Earlier this week, the German media reported that the number of civilian victims of American air strikes in Syria had risen dramatically. It has now been revealed that the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) have played an important role in “Trumps deadly offensive” (Spiegel Online).
According to reports by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcaster ARD, the Luftwaffe (Air Force) supplied the reconnaissance data for an air attack by the so-called anti-IS coalition on March 21, against the Syrian village of al-Mansoura near Raqqa.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 33 civilians were killed in the attack, while Airwars.org reported up to 420 dead. According to the website, up to 100 refugee families were being accommodated in the Badiya School in Mansoura. The attack apparently claimed the lives of many women and children.
The military blog Augen Geradeaus! (Eyes Forward!) writes: “The Luftwaffe’s reconnaissance Tornados had flown over the building in question two days earlier, and then a few days later to assess the impact of the raid.” The parliamentary Defence Committee, composed of representatives of all parliamentary parties, was informed of the Luftwaffe’s role in a secret meeting on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Defence does not usually comment on “concrete data and targets,” the blog said. Fundamentally, however, Tornado aircraft routinely take pictures of possible targets. These are then passed on to the armed forces of the United States, France, Britain and several Arab states, which use them to determine their targets.
In other words German fighter jets are involved in the devastating coalition air strikes that are claiming the lives of more and more innocent people.
The massacre of Mansoura recalls the criminal history of the Luftwaffe. During the Second World War, it played a significant role in the Nazi war machine.
Guernica, the town destroyed by 1937 German aircraft during the Spanish Civil War, still stands as a symbol for the ruthless bombing of civilians. During the Second World War, the Luftwaffe rained down its terror over Europe, the Soviet Union and North Africa, and destroyed cities such as Warsaw, Stalingrad, Rotterdam and London.
The return of German terror from the air is a direct result of the new superpower appetites of those in power in Berlin. At the Munich Security Conference in January 2014, the then Federal President Joachim Gauck, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (Christian Democratic Union) and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democratic Party) announced “the end of [Germany’s] military restraint.” At the end of 2015, the Luftwaffe then entered the war in Syria, accompanied by up to 1,200 soldiers and a frigate.
In an article in the anthology “Germany’s new foreign policy,” published by Wolfgang Ischinger for this year's Munich Security Conference, current President Frank-Walter Steinmeier repeated his previous demand that Germany intervene “earlier, more decisive and substantially” in foreign policy. There was a “fierce competition for the supposedly correct social order [...] and for geopolitical spheres of influence.” By the “timely setting of the agenda” in “shaping the future order,” he said, Germany could “often be more effective than extinguishing fires later.”
Mansoura shows the horrific consequences of such a policy. The fact that the German ruling class is responsible for the worst crimes in the history of mankind will not stop it from committing new ones to enforce its geopolitical and economic interests worldwide.
Another contribution in the anthology puts this matter bluntly. Under the title, “Foreign policy as moral ordeal,” Jan Techau, director of the Richard C. Holbrooke Forum at the American Academy in Berlin, complained that in Germany, the “neurotic desire to remain 'morally clean' runs through almost all domestic and foreign policy debates.” It is clear, he insisted: “Whoever goes to war, must, as a rule, take responsibility for the deaths of people. Even the deaths of uninvolved and innocent people.”