Do you know that German and Middle East relations started as early as 17th Century? These relationships however had been with strings attached. One set out to manipulate the other for its own selfish gain. Germany had all the power to manipulate Middle Eastern countries. Its main interest was to colonize the Ottoman Empire (Schwanitz 1). This essay seeks to explore through the past, present and future relations between Germany and Middle East in terms of policies, treaties, political, economic, socio-cultural, war and religious contexts. The German – Middle East policy
By the time the German Reich was being established in the year 1871, neighboring countries had expanded their colonies overseas into empires. These countries included; Russia, France and the Great Britain. Four decades afterwards was a period of growth for the established empires. Berlin by then was pushing to come up with a policy aiming at West of Asia and North Africa. The Berlin policy was very different from the other European countries’ policies (Schwanitz 1). However there was very little to claim in the regions and particularly in West Asia.
This is because Middle East had already been divided among the other European countries. This did not deter Berlin from finding a way into the Middle East for its national interests. A Berlin Middle Eastern policy was established. The policy’s cornerstones were commerce, trade and, of course, a peaceful penetration (Schwanitz 1). Germany started its founding in the year 1884. This continued for a period of three decades. Schwanitz in his book German and the Middle East from 1871 – 1945 calls this period “Deutsche Orient-Grunderjah – German Orient Founding Years.
” German became a colonial power exploring regions of Africa and Middle East. In the Middle East, it intensified its economic, military and cultural relations. Most of the Germany’s strongholds were Mesopotamia, Turkey and Palestine in the Middle East, Mauritania and Egypt in Africa (Schwanitz 1). The German Middle East policy had many dimensions. Major politicians wanted the Ottoman Empire kept together to enable them to secure economical, historical, military and cultural relations with the largest regional power, Istanbul.
After the German Reich was founded, Andreas Mordtmann became consul general of Haseatic League in the year 1847 in Istanbul to strengthen the knots with the Ottoman Empire (Schwanitz 3). The Berlin Middle East Policy emphasized the maintenance of the status quo during the 3 decades of the German Orient Founding Years. The policy aimed at fighting for a secondary policy, penetrating peacefully into the region and intervening in the oriental conflicts (Schwanitz 6). It is the German that led the people of Turkey to declare a Jihad against Russia, British and France during the First World War.
C. Snouck Hurgronj, a Dutch Arab blamed his colleagues from Germany for supporting the Jihad Fever. The Dutchman believed that Jihad had been an intellectual weapon that was Germany made (Schwanitz 6). Germany – Middle East Peace Process and Treaties Germany set out to restore peace that had been lost in the Middle East countries. The Germany’s policy therefore has so much weight on the States of Mashreq – Israel and the neighboring countries. However, these peace settlement moves were not based on humanitarian concerns.
Germany had strings attached. The German – Israel special relationships are shaped by European Jews’ persecution and the worthless murders (Perthes 13). This relationship will remain to be special and for this reason, security of Israel will remain a foremost issue in the Germany policy of foreign countries. However, Germany does not accept the Israelis’ terms and conditions of peace uncritically. It is only possible when political spectrum segments in Israel moves to keep peace of the state for the sake of their neighbors (Perthes 17).
The move made by Germany to keep peace between Israel and Arab countries would bring to an end the Germany’s fears for a possible conflict that would ruin its already established special relationship with the Israel state. Germany also has had interests of penetrating into the Arab states and any conflict between these Middle East countries would not make it possible. There is also the Germany’s interest to develop peace in the Middle East countries for they share the same culture and civilization with the Middle East people.
For instance, Europe’s Christianity, culture and history originated from the “Holy Land” (Perthes 13). Germany has taken a neutral stand in its peace process between Israel and Arab; it is neither ‘pro-Arab’ nor ‘pro-Israel’. The policy is aimed at promoting peace throughout the Middle East countries. Germany and other European policies’ neutrality cannot be maintained when some Middle East countries endanger the peace of others. As much as the European countries would want to make peace, interventions have to be made on certain circumstances like when the Israel State wanted to secure boundaries (Perthes 13).
