i believe pindostan and russia are just about to start nuking each other, so this is moot

The Libya conference and the new scramble for Africa
Johannes Stern, WSWS, Jan 18 2020

A major international conference on Libya will convene in Berlin on Sunday. At the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel, heads of state and top boxtops of the leading imperialist powers in Eurostan & Pindostan will come together to determine the fate of the country and ultimately the entire continent. Also in attendance will be representatives of Russia, China and the most important regional powers, including Egypt, Algeria and Turkey, together with the leaders of the opposing factions in Libya’s civil war, PM Fayez al-Sarraj and Gen Khalifa Haftar, and representatives of the African Union. In both its form and venue, the meeting is reminiscent of the infamous Congo Conference held in Berlin from Nov 15 1884, to Feb 26 1885, at the invitation of Chancellor Bismarck. Its outcome was the “General Act of the Berlin Conference” adopted by representatives of Pindostan, the Ottoman Empire, Europe and Russia. This agreement accelerated the division of Africa into colonies and ultimately intensified the tensions between the imperialist powers, culminating in the mass slaughter of WW1 that began in Aug 1914.

Even before the Congo Conference, the scramble for Africa was already in full swing. France occupied Tunisia in 1881 and Guinea in 1884. In 1882, British troops invaded Egypt, which at that time was officially part of the Ottoman Empire. Italy subdued parts of Eritrea in 1870 and 1882. In Apr 1884, Germany annexed South-West Africa (today Namibia), moving into Togo and Cameroon in July of the same year. With the Congo Conference, the colonial subjugation of Africa gathered pace, accompanied by a previously unknown level of imperialist barbarism. Within a few years Europe had carved up virtually the entire continent. The Congo fell to Belgium, most of the Sahara and the Sahel to France, Berlin secured East Africa (today’s Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and part of Mozambique) and Britain conquered Sudan by finally crushing the Mahdist Revolt in 1899. This was followed by the subjugation of South Africa by Britain in the Second Boer War (1899 to 1902), the division of Morocco by France and Spain and Italy’s conquest of Libya in 1912. As at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the major powers pursued their predatory imperialist interests under the guise of “diplomacy” and “peace.” Today, they act even more nakedly to achieve the same objectives. In a commentary on the Libya conference, Tagesspiegel states quite bluntly:

Libya’s strategic importance is the reason why so many people want to get involved there, although it is generally not attractive to invest soldiers or mercenaries and billions in a civil war with an uncertain outcome. Libya has oil. Whoever controls Libya controls what is currently the most important migration route to Europe and thus becomes an indispensable partner of the EU.

The author, Christoph von Marschall, whose aristocratic ancestors were high-ranking foreign policy-makers of the German Reich, openly expresses the traditions to which Berlin is returning. He writes:

Germany now needs the cool perspective of Otto von Bismarck on realpolitik. And it calls for his diplomatic skills as an honest broker. But the role of the honest broker does not mean that he has to be altruistic and cannot represent his own interests. Germany has these: stability in Libya, reducing pressure on Europe through uncontrolled migration.

Then, as now, the “honest broker” is really an imperialist brigand, who is seeking a “place in the sun.” While the German government did not participate in the NATO bombing of Libya in 2011, it has been all the more aggressive in its involvement in Africa since its about-face in foreign policy in 2013–14. Now, Germany is engaged with more than 1,000 soldiers deployed in the French-led occupation of Mali, maintains a military camp in neighbouring Niger and advances its imperialist aims across the continent with increasing aggressiveness. Last March, Berlin updated its “Africa Policy Guidelines,” first adopted in May 2014. This revision evokes the “growing relevance of Africa for Germany and Europe,” which is due, among other things, to the continent’s increasingly dynamic economy and “rich natural resources.” The government therefore called for the strengthening of “Germany’s political, security and development policy commitment in Africa in a targeted manner,” to act “early, quickly, decisively and substantially” and to “deploy the entire spectrum of its available resources cross-departmentally.”

