The Mediterranean Union: Dividing the Middle East and North Africa

The Mediterranean Union: Dividing the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa are in the process of being divided into spheres of influence between the European Union and the United States. Essentially the division of the Middle East and North Africa are between Franco-German and Anglo-American interests. There is a unified stance within NATO in regards to this re-division.

While on the surface Iraq falls within the Anglo-American orbit, the Eastern Mediterranean and its gas resources have been set to fall into the Franco-German orbit. In fact the Mediterranean region as a whole, from Morocco and gas-rich Algeria to the Levant is coveted by Franco-German interests, but there is more to this complex picture than meets the eye.

Unknown to the global public, several milestone decisions have been made to end Franco-German and Anglo-American squabbling that will ultimately call for joint management of the spoils of war. Franco-German and Anglo-American interests are converging into one. The reality of the situation is that the area ranging from Mauritania to the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan will be shared by America, Britain, France, Germany, and their allies.

These spheres of influence are really spheres of responsibility in a long campaign to restructure the Middle East and North Africa. The services agreement between Total S.A. and Chevron to jointly develop Iraqi energy reserves, NATO agreements in the Persian Gulf, and the establishment of a permanent French military base in the U.A.E. are all results of these objectives. Militant globalization and force is at work from Iraq and Lebanon to the Maghreb.

Redrawing European Security Borders: The Road to Redrawing the Map of the Middle East 

“The politics [foreign policy] of a state are in its geography.”

-Napoleon Bonaparte I, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, and Mediator of the Helvetic (Swiss) Confederation

Before NATO’s Riga Summit it was agreed upon that the western periphery of the “Arc of Instability” would be manned by NATO and fall under Franco-German responsibility. [1] Signs of the consensus reached between the Anglo-American and Franco-German sides had emerged through Franco-German representatives a month prior to NATO’s conference in Riga, Latvia.  While lecturing at Princeton University in October 2006, Joschka Fischer the former German Foreign Affairs Minister, a member of the Green Party of Germany, and a representative of the Franco-German entente gave a profound revelation about the direction of the foreign, security, and defence policy that Germany and France were heading towards.
 

The direction according to Joschka Fischer was “eastward,” with both the Middle East and its Eastern Mediterranean waters being named as the new borders of Europe. This region would be part of the new security sphere of the E.U. and Europe.  The former German minister stated that the terrorist bombings in London, Britain and Madrid, Spain showed that the Middle East “is truly our [Europe’s] backyard, and we in the E.U. must cease our shortsightedness and recognize that.” [2]

Furthermore, Joschka Fischer warned that Europe needed to shift its attention to the Middle East and Turkey — a member of NATO and one of the “gateways” or “entrances” into the Middle East. It is not coincidental that The New York Times also argued for the expansion of NATO into the Middle East just months after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003. [3] By 2004 and through the joint Anglo-American and Franco-German coordination in Lebanon it was clear that France and Germany had agreed to be America’s bridgeheads in Eurasia. This is what brought about the leadership of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin and Paris.

The statements of Joschka Fischer reflected a broader attitude within the leading circles of France and Germany. They are not coincidental remarks or innovative in nature or isolated statements. They are part of long-standing objectives and policies that have existed for decades. Fischer’s lecture foreshadowed the drive towards the harmonization of foreign policy in the Middle East between France, Germany, Britain, and the United States. What Joschka Fischer said marked the rapprochement of the Franco-German entente and the Anglo-American alliance and foreshadowed the greater role the E.U. and NATO would play in U.S. foreign policy.

The Daily Princetonian, Princeton’s school/university newspaper, quoted the former German official as making the following statements: [4] 

.1. “Europe’s security is no longer defined on its [Europe’s] eastern borders, but in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.”

.2. “Turkey should be a security pillar for the European community, and the efforts to derail that relationship are impossibly shortsighted.”

Joschka Fischer’s statements also foreshadow Nicolas Sarkozy’s public campaign in the Mediterranean region. Franco-German policy is also exposed in regards to Turkey; before Nicolas Sarkozy was elected in France, Chancellor Angela Merkel intensified her calls for the inclusion of Turkey within the framework of the E.U. through a “special relationship,” but not as part of the actual European bloc. [5] This also foreshadowed what Nicolas Sarkozy would later propose to the Turks.

