Germany Suspends Training of Peshmerga

Berlin- Germany will suspend its mission training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq because of the conflict between the Kurds and the Iraqi government, the German defense minister said on Wednesday.

Reuters said that Germany has been a major partner for the Iraqi Kurds. It has provided 32,000 assault rifle and machine guns, as well as other weapons valued at around 90 million euros since September 2014.

About 130 German soldiers are based in Erbil where they are providing training to the Kurdish fighters, the news agency said.

The German government, which agreed on Wednesday on three-month extension of seven other foreign assignments for its armed forces, suspended the training of the Kurdish fighters as it sought to “always ensure the unity of Iraq”.

“We had agreed last Friday with the foreign office to pause the training so no wrong signal would be sent,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

The minister said the German mission of equipping and training the Kurds for their fight against ISIS was necessary and the right thing to do.

“We haven’t forgotten how it looked like in 2014 when ISIS tried to commit genocide against the Yazidis and was around 10 km from Baghdad,” she said.

The suspension of the training is temporary and resuming it will depend on daily examination of the situation in Iraq, said the government spokesman on Wednesday.

Germany had warned Iraqi Kurds against holding what it called a “one-sided” referendum and had urged Iraqi and Kurdish officials to avoid any steps that could lead to a further escalation of the situation.

European Countries Will Remain Committed to Nuclear Deal

Trump, Nuclear deal

London– Reactions to the announcement of US President on Iran’s nuclear deal are still surfacing, and despite Germany and UK’s confirmation that they will stand committed to the nuclear deal, both countries stated they are “concerned by the possible implications” of Trump’s refusal to certify it and reiterated the importance of thwarting Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region.

Britain and Germany agreed on Sunday they remained committed to the nuclear deal with Iran even after US’ decision to decertify the agreement.

“They agreed the UK and Germany both remained firmly committed to the deal,” spokeswoman of UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement after a call between the PM and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The spokeswoman stated that the two officials also agreed that the international community needed to continue to come together to “push back against Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, and to explore ways of addressing concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday the US is trying to stay in the Iran nuclear deal while hoping to achieve more from it.

During an interview with CNN, Tillerson said the US is open to the possibility of seeking another agreement.
“We’re going to work with our European partners and allies to see if we can’t address these concerns,” he added.

Tillerson said Iran had committed technical violations of the deal, but that the agreement was structured in a way to give Iran significant time to remedy its violations.

Tillerson explained that Trump demanded a broader strategy on Iran, adding that the US was focused on more issues than simply Iran’s potential nuclear ambitions, citing the nation’s ballistic missile program and support for groups adversarial to the US throughout the Middle East.

“What the President wants is a more comprehensive strategy,” Tillerson confirmed.

He said the US was working to address issues it had with the multilateral agreement and anticipated that might require a new deal.

During several occasions, Tehran confirmed it refuses re-negotiations on its nuclear programs.

Earlier last week, Head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Mohamad Ali Jafari announced that Iran believes that many issues in the region can be solved outside the negotiations’ table.

When asked if he agrees with Defense Minister James Matis, Tillerson said he agrees with the minister that they shouldn’t rush the Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran.

Meanwhile, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said the US will stay in for now, as it looks for ways to help the American people “feel safer” by going to Congress.

“I think what you’re going to see is the president’s going to work very closely with Congress to try and come up with something that is more proportionate, something that does make sense for the US to agree to,” Haley told NBC.

Haley said that Iran should not become the next North Korea.

“So what this says to North Korea is, ‘Don’t expect us to engage in a bad deal. And also, if at any point we do come up with something, expect us to follow through with it. Expect us to hold you accountable. You’re not just going to have a free-for-all,” she stated.

For his part, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that nobody else will trust any US administration to engage in any long-term negotiation.

During an interview with CBS, Zarif reiterated that this is not a bilateral treaty between Iran and the United States, adding that the US is a permanent member of the Security Council and if it’s not going to uphold a resolution, that not only it voted for but it sponsored, then the credibility of the institution that the United States considers to be very important would be at stake.

