Archive for Februar, 2018

28. Februar 2018

Wie AVAAZ den Krieg gegen Syrien entscheidend mit angetrieben hat


28. Februar 2018

Die geplante Zerschlagung Syriens. Protokolle diplomatischer Treffen offenbaren unangenehme Wahrheiten über den Krieg gegen Syrien – von Jochen Mitschka (Rubikon)

Die libanesische Tageszeitung Al Akhbar hat am 22. Februar 2018 einen ausführlichen Artikel über die US-amerikanischen Pläne für Syrien veröffentlicht. Der Originaltext mit dem Titel: „Washington an seine Verbündeten: Lasst uns Syrien aufteilen“ stammt von den Journalisten Mohammad Ballout und Walid Scharara. Der Text basiert auf einem diplomatischen Protokoll, das Al Akhbar zugespielt wurde und in dem die Pläne der USA, Großbritanniens, Frankreichs und ihrer Verbündeten zu Syrien dargestellt werden. Das Protokoll entlarvt nicht nur den Bruch des Völkerrechts und die Instrumentalisierung der UNO sowie der Genfer Syriengespräche, sondern auch, dass die Politik der USA und ihrer Verbündeten in Syrien sich gegen Russland und Iran richtet. Der Rubikon wird diesen Artikel zeitnah in exklusiver Übersetzung veröffentlichen. Hier ein Vorab-Bericht.

den ganzen Artikel hier lesen

28. Februar 2018

Minutes of diplomatic meetings reveal unpleasant truths about the war against Syria – by Jochen Mitschka

Translation: Hanin Elias

The Lebanese daily newspaper Al Akhbar published a detailed article on US plans for Syria on February 22, 2018. The original text titled „Washington to its Allies: Let’s Split Syria“ comes from journalists Mohammad Ballout and Walid Sharara. The text is based on a diplomatic protocol that Al Akhbar was leaked and in the plans of the United States, Britain, France and their allies of Syria are represented. The protocol not only exposes the breach of international law and the instrumentalization of the UN and the Geneva Syria talks, but also that the policy of the US and its allies in Syria is directed against Russia and Iran. The Rubicon will publish this article in an exclusive translation in a timely manner. Here is a preliminary report.

A confidential diplomatic protocol by Benjamin Norman, a diplomat at the British Embassy in Washington (1), responsible for Middle Eastern policy, was made public in an article by the Lebanese daily newspaper Al Akhbar (2).

The content is so explosive that I tried to contact the journalist through friends who did the Al Akhbar research to verify the original document. However, this fears legal consequences. Since I believe the source to be reliable, here are the revelations about the policies of the Western powers in Syria, as they are revealed in the document.

The meeting took place on January 11, 2018 in Washington. The participants were Hugh Cleary, head of the British Department of the Middle East, Jérôme Bonnafont, director of ANMO (Afrique du Nord et Moyen-Orient) and North Africa and the Middle East of the French Government, David Satterfield, Deputy Secretary of State the USA for the Middle East, as well as the Jordanian Nawaf Tell and the Saudi Jamal al-Aqeel.

The diplomatic message reveals the strategy of these states with regard to Syria:

The division of the country, the sabotage of the peace process of Sochi, the trick of Turkey or urging them into a war of aggression against Syria and the influence on the UN Special Rapporteur Staffan de Mistura.

The document contains an unofficial system in anticipation of the second meeting of the „small group“, which took place on 23 January 2018 Paris and mainly the theme „Chemical Weapons“ and „instructions“ for Staffan de Mistura were dedicated. Which casts a special light on Macron’s comments on the Red Line in the case of „poison gas use“ by the Syrian government (3).

The article reports that on January 11, David Satterfield opened the meeting with the announcement that the second meeting was scheduled for January 23 in Paris. Satterfield confirmed that President Trump has decided to maintain a large military presence in Syria, even after defeating ISIS / Daesh. A communication that contradicts Trump’s remarks on 24 February 2018 (4), which should not be surprising.

The cost of permanent occupation of Syria is estimated at $ 4 billion, according to the report. On the one hand, the US presence is supposed to prevent the resurgence of Daesh, but more importantly, it should prevent „Iranians settling permanently and finding themselves in the search for a political solution.“ Satterfield insisted that the first „small group“ meeting should also provide „material and political support to Staffan de Mistura“ in order to „consolidate the Geneva process“.