This could mean one of two things: Franco-German policy is part of a continuum regardless of leadership and party politics or that the outcome of the 2007 French presidential elections were known in Berlin or decided beforehand. Whatever the case, the German statements expose a calculated agenda in Paris, Berlin, and other European circles for expansion linked to the Anglo-American march to war.

Paris and Berlin act in tandem regardless as to whosoever is leading their respective govemments. It is Franco-German policy at its core depends on powerful economic interests. The latter call the shots and override the elected politicians. These economic interests determine in both France and Germany, as well as at the level of the E.U., the nature of government policy. 

The Mediterranean Union: Expanding the E.U. into the Middle East and North Africa  

The whole Mediterranean is slated to eventually fall within the European Union’s sphere of influence. This initiative is being spearheaded by France and was officially kicked off by Nicolas Sarkozy on a tour of the Mediterranean that started in Algeria. [6]

The idea of a “Mediterranean Union” was presented to Europeans with the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, but this idea is not as new as the mainstream media presents it. Zbigniew Brzezinski acknowledged in 1997 that “France not only seeks a central political role in a unified Europe but also sees itself as the nucleus of a Mediterranean-North African cluster of states that share common concerns.” [7] An extension of the E.U. sphere of influence will also result in an extension of Anglo-American influence and the economic diktats of the Washington Consensus. In this case the question is how much Anglo-American influence will there be within the Mediterranean Union?

The E.U. is a shared body which support both Anglo-American and Franco-German interests. It is through America’s “special relationship” with Britain and NATO that America has a foothold in the European Union. However, the E.U. is still predominately managed by Paris and Berlin. Thus, the Mediterranean littoral will be brought largely under Franco-German influence when the E.U. model is fused onto the Mediterranean.

The mechanism and structure established by the extension of the E.U. in the Mediterranean will determine the level of Anglo-American influence within the Mediterranean littoral. If the E.U. creates an overlapping mechanism in the Mediterranean where the nations of the Mediterranean littoral are linked only directly with E.U. members bordering the Mediterranean and indirectly with other E.U. members, then Anglo-American influence will be much weaker than it would be in the case of full integration between the E.U. and Mediterranean. This type of relationship would greatly empower Paris and Berlin within the Mediterranean.

Hypothetically, this arrangement could exclude Britain, as well as America. The Mediterranean could strictly fall into the Franco-German orbit, but this seems to be an unlikely scenario. Anglo-American control and influence will be maximized if the Mediterranean is wholly amalgamated into the European Union. However, this could damage the E.U. and hurt Anglo-American and Franco-German interests for different reasons, including demographics, if it is not done at a proper pace. If amalgamation is not achieved gradually, the E.U. could face internal instability. In reality, it is in the interests of the Anglo-American and Franco-German sides to share the Mediterranean.

This is another case where cooperation with the Franco-German entente, is in the interest of both and Britain and America. To insure a strong Anglo-American role, NATO has been involved, and Israel has been integrated into the framework for a Mediterranean Union. 

Israel’s role in this process also hinges upon its bilateral relationship with Turkey.

The role of Turkey as a Mediterranean country is considered pivotal in the creation of a “union in the Mediterranean region,” as one of its backbones. What has been created is an extensive network of relationships and links that will make the whole structure of a Mediterranean Union easy and quick to formalize. The far-reaching economic and military ties between Turkey and Israel will ensure that Israel is well integrated into the proposed Mediterranean entity.

Dual membership for Turkey within the E.U. and the Mediterranean Union, but without full E.U. benefits, would also benefit Anglo-American interests. This may explain why Britain and America publicly support the direct entry of Turkey into the European Union. The roles of Turkey and Israel in the Mediterranean are also topics that must be touched upon to themselves.

Establishing a Mediterranean Free Trade Zone and Sharing the Spoils of Libya’s Oil Wealth

Both the Franco-German and Anglo-American sides are sharing the spoils in Libya, one of the targets of threats of war through the “Global War on Terror.” After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, Libya surrendered peacefully to demands from the “Western Powers.” The Washington Consensus made its breakthrough into Libya.

