BERLIN/TEHRAN | | iranusa

BERLIN/TEHRAN (Own report) - New US sanctions against Iran have come into effect, without the slightest sign of success for the opposition to the US Middle East policy that had been so loudly proclaimed by Berlin and the EU. Berlin had affirmed, it would do everything in its power to secure for EU companies - particularly German - business deals with Iran, thereby safeguard the nuclear agreement while strengthening the standing of German/EU industry in Iran. The latter has completely failed. German business representatives are warning of the "danger" that German business with Iran "could come to a complete halt." If this development continues, China - which during the first round of sanctions, had already become Iran's main trading partner - could further enhance its position in Iran, particularly due to continued oil purchases from Tehran. Contrary to its announcement, the Trump administration did not succeed in entirely cutting off Iranian oil exports. Today, Iran is selling more oil than during the previous round of sanctions. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON | | usachina

BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Leading German business circles are calling for diminishing economic dependence on China. Even though that country is a "dynamic market" - German companies' largest trading partner and their third largest investment site - it is in a "system rivalry" with the West, according to a recent paper published by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The BDI is underlining the importance "of minimizing existing dependency" on the People's Republic of China, as Washington is stepping up its economic war against Beijing. German businesses fear that the Trump administration could impose sanctions - like those in the case of Iran - and are, therefore, calling for a gradual withdrawal from China. At a business conference, currently taking place in Jakarta, German business representatives and the Minster of the Economy, Peter Altmaier, are pursuing their search for alternative sites in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, a prominent US general has predicted that the United States could possibly be at war with China within 15 years. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has once again reaffirmed that the German government insists on continuing with the highly controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Despite persistent pressure from Washington, there will be no interference in the construction of the pipeline - which has long since begun - reiterated Maas at this years annual UN General Assembly in New York. At the same time, US efforts to promote the sale of US liquefied gas to Germany are stagnating. If the liquefied gas would be priced closer to the currently much cheaper pipeline gas, it could certainly be considered, according to the Uniper company (formerly EON). Uniper is currently contemplating the construction of a liquefied gas terminal in Wilhelmshaven. However, it would not even have one-fifth of the import capacity of Nord Stream 2. Plans for constructing a terminal in Brunsbüttel, which currently have the best chances of implementation, envisage the importation of only half as much LNG - primarily to fuel ships and trucks. more…

WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | usa

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in "liberating" an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the "Draco" militia. "Draco" is the Latin term for "dragon" - a symbol for China. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | iranusa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ended his first official visit to Washington yesterday, without reaching a compromise in the transatlantic dispute over policy on Iran. "We're pursuing two completely different paths," Maas declared following his talks with his counterpart Mike Pompeo and the National Security Advisor John Bolton. The EU remains unified in their policy approach, which is diametrically opposed to that of the Trump administration. Berlin's attempts to achieve an independent German-EU policy on Iran opposing Washington's is particularly applauded by Germany's strategists in the establishment's foreign policy sectors. Recommendations of submission to the Trump administration's threats to use force against Teheran, so as not to jeopardize German companies' highly profitable business relations with the US, are coming from business circles. Meanwhile, foreign policy experts recommend developing the euro into an alternative global reserve currency. This could reduce the USA's potential to apply pressure on Germany's economy. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The EU announced its first defensive measures against US plans to penalize European companies' business engagements with Iran, by reactivating the 1996 "Blocking Statute." That law prohibits companies from terminating their business engagements with Iran, to avoid severe penalties in the United States. Some companies from Germany and other EU countries have already announced that they will cancel their contracts with Tehran to avoid endangering their business ventures in the US. German companies, involved in profitable ventures with Russia, could be facing a similar situation. Washington threatens to demand that businesses from Germany and the EU comply also with the April 6 sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump, against some Russian oligarchs and their companies. According to government advisors, German Russia-oriented businesses are "virtually panicking" because of the escalation of a global trade war. more…

BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON | | iranusa

BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Berlin is seeking to use Washington's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal to increase its pressure on Tehran. In their joint statement published Wednesday, the governments of Germany, France and the United Kingdom declared their continued commitment to the agreement, while demanding that the Iranian government limit its ballistic missile program and its efforts to obtain influence in the region. The reintroduction of US sanctions offers Berlin a chance to disguise its continued pressure on Tehran as a war preventive measure. At the same time, US sanctions against Iran continue to fuel the power struggle between the EU and the USA. The Airbus Company alone could lose €16 billion in commercial deals due to the sanctions imposed by the US government. Commentators recommend resistance: "You don't become a world power in a conference room." At the same time, Israel is exacerbating the escalating tensions with its aggressions against Syria. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - In Washington serious warnings are being raised against an independent German-European military policy aimed at weakening NATO. The militarization of the EU is being supported as long as "it is complimentary to NATO," a senior Pentagon official was quoted. However, Washington would intervene, if Berlin and the EU were to pull military resources away from NATO and use them for their own wars. This statement was made in light of the NATO defense ministers' meeting that begins today, which will include a decision on the establishment of two new NATO headquarters. One will be established in the United States, to secure the military supply routes from North America over the Atlantic to Europe. A second will be established in Germany, to optimize rapid redeployments of West European troops eastwards across the continent. At the current stage of planning, this will be under German sovereignty and available also for use outside of the NATO framework. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is urging that PR measures be increased, to prepare the population for a more aggressive German global policy. The foreign ministry has already dispatched members of its staff "to schools and universities" to "explain" Berlin's foreign policy, Gabriel recently declared in a speech to foreign policy experts. The foreign ministry will also "increase its social media channels" and he called on entrepreneurs and shop stewards to explain the importance of foreign policy issues to employees. These measures must be seen in the context of Germany's ambition to assume an independent policy in global affairs and become more competitive to the USA. Berlin sees the Trump administration's course, which, at times, has sharply collided with German interests, as a lasting policy shift. Washington increasingly views the EU "as a competitor and sometimes even as an opponent," Foreign Minister Gabriel affirms; In the future Europe must rely more on strength than on "values." more…

RIYADH/WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | usasaudi-arabiensyrienirak

RIYADH/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - As the findings of the UK-based organization "Conflict Armament Research" (CAR) confirms, the IS had disposed of a significant amount of firearms and ammunition from EU arsenals to defend itself in Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul against the Anti-IS-Coalition. According to this research, two of Germany's most important arms customers - the United States and Saudi Arabia - had acquired military hardware from Romania and Bulgaria to provide it to insurgent militias in Syria, which had transferred some of it to the IS. For example, anti-tank missiles were re-exported to Syria without the knowledge or approval of the original suppliers. The Free Syrian Police, which had been co-financed by the German Foreign Ministry, has also supplied jihadis. It employs police officers selected from al Qaeda's Syrian subsidiary. In at least one case, these officers had facilitated the stoning execution of two women. more…