The consolidation of the Geneva Process

The report states that the United States believes that it will no longer be able to attend meetings in Astana, having already severely curtailed its participation in the past, with the aim of increasing its involvement in the Geneva negotiations.

The participants of the round then realized that „Geneva had failed, despite the efforts of Staffan de Mistura“. They attached particular importance to bringing a ceasefire into the Geneva negotiations: „In truth, we do not have the means to prevent the regime (5) from dissolving the remaining pockets of opposition in Idlib and East Ghouta.“

The group was evidently concerned with sustaining the territories occupied by terrorists and the agonies of the civilian population there and thus with the pressure „on the regime“ as long as possible.

The report said that the opposition had made great strides in recent months, but pointed out that it needed to develop even greater flexibility to ensure that the Syrian government did not abandon the talks in Geneva. Apparently, the group fears that the Syrian government would withdraw from the UN talks, based on a faster-moving process in Sochi.

The US, meanwhile, would not support the requirement of a transitional government, as foreseen by UN Resolution 2254, the rapporteur maintains. It is then added in the text of the report that it would be helpful for the opposition to stop constantly insisting on this requirement of a transitional government, presumably one without President Bashar al Assad.

It was also agreed that „the opposition must be more flexible and stop playing ‚the specter of an interim government,“ as the Americans said, but without the ultimate goal of smashing Syria and unleashing Bashar al-Assad to lose sight of.

According to the article, the French representative Jérome Bonnafont brought the issue of a possible involvement of Bashar al-Assad in future elections into play. The article notes that David Satterfield answered that „the goal is to create conditions and institutions that will prevent Assad from winning elections.“

Satterfield added that there would be „no reasonable reason“ to exclude Assad as a candidate. Under these conditions, it would essentially be a matter of Russia’s possible resistance to „encourage the regime to allow a new constitution, free elections under the control of the United Nations, and the creation of an environment conducive to these two processes.“

Satterfield wanted to get the Russians to drop Assad „through Security Council meetings and a broad public relations campaign,“ assuming that the upcoming presidential elections in Russia would weaken Russia’s previous position.

The sabotage and instrumentalization of Sochi

One of the conclusions of the first meeting of the „small group“ was clear: „to revive Geneva so that Sochi becomes irrelevant“. France demanded more „transparency about the position of Russia“. But it would not have been the time to position themselves head-on against Sochi, as there is a significant part of Syrian civil society, from which „the best contributions to Geneva could be made to restart and revive the Geneva format“. ,

According to the report, the Saudi participant warned of the risk of further splitting the opposition into different groups and called for help to ensure cohesion. Satterfield responded that opposition representatives „should be more concerned with finding a political solution rather than high salaries and long stays in pleasant hotels.“ France supported this remark by emphasizing the necessary „communication“.

In this regard, according to the article, the Commentary is found in the British Protocol: „Unfortunately, the Fifth Republic does not intend to finance these efforts.“ Britain recalled that „the opposition’s communication was financed primarily by Great Britain“.

The report further stated that David Satterfield stated that Turkey’s opposition to the participation of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) prevented them from participating in Geneva. While he understood Ankara’s position, he emphasized that „we can not ignore a group that controlled a third of Syria (sic) and did most of the fight against Daesh (sic).“

He stated that the Americans would seek to establish a multi-ethnic leadership in northeastern Syria to undermine the hegemony of the YPG. “ On the other hand, it would be necessary to involve the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces, mainly Kurds under US control) in the process in Geneva.

The article then complements the author’s commentary: „I have heard that the United States wants to send William (Bill) Roebuck, her former ambassador to Bahrain, as a special envoy of the SDF. It is necessary to remember that it became clear from our separate discussions, for example with Fiona Hill, that relations between the United States and Turkey are already very bad and will hardly improve.

As a result, Americans are not in the best position to tackle the huge task with the SDF and Ankara alone. „So a former US ambassador will be ambassador of the Kurds in Syria. More must probably not be said on the subject of „proxy war“.

The goal would then have been clearly defined: „to persuade Staffan de Mistura to accept in Geneva a tripartite structure consisting of the opposition, Assad and the SDF“.
In addition, the US Secretary of State pointed out that before the next meeting on January 23, Staffan de Mistura would be sent an unofficial paper entitled „Reviving Syria’s Political Development in Geneva“ in Paris to play off the Russians.

