MOSCOW/BERLIN | | russische-foederation

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin and Moscow are broadening their cooperation to the field of security technology with plans for the Russian Sistema company to join the German Infineon AG. Sistema is due to acquire approx. 30 percent of Infineon shares and thereby have access to basic technology, as well as military relevant encryption systems. Though there is opposition within Infineon, because cooperation with Moscow in the field of security would weaken possibilities for sales to the West, the company is still denying that "talks" to this effect have ever taken place. Yet according to reports, the German chancellery has given the green light for this project, because Moscow's demand to acquire German hi-tech can no longer be ignored in the elaboration of their bilateral cooperation. Reciprocity is expected. For example, last week Siemens was granted several contracts in the billions. The intensifying German-Russian business cooperation is publicly being promoted as a "modernization partnership" and expanded further via the EU. The objective is to reduce Germany's dependence on North American and Eurozone markets. Among the consequences is the weakening of Germany's bonds to the EU's single currency. more…

ESSEN/SKOPJE/BELGRADE | | jugoslawienrumaenienmazedonienbulgarien

ESSEN/SKOPJE/BELGRADE (Own report) - The Serbian Minister of the Economy, Mladan Dinkic is calling on the WAZ media group from Germany to leave Serbia because of its dubious intrigues. After a deal was revealed that was aimed at making the Essen-based company a leader on the Serbian market, Dinkic said that the WAZ cannot be allowed to take control of one of the country's most important daily newspapers, with "backroom business deals". The WAZ and its manager Bodo Hombach, (SPD), attempted, with the help of a front man, to buy, step by step, majority shares in the Vecernje Novosti, the country's largest selling daily newspaper. But the front man, a Serbian oligarch, does not want to turn over the shares in his temporary possession. A front man was needed for the deal because antitrust regulations did not allow the WAZ to buy the Serbian public opinion forming daily, Vecernje Novosti. The German media group, headquartered in Essen, is the strongest West European company on the Southeast European press market owning up to 70 percent in several countries - padded by excellent relations to the political and business establishment. more…

BELGRADE/ESSEN | | jugoslawien

BELGRADE/ESSEN (Own report) - The German WAZ media company's efforts to expand to Serbia have been accompanied by dubious business deals. The company, headquartered in the western German city of Essen, which nearly nine years ago bought a 50% share in one of the two most prominent Serbian dailies, has, for some time, been seeking to also acquire shares in the other. The attempt, which had to be carried out through an intermediary because of legal difficulties, is likely to fail when the Serbian Cartel Office reaches its verdict. The WAZ's efforts to expand within the Serbian press market through political and economic pressure have been so far just as unsuccessful. The German company is now threatening to withdraw completely from Serbia - with negative consequences for Serbia in its relationship to powerful Germany. For its business deals in Belgrade, which were only possible after the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, the WAZ had the former Yugoslav Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, mediate contacts to dubious business circles. One businessman, who today claims to have discussed shady deals with WAZ manager Bodo Hombach (SPD), was described in the German media, at the time of his contacts to the WAZ, as one "of the kingpins of the Balkans mafia." more…

BISHKEK/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | kirgistan

BISHKEK/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Political advisors of the International Crisis Group are criticizing western policy toward Central Asia. In a recently published study, the globally active think tank considers that the overthrow of the government in Kyrgyzstan shows that Central Asia's authoritarian regimes are incapable of establishing reliable relations in their countries. Their "semblance of calm" is, in the short run, quite "attractive" to the West, seeking to realize its geostrategic objectives in the competition for raw materials, but it does not correspond to the long-term interests of western influence. Actually the International Crisis Group has for years been warning of a possible collapse of the Bishkek government, as it occurred this year - to the disadvantage of the western countries position in Central Asia. Even Berlin has been placing its bets on the authoritarian regimes of the region, to obtain access to the natural gas deposits and to secure its military transports to Afghanistan - and is relying on them in its efforts to win new influence in Kyrgyzstan currently rocked by a bloody unrest. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Foreign policy specialists from Berlin's establishment are discussing possible advantages of dictatorial forms of government. According to the current issue of a leading German foreign policy review, some observers see the West as being currently in a "state of democratic fatigue with an erosion of democratic institutions." Simultaneously there are "diverse discussions of dictatorial powers and measures" even if usually in terms of a temporary dictatorship. They see as the primary question, whether "beyond the system of rule of law, legitimacy reserves can be tapped" to "rejuvenate the system (- democracy -) that has grown old" is the formulation of the journal, a terminology used in the 1930s by the key Nazi jurist, Carl Schmitt to justify the annulment of the democratic constitution. This article suggests that some business representatives are in no way adverse to authoritarian measures and are questioning whether "the constitutional state can still hold its own" in the competition of systems against China and Russia. The author, a member of the advisory board of Berlin's Federal College for Security Studies, considers that the dictatorship "has been proven to be the wrong route to take," but he does not refuse to participate in a discussion of principles on the advantages of dictatorial methods. more…

PRETORIA/BERLIN | | suedafrika

PRETORIA/BERLIN (Own report) - Government advisors in Berlin are recommending that measures be taken to stabilize South Africa's domestic situation. The democratic market economic order must be consolidated and processes of social disintegration combated, warns a recent study published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Otherwise South Africa's utility for the German economy will be as insecure as that country's role as a junior partner for German foreign policy. The gap between the poor and the rich could lead to a "radicalization" of the governing party and prompt it to make serious "encroachments into the market economy, particularly in regards to the right to private property." This must be thwarted through government programs to enhance job opportunities for the lower social strata or even through means of foreign cultural policy. Several of the SWP's proposals are already being implemented by the so-called German development policy. Berlin, for example, is supporting administrative reforms through which the poverty-stricken part of the population will have better prospects. Other projects have been implemented specifically in South Africa's preparation for the World Cup, but serve also long-term German interests. more…

PRETORIA/BERLIN | | suedafrika

PRETORIA/BERLIN (Own report) - In view of the German South African cooperation in the preparation of the upcoming World Cup, German government advisors are contemplating South Africa’s importance for German foreign policy. According to a recently published study by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), South Africa has "without any doubt the potential" to impose its hegemony on sub-Saharan Africa and Germany has considerable influence on that country. Both factors enable Germany to use Pretoria as a stabilizing force, influencing African developments to the advantage of German interests. But this should be undertaken carefully, because the opinion that "South Africa is representing Western interests" is already widespread in Africa. SWP recommends countering South Africa’s strivings for cooperation with other countries of the southern hemisphere, at the expense of its cooperation with the EU and USA, by further developing the already close military cooperation and the security measures implemented jointly on the African continent. more…

TEL AVIV/GAZA/BERLIN | | israel

TEL AVIV/GAZA/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is using international outrage over the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Flotilla to reinforce Germany's position in the Middle East. The German chancellor demands that the EU take part in an international investigation of the acts of violence that took place May 31. This would provide Germany with opportunities to obtain more influence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For years the Federal Republic of Germany has been systematically expanding its footholds in Israel's close vicinity - with military - as well as police missions in the name of the United Nations and the EU. The objective is the complete normalization of German operations throughout the Middle East. At the same time, Berlin is intensifying its cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and demanding an end to the blockade of Gaza - which is only reinforcing the region's anti-Western forces, according to government advisors. The German government is continuing to combine signals for cooperation with Arab countries - who are contributing heavily to Germany's export success - with close cooperation with Israel, thereby averting a consolidation of a potential predominant power in the Middle East, a region rich in resources. more…

BISSAU/BERLIN |

BISSAU/BERLIN (Own report) - The EU's intervention in West Africa's Guinea Bissau threatens to be a failure. According to a press statement made public this Monday in Brussels, the EU is suspending, for the time being, the activities of its personnel, who are supposed to "reform the security sector" in Bissau. The EU is giving up because of its failure to terminate persisting power struggles within the country's military. Brussels would like to strengthen its control over this West African country through a reorganization of Guinea Bissau's armed forces. Since an attempted coup in April, it has become doubtful that the EU will succeed. The conflicts involve high ranking military personnel with considerable national influence and who are suspected of involvement in drug trafficking. On Monday, Guinea Bissau's president, whose power is dwindling, called on the EU - in spite its having suspended its intervention - to continue its support "for the struggle against drug trafficking". For Berlin the intervention in Guinea Bissau is important. It could serve as a model for other interventions in "security sector reform" (SSR). New interventions are currently being prepared for West Africa. more…