WILL WW III START IN THE MIDEAST?
Germany Needs Economic Progress,
Not Arms Exports
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Nov. 17—Even though it is an endlessly intoned truism, it still bears repeating: Germany is not a sovereign state! But what in "normal times" would be an unjust and galling condition, becomes unbearable at times of existential threat like the present, because we are forced by the straitjacket of the EU and NATO into confrontations that are fundamentally against Germany's own interests and its very existence. The mass demonstrations on Nov. 14 in 23 European nations showed that the EU has reached the end of its rope. And just look at the situation in the Middle East: One step further, and we will be in the middle of World War III.
Germany was right to have played no part in the Iraq War, which was based on Tony Blair's lies; and Foreign Minister Westerwelle did the right thing by not sending German troops to participate in the "humanitarian intervention" in Libya, which ended in a war of aggression, as well as the brutal murder of a President who was a prisoner of war, and should therefore have been protected under the Geneva Convention.
The Mideast Tinderbox
But meanwhile, Germany has come under enormous pressure to participate in future interventions, both in Mali and Syria; this would be utter madness, given the utter failure of the policy of regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria, where the "rebels" are primarily from al-Qaeda, the Salafis, and mercenaries. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned, in response to the announcement by France that it would be arming the "rebels," that any country that armed these so-called rebels would be grossly violating the basic norms of international law. It is not only a breach of international law, it is also not very intelligent to arm people who then turn around and massacre their "benefactors," as we now can see in Afghanistan.
Violence is escalating in the Middle East between Hamas and Israel, after the targeted assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari, and the threat by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to kill Gaza's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, if necessary, at the start of a new war. Israel wants to mobilize 75,000 reservists, and a ground offensive is being prepared.
The rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem bring to mind the words of Chancellor Merkel, which were as fateful as they were wrong, that Israel's security is part of the German raison d'état. The newspaper Neue Westfälische of Bielefeld commented: "As if the situation were not already risky enough, we are now also moving closer to the point at which Iran will allegedly have enough weapons-grade plutonium. That raises the danger that Israel will carry out a first strike. As if by some miracle, it will have the weapons to do that. Then the conflagration will no longer be confined to the Middle East."
Mrs. Merkel and Lady Ashton blamed Hamas for the escalation, obviously ignoring the almost complete lockdown of the Gaza Strip by Israel, which makes the place almost unlivable. And the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Nov. 16 questioned the motives of Israel's Netanyahu government, for its escalation against Hamas:
"The events take on a certain logic, if one considers that this could be a prelude to war with Iran. It is no coincidence that Israel is now knocking out the Palestinians' weapons, which Hamas would fire against Tel Aviv in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran. In other words, the current operation may be nothing less than an attempt by Israel to deprive Tehran of its last trump cards."
Given that the official National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), based on the evaluation of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, stated that Iran has not resumed the weapons program that it had ended in 2003, the German government should clearly take that position, because either the U.S. secret services have been lying, or Netanyahu has, since he claimed two months ago that Iran would have nuclear weapons in six months (only four now)! And if Israel is considering a first strike against Iran, then Germany must do everything in its power to ensure that that does not happen.
When Obama says, speaking about Iran, "All options are on the table," this of course does not exclude a nuclear first strike. And all Mideast experts agree that this would mean a third, thermonuclear world war, against Russia and China. It is therefore all the more outrageous that Munich Security Conference head Wolfgang Ischinger's call earlier this year for a public debate on German policy on the Israel-Iran conflict has so far not been answered.
Right now in the government parties, in military circles, and in think tanks close to the government, people are convinced that Germany will never act outside the trans-Atlantic alliance and the EU in an emergency, although such a situation has already existed for a long time. If those blinders remain, then disaster—the extinction of the human species in a thermonuclear war—is preprogrammed.