This document contained „a political roadmap, the elements of constitutional reform, the structure of UN Electoral Surveillance and guidelines for the establishment of a peaceful environment“. In other words, the US wants to shape the social changes in Syria according to their wishes under the guise of UN proposals.

The author of the report concludes: „At the moment we have to limit this group only to the USA, Great Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The next invitees are Egypt and Germany (for whom we made ourselves strong) „. Turkey should also join the group, but the discussion with the country could, according to the report, be poisoned by the Kurdish issue, making it more difficult to neutralize Astana. Therefore, it would not be the moment to integrate the three countries.

Bellicistic comments

The concluding comments in the diplomatic report speak volumes about the future of Western strategy in Syria. The three main conclusions underline „a real confirmation of the US leadership behind the scenes …“. The second aspect, according to the article, is „to maintain the pressure on Russia, even though Moscow can not be persuaded to drop the regime, as we had hoped“. In this regard, „we must continue – as we already do, to denounce the terrible humanitarian situation, as well as the complicity of Russia in the bombing of civilian targets.“


The document clearly shows the Western strategy in Syria. The point is to sabotage the Sochi peace process and bring two new wars into the Syrian crisis: Turkey’s war against the Kurds, which has already begun, and that of the Israelis against Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, which is about to erupt seems to stand.

Its purpose is obviously to arm the Kurds to control oil reserves in eastern Syria to influence the political and economic development of the country. The exciting question will be whether the Kurds will allow themselves to be instrumentalized in the long run by the USA in this form.

German Source:
Sources and notes:
(1) Benjamin Norman, Foreign and Security Policy, Middle East, British Embassy
(5) Gemeint ist die Regierung von Syrien.

28. Februar 2018

Südkoreas Expräsidentin soll 30 Jahre in Haft (junge Welt)

Seoul. Die südkoreanische Staatsanwaltschaft hat eine 30 Jahre lange Haftstrafe für die frühere Präsidentin Park Geun Hye wegen Korruption gefordert. Das berichteten südkoreanische Sender am Dienstag. Die Anklagevertreter werfen Park unter anderem Bestechlichkeit, Nötigung und Machtmissbrauch vor. Sie soll ihre Stellung als Präsidentin und ihre Macht im Interesse ihrer langjährigen Vertrauten Choi Soon Sil missbraucht und unter anderem geheime Dokumente weitergegeben haben. Im März des vergangenen Jahres war sie ihres Amtes enthoben worden. (dpa/jW)

28. Februar 2018

Was signalisiert die Moskau-Mission von Kanzler Kurz – Interview mit dem Historiker Hofbauer (Sputniknews)

Mit seiner 24-Stunden-Visite in Moskau, die am Dienstagabend begann, setzt Österreichs Bundeskanzler Sebastian Kurz laut dem Sozialhistoriker Hannes Hofbauer die lange Tradition der österreichischen Außenpolitik fort, eine Brücke zwischen verschiedenen Positionen zu schlagen. In den letzten Jahren war sie ein wenig verschüttgegangen.

Das sei in der österreichischen Politik unter Bruno Kreisky oder auch unter Präsident Heinz Fischer gewesen, welcher die Außenpolitik zwar nicht gestaltet, aber immer wieder signalisiert habe, „es muss eine positive Zusammenarbeit mit Ländern wie Russland oder früher der Sowjetunion geben. Und in diese Tradition stellt sich Sebastian Kurz“, sagte Hofbauer im Interview mit Sputnik.


28. Februar 2018

Jetzt wird mittels eines UN-Berichts verbreitet Nordkorea habe Assad heimlich mit Chemiewaffen beliefert – mögliche Rechtfertigung für eine Militär-Intervention?

In einem UN-Bericht wird eine militärische Zusammenarbeit Nordkoreas mit Syrien impliziert. Es soll zwischen 2012 und 2017 angeblich 40 nordkoreanische Lieferungen für das syrische Chemiewaffenprogramm  gegeben haben. Nordkoreanische Techniker sollen im Jahr 2016 dreimal Syrien besucht haben.

