How Gerhard and George Fell Out

Saddam, elections and irresponsible German companies spoiled their friendship

It seems that Germany is in for big problems. As follows from Iraq’s declaration on its weapon programs submitted to the UN 1.5 weeks ago, German companies have been basic commercial partners of Saddam Hussein’s regime since 1975. Due to this cooperation, Baghdad had an opportunity to produce chemical, biological and even probably nuclear weapons. The information was published today by Berlin’s Tageszeitung; the newspaper bases the publication on information obtained from the above mentioned declaration. According to these data, 80 German companies cooperated with Iraq till 2001. Tageszeitung doesn’t name these companies.

In fact, it is an open secret that German companies cooperated with Iraq; let’s remember the recent scandal with Siemens involved, which was allegedly charged with supplying Saddam Hussein with equipment which could be used for producing weapons. However, as it could be expected, the “sensation” came to nothing, and the scandal faded away as quickly as it arose. To all appearances, in the present-day situation Berlin won’t have to prove its innocence for long.

The reason is very simple: before 1990, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait, Iraq was practically an ally to the West in the struggle against Iran. West European countries and the USA supplied weapons to Iraq. And as follows from the recently published information, Americans even gave Iraq samples of a biological material which the UN declared to be a component part of the program for biological weapons production already in the 1990s. It’s quite natural that incumbent American administration prefers to keep this fact secret.

So, German companies are in no danger, even despite the fact that they cooperated with Iraq. There were many countries and companies that cooperated with it and nobody concealed this fact until Saddam broke loose.

In this connection, we can mention that relations between the incumbent German chancellor and the US president are strained, to put it mildly. As the elections are far behind, Gerhard Schroeder has slightly reduced his anti-war zeal. But George W. Bush turned out to be very susceptible, he will long remember the insult done by Germany’s Former Minister of Justice Herta Dдubler-Gmelin. So, today’s publication in Tageszeitung plays into Washington’s hands, which in its turn may criticize Berlin. 

The situation is somewhat funny: it was said that the Iraqi declaration enumerated countries cooperating with Iraq going against the UN sanctions. It was supposed that those countries would have problems because of the cooperation. Anyone could hardly suppose that Germany was also among those countries. And as long as a complete version of the Iraqi declaration is currently in the USA only, it’s obviously no good to offend George W. Bush. Even if the German chancellor’s seat is staked upon.

Vasily Bubnov

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Author`s name Michael Simpson