Noam Chomsky on Germany’s Weapons Exports to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Refugee Crisis

Noam Chomsky Interviewed by Zain Raza

Truthout, April 8, 2016

Zain Raza: Before we come to an end, there’s a couple of questions, but we better move now on to some foreign policy in terms of Germany. Germany has strong economic interest in the Middle East. To name a few examples: it is selling tanks to Saudi Arabia and it’s providing submarines toIsrael. What implications do these relationships have on democracy and security of the population there?

Noam Chomsky: I think they harm the security of the population. Take the submarines. These dolphin class submarines that Germany is providing to Israel are instantly refitted in Israel to have nuclear weapons capacity, and that’s not aimed at defense of Israel. Nuclear armed submarines don’t defend Israel. They are meant for attack, that’s what they are. And we know what attack they’re aimed for in the short run: an attack on Iran in the gulf. That’s a terrible threat, not only to the Iranians, but to the world. And Israel, after all, has a doctrine, an official doctrine. They say, they’re free to attack Iran if they choose to.

Furthermore, Israel is engaged in what the Pentagon has described as a war against Iran, and so is the United States. The US Pentagon declares that cyber war is an act of war. NATO last year agreed at a NATO conference that a cyber attack against any NATO country would call into operation the mutual defense provisions of the NATO treaty, which means every NATO country would be entitled to respond to a cyber attack by a military attack.

The US and Israel are not only carrying cyber attacks against Iran, they’re proud of it. It is openly proclaimed with pride they sabotage with cyber attack. That’s an act of war. Killing Iranian nuclear scientists, which is probably carried out by Israel, we’re not sure. Would we accept that? And to send submarines, which are in effect nuclear armed submarines to Israel at this time is a radical act of adventurism, which should not be tolerated by Germany. There are other cases too, but this one is particularly egregious.

Zain Raza: Do you think these policies, not only by Germany, but the United States as well, in the Middle East are contributing to the refugee crisis?

Noam Chomsky: They are a large part of the basis of the refugee crisis. I should say Germany is a pretty minor actor when compared with the United States in this respect, I am not approving of what its doing but these are overwhelmingly US, secondly British and French policies. Say in the case of the destruction of Libya, which had horrible effects for the region and in fact is expanding the refugee crisis – that was primarily a French initiative joined by Britain and followed by the United States – terrible consequences.

In the Levant, in Syria and you know that area, the source of the crisis, major source there – two major sources of the crisis – which flow together: One of them is the US & British Invasion of Iraq which hit the country like a sledgehammer – horrible effects in the country – killed hundreds of thousands of people destroyed much of the country and among other things set-off/incited a sectarian conflict which had not existed before, and that sectarian was exacerbated by the torture and terror and other atrocities, but that crisis is now tearing Iraq to shreds and is tearing the region to shreds – expanded to Syria and elsewhere. That’s one factor.

The other parallel factor was what Patrick Cockburn, one of the leading correspondents in the region calls, “The Wahabization” of Sunni Islam coming from Saudi Arabia both with funding and with doctrine – extremist, radical, Salafi-Wahabi Doctrines coming out of Saudi Arabia are being spread through the region with not only money but also clerics, madrassas, lots of devices. And these things coincide. They have led to, ISIS for example is an out-growth of them. The same with the other Jihadi groups in Syria.

So there is an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Al-Nusra Front, which is not that different from ISIS in its commitments and is supported openly by Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, openly by Turkey – indirectly by the US – and is part of the destruction of the region. Meanwhile Russia and Iran are supporting the Assad regime, which is brutal and destructive – but the role of the West in this is by no means inconsiderable, it is quite substantial. Again, Germany is kind of a minor player in so far as it supports the West, it is a player, but it is primarily the US, secondarily Britain and France.