Nicht auszuschließen ist, dass dieser jüngste UN-Bericht Teil der laufenden Kampagne ist, die in eine Militärintervention münden soll. Denn die vom Westen unterstützten so genannten Rebellen, die ihrer Brutalität und ihres islamistischen Extremismus wegen in der Bevölkerung verhasst sind, sind nicht mehr in der Lage, die Assad-Regierung zu stürzen. Ein Regime Change kann nur noch mithilfe einer Militärintervention erreicht werden. Mit ihrer Behauptung, die Assad-Regierung verfüge immer noch über Massenvernichtungswaffen und beziehe Teile über Nord-Korea, liefert auch dieser UN-Bericht, wie bereits in den Jahren zuvor eine ganze Serie ähnlich tendenziöser Berichte aus dem Umfeld der UN, eine mögliche Rechtfertigung für eine Intervention.


28. Februar 2018

Reality Check: No Sarin Gas Used by Assad in Syria? (Ben Swann)

The U.S. is intensifying action in Syria by the day. But why? Candidate Trump said he would stay of out Syria because he warned that ISIS and Al Qaeda would take over and yet President Trump is taking the very steps he warned that Hillary Clinton would take. All of it, with no evidence that the Assad government has used Sarin gas after all.

28. Februar 2018

Ekkehard Sieker: Alternative Fakten?

28. Februar 2018

Experts for the People—Shut Out by the Mass Media – By Ralph Nader

By Ralph Nader
February 27, 2018

Ever wonder how the television, radio and newspaper people select whom they are going to interview or get quotes from when they are reporting the news or producing a feature? I do. What I’ve learned is that they go to guests that are connected with the established powers—such as think tanks in Washington, D.C. that work on “the military industrial complex” policy (to borrow President Eisenhower’s words) and somehow lean toward more war mongering (e.g. NPR and the U.S.-Iran relationship) or backing more weapon systems (such as a new nuclear bomb arsenal and more F-35s and air craft carriers).

You won’t be hearing from MIT Professor Emeritus Ted Postal on the chronic failures of the anti-ballistic missile program (spending $13 billion this coming year).

Whether it is NPR, PBS, the network news programs, the Sunday news interview shows and too often the New York TimesWashington Post, Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal their interviewees are the defenders of the status quo or those with corporatists’ viewpoints.

These news outlets seem oblivious to the blatant economic conflicts of interest inherent in groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and professors who moonlight with corporations. These interviewees have economic and ideological axes to grind that are not disclosed to the general viewers, listeners and readers, when they are merely described as “experts.”

There are real experts and specialists, with no axe to grind, who are so ignored by the media that they have almost become nonpersons, despite their past proven records of achievements for the public interest, and for the people’s well-being.

Here are some examples of experienced people whose veracity and honesty you can take to the press and media outlets:

  1. David Freeman, probably the most knowledgeable, experienced authority on energy in the United States. A lawyer and engineer, he was an advisor to Presidents, Governors, ran four major utilities, including the giant Tennessee Valley Authority. He was also the author of key studies on energy policies starting in the nineteen seventies and presently is negotiating the shutdown of California’s last atomic energy plant with its owner, Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation.
  2. Nicholas Johnson, former FCC Commissioner, author of many books and timely commentaries on communications subjects (e.g. “How to Talk Back to Your TV Set”) and has been teaching at the University of Iowa Law School.
  3. Karen Ferguson, head of Pension Rights Center since the mid-seventies, has been involved in Congressional policies, judicial decisions, organizing retirees to assert their rights and generally watchdogging the increasing pension crisis in our country.
  4. Jamie Love, the expert on drug patent abuses, drug industry pricing power, international efforts to counteract these “pay or die” policies. He has been a major figure in bringing down the price of AIDS drugs for developing countries.
  5. Rena Steinzor, law professor, author of books such as Why Not Jail?, organizer of the Center for Progressive Reform and corporate crime specialist.
  6. Janine Jackson, long-time media critic documenting weekly noteworthy bias, censorship and commercial distortion of the news.
  7. Danielle Brian, director of the Project on Government Oversight has had much to say accurately about the massive military budget, redundant weapon systems and their waste, fraud and abuse over three decades.
  8. Jesselyn Radack, former Justice Department lawyer, represents whistleblowers on national security wrongdoing and is an acknowledged legal expert on free speech in these sensitive areas.
  9. Greg LeRoy, directs Good Jobs First and knows a great deal about corporate welfare, giveaways to sports stadiums, Amazon and the whole ‘business development’ subsidies at the local and state level in the U.S. He is the author, among other publications, of The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation.
  10. Mark Green, one of the nation’s experts on campaign finance rackets and reform, author of over twenty books, including Losing Our Democracy, and experienced as a candidate in New York State elections.
  11. Ralf Hotchkiss, former MacArthur Genius awardee, inventor and founder of Whirlwind Wheelchair and a successful advocate for people with disabilities having mobility without having to pay monopoly prices for shoddy wheelchairs in the U.S. and developing countries.
  12. Lois Gibbs, coming out of the Love Canal tragedies in Niagara Falls, NY, she organized arguably the leading grass roots movements against poisoning of neighborhoods around the country. She is an accomplished author, a speaker and is the director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, which works with hundreds of local citizen fighters for health and safety.

Some of the above were featured in the mass media years ago; others have been relegated to the shadows of our public news and features for almost their entire careers. The slanted selections by media gatekeepers are getting worse. Increasingly, TV and radio anchors interview their own reporters, not experts like Robert McIntyre, lawyer and founder of the highly regarded Citizens for Tax Justice. Too often the Sunday network TV political shows tap into the same stable of Washington pundits and commentators.

Readers and viewers can make their own lists of media-excluded, knowledgeable persons, be they at the local, state or national levels. On our public airwaves, after the FCC repealed the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987, bloviators such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, completely dominate our airtime with their corporatist and hate-filled soliloquies. These “champions” of the free market have no problem using the public airwaves free of charge. As owners of the public airwaves and buyers of print journalism, let’s demand higher standards for experts in journalism. Let’s demand that the media seek out people who know their facts and work in the people’s interest and give them airtime.

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader

28. Februar 2018

Unter der Obhut des Westens. Wer sind die Kämpfer in den östlichen Vororten von Damaskus? von Karin Leukefeld (junge Welt)

Wer sind die Kämpfer in den östlichen Vororten von Damaskus?
Karin Leukefeld

28. Februar 2018

Rückzugsraum für Islamisten. Aus den östlichen Vororten von Damaskus heraus führen Dschihadisten unter den Augen des Westens Krieg gegen die syrische Regierung – von Karin Leukefeld (junge Welt)

Die USA, die Türkei, westliche Staaten sowie die Golfmonarchien haben seit 2011 den bewaffneten Aufstand in den östlichen Vororten von Damaskus unterstützt. Bei einem Putschversuch im Sommer 2012 drangen Kampfverbände weit ins Zentrum der Hauptstadt ein, wurden aber zurückgedrängt. Das Ziel war, die Aufständischen aus der Ghuta nach Damaskus einmarschieren zu lassen, um die Regierung zu stürzen.

den ganzem Artikel lesen

28. Februar 2018

Warum Donald Trump nie Krieg führen kann – Michael Wolff stellt sein Buch „Fire and Fury“, eine Biographie des US-Präsidenten in der Berliner Volksbühne vor. (Sputniknews)

Warum Donald Trump nie Krieg führen kann – Michael Wolff stellt sein Buch „Fire and Fury“, eine Biographie des US-Präsidenten in der Berliner Volksbühne vor.

Audiomitschnitte der Veranstaltung

28. Februar 2018

Französiche Historikerin sieht Deutschland als Problem für Beziehungen zu Russland


Der Einfluss Deutschlands, insbesondere auf neue EU-Länder in Osteuropa, ist ein Problem in den Beziehungen Frankreichs zu Russland. Das erklärte die Historikerin Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, Chefin der Académie française, vor Mitgliedern der Auswärtigen Kommission der Nationalversammlung Frankreichs.

„Wer wird denn die Politik der NATO real beeinflussen? Die Länder des neuen Europa – Polen und das Baltikum. Sie sind die treibende Kraft der extrem starken antirussischen Bewegung, der sich auch (das übrige) Europa angeschlossen hat. Europa schenkt diesen Ländern immer Gehör, darunter auch in Bezug auf Sanktionen“, sagte die Wissenschaftlerin in der Vorwoche.

Sie meinte Sanktionen, die Europa gegen Russland wegen seiner Politik in der Ukraine-Krise verhängt hatte. „Gerade an Russland angrenzende Länder waren es, die Brüssel zu Sanktionen gegen Moskau angespornt hatten. Es ist bedauerlich, dass die französische Diplomatie in dieser Frage Länder Osteuropas und folglich auch Deutschland unterstützt“, sagte Carrère d’Encausse.

„Unsere Vision der französischen und der europäischen Politik ist entstellt, weil wir diesen Druckfaktor unterschätzen, den Russland als überaus wichtig einstuft. Denn eine ganze Reihe von Ländern hat sich unter Einfluss Deutschlands vereinigt“, fügte die Historikerin hinzu.

