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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America’s Cyber Vulnerabilities

ISTOCK.COM/MONSITJ

 

Cyber is the newest branch of warfare. Even in its baby stages, it has the potential to cripple the United States.

On the afternoon of Dec. 23, 2015, Ukrainian engineers from a Prykarpattya Oblenergo power station stared at a computer screen while the cursor progressed on its own across the monitor. The mouse on the table had not moved. But the cursor hovered over the station’s breakers, each one controlling power to thousands of Ukrainian citizens. Then, with one mouse click at a time, the hackers now in control of the power station began shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.

At the same time, Kyivoblenergo employees watched as dozens of substations shut down, one by one. In their case, there was no phantom mouse. A computer on their network that they could not locate was being used by someone to shut down the power—and there was nothing they could do. Continue reading

NATO Splinters: Germany Completes Withdrawal From Turkey’s Incirlik Airbase

 

Several months after an unprecedented collapse in relations between two NATO member states, on Thursday Germany’s military announced it has finished its withdrawal from Turkey’s strategic airbase Incirlik, which as a reminder was prompted by Ankara’s refusal to allow visits by German parliamentarians. Going forward, Bundeswehr planes will instead be based in Jordan. Continue reading

Russia May Send 100K Troops to NATO’s Borders

In this Aug. 2, 2017, photo, Russian paratroopers mark Paratroopers Day in Moscow’s Red Square. The Russian military says major war games, the Zapad (West) 2017 maneuvers, will not threaten anyone. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

 

The exercises are part of President Vladimir Putin’s effort to demonstrate Russia’s full recovery from being a military basket case following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia’s Northern Fleet claimed to have sent about 50 ships, submarines and support vessels into the Barents and Baltic Seas in August on a series of anti-submarine, anti-mine and search-and-rescue operations, a Russian Navy spokesman told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

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Germany and France Unveil New Plans for a European Military

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron deliver a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 13, 2017, during an annual Franco-German Summit. (PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

 

The two nations announce plans for a new fighter jet, a new fighting force in Africa, and a new push for a eurozone superstate.

On July 13, Germany and France held their first joint cabinet meeting since France’s presidential election, and the two leading European countries announced some eye-catching new military projects.

This was the first such meeting since Emmanuel Macron won the presidential election on May 7. Since then, there has been much talk of a new era of Franco-German cooperation. On Thursday, the pressure was on to demonstrate results. Continue reading

EU ministers agree to create joint military command center in NATO footsteps

FILE PHOTO. Soldiers of a Eurocorps. © AFP

The European Union is to create a special military command center for operating foreign missions, the German defense minister announced amid criticism from some bloc members that the initiative is financially unreasonable and merely copies NATO’s steps.

EU foreign ministers “founded, or put in motion, today a European command center for foreign missions,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, according to AP.

Meanwhile, Britain has long criticized the bloc’s aspirations to launch its own army, saying the EU should not waste money on creating structures that match those set up by NATO. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who was also present at the meeting, called on other EU ministers “to cooperate more closely with NATO to avoid unnecessary duplication and structures.”

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Merkel yields to Trump: Germany should meet defense spending obligation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

 

U.S. President Donald Trump is actively pressuring NATO allies to increase their defense spending. Germany currently spends about 1.2 percent of GDP on defense, which Merkel vows to change if she is elected for a fourth term in office this September.

“Obligations have to be fulfilled,” Merkel said at a campaign rally on Feb. 25. “And, others in the world will demand that of us. And, I think they’re right that Germany must uphold its obligations.” Continue reading

Germany to Be a Bigger Military Power Than Russia

Caption: Bundeswehr soldiers (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Even a modest boost to German defense spending means radical changes to the world order.

Germany will boost the size of its military to nearly 200,000, hiring an additional 20,000 soldiers by 2024, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced on February 21.

