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AUKUS: Australia snubs France and embraces a deadly future

The pact between Australia, the US and the UK sets up a new global boogeyman


The recently agreed AUKUS pact concluded between Australia, the USA and the UK generated an entertaining if distracting diplomatic soap opera. The Australian government, frustrated with delays and setbacks with the French Naval Group’s commitment to provide Australia with a new fleet of diesel powered submarines, secretly negotiated an agreement with the United States to provide Australia with nuclear powered submarines instead. The French were completely blindsided as up until the announcement, no indication had been made that Australia wanted to shelve the entire project. What followed was the much publicised soap opera.

The agreement and what it represents is significant and perhaps that is precisely why the soap opera aspects are played up in mass media while the salient analysis is done by international relations experts and disseminated to niche audiences. For the anti-war movements across the world, for the political left, AUKUS should serve as a call to organise pre-emptively against a war with China and in favour of democratic resolutions to tensions within Asia Pacific.

The AUKUS pact is a significant economic blow to France, with estimates ranging from 10 billion Euros to 90 billion AUD. More significant, is the diplomatic rupture between NATO allies. The former Liberal/National PM, Malcolm Turbull, stated this plainly in a speech. The execution of this swindle has frayed Australia’s relation with the EU and China (its biggest trading partner). Furthermore, Turnbull reveals important details of the new submarines that suggest Australia might become a military auxiliary of the US in a war with China.

The new submarines will have unlimited range, limited only by the provisions available to its crew. They will be fuelled with weapons grade enriched Uranium and therefore, this pact provides an opportunity for nuclear tech transfer between Australia and the US. If statements by Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, are to be taken at face value, this does not pose a threat to nuclear non-proliferation since Australia does not have a civilian nuclear industry, nor does it possess the centrifuge technology needed to independently enrich Uranium-235 up from the 0.7% in natural ore to 95% or so used in these submarines. While it is true that the submarines, once fuelled, do not need to be refuelled, it is not impossible to imagine that the batteries of these submarines can be taken out and repurposed. Such nuclear tech transfer is something the US had discouraged France from doing, forgoing the profits that accompany such sales. Which is why this pact is significant: it sets the scene for nuclear non-proliferation to be eroded within the next two decades.

It should come as no surprise that China is setting its sights on Taiwan more firmly. Though the Chinese did not immediately resort to a trade war with Australia in retaliation, a rational decision by an actor with limited room to manoeuvre, tensions with Taiwan are escalating. With the conservative and increasingly militaristic LDP in Japan, the likely election of a conservative president in South Korea, the left needs to start seeing a war with China as a real possibility and not an abstraction. If Australia can brazenly snub France and ally so strongly with the US and the UK (nations China has deep colonialist fears of), despite being economically integrated with the Chinese economy, the organised political left must recognise that by 2050 the sequences of capitalist and ecological crises can indeed foment a hot war.

The former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, began a process of militarisation during his tenure, and fate intervened to prevent him holding a referendum on revising Article 9 of the Japanese constitution due to his ill health. The pandemic further scuppered such plans and has brought into power Fumio Kishida, a realpolitik politician with extensive foreign policy experience. This dove-ish position may not hold indefinitely as tensions over Taiwan mount and Japan is bounced into militarisation by the US. Taiwan’s cooperation with the US on military exercises exacerbates the situation. Yet there is room for anti-war movements to manoeuvre.

News of AUKUS made New Zealand uneasy, and countries within ASEAN appear to be split. Despite the legacy of colonialism and barbaric treatment by the West towards them, contemporary disputes and economic relationships seem to be guiding the diplomatic response. The forgetting of history is a slow process and by 2050, it may be advanced enough that the scars of colonial domination are forgotten, opening the door to another catastrophe within the region. Leftists must strengthen international cooperation and contribute materially towards keeping this history alive. We in the West enjoy a relative abundance of wealth and technological access. We must find ways of using these privileges to support local efforts in Asia Pacific, so that this erosion of historical memory is arrested.

Within Europe, the pact presents an opportunity. France’s furious response suggests that all is not well within NATO. The de facto unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan has made it clear to European nations that they serve as auxiliaries to a decaying US empire. Germany’s energy insecurity is forcing the state to adopt a more pragmatic approach with Russia, the old NATO bogeyman. Parties like Die Linke and social movements ought to be encouraged by these developments. Though Olaf Scholz would insist any legitimate party must embrace NATO, within a decade this position may not be accepted wisdom if the left is willing to hold firm. The left must reiterate that NATO makes the world less safe. The only beneficiary of NATO is the global military industrial complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned against. In one succinct line, he provided the elegant argument that the left must continue to promulgate:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

The energy crisis, the impending food crisis, the plight of refugees, future conflicts over water, the impacts of the pandemic; these issues are not going away and the glaring injustice of feeding the military beast while people suffer en masse makes it imperative that the left resolutely holds elite obsessions with NATO to account.