Ihre Rede löste eine stürmische Reaktion der Abgeordneten aus. Christian Hutin aus der Fraktion der Neuen Linken (Nouvelle Gauche) sprach sich für eine schnellstmögliche Verbesserung der Beziehungen zwischen Frankreich und Russland und sagte:

„Ich habe zum ersten Mal von derartigen Beziehungen zu Deutschland gehört. Es erfordert Mut, um über solche Dinge zu sprechen, über die bislang niemand gesprochen hat… Ich danke Ihnen dafür, dass Sie uns darauf aufmerksam gemacht haben.“

Maurice Leroy von den Zentristen bedankte sich ebenfalls für die Äußerungen. „Tatsächlich spielt das französisch-deutsche Tandem eine große Rolle in Europa. Wenn wir Sie richtig verstanden haben, legt dieses Tandem unsere französische Diplomatie in den Beziehungen und im Dialog mit Russland gewissermaßen lahm“, sagte der Abgeordnete.

28. Februar 2018

Aufholjagd in Afrika – Bundesregierung sucht Einflussverluste wettzumachen (


(Eigener Bericht) – Die Bundesregierung sucht Einflussverluste in Afrika wettzumachen und dringt anlässlich des heutigen Berlin-Besuchs des Staatspräsidenten Ghanas auf eine rasche Ausweitung der Geschäfte mit dessen Land. Hintergrund ist die immer stärkere Stellung Chinas auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent, das mittlerweile zum größten Handelspartner der Staaten südlich der Sahara aufgestiegen ist und in absehbarer Zeit dort wohl auch größter Investor sein wird. Ghana zählt lediglich zur zweiten Riege der deutschen Wirtschaftspartner in Afrika, gilt aber als ein Land, das gute Einstiegsmöglichkeiten in den afrikanischen Markt bietet. Berlin hat im Rahmen des G20-„Compact with Africa“ eine „Reformpartnerschaft“ mit Accra geschlossen, die es interessierten deutschen Unternehmern erleichtern soll, in Ghana zu investieren. Als vorteilhaft gilt, dass der ghanaische Staatspräsident Nana Akufo-Addo zur Realisierung von Wahlversprechen auf ausländische Investoren angewiesen ist. Zur Einflusssicherung intensiviert die Bundesregierung auch die militärischen Beziehungen.


28. Februar 2018

SUNDAY SUSPENSE Victor Grossman – Berlin Bulletin No. 141, February 27 2018

Speaking politically, Germany is holding its breath. The drama, the quarreling and haggling since last September’s elections, is approaching a climactic decision –on March 4th, next Sunday. 

Angela Merkel’s position had become unusually slippery, and not because of the icy weather now assailing Germany! But, aiming at a fourth, last stretch as boss, she again demonstrated sure-handed skill by proposing, at this past weekend’s special party congress, a new cabinet appeasing all three elements in the planned ménage á trois government.

To assuage hard-bitten Bavarian buddies in their special sister party (CSU), now facing attack from even further right-wing assailants, she offered their former leader Horst Seehofer the key job of Interior Minister, in charge of police, immigration, weapons control, the mushrooming surveillance system, in other words “law and order”. That should keep the Alpine crowd happy!

To placate right-wing opponents in her own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) she named young Jens Spahn (37), her most vigorous opponent, to be Health Minister where, as part of her government, he can probably be de-fanged.  Unusually in this conservative party, he is gay, with a wedded husband. Also unusual with the patriarchal CDU she named (aside from herself) three women for the cabinet and, as new party secretary-general, the governor in Saarland, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, 55, conservative on immigration issues and against same-gender marriage but so popular in the party she got nearly unanimous approval – and whispers that Merkel is grooming her as her successor.

Another woman, a lone hold-over from the previous cabinet and once seen as possible successor, was Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who loves to greet troops in far-flung units, incessantly calling for more and more modern weapons so Germany can meet US demands for a huge increase in NATO weaponry, start building a swift, strong European army outside NATO, and be ready to pounce down in any continent to meet German “responsibilities” and “defend its interests”.

Thus, Merkel safely bagged both “Christian Union“ parties. But the suspense remained. This week the entire membership of the other coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), was called upon to mail in their decision: for or against renewing their junior partnership in the government for four more years. A strong surge within the party is opposed, even though shrewd, elastic Merkel offered the SPD an additional cabinet seat, and two of the most important ones, Foreign Affairs and Finance. 

