Enemies and Allies
Quietly, mostly behind the scenes, Germany is building an alliance with Arabian Peninsula nations that is destined to become very significant in Middle Eastern affairs.
Germany’s penetration into North Africa, especially in Egypt and Libya, was quite significant during the latter half of the 20th century. Now, Berlin is beginning to step up its activities in the Persian Gulf states.
The motives driving Germany’s Middle Eastern strategy amid that region’s present unrest are threefold: 1) to preserve its access to the region’s oil and gas resources; 2) to protect its investments there; and 3) to create a beachhead to stem the northward push of pan-Islamism.
Germany initially refused to support a no-fly zone over Libya in March in order to protect significant German business interests in that country from a backlash by Muammar Qadhafi. However, its subsequent withdrawal of support of nato initiatives in the Libyan campaign is another thing entirely. That has far greater consequences, as we will see.
Germany’s Interests in Libya
German elites realized that any involvement in direct aggression in Libya could destroy the partnership between Tripoli and Berlin, a partnership that has helped fulfill those three German goals. Over many years, in exchange for receiving favorable treatment from the Qadhafi regime, Germany had no qualms about supplying Libya with arms and with training in combat methods. Just in the past three years, Berlin has exported more than $114 million worth of license-required exports to Libya, mostly communications equipment and helicopters. Interestingly, Qadhafi put these tools to aggressive use in his brutal attempts to put down the uprising in his country.
Germany needed to protect its assets in Libya so much that it supported the repressive Qadhafi regime despite its proven terrorist connections. German companies significantly increased their exports to Libya in successful competition against business rivals. In fact, German exports to Libya increased by over 20 percent in 2009 alone. Among the most significant German interests in Libya are: basf subsidiary Wintershall has a reported investment of $2 billion there and is the largest foreign oil producer in Libya; dea uses over 40,000 square kilometers of Libya for oil and gas production; and Siemens, well connected with Germany’s secret service, has a major slice of the huge “Great Man-Made River” drinking water supply project, the largest of its kind in the world.
Germany’s support for Qadhafi’s repressive regime was strong right up to the eve of Tripoli’s brutal response to the insurrection. Then, public relations with the international community demanded that Berlin be somewhat vocal in condemning Qadhafi’s monstrous actions. Still, the German government dared not be seen to support any overt military action against the Qadhafi regime for fear of losing the favor it has enjoyed from this unstable dictator to its own substantial benefit. For this, Berlin earned accolades from Qadhafi and a hint that its oil supply from Libya would remain unaffected, whereas supplies to nations participating in the nato mission would be cut.
However, Libya is but one of a number of North African nations whose intense involvement with both Nazi and postwar Germany tracks back over many decades.
Dancing at Two Weddings
Postwar Germany’s involvement with Egypt hearkens back to when Cairo welcomed hundreds of Nazis who escaped Europe via the Vatican ratlines to seek safe haven from Allied pursuit. As they were in Argentina, ex-Nazis were instrumental in training Egyptian personnel in policing, intelligence gathering and military combat methods. In fact, they played a large part in the overthrow of King Farouk, enabling Gamal Abdel Nasser to come to power in Egypt in 1952.
Martin Lee, in The Beast Reawakens, his well-documented exposé of the postwar Nazi underground movement, points out that from the 1950s, German engineers and scientists employed by West German industries supplied Egypt, Libya and Iraq with anything from guided-missile technology to military jet engines and chemical warfare expertise. Also, numerous technicians who had worked on Hitler’s V-2 rocket program ended up working for the Egyptian government on aeronautical projects. One additional motive for German elites’ involvement in these projects was the prospect of future access to Middle Eastern weapons launching sites.
Documented history shows that the German arms industry has profited greatly from the trafficking of German-manufactured armaments from Casablanca to Cairo over an extended period of time.
But German postwar Mideast strategy now faces a challenge with the prospect of regime changes along the southern shores of the Mediterranean. All Germany’s efforts to build influence in that region threaten to unravel as the personalities it has shored up in office fall. This threatens to throw the German-made military hardware and infrastructure in these countries into hands that may prove quite unfriendly to Germany and to Europe as a whole.
Iran is the prime supporter of Islamist terror and the main influence behind Shiite revolutionary movements in Africa and the Middle East. The key strategic question is, amid these recent uprisings, how much will Iran be able to influence the takeover of governments in North Africa?
To some extent, Berlin’s Middle East foreign policy represents what the Nazi double agent Heinz Felfe called “dancing at two weddings.” For years, Germany has supplied technical expertise to both the Iranian Shiite regime—not the least for its developing nuclear capability—and opposition Sunni regimes in other Middle Eastern nations, many of which have even called on the United States to bomb Iran’s nuclear facility.
But German elites now see the prospect of regime changes in North Africa and the Middle East forcing them into some fast tap dancing to ensure that their interests in this region do not fall to any power they regard as unfriendly.
The Vital Arabian Peninsula
Vital as the North Africa rim is to Germany, another piece of territory is even more crucial to its Middle East strategy, particularly if it loses influence in North Africa to Iran: the Arabian Peninsula.
