RIYADH/WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | usasaudi-arabiensyrienirak

RIYADH/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - As the findings of the UK-based organization "Conflict Armament Research" (CAR) confirms, the IS had disposed of a significant amount of firearms and ammunition from EU arsenals to defend itself in Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul against the Anti-IS-Coalition. According to this research, two of Germany's most important arms customers - the United States and Saudi Arabia - had acquired military hardware from Romania and Bulgaria to provide it to insurgent militias in Syria, which had transferred some of it to the IS. For example, anti-tank missiles were re-exported to Syria without the knowledge or approval of the original suppliers. The Free Syrian Police, which had been co-financed by the German Foreign Ministry, has also supplied jihadis. It employs police officers selected from al Qaeda's Syrian subsidiary. In at least one case, these officers had facilitated the stoning execution of two women. more…

TOKYO/BRUSSELS/BERLIN | | japan

TOKYO/BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Own report) - With the conclusion of their free trade agreement, the EU and Japan are about to establish the world’s largest free trade zone. As was reported, the agreement between the two highly export oriented economic blocks, generating nearly 30 percent of the global economic output, could already take effect in early 2019. According to the EU Commission and German economic institutes the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) could lead to significant economic growth and the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs. On the one hand, the agreement is aimed at making up for eventual slumps on the US market and, on the other, is part of the containment strategy against China, the emerging powerhouse. Despite their differences, Berlin and Washington continue to cooperate in their opposition to Beijing. Parallel to the JEFTA agreement, the EU, Japan and the USA have declared that they will jointly take on China more aggressively over trade issues. more…

ACCRA/BERLIN | | ghana

ACCRA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German president's visit to Ghana, which ends today, focuses on warding off refugees and landing lucrative business deals for German enterprises. In an interview with the Ghanaian press yesterday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier "warned" against attempts to cross the Sahara and Mediterranean to reach Germany, because this trip could end in "imprisonment" by Libyan slave traders or even death. "Stay home," is how the German media summarized the message of the president's remarks. At the same time, Steinmeier is eager to pave the way for lucrative investments in Ghana for German companies with the help the "Compact with Africa" G20 initiative. "Compact" is aimed at encouraging African countries to adjust their economies to better meet the wishes of western investors. German business circles see Ghana "in the second row" of African countries behind the economic heavyweights, South Africa and Nigeria and are pleading to expand their business with this country - in rivalry to China. more…

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - The German government has announced that the EU Military Union will be officially launched this Monday, with the European Council formally adopting 17 projects aimed at creating joint EU military structures. Germany is in charge of the establishment of a European Medical Command, considered an indispensable element of future EU military operations, alongside the European Air Transport Command, which has existed since 2010. Berlin is also establishing logistical structures that would facilitate rapid interventions. The German Bundeswehr is also active in both fields within the NATO framework. The operational preparation for future military missions is influenced by a fierce power struggle between Germany and France. According to the German ministry of defense, the military union is not only aimed at reaching more "independence" from the United States, but also at advancing EU "integration," which is difficult to achieve with civilian means. more…

MUNICH/BERLIN |

MUNICH/BERLIN (Own report) - The organizers of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world's most important military policy conferences, are urging that the EU's transformation into a war alliance be accelerated. The European Union of states should be able to take on "missions," similar to the 2011 military operation against Libya, at any time, according to a recent report by the Munich Security Conference, the McKinsey management consulting firm and the elite Hertie School of Governance. Not only drastic increases in the military budgets are being demanded of the EU members, but, above all, investments in modern military equipment. The authors of the report not only emphasize the harmonization of European weapon system standards but are also demanding that EU-states invest more in research, and to a growing extent, involve universities, branches of civilian industries and so-called start-up enterprises. According to the MSC Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, these are "essential" decisions, because it is "unsustainable" for the EU to continue to rely on US "protection." more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - Following yesterday’s euro zone finance ministers’ approval of a new austerity dictate for Athens, the Greek population will be confronted with more measures exacerbating impoverishment. The measures agreed upon late last week by the Greek government, relevant EU institutions and the IMF include the expansion of evictions. Critics are warning of an increase in homelessness. At the same time, the sale of state-owned property continues with plans to sell off four power plants. Unions have announced plans to strike in protest, but they cannot be sure that they will be allowed to carry through, because their right to strike has been severely restricted due to pressure from Brussels. Alleged initial successes, such as a slight decrease in unemployment, turns out to be a sham, because it is based on a dramatic increase in particularly low-paid part-time jobs, which do nothing to reduce poverty, but, on the contrary, consolidate it, in the long run. more…