Tripoli was on a blacklist of nations, which included Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.  It was also in 2003 that construction of the Greenstream Pipeline was made to supply the E.U. with Libyan natural gas via a route running through the Mediterranean Sea to the Italian island of Sicily.

It seems just like yesterday when Libya was categorized as a “rogue state” and vilified as a supporter of international terrorism. Its status changed almost overnight with the opening up of its markets. A country’s economic policy is what determines its status in the eyes of Washington and London. 

There have been no political or ideological changes in Libya nor has there been any change in leadership, but Libya is no longer seen as a rogue state. The only thing that has changes is that Libya has flung its doors open to U.S. and E.U. economic interests.

The economic, energy, and weapons deals signed with Libya in 2007 reveal the ultimate economic intent of the “Global War on Terror.” Moreover, Libya has committed itself to a program of “national reform.” [8] The media has picked up on this, but fails to talk about the real shape of reform in Libya.

The reforms are being presented as merely “democratic reform.” In practice, Libya has also accepted to undertake a “free market” program of economic restructuring in accordance with the demands of the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany. Additionally, Colonel Qaddafi the ruler and Libya’s authority can not be challenged, which exposes the true cosmetic face of these so-called democratic reforms.
 

Moreover, the Barcelona Declaration of 1995 that calls for a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership stands in the backdrop of the neo-liberal economic reforms, which will open up the Libyan economy to foreign investors. 

The Barcelona Declaration was intended to establish a European dominated free trade zone in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean region by 2010. Everything is on track, in regards to the objectives of the Barcelona Declaration. The U.S. Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) is also a parallel to this. The E.U.’s Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), an aggressive free trade agreement being imposed under economic threats on former European colonies, also has similar templates in regards to the ACP States in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Justifying ties to Libya: The Bulgarian Nurses and a Shameless E.U. Public Relations Campaign

It is no accident that a group of Bulgarian nurses were freed by Libya in connection with the visit of President Sarkozy while he was on a Mediterranean tour to talk about the establishment of the Mediterranean Union. [9] The whole event was an E.U. public relations stunt. Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Libya on July 25, 2007 to sign five major deals with Libya just one day after his former wife, Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, shuttled out of Tripoli on board a French presidential jet with the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor that France and the E.U. had negotiated for.

The Bulgarian nurse ordeal has been used as a justification for improving economic ties with Libya, a nation otherwise demonized as an international rogue, despite the E.U. claims of commercial relationships being tied to human rights. The whole affair was stage managed and was an attempt to hide the underlying economic interests that dictate foreign policy in the E.U. and America. At the time, it was also reported that Libya blackmailed the E.U. for economic benefits in regards to the freedom of the Bulgarian nurses. However, in reality it is the E.U. that benefiting from the economic arrangements with Libya and not the other way around.

The mainstream press in the E.U. attempted to make it look like President Sarkozy was acting on his own in regards to Libya and started calling him a maverick, but nothing could be further from the truth. The French government claimed that their business deals with Libya were part of an effort to bring Libya into the light of “respectability” and that human right issues were also discussed between the French President and Colonel Qaddafi. However, Colonel Qaddafi stated at UNESCO Headquarters, in Paris, that human rights were never even talked about between the French President and himself. [10] This was during a highly reported five-day state visit made by Colonel Qaddafi to France where the Libyan leader was welcomed by President Sarkozy on December 10, 2007. [11]

The freedom of the Bulgarian nurses also came after major Anglo-American arms and energy deals were announced with Libya. [12] Both Anglo-American and Franco-German economic interests were being served in Libya. In May of 2007, in a state of irony, the British prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, announced a major Anglo-American arms and energy deal while visiting Libya and Colonel Qaddafi. [13] The French, with the knowledge and support of their German partners, also announced an arms deal between the European Aeronautics and Defence Space Company (EADS) and Libya. [14] France also announced a major nuclear deal with Libya. France, like Britain and the U.S., has coddled Libya in pursuit of economic interests and this should dispel for once and for all the mirage that the U.S. and the E.U. are defenders of democracy and human rights.

