Germany to launch new military strategy

Defense Minister says German armed forces will act under new strategy from 2016, marking a formal end to its post-WWII pacifist policy.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced in Berlin on Tuesday that Germany, which has been traditionally hesitant in taking part in international military operations mainly because of its Nazi past, would act “without any taboos”. Continue reading

A turning point in Israeli-German relations

German public opinion of Israel is slumping ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit there. There is growing public and political disillusionment over Israel’s treatment of its Palestinian neighbors.

Merkel and her 15 cabinet ministers will participate in the largest-ever bilateral consultations on Monday and will kick off official preparations for next year’s celebrations commemorating 50 years since diplomatic relations between the two countries were established.

However, the visit has been overshadowed by reports of the worst crisis in diplomatic ties since Merkel took office almost 10 years ago. A recent BBC poll showed that only 14 percent of Germans today had a positive view of Israel.

“I think German public opinion is actually worse than what’s shown in the polls because Germans don’t publicly state their opinion, they play it down,” said Israel’s former ambassador to Germany and the European Union, Avi Primor. Continue reading

Germany Sold Syria Chemicals With Military Potential

Berlin exported 111 tons of chemicals to Damascus between 2002-2006; German gov’t: Chemicals were sold for civilian use.

BERLIN – Germany exported 111 tons of chemicals to Syria between 2002 and 2006 that could be used in the production of sarin gas, according to a government document published on Wednesday.

But the government rejected a suggestion from an opposition lawmaker that Germany might thereby have inadvertently contributed to the August 21 sarin attack in Syria, which the West blames on President Bashar Assad.

The chemicals – sodium fluoride, hydrofluoric acid and ammonium hydrogen fluoride – are classified as “dual use” under European Union law, meaning they can be used for either civil or military purposes. They require special export permits. Continue reading