06.06.2024 Author: Ricardo Nuno Costa

Germany cursed by the Hindu Kush

Germany cursed by the Hindu Kush

Shouldn’t this sad episode be a wake-up call for Europeans to stop importing causes and flags that aren’t ours?

Officially, the Bundeswehr was in Afghanistan because “our security is also defended at the Hindu Kush”, as Defence Minister Peter Struck (SPD) justified Germany’s twenty-year military intervention in the Central Asian country in 2002.

Last Friday, 25-year-old Afghan Sulaiman Ataee stabbed a policeman to death in Mannheim, Western Germany. The officer wanted to prevent the immigrant from attacking members of the “Pax Europa” movement, who were holding an event there later in the day.

The organiser of the event, Michael Stürzenberger, was injured. He is a well-known anti-Islam activist who travels all over Germany, sets up his stage in city centres, criticises Islam, and I would go so far as to say that he enjoys provoking Muslims, arguing with them and repeating to exhaustion platitudes or phrases taken from the Koran without any context and thus justifying Islam’s incompatibility with democracy, in the same line as Dutch Geert Wilders or Brit Tommy Robinson.

Stürzenberger is a former CDU member, describes himself as ‘pro-American and pro-Israeli’, writes against immigration and the left on the website “Politically Incorrect News”, has been making videos of the same nature on his YouTube channel since 2009, and makes a point of displaying the German flag in front of his stand, accompanied not by the European flag, as one might understand, but by the Israeli flag.

Sulaiman Ataee arrived in Germany in 2014, aged 13 or 14, as an unaccompanied minor. According to press reports, it is now known that his asylum application was rejected at the time. However, he remained in Germany illegally, finished secondary school at the age of 17 or 18 and, after having a child with a German woman of Turkish origin in 2023, managed to legalise his situation. Not only was he tolerated, but he benefited from state subsidies, studied and learnt martial arts. From 2020, coinciding with the pandemic, he grew a beard, a sign of radicalisation. Although the authorities knew he was involved in Salafist activities, they didn’t intervene. As in many other similar cases that we don’t know about.

Merkel, neoliberalism, open doors and the «Euro-melting pot»

Although the specific case of Ataee isn’t directly related, everything in Angela Merkel’s (CDU, 2005-21) policy pointed to the neoliberal logic to which the Eurozone has subscribed: labour flexibility, deregulation, cuts and open doors. Regarding the mass immigration without criteria, which is deliberately illegal (a Milton Friedman classic), the policy was to look away from its possible harmful consequences; as long as the economy was doing well, there was nothing to worry about.

Now everyone recognises that this policy has failed, but no one is prepared to take responsibility. A failed model, which in her second government (CDU and FDP) she decided to make worse by interfering in the Middle East, with the infamous plan to destabilise Syria, which also failed.

Politicians announce consequences

It remains to be seen how the German state will react to this episode. There is already talk of deportation to the country of origin in serious criminal cases, even if the country is not considered safe, as in the case of Afghanistan.

This weekend’s European Parliament elections are expected to see a resurgence of the AfD in Germany and the far right across the continent. The AfD proposes to change a lot of things, especially when it comes to immigration. In its 2024 programme, the term ‘remigration’ covers a range of situations in which it would immediately deport hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.

On the left wing, the BSW list of former Die Linke MP Sahra Wagenknecht, who has always advocated strict controls on immigration, could also benefit from this debate in what is BSW first election bid. Wagenknecht strongly criticised the government and the political class for the neglect with which they have allowed ‘parallel societies’ to grow on German territory.

She also pointed to the correlation between immigration and rising crime in Germany, as revealed by recently published statistics. On the other hand, she also made a point of recalling the number of integrated Muslims who today represent an asset for Germany.

Media eager for tension

It’s worth noting that last Friday’s attack came at a time when the climate has been radicalised by the media. There are deliberate attempts to confuse the Palestinian cause with Hamas, the latter with ISIS and Iran, in a toxic cloud of concepts and actors that most of the population has no grasp of. Remember when Bush said that Sadam was an ally of Al-Qaeda? Well, that’s pretty much it, but two decades on. As a result of this ignorance, a large part of public opinion has become an easy target for simplistic discourse, both from groups that are markedly Islamophobic and from Islamic extremist movements among a growing proportion of young people (especially, but not only Muslims). Is this dual radicalisation on purpose? Who is fuelling it?

The government’s double standards

The ‘Traffic Light’ coalition government, with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) at its head, has banned everything she doesn’t like: from demonstrations against anti-pandemic measures, to the banning of the nostalgic “Reichsbürger” group, to the famous Palestine Conference cancelled in Berlin and the ‘betätigungsverbot’ of former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, the highest ban on a foreign citizen in the country. But she allowed two Salafist demonstrations to take place in Hamburg, these in deed linked to ISIS, without the minister intervening. Why?

The system is falling apart

The German political class is so disconnected from the real country that President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), instead of going to the scene of the attack, when the policeman was still fighting for his life on Sunday, went to Kassel to pay a posthumous tribute to the district president, Walter Lübcke (CDU), on the fifth anniversary of his assassination by a right-wing extremist shot in the head. During the church ceremony, the President of the Republic warned against trivialising the violence of the ‘far right’ (a term he repeated 14 times in 20 minutes), in an event of clear political opportunism and a marked anti-AfD bias, a week before the European elections.

Geopolitical context

At the time of writing, the policeman’s killer has not been questioned, and it is not known why he attacked Stürzenberger and his group. It should be noted, however, that this episode comes in a particularly volatile geopolitical context, in which Germany is once again directly involved.

Given that the attacker was Afghan, it’s not surprising that his motive had something to do with the war in his country, in which Germany was an active participant. Since 2002, the US has used drones to kill suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Many innocent people have died in these attacks, which are illegal under international humanitarian law. But that’s just statistics, they say. Germany has not only gone along with this illegality, but has actively supported the drone programme by exchanging information and giving up the right to use US military bases on its territory, such as Ramstein.

It would also not be surprising that the attack is linked to the situation in the Middle East, as Palestine is a consensual matter among 1.5 billion Muslims, knowing that Stürzenberger makes a big deal of showing ‘solidarity with Israel’ at his events, coinciding with the indiscriminate killing of tens of thousands of civilians, including more than 15,000 children. Furthermore, this is the incomprehensible and once again illegal position of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is committed to Israel for its ‘national interest’.

Is Europe prepared?

How many fighters from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and other war zones are currently in Germany and Europe? Where do the thousands of weapons and ammunition that the US has poured into Ukraine over the past two and a half years end up? Can anyone on this continent really answer that? Who has an interest in the Middle East conflict spilling over into Europe? Shouldn’t this sad episode be a wake-up call for Europeans to stop importing causes and flags that aren’t ours?


Ricardo Nuno Costa ‒ geopolitical expert, writer, columnist, and editor-in-chief of geopol.pt, especially for «New Eastern Outlook»

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