The policy of Germany should seek to give support to Israel in the search for a far reaching peace. Germany should ensure that the Arabs have accepted Israel’s existence. The peace treaties should lead Israel to be fully integrated in the region. The fact that there has been a special trust between Israel and Germany gives way for Germany to address critical issues especially in bilateral dialogue context. Politically, Germany expects and demands Israel to abide by the signed agreements. It also requires that Israel rejects territorial and political changes that have resulted from conquests and wars.
The demand extends to Israel’s renunciation of the adopted settlement policy of the territories that have been occupied (Perthes 17). Wounds of the ugly past between Israel and Germany might have healed but if touched, they can always bleed again. The special relations of Germany and Israel can only be maintained if the coming generations of the two states develop interests towards each other; interests that go a step further from the past interests (Perthes 18). In the Germany’s relationship with the Arabs, Germany should recognize Arab’s predominant character in the Middle East.
Its Arab relationships should not depend on the process of making peace. Germany policy should understand political and cultural ties among Arab states. It should also support policy makers of Arab in the effort of fostering co-operation with Arab states and establishment of Arab – free – trade. Germany policy should aim at promoting exchange among the Arab societies. Some underdeveloped regions such as the Maghreb (Gulf) need support and a lot of encouragement. Germany also should seek to build a strong confidence in the bilateral relationships. In this way, the future of Germany-Middle East relations will be secure (Perthes 18).
Economic Relationships In past decades, there has been little interest of the Germany policy in the political relationships and dialogue with economic partners of Arab. The Middle Eastern regions have from the past supplied the world with oil and gas; important commodities. The regions have had a powerful export market. Though Germany is a major trading partner with Middle East countries, the states of Arab, Israel and Iran account below 3% in the foreign trade of Germany. The investments that Germany has made in the Middle East remain insignificant.
Middle East and Northern African (MENA) countries have a great growth potential. Germany is interested in both political and economical growth of these countries and their co-operation with European countries (Perthes 18-23). The German-Israel relations have intensified. There have been economic aids, trade relations, political visits, youth exchanges and tourism between the two countries. Germany has supported Israel to a great extent. In the recent years, that is between 1999 and 2000, a total of three submarines of the Dolphin-class were sent to the state of Israel at each 340 million Euro.
Germany incurred the cost of two and the third submarine’s costs were paid by Israel and Federal Republic. In the year 2000, the same Federal Government admitted 33 former fighters of Southern Lebanese Army (SLA) together with their families. They were 400 people in total. This was as a result of support from the Israel state. 6000 persons had fled into Israel from Lebanon (Perthes 36). There is a great task therefore for Germany to promote economic exchange with partner states. Germany should advocate for a free bilateral trade to demonstrate its interest in oil-producing states.
It should do so in supporting them to maintain stability in the oil prices. This will also be an added benefit to the Germany economy since most of the oil exporters import great amounts of oil from Germany; more than they do export. Low oil prices will destroy Germany’s interest in oil exports (Perthes 23). Free trade developments are needed in the north- south and also south-south regions of the Middle East, that is, link Euro-Mediterranean with EU-GCC with the inclusion of Iran, Iraq and Yemen (Perthes 23).
Germany should seek to promote co-operation in the fields of technological development and research and cut its financial assistance. In promoting regional cooperation, German should look forward to involve all countries in the region and not in Israel alone (Perthes 24). Social Relationships Germany-Israel relationship is also at the social level. For decades now, there have been youth exchanges, tourist trade and overall contacts of many groups in these societies. German media, for instance, constantly reports about conflicts in Israel and Middle East.