From an intersectional perspective, the pandemic, the belligerent rhetoric of Donald Trump and now Biden, the general strengthening of the far-right across the Global North, has spawned a new yellow peril. The postwar era was defined by anti-communism, the 90s onwards Islam and the Muslim world, and today we see China as the justification for continued militarism. The pivot to Islamophobia did not lead to Russophobia and general suspicion of Easten Europe dissipating away, and indeed the post USSR East has fervently adopted Islamophobia. Similarly, Sinophobia will not displace this bigoted framework of global politics, but rather act in synergy with old bigotries. Before the multiple fronts of racism the US empire has spawned overwhelm its economic, social, political, and military capacity, it will take many innocent lives with it. For the left, the terrain of climate crises is the appropriate arena in which to defend these lives. Hunger, war, and pestilence are material-ecological consequences and must be advocated against as such.

The environmental movement, particularly the German Greens, is woefully blind to the climate implications of ever expanding military expenditures. For a party like Die Linke, such a unified political critique may be electorally fruitful. The path forward requires developing a coherent framework that links, for example, hunger, housing, and thirst to the growing belly of the military beast. Educational efforts at home, coupled with international cooperation and learning from movements in the Global South can reinvigorate the organisation. The climate crisis will only escalate in severity and this presents left parties across the world the chance to advocate demilitarisation. Political strategic work for this eventuality needs to be laid today for maximum effectiveness and importantly must collaborate with movements in the Global South.

Democratic United Front: A call for solidarity!

Statement by the Sudanese Workers Alliance for the Restoration of Trade Unions on the military takeover


There is no alternative but to continue the struggle, bring the downfall of the coup, mobilize our masses and achieve the complete demands and aspirations of the December revolution.

“The coup of parasitic capitalism was instigated by the warlord, Hemeti, and Burhan, the Al-Bashir Security apparatus, and the rest of the warlords who traffic in the suffering of their people, and the political brokers who come in every colour and shape.”

We ask the working class worldwide to stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan.

Today, October 25, 2021, the great Sudanese people are waging their bright, hard and blood-stained struggle against a military coup. There is no alternative but to overthrow and uproot all the forces that oppose democratic transformation, and who serving the interests of parasitic capitalism and its international and regional masters, must be held accountable for all their crimes, for their corruption, and their deep-rooted hostility to our people’s yearning for freedom, justice and peace.

We, the Sudanese Workers Alliance for the Restoration of Trade Unions call upon our members, female and male workers, craftswomen/men, wage workers, producers and toilers in the countryside and cities to engage in a protracted struggle against this very evident, undeniable coup, we call upon them to engage in civil disobedience and a general strike until the downfall of the counterrevolution. We must do so with the vigilance and caution that is necessary to resist all bargains or deals that run contrary to the demands of the revolution.

We must unreservedly avoid compromises, like the agreement signed on August 17, 2019, which forced the December 2018 revolution into an impasse, and prevented all of its glorious goals from coming into fruition. We urge the people to build an independent democratic union bloc that derives its legitimacy from work and which will be committed to the adherence of its own espoused principles. We are also making it clear that the Sudanese Workers Alliance for the Restoration of Trade Unions is fully committed to doing its utmost best to coordinate, network and deliver all required information that needs to be disseminated for this democratic bloc on our social media pages.

The power of the coup is the power of parasitic capitalism. It is inherently hostile to the common interests of male and female workers and all of the classes of wage earners; it is necessarily hostile to our people and their right to a dignified life. Parasitic capitalism contradicts the just demand of the Sudanese people for sovereignty over our country’s wealth and resources. There is no alternative but the protracted struggle for the downfall of the coup, the liquidation of its compromised institutions and agencies and the repealing of all of its regional and international alliances.

Our message to the honourable non-commissioned officers, the rank-and-file of the armed forces, the officers in the armed forces, the police, and the armed movements, is that they abide by their duty to protect their people and align themselves with the cause of the democratic transition. They should not point their guns at the bare chests of the daughters and sons of Sudan, who stand proud with determination and the yearning for freedom, justice and peace.

