The Swiss Parliament passed the “Direct Engagement” law last week by a near unanimous vote. This new law requires arms manufacturers to train and deploy soldiers, militants, resistance and terrorists to fight with the weapons they sell to foreign governments. It is seen as both a victory for peace workers who believe that a neutral country, as Switzerland, can not maintain neutrality in conflict when it is, in fact one of the largest arms dealers in the world.
“How can we provide the means of war and still considered ourselves a neutral country. It is sheer absurdity to have such a belief that we do not engage in direct violence when we provide the world with the most sophisticated weapons on earth,” says Reudi Knopfler, a former parliamentarian from Bern.
Ironically, it is also considered a victory by arms manufacturers and the military. Since all men must go into the military, Switzerland’s defensive defense posture still makes it one of the most militarized countries in the world – up there with Germany and Israel.
“The very notion that we will be able to fight with and for our comrades in foreign lands, putting our training to good use and, finally, being able to utilize our sophisticated war machinery – which we are most certainly proud of – is a boon to all of our brave young men,” says General Sarmad Rossi one of the bills co-founders.
Still, there are many controversial issues surrounding the new law, yet with a majority of neo-nazi and national socialist groups now on the rise in Swiss parliament and the Swiss population at large, currently amounting to around 33% of the Swiss parliament, this sort of militarization was seen as inevitable by the left and more moderate members of parliament and civil society.
The new law has some rather peculiar features which are sure to raise red flags in the United Nations as they contradict some basic tenets of international law. However, the new law is crafted such that it treads in a sort of no mans land whereby a nations sovereignty supersedes certain aspects of international law when it comes to corporate personhood and the registration of international corporations on sovereign territory. One of the tenets, for example, forbids arms deals that will land weapons in the hands of children of those nations to where arms are sold. However, the bill allows for the training of Swiss children to go and fight as child soldiers under the flag of other nations since the skirts the issue of illegality of arming children of foreign nations. The first group of Swiss child soldiers is already set to deploy to South Sudan at the end of November after their basic training is complete. Protests in Geneva, Bern, Zurich and Basel were peacefully disrupted with tear gas canisters and rubber coated bullets sending a strong message that fringe elements of society will not control the destiny of a legitimately elected democracy.
Another battalion of resistance fighters are training in the alps to fight in Gaza as a result of a long investigation which traced arms sales from Dubai, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the US which finally ended up in the hands of Hamas resistance fighters in Gaza. The new law does not allow for the proxy sales of Swiss weapons to foreign nationals but it does allow for the direct engagement of Swiss civil society in conflicts throughout the world and, thus legitimizes the Swiss battalions intentions to go fight alongside their Palestinian brothers and sisters who would, ultimately, be using their weapons in some sense.
Similar regiments of Swiss civilians are in training to go fight US intelligence in Syria and Iraq as well as the Ukraine, Nigeria, Sudan, and other conflict zones around the world that would ultimately see the equivalent of “made in Switzerland” printed on shells and other ordinance dropped and deployed in their countries.
Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Holland are considering similar legislation. One Dutch Parliamentarian argues, “it makes complete sense, why should we arm innocents and subject them to the brutality of our governments policies which are completely outside of their purview. We don’t see Palestinians voting in Nederlandischer Parliamentary elections, do we? So we shouldn’t see them being subject to our policies without their voice being heard and to that end I support similar legislation as the Direct Engagement law that Switzerland has pioneered. It puts the middle man back in his rightful place. Let out brave citizens fight for our agenda in foreign lands – the way we used to do it during our proud colonial days.”