ARNHEM/ESSEN/DUESSELDORF | | niederlande

ARNHEM/ESSEN/DUESSELDORF (Own report) - The westward expansion of the Essen based energy giant, RWE, has met resistance. At the end of last week, the parliament of the North-Brabant Province in the Netherlands rejected the takeover of Essent, the leading Dutch energy company, by its German rival. The parliament declared that the nation must maintain control over its energy supplies. At the beginning of the year, RWE and the Essent management reached an agreement on the deal. With the acquisition of Essent, RWE was not only hoping to catch up with the leading German utility company, Eon, but also to strengthen its position in Western Europe - a goal the company has been pursuing for several years. Currently the focus is on the Netherlands, whose economy is closely linked to that of Germany. The German federal land North Rhine-Westphalia, which is also where RWE is located, is seeking to intensify these links through several initiatives. These include a memorandum signed by the government of North Rhine-Westphalia with those of the Benelux countries last December, allowing North Rhine-Westphalian functionaries to work on Benelux expert commissions. Subsequently German personnel will have the chance to directly influence relations between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg and the enhancement of their already strong alignment with the European hegemonic power. more…

ESSEN/ASHGABAT/BERLIN | | turkmenistan

ESSEN/ASHGABAT/BERLIN (Own report) - The RWE Company will have access to Turkmenistan's natural gas, thereby strengthening the German position in international competition for Central Asian energy resources. According to the memorandum signed a few days ago, RWE will participate in the exploration and development of natural gas resources in Turkmenistan's western Caspian Sea. Berlin is also seeking to enhance its cooperation with other Central Asian countries. Angry reactions are being heard from Moscow, fearing impingement on its hegemony over the region. The memorandum was signed immediately preceding a series of international meetings to discuss the flow of Central Asian oil and gas. The RWE deal will strengthen Germany's position at these talks. It is becoming evident that German energy companies have a division of labor in their approach. The Eon Company, focusing mainly on Russian natural gas, is cooperating with Moscow, while RWE is concentrating on the Central Asian gas and its transport via the Nabucco-Pipeline bypassing Russian territory, a central element of Berlin's energy strategy. more…

ABU DHABI/BERLIN | | vae

ABU DHABI/BERLIN (Own report) - Several weeks of joint military maneuvers with the German Air force and Iran's Arab rivals are drawing to a close. According to the Bundeswehr, the exercises included "complex tactical deployments" in the desert of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the participation of fighter bomber pilots from Germany, the USA, France, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It is the second training of this kind with the aim - according to the air force - of coordinating maneuvers with potential military partners in realistic tactical situations. It is based on the "Strategic Partnership", an accord concluded between Berlin and Abu Dhabi in 2004. This accord includes intensive economic cooperation such as UAE government funds buying Daimler shares, as well as military component. The exercises are part of transatlantic efforts to position Arab states against Iran - using their help to restrain an ambitious Teheran. more…

BERLIN/EYL | | somalia

BERLIN/EYL (Own report) - Berlin announced its decision to fire upon and sink pirate ships off the Horn of Africa. As the interior policy spokesperson of the conservative parliamentary group in the German Bundestag announced, in the case of attack, ships "must be immediately sunk on the high seas." The deployment of special commandos of the German federal police and military is in preparation. The German government has decided to "'take off the gloves' in the war on piracy". Until now, Berlin had considered sinking ships, inconvenient due to the danger of sinking fishing ships by mistake. While the naval mission is becoming more brutal, the extension of military intervention to the Somali mainland is also discussed this week. As the German Bundeswehr is extending its radius of operations, business representatives are saying that the threat to world trade posed by piracy is being exaggerated to the public. The cause of the buccaneering off the coast of Somalia is basically ignored: the West's induced deterioration in countries that elude western control. more…

HERZOGENAURACH/KIETRZ |

HERZOGENAURACH/KIETRZ (Own report) - Reports about the Nazi camp in the previously German town Katscher (today's Kietrz, in southern Poland) furnish new information on the Nazi past of the Schaeffler Company. According to these reports, in the last years of the war, the old Schaeffler AG was using prison labor from "Poland Camp Nr. 92" located in Katscher. "Poland camps" were primarily to incarcerate people suspected of passive or active resistance to Nazi occupation. Even six-year old children were taken from their families and imprisoned in Katscher. Forced laborers of the Schaeffler AG, who had survived the "Poland camp", reported that "human hair was also being processed" by the company. This corresponds to information gathered by Polish scholars, who explained that in Katscher human hair from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was being processed. The dispute over the possibility of business ties between the Schaeffler AG and the Auschwitz camp is taking place almost exclusively behind closed doors. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - German government advisors are laying benchmarks for a comprehensive German strategy for Africa. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is saying that Berlin has been hiding "too much behind the dogma of an 'African solution for African problems'," whereas it should have been engaged in intensive lobbying to significantly strengthen the German position in Sub-Sahara Africa. They say that German national interests must be more actively pursued. With this objective in mind, even so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that until now have been pursuing their independent goals should be compelled to submit to state directives. The SWP sees great importance in securing maritime transport off the coast of Africa and expresses doubts in the preeminence of the promotion of "democracy" and the "protection of human and individual rights" in Berlin's political PR. They also advise that German foreign policy focus on the cooperation with influential African states and differentiate between "partners" and "nuisances". Above all, Zimbabwe is one of the "nuisances," to be fought, because that country "is currently the most offensive opponent of the western liberal model of stability." more…

BERLIN/ULAAN BAATAR/BEIJING | | mongolische-vr

BERLIN/ULAAN BAATAR/BEIJING (Own report) - Just days before the NATO summit, Germany is enhancing its position in Eastern Asia, with the objective of weakening China. To enhance its influence in the region, Germany is using Mongolia, whose prime minister visited Berlin for talks concerning an intensification of business and military cooperation between the two countries. Already years ago, Berlin was saying that situated between Russia and China, Mongolia is in an "excellent position" in the "geostrategic power constellation", and that their efforts to resist Chinese influence must be supported. The German government and German businesses are now reinforcing their activities in the region. One of these businesses, the Deutsche Bahn AG, is intervening in the sensitive sector of Mongolia's raw materials transport. The German Bundeswehr is stabilizing also its military cooperation with Mongolia's armed forces. Germany's growing influence is being accompanied by the renewed efforts of its NATO ally, the USA, to reinforce the West's position in East and Southeast Asia. All of these activities are aimed at encircling China. more…