• The IS Comeback

    BERLIN/BAGHDAD/MOSUL (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas' brief visit to Baghdad is accompanied by reports that the IS militia (Islamic State) is regaining strength. Maas was in the Iraqi capital yesterday for talks with Iraq's new Prime Minister to emphasize Berlin's push for obtaining stronger influence in Iraq. He also promoted a billion-euro deal with Siemens and listened to his Baghdad counterpart's call for Iraqi refugees to return to their homeland. According to reports, Iraqi authorities are not only responsible for the slow reconstruction of Sunni regions, but Sunnis are being also detained arbitrarily, tortured or condemned to death without proof of guilt. "This is not just revenge on the IS," explained a senior intelligence officer, "this is revenge on Sunnis." Observers warn that this will refill the ranks of the still existing IS in clandestinity, which has again "taken the offensive." Read more

  • All or Nothing

    BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS/ROME (Own report) - London's government crisis escalated yesterday under the pressure of Berlin and the EU’s unaccomplishable Brexit requirements. Prime Minster Theresa May has barely survived a vote of confidence, which was ultimately triggered by the so-called backstop. Brussels insists on a regulation, which could indefinitely subjugate Great Britain to a customs union, without an option for a unilateral withdrawal and erect a trade border between two areas of the United Kingdom. These provisions are in Germany's interests, but they will plunge Great Britain into chaos. The current government crisis in France is largely due to the austerity programs imposed by Berlin on Paris - while refusing to make any concessions at the EU level. In France and Great Britain, the extreme right is profiting, like in Italy, where Berlin’s drastic austerity dictates, have already crushed the traditional political establishment. Read more

  • BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Own report) - With the USA escalating its measures against Huawei Technologies, Berlin is faced with deciding whether to continue its cooperation with that Chinese telecommunications company. Until now, the competent German administrations have been considering cooperating with Huawei for the development of the important 5G mobile communications standards. With its experience, the Chinese company could reliably set up the German network rather quickly and at favorable costs. For German business, it is of utmost importance not to fall behind even further in the development of future state-of-the art technologies. Washington, however, is pushing for the Chinese company to be excluded. The Trump administration - without any evidence, according to experts - is accusing it of having close ties to the Chinese government and intelligence agencies. Washington is indeed seeking to damage Huawei seriously - the world’s largest network provider and second largest smartphone producer - to halt China’s ascendance. Berlin must decide whether it wants to join that battle against Huawei in the economic war against Beijing. Read more

  • BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Europe may be facing a new round in an arms buildup with intermediate range nuclear missiles. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States has issued Moscow an ultimatum. If Russia does not cease its alleged violations of the INF Treaty within 60 days, Washington will withdraw from the treaty. Credible evidence for those alleged violations is as absent today, as sound proof of the alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The western debate is still ignoring solid Russian evidence that the USA is violating the INF Treaty with the installation of NATO's missile defense systems in Romania and Poland. Yesterday, NATO foreign ministers blamed Russia for the abrogation of the treaty. Berlin seeks to avoid the installation of US medium-range missiles in Europe, because they would restrict the EU's planned military autonomy. Government advisors are suggesting other armament measures against Russia. Read more

  • BERLIN/KIEV/ANKARA (Own report) - The German government is offering to serve as mediator in the conflict over the Sea of Azov, while demands are being made that ports be closed to Russian ships. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on the sidelines of the G20 summit last weekend that Russian President Vladimir Putin "had approvingly received" her plea for negotiations between Russia, Ukraine Germany and France ("Normandy Format") to settle the conflict. However, Berlin's advantageous mediator role is being undermined by US measures - such as providing arms to Ukraine - and by Turkey. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had also offered to serve as mediator between Moscow and Kiev, based on the good relations Turkey has with both Russia and Ukraine. While the Ukrainian president reiterated his call for NATO deploying warships to the Sea of Azov, Secretary-General of Germany's Christian Democratic Party, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, suggested barring Russian vessels sailing from the Crimea region from entering EU ports. Read more