KW 41: Berlin district refuses help from the military, Houthi rebels in Yemen don’t want to be classified as a terrorist organization, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict takes toll on civilians

SALUT

Berlin district refuses help from the military:

Berlin’s inner city districts have seen a recent increase in Covid-19 infections. But the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has refused the aid of the federal government’s military, which wanted to send soldiers to help the district trace chains of infections. The local authorities decided to prevent this obviously necessary administrative support for the local health services. The employees and the citizens will pay the price with overtime and longer waiting times. The district assembly of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg must be proud – I suspect that they will propose themselves for the Nobel Peace Prize – if they are allowed to travel to Oslo and if Kreuzberg doesn’t become “Germany’s most peaceful Covid risk area”, where a soldier isn’t even allowed to press buttons on a computer. What can you say to so much attitude? Perhaps congratulations. Or better yet: Stay healthy.

Warm greetings from
Christian Hübenthal
– Editor Defensio Briefing –

NEWS

Houthi rebels in Yemen don’t want to be classified as a terrorist organization: The Trump administration is considering new steps to intensify pressure on Yemen’s Houthi rebels, including a potential foreign terrorist organization designation, according to several officials. The designation would make it illegal to provide support to the Houthis, ban members from traveling to the United States and freeze the group’s financial assets. In an interview with German magazine “Spiegel”, the leader of the Yemeni Houthi rebels, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, contradicted the US portrayal of his militias as a “global terrorist organization”. At the same time, he rejected the accusation that he was closely associated with the Islamic Republic of Iran and that they were equipped with the most modern weapons. The civil war in Yemen has been raging for over five years and is currently the largest humanitarian disaster. The North Yemeni Houthi rebels are a Shiite ethnic group that currently controls large parts of the country as well as the capital Sanaa and is allied with Iran. The internationally recognized President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi is in exile in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is fighting the Houthi rebels with air raids and has imposed a momentous air and sea blockade on the country, which has resulted in a severe famine.
washingtonpost.com, spiegel.de

Belarus opposition leader wants Merkel to up pressure on Lukashenko: Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Tikhanovskaya asked Merkel about her potential participation as a mediator in talks between protest leaders and the government of the embattled autocrat Alexander Lukashenko. Meanwhile, Belarus police have detained 317 people and deployed water cannon during mass protests against Lukashenko.
theguardian.com, bbc.com

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict takes toll on civilians: Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other on Monday of attacking civilian areas and said the death toll was rising from the fighting in the South Caucasus region. Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-94, eventually declaring a ceasefire. However, they have never reached a settlement over the dispute. The current fighting is the worst seen since the ceasefire. Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called for a ceasefire in the region, saying there could be no military solution.
reuters.com, bbc.com

German police officers exposed for being in racist chat group: Another police chat group containing anti-Semitic and racist content has been uncovered in Germany. The ARD magazine Monitor was the first to report the story, relying on exclusively available chat logs that were leaked to the magazine anonymously by Berlin police officers. The logs give an insight into the everyday life in a Berlin police station over a period of more than three years. According to Monitor, more than 25 officers communicated through said chat group, with seven of them being particularly suspicious. In addition to blanket insults of Muslims as “monkeys” and refugees as “rapists” and “rats”, right-wing conspiracy theories were shared such as an alleged planned “population exchange” and anti-Semitic images of “Merkel’s guests”, who spread like “locusts” across the country. At one point, a superior was informed about the chat group, but did not intervene.
tagesschau.de

Mediterranean: Greece says onus on Turkey to ease tensions reuters.com
Bundeswehr: Debate about combat drones sueddeutsche.de
Small inquiry: Police officers abuse confidential data bases netzpolitik.org
Attack: Jewish student seriously injured outside Hamburg synagogue in anti-Semitic attack euronews.com
Navalny: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas calls for harsher sanctions against Russia t-online.de

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

According to “Spiegel” research, Turkey has sent at least 1,000 Syrian mercenaries to aid Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
spiegel.de

BACKGROUND

Internal military deployment? The German military’s powers are clearly defined in the country’s constitution: Its main aim is to defend Germany externally. In contrast, there are strict limits to the military’s internal use. The Bundeswehr can be deployed inside the country in the event of an attack. The constitution also allows three further options: in the case of administrative assistance, in the case of an internal emergency and for disaster relief. The help that the Bundeswehr provides in combating the Covid pandemic, for example at test stations or in tracing chains of infection, falls under “administrative assistance”. Around 1,000 soldiers are currently deployed to support German authorities in their fight against the virus.
br.de

Could Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service soon be allowed to hack? The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) could soon have more extensive powers to hack, thanks to a draft law drawn up by the chancellery. The main point of contention are currently the powers of the intelligence service in non-European countries. It was only in May that the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe put a stop to the BND’s espionage practice abroad.
netzpolitik.org

The results after the Berlin Libya Conference: For several months now, the fight between Libya’s rivals has been at a standstill. Forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Serraj, remain positioned near the strategic coastal city of Sirte. Al-Serraj wants to recapture Sirte from the self-styled eastern-based Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar. With the war at a sensitive juncture, there has been a flurry of diplomacy on Libya.
dpa-international.com

QUOTE

“I am expressly worried about the situation in Berlin. I’m afraid that it is on the verge of no longer being controlled.”
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder on the Covid situation in Berlin.
zeit.de

SECURE?

German unity celebration in times of the pandemic: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Saturday paid tribute to the courage of protesters who led the peaceful revolution that paved the way for the reunification of East and West Germany 30 years ago. Commemorations to mark German Unity Day took place in the city of Potsdam, near Berlin. Such a momentous anniversary would usually be met with fervor, but this year’s festivities have been overshadowed by the pandemic.
dw.com

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