HARARE/BERLIN | | aethiopiensimbabwe

HARARE/BERLIN (Own report) - With his demand for a regime change in Zimbabwe, the German foreign minister is intensifying the campaign the West has been waging for years against President Robert Mugabe. "Mugabe's regime has to come to an end," insisted Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) last weekend. Berlin is seeking a regime change since Zimbabwe's leadership refused to pursue Western economic projects in the late 1990s and began expropriating the descendents of European colonialists. Since then, Berlin, Brussels and Washington have been supporting Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition candidate. Berlin's pretension of concern for human rights in Zimbabwe is in no way due to "ethical considerations" of its foreign policy. When compared with its attitude toward another African state, Ethiopia, it is clear that human rights serve only as a pretext for enforcing German interests. All of the German government's accusations against Mugabe apply to his Ethiopian counterpart in Addis Ababa, Meles Zenawi. Instead of being threatened with sanctions for serious crimes against humanity, just a few days ago, Meles was rewarded with an increase in German development aid. more…

ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN | | aethiopien

ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is increasing its financial support for Ethiopia by 40 Percent despite strong accusations raised against that country by human rights organizations. This was announced by the foreign ministry in Addis Ababa following last week's negotiations between the governments of Germany and Ethiopia. The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will allocate 96 million Euros over the next three years - one of the ministry's largest development budget subventions. For years the Ethiopian government has been heavily criticized for committing crimes against humanity. After coming to power in 2005 through electoral fraud, the government ordered the shooting of hundreds of demonstrators. It is still being accused of torture and summary executions. Numerous opponents and independent journalists were forced to flee the country. Recent reports have accused the Ethiopian army of kidnappings and the murder of civilians in the East of the country. The development budget increase corresponds to Ethiopia's geo-strategic significance, which the German ambassador to Addis Ababa particularly stressed in a strategy paper. As a western ally, the Ethiopian army is also involved in the war in Somalia. Ethiopian soldiers are being trained in Germany. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The German-French arms manufacturer EADS' expansion attempt has become a topic of debate in the US presidential elections. After the Government Accountability Office criticized the contract awarded EADS and its US-American partner Northrop Grumman by the US Air Force for the delivery of refueling aircraft valued US $35 billion, observers are expecting a re-bid that will award the contract to their rival Boeing. Given the importance of this contract, both presidential candidates feel compelled to take a stand. They are unanimously opposing the transatlantic refueling aircraft program, not only because they would like to keep industrial profits within the country, but because they are also worried about the military's vulnerability this could cause. Because the refueling of military aircraft is of strategic importance in future wars, neo-conservative establishment insiders in Washington are insisting that the US Air Force not be imperiled by European attempts to gain influence. The Democrats and their candidate Barack Obama do not contradict this view. This long battle for the Air Force's billion-dollar deal is an example of the transatlantic rivalry becoming more intense. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeiner has again denied any earlier knowledge of torture in the US "war on terror". During last Thursday's session of the Committee of Inquiry in the German Bundestag, Steinmeier declared that reports of mistreatment in US confinement of Abdel Halim Khafagy, a German residing in Munich, played "no role" in the security briefings when he was head of the Federal Chancellery. As far back as October 2001, two officials of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) had written reports on the case and placed them at the disposal not only of the BKA but also of the Chancellery - obviously without effect. According to a BKA file memo, German authorities had previously already been involved in Khafagy's interrogation. While Germany continues to play naive, investigations show that the torture used in the "war on terror" by the BND's partner, CIA, has been in practice for decades - in Latin America and elsewhere. Subsequent to 9/11, these practices were extended and globalized through "rendition flights". In spite of the German government having appointed a special investigator, it is not known, to what extent these flights have passed through German airspace. more…

Pure Chaos

PRISTINA/BELGRADE/BERLIN | | jugoslawien

PRISTINA/BELGRADE/BERLIN (Own report) - After massive pressure from Berlin the UN Security Council will discuss the reconstruction of the UN administration in Kosovo on Friday 20 June. Some days ago the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon gave way to Western pressure and agreed to the illegal step of the deployment of EULEX, the EU "Police and Justice Mission in Kosovo". EULEX will enable the secessionist regime in Pristina to build up the authorities of an independent state on Serbian territory. With its decision in favour of EULEX the United Nations leadership has adopted further Western positions which are contrary to international law. Leading UN officials hope to avoid their total marginalization by ever-new compromises. In spite of the UN's increasing subjection, Berlin and Washington continue to discuss concepts which, if realized, will reduce the UN to a fate similar to that of the League of Nations in the Nineteen Thirties - total loss of significance. The results of the controversy will bear hardest on the population of southern Serbia. Commentators describe the confusion over the remaining competences of lawful authorities in the face of illegally installed institutions, enforced by the occupiers, as chaos itself. more…

