BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - African countries are beginning to withdraw out of protest from the International Criminal Court (ICC) - which receives significant support from Germany - because, from its inception until the beginning of 2016, the ICC had only been indicting citizens of African countries. In spite of numerous war crimes committed by troops of western countries, not a single investigation has been initiated against them. As critical observers had already noted at the time of its founding, the ICC is a flexible instrument of powerful western countries for disciplining weaker countries, particularly recalcitrant African governments. According to German international jurists, even if military aggression would be declared a criminal offense, as is planned for next year, there will be enough room for interpretation to preclude, for example, the wars of aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 or against Iraq in 2003 from prosecution. Germany was one of the main initiators of the ICC. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - A recent survey has confirmed German companies’ massive dominance over the East European economy. According to the report just published by Deloitte Consulting, the German automobile industry has a particularly strong influence in that region. German car manufactures integrated Poland, Hungary and other East European countries into their global value added chain, hardly leaving those countries room for their own independent economic development. This is one of the reasons why these countries remain in stagnancy, economists call "Middle-Income-Trap." For some time, these countries barely succeed in reaching the average EU gross domestic product. This is why some countries are changing course and focusing more on promoting the domestic economy. However, this approach must confront, not only internal contradictions, but significant external pressure, not least of all from the EU. more…

BERLIN/MOSUL/DAMASCUS | | iraksyrien

BERLIN/MOSUL/DAMASCUS (Own report) - According to a documentation, at least 300 civilians have been killed in Syria during US led Anti-IS Coalition airstrikes - with the involvement of German soldiers. The human rights organization Amnesty International presented the documentation on eleven of these air raids yesterday. The total number of civilian casualties caused by the airstrikes since the war on IS was launched in September 2014, can be expected to be much higher - up to 1200, according to observers. And this does not even include the number of casualties from western raids on Iraq, or the casualties that can be expected during neither the recapture of Mosul that has recently been started nor the forthcoming recapture of Raqqa. The German military is involved in preparing these airstrikes with reconnaissance flights and in-flight refueling. Whereas German politicians are reacting with indignation to casualties in East Aleppo from Russian airstrikes and calling for sanctions, no such demands are raised regarding the western Anti-IS Coalition. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) -While jihadi militias pursue their military offensive launched on the weekend in Aleppo, the German government is increasing its pressure on Russia. "As the most important supporter of the regime" in Damascus, Moscow must provide "a sound agreement for Aleppo," demanded German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. But it was in fact the militia that broke the ceasefire initiated by Russia late last week and it was they who were also preventing the evacuation of the civilian population by firing at the escape corridors, as a British journalist reported from Aleppo. Similar practices are being used by the militia in the Iraqi town of Mosul, however these are being described for what they are, i.e. the IS is using civilians as "human shields." The German government is intensifying its pressure on Russia, at a moment when Moscow is reinforcing its military strength in the Eastern Mediterranean with the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group near the Syrian coast, aimed at achieving an equal footing with the western powers. A German Bundeswehr frigate is accompanying the French aircraft carrier "Charles de Gaulle" in the same region, where the Russian aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" is going. Particularly the German Green Party leadership is raising demands for declaring a no-fly zone over Syria - preparing another escalation, risking a direct war with Russia. more…

BERLIN/RIYADH/SANAA | | yemensaudi-arabien

BERLIN/RIYADH/SANAA (Own report) - Berlin persists in its support for Riyadh's ruling clan, despite the Saudi armed forces' ongoing war crimes committed in Yemen. Whereas demands to tighten sanctions against Russia are under consideration - for alleged or actual war crimes in the Syria's Aleppo - Saudi Arabia need fear no consequences even after bombing a funeral service, killing over 140 civilians. The Saudi-led war coalition's air raids in Yemen are already responsible for more than 2,400 civilian casualties, including patients in hospitals run by Doctors Without Borders and children in a Quranic school. Desperately poverty stricken Yemen, which depends on imports for 80 percent of its food, is being cut off from its vital supplies by Riyadh's maritime blockade. More than 1.5 million children are already suffering malnutrition, 370,000 of them acute. Medial care is insufficient, because Saudi Arabia is bombing pharmaceutical factories and limiting the import of medicine. German media hardly report on the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, for which Riyadh, one of Berlin's most important allies in the Middle East is responsible. Riyadh's war in Yemen against the Houthi insurgents is also aimed at rolling back Iran's influence, thereby also serving the interests of Germany's elite. more…

BERLIN/N'DJAMENA/BAMAKO | | malitschadnigeria

BERLIN/N'DJAMENA/BAMAKO (Own report) - Berlin is using today's visit of Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari to enhance its rapidly growing military influence in West Africa. Chancellor Angela Merkel's trip to Africa early this week has already revealed Germany's growing military importance on the African continent. According to reports, a "change" can already be noted, particularly in Mali. Traditionally within France's exclusive sphere of influence, the EU, "fundamentally under German leadership," is now increasingly determining that country's development. The German government is also expanding the Bundeswehr's activities and the supply of military hardware to Niger and Chad, along with the construction of a military base in Niger's capital Niamey. Berlin is also seeking to obtain influence in the war against Boko Haram in Nigeria. The first accords on support measures had already been reached with Nigeria last year. Germany is enhancing its network of influence in West Africa by increasing the deployment of expeditionary troops, the establishment of military bases and by supplying military aid. This could possibly reduce France's traditional political and military predominance in its former colonies. more…