• Sanctions on Emergency Aid

    Aid organizations call for the EU to lift sanctions on Syria, because they block earthquake emergency aid. For years, sanctions have massively contributed to hunger in Syria.

    DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) – Aid organizations are calling for the immediate lifting of the EU’s sanctions on Syria, because they are blocking emergency aid in the wake of the devastating earthquake. The sanctions have already been “seriously affecting the population for years,” the general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) declared. Due to the sanctions, even the Church’s “earthquake relief aid does not reach Syria.” The Head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) reported that the sanctions-related fuel shortage prevents sufficient aid convoys from reaching the region of the earthquake in Syria. For years, the sanctions have been sharply criticized by aid organizations such as Caritas, because they escalate poverty and hunger in the country. According to statistics of the World Food Program (WFP), 12 million, out of the population of 22 million, suffer food insecurity due to the fact that the importation of food, as well as fertilizer and agricultural machines are under sanctions and therefore hardly accessible. Rather than lift sanctions, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock calls for opening northern Syrian border crossings – thereby instrumentalizing the earthquake, to push through a long-standing Western demand. Read more

  • In West Africa against Russia (II)

    Controversy over reconnaissance drone flights hampers Bundeswehr mission in Mali: Bamako is denied access to the data. Burkina Faso also expels French troops from the country.

    BAMAKO/BERLIN/OUAGADOUGOU (Own report) – Prior to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit in Mail, announced for today, the dispute over the German Bundeswehr’s deployment in that West African country has again flared up. For months, Mali’s military government has made it virtually impossible for the Bundeswehr to conduct drone operations, which are considered indispensable. In seeking to regain control over what is happening in its own country, Bamako has thus been demanding access to the images and data being recorded by the drones. Apparently, this access has been denied the Malian government because of Bamako’s growing cooperation with Moscow, which Western powers seek to sabotage. While the conflict over the Bundeswehr mission in Mali continues, a quite similar development is taking place in neighboring Burkina Faso. There also, the military government has ordered the French armed forces to leave the country. Observers are convinced that this is because Burkina Faso is preparing to cooperate with the Russian military, and they do not rule out similar developments in even more West African countries. Read more

  • Militarization of the First Island Chain

    NATO expands cooperation with Japan on a broad front – at a time when Tokyo is engaged in the greatest arms buildup since 1945. USA gears up the entire first island chain of China for war.

    TOKYO/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – NATO will systematically expand its cooperation with Japan, and cooperate more closely than ever before with that East Asian country’s traditional armed forces in cyber defense and outer space. The world has reached “a historical inflection point,” in which the “balance of power is also rapidly shifting in the Indo-Pacific, according to a Joint Statement, signed this week in Tokyo by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The upgrading of cooperation, which Berlin is also promoting on a national level, comes at a time, when Japan is embarking on an arms build-up, unprecedented since 1945. It is increasing its military budget by over 50 percent, which will make it the country with the third-largest military budget in the world and will acquire an arsenal of missiles capable of massive attacks on targets in China. At the same time, the United States is intensifying its military cooperation with Japan – in a way that experts compare to the build-up of Western military potential around Ukraine since 2014. Washington is pursuing similar efforts throughout the first island chain off China – also on Taiwan and in the Philippines. Read more

  • “On the Side of Diplomacy”

    Brazil rejects Berlin's call for arms deliveries to Ukraine and aims to mediate in the Ukraine war – together with other countries of the Global South.

    BRASÍLIA/BERLIN (Own report) – In open defiance of Germany and the other Western powers, Brazil rejects all arms deliveries to Ukraine and pushes, instead, for a mediation initiative to end the Ukraine war. Brazil sees itself as a “land of peace” and rejects any involvement in this war, was President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s response Monday to Berlin's demand during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit, that ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft tank be provided to Kiev. Rather than constantly fueling the war with ever more weapons, a mediation initiative must be launched, with the possible contribution from China, in particular, but also from India and Indonesia, according to Lula. Scholz does not support such an initiative from the Global South to end the fighting and raised his objections on Monday. However, more and more governments, particularly in the Global South, such as, most recently Columbia and Egypt, but also Israel are promoting a negotiated solution. Thus, a counterpoint is becoming apparent to the West's efforts to continue to assert its global dominance in and with the Ukraine war. Read more

  • The World Order and Its Profiteers

    Chancellor Scholz has initiated the purchase of fracking gas in Argentina. Fracking triggers many earthquakes in the region. Argentina seeks to get rid of Western dominance.

    BUENOS AIRES/BERLIN (Own Report) – The German government seeks to purchase larger quantities of fracked gas from Argentina. This is one result of the three-day South American trip from which Chancellor Olaf Scholz returns Tuesday. The gas will be imported in liquefied form and will help replace Russian natural gas completely. It will be produced from the Vaca Muerta (“Dead Cow”) shale formation in western Argentina, where the German company Wintershall Dea is also active. Residents of the region have complained for years about serious environmental damage and that hundreds of earthquakes have been recorded since fracking began. While Berlin wants to stock up on gas there, Buenos Aires is taking new steps to shake off its outdated Western dominance. For example, it has applied for membership in the BRICS alliance, arguing that the current “world order” was “demonstrably created by and for the benefit of a few.” Argentina categorically rejects recent Western demands to supply Ukraine with Russian-made weapons in its stockpile. Read more

  • The National Security Strategy

    Dispute over Germany's national security continues. German foreign ministry seeks close cooperation with the USA, Chancellery orients more on strategic sovereignty.

