Germany Brings Cold War to Middle East

Published on 27 March 2012

The German weapons industry stands to gain from the huge submarine sale to Israel, but this deal is done at the expense of Holocaust survivors, Iranians and Israelis.


The Cold War is having a come-back. Phrases like “second strike ability,” “balance of terror,” and “five minutes to midnight” are back in fashion in the media.

Prime Minister Netanyahu focused his 2009 election campaign around one thing – the Iranian nuclear threat. He won the elections but now another election is approaching and Netanyahu has nothing to show for all the fear-mongering. An Israeli strike against Iran is a possible major boost to his popularity.

Minister of Defense Barak has lost almost all of his popularity and public support, though he holds the second most important position in Israeli politics. As a war with Iran could reshuffle the cards for Barak, allowing him to emerge as a hero, he possesses a strong incentive to attack as well.

For most Israelis, however, war with Iran makes little sense. An Israeli unilateral attack could be devastating for Israel. Iran has never attacked Israel and has no reason to launch a suicidal nuclear attack against Israel, even if it did somehow acquire nuclear weapons one day.

Germany, however, decided to intervene and support the warmongering of Netanyahu and Barak against Iran. German Minister of Defense Thomas de Maiziére gave Barak a token warning that an attack on Iran could be dangerous for Israel (not even bothering to mention the risk to Iranians), but this verbal statement is contradicted by Germany’s decision to physically equip Israel for such an attack.

Germany sold Israel six submarines that are especially modified to carry large missiles, while subsidizing a third of their cost. This month, Barak signed documents for the final two submarines to be supplied to Israel. The talk amongst Israeli military correspondents is that the submarines can and probably will carry nuclear armaments, and their target can be no other than Iran (surely the fishermen in Gaza can be overcome by Israel’s navy without the use of submarines). The German media makes little mention of the fact that Germany might be helping Israel launch a nuclear strike against Iran. Germany considers the subsidized submarines as part of the Holocaust compensations.

Military submarines as Holocaust compensations? Must the few remaining Holocaust survivors in Israel be made to bear the burden of Netanyahu and Barak’s military ambitions? Apparently both the German and Israeli governments think so, but this fact is hardly mentioned in the Israeli media (one notable exception is this article from 2007).

These six submarines are the most expensive items in Israel’s arsenal, priced at Euro 400 million each. The aforementioned Germany subsidy could have been used, instead, to almost double the 2012 budget (PDF) of the Israeli Ministry of Welfare, which would certainly be a more direct benefit to Israeli Holocaust survivors who depend on welfare.

A possible war between Israel and Iran would have global implications. It wouldl probably lead to an immediate increase in oil prices, and President Barack Obama might lose the U.S elections because of it. Barack’s Republican opponents try to outdo each other with threats against Iran and encouragements to Israel, because supporting Israeli aggression is a great way to secure not only the pro-Israel lobby funds, but also those from Christian Zionist organizations and from the much larger oil and weapon lobbies.

Many Israelis oppose a war with Iran, but Netanyahu and Barak control the army and can easily lead to an escalation. The German weapons industry stands to gain from the huge submarine sale, but the deal is done at the expense of Holocaust survivors, Iranians and Israelis.