Germany had already announced plans to increase its army to 193,000 by 2023, so this is merely an incremental increase compared to earlier plans. However, it does confirm the radical change in direction for Germany. Its army had shrunk to a low of 166,500 last June and has only just begun turning around. Now, each new announcement about the German military is an increase. Continue reading

On a Par (II)

MUNICH (Own report) – At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the German government assumed the role of an ally “on a par” with the United States. The chancellor and several ministers of Germany formulated conditions for continued cooperation with the US government, while holding out the prospect of a “stronger Europe,” which, according to Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, should be capable of independently “coping successfully” with the “reality of crises and wars outside the bounds of the European Union.” Appropriate rearmament measures are being prepared. The chancellor conceives of a military budget increase of around eight percent annually, while the discussion on German-European nuclear arms is continuing. Publicists are hinting at the possibility of Berlin sharing influence over the Force de Frappe through co-financing France’s nuclear arms arsenal. Berlin is still relying on the alliance with Washington, at least for the time being, because rearmament and access to nuclear arms take time. Continue reading

German Army Continues to Swallow Its Neighbors

So far from what we’ve seen over the years, a European Army is shaping up with the following countries being participants or having some level of cooperation/integration:

  • Germany
  • France
  • the Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Czech Republic
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland

 

 

Czech Republic and Romania are sending major chunks of their armies to the Bundeswehr.

Czech and Romanian brigade will be integrated into divisions of the German army. The agreement is to be signed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers tomorrow. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which broke the story on February 2, wrote, “The Bundeswehr is developing into the leading NATO army in Europe.”

The agreement is the most dramatic of a series of arrangements Germany is negotiating to deepen its cooperation with other countries. The EU Observer summarized the FAZ’s report, noting, “The longer-term strategy would turn the Bundeswehr into the leading NATO army in Europe, with small countries integrating their military forces into the German command structures.”

Two thirds of the Dutch army’s command structure began to integrate into the German army last year. Continue reading

Germany to deepen military ties with France, others: sources

A German soldier holds NATO flag during a ceremony to welcome the German battalion being deployed to Lithuania as part of NATO deterrence measures against Russia in Rukla, Lithuania February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

Germany will move forward this week with plans to set up a joint fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J transport planes with France and join a Netherlands-led fleet of Airbus A330 tanker planes, defense ministry sources said on Monday.

Those and several other initiatives with Norway, Romania and the Czech Republic are part of a broader drive to expand European defense cooperation to be announced at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, the sources said. Continue reading

European Union NEEDS it’s own military to thwart terror threats, German minister claims

German defence secretary Ursula Von der Leyen

German defence secretary Ursula Von der Leyen [Getty]

 

THE European Union needs to develop a military wing to confront looming security threats, the German defence minister has said.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump, said NATO had failed to prevent terrorist attacks on US and sparking fears that the President would withdraw America from the intergovernmental military alliance.

Mrs Von der Leyen shrugged off Mr Trump’s comments, but admitted the had to step up its game by modernising its military defence to match NATO’s. Continue reading

EU Takes Concrete Steps Toward a Military

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini gives a press conference on the European Defense Action Plan at EU headquarters in Brussels on November 30. (JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

 

EU leaders say Europe needs a defense union so it can be a ‘superpower.’

Nations in the European Union have often talked about working together on defense. Many pro-EU politicians wanted some form of an EU army. But in terms of having actual, practical plans, they have had little success—until now.

On November 14, EU defense and foreign ministers agreed on concrete steps toward greater European military cooperation. Continue reading

Germany: Trump victory to spur EU military union

https://s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/euobs-media/3e9ea6073fd4855a0d6171a468f0ed4c.jpg

German soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan (Photo: Wir. Dienen. Deutschland.)

 

Donald Trump’s victory, as well as Brexit, ought to speed up plans for EU defence integration, Germany has said.

“Europe needs common political will for more security policy relevance. The outcome of the election in America could provide an additional impetus”, German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said in an opinion article in the Rheinische Post, a German newspaper, on Thursday (10 November).

“The Brexit decision and the election in the United States have set a new course” for the EU, she added.

She said it was “difficult for Germany and Europe, on the day after the election, to assess what to expect from a Trump presidency”. Continue reading

An Essential Part of the West

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – After Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, the German government announced that it will continue its close cooperation with the United States and is calling for enhancing Germany’s position in the transatlantic relationship. Chancellor Angela Merkel “offered” President-elect Donald Trump “close cooperation” on the basis of particular conditions. Jürgen Hardt, the German government’s Coordinator of Transatlantic Relations, spoke of the “necessity for us Europeans, and particularly for us Germans, to assume more responsibility.” This “responsibility” would “grow” under a US President Trump and this concerns “all … instruments of foreign and security policy.” The call for more German influence reiterates positions recently voiced in Berlin’s foreign policy establishment, demanding “not to leave stability policy proposals up to the USA,” but to independently evaluate how to “shape the future global order.” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, are linking this demand to a call for significantly increasing the German military budget.

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