On the other hand, Israel’s media have not reported about the developments of Germany in the same intensity. The Israel’s media reports concerning Germany are issues to do with sports, not forgetting the neo-Nazi attacks and anti-Semitic attitude (Perthes 36). German – Middle East Wars Historically there has been terrorism, regional conflicts, mass destructions and socio-economic disparities that have bred enmity between the regions of the Middle East. Germany has found itself trapped in the middle of these conflicts (Perthes, 24).
Many critics argue that Germany peace keeping policies should stay out in attempting to solve Israel-Palestinian-Arab conflict. This is because of the Shoah crimes against humanity. Germany carried out genocide on the European Jews, widely known as the Nazi Genocide. Six million Jews were killed and this has led other states to view Germany with contempt. Germany according to critics should establish a policy in favor of the Middle East interests for reasons associated with history (Perthes 35). They were unforgivable barbaric atrocities against the European and Germany Jews during the Nazi regime.
It was a terrible criminal act against humanity. Long afterwards, Germany sought to make peace with the Jews (Tallinn, par. 2-3). In World War 1, Germany’s influence was felt in the army during the Young Turk. By then, there was disunity in the Union’s Committee that made some to seek for other allies as the European countries headed for war. Germany’s negotiations with Enver Pasa together with Mehmet Talat bred a hidden alliance in the August of 1914. The Ottoman Empire staged the First World War in the month of November 1914. Germany sent hundreds of troops to Turkey, some under the command of Turkish military.
Academic specialists from Germany and Middle East were also used in the war. The efforts by Germany to compete with Britain in supporting Zionist to get help from the Jews did not bear fruits when USA joined the war (Reeva, par. 6-9). During the Cold War, Germany is accused of exporting missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It was a misconduct of Germany exporters although the Federal government was held responsible. Germany’s reputation was damaged by its unintentionally participating proliferation of WMD (Perthes 140).
Germany evaded military participation directly during the Second Gulf War. However, Germany was a very important tool in coalition that was against Iraq. Though Germany failed to provide troops, it politically participated in the coalition. Its reputation was not spared either for failing to produce military troops. The relations between Israel and Germany suffered as Israel was highly risked with attacks of chemical weapons. Germany had participated towards the Iraq’s armaments. For this reason, Germany was found unfit in making a foreign policy as far as security was concerned (Perthes 141).
Currently, the public has begun to appreciate the participation of Germany Government’s interests in the security of Middle East. Germany was actively involved to resolve the conflicts that had erupted as a result of Yugoslavia’s demise wake (Perthes 141). Germany’s security and in general that of Europe has been affected negatively as a result of the conflicts. In the past, forces from outside have had a very limited influence in these conflicts (Perthes 24). Germany and the other European countries need to find a way of getting a solution to bring to an end these conflicts.
However, these kinds of involvements can be dangerous. It can be a source of fierce military entanglements. Many of these conflicts demand meditation but sometimes it can be beyond the capabilities of Europe (Perthes 24). If there are solutions to be sought, the international community must intervene and the regions must be ready to accept the intervention. At present, chances of success however are very slim. There is a call for Germany and other European countries to launch long – term plans for the promotion of security cooperation that has been neglected for long.
“Charter of Peace and Stability” project that has been proposed in the Barcelona process seems to be heading in the right direction (Perthes 25). The September 2001 attacks, the frequent conflicts of Israel and Palestine, and a possibility of the emergence of war in Gulf, is a clue to the Germans and other European states that the interests they have in security in the MENA regions should be at the front line. To manage the crisis, Germany should use diplomatic and political tools (Perthes 25). The government is currently engaged in dialogue between some MENA countries.
It has made a great move but some important countries have been cut from the list (Perthes 26). Jihadist terrorisms like that of the Al-Qaeda are still prevalent in the Middle East. There are other forms of terrorism like the National Liberation groups that use illegal terrorist moves. Al-Qaeda tries to initiate world-wide struggle. The National Movements on the other hand, are aimed at political and territorial goals. Germany therefore should make policies that do not allow terrorist moves (Perthes 26). European states with the help of USA and UN can contribute in terms of military forces to keep peace in the Middle East.
