For just the second time since World War II, the German Luftwaffe is flying into combat. Deutsche Welle reports that German Tornado reconnaissance fighter jets and an Airbus A310 aerial refueling tanker arrived at Turkey's Incirlik air base last week. The moves came after the German parliament authorized up to 1,200 service members to be deployed in support of the French and U.S. anti-ISIS mission following the November 13 Paris terror attacks. The Germans also sent a frigate, the Augsberg, with a crew of 230 people to support the U.S./NATO flotilla now in the eastern Mediterranean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW3rZcu99tU
Germany's latest intervention beyond its borders comes with weak public support, not only due to casualties suffered over the last several years in the country's supporting role in the NATO 'stabilization' mission in Afghanistan, but also due to concerns the country could be targeted in retaliation by Islamic State terrorists who slipped in as refugees this autumn under Chancellor Angela Merkel's open borders policy. A German political cartoon showing Bundeswehr soldiers preparing to deploy to the theater being waved goodbye by young able bodied Syrian men who refused to fight Daesh but fled illustrates the mixed feelings many Germans have over their country's interventionism in the name of anti-ISIS solidarity.
Although the Luftwaffe Tornadoes are expected to only fly reconnaissance rather than bombing missions from January, Germans joining the crowded air space over northern Syria are subject to the same de-confliction agreement the Russians signed with the U.S. and NATO in October. War is Boring website managing editor Robert Beckhusen reported on December 3rd that many of the Luftwaffe's jets are in disrepair or storage for lack of spare parts. Out of an inventory of 198 fighter jets, Germany has a total of 38 ready to deploy. Subtracting the six Tornadoes the Germans have sent to Turkey from that tally leaves Berlin with 32 planes in reserve should it decide to reinforce its presence in Turkey. But besides limited combat resources after a long post-Cold War 1.0 drawdown, the German military has another problem. Or rather, multiple problems related to its Turkish ally, which also happens to be a major trading partner and for decades has been the largest source of Islamic migration to Germany.
The German government has vowed not to share intelligence on ISIS targets or any other Syria subject with the Russians, even though their NATO ally France is doing so. As @GizaDeathStar author and PhD researcher Joseph P. Farrell points out, this creates plausible deniability of any German-Russian cooperation in Syria but there's only one degree of separation -- the French -- between the two sides. For good (avoiding midair collisions with flight plans) or bad (not sharing important data on the movements of all-sides alleged common enemy ISIS) this barrier between German and Russian commanders operating in the same Syrian theater will have consequences.
The Germans have also announced that they will not be sharing intelligence with the Turkish government that is hosting their forces regarding the Kurds, a vow that puts their commanders in Adana province in an awkward position with respect to Ankara. No fewer than two officers will be assigned the task of keeping the Germans' NATO allies in the dark about Luftwaffe aerial reconaissance of Kurdish territory inside Syria, according to the UK Daily Telegraph:
Germany has reportedly drawn up plans to prevent sharing intelligence with its Nato ally Turkey as it prepares to support international air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
German Tornado aircraft are to commence reconnaissance flights over Syria and Iraq after the country’s parliament on Friday voted to deploy up to 1,200 military personnel.
Highly unsual measures have been ordered to prevent Turkey getting access to intelligence from the flights, according to Spiegel magazine.
The aircaft are expected to operate from Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey, and as Nato allies, the two countries would normally expect to share intelligence.
But German commanders are concerned Turkey may use surveillance information from the flights to direct attacks against Kurdish forces allied to the West.
Ankara has been carrying out its own air strikes against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in south-east Turkey and Iraq as well as People’s Defence Units (YPG) in Syria.
Two German officers have been given the sole task of ensuring no intelligence is shared with Turkey that could be used to target these groups, according to Spiegel.
Germany has already supplied Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State with small arms -- machine guns and grenades. Theoretically such weapons could be used by Kurds against the Turks in the event Washington cannot force Ankara and the Kurds in both Syria and northern Iraq to play nice.
Germany's deployment to Turkey comes at an especially difficult time for Berlin. The German government led by SPD Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has criticized one of Turkey's biggest investors and patrons for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Islamist AKP, Saudi Arabia, as a force spreading extremism through the Mideast. Gabriel, as we pointed out in a previous post, is the same German politician calling for the period of 'frosty relations' with Moscow to end.
While Germany seeks to find room to maneuver in its trade and relations with Russia under the watchful lidless eye of the NSA/GCHQ, Berlin still has the headache of relations with Turkey. Including the recent 3 billion euro bribe Merkel had to offer Erdoğan along with promises of renewed EU membership talks to stop the exodus of humanity from Anatolia into Europe. Plus there's all the problems between Russia and Turkey right now which the Germans cannot escape. Ankara has not only shot down a Russian SU-24 jet in a premeditated attack along the Syrian border in November, but also invaded northern Iraq at the start of this month. Baghdad (which exports oil to Germany, among other European nations) has done what presumably peace-loving German diplomacy would have it do, and turned to the United Nations Security Council for relief.
Unfortunately for the Iraqis, the UNSC is currently chaired by neo-liberal interventionist and anti-Russian fanatic Samantha Power. Thus the Iraqis can expect little if any response to their complaint that the Turkish incursion constitutes aggression under international law. But the U.S. is as usual holding its allies and especially Turkey above international law, a posture that angers Iran, as well as Turkey's historic enemies in Armenia, Greece and the Balkans (Serbia). With the withdrawal of their Patriot SAMs from southern Turkey and dependence on their hosts good graces for the anti-ISIS coalition operation, whatever leverage the Germans might have over the Turks on the issue appears to be gone.
