BERLIN/RIYADH | | saudi-arabien

BERLIN/RIYADH (Own report) - This Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in the Saudi capital Riyadh for talks on the wars in Syria and Yemen, according to the Saudi media. Her talks in the Golf monarchy will therefore focus not only on expanding economic relations but on the proxy wars, Saudi Arabia is currently waging against Iran. Berlin supports Riyadh in these proxy wars - politically but also with the supply of weapons proven to have been used in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is strongly criticized for its war in Yemen, which is causing numerous civilian casualties. In addition, Riyadh's maritime blockade of Yemeni ports is causing a famine. 2.2 million children are malnourished, including half a million who are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death. In March, Berlin authorized the delivery of supplementary German patrol boats to Saudi Arabia, in spite of them being used to enforce the maritime blockade. Aid organizations are sounding the alarm. more…

PARIS/BERLIN | | frankreich

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin's favorite candidate took the lead in the first round in Sunday's French presidential elections. According to the latest predictions, Emmanuel Macron won with 23.4 percent of the votes, followed by Marine Le Pen of the Front National with 22.6. Macron is expected to win the May 7 runoffs. Initially, the German government had banked on and openly promoted the conservative candidate François Fillon. However, after his approval ratings significantly dropped in the polls, due to the scandal over high payments to his wife as his parliamentary assistant, Berlin was forced to turn to Macron. Like Fillon, Macron is considered "Germany-compatible" by a German think tank, whereas all other candidates are viewed as unsuitable for "constructive cooperation" because of their criticism of the EU and/or of NATO. Recently, Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble ostentatiously recommended voting for Macron. Berlin's interference on behalf of Macron shows once again that German domination of the EU does not stop at national borders, and - according to a well-known EU observer - surpasses by far Russia's feeble meddling in France. more…

TEHERAN/BERLIN | | iran

TEHERAN/BERLIN (Own report) - Moderate business success and lack of unity among the leading western powers are affecting Germany's current policy toward Iran. Last year, German companies were able to significantly expand their business with Iran; however, they did not achieve the ambitious level they had been hoping to reach. Despite the 25 percent increase in German exports to Iran, it seems unlikely that the aspired export volume of ten billion euros will be reached in the next few years. The strong market position of the People's Republic of China - which had not joined the western sanctions - is one of the reasons. Russia also has gained considerable influence and can not only hope for contracts in the oil and natural gas sectors, but also for the expansion of the broad gauge railway network up to the Persian Gulf. Whereas the United States does not want to abandon its military trump and prefers to persist in war threats, the German government is seeking to serve as mediator in the unrelenting hegemonic conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, no breakthrough is in sight. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - In light of the drastic warnings of the EU's possible disintegration, Berlin seeks to prevent the formation of contending forces. "The European Union is drifting apart to an extent hardly imaginable 15 years ago," according to a recent analysis, written by a board member of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The "dividing lines" between the north and the impoverishing south, as well as between western and eastern EU member countries are disquieting. To prevent the formation of a southern European bloc opposing the German austerity dictate, Berlin is particularly trying to integrate France into its EU policy. Yesterday, the German chancellor sought closer cooperation with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to undermine an alliance of the Visegrád members against German predominance. At the same time, promotion of the EU has been intensified within Germany. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained how Germany ultimately profits from its net contributions to the EU budget: The success of German exports depends on "the people in the other EU countries" being able "to afford" German products - with the help of Brussels' subsidies. more…