The other imperialist powers are pursuing similar objectives and have also increased their military and political intervention on the continent in recent years. France has massively expanded its engagement in the Sahel zone, and Pindostan is also escalating its intervention in Africa, especially to curb Russian and Chinese influence. Nine years after the NATO bombing of Libya—which reduced much of the country’s infrastructure to rubble, left thousands of civilians dead and wounded and led to the lynch-mob murder of Colonel Gaddafi—the country is once again at the centre of imperialist intrigues. But now, the stakes are even greater, with all of the belligerents of the previous war arrayed against each other, fighting for control of the booty. Last year, France, Russia, Egypt and the UAE supported Haftar at least unofficially, while Italy and Qatar worked closely with the internationally recognized transitional government (GNA) of al-Sarraj. Turkey began sending soldiers to Tripoli on Jan 5 of this year to strengthen the GNA against Haftar’s military offensive. The decision was criticized not only by the general’s open allies, but also by Trump and the German government. Berlin in particular is trying to use its contacts with both of the opposing factions in the Libyan civil war to bring the belligerents together and increase its own influence. There are many indications that behind the scenes, Berlin and the EU are preparing a comprehensive military intervention. On Friday, EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell did not rule out an EU military intervention in Libya. He said in an interview with Der Spiegel:

It is crucial that we assert our interests more strongly and, if necessary, robustly. If there is a ceasefire in Libya, then the EU must be prepared to help implement and monitor this ceasefire, possibly also with soldiers, for example as part of an EU mission.

Borrell left no doubt that such a military operation could be quickly extended to large parts of North Africa and to more aggressively enforce European interests against Russia, China and Pindostan. he said:

The situation in the Sahel is no better; on the contrary. Last year, 1,500 soldiers were killed in the fight against terrorists in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger alone. The entire region is a powder keg. We have many opportunities to exercise power. We just have to want it. I’m not talking about military power, at least not only. The New Year has hardly begun, and it almost seems as if there are only crises everywhere, so we should know what our goals are, and we must be ready if necessary to defend these goals, even if they run counter to those of our allies.

This situation of growing conflict, paired with threatening gestures on the eve of the conference, confirm the analysis Lenin made in his classic work, Imperialism:

The only conceivable basis under capitalism for the division of spheres of influence, interests, colonies, etc, is a calculation of the strength of those participating, their general economic, financial, military strength, etc. And the strength of these participants in the division does not change to an equal degree, for the even development of different undertakings, trusts, branches of industry, or countries is impossible under capitalism. No matter what form they may assume, whether of one imperialist coalition against another, or of a general alliance embracing all the imperialist powers, alliances between imperialist powers are inevitably nothing more than a ‘truce’ in periods between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare the ground for wars, and in their turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other, producing alternating forms of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle on one and the same basis of imperialist connections and relations within world economics and world politics.

As with the murder of Gen Qassem Suleimani, in violation of international law, and Pindo war preparations against Iran, workers and young people must understand that the Libya conference constitutes a warning. The profound crisis of the capitalist system is driving the great powers ever deeper into the abyss of imperialist war and barbarism. The preparation of new neocolonial wars of aggression in Africa and the Middle East which pose the danger of WW3 can only be prevented through the mobilization of the international working class on the basis of a socialist and revolutionary program.

German government to continue military operations in the Middle East
Johannes Stern, WSWS, Jan 18 2020

The German CDU/CSU coalition government intends to continue its military operations and participation in the Pindo offensive in the Middle East in the aftermath of Faschingstein’s Jan 3 drone missile assassination of Gen Qassem Suleimani, a clear violation of international law. Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made this clear in the course of visits to Jordan and Iraq over the past several days. Speaking Wednesday in Erbil in northern Iraq, Kramp-Karrenbauer said:

The men and women here are full of passion. They are doing a great job. They are highly thought of and want to continue this work, particularly the training of Iraqi forces.

The Bundeswehr has been arming and training Kurdish Peshmerga units in Erbil for the past six years. This engagement, which was extended to the whole of Iraq in 2018, is expected to continue despite the recent vote by the Iraqi Parliament to expel all foreign troops. The defence minister said:

To this end, I had political talks in Iraq today.

One day earlier, Maas visited the al-Azraq military base in Jordan and declared:

The German soldiers who are currently in Erbil, Jordan and Kuwait will remain.

According to the Bundeswehr Operations Command, German Tornado fighter squadrons stationed in al-Azraq resumed operations as part of the Pindo-led “Inherent Resolve” campaign last Saturday. Tornado flights had been suspended for three days after the killing of Suleimani and the Iranian counterattack on military bases in Iraq. On Wednesday, a debate “on the current situation in the Middle East” was held in the Bundestag. It confirmed that all of the parties in the German parliament basically agree with the government’s military course. In order to assert the economic and geo-strategic interests of German imperialism against all rivals, they are pressing for an even more aggressive military policy. According to Henning Otte, defence spox for the CDU/CSU coalition:

One thing is clear: where a vacuum appears, others go in. Russia in particular is taking the initiative … to increase its influence, not only in North Africa and Libya, but also in this region. Therefore, it is only appropriate that our defence minister is currently in Iraq to make our own assessment there, to hold talks and make it clear in Erbil and Baghdad: We stand by our commitments.