Zarif warned that this administration is withdrawing from everything and people cannot trust anymore the word of the US.

“I believe the Trump administration is closing its eyes on the realities of our region. We believe it would be important for the United States for the Trump administration to exercise a reset in its cognitive disorder with regard to our region,” Zarif told CBS.

Speaking in an interview with state TV late Saturday, Zarif also said, “Trump’s last night remarks on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are inconsistent with articles 26, 28 and 29 of the treaty.

“The action plan bans the US administration officials from making negative comments on JCPOA,” he said.

The deal is required to be implemented “in good faith” and the US should “refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing” sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme.

Zarif said he lodged nine complaints to the Joint Commission and will write a new one concerning Trump’s statements.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to Trump’s statements saying no president could single-handedly revoke an international document backed by UN. He added that Trump’s decision made the US more isolated than ever.

The future of the agreement is at stake, now that the Congress has 60 days to decide whether it will re-impose sanctions on Iran or not.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi declared that the country would no longer abide by the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the nuclear deal fell apart.

“Without the nuclear agreement its application is meaningless,” Salehi told state television.

He warned that Iran could very quickly return to the production of highly enriched uranium if the US reimposed sanctions.

“If one day, the leaders of the country conclude that the nuclear agreement is no longer to the benefit of the country and decide to resume 20 percent enrichment we can do so within four days,” he said.

World Cup 2018 Power Rankings: Germany on Top among Qualified 23


London – Twenty-three nations have booked their places for the World Cup in Russia, with the holders and Brazil looking in good shape, but we rank England in 13th place, below Iceland:

1) Germany
If the world champions were frustrated by their failure to win continental honors at Euro 2016 they have certainly taken it out on everyone else since. Germany won 10 qualifying games out of 10 and, even if San Marino’s presence in Group C needs taking into account, a record 43 goals scored suggests things are back in their old working order. So too did their Confederations Cup title in July, achieved with an experimental squad. Joachim Löw can select from an unrivaled depth of talent and, while winning back-to-back World Cups remains a huge task, none of next summer’s contenders has an equivalent selection of tools with which to tackle the different challenges they will face.

2) Brazil
Brazil look revitalized under Tite and the light work they made of the fiendish Conmebol qualifying procedure was deeply impressive. The manager has openly stated they should be listed among the leading contenders next summer; it is hard to disagree and it is worth listening to Dani Alves when he says Tite’s human touch makes him “very distant from all Brazilian coaches”. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho and an energized Paulinho are among those benefiting from the transformation and perhaps a sequence of failing to lift the trophy since 2002 will be ended in Russia.

3) Spain
Will it aid Spain that, certainly unlike most of their European rivals, they have already had to dispose of another World Cup contender in the qualifiers? Italy may well make it through the play-offs and, in fairness the rest of Group G was not up to much, but that 3-0 win at the Bernabéu last month was ominous and La Roja’s new generation appear ready to challenge seriously next summer. Álvaro Morata is developing into a genuinely world-class striker; Marco Asensio has a glittering career ahead at just 21; and the in-form Isco, who scored twice against the Italians, has been given room to express himself by Julen Lopetegui. Spain have emerged from their rough period to look a major force once again.

4) France
Qualifying was not without the odd hiccup – but for the frame of the goal that home draw with Luxembourg could have become something far more humiliating – but France did well in one of the more awkward groups and the potential of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé trumps that of virtually any side that will be playing in Russia. Can Didier Deschamps get the best out of them all? If he can then France, who have few obvious weaknesses on paper, will deserve to be ranked among the favorites next summer.