All the postal votes must be in by Friday, with the result announced on Sunday. SPD leaders have been racing from one meeting to another all over Germany, calling – no, demanding that members favor the grand coalition, abbreviated GROKO. Voices of Opposition were banned from the meetings, almost as a kind of treason! The situation rather recalled the US Democratic Party leadership. The big business interests which have mixed into the SPD, influencing decisions, offering well-padded jobs to leaders when they retire or lose their positions – all favored the GROKO coalition.

Those urging a No-vote seem to be a strong minority, with a majority of young party members. The leader of the Young Socialists, a boyish-looking West Berliner, Kevin Kühnert (28), has also  been traveling, telling all he can reach that the coalition of past years, with the SPD going along with the conservative CDU, has reduced the party to an emaciated skeleton. Four more years would be suicidal. The party should stay out of the government, as first planned, and grow in opposition to it.

The outcome is not certain. Both Merkel Christians and conservative Social Democratic leaders will be biting their nails until Sunday’s announcement. If the No votes win, that means “Back to Square One” and probably new elections, with more painful losses likely for all three ruling parties. 

It looks like a pro-coalition “Yes” will win out. But win or lose, the SPD, one of two major parties since World War Two (and founded way back in the 19th century), is facing disaster. Its lack of fighting spirit, its cuddling up to Merkel’s Christian Union, its ties with big business and, though most union leaders remain close, ebbing connections with its former working-class base have cut deeply. Add on the jockeying between its one-time but no longer leftish leader Andrea Nahles, its brief hopeful Martin Schulz, who proved to be hopeless, its nasty quarrel over who should become Foreign Minister, Schulz or the present minister, Sigmar Gabriel – all this has led to its drop in the polls to less than 20 % (today again to a record low of 15.5%, with the Christian Union at 32.5%.)

This downward plunge is not only alarming as a threat to  its own existence. For the second time it was overtaken in the daily polls, for half a point, by the Alternative for Germany (AfD). This young party, now with 92 Bundestag seats, has varying factions but at least a third are genuine fascists, with the others at least in silent approval. Its vociferous leaders shout racist slurs against people of Turkish background, refugees and all Muslims and sometimes Jews – anyone who is not “pure German”. They often seize on socially positive causes, verbally, but are committed not only to homophobic and misogynic ideas but to all the wishes of big business and big armaments. While at first ostracized by all other parties, the media helped them gain acceptance while some on the CDU-right seem increasingly willing to work with them. If new elections were held soon, they might emerge as the second strongest party, as in Austria, where a similar party joined the Christian party to form a coalition government. The rise of fascistic parties, always anti-Muslim, and their entrance into many governments all over Europe, is no longer only a faint reminder of the growth of the Nazi party in Germany and fascists elsewhere in the 1920’s and 1930’s!

Like the AfD, they seize upon the disappointment and fears for the future of many strata of working-people. Like their soulmates in the USA, they direct such feelings and worries not against those truly responsible, who hold tightly to their seats on top of their huge, increasing piles, but against those who speak different languages, wear different clothes, go to different churches and have different skin colors. If this does not suffice, they may turn to jingoist scares about perils from people in other countries or continents.

The Christian Union and, sadly, the leadership of the Social Democrats, could never confront such problems squarely or even escape accusations  of collusion by default.

Only one force is genuinely suited to exposing the lies and redirecting emotions away from attacks on the poorest victims and towards solidarity with them against the truly guilty forces on high. It is the Left. In Britain, with Corbyn, it has achieved remarkable initial success in this. There have been partial successes in France and elsewhere, but alarmingly few in Europe’s strongest country, Germany. The LINKE party makes important demands in the Bundestag: get out of Afghanistan and Mali, end weapons shipments to warring parties, increase pensions and minimum wages and lots more. But despite courageous youth-led rallies against fascists, it was often too torn by in-party conflicts to reach and mobilize people on the grass roots level, with genuine alternatives, including a future without fat cats on top of the pile. Will a strong showing Sunday of rebellious young SPD members, and the congress of the LINKE in June raise poll results now stagnating between 9% and 11%, create new goals, new contact points, strong and effective new tactics? We will see – and hope! It is urgent!

%d Bloggern gefällt das: