BERLIN/BELGRADE | | jugoslawienrussische-foederation

BERLIN/BELGRADE (Own report) -The "Western Balkans Conference", opening in Berlin today, is overshadow by the dispute over sanctions against Russia and criticism of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Serbia, a participant in the conference, has declared, it will not join the EU's sanctions. Serbian enterprises are therefore not affected by Russian countermeasures and are even replacing agricultural products, whose importation from the EU has been banned by Moscow. The German government is attempting to prevent this. Berlin, in turn, has been forced to admit that, for years, the BND had systematically spied on Albania. Albania, Germany's NATO ally, will also attend the conference. Berlin has initiated the "Western Balkans Conference" to shore up the hegemony over Southeast Europe, which it had acquired in the 1990s against the growing influence of China, Turkey and, particularly, Russia. more…

BERLIN/ERBIL | | iraksyrien

BERLIN/ERBIL (Own report) - Critics warn against Germany supplying arms to the autonomous administration in Erbil, northern Iraq. "Exclusively arming the Kurds," as Berlin is planning, would be "a de facto recognition of Iraq's division," concludes political scientist, Abdel Mottaleb El Husseini, an expert on the Arab world. In this case, you can forget "Iraq, as a nation," and new tensions can be expected between a seceded "Kurdistan" and the remaining Arab areas of the country. Last June, in fact, Massud Barzani, the President of the autonomous administration, announced a plan for establishing the state of "Kurdistan." Observers expect that such a state would have close ties to NATO-member Turkey and would serve as a "buffer to the war zones in Syria and Iraq." Last year, an even more radical fragmentation of the entire Middle East was proposed. Assad-controlled territory in Syria could be dwindled to a small "Alawitestan," and the remaining parts of the country could be merged with regions of Iraq to form "Kurdistan" and "Sunnistan." These newly formed mini-states would be powerless with no potential for resistance and would, therefore, be easier to control than the Arab nations as they currently exist. more…

BERLIN/BAGHDAD | | iraksyrien

BERLIN/BAGHDAD (Own report) - Western aggressions in the Middle East and support from the West's important regional allies have facilitated the rise of the terrorist organization, the "Islamic State" (IS), as observers point out. According to an expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the IS predecessor, "Al-Qaida in Iraq," was able to develop into a "powerful organization" only after the US led aggression against Iraq ("liberation from Saddam"). Not until the chaos provoked by the war in Syria, which Germany also helped fuel ("liberation from Assad") was the IS predecessor the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) in a position to conquer and control whole regions and set up a power base for its further expansion. IS could not have reached its current strength without the financial and logistical support furnished by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, two close allies of the West. The SWP reports that there are even "indications" that "the cross-border traffic between the IS-controlled territory in Syria and Turkey" is still "considerable" - thus also, presumably, the transport of supplies. Meanwhile Western governments are preparing a "long military operation" against IS. more…

BAGHDAD/BERLIN | | irak

BAGHDAD/BERLIN (Own report) - Because of the continued conquests of the terrorist organization, the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), the German government has announced that it will supply Iraq with military equipment. To stop this onslaught, the Kurdistan Regional Government's armed forces are to serve as ground troops in tangent with the US Air Force. This week, Berlin may deliver armored vehicles, night vision instruments and body armor to northern Iraq. A growing number of politicians are favoring also furnishing lethal weapons. However, this is yet to be decided. Even demands for the Bundeswehr to participate in military strikes against ISIS are being raised. Experts point out that the US is quite capable of making aerial raids and equipping the Iraqi Kurdish armed forces. However, it would, be appropriate to send "a signal to the USA" indicating the readiness to participate in military activities in the EU's "neighborhood." A campaign launched by the Berlin establishment, including President Gauck, aims at just this type of engagement - particularly in North Africa and the Middle East - to obtain more influence also in those regions. more…