We must be clear. This disastrous coup will only serve the same social classes, and the regional and international interests that the Bashir regime always sought to protect, and who in turn stayed quite in the face of their corruption, actions and crimes throughout dictatorial rule.

We will succeed.

Our people are stronger than murderers and saboteurs, we have accumulated legacies of resistance responsible for bringing down many dictatorships who thought they had succeeded in breaking the Sudanese people’s resolve. The victory of our revolution is certain, regardless of the brutality of the counter-revolutionaries and the thirst for blood among vampiric putschists.

Glory to the people of Sudan and to the martyrs of the Sudanese revolution of all eras. Long live the struggle of the Sudanese Working class, of all Sudanese workers.

Glory to the bloc of the hungry.

The Sudanese Workers Alliance for the Restoration of Trade Unions. October 25, 2021

“One of the UK’s worst ever public health failures”

The British parliamentary report on Covid is a damning indictment of Boris Johnson’s Tory government


The response of the Westminster government to the management of the coronavirus pandemic in England has been characterised by inertia, lack of trust in the public, outrageous cronyism and an unwillingness to learn lessons. Even now, none of this has changed. The consequences include 139,000 deaths (8.6 million cases); massively increased waiting lists for National Health Service (NHS) treatment; general practice (primary medical care) in crisis; huge numbers of staff vacancies and a burnt out workforce. Numbers of COVID infections (particularly among the young) are now rocketing, with escalating hospital admissions and deaths. Yet there is still a reluctance to implement basic mitigating interventions such as mask wearing and improved ventilation in schools and workplaces. The initial rapid roll out of vaccine has now stalled, yet vaccination is still being promoted as the only intervention that is effective. The only plan there appears to be is waiting for ‘herd immunity’ through a combination of vaccination and natural infection.

Damning report from parliamentary committees

The management of the pandemic was explored by parliamentary representatives in a report published on 12th October from the House of Commons Health and Social Care, and Science and Technology Committees. The outstanding take home message from this report is summed up in the statement that this was “one of the UK’s worst ever public health failures”. At first sight this appears extraordinary given that the chair of one of the committees was Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health from 2012-2018. But the discussion is framed in a way that avoids attributing blame to politicians for the effects of their policies or the state of the NHS at the start. In this sense the report must be considered a whitewash.

Scathing criticisms were made, however: the initial response was delayed, care homes were abandoned, the ‘world beating’ test and trace system had marginal impact. The report describes how comparisons with flu and a fatalistic view of the inevitable spread of infection impeded reaction to the pandemic. While clearly condemnatory of the delay in the first lockdown (for reasons including lack of testing capacity and doubts about public compliance) ‘groupthink’ and ‘British exceptionalism’ are given the blame. The fact that delay in lockdown led to a higher death toll is accepted, together with the often made criticism that lack of financial support was a huge barrier to people isolating. Little negative attention is focused in the report on the delay in triggering the second lockdown. But senior scientists now feel this was an even more serious error, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Rather than incriminating “groupthink” the main problems were seeing the public as a problem; failing to value public health at a local level; and seeing the private sector as the best way to run a test-and-trace system. A post-report example of ongoing problems recently surfaced with revelations that a private laboratory had issued over 43,000 false negative Covid test results allowing many people to unwittingly spread infection.

Bereaved families excluded

The report is also notable for the absence of the voices of those who lost loved ones to Covid. A representative of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group commented:

The report … is laughable and more interested in political arguments about whether you can bring laptops to Cobra meetings than it is in the experiences of those who tragically lost parents, partners or children to Covid-19. This is an attempt to ignore and gaslight bereaved families, who will see it as a slap in the face”.

Not only were they not invited to give evidence to the committees, when they were finally seen by the prime minister 398 days after he first agreed to meet them, the date of the promised judicial inquiry into pandemic management had still not been specified. The select committees report lends weight and urgency to the call for a full judicial inquiry. The excuse that this would divert attention and resources from fighting the pandemic has worn very thin. Especially given both the evident need to learn and apply lessons to manage the current surge in infection, and that there has been no problem in finding time for both a major reorganisation of public health structures and the NHS as a whole.

