BERLIN | | russische-foederation

BERLIN (Own report) - German military specialists are evaluating the growing significance of the Baltic and the Black Seas in the West's power struggle with Moscow. These two "marginal seas" are of great importance to Russia, according to a recent analysis published in the specialized periodical "MarineForum." Whereas the Baltic Sea serves Russian maritime trade as a "gateway to the Atlantic," the Russian Navy needs the Black Sea as a strategically central "diving board into the Mediterranean," facilitating Russia to gain influence from the Middle East all the way to the Indian Ocean. Whereas NATO controls the access to both "marginal seas," Moscow is seeking to consolidate its strategic positions, and to better extend its reach from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean. NATO is seeking countermeasures to again confine Russia, the MarineForum writes. Germany is also expanding its activities in and at the Black Sea and is inviting allied navies to participate in joint maneuvers in the Baltic Sea. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - With last Saturday's "Rome Declaration", the EU has declared its commitment to an offensive global policy, including an intensified militarization, as was demanded by Berlin. In the coming years, the Union must play "a key role in the world," the declaration states, while calling for "strengthening its common security and defence." At the same time, German government advisors are vigorously demanding that the militarization decisions already taken, be rapidly implemented. Berlin and Paris could conclude a joint 40 billion euro program for new measures for dealing with "missions, procurement, capabilities and counter-terrorism," according to a document published by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The Bundeswehr could also integrate troops from other EU countries to form "a sort of Europe Division." On the weekend, Hungary's foreign minister affirmed his country's support. In a recent resolution, the European Parliament stressed the need for increasing military spending with an extra €100 billion by the end of the coming decade. Couched in the usual propaganda phraseology, the "Rome Declaration" states "we have united for the better." more…

LONDON/BERLIN | | grossbritannien

LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin and Brussels are intensifying their pressure on London prior to next Wednesday's official Brexit notification. "Britain's example" will make all others see "it's not worth leaving," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared. According to Brussels, the Brexit could cost the United Kingdom up to 60 billion euros. London sharply objects to this impertinence, pointing out that, the EU and particularly Germany, are dependent, for economic and military considerations, on consensual exit regulations. German industry would in fact be hit hard by a hostile British exit. Britain is Germany's export-oriented economy's third largest customer and second largest location for German direct investments. For quite some time, Berlin also has set its hopes on Great Britain's contribution to the EU's militarization - even after Brexit - because of the military clout of its armed forces and its nuclear arms. more…

BERLIN/TOKYO | | japan

BERLIN/TOKYO (Own report) - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the CeBIT digital trade fair in Hanover on Sunday, emphasizing their commitment to expand German-Japanese cooperation. Japan is "a friend," Merkel declared, with whom one can advance in promoting digitalization. Japan had once been the Federal Republic of Germany's most important East Asian business partner, but, in terms of German foreign investments and trade, it has fallen far behind China over the past few years. Even though strategically highly significant, from a German point of view, economic relations have been stagnating. A counterweight to Beijing in East Asia would be advantageous for Berlin's foreign policy. Germany has therefore begun to expand military cooperation with the Japanese armed forces. During his visit in Tokyo last November, Germany's President, at the time, Joachim Gauck, explicitly encouraged Japan's rearmament, which is pointed directly at China. Having taken a sharp nationalist course, the Japanese government will send a new helicopter carrier to train with the US Navy in the South China Sea in May. more…

LONDON/BERLIN | | grossbritannien

LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) - Scotland has established an investment center in Berlin, thereby reinforcing its economic ties to the EU and causing - with German support - new tension in Great Britain. According to critics, in its intended secession from the United Kingdom, for which it must establish economic security, the Scottish government is relying on German help. In fact, to increase the pressure on London to achieve the "softest" Brexit possible, Berlin and Germany's regional governments are going out of their way to strengthen relations with Edinburgh. This is considered essential to German interests. Government advisors in Berlin are recommending using Ireland for obtaining influence in the negotiations concerning the borders between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. In the event of a "hard" Brexit, this border would be a particularly sensitive point. Berlin is also using EU foreigners, residing in the United Kingdom, as an additional bargaining chip. Chancellor Angela Merkel has refused to have their rights of residence clarified beforehand. more…

