Muslims Protesting Against Free Speech

Tens of thousands of Muslims across the world protest Macron’s stance on French cartoons

By Associated Press

4:27am Oct 31, 2020

Tens of thousands of Muslims, from Pakistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories, poured out of prayer services to join anti-France protests on Friday, as the French president’s vow to protect the right to caricature the Prophet Muhammad continues to roil the Muslim world.

Hardline Islamic groups across the region have seized on the the French government’s staunch secularist stance as an affront to Islam, rallying their supporters and stirring up rage.

Demonstrations in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad turned violent as some 2,000 people who tried to march toward the French Embassy were pushed back by police firing tear gas and beating protesters with batons. Crowds of Islamist activists hanged an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron from a highway overpass after pounding it furiously with their shoes. Several demonstrators were wounded in clashes with police as authorities pushed to evict activists from the area surrounding the embassy.

Supporters of religious group burn a representation of a French flag during a rally against French President Emmanuel Macron and republishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 (AP)

Protesters try to climb on a shipping container at a rally against French President Emmanuel Macron and republishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 (AP)

More protests against Macron outside the temple walls

Israel Embassy in France decries ‘anti-French acts’ of Palestinians in Gaza

The Israeli Embassy in France condemned Monday the “anti-French acts” and protesters who burned photos of French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday night in Gaza.

“We wholeheartedly condemn the anti-French acts and the burning of photos of President Emmanuel Macron by Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip. Especially when this occurs with the tacit encouragement of Hamas,” the embassy tweeted.

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In the city Khan Younes in the Gaza Strip, a handful of demonstrators burned photos of Emmanuel Macron and called for the defense of the prophet and of Islam, according to witnesses.

Iran Slams Macron for the Truth

Tehran slams France’s Macron over Islamophobic remarks

TEHRAN – Iran has strongly criticized French President Emanuel Macron over his anti-Islam stance after Macron described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide.

“#Macron’s irrational behavior in public #AntiIslamism shows his crudeness in politics, otherwise he would not have dared to embrace Islam in his quest for leadership in #Europe,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), wrote in a tweet on Monday.

“I suggest that he read more history and not rejoice in the support of a declining America & #Zionism,” Shamkhani added.

Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.

“In extremism the bodies of people are targeted and in insult their souls,” Velayati says.

His comments, along with his backing of satirical outlets publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), has led to a social media campaign calling for the boycott of French products from supermarkets in Arab countries and Turkey.

Hashtags such as the #BoycottFrenchProducts in English and the Arabic #NeverTheProphet trended across countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

“Muslims and monotheists of the world condemn in the strongest form the blatant enmity of the foolish and stubborn leaders of France toward the prophet of mercy (PBUH) unanimously,” Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf tweeted on Monday.

Ghalibaf added that such wickedness shows the French leaders’ enmity toward all the heavenly religions.

On Friday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned what it said was France’s continued attack against Muslims by insulting religious symbols.

The secretariat of the Jeddah-based organization said in a statement it is surprised at the official political rhetoric issued by some French officials that offend French-Islamic relations and fuels feelings of hatred for political party gains.

Velayati calls extremism and offending the prophet two sides of the same coin

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top foreign policy adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, said extremism and offending the prophet are two sides of the same coin which the international Zionism and the global arrogance have adopted against Islam.

“In extremism the bodies of people are targeted and in insult their souls,” Velayati said, criticizing the French government’s pretext of freedom of expression to foment hatred between people.

The veteran politician also called on all Muslims across the world to be vigilant in the face of such conspiracies against Islam.

France has for long tried to impose its own secular culture on its Muslim population, but this has disastrously backfired.

With this regard, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that the West’s imposition of its culture on others is a form of “silent violence”, saying that terrorist groups such as Daesh are the result of such cultural invasion.

“I do not deny the importance and value of cultural interaction,” Ayatollah Khamenei wrote in an open letter to the youth in Western countries after the November 2015 attacks in France.