For now it appears Washington is stalling at the UNSC and pushing the line that Turkey's aggression is simply a bilateral matter for Ankara and Baghdad to work out. When RT journalist Gayane Chichakyan (a Russian citizen of Armenian origin, like Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov) pressed State Department spokesman John Kirby during Friday's press briefing on whether Washington had challenged the Turks to stop violating Iraq (officially a U.S. ally's) territorial integrity, he grew flustered and started berating her and Russia Today.
Lies, damned lies, and ridiculous State Department briefings...
Much like the comical State Department spokesclown, the German Foreign Ministry has been faithfully following the party line from the White House this past week, insisting that Germany had no evidence Turkey was deliberately selling Islamic State-produced crude, and deflecting attention towards Assad as the bad guy for buying the oil stolen from his own country.
Avoiding a German-Russian False Flag 'Incident' in Syria
The problem of course remains, that Germany's Tornado jets flying over Daesh-held territory inside Syria look very similar to their British counterparts on Russian and Syrian radar scopes, even if they're squawking a different IFF (identification friend or foe) signal. Vladimir Putin's statement this week that any aircraft or forces that pose a threat to Russian personnel must be destroyed, coming as they did after an isolated Syrian Army base was attacked by U.S.-led coalition (and quite possibly British or Saudi/Qatari -- the Russians wouldn't say which country's) jets, must be regarded with some trepidation by Berlin.
While German Tornadoes will not be carrying bombs and pose no threat to the SAA or their Russian and Iranian/Hezbollah allies, continued provocations by what the Russians implied was a non-U.S. air force subject to the de-confliction agreements against the Syrians could theoretically put the Luftwaffe operators in harms' way from Russian-supplied and Syrian/Iranian manned S-300 SAM batteries. Particularly if Washington is interested in some sort of false flag shoot down of a German jet in order to keep Berlin and Moscow apart. If we were a German Luftwaffe commander at Incirlik, we'd make damn sure our IFF works and intelligence sharing block or not demand our commander inform the Russians and their allies of our IFF signal to avoid any 'incidents' that would be all too convenient for those desperate to spoil German-Russian relations.
Shhh, don't tell U.S. controlled German media shills like Julian Roepcke even VP Joe Biden admits U.S. allies fund Al Qaeda in Syria...
Meanwhile, Bild, Germany's most fanatically pro-NATO and, until recent years, the country's most T and A splashed tabloid, keeps on 'trolling' RT and insisting that Russia, not the Turks, are the real 'ISIS air force'. While Washington propaganda outlets such as the Institute for the Study of War maintain that Russia is focusing its bombing campaign on the 'moderate' anti-Assad rebels (who are neither moderate, nor in many cases Syrians), Bild goes even further and claims that the Russians and ISIS are in cahoots to make Daesh advance at the rebels' expense near the Turkish border.
Naturlich, Bild's #JihadiJulian Roepcke does not want to discuss why Daesh terrorists and the 'moderate' Salafists he prefers to Assad both get their supplies from Turkey. Nor does he go into detail about how his beloved Saudi and Qatari backed 'moderate' jihadists like Ahrar al-Sham want to impose sharia law with stoning for adulterers, homosexuals and chopped off hands for theft.
Or how a Jabhat al Nusra leader recently said the Free Syrian Army doesn't exist, it's just a brand name for numerous anti-Assad groups, and his terror organization (that Washington condemns Russia for bombing) will never renounce allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
Nor will #JihadJulian explain how if Assad's troops, Hezbollah and the Russians are only pretending to fight ISIS, the Syrian Arab Army continues to push the Daeshbags back around the Kuweires military airport and at the gates of Palmyra, the ancient archaeological site that holds highly symbolic value for the Islamic State.
#JihadiJulian's promise that the Russian Air Force would soon face some nasty surprises in the form of jihadist surface to air missiles, either of the man portable or other kind, also failed to materialize since October:
Most U.S./NATO propaganda in Germany is of course, less fanatical and shrill than Julian Roepcke's Völkischer Beobachter-type Twitter rants. TIME Magazine for example, named Chancellor Angela Merkel its person of the year, over ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Not that we would've preferred Baghdadi to the Open Borders Chancellor, but we do have to wonder if TIME's editors miscalculated Merkel's importance, in the sense that rather than solidifying the pro-U.S./NATO 'consensus' in Europe, Merkel's insane ' ' policy may've actually hastened the demise of American dominance on the Continent. Particularly given the big electoral victory last weekend for Marine Le Pen's National Front party which was a repudiation of the 'Chancellor of the free World' -- in particular, Merkel's open borders and loyalty to Washington's Russian sanctions.
We'll leave RogueMoney readers with a speech by German Left Party MP Sahra Wagenknecht in the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier published in late October, on who's really to blame for the mass exodus of Muslims from engineered Mideast conflicts into Europe and Germany:
...and in this video, from December 2015, Wagenknecht basically calls TIME Magazine's Person of the Year a stooge for illegal and unjust U.S. wars, including the present bombing inside Syria which violates international law because the legitimate Syrian government has not authorized it. A bonus to Ms. Wagenknecht for mentioning The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1998) by Zbigniew Brzezinski: