BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Berlin is energetically insisting on the appointment of a government of national unity in Libya in preparation for expanding two Bundeswehr missions. The future government, according to internal documents, should extend an "invitation" to the EU, to expand its Mediterranean anti-refugee defense all the way onto Libyan territory. It should set up armed forces that will be trained also by the Bundeswehr to go to war against the "Islamic State" (IS/Daesh). The USA, Great Britain, and France recently began operations ranging from air strikes to Special Forces operations, expanding the war against Daesh to Libya. However, without the ground troops, that the future Libyan government is supposed to organize, there can be no durable victory, according to military experts. While US media is speculating on the establishment of a pro-western regime in Tripoli, with the enthronement of a king, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is strongly insisting on the UN-constituted government of national unity being installed in office. Experts are already predicting its failure. more…

BERLIN/LONDON | | grossbritannien

BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - Assessing the outcome of last week's "Brexit" Summit quite positively, Berlin continues to urge London to remain in the EU. In the shadow of British demands to restrict social benefits for foreigners from other EU member countries, the German government has reached its objective of significantly cutting payments of child support benefits to immigrant workers from Eastern und Southeastern Europe - with an estimated three digit millions in savings to the German budget. The other concessions to London are primarily symbolic and, therefore, without consequences. It is also not sure that they fulfill the stipulations of EU jurisprudence. According to reports, a "summit choreography" was stage-managed, to be able to sell the meager results of the meeting to the British public as the negotiating success of their prime minister: All-night debates and hectic appearances of a seemingly stressed David Cameron suggesting tough power struggles over decisions that, in fact, had long since been made. Berlin is interested in keeping Britain in the EU, primarily for military and economic reasons. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - In the Syrian war, Berlin und Brussels are supporting Turkey's call for a "safe zone" on Syrian territory. "Zones should be defined," where "the civilian population" could be "safe," urged Chancellor Merkel on behalf of the EU. However, this demand is aimed at preventing Syrian government forces from retaking key positions in northern Syria under Salafist militias' control. Ankara has been calling for this since some time and is now intensifying its efforts, openly threatening the intervention of its ground troops in Syria - a step that could lead to war between the NATO-member, Turkey and Russia. Dramatic consequences are also looming, if Saudi Arabia - Berlin's second close ally in the Middle East - carries out its threat and supplies the insurgent militias with surface-to-air missiles. Faced with this possible aggravation of the situation, concerned voices are being raised in sectors of the western establishment. For example, a US journal with a wide circulation warned that one should not fight Russia in the Middle East at any cost. Regime change policy, which Moscow is trying to prevent in Syria, has already destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq. This should not be repeated a third time. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - A serious government crisis is shaking up a pro-western Ukraine. Yesterday, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk barely survived a no-confidence vote, after President Petro Poroshenko urged him to resign. Hundreds had assembled in front of the parliament building to protest against his policies, which are impoverishing large sectors of the population. Lately, people have been particularly upset over the hike in gas prices - making, for many, heating throughout the icy Ukrainian winter an expensive luxury. Berlin and Washington are worried that the country will no longer be controllable, due to the disastrous economic situation and the dramatic loss of popularity of the President and government. Western powers have therefore begun to call on Kiev to get serious about fighting corruption. Spectacular resignations of several ministers and the deputy general prosecutor have provided greater urgency to this demand and accentuated the government crisis over the past few months and the last few days, with no solution in sight. The formation of a "government of technocrats" under a longtime western diplomat is in discussion, in other words, Kiev would be placed directly under western control. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/BAGHDAD | | iraksyrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/BAGHDAD (Own report) - Germany's close allies have torpedoed the agreement to halt combat in Syria, reached at the end of last week in Munich. Turkey has begun attacks on Syrian territory, with the objective of forcing Kurdish troops to withdraw from the airbase near Aleppo, which would be of benefit to the al Qaeda offshoot, Al Nusra, which had previously held the base. Saudi Arabia has also announced intentions of sending ground troops into Syria. This threatens an escalation in the war with Saudi Arabia and the NATO member Turkey fighting on the one side, and Syria's armed forces and Russia on the other. The consequences would be unpredictable. While not only having massively built up Turkey and Saudi Arabia's arsenals, and allowing AWACS airborne radar systems to be used in the Syrian war, Berlin is focusing on the period after combat has ended. Refugees are supposed to serve as channels for enhancing German influence in Syria. The German government is also hoping to enhance its influence in Iraq through a Marshall Plan-like reconstruction effort. German military personnel are beginning to consider Russia's intervention in Syria as having prevented IS/Daesh from taking power in Damascus and carrying out offensives against other countries - including Israel. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - In an article published by the leading German foreign policy journal, an influential diplomat predicts that worldwide, there will be a further increase in the number of wars and their victims, this year. "The number of conflicts, their victims, and their refugees" has been increasing worldwide, for the past five years and this development will "most likely continue this year." The journal, "Internationale Politik," substantiates this assumption by presenting an overview of the current wars. Today's deadliest wars - in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and South Sudan - are indeed a direct or indirect outcome of western hegemonic policies. With its military interventions or subversive support for insurgents, this policy is aimed at provoking pro-western putsches or weakening non-compliant states. "Internationale Politik" assesses the possibility of conflicts in China's vicinity. During the years of China's rise, western powers were unsuccessful in knitting strong ties with the resource-rich Arab world, in view of the impending power struggle with the People's Republic of China. This power struggle is already emerging. more…