In recent years, the German Navy has deployed heavily in the Mediterranean to protect its own and Europe’s interests across what Winston Churchill called “the soft underbelly of Europe.” Its deployments off the coast of Lebanon and off the Horn of Africa, by virtue of UN mandates, have provided particularly crucial toeholds to building a future German presence from the Levant to the Gulf of Oman.
It is in this region that Germany’s most crucial alliance in the Mideast will evolve in response to the rising influence of Iran.
Germany’s withdrawal from nato activities in the Mediterranean in March should not be misread as a diminution of German interest in the region. To the contrary, it denotes a willingness by Germany to now concentrate on solely German interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, quite apart from those of its EU and nato partners. In fact, it is a historic move. As the Bundeswehr’s ex-Inspector General Klaus Naumann declared, “Germany has dared to go it alone for the first time since 1949.”
Any continuing presence of German naval vessels in the Mediterranean is, at the time of writing, under specific German sovereignty and not subject to direction by any international body. This fact could prove most significant. We need to watch future German Mediterranean strategy: It remains crucial for the security of German interests.
It is also significant that Germany has cleverly used the nato campaign in Libya to extend, rather than diminish, its role in Afghanistan. The German parliament approved the Luftwaffe and other Bundeswehr personnel adding an awac surveillance component to its force in Afghanistan. This action is consistent with our view that German elites do not seek to withdraw from Afghanistan; rather, in response to Iran’s increasingly pushy anti-European foreign policy, they will look to consolidate and strengthen Bundeswehr presence in that country.
Look at a map of the Middle East. Iran is the main destabilizing force, and the greatest threat to German and European interests, in this region. Germany’s foreign-policy advisers see the danger of Iran filling the vacuum created by inevitable withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. They want to counter Iran’s influence in the region and limit the risk that Iran will restrict access to the area’s energy resources by the West.
This is the prime reason Germany is increasing its involvement, rather than reducing it, in Afghanistan. The way it can counter Iran’s increasing influence in North Africa and along the west bank of the Red Sea is to surround it in a pincer movement. By retaining its current foothold in Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr is in a position in the future to upgrade its presence and resist any eastward movement of Iran into the crossroads of Eurasia. That done, it becomes obvious that the way to contain Iran is by shoring up the Arabian Peninsula, thereby creating a beachhead on the east bank of the Red Sea.
It is to this end that Germany has recently stepped up its investment in the Arabian Peninsula. German advisers are counseling a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s “most important regional political objective,” the German Institute for International and Security Affairs has observed, is to contain Iran’s ambitions to dominate, not just “the Gulf region, but also in Palestinian areas, in Lebanon and in Syria” (December 2008).
This is a sensitive issue for Germany: It does not wish to fully alienate Iran for fear of being cut off from that nation’s rich pool of resources. That is why it has simultaneously maintained trade relations with Iran, especially in engineering products, some of which can be used in Iran’s nuclear program. This is also a guaranteed way of keeping an eye on the nuclear program’s progress, and of ensuring inside knowledge of plant layout and componentry for future strategic use.
Thus the German Institute for International and Security Affairs calls for a “clever linkage of a course of containment with repeated offers of cooperation” with Iran—and suggests that this “could be the basis of a common Iran strategy for Americans, Europeans and pro-Western Arab states” (ibid.).
This strategic thinking explains the flurry of activity in Washington and Berlin surrounding the Saudi raids into Bahrain during March.
Battleground in Bahrain
The tiny Gulf state of Bahrain has been of strategic interest to the West since Great Britain established a naval base there in 1935. Following Bahrain’s independence in 1971, the British presence was replaced by that of the U.S. Navy. Bahrain became the base for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, charged with securing American interests in the Mideast. It is from this base that the allied war in Afghanistan is being resourced and Western efforts around the Horn of Africa coordinated.
This made the eruption of protests there in February deeply concerning. The fact that the demonstrators are mostly Shiite, protesting a minority Sunni government, makes this volatile situation ripe with opportunity for Iran to take advantage. According to EU Observer, one EU source stated, “What is happening in Bahrain is Sunni versus Shia, Saudi Arabia versus Iran. It’s big powers facing off against each other in a small place. It’s really explosive.” Another EU contact noted, “If Saudi Arabia and Iran become openly involved, it could become much more dangerous than Libya” (March 17).
The unrest in Bahrain is catalyzing an alliance of Sunni powers. Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all decided to send security forces to Bahrain to assist in quelling the protests. The Saudi government declared it would apply all necessary force against the rebel Shiites to ensure that the Sunnis remain secure in their reign over the Shiite majority population in Bahrain.
Similar to its deals with Libya and other Mideast nations, Germany has contributed to the buildup of arms—especially submachine guns and ammunition—in support of Bahrain’s ruling Sunni al-Khalifa clan. It has supplied naval patrol boats dating back to when the Mideast was destabilized by the deposing of the shah of Iran. In more recent years, it has stepped up arms exports to Bahrain, arms the government has deployed against the Shiite rebels. German-Foreign-Policy.com reported that German armaments giant Rheinmetall is rumored to be bidding on a contract to provide Bahrain more “combat material specifically deemed for the suppression of rebellions” (February 22).
