BAGHDAD/ERBIL/BERLIN | | irak

BAGHDAD/ERBIL/BERLIN (Own report) - The regional government in Kurdish-speaking northern Iraq, which enjoys Berlin's support, is calling for breaking up the country and establishing its own state. A referendum on secession is a "natural, God-given right of the people in Kurdistan," declared Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). The issue is national independence, KRG Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa underlined. Consultations on these topics were allegedly held on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Barzani explicitly does not include Syrian and Turkish Kurdish-speaking regions in his plans to establish a state. Experts have long been warning against the possibility of Iraq's disintegration or being plunged into a new civil war, once IS/Daesh is defeated. The KRG can rely on Germany's legwork, in its demand for national independence. Berlin has been particularly keen to support the Kurdish-speaking regions in Iraq and has even trained and armed the KRG's military forces, the "Peshmerga," since September 2014 - within the framework of the war against IS/Daesh. Berlin has consistently ignored human rights organizations and US experts' allegations that, in the wake of this war, the Peshmerga is carrying out "ethnic cleansing," to expel unwelcome Arabs from its "Kurdistan" of tomorrow. more…

MEXICO CITY/BERLIN | | mexiko

MEXICO CITY/BERLIN (Own report) - The Mexican government is pushing to rapidly modernize its free trade agreement with the EU and has declared its "close affinity" to Germany, following US President Trump's threats of massive reprisals by building a wall at the border and imposing punitive tariffs. Because of its extreme dependence on the USA, Mexico can only hold its ground by intensifying its relations with other countries, according to Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray. Mexico's enticements are greeted with sympathy by German business circles. The majority of German firms active in Mexico had already decided on new investments and is planning to carry these out, despite expected disadvantages from the projected US trade policy. Experts assume that the US administration cannot afford excessive punitive tariffs or other exorbitant escalations. At an appearance last week in Mexico, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser ostentatiously announced investments worth US $200 million and signed an agreement of intent with Mexico's Minster of Economics for infrastructure and industrial projects with a possible volume of up to US $36 billion. more…

MUNICH | | usa

MUNICH (Own report) - At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the German government assumed the role of an ally "on a par" with the United States. The chancellor and several ministers of Germany formulated conditions for continued cooperation with the US government, while holding out the prospect of a "stronger Europe," which, according to Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, should be capable of independently "coping successfully" with the "reality of crises and wars outside the bounds of the European Union." Appropriate rearmament measures are being prepared. The chancellor conceives of a military budget increase of around eight percent annually, while the discussion on German-European nuclear arms is continuing. Publicists are hinting at the possibility of Berlin sharing influence over the Force de Frappe through co-financing France's nuclear arms arsenal. Berlin is still relying on the alliance with Washington, at least for the time being, because rearmament and access to nuclear arms take time. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON |

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - In the run-up to the Munich Security Conference this weekend, leading German foreign policy experts are calling on the EU to reposition itself on the world stage, replacing the United States as the West's "torchbearer." Since Washington's change of government, the United States no longer "qualifies as the symbol of the West's political and moral leadership," according to Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference. It is therefore up to Europe "to make up for this loss." Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a programmatic speech at this weekend's conference, focusing on the future relationship between the EU and the USA. In anticipation of the looming power struggle, in the German capital, the EU is already being warned not to allow itself to be torn apart by outside rivals. Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth cautioned against "special deals" being made between individual EU countries and the new Trump administration. If there is sufficient coherence necessitating, for example, majority decisions in foreign policy, "we Europeans" could become an "impressive political and military power," Ischinger cajoled. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President-elect of the Federal Republic of Germany is the epitome of the past two decades of Berlin's expansionist policy - from the war over Kosovo to intervention in the Syrian war. As State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery, Steinmeier was implicated in the aggression against Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, with which Germany, in violation of international law, entered its first war of aggression since 1945. As head of the Federal Chancellery, he had participated in the struggle to obtain access to Russia's vast natural gas reserves. As Foreign Minister, he was massively striving to roll back Russia's political influence by associating Ukraine with the EU, even condoning a coup - with fascist participation - in Kiev. Steinmeier's activities had also been influenced by the so-called war on terror. In the Chancellery, he played a leading role in cooperation with the CIA's torture program. In the fall of 2002, he helped to prevent an innocent native of Bremen from being released to Germany from the US Guantanamo torture camp. He was complicit in the interrogation of German suspects in Syrian and Lebanese torture chambers. Just recently, Steinmeier provided political support to a jihadist militia, classified a terror organization by the German judiciary. more…

WARSAW/HAMBURG/BERLIN |

WARSAW/HAMBURG/BERLIN (Own report) - The Polish government's éminence grise, Jarosław Kaczyński, has picked up the German establishment's call to acquire its own nuclear weapons. He would welcome it, if the EU would become a "nuclear superpower," Kaczyński told a leading German daily. Last week, the left liberal, government critical "Panorama" television program of the ARD's Norddeutscher Rundfunk channel called for launching an "open debate" on the "German nuclear bomb," because "no state" could presently be "confident" that the USA, under President Trump, would "unconditionally defend the other NATO allies." To "deter" Russia from attacking a member of the Alliance, in this situation, it is necessary to have national control over nuclear weapons, claimed the authors of the program. Numerous experts from think tanks, the media and from the political domain have expressed similar views, even while differing, on whether to confide the nuclear war potential to the authority of the EU's military bodies or to the German government. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - While Sigmar Gabriel was making his first official visit as Germany's Foreign Minister to Washington last week, the dispute over Washington's likely ambassador to the European Union was escalating. The candidate for that post in Brussels, Ted Malloch, does not rule out the collapse of the euro in the 18 months to come. He also conceives of a possible dismantling - or even collapse - of the European Union and has announced that Washington will negotiate more with individual countries, than with Brussels. This could lead to a further accentuation of the existing rifts in the EU. Thus, Berlin is trying hard to prevent Malloch's nomination. The leaders of several European Parliamentary groups are demanding that his accreditation be blocked - until recently, an unimaginable affront. At the same time, Berlin seeks to position itself as the corrective counterpart to Trump's Washington in the escalating transatlantic power struggle. Last week in Washington, Foreign Minister Gabriel staged an unprecedented appearance as headmaster on the subject of democracy and human rights. Some members of the German establishment are expecting the EU's ascent parallel to the United States' descent on the world stage. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - In the looming trade war between the EU and the USA, Brussels is threatening to officially denounce the United States as a "tax haven." The EU Commission is currently preparing this affront to the world power, following Washington's strong criticism of Germany's excessive trade surplus. In the six years, from 2010 to 2015 alone, this surplus has led to an outflow of nearly a quarter trillion euros to Germany from the United States because of the "grossly undervalued" euro, according to Trump's trade advisor Peter Navarro. This has been confirmed by the Bundesbank's recent analysis, showing that through its monetary policy the European Central Bank (ECB) has contributed to the euro's undervaluation, which in turn has facilitated record German exports and the large US deficit. The trade conflict is flanked by a propaganda offensive against the Trump administration, exploiting the new US president's racist and chauvinist policies to designate him as an enemy. This conflict could lead to the first major power struggle between Germany and the United States since 1945. more…