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Turkey, a grey area of German industrial ambition

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German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, recently described the Turkish deployment into the Kurdish-controlled region of Syria as an “invasion” that was illegal under international law. His comments come during a time of strained relations between the two nations, with many others in the EU and NATO similarly scrutinising their relationships with Turkey. Despite economic sanctions, international condemnation, and arms trade suspensions, German industrialists still trade heavily with Turkey, even in the field of armaments. German-Turkish arms sales are currently at a 14-year high, with Germany representing Turkey’s single largest arms trader.

An ambiguous partner

Although it is a member of NATO and an important geopolitical ally, in bordering Syria, Iraq, and Iran, Turkey has demonstrated frequently disparate interests to those of its NATO partners.

The Syrian offensive is one example of this. The Turkish army is being deployed to attack Kurdish-led forces in Syria, who until a few months ago were vital in the fight against Islamic State (IS). The wider consequences of this, the increased possibility of conflict between NATO and Russia, the role that pushing out the Kurds could have in any re-emergence of IS in Syria – putting these aside, the Syrian offensive is plainly contrary to NATO’s regional objectives and represents a direct attack on a NATO ally.

The gap between Turkish defence priorities and those of its NATO partners was further highlighted by Turkey’s acquisition of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia. As a result of the Russian missile platform purchase, a fighter jet partnership between the U.S and Turkey was unilaterally cancelled. The U.S made clear that the “F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities”.

Another concern, and a crucial factor in the breakdown of Turkey’s EU ascension ambitions, was the nation’s poor human rights record. Turkey has been accused of unethical treatment of Turkish Kurds and the repression of the Kurdish culture within its borders. Kurdish political expression in Turkey has been strongly repressed by the state.

The Turkish government has also been building a reputation as authoritarian regime and an adversary of the free press. High-profile cases of imprisonment have included the arrest of German citizens and journalists such as Deniz Yücel, Mesale Tolu, and the human rights activist Peter Steudtner. German spokespeople decried the charges for being politically motivated.

“Turkey is neither an ally nor an enemy,” explained Steven A. Cook, a Middle East scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations. The above episodes are but a few of the examples why, though there are many. The ambiguous nature of Turkey’s role as geopolitical ally and trading partner demands that countries carefully re-evaluate their industrial, political, and military ties to it. While Turkey’s record is poor, other world powers must also question their own dealings, particularly those which enable Turkish bad practice, especially through the strengthening of its military.

Germany’s questionable role

Turkey’s track record does not prevent high-profile European industrialist from trading with it, even in the field of armaments. In fact, German arms sales to Turkey totalled €242m last year, almost a third of the German defence sector’s total production. In the first eight months of 2019, arms sales rose to €250m, the highest since 2005.

One of the companies responsible is Rheinmetall, a significant player in German arms production. The company has multiple divisions, producing everything from guns and ammunition, to military reconnaissance electronic equipment and vehicle parts. The company has been trading in guns and ammunition for almost 130 years.

Rheinmetall’s contributions to Krauss-Maffei’s Leopard 2 A4 main battle tank are salient, particularly as Turkey made use of these tanks during its incursions into Syria in 2018. Likely they are being used in the present invasion, or they have been stationed elsewhere in support to allow the deployment of other weapons systems. Either way, both companies have directly contributed to Turkish armaments used in Syria.

Rheinmetall is noteworthy because it is among a select number of German companies which have been looking to expand their presence in Turkey in the wake of the failed coup attempt of 2016. The arms producer entered into an arrangement with Turkey’s BMC, which is 50 percent owned by Qatar, with plans to open a tank factory under the banner of joint venture RBSS. This is particularly troubling as it would likely provide an unchecked distribution channel through which Rheinmetall weapon systems could reach the wider Arabic market, circumventing German arms sales laws.

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is a German holding company for a range of providers of naval vessels, surface ships, and submarines. The group has a contract with Turkey to supply 6 of its U-214 AIP-type Reis Class Submarines, capable of firing advanced torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The deal has started to draw added criticism in the context of Turkey’s continued drilling off the coast of Cyprus. With the EU cutting €146m in EU funds from the pre-ascension purse and halting European Investment Bank activities in the country, some commentators think that equipping the Turkish navy sends the wrong message.

ThyssenKrupp has multiple industrial interests in Turkey, not least of which is a new escalator factory in Kocaeli, a north-western province which has seen rapid, extensive industrial development.

ThyssenKrupp shares this industrial hotspot with around 2000 other industrial firms, among them are Germany’s giants Siemens and Bayer. The Turkish government continues to do little to ensure the well-being of its citizens in the region through enforcement of meaningful clean air and anti-pollution legislation, despite spikes in health concerns.

