BERLIN/WASHINGTON |

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Foreign policy experts in Berlin and Washington are strongly criticizing using human rights to justify military interventions. Wars waged in the name of human rights are being considered almost "a moral obligation" in the public opinion of some western countries, according to a recent study published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The "moralizing discourse of western public opinion" doubts the "morals" of those criticizing interventions, for example, in the war on Libya, and accuses them of lacking "compassion for the foreseeable victims of a humanitarian catastrophe." This discourse not only facilitates media manipulations, which play a regular role in justifying interventions, it also takes the consequences of military interventions insufficiently into account. This, in fact, is clearly shown in the case of the war on Libya, which not only caused numerous casualties, but wrought wide-ranging social devastation throughout Libya. The war in Mali, which threatens to plunge the entire Western Sahara into new upheavals, can be seen as a direct consequence of the war on Libya. US experts are pointing out that the idea of intervening militarily in foreign countries to prevent violence, is also the basis for US drone warfare. more…

ANKARA/BERLIN | | tuerkei

ANKARA/BERLIN (Own report) - In view of the German chancellor's talks in Ankara today, German foreign policy experts are pleading for new openings toward Turkey. The country is growing stronger and has acquired foreign policy potentials that could soon allow it to pursue an independent Middle East policy, even at the expense of German and European interests, warns Ruprecht Polenz (CDU), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag. Berlin and Brussels should prevent this and therefore reconsider their opposition to Turkey joining the EU. German and the EU's influence on Turkey has already subsided. The foreign policy shift, initiated by Erdogan's AKP government, has upgraded Ankara's standing in the Arab world, affecting also Turkey's economy. The EU's significance, as Turkey's trading partner, has considerably diminished over the past few years. To make use of Turkish potential, it is therefore important to continue to cooperate with an expanding Ankara, according to Berlin. The objective is not only to enhance the own position, but also to consolidate Ankara's bonds to the western world, which, in the long run, no longer appear to be assured. more…

MUNICH |

MUNICH (Own report) - The scandal surrounding the Southeast Europe Association's "Rudolf Vogel Medal" is shedding light on the Nazi pasts of influential founders of institutions of German foreign policy, specializing in countries along the Danube. The Southeast Europe Association (SOG), itself, was founded by someone, who had been at the heart of Nazi policy towards Southeast Europe, Fritz Valjavec. During World War II, Valjavec had been involved with the "study of the enemy" section of the Nazi's Security Service (SD), and had presumably participated in the mass execution of Jews, carried out by a special commando of the Einsatzgruppe D (task force D). Valjavec also saved the Munich based Southeast Institute - which, during the war, had operated under the auspices of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office) - from being ultimately shut down. The Institute today explains that under his leadership, it had "flourished rapidly" in the aftermath of 1945. Franz Ronneberger, another former Nazi Southeast Europe expert, has also given major impetus to the development of research on Southeast Europe at West German universities. Continuity in personnel is linked to continuity in objectives: Ronneberger for example, wanted to build on the "remarkable (...) results" of his activities before 1945 in Southeast Europe institutes in the Federal Republic of Germany. more…

MUNICH |

MUNICH (Own report) - Following the scandal of awarding a prize in honor of the Nazi propagandist, Rudolf Vogel, a state-financed German foreign policy organization has announced, it would assess its own history. Its president, Gernot Erler (SPD) declared that there may be a "continuity of personnel" between Nazi organizations and the Southeast Europe Association (Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft - SOG). In fact, influential Nazi personnel had participated in the founding of not only the SOG, but also of other German institutions involved in Southeast Europe. Years ago, high-ranking SOG officials had denied that Vogel had been involved in Nazi activities. Obviously, in full knowledge of West German media reports on Vogel's work for Nazi propaganda, the SOG's honorary president, for example, claimed that Vogel had been a "distinguished antifascist." He also said that Vogel had discovered "his devotion to Southeast Europe" while he was stationed in Thessaloniki, where, as is known today, he worked as a "consultant with special expertise" - at the time when 50,000 Jews were being deported. The Southeast Europe Association describes itself as "one of the important pillars of External Cultural Politics" for the German government. more…

TUNIS/BERLIN | | tunesien

TUNIS/BERLIN (Own report) - In light of massive protests against the Islamist dominated government in Tunisia, Berlin is pushing for a peaceful settlement and is trying to salvage its "transformation partnership" with Tunis, for which it has allocated 60 million Euros. Within the framework of this "transformation partnership," the Tunisian government has agreed to a number of deals providing new market shares for German businesses in that country. Tunisian workers should also be employed in the vacancies in Germany, which, due to miserable salaries, cannot otherwise be filled. The Tunisian government has also committed itself to giving greater consideration to German business interests, to being more attentive to thwarting the passage of migrants and cooperating with German repressive administrations. Berlin describes these measures as selfless aid to a North African country in a process of transformation. But in fact, they are aimed at strengthening German influence - in an alliance with the government in Tunis, whose Islamist orientation the masses are protesting against. more…

TUNIS/BERLIN | | tunesien

TUNIS/BERLIN (Own report) - The Tunisian government crisis is putting into jeopardy Berlin's current efforts to strengthen its position in North Africa. The German government has recently been trying to enhance its influence in some of the Arab countries by cooperating with Islamist forces, the Muslim Brotherhood circles in Egypt, and the Ennahda government in Tunisia. The aim is to guarantee "stability" in the aftermath of the overthrow of Mubarak and Ben Ali, through a transition to a new political system based on conservative Islamist social structures. German businesses are very interested in this "stability," for example in Tunisia, which, as a low wage location, is popular with German companies. Turkey serves as a model. Its ruling Islamist AKP party is strengthening Islamist structures, which, for example, can help to prevent strikes and other forms of on-the-job protests. By cooperating with Islamists, Berlin accepts the risk of enhancing the prestige of radical forces among them. According to experts, this is the case in Tunisia. The country's liberal and left wing milieus are resolutely protesting. more…

BERLIN/RIYADH | | saudi-arabien

BERLIN/RIYADH (Own report) - In Germany last week, a key figure in the Afghanistan war of the 1980s, made a plea for upgrading the weaponry of Syrian insurgents. Prince Turki al-Faisal, an influential member of the Saudi ruling clan, demanded that the rebel militias be furnished anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. As head of the Saudi intelligence service in the 1980s, Turki al-Faisal was responsible for arming the Afghan militias in their war against the government in Kabul. At the time, he cooperated with Osama bin Laden, who participated in the Afghan insurgency - "a nice guy," as Turki called him. Pertaining to his call for arming Syrian insurgents, the former Saudi intelligence chief said that the arms should not be distributed at random, but rather, as in Afghanistan at the time, strictly controlled. The arms should not be provided to the "bad guys" but only to the "good guys." Turki appeared at the Munich Security Conference last weekend, which was also debating Western aid to the insurgents in Syria. more…

BAMAKO/BERLIN | | mali

BAMAKO/BERLIN (Own report) - With its establishment of a permanent logistical air base in Dakar, Senegal, the German Bundeswehr is expanding its role in the war in Mali. German Air Force Transall planes, taking off from this base, will transport troops and material for future combat in northern Mali. German government advisors are predicting that Mali is entering "a long phase of instability." According to a new analysis published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the Islamist militias, who, over the past few days, have retreated from Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, will probably continue the war with a kind of "guerilla tactic." The Islamist militias grew following the overthrow of the Gadhafi government and the collapse of state structures in southern Libya. To limit their maneuverability in the Sahara, the EU seeks to reinforce the sealing of the borders in the North African desert regions. The EU is therefore planning to establish missions in Libya and Niger. Berlin is considering German participation. German enterprises have an interest in the lucrative fortifications of border installations. more…