This is currently being manifested in some parts of Lebanon, Sinai and Golan Heights. National contingents have been deployed from the EU countries. These security units can manage to bring peace on the borders of Israel and Syria and the future Palestinian state borders (Perthes 26-27). For a future that is conflict free in the Middle East countries, Germany should restrain the supply of arms in these regions. Exportation of arms should be completely restricted if war is to end in the Middle East region (Perthes 27).
The present debate concerning Germany’s engagement in keeping peace in Lebanon brings arguments of the past and the future of Germany. The historical burdens generate arguments for and against its involvement in the European-UN force. Germany has accepted to offer support towards the rebuilding of Israeli. However, there is a probability of the Germany military attacking the Israeli’s troops. The former Prime Minister of Israel, Olmert, embraced the idea but German troop’s peacekeeping at the Lebanese-Israel border creates anxieties (Janes, par. 1).
Recent polls show that 85% of Germans want Germany to stop its involvement in peace keeping for the sake of the past frictions. Others feel that involvement would be putting German soldiers in danger in an unstable world. The citizens portray a refusal for Germany’s peace keeping processes (Janes, 5). German should discuss ways in which they can use to help bring an end to conflict not only at the border between Lebanese and Israeli but also in the regions that have been plagued by fear, fanatism and political instability. Leaders in politics need to take the lead.
There exists confusion on what Germany should do to solve Middle East crisis. Some people argue that Germany should, according to its capability, follow what other states are doing. Janes in the article, Germany and the Middle East: looking back and looking forward argues that “Germany’s role in the Middle East-and most especially with Israel-should always be measured with a look toward its past. But it should understand that past as a reminder to help shape the future for those seeking to end the violence in this war-ravaged region” (Janes, par 8-9). Religious relationships
The religious relationships between Germany and Middle East will be looked at in terms of the Jihad that is believed to have been made in Germany. The Sarajevo effect had dragged the European countries and the whole world into a deep pit of war. The Germans pushed Young Turks in declaring jihad during the first phase of World War 1. This Jihad was against, French, Russians and British. The Islamic Jihad was a machine to lead the world to war. This jihad had negative effects on human beings and on the religious peace. The aim of this jihad was to weaken enemies. Jihad had to extend to Egypt, Asia, India and all Muslim territories.
There were incitements of Muslims in a Caliphate fight. Muslims in the Islamic territories rebelled even under the control of Ottoman sultan-caliph (Schwanitz 6-16). The Germans share in this jihad was to provide intelligence and the Turks incited them. Max von Oppenheim stage of Jihad became the Germany’s strongest weapon against British country. The Jihad is a part of the duty for Muslims as dictated in the Koran. Russia, France and England were always hostile towards the Islamic religion. In case of a Jihad therefore, the Muslims would attack them seriously.
Ottoman Empire’s protection was at the stake of Muslim’s jihad participation. According the teachings of the Koran, those Muslims who failed to participate in the Jihad deserved divine punishment. Muslims however are prohibited in fighting Islamic land troops. In doing so, their punishment was hellfire because of murdering. It was an unforgivable sin to fight the allies of Supreme Islamic Government such as Austria and Germany. Germany had used so much money in this expedition but most of the Muslims failed to respond to the call of jihad. Jihad was an action of the German-Ottoman plan.
By misusing religion, Germany collaborated with Middle East to fight its enemies (Schwanitz 6-16). Conclusion The relationships between Germany and the Middle East countries started a number of centuries ago. The two regions have had relationships in a wide range of areas ranging from war, religious, economical, political and social-cultural contexts. With the participation of Germany in so many Middle East conflicts the relationships seemed to be falling apart. It had been a past filled with bitterness on the part of Middle East towards Germany but this did not deter them from relating positively.
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