“Whenever these interactions are conducted in natural circumstances and with respect for the receiving culture, they result in growth, development and richness. On the contrary, inharmonious interactions have been unsuccessful and harmful impositions,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.

“Vile groups such as Daesh are the spawn of such ill-fated pairings with imported cultures,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei maintained that if the issue of terrorism was simply theological, “we would have had to witness such phenomena before the colonialist era, yet history shows the contrary.”

“Historical records clearly show how colonialist confluence of extremist and rejected thoughts in the heart of a Bedouin tribe, planted the seed of extremism in this region,” he said.

“How then is it possible that such garbage as Daesh comes out of one of the most ethical and humane religious schools which as part of its inner core, includes the notion that taking the life of one human being is equivalent to killing the whole of humanity?” Ayatollah Khamenei noted.

The French Nuclear Horn Moves Into the Middle East (Daniel 7)

Power Balance In The East Mediterranean Is Changing As France Sends Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier

The delicate power balance in the East Mediterranean is changing dramatically and quickly as states begin to cooperate to contain and contract Turkish ambitions in the region. Turkey’s drive to secure and control gas and oil supplies has seen its military involve in Iraq, Syria and Libya, while also threatening war with Greece and Cyprus to annex their rights to energy exploration in the East Mediterranean. Among all this, Ankara also continues its threats against Israel and denounces the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

On the face of such aggression, Mossad considers Turkey to be a bigger threat to Israel than Iran. This also comes as Israel signed a peace treaty with the UAE, one of the biggest critics of Turkey who is not only financing elements of the Syrian Army, but is also militarily and financially supporting the Libyan National Army against jihadists loyal to the Turkish-backed Government of National Accords in Tripoli. Greece, Cyprus and Egypt have strong military relations and jointly oppose Turkish actions in Libya and the wider East Mediterranean region, while Greece, Cyprus and Israel also enjoy such relations.

However, as war rhetoric emanates from Ankara against so-called NATO-ally Greece, France has stepped up its support for the latter. This has been unexpected support as NATO, the EU and their major countries traditionally appease Turkish aggression against Greece and Cyprus. France has firmly committed its military to defend Greece in case of a Turkish attack. Effectively, we are at the cusp of an inter-NATO war in the East Mediterranean.

With Turkey creating problems on NATO’s southern flank, it would be easy for Moscow to take a step back and watch the Alliance continue its internal conflicts. However, Russia heavily depends on access to the Mediterranean via the Turkish-controlled Bosporus and Dardanelle Straits from the Black Sea which has always been an important economic and military geostrategic point for Russia. Any potential war between Greece and Turkey will inevitably see the Greek Navy blockade the Dardanelles, and therefore obstruct Russia’s quick access to the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal.

Although Russia has vocally said that international law must be implemented in the East Mediterranean, which favors Greece and Cyprus, Moscow has been careful not to antagonize the Turks either. However, to secure Russia’s interests in the region, the Kremlin might find itself forced to be actively involved in this inter-NATO hostility to ensure war does not breakout and hinder their access to the Mediterranean via the Black Sea.

Yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Cyprus, where he emphasized the strong historic ties between Cyprus and Russia. It also comes as the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece said that Athens wants to strengthen its ties with Moscow that were weakened by the previous government who were ousted in last year’s elections. These developments in Nicosia and Athens with Moscow appear as the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Greece is Russia’s “traditional partner” in Europe only days ago.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron will meet in Corsica tomorrow to create a “joint security doctrine” between their two countries. Macron is serious about creating such a doctrine as the Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the only one of its kind built in Europe, is sailing to the Greek continental shelf that Turkey considers its own. The de Gaulle not only carries up to 30 aircraft, but it can also transport 800 soldiers and 500 tonnes of ammunition. This is a serious challenge against the Turkish fleet that has been illegally escorting the Oruç Reis research vessel for over a month in search of gas and oil deposits in Greece’s continental shelf. An aircraft carrier is sailing against a fellow NATO member that has been threatening war with another NATO member.