Former Secretary of State for Health evades scrutiny

Hunt upset Covid bereaved relatives in a radio interview by describing the account given in the report as portraying ‘a game of two halves’, using a jarring football metaphor to indicate that whatever sins had been committed giving rise to around 150,000 (including excess) deaths, these were absolved by the vaccine rollout programme. Astonishingly, he also claimed to know nothing of Exercise Alice, a pandemic modelling exercise, that was only recently made public. This was commissioned in 2016 where the pathogen in the spotlight was not influenza but the coronavirus causing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Senior health officials war-gamed the impact of this coronavirus hitting the UK. They warned four years before Covid-19 of the need for stockpiles of Personal Protective Equipment, a computerised contact tracing system and screening for foreign travellers.

As Health Secretary, Hunt presided over worsening winter crises; cuts in bed numbers; significantly increased waiting lists and missed targets for Accident and Emergency (A&E) and cancer care; relative falls in budget; increasing privatisation of services; weakening of public health services; a bitter industrial dispute with doctors in training; and a staffing crisis leaving 100,000 vacant hospital posts and a shortage of 7000 General Practitioners. Needless to say, this contributed considerably to the weakened state in which the NHS found itself when faced with Covid-19. The one pandemic exercise he does admit to knowing about (Exercise Cygnus), gave recommendations that were were not implemented.

Health and social care crisis in the UK

Although the title of the Commons report was ‘Coronavirus: lessons learned to date’, very few lessons appear to have been learned. At the time of writing (October 25th), one in 55 people in England have Covid (the highest level since January 2021) and weekly death tolls are approaching 1000. Infection rates in the UK are more than 18 times those in Spain and more than nine those in France. The government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies has warned of the need for a possible winter lockdown, if measures are not taken now to tackle rising infections. The Chief Scientific Adviser to the government advised to “go hard and go early” with coronavirus restrictions if cases surge (as they are doing). But the government continues to paint an optimistic picture and wishes to give the impression that there is no cause for concern. In contrast, local public health chiefs in England are beginning to break away from government guidance and at least a dozen have called on their population to go back to mask wearing and working from home.

The NHS and Care services are at breaking point

Meanwhile, in the real world, the NHS is under severe pressure and expecting worse to come as winter, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus return. Necessary infection control measures during the pandemic saw another 9,000 beds taken out of commission, making it even more difficult for the health service to catch up with the backlog of work. In the 30 years before the pandemic, numbers of NHS hospital beds more than halved ensuring the UK has one of the lowest numbers of beds for its population in Europe. Half the acute hospitals in England are averaging 95% bed occupancy (85% is regarded as the acceptable maximum), with 5.6% taken by Covid patients (more than 5,000 patients at any one time). The proportion of patients attending A&E departments who are seen within four hours has fallen to 64% (the  national target is 95%). Together with lack of beds, this means ambulances sit waiting outside A&E, because crews cannot transfer their patient – or respond to other calls. As a result recently every ambulance service in the country was on the highest state of alert. In addition, care homes refuse to take patients from hospital to free up beds because of their own staffing shortages. These have been needlessly exacerbated by the government’s policy of ‘no jab – no job’.

Crisis – what crisis?

Figures show further increases in numbers of patients waiting for treatment (now at nearly six million) while NHS staffing shortages lead to cancelled operations. General practitioners (primary care physicians) have dealt with 196.8 million appointments so far this year – up 12% on 2019 – but are vilified as lazy in some of the national press. This campaign has generated verbal and physical abuse of staff and is supported by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health no less. GPs are now considering industrial action while other health trade unions are balloting members over strike action in relation to a below inflation pay offer.

The Care Quality Commission has warned of a “tsunami” of people without the care they need this winter unless staff shortages are tackled. The chief executive of the NHS Confederation (a membership body for organisations that commission and provide NHS services) appealed to the government saying:

You have got to recognise that we need a national mobilisation. You’ve got to recognise there is a health and care crisis coming over the next three or four months and accept it, acknowledge it and encourage the public to do everything they can to help”.

The head of the British Medical Association representing doctors has said the government is being “wilfully negligent” in not reintroducing mandatory mask wearing indoors and encouraging work from home. Meanwhile, returning from a holiday break in Spain, the prime minister insists the only effective way of combating the pandemic is to press ahead with the booster vaccination programme. He insists that everything is under control and there is nothing to worry about.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Sajid Javid stated in a recent press conference on Covid (the first for five weeks):

We don’t believe that the pressures that are currently faced by the NHS are unsustainable

arguing that the NHS is in fact coping, while happily predicting daily Covid cases may rise to 100,000. To add to this surreal situation, the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, claimed that Conservative MPs do not need to wear masks when in parliament because they know each other. Nowhere are there consistent public health messages about reducing infection to be heard other than through vaccination, and little attention is given to improving ventilation in buildings, for example with only 8% of schools having received promised carbon dioxide monitors.