LISBON/BRUSSELS/BERLIN | | portugal

LISBON/BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Own report) - The EU is exerting massive pressure to prevent the new Portuguese government from reversing austerity measures. Last Friday, the EU Commission conditionally accepted - with stipulations - Prime Minister António Costa's Draft Budget Plan aimed at phasing out the austerity policy. Brussels has already scheduled a budget reassessment for the spring. During her meeting with Costa, the day of the Commission's decision, Angela Merkel urged Portugal's prime minister to continue to pursue his predecessor Pedro Passos Coelho's austerity policy. Powerful financial market actors, notably the Commerzbank, are also opposing the democratically elected Prime Minister. The socialist minority government - supported by smaller leftwing parties - is facing a crucial test. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW/KIEV | | ukrainerussische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW/KIEV (Own report) - Berlin is taking steps to possibly end sanctions against Russia. Today, almost one year after the signing of the Minsk II Agreement - whose full implementation is still considered as a prerequisite for ending the sanctions - the Bavarian Prime Minster, Horst Seehofer is expected to arrive in Moscow for talks on promoting the renewal of German-Russian business relations. Seehofer can build on decades of Bavarian-Russian cooperation. His visit to Moscow is closely coordinated with Germany's federal government. The EU and NATO are also involved in Berlin's cooperation efforts. Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel also increased pressure on Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko to finally obtain approval from Kiev's parliament for the constitutional amendment providing Eastern Ukraine's special status, as agreed upon in the Minsk II Agreement. Until now, nationalists and fascists have prevented this measure. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Within the EU, the mounting pressure to ward off refugees, is intensifying the debate about a possible dismantling of the Schengen system. It is yet unclear, whether Berlin can reach its objective of stopping refugees at the external borders of Greece to be immediately deported to Turkey. Alternately, attempts are being made to turn Macedonia into a buffer state against refugees, while threatening Greece's exclusion from the Schengen system. The establishment of a "Mini-Schengen" is being considered as an emergency solution. Even while officially continuing to reject such a "Mini-Schengen," the German government is already involved in its planning, which the Netherlands is officially directing. Any option beyond effectively sealing off Greece's external borders, i.e. abandoning part of the Schengen-system, would be a first retreat - with unforeseeable consequences. According to observers, this could seriously weaken the EU. more…