Given this highly tense situation, the planned deployment of up to 170 German soldiers in a NATO mission on the Turkish-Syrian border, and the relocation there of Patriot air defense missiles, are additional steps in the wrong direction: just one more small pretext, and Turkey could invoke Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, and then what? And why Mrs. Merkel is seriously trying to present arms exports to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel, and participation in a military operation in Mali, as "means of securing peace," stretches the imagination to its utmost limits.
Who Is Violating Human Rights?
In view of this overall situation, the significant deterioration of German-Russian relations, to which the activities of Andreas Schockenhoff and the anti-Russian resolution of the Bundestag have contributed, is quite alarming. In fact, given the human rights situation and the huge democracy deficit in the EU itself, it is difficult to understand how Mrs. Merkel and these parliamentarians can justify sitting on a high horse. Russian State Duma deputy Alexei Pushkov launched a counterattack, suggesting that the German government establish a human rights commission to deal with violations in Greece.
However, we also need such a commission for Portugal, Spain, and Italy—for starters. Because many millions of people participated in a general strike and support actions on Nov. 14 in 23 countries against the increasingly unbearable austerity policies of the EU, which violate real human rights and even cost human lives. In Spain, 9 million took to the streets, and the brutal attacks of the police with batons, tear gas, and rubber bullets prompted Die Welt journalist Henryk Broder to wonder whether General Franco had been resurrected. In France, there were rallies in 130 cities; in Belgium, eggs and firecrackers were thrown at the Portuguese Embassy, and protest demonstrations were held in 40 cities. In Italy, three members of the Monti government had to be rescued by helicopter from angry workers in Sardinia.
In Thessaloniki, Greece, German Ambassador Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier and the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, had water bottles and plastic coffee cups thrown at them. It can get very cold in Greece in the Winter, but electricity is being cut off from 30,000 families per month, because they cannot pay their bills. In both Greece and Italy, older people are being denied life-saving medicines, such as that for the treatment of breast cancer. The suicide rate has increased dramatically in Greece, Portugal, and Italy; in Spain, suicides became so frequent because of forced evictions that the government was forced to suspend some of them for the very poorest people, because the streets had exploded with rage.
UN advisor Jean Ziegler points out, in an interview with Junge Welt Nov. 17-18, titled "For the People of the South, the Third World War Has Already Begun," that it took German fascism six years to kill 56 million people, but neoliberalism is doing it in a little over one year. Here is how he describes the effects of the EU's agricultural policy:
"What the commissioners in Brussels are doing is profoundly dishonest. Their dumping policies are manufacturing hunger in Africa—and if refugees from hunger want to escape to Europe, they are brutally thrown back into the sea militarily, and thousands drown every year."
Henryk Broder was right when he wrote in Die Welt: Nov. 14 marks the beginning of the end of the EU. The only thing for governments to do, is to admit that the euro experiment has failed, which, unfortunately, they are hardly willing to do. Thus it remains for others to implement the solutions that do, in fact, exist: immediate adoption of a two-tier banking system in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt's Glass-Steagall Act, regaining sovereignty over one's currency (the New D-mark), and an economic policy based on fixed exchange rates, a new credit system for the construction of the real economy, especially in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
In France, resentment is growing in military circles against the Hollande government's colonial policy to the benefit of the Anglo-American Empire; and a tendency is growing to seek a return to Charles de Gaulle's policy of withdrawal from NATO. Even though it seems to be unthinkable for some in Germany, we need a public debate on whether we should follow NATO and EU policies that are going to lead to national suicide.
We should remember our sacred oath of 1945: No more war!
Translated from German by Susan Welsh
 Article 5 specifies that if a NATO member comes under military attack, every other member will consider this as an armed attack against all members, and will assist the ally that was attacked.
 Andreas Schockenhoff is Chancellor Merkel's special envoy for non-governmental Russo-German relations. He is known for his attacks on Russian President Putin on issues of "civil society." The Bundestag resolution, passed on Nov. 9 and initiated by Schockenhoff, expresses "mounting concern" over violations of civil liberties since Putin returned to the Presidency.