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Die Linke is right to call for a halt to German arms sales to Turkey

THE role of US, British and French transnational dealers in death is well known — no military conflict continues without being supplied with an overabundance of armaments.

Germany has largely escaped similar condemnation by peace campaigners, possibly because Berlin doesn’t send its warplanes and high-tech specialists to instruct despotic regimes how to kill designated rebels.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, regularly buttressed by the free-fall social democrats (SPD), the “business-friendly” FDP and the unspeakably unprincipled Greens, has a very large finger in this lucrative though blood-soaked pie.

The Bundestag’s only pro-peace party Die Linke has highlighted the scale of arms exports to Turkey, which topped €2.5 billion in the past five years, and to the quintupling of weaponry sales to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, demanding that they cease.

Berlin regularly announces loudly that it plans to end arms sales to these repressive regimes but lifts embargoes at the drop of a hat, as with the case of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel who was jailed by Ankara before being released in February.

Leading Linke MP Stefan Liebich has drawn attention to the orgy of arms sales occasioned by Yucel’s release, noting that the former detainee opposes his release being “tainted with an arms deal.”

Every consignment of arms to Saudi Arabia and its United Arab Emirates allies can be expected to deliver death and destruction to Yemen where Riyadh is determined to restore its surrogate Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

Lack of medical supplies and clean water and the breakdown in Yemen’s infrastructure have already seen two major cholera outbreaks since 2016, with a third on the horizon, according to the United Nations.

There can scarcely have been a single global arms supplier that has not been enriched by the war in Syria, which began with militant mass protests for democratisation and was transformed into a laboratory for every jihadist group in the world to incubate its own experimental caliphate.

Those seeking democratic reforms were swept aside by an assortment of head-chopping fanatics whose forces were supplied, directly or indirectly, by Nato powers, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Israel, Jordan and Turkey.

Their shared goal was the overthrow of the secular regime of President Bashar al-Assad, either because he was adjudged a heretic or a fly in the Nato ointment.

Assad has survived because of Russian air power and the involvement of Lebanese, Afghan, Palestinian, Iraqi and Iranian militia volunteers.

Moscow has its own reasons for involvement, not least supporting an ally and retaining naval and air bases in Syria, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is surely on strong legal ground to demand that all armed outfits on Syrian soil without government invitation should leave forthwith.

The Merkel government cannot fail to be aware that the upgraded Leopard tanks it sold to Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been used for his army’s incursions into the Afrin district of Syria’s Aleppo province to drive out Kurdish forces, with the consequent strengthening of Isis and al-Qaida-linked groups.

Such political short-sightedness has been at the heart of Nato decision-making over which factions to back in Syria.

Even now, plans by Damascus to isolate and defeat the jihadists who control Idlib are discussed in Western media as though they herald war crimes rather than their elimination.

Arms-trafficking profits cannot provide an adequate justification for Germany’s backing for Turkey’s occupation of Syria, Saudi atrocities in Yemen or repression in Egypt.

The proposals by Die Linke must be supported widely.

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