DOHA/BERLIN |

DOHA/BERLIN (Own report) - German specialists in foreign policy are expressing their misgivings about Berlin's intensive cooperation with the Arabian dictatorships at the Gulf, particularly with Qatar. According to a recent analysis published by the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), this cooperation could prove useful on an economic level. However, on a political level, it should be taken into consideration that, until now, Qatar has proven extremely resistant to outside influence. This is not only the case of Berlin and Brussels' aspiration of concluding a free trade agreement with the Gulf States, but also in questions of human rights and of embedding the population using parliamentary democracy. The GIGA analysis points out that even the Qatari ruling clan does not exclude the possibility of domestic upheavals on a long term - and therefore refuses to sign international human rights agreements. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) also points to the limits of shoring up repressive regimes, as had become evident, most recently, during the overthrow of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt. According to the SWP, the Bahraini opposition's repression - which is supported by Qatar - runs the risk, sooner or later, of seeing the local unrest spreading to other countries, particularly to Saudi Arabia - with serious consequences. Berlin, however, is supporting this repression with its delivery of tanks to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. more…

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is reinforcing its insistence that state structures be rapidly established in the rebel-controlled regions of Syria. The "moderate forces" of these regions must be strengthened and the "reconstruction" advanced with determination, the Foreign Ministry declared. This is particularly in response to the growing influence of the fanatical Islamist militias, such as Jabhat al Nusra, an alliance with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq. The close ties to that neighboring country facilitate Jabhat al Nusra's control over a majority of Syria's oil reserves, which, to a large extent, are located near the border with Iraq. According to reports, this fanatical Islamist militia is financing itself to a growing extent through the exploitation of oil deposits, which other militia groups of Syrian insurgents are now also trying to gain control. The EU's recent decision to lift the embargo on Syrian oil from the non-Islamist, "moderate" insurgent groups is designed to strengthen the standing of these factions in their opposition to Jabhat al Nusra and similar alliances. However, this will further fuel the civil war between the rebel groups. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - Berlin's main think tank for military policy has announced "war game exercises" for military confrontations with China. This year's "Trier China-Dialogue," to be convened in Berlin at the beginning of June by the Federal College for Security Studies, will focus on analyzing the "combat capabilities" of the Chinese armed forces. The forum will be concluded with two "hypothetical practical tests," to learn whether the Peoples Republic of China's military can "take over" and "hold onto" Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea. The conflict with Taiwan, as well as that over various islands in the South China Sea, impinges upon China's vital interests. In both cases, the USA has adopted the position of China's adversary as its own, therefore, in the case of armed conflict, NATO - and therefore, the rest of the West - could become directly involved. A supplementary objective for the "war game exercises" is the West's rapidly expanding military presence in east and Southeast Asia. In the wake of the stationing of US troops, Germany is also strengthening its military cooperation with China's potential adversaries in Southeast Asia and intensifying arms exports into the region. more…

WESTERBORK/BERLIN/SOBIBÓR |

WESTERBORK/BERLIN/SOBIBÓR (Own report) - Tensions, between the German government and several countries victimized by Nazi crimes, are casting a shadow over the commemorations of the mass deportations and murders carried out during "Operation Reinhard" seventy years ago. In 1942 - 43, the Nazis murdered within the framework of "Operation Reinhard" around two million west and east European prisoners in the Treblinka, Chelmno, Majdanek, Bełżec, and Sobibór extermination camps. In Sobibór, alone, by July 1943, the Nazi terror regime had murdered more than 34,000 Dutch Jews, including German emigrants. By early January, Berlin had still refused to contribute to the costs of this year's scheduled Sobibór memorial services of the Netherlands, Slovakia, Israel, and Poland. Berlin also does not intend to contribute to covering the costs of the other "Reinhard" memorial sites. As its proprietor, the German government is allowing the Deutsche Bahn AG to charge tariffs for the commemorations of the Sobibór victims. A citizens' initiative seeking to hold commemorations at stations along the route of deportation, in May and June, for those who were murdered must expect to pay the costs. This financial "boycott" is reportedly in concert with the German Ministry of Transport, under CSU minister Ramsauer, according to a press statement by the "Train of Commemoration." The citizens' initiative is appealing for donations to commemorate the victims of Sobibór at several German train stations. more…

CARACAS/BERLIN | | venezuela

CARACAS/BERLIN (Own report) - The German CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation has classified the protests of alleged electoral fraud by the Venezuelan opposition as a tactical maneuver, aimed at the long-termed delegitimization of the country's new president, Nicolás Maduro. The foundation explained in a recent statement that electoral fraud is extremely unlikely, due to the scrupulously regulated electoral process. By encouraging turmoil, the opposition seeks to spread the idea that the newly elected head of state lacks "legitimacy." This German foundation is well informed on the strategies, in particular, of those of the oppositional "Primero Justicia" party - for which the narrowly defeated Enrique Capriles had been their presidential candidate. The Adenauer Foundation has been counseling it for years, also in "political communication." Primero Justicia, and Capriles, himself, had been receiving support from the Adenauer Foundation back in 2002, when they were involved in a putsch to overthrow President Hugo Chávez. Statements made by the head of the foundation's branch office in Venezuela, at the time, indicated intimate knowledge of the putschists' objectives. Capriles is considered a leading political representative of the traditional Venezuelan elite, who has always cooperated closely with the West. However, since Chávez came to office, the elite has been pushed back, to the advantage of previously underprivileged social sectors. more…

BERLIN/DOHA |

BERLIN/DOHA (Own report) - The Prime Minister of Qatar, who is also the country's Foreign Minster, is arriving in Berlin today for talks on the war in Syria and on strengthening economic cooperation. Since some time, this Persian Gulf dictatorship has been one of Germany's closest allies in the Arab world. As in the 2011 war on Libya, it is supporting Islamist rebels today in Syria, who are seeking to topple a government combated by the West. Berlin's cooperation with Qatar on matters of foreign policy is being consolidated by economic cooperation. German companies benefit from lucrative Middle East contracts, while the Qatari ruling clan buys a significant amount of shares in major German companies, such as Volkswagen and Siemens. Qatar has been linking its financial support in France, to a large-scale public relations campaign in the suburban slums. German involvement in the war in Syria, will most likely also be a topic in these talks with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir al Thani in Berlin. A German Navy "reconnaissance" vessel is, currently, cruising again off the Syrian coast. Experts believe that Syrian insurgents are also profiting from information retrieved by this espionage. more…

PYONGYANG/BERLIN | | kvdr

PYONGYANG/BERLIN (Own report) - German foreign policy experts are recommending that the policy of confrontation vis à vis North Korea be renounced and replaced with new proposals to the Pyongyang leadership. Confrontation can hardly lead to success, predicts an expert on Korea at the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation: The North Korean rulers are resorting to military threats toward the West to rally the population and divert attention from the country's domestic shortcomings. If you want success, you must entice Pyongyang's leadership with the promise of intensive support in "opening" its economy and guaranteeing their position of power, in the event of a transformation of the social system. Vietnam is a blueprint for such an approach. For quite some time, German party-affiliated foundations and economic and legal experts have been serving as consultants in the North Korean capital. At the beginning of this year, a participating scholar reported that a pending "master plan" for the transformation of the social system could be implemented later this year. If the country opens its doors, Berlin would immediately benefit not only economically but politically as well: Tangible influence on the Korean peninsula would be combined with an important role in East Asia, the future center of gravity in global policy. more…

HANNOVER | | russische-foederation

HANNOVER (Own report) - The German Chancellor and the Russian President attended yesterday's opening of the annual Hannover Industry Trade Fair. This year, Russia was the fair's chosen "partner nation," a move to help promote German-Russian economic relations. The German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations announced a German-Russian economic summit to be held today. Since the SPD/Green coalition government encouraged the economic cooperation ten years ago, the trade volume has grown from 15.1 billion Euros in 1998 to more than 80 billion in 2012 - to Germany's advantage. Germany is ensuring its access to energy resources from Russia's huge deposits, while also tapping into the lucrative market for the German export-oriented industry. The German industry needs this market, since its sales to the southern Euro zone are tapering off, due to the economic crisis. Berlin is also seeking to boost this cooperation because of China's growing influence in Russia. Moscow and Beijing are not only planning to expand their bilateral economic relations, they are also increasing their political and military cooperation - at the expense of Western hegemony, as seen from the German perspective. more…