Macron has already twice described NATO as “brain dead,” and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg still displays disinterest in diffusing the Greek-Turkish hostilities.

At the same time, Moscow sold Turkey the S-400 missile defense system, which not only strengthened their relations, but also created discord in NATO, Russia still has deep differences with Ankara. This is not only over Syria and Libya, but also in Crimea as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan increases his denunciations of Russia’s alleged persecution of Crimean Tartars. There is little actual substance between a Russian-Turkish geostrategic partnership that is more often than not in contradiction with each other’s ambitions.

Access through the Turkish-controlled straits is guaranteed by the 1936 Montreux Convention, giving Moscow some leverage in its relations with Turkey. If war broke out though, these straits would trap Russian shipping in the Black Sea. Russia has emphasized that the East Mediterranean issue must be resolved diplomatically and with international law. Turkey is one of 15 countries in the whole world who has not signed and ratified the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as it would favor Greece’s claims in the oil and gas rich deposits in the Each Mediterranean. In this context, if Moscow was true to its word that it supports international law, this would automatically put it on side with Greece as Russia has no interest in escalating current hostilities into a war and temporarily lose access to a major trade route.

As Macron pushes for a Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, Russia could very well establish strong ties with France by cooperating in the East Mediterranean. This would put Russia in a security nexus that includes Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and the UAE, which is beginning to form a powerful bloc in the East Mediterranean. Depending on how Russia chooses to navigate through the current Greco-Turkish crisis could depend on how much Russian influence can be enhanced or weakened in light of the rapidly changing power balance in the region.

The Might of the French Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

France Has Nuclear Submarines That Could Kill Millions of People in Minutes

Key Point: Paris didn’t want to rely on anyone to defend it. So it built its own nuclear weapons.

The French nuclear arsenal is pretty substantial, with air- and sea-based components. Here is a breakdown of French nuclear capabilities.

Nuclear Dyad

Unlike the United States or Russia, who maintain a nuclear triad of land-based, submarine-launched, and air-launched missiles, France has a dyad of submarines that can launch nuclear ballistic missiles and a stockpile of air-launched nuclear cruise missiles.

M51 Ballistic Missile

The M51 is the heart of French nuclear deterrence at sea. Each missile has six to ten Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), and each of those MIRVs is guessed to be in the 75 to 110 kiloton range.

Its range is estimated at 8,000 kilometers, or just under 5,000 miles and the missiles are launched from the nuclear-powered Triumphant-class submarines.

Air-Sol Moyenne Portée

The Air-Sol Moyenne Portée is the air-launched component of French strategic deterrence. The missiles play a unique role in French deterrence, where their use would be considered a warning shot of sorts before the more widespread use of nuclear weapons would be used in a conflict.

It uses a high-speed ramjet engine design and replaced earlier French free-falling nuclear bombs. According to CSIS, the missiles “accelerates to Mach 2.0 in five seconds, after which the booster cartridge is ejected from the ramjet exhaust nozzle. Then, the liquid (kerosene) – powered ramjet motor takes over and accelerates to a maximum speed of Mach 3.” Though not supersonic (Mach 5+), these speeds are nonetheless quite fast. CSIS estimates that only 40 to 50 missiles were ever produced.

Hadès

The Hadès missile system was at one point a land-based component of French strategic deterrence — though only at the tactical, not strategic level, due to the system’s relatively short 480 kilometer, or about 300 mile range.

The Hadès was created in 1975 as a road-mobile option to defend the borders of France in case of an invasion by the Soviet Union. Part of what doomed the program was the missile’s range, which would have put East Germany squarely in Hadès’ crosshairs.

After the reunification of Germany in 1990, it became politically untenable to maintain a stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons that could reach only as far as Germany, and the missiles and launchers were subsequently dismantled in the mid-1990s.

Prestige Factor

French nuclear deterrence is marked by a distinctly independent streak. France left the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1966, and returned only fairly recently, in 2009. One of the issues was French reluctance to place their strategic nuclear arsenal under the umbrella of NATO.