Incompetence, indifference or democide?

The present pandemic management policy in Westminster is indifferent to the loss of life, the long term complications of Covid in survivors and the impact on NHS staff and other frontline workers. This raises the question as to whether this amounts to democide (“the killing of members of a country’s civilian population, as a result of its government’s policy, including by direct action, indifference, and neglect”), “social murder”, gross negligence manslaughter, or misconduct in a public office? Campaigners who have raised such possibilities have watched with interest as French police searched the homes and offices of officials including the former prime minister as part of an investigation into the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Current and former ministers of the French government have been targeted by at least 90 formal legal complaints from civic groups and members of the public over their response to the health emergency. In addition, a Brazilian congressional panel has recommended that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with “crimes against humanity,” asserting that he intentionally let the coronavirus rip through the country and kill hundreds of thousands in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity and revive Latin America’s largest economy.

Fighting back

While considering such legal challenges, now is the time for a concerted effort to link concerned patients, health and care workers, trade unions and health and social care campaigners in the fight back for a fully publicly funded, provided and planned health, care and independent living service. This is needed urgently before public and staff confidence in the founding principles of the NHS have been irreversibly eroded – leaving private providers as the only winners.

Why we Decided to Postpone our Meeting on Trans Rights

This evening, 25th October 2021, Die LINKE Berlin working groups Internationals and Queer were planning to hold a public meeting on Trans rights. This is why the meeting was postponed.

Dear community,

The trans rights panel which was due to take place on 25th October, this Monday, will not be held. There were mistakes made during the organisational process and as a result concerns were raised from within the Black trans community. We believe that going ahead with the event when important parts of the community don’t stand behind us to be counterproductive, and have therefore decided to postpone, in order to work on a panel that will be more inclusive and truly intersectional.

Our wording left the impression that the panel would speak for and about Black people when there were no Black people on the panel. The wording was originally chosen before a change in the list of participants – however, a miscommunication between the organising team and the social media team meant that this wording, specifically the term BIPOC, was kept after we knew the invited Black speakers could not participate. We know that words matter. We did not want to reproduce violent and exclusionary language and we are sorry that we did. We do not want to be part of appropriation culture, and we acknowledge that the wording we chose left this impression. Thank you for calling this out to those who did.

We are sorry that this situation has led to voices that were to be part of our panel – a non-binary voice from Eastern Europe, a trans voice from Brazil and a trans voice from South Korea – will no longer be able to use this platform to speak on their issues. There are LGBTQI+ free zones in Poland, a trans soldier in South Korea recently commited suicide because she was not allowed to serve her military service as a woman, and trans women’s lives in Brazil are under constant attack. Our participants all do important work in Berlin without being provided with the necessary safety and care, which is an issue we wanted to highlight during our panel.

We had limited funds for the event but we made sure that the three invited guests were offered speaking fees. The fourth speaker is a member of the LAG and was not due to receive a fee for her appearance.

Trans identities are facing increasingly dangerous campaigns against them led by conservative and right-wing forces. We wanted to provide a platform within the realm of a political party that should be on the forefront of trans rights discussions in parliament, and is failing to be, and put together a panel that was within our knowledge, capabilities and resources. None of the organising team gets financial compensation for their work, and we acknowlegde there are gaps in our networks and knowledge.

We believe in the importance of discussion, although we would prefer a place other than the Instagram comment section. Besides the missing nuances and detail, it creates an environment in which we are not talking with but past each other.

We planned this event to highlight trans voices, as we believe there are not enough platforms offered for them to be heard. We apologize for the mistakes made and the people who were hurt, to our speakers, and we hope that we can join forces in the future once we have reflected and reassessed this event.

In solidarity,

DIE LINKE Berlin Internationals LAG

Both the LINKE Berlin Internationals and theleftberlin website would like to continue the discussion on how the Berlin International Left can best fight for Trans rights. If you would like to contribute to the discussion please contact the LINKE Internationals on or theleftberlin on

Stop all weapons exports. Especially to Israel

Germany’s role in Israel’s repression of peaceful demonstrators and in exporting war


Evaluating the Answer of the German Government to an Inquiry into German-Israeli Military Cooperation

“German-Israeli military cooperation is closer than many Germans realise,” wrote Die Welt in August 2021. Indeed, no other country enjoys such close military cooperation with the German Government than Israel, and it has been that way for decades.  