BERLIN/ANKARA | | tuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - In spite of the Turkish government's recent provocations, Berlin is steadfastly maintaining its cooperation with Ankara. Over the past few days, members of the Turkish government have affronted several EU countries as "fascist," thereby again provoking sharp protests. For some time, human rights organizations and other critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have been up in arms over Ankara's brutal violations of human and civil rights, its attempt to establish a presidential dictatorship and its arbitrary incarceration of citizens of foreign countries. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that her objective was to prevent Turkey from "becoming even more alienated from us," which is why we must persist in our cooperation. Since some time, government advisors in Germany's capital have been warning that Ankara is seriously considering joining the Chinese-Russian Alliance (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - SCO), and that, within the Turkish establishment, voices calling for Turkey to leave NATO are growing louder. That would be a serious setback for Berlin's ambitions to become a world power, which for geostrategic reasons, is dependent on its cooperation with Ankara. more…

BERLIN/ERBIL | | irak

BERLIN/ERBIL (Own report) - The German government's Kurdish protégés in Northern Iraq are using German weapons to attack the Yazidi minority. This has been confirmed by new photo and video documents circulating around the internet for the past few days. These documents depict the Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Peshmerga and its allied militias attacking Yazidis with Dingo infantry mobility vehicles (IMV), G36 assault rifles and other German weapons. The Peshmerga is seeking to round off the KRG territory and annex the region surrounding Shingal ("Sinjar" in Arabic) before the planned secession from Iraq of the regions under Erbil's control. Shingal had been the focus of international attention in the summer of 2014, when the IS/Daesh killed thousands of Yazidis and abducted, enslaved and raped thousands of Yezidis. Yazidis, who have always been harassed and discriminated against by the KRG are now fearing expulsion. For years, Erbil - which Berlin is supporting politically, as well as with training and arms for its Peshmerga - has been systematically expelling Arab speaking inhabitants from the territories under its control. Already in 2015, US observers were accusing the KRG of "ethnic cleansing." more…

BERLIN/PARIS |

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - With today's special summit of four heads of state, Berlin is preparing the EU's transformation in response to the Brexit. The German chancellor will meet in Versailles this afternoon with France's president and the prime ministers of Italy and Spain. Selected southern EU members have been included in alleged leadership meetings with the German chancellor to prevent a southern European bloc from emerging, which could possibly, in the future, put an end to German austerity dictates. With Great Britain's exit, the neo-liberal oriented EU countries are loosing the necessary quorum for a veto in EU bodies. Berlin could also encounter problems with the Eastern European "Visegrád Group," which does not want to support the emergence of a powerful integrated core around a German hub, because it would consolidate a two or even three-class EU. Reinforcement of the EU's anti-refugee border-management and particularly its resolute militarization are emerging as the common denominators for the Union's transformation. more…

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - A new "White Paper" is supposed to precipitate the debate about the EU's future. The paper, presented by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday, sketches out five scenarios for the EU's possible development. These should be taken into consideration in preparations for the EU's March 25 special summit. One of the scenarios corresponds to that of the "multi-speed EU," which Chancellor Angela Merkel had recently called for. Juncker also now favors this demand. This demand means that certain groups of countries forge ahead with intensive cooperation in particular fields of politics leaving others two or three steps behind. This scenario permits the creation of multinational armed forces in Europe, in spite of persistent resistance from several EU member states. This is why Berlin favors it as a solution. Another of Juncker's scenarios suggests that the EU reduce its number of key policy fields, to include warding off refugees, foreign and military policy. With elements of this scenario, Berlin could avoid paying billions to shoulder the consequences of the Brexit - at the expense of poorer EU members. more…