LA PAZ/BERLIN |

LA PAZ/BERLIN (Own report) - The adoption of the EU's new deportation guidelines, scheduled to take place on Wednesday June 18, is being overshadowed by harsh criticism from South America of the hypocrisy of the German-European human rights policy. According to Bolivia's president Evo Morales, the provisions of the guidelines are in blatant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Brussels constantly refers to in treaties with Latin American states, while insisting upon "legal protections" for European companies against the Bolivian government's nationalization measures, taken in conformity with current Bolivian laws. Brussels has placed La Paz under "enormous pressure," Morales said and threatened to suspend negotiations on the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Andean Community, if the deportation guidelines that are in violation of international law are ratified and come into force. This conflict has evolved from Berlin's constant efforts to isolate the Bolivian government's foreign policy and weaken it domestically, because of its participation in efforts to forge an independent Latin American alliance. Just a few days ago, several influential Bolivian separatists were seeking support for their secessionist cause in European countries, including Germany. more…

Plan B

BERLIN/DUBLIN | | irland

BERLIN/DUBLIN (Own report) - Systematically using threats, German government policy makers for European affairs are trying to intimidate Ireland into repeating the Lisbon Treaty referendum. According to interviews and analyses subsequent to last Friday's "No" vote, it is being suggested that a few insignificant concessions be added to the treaty and again voted upon - possibly linked to the question of Ireland's remaining in the EU. To enable the Irish government to impose a second referendum, plans are being forged to bring the Lisbon Treaty into effect - even without Ireland which could, to a large extent, isolate Ireland. The creation of a German-French "core Europe" remains an alternative option. Since, according to Berlin, the implementation of these plans would mean the end of all democratic legitimacy of the European Union, they should as a first step merely serve as a threat, while simultaneously, if the Irish refuse to yield to these intimidation efforts, being an introduction of a concrete policy option. The prerequisite is that all of the other EU member states ratify the treaty, as demanded by the German government. more…

BERLIN/OTTAWA/MOSCOW | | kanada

BERLIN/OTTAWA/MOSCOW (Own report) - A few days after a conference of the Arctic bordering states on access to resources and maritime routes in the Arctic, German government advisors called on Berlin to ally itself with "organizations of Arctic indigenous populations in Canada" against the Canadian government. Previously inaccessible resources, including oil and natural gas, will be available for extraction in a few years, because the icecap is melting, due to the warming of the earth. The Arctic Ocean will also be accessible as a trade route and therefore takes on strategic maritime significance. Germany is "too distant" to be able to have a direct influence on the conflict and therefore, according to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), must embed its Arctic policy in "European aspirations". The SWP is recommending the use of German ethnicist policy experience and research institutes for asserting German interests. The conflict over sovereignty rights in the Arctic, in which Berlin is beginning to get involved, has led to extensive arms programs in several countries. more…

Roger Cole | DUBLIN | | irland
(Roger Cole)

DUBLIN german-foreign-policy.com interviewed Roger Cole on Irish neutrality and the Lisbon Treaty referendum. Roger Cole is Chair of the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA, www.pana.ie). more…

KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - German government advisors are calling for decisive measures to increase both manpower and firepower of German troops in Afghanistan. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) predicts that the mission at the Hindu Kush is doomed to failure, in the intermediate term, without reinforcements of the occupation forces. What is needed is not only in increase in personnel, but also in modern military equipment, capable of more precise intelligence, rapid troop relocation and deadly striking power ("precision impact"). Bunker-busting weapons are being recommended. These plans for an upgrade in arms are accompanying those to deploy the Bundeswehr's "rapid deployment force," scheduled to be available for major offensives in Northern Afghanistan by the beginning of July. In that region the insurgency is growing. Military personnel are characterizing it as a protracted "March on Kabul," in which the insurgents are progressively wresting control from Western forces over one region after the other. Their objective is to take the Afghan capital. To prevent a defeat of the occupation forces, SWP suggests that civilian personnel be enlisted to take on military tasks to an even larger degree. This would lead to a further subordination of political forces to the military elite and the defense ministry. more…