France is one of the world’s preeminent missile powers — in addition to a wide array of conventional and nuclear missiles, France is also a permanent member of the United Nation’s security council. There is indeed an aura of exclusivity in being one of the world’s few nuclear powers — an aura made even more exclusive by leaving the world’s largest military alliance.

Thankfully, France is no longer going it alone.

Caleb Larson holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. He lives in Berlin and writes on U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policy, German politics, and culture.

This first appeared in 2020 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters

European Nuclear Horns Put Pressure on Iran (Daniel)

Germany, France, UK press Iran to provide atomic site access

DAVID RISING , Associated Press

BERLIN — The board of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency on Friday adopted a resolution calling for Iran to provide inspectors access to sites where the country is thought to have stored or used undeclared nuclear material, the Russian representative said.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, tweeted that his country and China had voted against the resolution that Germany, France and Britain proposed at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board.

“We believe that the resolution can be counterproductive,” Ulyanov said, while also “stressing the need for Tehran and IAEA to settle this problem without delay.”

Earlier this week, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi reiterated concerns that for more than four months Iran had denied his inspectors access to two locations ” to clarify our questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities.”

Activities at the sites are thought to have been from the early 2000s, before Iran signed the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Iran maintains the International Atomic Energy Agency has no legal basis to inspect them.

The agency has said that Iran continues to provide access to sites covered by the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

Iran’s representative to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, said his country rejected the resolution.

“We do not consider this resolution acceptable at all,” he said. “This resolution cannot create any legal obligation for the Islamic Republic of Iran in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency to grant the two accesses.”

Since the United States withdrew unilaterally from the deal in 2018, the other signatories — Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — have been struggling to save it.

Meanwhile, Iran has been violating its restrictions, including the amount of uranium it can enrich and the purity of enrichment, to try to pressure those countries to provide additional economic relief to offset American sanctions.

It is not clear what effect the new resolution will have on the JCPOA, but Iran threatened unspecified consequences.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will take appropriate action and respond to this resolution,” Gharibabadi said.

Iran’s foreign ministry described the resolution as an “unconstructive, irresponsible and unacceptable action,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported. Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi accused Britain, France and Germany of creating tension between Iran and the IAEA and trying to avoid “their responsibilities based on the nuclear deal.”

In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the three nations to “muster the courage to state publicly what they admit privately: their failure to fulfill even own JCPOA duties due to total impotence in resisting US bullying.”

China’s ambassador to international organizations, Wang Qun, told board members he was “deeply concerned” about both Grossi’s decision to openly express concerns about being denied access and the resolution that was passed.

He said, according to a copy of his statement provided to The Associated Press, that it could “set forth a process, under the current circumstances, that may bring the Iranian nuclear issue back to a crossroad full of uncertainties again.”

The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain discussed Iran at a meeting in Berlin later Friday and issued a statement noting that the resolution passed with a “very strong majority.”

The American representative, Jackie Wolcott, said the U.S. had supported the resolution and that the ball was now in Iran’s court.

“The fact of the matter is this is entirely Iran’s decision,” she said in a conference call with reporters. “They could fix this overnight if they would just decide to comply with their obligations with the IAEA.”

Germany, France and Britain in January invoked a dispute resolution mechanism designed to resolve issues with the 2015 deal or refer them to the U.N. Security Council. On Friday, their foreign ministers said that “we will seek a ministerial meeting to urge Iran to cooperate and to take stock of where we stand” in that process.

If no resolution is found, the process could result in the resumption of U.N. and European Union sanctions on Iran. But the ministers warned against trying to force the reimposition of sanctions.

“We firmly believe that any unilateral attempt to trigger U.N. sanctions snapback would have serious adverse consequences” in the U.N. Security Council, they said. “We would not support such a decision which would be incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPOA.”

The French Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

It is estimated that France has the third-largest nuclear weapon stockpile globally.

