BERLIN | | somalia

BERLIN (Own report) - German government advisors are pleading for using submarines in the war on piracy at the Horn of Africa. Thanks to their "highly modern sensor technology," German submarines are not only capable of "covertly observing the pirates' vessels" and following their course, but also of "observing the pirates' potential bases both day and night," according to a statement just published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The bases could therefore be attacked with greater precision, as the EU decided Friday - in spite of warnings that this could lead to a further escalation of the conflict in Somalia. Geostrategic considerations are at the core of the militarization projects, being promoted by the Bundeswehr. The Indian Ocean has become extremely important in global policy and it will play a pivotal role in future conflicts with China. Under no circumstances should the "new momentum in the greater region of the Indian Ocean" be neglected, warns the director of the SWP. Military strategists are underlining the importance of a strong naval presence in the ocean between Africa and Southeast Asia. more…

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BERLIN (Own report) - Yesterday the League of Expellees (BdV) opened a new exhibition right in the heart of Berlin with the German Chancellor in attendance. The project combines three exhibitions created by the BdV over the past few years for its "Center against Expulsions" Foundation. This exhibition depicts the history of "German ethnic minorities" (deutsche Volksgruppen) in numerous regions of Eastern Europe and their resettlement in the Federal Republic of Germany. This provides political support for official "Deutschtum" (Germandom) activities in eastern and southeastern Europe, instrumentalizing German-speaking minorities for Berlin's foreign policy. This is also a manifestation of Germany's official position concerning Germans' resettlement in the aftermath of the Second World War as "unjust," which is why the eastern neighboring countries can still be considered "guilty." In its presentation of the exhibition, the BdV refers to the many years of support from the new German President Joachim Gauck. One member of the scientific advisory panel of the "Center against Expulsions" Foundation, which uses Gauck's name in its publicity, is a international jurist, described in the rightwing press as "associated with rightwing extremist circles." more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The austerity dictate imposed by Berlin and Brussels is driving nearly all indebted southern European countries deeper into the recession, as shown by new data on the economic developments of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. According to this data Portugal's economy, for example, declined by 1.3 percent in the last quarter of 2011 and could shrink by up to six percent this year. Industrial production in Italy registered a sharp decline. Retail sales in Spain - an indicator of private consumption - declined by almost a quarter in comparison to 2007. Greece is approaching the economic level of countries in Latin America or Southeast Asia, which, up to now, had clearly lagged behind European standards. In the longer run, the recession could have a backlash on Germany because the massive slump is also affecting German exports. This could have serious repercussions. more…

BERLIN/CAIRO/TUNIS | | aegyptentunesien

BERLIN/CAIRO/TUNIS (Own report) - By sending so-called transformation teams to Egypt and Tunisia, Berlin is seeking to enhance its economic influence in North Africa. German Minister of the Economy Philipp Roesler recently announced that retired German functionaries would assist in "establishing economic administrations" in these two countries in the midst of transformation. In light of the continuing social protests and strikes, German companies in North Africa are worried that the region could become insecure for their low-wage investments. The German government's most recent initiative should dispel these apprehensions. The initiative dovetails perfectly with Berlin's foreign policy initiatives aimed at reinforcing German standing in North Africa, which were launched just after the beginning of the "Arab Spring" in 2011. more…

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BERLIN (Own report) - NATO has come under strong criticism from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which is closely affiliated with Germany's governing CDU party. The criticism is focused on NATO General Secretary's Anders Fogh Rasmussen's recently announced "Smart Defense" concept. This concept envisages reducing national military budgets by a reduction of personnel, the consolidation of the alliance's facilities and a redistribution of missions among alliance members. The Adenauer Foundation describes such a project as an utter "illusion." It is not only "doomed to failure from the outset," but it even reinforces the "tendency of a creeping disarmament" caused by national austerity policies. According to the foundation, the motto "Smart Defense" is also inappropriate for this year's NATO Summit in Chicago in May. The motto "lacks media and political appeal" and merely gives the impression of an additional voice to "the choir singing the alleged demise of the West and the USA." There are also differences over the war on Afghanistan and NATO's relations to Russia. The Adenauer Foundation openly speaks of a NATO "defeat" in the war at the Hindu Kush. Contrary to the alliance's official pronouncements, it is also considered a "mistake" to "treat Russia as an equal." more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - Government advisors in Berlin are debating war scenarios for a possible western military intervention in Syria. According to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), a "full-blown civil war" is looming in that country, running "also along confessional lines." This raises pressure on the West to intervene militarily. Whereas, Middle East experts are urgently advising that an engagement of the armed forces be avoided and all arms deliveries to the insurgents be halted, an expert in "security policy," on the other hand, is calling for German participation in an armed conflict. In combination with diplomatic steps, a "military engagement" would not be "the conclusion or even the breakdown of politics, but rather its essential component." In the midst of this ongoing debate over another eventual combat mission in Syria, a former "German government Coordinator of German-American Cooperation" has substantiated that the West and Russia's current dispute over the policy toward Syria, is not at all about "human rights versus dictatorships," but geostrategic interests. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - A German government affiliated think tank is drafting scenarios for future German wars. The Bundeswehr must adapt itself to counterinsurgency operations and removing reprehensible regimes from power, explained the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). According to this research institute, the Eurofighter, which is certified to have a "multifunctional capability," will play a principal role. Because of the various types of bombs it carries, this jet fighter is considered excellent for close air support for ground troops, which has regularly led to massacres of civilians in Afghanistan. Secondly, the Eurofighter is considered essential for the "neutralization" of enemy "air warfare potential," to create the conditions for "constant bombing" such as in Libya. In general, the SWP sees the Eurofighter as a "airborne computer network" with "perpetual update capabilities," which has the capacity for becoming the "future backbone" of the German Air Force. The combat jet has also chances of being a good export item. After the Eurofighter went through its "baptism of fire" in the NATO attack on Libya, there were numerous interested buyers, particularly in the Middle East. more…

MOSCOW/BERLIN | | russische-foederation

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - In the run-up to Sunday's Russian presidential elections, contradictory interests have again become evident in German policy towards Russia. Whereas a large segment of the German media is participating in the campaign against the clear front-runner Vladimir Putin and thereby keeping step with the obvious intensification of global policy rivalry between the West and Russia, business representatives are emphasizing that billions in business and access to indispensible natural resources are dependent upon good relations to Russia. Ever since his first term in office, Putin has always maintained a good business atmosphere and "stability," these representatives affirm. A prominent member of the Russian opposition, Alexei Navalny, reacted to the controversy between the two tendencies in the German approach and called on Germany to renounce "dubious" business with Russian companies but to take the side of the demonstrators against Putin, among whom, one hears in Berlin, many could be convinced to take a long-term pro-western course. more…