Siemens opened a factory in 2017 employing around 1000 people and contributing roughly €100m to the Turkish economy. However, as with the many other conglomerates in the industrial zone, the move was not without controversy.

The car maker Volkswagen also has plans of its own to build a factory in Manisa in the west of Turkey’s Anatolia region. While this decision has faced political scrutiny, VW insists that Turkey’s candidacy for EU membership vindicates industrial expansion in the country.

The consequences of supporting Turkish ends

We might not have to wait much longer to see some of the more extreme realities resulting from Turkish misconduct, namely through its involvement in Syria.

Many groups have been voicing concern that the Turkish advance may well seed an IS resurgence. More crucially, it has also strengthened Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, who in the wake of U.S withdrawal and the Turkish-Russian territorial deal, now controls large sections of the Syrian northern border previously held by the Syrian Democratic Forces. This is contrary to NATO objectives, bolstering Russian capacity to act in the region, and securing a cruel dictator his opportunity to continue to break human rights laws, repressing his people for years to come.

“ISIS (Islamic State) has a second life…Russia and the (Syrian) regime will take back all of the territory and Iran has freedom of movement across the region,” said one U.S official in the wake of the brokered deal.

The EU cannot afford to continue its track-record of bluster followed by inaction. NATO members need to carefully weigh the ethical costs of continuing to align themselves with a Turkish president with such clearly dictatorial leanings. In order to do that, countries like Germany need to make certain that they are willing to pay the price in terms of loss of trade and loss of arms sales, to distance themselves from the actions of such malign rulers.

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Intelligence

Who Masterminded the Suicide Attack on Hazara Students’ Educational Center Kaj in Kabul?

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Image source: thestar.com

According to explicit intelligence information, last Friday, September 30, 2022, a suicide attack on Hazara students in an educational center called (Kaj) in the western part of Kabul was carried out by the Ministry of Education and the so-called ministry of Evil Forbidden of the Taliban in coordination with the leadership of Kandahar. Apparently, Afghans’ feelings were torn apart by the news of the Taliban’s former Minister of Education Maulvi Noorullah Munir that he had signposted in Uruzgan Province, followed by the Minister of the Evil Forbidden of the Taliban, Sheikh Muhammad Khalid Hanafi, claimed that letting women educated is opposed to Sharia law.

After his comments, he was rigorously criticized by the internal and external media, women activists, youth, the UN and the international community. Which is why the masterminds contacted the GDI of the Taliban’s intelligence agency followed by the meeting between the Akhundzada Taliban and Sheikhs of the South West Zone, while giving them permission and sharia fatwa/decree to suicide attacks on women’s schools and all institutions that encourage women to come out of their homes across Afghanistan.  In such manner they wanted to be free of international denunciation, since, the responsibility of such attacks is always claimed by the ISIS group in order to gain influence in Afghanistan. On the other hand, the high-ranking leaders of the Taliban are in contact with the ISIS group in the east of Afghanistan, so that the two groups are coordinating in such assaults to happen.

Hence, the Taliban by applying this method want to upsurge the risk and threat towards the female strata of the Afghan community getting them scared, in order to prevent them to go to schools.    Learning that, the high-ranking leaders of the Taliban government are forced to take such measures, since in the absence of such attacks, women will not stop studying, especially non-Pashtun Geno.      If girls go to school and the Taliban leaders do not stop them, then the low-ranking members and fighters of the Taliban will start rebelling against their own leaders.

As a result, there will be more internal strife and the group will become weak and eventually disappear, which is not in the interest west, who wants to employ the Taliban government and other non-state international armed groups in Afghanistan as an unofficial private militia against China and Russia. Furthermore, the Taliban’s foreign supporters are also forcing the ISIS group to take responsibility for some of the current and potential crimes committed by the Taliban, while paving the way for the Taliban to achieve their goal, subsequently, the external pressures will be  reduced and internal differences and resentment of low-ranking fighters will be avoided.

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Ethnic War a Newfangled Pakistani Forward-policy for Afghanistan

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According to the intelligence information, Pakistan’s ISI is trying to start ethnic and maneuvering war again in Afghanistan, of which distinct objective is to refurbish the age-old enmity between the Achakzai and Noorzai tribes in the southwest zone. Besides, they want to start an ethnic war among Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns across Afghanistan, and between the northern and southern directions, thus, the prominent leaders of the Taliban, who are led by the ISI, have been entrusted with the task. As in the east and north of Afghanistan, Pashtun Taliban militants are oppressing other Non-Pashtuns, raiding their homes; however, no high-ranking Pashtun Taliban officials are preventing them because the ISI network leads this strategy. In order to revamp a civil war in Afghanistan, score of influential figures have been summoned by the Pakistani military establishment. 