France was among the pioneers of nuclear weapons technology. Currently, France refuses to acknowledge the number of nuclear weapons she has but the international community believes France has the third-largest nuclear weapons stockpile globally, approximately 300 of which are in deployment. This number begs the question, “why does France have such a high number of nuclear weapons?” International relations are volatile. Today’s allies may be tomorrow’s enemies and France knows this fact too well from as early as World War I. Apart from the French nuclear weapon programme, the country also has a massive peaceful nuclear programme and generates among the world’s largest quantities of nuclear power.

Force de Frappe

In the late 1950s and 1960s, France initiated Force de frappe (Strike Force). This force was to enable the country to operate independently without the help of NATO using nuclear deterrence on future superior enemies. Force de frappe used sea, air, and land-based nuclear weapons for deterrence. To date, France Nuclear Force, a section of the French Military, remains the third-largest nuclear force in the world after the US and Russia.

Testing In Algerian Sahara

France did 210 nuclear tests between 1960 and 1995 within its territory and overseas territories. Between 1960 and 1966, the country conducted seventeen tests in the then French Algeria within the Sahara Desert. Thirteen of these tests were underground. Apart from geographic location, they choose Algeria because of the Algerian War that was ongoing. The Centre Saharien d’Expérimentations Militaires ((C.S.E.M) Saharan Military Experiments Centre), Centre Interarmées d’Essais d’Engins Spéciaux ((CIEES) Joint Special Vehicle Testing Center), and Centre d’Expérimentations Militaires des Oasis (C.E.M.O) conducted the tests under different code names like Gerboise Bleue (“Blue jerboa”) and Gerboise Rouge.

Testing In French Polynesia

France also conducted 193 tests in French Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean from 1966 to 1996. Initially, the military did not favor French Polynesia because of its distance from France and its lack of a large airport. However, after Algeria gained independence, the rest of the tests took place in French Polynesia. France conducted her last nuclear test in the South Pacific Ocean in 1996 just before signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) the same year. In 2008, the country announced that she had reduced the nuclear arsenal in the French Airforce by 30%, leaving Force de Frappe with only 290 nuclear warheads. Today, France has deactivated all her land-based nuclear missiles. Between 1996 and 2012, France used powerful supercomputers to simulate nuclear tests and also for study purposes. Currently, French law dictates that out of four submarines on patrol at any given time, one must carry a nuclear weapon.

Protests Against French Nuclear Tests

The Algerian Sahara tests elicited protests from Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, and Japan. Of the seventeen, an accident happened during one test leading to radiation exposure to soldiers and a section of civilians. Moroccan and Liberian government denounced the tests. Over 26 Afro-Asian countries also condemned the tests at the United Nations General Assembly. Between 1960 and 1996, governments, lobby groups, think tanks, and Civil Society groups in New Zealand and Australia staged several protests against testing in the South Pacific. In 1972, Australia and New Zealand took France to the International Court of Justice.

About the Author

• Mark Owuor Otieno

• Writer

Mark is a student at Maseno University and community commentator in Kenya. Mark also has interests in geography, African history, and international development.

The German Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Germany’s Future Participation in Nuclear Sharing – a Challenge for NATO?

Earlier this month, a heated debate about Germany’s future participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing programme kicked off. It began with an interview that Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic (SPD) party parliamentary group, gave to the Tagesspiegel daily, where he advocated for a withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany and an end to Germany’s participation in the NATO nuclear sharing programme, calling it a relic of the Cold War.

At the same time, he did not, however, challenge the need for NATO’s nuclear deterrence and for the US nuclear umbrella over Europe. Germany, he claimed, would continue to actively shape NATO’s policy in the Nuclear Planning Group after withdrawing from the programme. Mützenich was backed by the leaders of the SPD, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, but opposed by the SPD representatives responsible for foreign and security policy in the German government as well as Foreign Minister and SPD member Heiko Maas.

On 4 May, the spokesman for the federal government, Steffen Seibert, confirmed Germany’s continued participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing programme, which he described as an important element of NATO’s credible deterrence. In the binding 2018 coalition agreement between the SPD and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) it is stipulated that US nuclear weapons can be withdrawn from Germany only on the condition of a worldwide nuclear disarmament.

The Context: a New Dual-Capable Aircraft for the Luftwaffe

This discussion provided the context for the recent announcement by the defence minister and CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the choice of the new combat aircraft for the Luftwaffe. In April 2020, the German Ministry of Defence (BMVg) presented its long-awaited plans to procure 45 Eurofighter aircraft and 45 US F/A-18 jets (30 E/F Super Hornets and 15 EA-18G Growlers) to replace the 40-year-old Tornado fleet that is planned to be phased out by 2030 at the latest. The Super Hornets were to replace the Tornados in the role of a dual-capable aircraft to carry US nuclear weapons in the NATO nuclear sharing programme. The choice of a 4th generation aircraft for this purpose was not an optimal one (other European allies will soon use 5th generation F-35As). The BMVg’s plans were a result of conflicting political, industrial and military interests and at the same time a sign that Berlin wants to continue to invest both in US and European military cooperation. The BMVg’s plans were also said to have been presented to the SPD representatives in the government: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (they are both part of the moderate wing of the SPD) saw and evidently approved these plans.

The Leftward Shift in the SPD

Mützenich’s interview was thus a big surprise for many in Berlin. Despite the lack of a new official position on nuclear sharing in the SPD, the leader of the parliamentary group publicly expressed his opposition to the purchase of a new dual-capable aircraft for the Luftwaffe, questioned Germany’s participation in nuclear sharing and considered a withdrawal of the US nuclear weapons from Germany, all against the binding 2018 coalition agreement. Despite the opposition from the moderate SPD representatives it seems that Mützenich’s stance is widely shared in the party.

The left-leaning SPD wing has begun to dominate both the parliamentary group and the party after the choice of the new leadership in the internal party elections last December. To the surprise of many, the current Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance both lost to two left-leaning and little-known candidates. The outcome of this election showed a general frustration and a wish for new leftist policies in the SPD. In terms of security policy it is not only the Mützenich interview that is disruptive. It is also the recent nomination of a left-wing SPD representative for the post of the parliamentary Ombudsman for the German armed forces, which generated widespread criticism inside and outside of the party, causing resignations from SPD members who deal with the armed forces. The prominent German historian and SPD member, Heinrich August Winkler, wrote in an article of the risk of ‘a dramatic revision of the social democratic understanding of the German security policy’ and warned the SPD against renouncing Germany’s close alignment with the West, the so-called Westbindung.

The Domestic Consequences

The lack of decision to purchase a new dual-capable aircraft would mean a gradual pull back from NATO arrangements. This will not have any immediate consequences but the shift in the SPD’s position is a factor which might undermine Germany’s participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing within 10 years. In this term of parliament the SPD might block the preparatory procurement phase of the F/A-18 aircraft, which is planned only after the next Bundestag elections in 2021. However, due to the change of the SPD position, the purchase after 2021 might be even more controversial. Should there be a coalition between the CDU and the Green Party, the procurement may survive; however, it will be made more difficult by deep divisions in the Green Party over its approach to nuclear weapons. A coalition of the Greens, the SPD and the Left Party will most likely lead to the deal not being finalised. Such a coalition may even decide on an earlier withdrawal from the nuclear sharing programme. There is relatively high public support for such a decision. According to surveys conducted in recent years, 60–70% of Germans are in favour of withdrawing US nuclear weapons from Germany. The chances of purchasing the new aircraft and extending Germany’s participation in nuclear sharing would be highest if a (less-likely) coalition between the CDU and the Free Democratic Party was formed. Given the above factors, a slow phase-out of Germany’s participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing should not be ruled out due to the gradual withdrawal of the Tornado jets capable of carrying out nuclear strikes and to the lack of purchase of a new dual-capable aircraft for the Luftwaffe.

The Impact on NATO

Germany’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear sharing arrangements would negatively affect European security, including NATO’s eastern flank. From a military point of view, according to some experts, NATO’s nuclear sharing programme in its present form is losing importance due to the operational advantages of other (US) nuclear weapons delivery systems. From the political perspective, however, nuclear sharing is still important for the credibility of nuclear deterrence in Europe and for NATO’s cohesion. Berlin’s withdrawal from the programme, together with the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany, would be perceived by Russia as a sign of a serious US–European disengagement. Furthermore, it would be detrimental to the US–German political–military cooperation that is vital for European security and the defence of NATO’s eastern flank. Germany’s withdrawal might lead to similar reactions from other European allies participating in the nuclear sharing arrangements, such as Belgium or the Netherlands, whose societies are equally opposed to nuclear weapons. The end of NATO’s nuclear sharing programme would end the risk and responsibility sharing between the US and its European allies in nuclear deterrence, deepen US–European and intra-European rifts over security policy, and decrease the level of nuclear deterrence in Europe. However, opening a discussion about a reform of NATO’s nuclear sharing by including new allies into the arrangements, or deploying new US systems in Europe might deepen the already existing divides among the allies. But, if Germany withdraws from nuclear sharing arrangements, NATO will need to face up to difficult discussions. To prevent such a scenario, the German SPD and the Green Party need to be more aware of the fact that Germany’s security policy choices are closely linked to the security of Europe, and especially its eastern allies.

Justyna Gotkowska coordinates the Regional Security Programme at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in Warsaw. Her contribution is an expanded version of an OSW Analysis.

The views expressed in this Commentary are the author’s, and do not represent those of RUSI or any other institution.

The German Nuclear Horn Remains (Daniel 7:7)

Russia threatens 'countermeasures' to US missile upgrade in ...

Nato warns of Russian threat if nuclear weapons are removed from Germany

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg warns US nuclear warheads should not be removed from Germany because of threat from Russia.

By BRIAN MCGLEENON
PUBLISHED: 17:23, Tue, May 12, 2020
UPDATED: 18:00, Tue, May 12, 2020
At present, an estimated 20 US B61 nuclear bombs are stored at the Buchel Airbase in western Germany. Mr Stoltenberg in a piece published by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote: “Around the world, terrorism continues, authoritarian regimes challenge liberal democracies, and we see the proliferation of nuclear weapons to countries like North Korea, as well as the continuing aggressive actions by Russia.” The NATO chief warned Moscow was making developments “significantly in its military capabilities, and especially in its nuclear arsenal”
He added that this is occurring “while NATO views its own nuclear deterrent as a political tool, Russia has firmly integrated its nuclear arsenal into its military strategy.”
He then pointed out that Moscow “has placed nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, just 500km from Berlin”.
The General added: “Russia has threatened Allies such as Denmark, Poland, and Romania with nuclear strikes.”
He explained that NATO’s nuclear sharing amongst member countries “is a multilateral arrangement that ensures the benefits, responsibilities, and risks of nuclear deterrence are shared among allies.”
He wrote in his op-ed: “Politically, this is significant. It means that participating allies, like Germany, make joint decisions on nuclear policy and planning, and maintain appropriate equipment.”
The Russian air force recently tested the new hypersonic aircraft missile that is being modified for a version of the Tu-22M3M bomber aircraft.
A source told TASS news: “Recently, a new hypersonic missile was tested on the Tu-22M3.
“The missile will be part of the armament range of the upgraded Tu-22M3M along with a number of other latest aviation weapons.”
The Russian defense industry has recently developed two types of aircraft hypersonic missiles.L

The Kinzhal is the latest Russian airborne system that consists of a MiG-31K aircraft as a delivery vehicle and a hypersonic missile.

The Kinzhal missile is the airborne version of the Iskander tactical missile system.

Another hypersonic missile was created for the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter.

But, amid the perceived threats from Moscow, a member of Chancellor Merkel’s governing coalition has argued for the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from the country’s airbases.

German opposition party the SPD has also demanded that US nuclear weapons should be removed from Germany.

