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Merkel’s arming Saudi Arabia:Last nail in political coffin

Merkel’s arming of Saudi Arabia might be the final nail in her political coffin

By Zayd Alisa
July 22, 2011

The old Soviet Union armed the East German brutal dictatorship under the pretext of countering and standing up to the West German capitalist and their imperialist masters in the USA. Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, who is originally from East Germany and supposedly a victim of the Soviet’s oppression, is using an identical pretext to arm the most ruthless dictatorship in the Middle East. According to Merkel’s government, which is hell bent on selling 200 Leopards tanks to the Saudi regime, these tanks would bolster Saudi Arabia’s ability to stabilise the region by confronting and holding at bay the growing Iranian influence. This argument is absolutely baseless, given the extremely poor track record of the Saudi army, despite being equipped with the most advanced USA weaponry and the intensive USA training. This was clearly evident, when Saddam Iraq’s dictator, invaded Kuwait and entered Saudi Arabia in 1990, the Saudi army offered absolutely no resistance but evaporated into thin air. More recently in 2009, the Saudi army was battered and humiliated at the hands of the Houthis, who have only a rag tag militia.

The Soviet union showed, not only utter disregard to the ruthless suppression of the East German population, but treated East Germany as a military barracks. Merkel’s arming of Saudi Arabia bears striking resemblance to the Soviets arming of East Germany. Her decision to arm Saudi Arabia, the bastion and dumping ground of dictators, is not only a ringing endorsement to the most intransigent and hard-line dictatorship in the Middle East, but more ominously, a green-light to carry on with its flagrant violations of human rights with complete impunity. Indeed, it is sending the Saudi regime the unmistakable message that it can count on Germany’s unequivocal support irrespective of its implementation of political reform and democratic change. It seems that, Merkel is adamant to dish out the same savage treatment her people suffered at the hands of the Soviets to the oppressed and brutalised people of, not only Saudi Arabia, but also both Bahrain and Yemen, which the Saudi regime considers as its back yard garden.

The Saudi regime was rattled by the popular uprisings sweeping the region. It offered refuge to, Ben Ali, Tunis’s dictator, and has fiercely refused to extradite him to stand trial. The Saudi king gave his ringing endorsement to, Mubarak, Egypt’s tyrant, urging Obama to allow Mubarak to oversee the transition and threatening to bankroll him if the USA halted its aid. The toppling of Mubarak’s regime was a devastating strategic blow to Saudi Arabia, which considered it an indispensible bulwark against Iranian influence.

In a stark warning to his people, the Saudi king emphasised that protests are strictly prohibited and those participating would face dire reprisals. The religious institution, which relies on government funding to propagate and export its extremist Wahhabi Salafi ideology, backed up the king’s position by issuing a fatwa declaring that protests are anti-Islamic.

The Saudi king ordered his forces to invade Bahrain to prop up the brutal dictatorship of Al-Khalifa. The Saudi forces unleashed a ferocious and murderous onslaught on the peaceful protesters calling for democracy and political reform. These forces have carried out a systematic and premeditated campaign of cold-blooded murder against the Shiaa majority in Bahrain to unnerve its own Shiaa population, who form the overwhelming majority in the oil rich Eastern Province. The Saudi regime sought to instigate and foment sectarian strife to deflect attention from its overarching goal of quashing the protests and holding at bay any moves towards political reform or democratic change.

The recent demonstrations sweeping across Yemen have galvanised the support of millions of deeply outraged Sunni Arab protesters. They are, not just denouncing Saudi Arabia’s relentless medalling in Yemen’s internal affairs, but also fiercely rejecting the Saudi initiative, considering it merely a vehicle to maintain its unrivalled position as king maker in Yemen. These protests would undoubtedly send shock waves across Saudi Arabia, which has tried its utmost to portray itself as the guardian of Sunni Islam.

Within the last six months, Merkel suffered a dramatic reversal of fortune. Her own judgement and credibility has been brought into question. With her back up against the wall she had to make two major U-turns on two highly contentious issues.

On the external front, Merkel was vehemently opposed to any intervention by the EU or NATO in Libya. In Merkel’s eyes, the atrocities committed by Gaddafi, Libya’s dictator for 41 years, against his own people were part of a civil war. And, even in the face of Gaddafi’s explicit threat to slaughter the people of Benghazi, Merkel’s government was prepared to sit on its hands. She left no stone unturned in her concerted efforts to severely undermine the initiative spearheaded by both, Cameron, the British PM, and Sarkozy, the French president, to convince the UN security council members, particularly veto wielding Russia and China, to pass a resolution which authorises intervention to protect civilians under threat. Merkel’s fierce resistance to giving its outright support to the resolution has undoubtedly, not just dramatically weakened the French and British positions by highlighting the stark divisions within the EU and NATO, but more significantly, played into the hands of Gaddafi, giving him desperately needed breathing space to regain the momentum. It has also delayed the issuing of the resolution and ultimately its implementation by NATO, thus resulting in many civilian deaths. Although, Merkel did not vote against the resolution, but she did put her money where her mouth is by abstaining. Her decision, however, to establish political cooperation with the Libyan transitional council represents not only a complete change of heart after its scathing criticism of Sarkozy’s decision to recognise the council as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people, but also illustrates the sheer inconsistency and incoherence on a crucial foreign policy issue.

On the internal front, Merkel’s latest performance does not inspire much confidence. Despite being acutely aware of the strenuous opposition by the overwhelming majority of the German nation to extending the service of the existing nuclear stations, she decided, however, to defy the will of her people by endorsing a 10 year extension. Her decision caused uproar and sparked widespread demonstration. Merkel’s complete change of heart came in reaction to the tsunami disaster in Japan and the ensuing nuclear radiation fears. Her decision to phase out all nuclear station by 2022 is ultimately an outright victory to the nation’s will over the desires of an increasingly out of touch leader.

The German people who suffered heavily at the hands of Hitler’s tyranny would definitely not take kindly to Merkel’s government arming and propping up another tyrannical regime. Merkel has paid a heavy price for defying her people twice. Defying her people again by arming Saudi Arabia might be the final nail in her political coffin.


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