BAMAKO/BERLIN | | mali

BAMAKO/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin has pledged millions in new contributions for the war in Mali. The German Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the government would provide about US $20 million for the Malian armed forces and an African intervention force, as well as other aid in the form of transport flights. At the same time, Germany will "emphatically" seek to exert political influence, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle announced. According to reports, other western countries and Berlin's close cooperation partners have played a significant role in enabling Islamist forces to take control of northern Mali. Malian Special Forces, for example, trained in counterterrorism skills by the US military, had changed sides and joined the insurgents soon after the Tuareg conflict began in early 2010, significantly strengthening these rebels. Berlin's close cooperation partners, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are supporting Islamist militias. Already over the past few years, they had been establishing Islamist structures in northern Mali, which now benefit Islamist militias to some extent. Both countries cooperate with Germany and the rest of the West not only economically but also in the Syrian war. more…

CAIRO/BERLIN | | aegypten

CAIRO/BERLIN (Own report) - Mass protests with numerous casualties are casting a shadow over Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi's visit to Berlin, which begins tomorrow. Already last week, while preparations for the upcoming talks were being made in the German capital, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Egypt, against Mursi's Islamist government. The Egyptian president's Berlin visit seeks particularly to promote German business in this North African country. Egypt's economy is, at the moment, in ruins, but, according to assessments by German business circles, holds long term lucrative opportunities. Cooperation with Mursi - and, behind him, the Muslim Brotherhood - was initiated by the German government in the early aftermath of the revolts at the beginning of 2011. This cooperation draws on concepts developed by German think tanks along with US organizations in the aftermath of the Muslim Brotherhood's 2005 electoral success. Experts are explicitly warning against a "positive assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood." "Authoritarian tendencies" within their ranks "are evident." more…

SANTIAGO DE CHILE/BERLIN |

SANTIAGO DE CHILE/BERLIN (Own report) - Through her participation in the summit meeting of Latin American states and the EU this coming weekend, the German chancellor is giving supplementary significance to cooperation with the subcontinent. For years, the EU has sought to intensify its relations with the Latin American countries. These efforts have been aimed at strengthening its position in the "backyard" of the United States and because of the risk of the West losing its influence due to the intensification of the activities of the People's Republic of China in this region. The founding of the Latin American commonwealth, CELAC, has provided a new constellation. On the one hand, CELAC, with which the EU is cooperating, is taking a distance to the USA, and on the other, it is characterized by internal conflict, giving rise to the possibility of instrumentalizing pro-western neo-liberal oriented countries such as Mexico or Columbia to influence countries, such as Venezuela and Bolivia, seeking much more autonomy. Aside from these considerations, the CELAC, as a partner, can be helpful for reinforcing the German-EU global policy, according to a new study published by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. However, it must be done quickly. more…

CARACAS/BERLIN | | venezuela

CARACAS/BERLIN (Own report) - In the prelude to the German Chancellor's visit to Latin America at the end of next week, government advisors in Berlin are predicting that the continent is facing a "historical turning point." According to a new analysis by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), it can be expected that the "resignation" of the seriously ill Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will provoke serious upheavals - not only in Venezuela. Cuba also could be seriously affected, due to its dependence upon Caracas. Without Chávez, Alba, the international alliance that is resisting US-American and European hegemony on the continent, would be lacking a leadership, capable of achieving its objectives, says the SWP. The think tank sees herein a window of opportunity for Berlin. It can be expected that in the coming reshuffle, Brazil will be able to reinforce its standing in South America. In Berlin, this is seen as advantageous, because Brazil is one of Germany's most important Latin American allies. In addition, writes the SWP, this opens up new opportunities for Berlin in the "promotion of democracy" and political "counseling" in Latin America. more…

Desert War

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO | | malifrankreich

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO (Own report) - The German Foreign Minister has confirmed Berlin's readiness to become involved in the war in Mali. To his French counterpart, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Guido Westerwelle offered Germany's "political, logistical, medical, and humanitarian" support for the intervention in France's former colony. However, the German Minister of Defense, Thomas de Maizière, declared that there would be conditions to be met. Only when "the prerequisites are clarified and fulfilled" would Berlin be able to take part in the military mission. These statements from the German government show evidence of a dual strategy. On the one hand, Berlin is insisting on concessions to strengthen its position in French-dominated West Africa, and on the other, a German participation is supposed to thwart French-British unilateralism, as in the case of Libya. Berlin feels threatened by this sort of unilateralism, because since some time, Paris and London have been strongly enhancing their military cooperation, leading some in the German capital to suspect - not without reason - that this could be a means to escape Germany's EU predomination, at least in the domain of military policy. In the meantime, the war in Mali has intensified after only a few days. more…

BERLIN/ABU DHABI | | vae

BERLIN/ABU DHABI (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr is intensifying its combat exercises with dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular. The German Air Force just concluded, at the end of the year, two major training maneuvers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), each exercising joint combat operations. Participating alongside Emirati troops were also troops from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO countries. One of these maneuvers was organized around an explicitly "fictious Gulf region crisis scenario" in which Germany must rush to the "aide of a friendly state." The only plausible concretization of this scenario would be a war against Iran, where NATO and the dictatorships at the Gulf would be fighting on the same side. The exercises were not only aimed at training for multi-national combat. They also aided in training Emirati troops, which even though equipped with the most modern combat material, have little practical capabilities. The German Air Force casually introduced their Emirati hosts to the Eurofighter, which Berlin seeks to export to that country. Berlin has been exporting arms worth billions to the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular, for the hegemonic struggle against Iran. This military cooperation began during the Schröder/Fischer government. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - German government advisors in Berlin are urging utter restraint in acquiring drones for the German Bundeswehr and pleading that fully automatic weapons platforms be internationally outlawed. The use of so-called combat drones in fighting insurgency is already fraught with dramatic repercussions, according to a recent paper published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Restraints imposed by the laws of war are being dismantled. Because wars using drones can be waged without sacrificing one's own soldiers, there is a worldwide threat of an inflation of military interventions. However, one must especially take into account the continued technological development of drones. With the increased complexity of their capabilities, the human factor will no longer be in command, but merely serve, at best, to confirm or reject suggestions produced by the machine. Under such circumstances, "factual autonomy of human decision making" will no longer be ensured in combat, warns SWP. The think tank envisages, in light of the continuing barbarization of the use of military force, a new type of arms control for drones. However, the German government is pursuing the path leading in the opposite direction, contemplating acquiring combat drones for the Bundeswehr. more…

PYONGYANG/BERLIN | | kvdr

PYONGYANG/BERLIN (Own report) - German foreign policy makers are reacting with great anticipation to the most recent announcement of an economic "opening" of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. According to head of state, Kim Jong Un's declaration, the country is facing a "radical change of course," which would not even exclude a "reunification" with the Republic of Korea. According to reports, German economic scholars and jurists are in Pyongyang helping to elaborate economic policies, which could also open up lucrative business opportunities for western companies. It has been reported that North Korea disposes of large deposits of natural resources and an extremely cheap work force. For several years, German experts, under contract of the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation, have been working in Pyongyang to promote the "transformation from a planned to a market economy." In addition, because of its experience in taking over the German Democratic Republic, South Korea considers the Federal Republic of Germany an important partner for advice and cooperation on the issue of "reunification." The development taking place on the Korean peninsular is very important for the People's Republic of China, whose national security is seriously affected. more…