BAGHDAD/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | irak

BAGHDAD/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The United States is insisting on stronger German participation in stabilizing the puppet regime in Iraq. As the US ambassador in Baghdad declared, he hopes "very much that Europeans will become more engaged in Iraq." Now the question is to impose "a fundamentally different orientation" on this Gulf state, known for its long standing "animosity toward the West." Above all, German companies should be participating. As a matter of fact, German business activities in Iraq are once again on the rise, since the German government concluded a business agreement with Baghdad last summer, symbolically sending the Minister of the Economy, Michael Glos, into that war-ravaged country. Among the enterprises seeking to do business in Baghdad are numerous companies, that, in the 1970s and 80s, had already close relations with Iraq and are now seeking to refresh their old contacts. Back then, Germany was at times Baghdad's most important business partner - a position that the German businesses would like to re-achieve, even at the expense of their US rival. more…

BRUSSELS/BERLIN |

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Own report) - In spite of the cabinet decision approving the deployment of German warships at the Horn of Africa, due to be announced today, the German Navy is insisting upon new offensive competence. Being allowed to shoot to ward off attacks won't suffice, explain military officials, one must receive permission to actively pursue maritime pirates. This is because of international competition in trying to take control over the maritime trade routes off the East African coast, which also means warding off pirates. Contrary to popular allegations, maritime piracy globally has stagnated at a significantly lower level than recorded at the turn of the century. An increase in activity has been registered only off the coast from Somalia, since Ethiopia invaded that country two years ago in alliance with the West, escalating the war. German media is largely supportive of the military demands for an expansion of its mandate, authorizing it to take the offensive. The use of arms should not only be defensive, but also include offensive. One should not abide by the motto "the important thing is to take part." more…

BERLIN/DUBLIN/PRAGUE | | irlandtschechische-republik

BERLIN/DUBLIN/PRAGUE (Own report) - Berlin is increasing the pressure on the opponents to the Lisbon Treaty. According to the Vatican German pressure is being applied. German politicians are demanding that the Irish Bishops publicly call for a "Yes" vote in the re-run of the Irish referendum to avoid a renewed defeat. The government in Dublin will announce the modalities and the timetable for the referendum re-run after consultations with the German chancellor at the EU summit this week. As a supplement, the German government has launched a campaign against the President of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, whose negative attitude endangers the treaty's ratification. In the Czech Republic, the treaty enters into effect only after the president has given his accord. Václav Klaus is the "spiritus rector" of the "anti-Europeans" and "not harmless," according to the chairman of the social democratic group in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, from Germany. Schulz announced his intentions to show the Czechs "their limits" also during their term as President of the European Council, which begins January 1. more…

BERN/BERLIN | | schweiz

BERN/BERLIN (Own report) - War resisters in Switzerland are protesting against an armament project that would tie their country to the western military alliance. The project provides for the acquisition of a double-digit number of fighter aircraft worth billions. Unlike its predecessor, this new plane is to be a ground combat support aircraft and therefore can serve in NATO or EU military aggressions. Swiss soldiers are already participating in NATO's foreign interventions, often at the side of the German Bundeswehr, for example in Kosovo and until recently also in Afghanistan. For centuries Switzerland had been neutral. In the 1990s, through cooperating with the German Bundeswehr and by joining its armed forces to the NATO "Partnership for Peace" program, the country abdicated its neutrality. Switzerland is purchasing military hardware also in Germany, which is offering its Eurofighter for sale in the planned fighter aircraft acquisition. Western states are also training their armies in Switzerland. Just last week, a German Bundeswehr aircraft crashed while on maneuvers over Swiss territory. This was not the first time. more…