seven naval vessels. The aircraft carrier planes and on-board weapons may also “be used for strikes against terrorists,” according to the Russian media. But it is simply a question of supplementing Russia’s current naval presence in the Middle East with an additional air component. The aircraft carrier group will be deployed soon after the Russian S-300 air defense missiles are in place in Syria. They are regarded as state-of-the-art missiles. Even in the USA, opinions range from reservations to skepticism about whether the US Air Force can vanquish these weapons without major difficulties.Danger of ConflictWith its military measures in the Eastern Mediterranean, Russia is gradually reaching equilibrium with the western powers, to whose regional military presence, Germany is contributing to a growing extent. For the past ten years, the German Navy has been involved in UN operations off the coast of Lebanon. It has a regular presence in the Eastern Mediterranean in the framework of maneuvers and transit. Recently it dispatched the frigate “Augsburg” to participate in the escort protection of the French aircraft carrier, “Charles de Gaulle.” The jetfighters taking off from the “Charles de Gaulle,” are flying sorties against the “Islamic State,” while Russian bombers from the “Admiral Kuznetsov” are taking off into the war against other jihadi militia in Syria. The number of Russian and NATO jets using Syrian airspace to attack their respective targets is increasing. In addition the Bundestag will soon take the decision to deploy German military personnel in NATO’s AWACS machines, which will have the Syrian airspace under surveillance. This new flight density enhances – similar to the Baltic region – the danger of an escalation, not only due to an accidental collision, but also through the risk of a direct armed confrontation between NATO countries and Russia, should western powers expand their aggressions, declare a no-fly zone over Syria, or even launch a direct attack on the armed forces of that country.Ready to EscalateNone of these can be ruled out. Leading politicians of Germany’s Green Party have now surged ahead with the demand of declaring a no-fly zone. After the Chair of the Greens parliamentary group, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, made a plea for a no-fly zone, the Party’s Chair, Cem Özdemir, has now seconded with a call for at least “a comprehensive international threat to declare a no-fly zone.” In response to whether “the Europeans should take over, should the Americans remain passive,” Özdemir replied that he agrees with France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, “that doing nothing can be just as bad as making a wrong intervention.” Both in Berlin and Washington – with an eye on the upcoming presidential elections – demands to intensify the military course in the Syrian conflict are growing louder.