This merging of interests between Gulf states and Germany is deeply significant. Believe it or not, there are indications within biblical prophecy that we would witness just such an alliance.
Charting Its Own Path
Just as Germany is pouring resources into Arab states, some Arabian Peninsula nations are investing heavily in German industry.
Berlin’s cooperation with the United Arab Emirates began not long after the Berlin Wall fell and Germany reunited. The emirate of Qatar has since bought into Volkswagen, while the Aabar Investment Society of Abu Dhabi bought into Daimler, Germany’s largest automobile producer. ThyssenKrupp’s uae partner, the Abu Dhabi Mar Consortium, now owns majority shares in the Nobiskrug Shipyard, which has, till recently, specialized in producing luxury ships in Rendsburg, Germany.
More significantly, five years ago Germany signed an agreement of cooperation in the military field with the uae. This agreement led ThyssenKrupp to renounce “civilian ship production to concentrate its dockyards solely on arms production. It is entering a ‘strategic partnership’ with the Abu Dhabi Mar Co. from the United Arab Emirates (uae). Their deal seals the military alliance between Germany and the Emirates, possibly creating the opportunity for circumventing German arms exports regulations and ending efforts aimed at forging a German/French ship production …” (German-Foreign-Policy.com, Oct. 26, 2009; emphasis mine throughout).
Noting the signing of this agreement and the ThyssenKrupp deal, German-Foreign-Policy.com reported that “Abu Dhabi’s joining the German maritime shipbuilding industry signals Berlin’s fundamental change of strategy in its long-term efforts to help bring the German arms industry to a position of predominance in Europe” (ibid.).
There is a much more significant strategy in play here than first glance would suggest. It has to do with Germany asserting its national sovereign will over and above that of the EU—particularly France—and of the nato alliance. In relation to the ThyssenKrupp deal, German-Foreign-Policy.com observed that such action serves to demonstrate that “If a German-dominated ‘European solution’ cannot be accomplished, Berlin will do without ‘Europe’ and go it alone.”
Having snubbed the French in these Gulf state deals, Germany has now done the same not only to France, but also to the EU, nato and the U.S. by withdrawing from its nato mandates in the Mediterranean.
A Dramatic Change of Course
German elites are watching unfolding events across the North African rim. The significance of France leading the air strikes on Libya was historic. It is significant in that for the first time since World War ii, a European power has been first to strike in a Western coalition war. It is doubly significant in that the United States, which has led all allied strikes in combat since World War ii, was third in line in entering the action. Second was Britain, giving some credence to the newly formed Anglo-French defense alliance. But of even greater significance than Germany’s absence from the initial battle scene was its complete withdrawal from its nato mandates.
Perceiving the U.S. administration had no heart for the battle, Germany seized the opportunity to make a historic move. For the first time since World War ii, Germany took a stand by publicly withdrawing from a Western alliance defense initiative and placing its own actively deployed military assets under its own sovereign command! Again, as Klaus Naumann declared, “Germany has dared to go it alone for the first time since 1949.”
The Libyan affair has catalyzed a new era in German foreign policy. Germany has clearly demonstrated that it will now bow to no one, not to France or Britain, not to any EU or nato authority, not even to the once mighty United States. Germany has signaled that from now on, it will serve its own sovereign national interests at all costs!
As German-Foreign-Policy.com rightly pointed out, the German abstention in the UN Security Council vote on Libya shows two things: “On the one hand, it shows that Berlin is no longer prepared to make foreign-policy concessions to European rivals such as France. … On the other hand, it has become clear that Berlin is not only prepared to go it alone at the ‘European’ level—as in the case of the invasion of Iraq in 2003—but also to go it alone at the national level. This fact takes on more significance when it is taken into account that, in Berlin, it is being repeatedly discussed whether Germany would not ‘advance faster, further and better, alone’ than in the European Union. Berlin’s Libya policy could provide the first clues” (March 22).
Either way, the things to really watch for in Germany’s future Middle East strategy will be initiatives designed to shore up security in the Levant—Syria, Lebanon and Israel—and the consolidation of an alliance with the Arabian Peninsula nations.
As you watch, remember the unbreakable prophecy for our day contained in Psalm 83, a prophecy that foresees the cementing of an alliance between Germany and the Arab states of the Levant and Arabian Peninsula and Turkey.
That alliance was prophesied by God 3,000 years ago. Inspired to look three millennia ahead, the psalmist was given a vision of the alliance that would form between the modern-day descendants of Assyria—Germany—and certain of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham. These would unite against the descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob—people who became the nations of Israel, called in that psalm “thy people.”
And it’s that alliance that has just been accelerated by events rippling across North Africa from Tunisia to Bahrain.
There’s something unique about that prophecy. Our editor in chief was the first to expose its application to current world events of today. That was well over a decade before these recent events. Only in our publications will you find that remarkable prophecy expounded. Request our booklet The King of the South and prove that to yourself.