Both government and opposition politicians defended Suleimani’s murder and threatened Iran. CDU politician Johann David Wadephul thundered:

The general who was killed wasn’t just some sort of Iranian military attaché in Baghdad. He was one Iran’s most brutal military leaders. Ladies and gentlemen, we must counter this Iranian hegemonic policy which is being enforced through military power.

Wadephul was applauded for his words by Armin-Paulus Hampel, the foreign policy spokesman of the AfD, which vehemently advocates a more aggressive and independent German military policy. His proposal to withdraw German troops from Iraq, which was rejected by all of the other parties, had nothing to do with pacifism. On the contrary. According to Rüdiger Lucassen, defence spox for the AfD and a former Bundeswehr general:

The government appears unable to draw up a strategic plan based on national interests. The slowdown in German foreign and security policy is harming our country. The good thing is it is self-inflicted and can therefore be changed.

Ultimately, all of the parties represented in the Bundestag agree with such a policy. Under conditions of increasingly criminal behaviour by Pindostan and growing conflicts between the major world powers, the German political elite is convinced that Germany and Europe must pursue their interests more independently and eventually establish themselves as an armed military force capable of waging war and overtaking Pindostan as the world’s leading imperialist power. Combining arrogance and hubris, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag, Norbert Röttgen (CDU), explained:

The actions and decisions taken by Pindostan probably mean that it has less political leeway. There may be less acceptance of Pindostan when it comes to diplomacy in the region. Who if not us should compensate and replace the diminishing political possibilities? We have assumed more responsibility following the recent events. I think there is a large majority here in the house prepared to sign up to these goals, but they also have to answer the question: What is our proposal, how are we to achieve the goals? Ladies and gentlemen, the goals alone are not enough. We now need instruments and means. My second thesis is that the new situation has increased our responsibility to achieve these goals. We may not like that, but part of the new reality is that we have assumed more responsibility.

Behind the propaganda mantra of “more responsibility,” the ruling elite is forging ahead with a return to German militarism, as laid down in the new foreign policy announced in 2013-2014. In the Middle East, this means the subjugation of Iran and, ultimately, the political and military recolonisation of the entire region. Röttgen stressed:

We will be able to fulfil our responsibility only through a comprehensive deployment that includes civilian construction … diplomatic work, a nuclear agreement, and a military presence on the ground.

This policy has been basically embraced by the nominally “left” opposition parties in the Bundestag. The Green Party, as part of a coalition government with the Social Democrats, organised the first post-World War II German combat operations abroad—in Kosovo (1998) and Afghanistan (2001). Now it, along with the Left Party, is amongst the fiercest advocates of an independent European foreign policy led by Germany. Agnieszka Brugger, a leading Green and member of the Bundestag Defense Committee, told the government:

Stop being just a spectator! Don’t be afraid to face up to Pindostan on this issue. Keep your promises and allow INSTEX to finally prove effective! We need a strong, common, preferably European response that would regain trust in the region and make possible a solution ensuring security and conflict resolution for the people of Iraq. Since Kramp-Karrenbauer and Maas have failed to deliver in the past few months, the chancellor had to take up this issue, make it a priority, and offer Germany as an offensive mediator, as was the case in Ukraine and Libya.

The “offensive mediator” role of the German government in Ukraine since the coup orchestrated by Berlin and Faschingstein in Feb 2014 has been to assist NATO’s military offensive against Russia. Germany’s imperialist engagement in North Africa is no less aggressive. The so-called Libya conference, due to take place in Berlin on Sunday, recalls the notorious Congo conference which began on Nov 15 1884 in Berlin at the invitation of Chancellor Bismarck. Today, as then, under the guise of “diplomacy” and “peace,” the main subject on the agenda is the enforcement of imperialist interests and the exploitation and division of the resource-rich African continent. Despite this fact, the Libya conference, attended by the country’s warring parties as well as the leading imperialist powers, plus Russia and China and the most important regional powers, has the support of the Left Party. A press release issued by Left Party deputy group leader Sevim Dagdelen stated:

The federal government must do everything it can to make the conference in Berlin a success. Although it is late, it is only right that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is doing everything possible to convince the conflict parties within Libya to attend the conference in Berlin.

The only demand in Dagdelen’s text was that Greece, Cyprus and Tunisia also be invited.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.