The latest examples are as follows: Two days ago, the Pashtun Taliban killed the former police chief and an influential tribal leader in Mandol district of Nuristan province, which caused many emotions against Pashtuns especially about southwest zone of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in order to afresh the years of hostility between the Noorzai and Achakzi tribes in the southwestern region of Afghanistan, the ISI network raised the issue of a mass grave by several leading Taliban militants, especially by the current governor of Kandahar province and Noorzai tribe leading leader, Haji Mohammad Yousef Wafa.

Qari Aslam Noorzai call for by Pak security forces

At a time when the former leader of the Noorzai tribe, the leading smuggler of drugs and heavy weapons in Central and South Asia, and the financial supporter of the first Taliban regime, Haji Bashar Noorzai was released from the US prison in Guantánamo. The Noorzai tribe once again became twice as strong and dominant in Afghanistan, especially in the southwest zone.  Resulting threats towards the Achakzai people, on the other hand, ISI has started rapid efforts to recommence the years of enmity between these two tribes.

Hajee Feyzullah Khan Noorzai meets Pak military Intelligence

Recently, Pakistan’s intelligence network ISI, with the help of some leading social media and high-ranking Taliban officials, has kept the issue of finding a mass grave in Kandahar province in the southwestern zone of Afghanistan broiling, namely by inducing  the blame-game. Meanwhile, local tribal leaders and residents of Spin Boldak district claim that such a grave is the grave of those who were taken out of their homes by the Taliban after August 15.  Since, they were connected to Achakzai tribe and on the other hand, they served in the security departments of the overthrown Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that is why the Taliban night raided their houses, and massively killed them.

Moreover, mass murdering Hazaras at their educational institutions via suicide bombing and meantime blowing up the worship places of Sufi-Muslims, who preach the non-violent form of Islam, while calling for De-weaponization and De-politicization of Islam.

Consequently, by applying such a forward-policy, Pakistan will achieve its fancied strategic-depth in Afghanistan, while subjugating the Afghan Nation.

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Pakistani Intelligence Agencies ignite Tribal Conflicts in Pak-Afghan Region

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According to the intelligence information, Pakistani intelligence community supported by some international rings want to once again spread dispute and disharmony among the tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan; subsequently the centuries-old evils and wars between the tribes will once more take a new color and become fresh. Recently, rumors of the discovery of a mass grave in Kandahar province in the southwestern zone of Afghanistan are spreading; the blame for this mass murder falls on the former police chief of Kandahar province and the former leader of the Achagzai tribe, General Abdul Razaq Achagzai.  In order to afresh raising the reaction of the Norzi tribe against the Ackzai and anew the evil and war between these two tribes. Even though the current governing body of Afghanistan is completely under the control of the Noorzi tribe, because most of the high-ranking leaders of the Taliban, including the leader of the Taliban, Sheikh Haibatullah, are related to the Noorzi tribe, so there is a greater threat posed to the Achakzi tribe.

Even now, in spite of such menaces, more than 6000 Achakzi families live in Kandahar province, whose members served in the security departments under the command of General Abdul Razaq Achakzi, a staunch opponent of the Taliban.  Currently, in such a tense situation that the Taliban administration has control over Afghanistan and the head of this administration is connected to the Nurzi tribe, the harsh criticism of General Abdul Razaq Achakzai’s mass killings is logical, which can cause international and internal outcries.  As a result, the major victims will be the youths and leading tribal leaders of the Achakzai tribe.

By the advent of Taliban on August 15, 2021, in the first four months, more than 600 youths and tribal leaders from the Achakzi tribe were killed in the southwest zone of Afghanistan, while applying night operations or raids by the Taliban. The most famous case happened to the family of Haji Fida Mohammad Achakzai in Spin Boldak district. Haji Fida Muhammad Achakzai, known as Haji Fida Aka, is a leading leader of the Achakza tribe of Spin Boldak district and had close relations with the family of General Abdul Razaq Achakzai.

 When Kandahar province fell to the Taliban before August 15, the two young sons of him were killed by the Taliban on the first night, unfortunately none of the Taliban officials took any action to prevent the tragedy. Nevertheless, this time, there is a plan going on at the international level to renew the age-old differences between the Achakzai and Norzai tribes, which the international media warmly supports.  If this time the internal differences and conflicts between the Achakzai and Norzai tribes in Afghanistan get sturdier, then it will have damaging effects not only in Afghanistan, but also, serious negative measures will be taken against the Norzai under the leadership of Mahmoud Khan Achakzai, the head of the Achakzai tribe, in the Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan.

In the meantime, the decision of the Pakistani government to hand over the Pashtun areas in Pakhtunkhwa provinces to the Taliban was approved and supported by the Nurzi tribe, conversely, this action of the Pakistani government was strongly condemned by Mahmoud Khan Achakzai and PTM leader Manzoor Pashtun.

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