In light of the new escalation of violence, including the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and elsewhere, and the attacks on Gaza in May 2021, I requested information regarding the state and development of German-Israeli military cooperation via a parliamentary Minor Inquiry procedure. Here I document the extent of that military cooperation. 

The German Federal Government maintains continuous armaments cooperation with the Israeli government. In the federal budget, taxpayer funds are regularly set aside for “procurement of defence systems for Israel.” In 2020, this amounted to 45 million Euros. This is not a loan, but a non-repayable donation, and is essentially a disguised subsidy of the German weapons industry. According to the German Federal Government, 13,973,665 Euros worth of weapons exports to Israel were approved between the 1st of January and the 7th of July 2021. In 2020, the Government approved 582,405,816 Euros worth of weapons exports to Israel. This makes Israel, after Hungary and Egypt, one of the top buyers of German weapons.  

In its response to my Minor Inquiry, the German Government admits that it approved exports of tear gas (PAVA) and “portable application equipment for incapacitating or irritating chemical substances” to Israel. The Government did not report on the quantities of these exports. Although pepper spray is subject to export controls, German corporations make a significant profit from exporting pepper spray and the containers required for its deployment. Israeli security forces are known to frequently deploy pepper spray against peaceful demonstrators, particularly Palestinians. The deployment of pepper spray against gatherings and protests constitutes a violation of human rights. It ought to be forbidden, along with its exportation. 

According to the Global Militarisation Index 2020, Israel is the most militarised country on earth. In 2019 Israel was the eighth largest exporter of weapons worldwide. When it comes to drones, Israel is a global leader. The occupation and constant fighting against Palestinians supports this marketisation. It enables Israeli weapons developers to market their weapons as “combat tested.” The Israeli military’s 2021 operation “Guardian of the Walls” saw the large-scale deployment of unmanned drones in attacks on the Gaza Strip. 

From the 13th to the 22nd of July in 2021, just a few weeks after the attacks on Gaza, the German Military took part in the drone exercise “Blue Guardian” in Israel. They joined together with French, Italian, US-American and British military forces. This was the largest-ever international drone warfare exercise. Reporting on the exercise, Die Welt wrote, “the Israeli Army leads the world in the deployment of drones. Now the NATO states want to learn from Israel how to coordinate multiple air-borne drones in a single operation, to support ground troops and to detect and destroy enemy targets on the battlefield.”  

The German Government is particularly interested in Israel’s “combat tested” Heron drones. For years, Germany has deployed unarmed Heron-1 drones in Afghanistan and, more recently, in Mali. In 2018, the Germany signed a contract with Airbus for the lease of five weapons-compatible Heron TP drones. From the Government’s response to my Minor Inquiry, it is clear that these five Heron-TP combat drones will be made available to the Israeli military base Tel Nof from the 30th of October 2021. Since 2019, German soldiers have received training from the Israeli Air Force in the use of unarmed Heron TP drones. The Israeli Air Force uses Tel Nof as a launching base for drone incursions into the Gaza Strip.   

According to Defence Minister Annagret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the goal of these exercises are that German and Israeli combat forces “not only cooperate as military partners, but also become ‘interoperable’, in other words, that our combat forces work together.” German-Israeli military cooperation also entails shared training components. From 2014 to July 2021, German soldiers participated in 23 exercises in Israel, with Israeli forces participating in 37 exercises in Germany. 

In addition, German agencies carry out research together with Israel on seven military-relevant projects. The Federal Government declined to provide further information, citing Israel’s “special security needs.” Here we again see a tight interlocking of the German state with the Israeli military sector. 

Through subsidised weapons exports, state-financed weapons research and military training, the German Government places itself firmly on the side of the Israeli Government, irrespective of its repression of the Palestinian population of Israel and the Occupied Territories. We in ‘Die Linke’ reject this occupation and repression. We stand always on the side of the oppressed, not of those who practice repression and occupation.  

‘Die Linke’ is against all weapons exports. This applies particularly to crisis areas and war zones in the Middle East and West Asia. The German Government must stop its weapons exports to Israel. Goods listed in Appendix III of the Anti-Torture Decree should not be exported. The provision of taxpayer funds for the armament of Israel and for Israeli military research must end. ‘Die Linke’ says No to weapons-compatible drones and thereby to drone cooperation with Israel. 

Christine Buchholz was a ‘Die Linke’ MP until the recent elections. This article first appeared in German on her website. Reproduced with permission. Translation: Tim Redfern