Archive for the ‘German’ Category

Iran: U.S. Wants More Sanctions; Other Nations Feel Economic “Hurt”

January 2, 2009

A US think tank has warned that diplomacy would not stop Iran’s nuclear program and that harsher sanctions against Tehran should be adopted, a move that could drive a wedge between the White House and Germany.


US President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to “do everything that is required” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including harsher sanctions and, if necessary, military action.

From: Deutsche Welle

“The diplomatic path is not promising,” Middle East expert James Phillips of the conservative US Heritage Foundation wrote, according to the DPA news agency. A carrot-and-stick policy towards Iran holds little hope, he added, because “for Iran, a nuclear weapon is the biggest carrot.”

Phillips warned Obama against meeting with Iranian leaders, and said he believed Tehran would use the event for propaganda and delay tactics. He said Iran was not interested in dialogue and reconciliation with with it calls “the Great Satan.”

Iran’s real Achilles’ heel, he said, was its economy, adding that if hurt by harsher sanctions, the rule of Iran’s fundamentalists could be seriously challenged.

German-Iranian trade

But a new round of sanctions risks magnifying the diverging interests between the US and its allies such as Germany, which still has firm financial connections with Iranian banks and which continues to do business with the Islamic republic of around 70 million inhabitants. In fact, some 75 percent of all medium and small businesses in Iran use German-made equipment.

Read the rest:,,3916


Somali Pirates Chased By German Warship, Helo

December 25, 2008

A German military helicopter chased away pirates on Thursday who were trying to board an Egyptian ship off the coast of Somalia. One of the ship’s crew was shot in the attack.

The bulk carrier with 31 crew was passing through the Gulf of Aden on its way to Asia when gun-toting pirates in a speedboat began pursuing it, said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center.

On Friday, December 26, 2008, China started its anti-piracy deployment:
 China’s Naval Task Force Departs For Historic Near Africa Mission; International Hopes

By EILEEN NG, Associated Press Writer

A passing ship alerted the Kuala Lumpur-based bureau, which asked a multinational naval coalition force in the area to help, said Choong.

In response, the German navy frigate Karlsruhe dispatched a helicopter, a military spokesman said on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

The pirates fled as the chopper reached the vessel, according to a statement from the German military, but not before shooting and injuring one the ship’s crew.

A second helicopter, carrying a medical team, retrieved the injured crew, who is now receiving treatment on the Karlsruhe, the statement said.

Piracy has taken an increasing toll on international shipping this year, especially in the Gulf of Aden — one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. Spurred by widespread poverty in their homeland, Somali pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year.

Read the rest:,4670,Piracy,00.html

The Aimless War: Why Are We in Afghanistan?

December 11, 2008

“Things have gotten a bit hairy,” admitted British Lieut. Colonel Graeme Armour as we sat in a dusty, bunkered NATO fortress just outside the city of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, a deadly piece of turf along Afghanistan‘s southern border with Pakistan. A day earlier, two Danish soldiers had been killed and two Brits seriously wounded by roadside bombs. The casualties were coming almost daily now.

And then there were the daily frustrations of Armour’s job: training Afghan police officers. Almost all the recruits were illiterate. “They’ve had no experience at learning,” Armour said. “You sit them in a room and try to teach them about police procedures – they start gabbing and knocking about. You talk to them about the rights of women, and they just laugh.” A week earlier, five Afghan police officers trained by Armour were murdered in their beds while defending a nearby checkpoint – possibly by other police officers. Their weapons and ammunition were stolen. “We’re not sure of the motivation,” Armour said. “They may have gone to join the Taliban or sold the guns in the market.”

By Joe Klein
Time Magazine

A US soldier is covered in dust close to Afghanistan's border ... 
A US soldier is covered in dust close to Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has arrived in Afghanistan, where the United States is looking to increase its military presence to fight a mounting insurgency.(AFP/File/David Furst)

The war in Afghanistan – the war that President-elect Barack Obama pledged to fight and win – has become an aimless absurdity. It began with a specific target. Afghanistan was where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda lived, harbored by the Islamic extremist Taliban government. But the enemy escaped into Pakistan, and for the past seven years, Afghanistan has been a slow bleed against an array of mostly indigenous narco-jihadi-tribal guerrilla forces that we continue to call the “Taliban.” These ragtag bands are funded by opium profits and led by assorted religious extremists and druglords, many of whom have safe havens in Pakistan.

In some ways, Helmand province – which I visited with the German general Egon Ramms, commander of NATO‘s Allied Joint Force Command – is a perfect metaphor for the broader war. The soldiers from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force are doing what they can against difficult odds. The language and tactics of counter-insurgency warfare are universal here: secure the population, help them build their communities. There are occasional victories: the Taliban leader of Musa Qala, in northern Helmand, switched sides and has become an effective local governor. But the incremental successes are reversible – schools are burned by the Taliban, police officers are murdered – because of a monstrous structural problem that defines the current struggle in Afghanistan.

The British troops in Helmand are fighting with both hands tied behind their backs. They cannot go after the leadership of the Taliban – still led by the reclusive Mullah Omar – which operates openly in the Pakistani city of Quetta, just across the border….

Read the rest: