BERLIN/ESCHBORN |

BERLIN/ESCHBORN (own report) – The German government is intensifying coordination between its development and military policies, as can be seen by a recent "strategy paper" published by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This "strategy paper" explicitly pledges cooperation with the Bundeswehr within the framework of combat operations. It points to numerous "civilian – military points of contact," which would be particularly relevant for having an impact on "fragile nations" suffering civil wars and economic crises. The paper takes German "support" for the "reconstruction of Afghanistan" as an example. It also makes reference to the "Inter-Ministerial Guidelines" elaborated by the BMZ, the Defense and Foreign Ministries. The "guidelines" are intended to provide a "coherent policy" toward "fragile nations," whereby a "robust profile" of military and police combat measures are the decisive "success factors" in interventions in so-called third world countries. BMZ cooperation with repressive services had recently been on the agenda of the Bundestag's Economic Cooperation and Development Committee. The German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ), a subsidiary of the BMZ, provided a briefing on its "border control project" in Saudi Arabia. Whereas the EADS Corp. provides that country with the necessary infrastructure, the GIZ supervised German Federal Police sent to train Saudi border police – on a budget in the double-digit millions. more…

BERLIN/ADDIS ABABA |

BERLIN/ADDIS ABABA (own report) – German President Joachim Gauck arrived Sunday in Ethiopia, under protests of human rights organizations. That country – with whose political leadership, Gauck will hold consultations during this visit – is, due to its geostrategic situation, one of Germany's most important African allies. The German government is cooperating with that country's government because it is beneficial for acquiring control of Africa's easternmost region. Over the years, Ethiopia has proven to be a reliable partner. At the same time, the government is applying harsh repression on its critics. According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Committee, it is the country "reputed to have the largest number of journalists in the world, who have fled abroad." Addis Ababa does not have to worry about criticism from Berlin, because its government plays a valuable role for Germany. The Ethiopian government not only can rely on the Bundeswehr supporting its armed forces, but, according to reports, it can also count on German technology for its domestic repression of the opposition. more…

Zoya Phan | LONDON |
(Zoya Phan)

LONDON german-foreign-policy.com spoke with Zoya Phan about the human rights situation in Burma. Zoya Phan works with the Burma Campaign UK and supports democracy and human rights in Burma from her exile in the United Kingdom. She describes life in Burma in her autobiography "Little Daughter" (London 2009). more…

BERLIN/BUDAPEST/SIBIU | | rumaenienungarn

BERLIN/BUDAPEST/SIBIU (Own report) - With her appearance at yesterday's annual reception of the German League of Expellees (BdV), the German chancellor has again demonstrated her appreciation of its significance for Berlin's foreign policy. Already at last years BdV annual reception, the chancellor had declared that the resettled Germans serve as a "link" to their regions of origin in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and, along with the local German speaking minorities, as "an extraordinary cohesive force" in an increasingly integrated EU. Hungary is a current example. That country improved its bilateral relations by declaring a day of commemoration of the resettlement of Germans. On Monday, Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, participated in the commemoration ceremonies for the resettled Germans held in the Hungarian parliament. Unexpectedly, a prominent Germandom functionary has recently been appointed deputy chairperson of one of the ruling parties, in Rumania - in an effort to improve relations to Germany, according to observers. At the same time, extreme right wing forces remain active in the "expellees" associations. In late 2012, one of the largest homeland associations awarded its "Cultural Prize for Science" to a prominent publicist, who denies that Germany bears sole responsibility for World War II. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Romani Rose, is raising strong accusations against politicians and media in Germany. According to Romani Rose, the current "controversy over the freedom of circulation within the EU" is carried out "at the expense of a minority" in Germany. "Poverty migrants" are generally perceived as Roma and "criminalized in a wholesale manner." The current campaign against "Eastern European immigrants" should "not go shamelessly unchallenged." This campaign, nurtured by the CDU/CSU as well as members of the SPD, is, in fact, emblazoning widely prevalent anti-Roma chauvinist sentiments. This campaign also supports Berlin's deportation and border sealing policies against Southeast European Roma, carried out with legally dubious means, strongly criticized, for years, by human rights organizations. Within the EU, this German campaign is also meeting resistance. Freedom of circulation is a fundamental value in the EU, can be heard in the EU Commission, regarding Berlin's demands for the right to impose a "re-entry ban" on alleged "welfare fraudsters," which is aimed also at poverty refugees from crisis-stricken countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain. more…

BRUSSELS |

BRUSSELS (Own report) - The EU has created a new foundation to promote subversive forces in countries neighboring the EU. This institution, known as the "European Endowment for Democracy" (EED), disposes of a budget of millions of Euros and is destined to support oppositional circles in countries bordering the EU to the east and south. Officially, its purpose is to "promote democracy," however German government advisors are demanding that, if a rapid overthrow is the objective, the foundation should even risk promoting forces "that will later turn out to be non-democrats." The EED's model is the US foundation "National Endowment for Democracy" (NED), through which, according to voices in Washington, the former subversive activities of the CIA have been continued publicly. Two German European parliamentarians hold central posts in the EED. The executive director, a Polish diplomat, announced that the EED would be active in its targeted regions, if necessary, against the law. The constellation of the personnel indicates clearly that the foundation's first activities will probably be in countries at the eastern borders of the EU, particularly Belarus and Ukraine. Operations are due to begin this summer. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/DAMASCUS (Own report) - In Berlin, pleas to strengthen German involvement in the war on Syria are becoming louder. Following an influential publicist's recent appeal for western military intervention in that country, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference has now begun pushing for German-European arms deliveries to the insurgents. According to reports, the German government has approved EU member state's military training measures for the insurgents. Last week, it was made known that the USA and Europe would furnish Syrian militia military equipment, such as night vision instruments and armored vehicles. The West is also providing generous financial aid, to enable the militia to secure control over the areas from which the government forces have withdrawn. According to a current brief analysis by the Bertelsmann Foundation, this must happen quickly, because the growing influence of Islamist militia, is brutally forcing minorities of other faiths, out of areas under their control. Islamist militias are profiting from the western approved arms supplies reaching the war zone. more…