EU takes step towards closer defence cooperation

 

The EU will move towards closer defence ties Monday with more than 20 states signing a landmark pact that aims to boost cooperation after Brexit and counteract Russian pressure.

Similar efforts to deepen military links have been frustrated for decades, partly by Britain’s fierce opposition to anything that might lead to a European army. Continue reading

Merkel in chaos: Germany without government SEVEN WEEKS after Chancellor’s election disaster

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel hopes to get preliminary talks out of the way be the end of the week [EPA]

 

GERMAN leader Angela Merkel is yet to form a government seven weeks after the country went to the polls.

Voters went to the polls on September 24 in an embarassing election for Mrs Merkel’s conservatives who bled support to the far right.

If coalition talks stall Berlin would face a lengthy period of uncertainty at a time when many in the European Union are looking to Germany for leadership on issues ranging from euro zone governance to trans-Atlantic relations. Continue reading

The Militarization of the Sahel (II)

 

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO(Own report) – Nearly five years after the European military mission was launched in Mali, experts are describing the country’s situation as a disaster and warning against Berlin and Paris’ further militarization of the Sahel. Mali “has never” seen “such a level of violence” as “currently,” says a former French diplomat. The regional conflicts cannot be solved militarily, explained the International Crisis Group, a pro-western think tank, using the example of a Burkinabe province at the border with Mali, where, even though it was possible to suppress jihadi unrest, for the time being, the conflict can again flare up at any time, because the reasons for the unrest have not been dealt with. Nevertheless, the German government supports the creation of an intervention force of the “G5 Sahel” group of countries, which launched its first military operation yesterday. Despite the disastrous consequences of militarization, the Bundeswehr is using the Mali mission as the focus of its PR campaign.

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Analysis: West should prepare for chemical attacks by the Islamic State

Biochemical terrorism

 

A German newspaper reported last week that at least one European intelligence agency has already warned that the Islamic State is exploring the use of chemicals for attacks in Europe. Such an eventuality would be a radical departure from prior attacks by the Islamic State in the West. In the past, the militant group has shown a strong preference for low-tech means of dispensing violence, such as firearms, vehicles and knives. But it has utilized chemical substances in Iraq and Syria, and its technical experts have amassed significant knowledge about weaponized chemicals. Continue reading

Fresh Wind Down the Silk Road (II)

BERLIN/DUSHANBE (Own report) – German government advisors are considering a strategically oriented cooperation with China in Central Asia. Rather than rely solely on its own independent operations to win influence, “dialogue” with Beijing should be “intensified,” to learn “to what extent goals could be pursued in cooperation,” according to a recent study by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The EU could thus “emphasize its foreign policy objectives in the region.” This must be seen in light of the fact that Germany and the EU have failed to significantly expand their influence in the five former Soviet Republics spanning from Turkmenistan to Tajikistan. This failure is particularly evident in Tajikistan. Whereas Russia and China are economically predominating over the country and – parallel to the United States – are currently intensifying their military activities, in spite of all its efforts, Berlin is only playing an independent role in the field of humanitarian and development aid.

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Austerity and Secession

BERLIN/MADRID (Own report) – The escalating Catalan secessionist conflict is upsetting Spain, a country hard hit by Berlin’s austerity dictate. Spain – occasionally praised in German media as a showcase for an alleged successful austerity policy – is still confronted with enormous social and economic problems, in spite of a modest economic growth. Unemployment and poverty remain at high levels. Crisis policies over the past few years have also increased the economic gap between Spain and the euro zone’s centers of prosperity. One still cannot speak of debt reduction – the official objective of Germany’s austerity policy within the EU. The poor economic situation, the high debt burden level and the distribution of federal and regional debts are fueling Catalonia’s secessionist conflict.

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Fresh Wind Down the Silk Road (I)

BERLIN/TASHKENT (Own report) – To secure its influence in Central Asia in rivalry to Russia and China, Berlin is taking new initiatives toward Uzbekistan, the most populous country in the region. Among the five post-Soviet Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan has been Germany’s key partner for the past 25 years, even hosting a Bundeswehr base over an extended period of time. Now the German government seeks to reinforce it position in Uzbekistan by expanding economic relations. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in office since one year, is initiating a neo-liberal policy in his country. At the same time, Russia’s rise in influence in the economic and military sectors, alongside China’s greatly enhanced economic advances has put Germany under pressure. If Germany does not want to lose ground in Central Asia, it must act quickly.

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Berlin Calls for a “One-Europe Policy”

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – Berlin sees China’s growing economic presence in the EU’s eastern periphery as an increasing threat to German predominance over Eastern and Southeastern Europe. During his visit to Paris at the end of August, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned against the People’s Republic’s alleged “division of Europe.” Beijing’s cooperation with 16 Eastern and Southeastern European countries is threatening the EU’s “unity” and must be stopped. China should follow a “one-Europe policy.” German media and think tanks have been sharply criticizing Chinese economic activities in Eastern and Southeastern Europe since years. In a recent analysis, the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation (FDP) assailed the Czech government for signing a “declaration on the territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China” in view of comprehensive Chinese investments in that country. Beijing has reacted to these attacks by pointing to Germany’s dominant status in the EU.