In a related event Colonel Qaddafi has also told African leaders that if plans for an African Union were delayed that Libya would divert billions of dollars worth of investments from the African continent to the Mediterranean region and become its most influential player. [15] Pertaining to the Mediterranean Union Qaddafi also stated that the fates of Libya and North Africa are tied to Europe. [16]

 

Exposing Paris and Berlin at their game: Germany’s role in the Mediterranean Union

It has been reported in the mainstream media that the weapons and nuclear agreements between France and Libya have upset Berlin, but German officials have denied this as untrue. [17] Chancellor Angela Merkel has also claimed that France’s idea of a Mediterranean Union threatens the E.U. and its institutions. German leaders are playing a game of on-and-off-again opposition to Paris in regards to Libya and the Mediterranean Union. Berlin makes critical statements of French actions, but then denies them to create a shroud of confusion. 

Media reports and Berlin’s statements are utterly false and intended to deliberately mislead the public. Germany had to approve the French deals with Libya, because EADS is a Franco-German company that has both private and governmental interests and representation from both Paris and Berlin. The contracts with Libya could never have been formalized without the okay of the German government. 

Germany is fully involved in the creation of the Mediterranean Union, as are America and Britain. The hypocrisy of the whole act that is being played out in Paris, Berlin, and E.U. capital cities is part of a tactic to mislead the public opinion. In Britain, The Financial Times called attention to the fact that Angela Merkel really wants Germany and the E.U. to be fully involved in the creation of the Mediterranean Union: “Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, pointedly told France’s ruling UMP [Union pour un Mouvement Populaire/Union for a Popular Movement] party yesterday that the future stability of the Mediterranean region affected the whole European Union and that all 27 [E.U.] member states should be involved in the engagement process.” [18]

The context of the German Chancellor’s speech was for the creation of something going beyond the Barcelona Process of 1995, which she called too “bureaucratic,” that would fully include all E.U. members. Frau Merkel emphasized that the Mediterranean was vital for Germany and northern E.U. members and not just France and Mediterranean E.U. members like Spain and Italy: “‘Germany wants to assume its responsibilities in the Mediterranean and we want to offer to all [E.U.] member countries the possibility to participate,’ she said. ‘We should have a reinforced co-operation [between the E.U. and Mediterranean]. I am convinced that all European countries are interested in this.’” [19]

In her speech, Frau Merkel stated that she was convinced that all E.U. members would be interested in having roles in the creation of the Mediterranean Union, but this is an untruthful statement — Frau Merkel knows that the entire E.U. was slated from the start to be a part of the process. The issue is not about interest, but about a calculated long-term arrangement. 

Nicolas Sarkozy has moved forward with the staged act of presenting a compromise by saying that Germany and any other non-Mediterranean E.U. members (e.g. Britain) that want to participate in the creation of the Mediterranean Union are welcome. This is all a complete act. This is part of the commencement of publicly making the Mediterranean Union into what it already was, which is an E.U. initiative.

It should also be noted that German representatives were also in West Africa in connection to the French initiatives in the Mediterranean region. [20] The Germans are also preparing for the road ahead when the Mediterranean Union would economically link Africa to Europe and set the stage for further expansionism.

E.U. Declarations of support for the Mediterranean Union 

The Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has also announced Spain’s support for the creation of a Mediterranean Union and for new migration laws during a meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy. [21] Although it is not being tied to the creation of the Mediterranean Union, the rationale for a drive to establish new migration laws is precisely because of the Mediterranean Union and the influx of migrants that could arrive into the E.U. from the poorer countries of the Mediterranean. Italy has also signalled its support for the Mediterranean Union and new migration laws in the E.U. during the same meetings between Prime Minister Zapatero and President Sarkozy, which involved Prime Minister Prodi. [22]

All the Mediterranean members of the E.U., also called the “Olive Group,” have also declared their support for the creation of a Mediterranean Union at a two-day conference (January 17-18, 2008) held in Paphos, Cyprus. [23] The Cypriot Foreign Minister, Eros Kazakou-Marcoullis told the international press that the Mediterranean members of the E.U. fully back the creation of a Mediterranean Union: “We reaffirmed our support to all efforts which have as an objective the strengthening of the cooperation between European and Mediterranean countries and reiterated the importance of the Mediterranean region for the security, stability and prosperity of the European Union.” [24]