The general’s claims that it is only Russia that is integrating nuclear weapons into its mainstream military is not wholly true, as the US scrapped the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty for that very reason.

The US also withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019.

The US has not maintained an interest in advancing the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, called New START.

The German Nuclear Horn (Revelation 7)

Op-ed article by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

The Coronavirus is among the greatest threats the world has faced since the Second World War. However, that does not mean that others have gone away. We face the most difficult security environment for a generation. Around the world, terrorism continues, authoritarian regimes challenge liberal democracies, and we see the proliferation of nuclear weapons to countries like North Korea, as well as the continuing aggressive actions by Russia.

In recent years, Russia has invested significantly in its military capabilities, and especially in its nuclear arsenal. While NATO views its own nuclear deterrent primarily as a political tool, Russia has firmly integrated its nuclear arsenal into its military strategy.  It has placed nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, just 500km from Berlin. It has threatened Allies such as Denmark, Poland and Romania with nuclear strikes. Russia also forcibly and illegally annexed part of Ukraine, a country whose borders it had previously committed to respect in return for Ukraine giving up its own nuclear protection.

In stark contrast, NATO seeks a world without nuclear weapons through effective arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. And we have made great progress in achieving this. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has reduced the number of nuclear weapons in Europe by around 90%. That is significant.

Despite Russia’s flagrant breach of the INF Treaty with the deployment of a new intermediate range missile, which can reach European capitals with little warning, NATO has made clear that we have no intention of pursuing our own land based nuclear missiles in Europe. We will maintain an effective deterrence and defence, including through our existing nuclear deterrent.

Therefore, I welcome Germany’s clear commitment to NATO and our nuclear deterrent. This is even more significant since we have just marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. Our Alliance was built on the ruins of that devastating war, to ensure peace and freedom for future generations. Germany joined our Alliance just 10 years after the war ended, on May 6 1955. Since then, you have been a valued member of the NATO family, with all the benefits and responsibilities that implies.

Our nuclear deterrence remains a vital part of keeping our peace and freedom. It is for the security of the whole alliance, for Germany, its neighbours, friends and Allies, who all have legitimate security concerns and who are all protected by NATO’s nuclear deterrent.

An important part of our nuclear deterrence strategy is nuclear sharing. NATO’s nuclear sharing is a multilateral arrangement that ensures the benefits, responsibilities and risks of nuclear deterrence are shared among Allies. Politically, this is significant. It means that participating Allies, like Germany, make joint decisions on nuclear policy and planning, and maintain appropriate equipment.  It has also always been an important trust-building measure for Germany’s neighbours. Our common procedures, doctrine and exercises give Allies a voice on nuclear matters that they would not otherwise have.

NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements also directly support non-proliferation. For many decades, it has provided European Allies with an effective nuclear umbrella. This was essential for the development of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which prevents the spread of nuclear weapons, as it removed the incentive for nations to develop their own nuclear capability. If our nuclear sharing arrangements came to an end, more countries may again seek their own nuclear weapons.  This would result in a world this is less safe, not more.

All Allies appreciate Germany’s role in NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements.  Germany has contributed dual-capable aircraft for NATO’s nuclear mission since the beginning. It provides important leadership based on decades of experience working together with other Allies.  To provide security for all our Allies it is essential that those who participate in nuclear sharing do so fully. This includes having capable aircraft that can support our nuclear deterrence mission.

NATO unites democratic nations in defence of our values – freedom, liberty and the rule of law. The commitment of NATO Allies to each other’s security remains rock solid. Our solidarity is our strength and the ultimate expression of that solidarity remains our nuclear deterrent.

The purpose of NATO’s nuclear weapons is not to provoke a conflict but to preserve peace, deter aggression and prevent coercion.  Our Alliance seeks a world without nuclear weapons, sadly, these conditions do not exist today. A world where Russia, China and others have nuclear weapons but NATO has none, is simply not a safer world.

That is why all Allies have agreed that as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance. To preserve peace and our freedom.