KW 19: North and South Korea in gunfire exchange, Attack in Afrin, China’s strategy in the South China Sea

GREETINGS

Solidarity is more than distributing money: German politician Norbert Walter-Borjans opposes the “deployment, control and especially the use of nuclear weapons”. That sounds nice. It’s much better to be against using nuclear weapons than to advertise firing a nuclear weapon in an unknown direction every year, isn’t it? Wait, does anyone actually want to do that? No. Walter-Borjans’ statement is pure populism and, moreover, it displays a lack of international solidarity.

Nuclear participation ultimately serves all allies in Europe, such as the Baltic States. Germany in particular should therefore stand by its allies, after all, for decades the nuclear protection shield protected us the most.

Solidarity is not just the distribution of taxpayer money for sovereign debt financing within the EU, but also the assumption of responsibility in security policy.

Warm greetings from
Christian Hübenthal
– Editor Defensio Briefing –

NEWS

Afghanistan levels accusations against Iran in border conflict: Afghanistan is investigating reports Afghan migrants drowned after being tortured and pushed into a river by Iranian border guards. The migrants were caught trying to enter Iran illegally from the western Herat province on Friday, according to local media. Afghanistan’s foreign ministry said an inquiry had been launched and a senior official in the presidential palace in Kabul said initial assessments suggested at least 70 Afghans who were trying to enter Iran from bordering Herat province were beaten and pushed into the Harirud river. Some of them are said to have died. The Iranian consulate in Herat denied the allegations.
bbc.com, reuters.com

US prepared to recognize Israeli annexation of parts of West Bank: The United States has said it was ready to recognize Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank but asked Israel’s government to also negotiate with the Palestinians. “We are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank,” a US State Department spokesperson said when asked if the US would allow Israel’s new government to move forward with the process. The step would be “in the context of the government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump’s vision,” the spokesperson told “The Times of Israel”. “The annexation would be in the context of an offer to the Palestinians to achieve statehood based upon specific terms, conditions, territorial dimensions and generous economic support. This is an unprecedented and highly beneficial opportunity for the Palestinians,” the State Department spokesperson said.
timesofisrael.com

North and South Korea in gunfire exchange: North and South Korea have exchanged gunfire in the Demilitarized Zone which divides the two countries. Seoul’s military said shots from the North hit a guard post in the central border town of Cheorwon. It said it returned fire and delivered a warning announcement. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told US media the shots from the North were believed to be accidental. No injuries were reported in the incident.
bbc.com

Attack in Afrin: A fuel truck bomb in a market in northern Syria killed at least 46 people including Turkish-backed rebel fighters, according to US officials and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Observatory, said at least 46 people had been killed and 50 wounded, some critically, adding that the death toll could rise. At least six pro-Turkish Syrian fighters were among the dead, he added. The Turkish defense ministry blamed the attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it views as a terrorist offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).
theguardian.com

Activist publishes Rheinmetall internal documents: Arms company Rheinmetall has been affected by a data leak. Around 1400 internal documents were stolen. The documents were bought by an activist who put them online, freely accessible to all. For the most part, the leak contains delivery notes from suppliers and documents from Rheinmetall’s quality assurance. However, there are also construction plans for components of armored vehicles that are used by the German military. According to Rheinmetall, their own IT system was not hacked. Instead, an external service provider is said to have been the victim of a cyber attack.
tagesschau.de

Lebanon: Banks set on fire during anti-government protests zeit.de
Military exercises: German Bundeswehr exercise with hundreds of soldiers – despite coronavirus tagesspiegel.de
Arte documentary: Does Europe need an army? tagesspiegel.de
United Nations: UN accuse Myanmar’s army of war crimes zeit.de
German interior ministry: Hezbollah completely banned in Germany tagesschau.de

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

The German Bundeswehr’s military shielding service exposed 14 extremists in 2019.
sueddeutsche.de

BACKGROUND

China’s strategy in the South China Sea: The South China Sea plays an important role for China. In April, the People’s Republic established two new administrative districts in the city of Sansha, located 900 km southeast of the Chinese island of Hainan. The districts show how important the claim to sovereignty over the sea is for China. The US is now accusing China of using the coronavirus crisis, which is currently a priority for many countries, for its own purposes. “The US is firmly opposed to China’s patronization,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The conflict between the United States and China is about to worsen. A US warship reached the controversial region last week. For Beijing, this represents an intrusion into Chinese waters without a permit. The Chinese government has announced plans to send planes and ships to watch and warn the US ship to leave the region. Overall, China claims around 80 percent of the South China Sea. The international arbitration tribunal rejected China’s claim in a dispute between the People’s Republic and Manila, but China continues to stick to its tactics of creating artificial islands to consolidate its claim to power at sea.
sueddeutsche.de

Court ruling of Zschäpe trial published: The judgment of the Munich Higher Regional Court in the case of Beate Zschäpe and four other defendants is 3025 pages long. Zschäpe was sentenced to life in prison in July 2018. Her co-defendants received sentences of two and a half to ten years. The reasoning for the judgment, which has now been sent to those involved in the trial, states that Zschäpe made a contribution “of paramount importance” to the NSU’s terror series. She was involved in almost all aspects, from the procurement of alibis to the discovery of the locations. Zschäpe was never on the scene, but that was part of the trio’s strategy. They had secured the apartment, which served as the “headquarters”. Zschäpe’s task was to destroy evidence in an emergency and to send the confessional DVDs. The judges dismissed Zschäpe’s statements that she only found out about the actions of the two men Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt afterwards and that she was put under pressure not to say anything. While a psychological report by Zschäpe’s defense attests her to have a “dependent personality disorder”, which implies reduced guilt, the court referred to expert Henning Saß, who sees “sophistication and discipline” in Zschäpe.
taz.de

Bundeswehr mission in Mali during corona pandemic: In times of the pandemic, changing the Bundeswehr contingent is all the more difficult. This is also evident in Mali, where the Bundeswehr currently trains Malian soldiers. A captain reports that he had to isolate himself for two weeks before departing for Mali to avoid becoming infected and possibly bringing the virus with him. The Bundeswehr soldiers who arrive in Mali are housed in a container settlement near the city of Gao, where they will spend about two more weeks, shielded from the population and their comrades. But even after this period has passed, there is currently little to do for the soldiers. The training of the Malian allies has been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis. The European Union Training Mission (EUTM) is currently limited to a minimum of around 50 soldiers. The United Nations’ stabilization mission (Minusma) is not as badly affected by the pandemic. But German soldiers are isolated here too. Some partner countries have suspended their quota changes until further notice. Meanwhile, the region’s jihadists continue to fight. “The jihadists take advantage of the opportunity presented to them,” said a source from Mali. The terrorist groups are using the pandemic to launch new attacks and recruit fighters. The country’s political instability and great poverty are now playing into the hands of the jihadists. In addition, the Malian population has less and less confidence in foreign military missions. According to a 2019 poll, 80 percent of the Malian population was dissatisfied with Minusma’s work.
zeit.de

QUOTE

“Unilateral steps that undermine the trust of our closest partners and European neighbors do not bring us closer to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is in favor of the US deployment of nuclear weapons in Germany.
dw.com

SECURE?

Venezuela accuses two US citizens of attempting invasion: US President Donald Trump denied Tuesday any American government involvement in what Venezuela called a failed armed incursion into their country that led to the arrest of two Americans. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Monday that authorities arrested 13 terrorists after a failed beach raid. He accused the Trump administration of helping coordinate the plot with the aim to capture the socialist leader.
nbcnews.com

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