Kidnapped German curator freed by Iraq military: German arts curator Hella Mewis was freed by Iraqi security forces early Friday, Iraqi officials said. Mewis was taken by armed militants on Monday night from the street near the art collective she helped set up in Bagdad. The Berlin-born art curator was reported missing on Tuesday by friends and activists who said she wasn’t answering her phone. Mewis is a prominent figure in the Iraqi art scene and a known supporter of the widespread demonstrations that erupted last year against the Iraqi government, which critics accuse of being corrupt and too close to Iran. Her abduction sparked concern among other foreigners and activists living in the country and authorities have not given any information about who was behind her disappearance.
New escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan: The military conflict on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is getting worse, reaching the bloodiest phase since 2016 – 19 people have been killed so far. Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of using “large-caliber machine guns and sniper rifles”. On the Armenian side, however, a soldier is said to have been shot by a sniper. The Nagorno-Karabakh region was occupied by pro-Armenian militias in 1991, formally belonging to Azerbaijan. The occupiers proclaimed an autonomous republic, which is not recognized internationally. The Caucasus researcher Uwe Halbach sees several reasons for the breakdown in diplomatic negotiations: on one hand, Russia is supplying arms to both countries, and on the other, the Azerbaijani side does not accept representatives of the autonomous region at the negotiating table.
Merkel apparently prevented military conflict between Turkey and Greece: German Chancellor Angela Merkel prevented a military conflict between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the last minute, according to German newspaper “Bild”. Warships and fighter jets were already on the way, but shortly before an escalation could have occurred, Merkel held a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Germany’s deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer didn’t want to confirm that Merkel had mediated between the two countries, but stated that Merkel had called Erdogan and discussed the situation in the eastern Mediterranean. Shortly thereafter, the Turkish ships turned off on other courses. Relations between Greece and Turkey have been icy: Greece has issued a naval alert after Turkey announced it was sending a ship to carry out a drilling survey in waters close to a Greek island off Turkey’s south coast.
bild.de, tagesspiegel.de, bbc.com
Ukraine says separatists violated ceasefire within hours: A full and comprehensive ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists that entered into force in eastern Ukraine on Monday has already been violated by separatists, Ukrainian military said. “In the middle of the night, the enemy opened fire on the positions of Ukrainian soldiers from hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers and small arms, and … at noon they fired from automatic heavy-duty grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms,” Ukrainian military announced in a statement. Ukrainian, Russian and OSCE negotiators last week agreed on a full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine from Monday. Reaching a ceasefire deal was a precondition for a new Ukrainian crisis summit. The separatist groups said that in addition to the ceasefire, the parties had agreed to ban the use of drones and positioning heavy weapons in built-up areas, measures intended to protect civilians living along the 450-kilometer-long front.
Israel and Hezbollah exchanged fire on Israel’s border with Lebanon: Israel’s military said Monday its forces and Hezbollah exchanged fire on Israel’s border with Lebanon. A Hezbollah cell of between three and five people attempted to cross into Israel via a small strip of disputed land controlled by Israel that borders Lebanon and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, according to Israel’s military. A Hezbollah statement said it had not engaged in any clashes, instead blaming a “nervous” enemy. The area has been tense for days after the death of a Hezbollah fighter who was killed in an alleged Israeli air strike in Syria. Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied it carried out the strike in the early hours of last Monday, had warned Hezbollah not to retaliate.
German military: Soldiers planning a coup zeit.de
Unmarked federal units: Trump government threatens new escalation in Portland cnn.com
Energy security: Nord Stream 2 and the US sanctions heise.de
Libya: Will there be a military conflict between Egypt and Turkey? dw.com
Allegations of espionage: China orders US consulate closure in tit-for-tat move bbc.com
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
According to a UN report, 1200 civilians were killed during fighting in Afghanistan this year.
UK suspends Hong Kong extradition treaty and extends China arms embargo to the city: The UK has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong due to the controversial national security law implemented in the city by mainland China. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was changing its arrangements with Hong Kong to reflect his government’s serious concerns about its new security law, but called for engagement with China. The controversial national security legislation, imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong in July, gives China sweeping new powers over the semi-autonomous city. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused the UK of a grave violation of international law and grossly interfering Chinese internal affairs. China has suspended Hong Kong’s extradition treaties with Canada, Australia, and the UK.
Hezbollah ban has so far led to no results: In March, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer banned Hezbollah and all related activities in Germany. There have been several raids since then, but no arrests. Activities continue from clubs suspected of having ties to Hezbollah. An analysis by the interior ministry in 2018 showed that the supporters of the terrorist militia do not show themselves openly in Germany.
France monitors convicted extremists: On Monday, the French parliament passed a law on “punishment after punishment”. This is designed to ensure that extremist violent offenders can continue to be monitored even after serving their prison terms. The law also makes it possible to impose further requirements. It is controversial whether the law is constitutional. 150 criminals connected to extremist and terrorist activities will be released in the next three years. The legal committee in Paris warns that many of them could endanger public security. The additional requirements and monitoring may apply for five to ten years after the end of a prison stay. However, it will only apply to people who have been behind bars for at least five years.
“Near-Earth space has long been militarized.”
Space expert Kai-Uwe Schrogl fears an arms race in space.
Nuclear weapons to protect North Korea from war? North Korea has commemorated the end of the Korean War 67 years ago. Ruler Kim-Jong Un is said to have participated in the celebrations and assured the population that there would be no more war. The reason: nuclear weapons would protect the country from aggressors now and in the future, he claimed.