    BERLIN (Own report) – The dispute between the chancellery and the foreign ministry over Germany's future national security continues. According to reports, it is unlikely that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will be able to present and internationally publicize the strategy paper prior to the Munich Security Conference (Feb. 17-19) as was originally planned, due to disagreements on important issues, such as, whether Berlin's future National Security Council will be under the auspices of the Chancellery or the Foreign Ministry. As is reported the council should also ensure that “politically uncomfortable decisions” be implemented in the future “independently of opportunity costs.” How the security strategy will relate to two key US strategy documents, published last year, also remains unclear. The USA’s National Security Strategy and its National Defense Strategy characterize not Russia, but China as the primary adversary, against which even allied states should take action. Baerbock is fully in agreement with this, while Chancellor Scholz is more reticent. Read more

  • EU’s Strategic Sovereignty

    Berlin and Paris strive for greater EU sovereignty vis-à-vis the USA and embark on massive rearmament – due also to Germany's severe setbacks in its rivalry with Washington.

    PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) -Germany and France are seeking greater “European sovereignty” and aim to “strengthen the EU as a geopolitical actor,” according to a Franco-German declaration published yesterday in Paris on the occasion of the ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty. The declaration provides military support for Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” announces new armament projects, and a Franco-German exercise in the “Indo-Pacific.” This is also due to Germany's severe setbacks in its rivalry with the Unites States, including its growing military dependence and the threat of its deindustrialization due to the exodus of production sites to the USA. According to the French publicist Emmanuel Todd, the current global power struggle – “the third world war has begun” – is also “about Germany.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz anticipates the emergence of a “multipolar world,” in which Germany and the EU are to assume leading roles as strong military powers. Read more

  • Battle tanks for the spring offensive

    Delivery of Leopard 2s to Ukraine remains uncertain. The battle tanks are needed for a spring offensive that could include attacks on Crimea.

    RAMSTEIN/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In the immediate run-up to the conference of arms suppliers held at the US Ramstein Air Base, the German government has remained silent on the possible delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Pressure to supply the battle tanks had again mounted yesterday. The U.S. has declined to provide M1 Abrams tanks, while demanding that Germany hand over Leopard 2s to Ukraine. According to US media reports, large numbers of battle tanks are needed for a Ukrainian spring offensive, currently being planned by Ukrainian and US military officials. The required arms supply should be decided in Ramstein. Washington is only willing to authorize more sustained shelling of Crimea, the report notes. Warnings that this could cross Russia's red lines, escalate the war and even trigger a nuclear attack are being dismissed. In the past, the West has repeatedly crossed Russia's red lines – with dramatic consequences. As the situation now stands, a possible nuclear attack would strike Europe, but not the USA. Read more

  • “Neighbors at heart”

    On visit to Ethiopia, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock sought to strengthen Germany’s waning influence in that country and drive a wedge between Addis Ababa and Moscow.

    BERLIN/ADDIS ABEBA (Own report) – The German government is renewing its attempt to consolidate its waning influence on the African continent. Together with her French counterpart, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Ethiopia at the end of last week to pursue a rapprochement with that country. In alliance with other Western states, Berlin had openly opposed Addis Ababa during the war in northern Ethiopia and – following the conclusion of a peace agreement brokered by the African Union – is trying to restore its standing in Ethiopia's capital. Baerbock now declares Ethiopia “a neighbor at heart” that Germany considers “a friend, not a sales market.” These ludicrous statements are accompanied by the attempt to drive a wedge between Ethiopia and Russia, using a Ukrainian grain donation. Addis Ababa has, for years, not only been cooperating closely with Beijing, but has also significantly intensified its relations with Moscow during the war. Read more

  • On Crumbling Ground

    In Brazil, Berlin seeks to expand cooperation with Lula, to make up for its loss of influence in that country. Think tank discerns growing distance between EU und Latin America.

    BRASÍLIA/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin reacted with relief, when the movement to overthrow the Brazilian government was crushed. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz affirms “we stand closely by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.” According to reports, Scholz is planning to visit the South American country soon. Berlin is seeking to use the changeover in the Brazilian presidency from Jair Messias Bolsonaro to Lula to bolster German influence in Brazil, which has been significantly declining over the past years. As a recent analysis of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) notes, the German government must face the fact that Berlin's and the EU's policy have led to serious friction, not only in Brazil, but also throughout Latin America, over the past few years. Its refusal to supply Covid-19 vaccines, while simultaneously campaigning against Chinese vaccines, for example, has not exactly aroused sympathy for the EU. The policy of sanctions against Russia is also rejected on the subcontinent. SWP explicitly warns, “common ground is crumbling.” Read more