The second round of talks between the six powers and Iran – this time for a final, comprehensive resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program – opened in Geneva Tuesday, Feb. 18. But first, the Obama administration gave the Israeli government three pledges, debkafile’s Washington and Jerusalem sources reveal. It must be said, however, that none of those pledges is realistic.
One was a commitment to insist on the absolute shutdown of Iran’s underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordo. The second was the conversion of the reactor under construction at Arak from a heavy to a light water plant, in order to preclude the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons; and the third, to place a cap on the low-grade 5-percent enrichment of uranium. Continue reading
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would talk to French President Francois Hollande about building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.
Merkel said in her weekly podcast that she disapproved of companies such as Google and Facebook basing their operations in countries with low levels of data protection while being active in countries such as Germany with high data protection. Continue reading
There is an unmistakeable sense among Western decision-makers of power slipping away.
It’s not an argument about American abstention or decline, although that plays into it for some critics of the Obama administration.
It is more to do with the exhaustion – moral, political and economic – of nations that have been in the forefront of the international security business, and the vibrant ascendancy of some other players. Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – In the few months leading up to the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, a new debate, over who was responsible for starting the war, is gaining momentum in Germany. As relevant publications – such as the bestseller, “The Sleepwalkers” by the historian Christopher Clark – show, “a shift in paradigm has taken place” in scholarship, according to a recent press article: “The German Empire was not ‘responsible’ for World War I.” The debate strongly contradicts the recognition that, even though Berlin did not bear it alone, it bore the primary responsibility for the bloody escalation of the 1914 July Crisis. This insight, which was derived particularly from the analyses of the historian Fritz Fischer in the 1960s, is now being massively contested. Historians are strongly criticizing remarks, such as those by Christopher Clark, who, working closely with government-affiliated academic institutions, is denying German responsibility for the war. According to Clark, “the Serbs” are supposedly a priori “the bad guys” of the pre war era, while he openly displays his preference for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The denial of Germany’s main culpability for the war is “balm on the soul of educated social sectors, grown more self-confident” at a time when Berlin’s political power is again on the rise. Continue reading
And now we see the Èlysée Palace has buckled under pressure and capitulated to the (upcoming) Fourth Reich.
PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is loudly applauding French President François Hollande’s adaptation of Germany’s model of austerity. His announcement of a cutback in public expenditures to clearly favor business, could “only be seen as good news,” declared Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. German media point to the fact that Hollande has announced measures that – in certain aspects – are modeled on Germany’s “Agenda 2010,” which had been developed by the Federal Chancellery under the auspices of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the time, Federal Chancellery Chief of Staff under Gerhard Schröder. It had enabled Berlin to consolidate its economic predominance over Europe. Whether Paris will be able to imitate the German austerity policy is unsure. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy had tried, but he lost the presidential elections in the spring of 2012. Notwithstanding, in Berlin further steps to cut back on social welfare achievements are again in discussion. Yesterday, German President Joachim Gauck complained that the term “neo-liberal” has a negative connotation, which must be changed. Continue reading
What happens when a superpower dies? What happens when the geopolitical order that has stabilized the world for several decades crumbles?
We are all about to learn firsthand. Continue reading
George Osborne will today deliver a stark warning to Britain’s European partners that the UK will leave the EU unless it embarks on whole-scale economic and political reform.
In a speech to a conference organised by the pro-reform Open Europe thinktank and the Fresh Start group of Tory MPs, Osborne will say: “There is a simple choice for Europe: reform or decline. Our determination is clear: to deliver the reform, and then let the people decide.” Continue reading
Berlin – The troika of international lenders “held a gun to the head” of Cyprus and Portugal and showed little sympathy for social measures, an MEP looking into its work has said.
“Both countries had very little room for manoeuvre in negotiating the terms of the bailouts. What they said basically was that ‘a gun was held to our head’, especially in Cyprus,” Juergen Klute, a left-wing German MEP, told this website.
“And the troika had very little interest in social measures, they were only concerned about cutting back the deficit,” he added.
The German politician said his four-member European Parliament delegation found there was a lack of democratic oversight when it came to the work of the troika – made up of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund. Continue reading
In France, more than 1000 cars were torched across the country on New Year’s Eve. It has become a tradition. As usual, the French media omitted to say most of the damage is done by young disaffected Muslim men and has become a form of protest.
In Iraq, the government has lost control of the city of Fallujah to the fundamentalist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, giving Islamists open control of a city for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2003. On Christmas Day, car bombs exploded outside three churches, killing 26 people and maiming 38, part of a campaign to remove Iraq’s rapidly decreasing Chaldean Christian population. Continue reading
Germany’s effort to making a show of military force in Africa are aimed not just at crisis resolution in conflict areas but also at promoting and marketing German weaponry. However, this effort is not independent from the French rivalry factor.
When Germany achieved reunification in the 1990s, it began trying to play a more active role in the international arena. Germany’s interest in Africa has grown in recent years, in line with the continent’s increasing geo-economic and geopolitical importance. Germany’s participation in the international peace force in Afghanistan and the gradual German intervention in the crises in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa were signals of the transformation of German foreign policy. In the same way, it may be said that with the changes that came with the Arab Spring, German moves to assume a larger role in North Africa have gained speed. On this point, answers need to be found for some basic questions such as “what are the repercussions of Germany’s interest in Africa”, “how are the transformations in the Arab world affecting Germany’s policies in Africa?”, and “what impact will this interest have on relations with other countries such as France?” Continue reading
For more on SCADAs, please see the following previous posts:
The NSA’s TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency’s top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.
In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors. They wanted to drive to work or head off to do their grocery shopping, but their garage door openers had gone dead, leaving them stranded. No matter how many times they pressed the buttons, the doors didn’t budge. The problem primarily affected residents in the western part of the city, around Military Drive and the interstate highway known as Loop 410. Continue reading
In both militarily intervention and investment in the defense industry, Europeans lack coordination and have lost credibility. Yet, after the French intervention in the Central African Republic, the issue has returned to the spotlight and will be discussed at the summit on December 19 and 20.
In 1991, the Belgian foreign minister of the time, Mark Eyskens, remarked on the EU’s incapacity to develop a common defence policy when he described Europe as “an economic giant, a political dwarf and a military worm.” In recent years, there is no denying that the EU has become more active in this field. But the grand and often expressed ambition for real investment in a common security and defence policy, which includes an independent military capacity, has yet to [sic] realised. And this continues to be the case at a time when global change is obliging Europeans to engage in a more serious consideration of security as an issue in common. Continue reading