The Annapolis Conference and the Arab-Israeli Conflict were also discussed in Paphos because of their deep relevance to the integration of the Arab World and Israel with the European Union. A forced agreement on the Arabs would pave the way for the political and economical restructuring of the Arab World. Without mentioning it directly, the Mediterranean Union has also been inferred to as a solution to the issue of unifying Greek and Turkish Cypriots by Gerhard Schröder (Schroeder), the former federal chancellor of Germany. [25]

PART IIThe Mediterranean Union: NATO’s Role in Conquering the Middle East and North Africa

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya specializes in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).


NOTES
  
[1] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Europe and America: Sharing the Spoils of War, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), July 26, 2007.

[2] Fischer warns of a “blind” Europe on Mideast, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/German Press Agency (DPA), October 25, 2006.

[3] Thomas L. Friedman, Expanding Club NATO, The New York Times, October 26, 2003.

[4] Fisher warns, Op. cit.

[5] Merkel calls for progress in Turkey’s EU membership talks, Xinhua News Agency, April 16, 2007.

[6] Jill Carroll, In Algeria, Sarkozy condemns colonialism, pushes Mediterranean Union, Christian Science Monitor, December 5, 2007.

[7] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (NYC, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997), p.42. 

[8] Gaddafi son unveils reform plan, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), August 21, 2007.

[9] Lionel Laurent, Gadhafi’s Diplomatic Dice With Europe, Forbes Magazine, July 27, 2007.

[10] Elaine Sciolino, French Officials Hounded by Criticism Over Qaddafi Visit, The New York Times, December 14, 2007.

[11] Elaine Sciolino, Libyan leader makes grand entrance in Paris, International Herald Tribune, December 10, 2007.

[12] Daniel Dombey and James Boxel, Britain closer to arms deal with Libya, Financial Times, May 30, 2007.

[13] Britain and Libya unveil energy and arms deals, Reuters, May 30, 2007.

[14] France and Libya sign arms deal, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), August 3, 2007.

[15] Kadhafi threatens to turn back on Africa, Agence France-Presse (AFP), January 29, 2008; Libya’s Gaddafi says may pull Africa investments, Reuters, January 31, 2008.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Germany denies rift with France over Libyan nuclear deal, IRNA, July 30, 2007.

[18] Bertrand Benoit and John Thornhill, Merkel Refuffs Sarkozy on Mediterranean Union plan, The Financial Times (U.K.), January 31, 2008.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Germany refuses to criticise France over Libya arms deal, Agence France-Presse (AFP), August 3, 2007.

[21] France, Spain close ranks on ETA, Mediterranean Union, migration, Agence France-Presse (AFP), January 10, 2008.

[22] Sarkozy: Italy, Spain seek to join forces with France on expelling illegal immigrants, Associated Press, January 8, 2008.

[23] Jiang Yuxia, FMs of Mediterranean EU states to meet in Cyprus on co-op, Xinhua News Agency, January 15, 2008; Cypus: EU Mediterranean foreign minister to hold talks on Kosovo, Middle East, Associated Press, January 17, 2008; the Mediterranean members of the E.U., such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and Cyprus are called the Olive Group because of the olive tree that is found in all the lands of the Mediterranean and is analogous to the Mediterranean region from the Iberian Peninsula to the Aegean coast and the Levant.

[24] Mediterranean EU members back creation of Mediterranean Union, Xinhua News Agency, January 18, 2008; also refer to Joschka Fischer’s 2006 statements at Princeton and compare the similarities.

[25] Schroeder visit signals Germans more attentive to plight of Turkish Cypriots, The New Anatolian, February 3, 2008; Schröder is quoted as saying “We will do our best to improve [the] peace and cooperation milieu between peoples of Cyprus, Turkey and Greece as well as to make [the] Aegean and [the] Mediterranean a peace and cooperation zone within [the] integration process with Europe [meaning the E.U.].”

SOURCES FOR MAP

[1] European Union map with modifications; Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

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About the author:

An award-winning author and geopolitical analyst, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy.

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