Iraq's German Connection
On January 31, 1991 Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher of Germany addressed the Bundestag on the matter of the Gulf War. Genscher was still shaken from his trip to Israel a week earlier, when Israeli authorities had shown him German components of the Soviet-manufactured Scud missiles that had fallen on Tel Aviv and Haifa. Without the expert assistance of the Germans, he was told, the Scuds would have been unable to reach Israeli soil from Iraq. He had publicly apologized to the Israeli people, and promised to take stern action upon his return to Germany. Now speaking to his own parliament, he was quick to assert Germany’s concern:
In view of the terrible threat to Israel, historical and moral responsibility especially attach us Germans to the Jewish people. In this situation which threatens Israel’s existence, we stand by Israel’s side without any reservation. For thirty years Germany has not authorized arms exports to Iraq. However, Germans who broke our laws and misled the authorities participated in Saddam Hussein’s poison-gas production. All of society must ostracize them.
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