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…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The modernization of nuclear weapons - already possessed by nine countries, and affecting Germany through "nuclear sharing" - is rapidly progressing, according to a current analysis of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The overall number of nuclear weapons in the world has slightly decreased SIPRI notes. However, new US-bombs (B61-12), for example, are much more precise than their predecessor models. Experts warn that this development could lower the threshold for their possible use. The B61-12 bombs are likely to be stationed also at the German Air Base in Büchel in the hills of the Eifel. Germany's "nuclear sharing" status has already prompted discussions in the arms industry. Airbus has begun to design a successor model to the tornado jet fighter, which is currently certified for the B61. If this next generation jet fighter is to be certified also for the US bomb, all its construction details would have to be revealed to the USA, a prospect being met with misgivings in the Berlin establishment. It has recently been reported that the URENCO nuclear fuel company, which also has a plant in Gronau (North Rhine-Westphalia) has agreed to supply enriched uranium to a US power plant that produces tritium for US nuclear weapons. more…

On a Par (II)

MUNICH | | usa

MUNICH (Own report) - At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the German government assumed the role of an ally "on a par" with the United States. The chancellor and several ministers of Germany formulated conditions for continued cooperation with the US government, while holding out the prospect of a "stronger Europe," which, according to Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, should be capable of independently "coping successfully" with the "reality of crises and wars outside the bounds of the European Union." Appropriate rearmament measures are being prepared. The chancellor conceives of a military budget increase of around eight percent annually, while the discussion on German-European nuclear arms is continuing. Publicists are hinting at the possibility of Berlin sharing influence over the Force de Frappe through co-financing France's nuclear arms arsenal. Berlin is still relying on the alliance with Washington, at least for the time being, because rearmament and access to nuclear arms take time. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - While Sigmar Gabriel was making his first official visit as Germany's Foreign Minister to Washington last week, the dispute over Washington's likely ambassador to the European Union was escalating. The candidate for that post in Brussels, Ted Malloch, does not rule out the collapse of the euro in the 18 months to come. He also conceives of a possible dismantling - or even collapse - of the European Union and has announced that Washington will negotiate more with individual countries, than with Brussels. This could lead to a further accentuation of the existing rifts in the EU. Thus, Berlin is trying hard to prevent Malloch's nomination. The leaders of several European Parliamentary groups are demanding that his accreditation be blocked - until recently, an unimaginable affront. At the same time, Berlin seeks to position itself as the corrective counterpart to Trump's Washington in the escalating transatlantic power struggle. Last week in Washington, Foreign Minister Gabriel staged an unprecedented appearance as headmaster on the subject of democracy and human rights. Some members of the German establishment are expecting the EU's ascent parallel to the United States' descent on the world stage. more…