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Opinion: Why is the EU so vindictive about Brexit?

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator for Brexit, says the British are going backwards in exit talks with the EU.

 

Voluntary withdrawal from the EU treaty does not have to be painful

In case you’re wondering where the belligerent spirit went that pushed Europe into centuries of warfare, two major conflicts last century, numerous regional skirmishes in recent decades, and a Cold War lasting nearly half a century, rest assured it is alive and well, albeit channeled into a “peaceful” version in the European Union’s remorseless vindictiveness.

After brutalizing Greece for lying to join the euro and then daring to violate the strictures of membership, the EU has now turned its focus to punishing Britain for having the audacity to reject the stifling bureaucracy of Brussels and the increasingly assertive dominance of Berlin. Continue reading

Talks in the Chancellery

BERLIN/CARACAS (Own report) – Chancellor Merkel will meet one of Venezuela’s leading government opposition politicians today in the Chancellery. Julio Borges, who, according to reports, supported the 2002 putsch attempt in Caracas, will discuss the political development in Venezuela with the chancellor. Fierce power struggles are being waged in that country. The opposition, mainly composed of representatives of the traditional wealthy elites, has ties to Western powers und is also supported by Berlin. With its operational assistance, for example in advising Borges’ Primero Justícia (Justice First) party in “political communication,” the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation has been playing a special role. Primero Justícia had also participated in the 2002-attempted putsch. Berlin is pursuing an approach similar to that used in other Latin American countries, wherein it regularly supports the traditional elites. This resembles the German authorities’ interventions in the run-up to the putsch in Ukraine.

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German-Russian Oil Cooperation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – The Russian petroleum company, Rosneft, is expanding its activities in Germany, thereby reducing Germany’s dependence on the transatlantic oil industry. While public discussion is focused on ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s candidacy for the chair of Rosneft’s board of directors, the company has increased its share to 25 percent of Germany’s crude oil imports, and has become the third largest oil processing enterprise in Germany. It has plans to further strengthen its position in the country, inspired by the close German-Russian natural gas cooperation, which provides Germany significant influence over Western Europe’s supply of Russian gas. Achieving predominant influence over the EU’s supply and a growing independence vis-à-vis the energy giants of the transatlantic era, facilitates Berlin’s pursuit of an independent German-EU global policy.

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The Tesla Shock

BERLIN (Own report) – Decisive sectors of the German elite are holding onto diesel technology, causing the automobile industry to fall significantly behind its foreign competitors, according to US and British observers, who see the German automobile industry soon confronting a “Tesla shock.” Whereas, the demand for US electric automobiles is rapidly growing, in the long run, the demand for German diesel models is significantly sinking. In fact, the German government has been shielding German companies from innovation pressure, by imposing their interests, even abroad. Berlin has not only applied the brakes to the introduction of the EU’s CO2 emission limits, but also to China’s setting electric automobile quotas, to reduce pollutant emissions. In the current diesel scandal, Berlin continues to maintain its policy course.

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NATO Beefs Up Logistics Infrastructure for Offensive Operations

 

Some very important news is kept out of spotlight and undeservedly so. Bits of information pieced together indicate that very quietly the North Atlantic alliance is gearing up for large-scale combat operations. War preparations are not limited to weapon systems deployments and troop movements that hit headlines. No combat can be waged without logistics. Continue reading

Europe’s Cities Absorb Sharia Law

If the West keeps betraying the democratic value of individual freedom, Islamic fundamentalists, like those who imposed burqas on Libyan women, will do the same to Western women. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

 

  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan banned advertisements that promote “unrealistic expectations of women’s body image and health”. Now Berlin is planning to ban images in which women are portrayed as “beautiful but weak, hysterical, dumb, crazy, naive, or ruled by their emotions”. Tagesspiegel‘s Harald Martenstein said the policy “could have been adopted from the Taliban manifesto”.
  • The irony is that this wave of morality and “virtue” is coming from cities governed by uninhibited leftist politicians, who for years campaigned for sexual liberation. It is now a “feminist” talking point to advocate sharia policy.
  • To paraphrase the American writer Daniel Greenfield, the irony of women celebrating their own suppression is both heartbreaking and stupefying.

Within days after the Islamic State conquered the city of Sirte in Libya two years ago, enormous billboards appeared in the Islamist stronghold warning women they must wear baggy robes that cover their entire bodies, and no perfume. These “sharia stipulations for hijab” included wearing dense material and a robe that does not “resemble the attire of unbelievers”.

Two years later, Europe’s three most important cities — London, Paris and Berlin — are adopting the same sharia trend.

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Germany Warns Its Citizens: They Risk Arrest If Traveling To Turkey

 

Escalation of the diplomatic row between Berlin and Ankara ended in a clear message. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned German citizens that they risk arrest if they travel to Turkey.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Germany had revised its travel advice in the wake of the recent arrests of several human rights activists, including German national Peter Steudtner. Continue reading