5) Belgium
Belgium put on one of Europe’s better qualifying campaigns, negating any real threat from two potentially tricky rivals in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece. Perhaps the unlikely combination of the Spaniard Roberto Martínez and the Frenchman Thierry Henry can deliver where Marc Wilmots failed and produce a run of convincing tournament performances. Romelu Lukaku’s form for club and country makes Christian Benteke’s struggles all the less troublesome, while Dries Mertens is in the form of his life for Napoli. None of their other mainstays need too much introduction and there remains the tantalizing prospect that, should everything be harnessed correctly, Belgium can do something special.

6) Portugal
They only scraped into the automatic qualification place although, save for a post-Euro 2016 hangover defeat in Switzerland, there was not too much wrong with Portugal’s campaign. Now the question is whether Fernando Santos can get players such as Bernardo Silva and André Silva to perform on the highest stage, and whether Cristiano Ronaldo – who will be 33 when Russia 2018 comes around – can handle a game every three or four days for, potentially, a month. Should Santos succeed then Portugal ought to be more fluid than the team that did not win too many friends in taking the European title.

7) Argentina
The bones will be picked out of a qualifying campaign that flirted with disaster and required saving by a Lionel Messi masterclass in Ecuador, but Argentina have made it and will automatically be installed as one of the favorites. It is worth pointing out that everyone bar Brazil came close to missing out in an extraordinary Conmebol qualifying group; it will also be a big concern, though, that the gap between Jorge Sampaoli’s team and their bitterest rivals – whom they did defeat in a summer friendly – was so big. They certainly have the individual talent to bridge it in Russia – and, in what will probably be his last World Cup, Messi has the incentive to deliver more magic.

8) Poland
There is a strut to Poland under Adam Nawalka and they fit neatly into any “dark horse” assessment – not least because the world’s sixth-ranked side will be one of the eight seeded teams in Russia. That is almost entirely down to their outstanding form during qualifying, marred only by a puzzling 4-0 defeat in Denmark; goals are not usually a problem and especially not for Robert Lewandowski, who scored 16 of their 28 in Group E. They are fast and assertive at their best. The worry would be that, as seemed to be the case at Euro 2016, Lewandowski may try to do too much and blunt his own effectiveness in the penalty area.

9) Mexico
The urbane Juan Carlos Osorio may not be universally popular in Mexico but his team barely had to break sweat in a poor qualifying group, an irrelevant (to them) late defeat away to Honduras notwithstanding. The Colombian Osorio has been criticized for his rotation of players, among other things but El Tri play with clarity and, with Carlos Vela and Javier Hernández both in their prime, carry a serious threat. It is still hard to see them mustering a performance that can overthrow one or more of the favorites, though.

10) Nigeria
Nigeria have started to get their house in order and there is distinct optimism around a generation of players that looks their best hope of a last-eight spot in some years. Victor Moses, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi add Premier League quality. The coach, the German Gernot Rohr, has molded a balanced and organized side that can be lethal on the counterattack and maybe, after a series of nondescript World Cup appearances, Nigeria are now equipped for something more.

11) Uruguay
The one guarantee with Uruguay is that they will always hang in there and second place in the South American qualifiers was a pleasant tonic after a run of three consecutive defeats either side of Christmas. Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani always give you a decent chance and they have an exceptional midfield talent coming through behind them in Federico Valverde. They finished up in good form with a 4-2 win over Bolivia although, with 20 goals conceded, Óscar Tabárez may be concerned that some of their time-honored solidity needs recapturing.

12) Iceland
The Iceland manager, Heimir Hallgrimsson, believes his side should turn up in Russia with the same hope of winning as anyone else. Nobody would dare laugh nowadays: Iceland kept their heads to win a fiendish Group I after Croatia folded with the finishing line in sight, and the question now is whether they can at least emulate their last-eight finish of Euro 2016. They can be such a difficult team to analyze, sometimes lacking an obvious pattern of play, but they benefit from an exceptional knowledge of one another and unswervable self-belief. Those two factors, added to the match-winning excellence of Gylfi Sigurdsson, could leave them perfectly equipped for another eye-catching campaign.

13) England
England were barely dealt a single problem in the most sterile of qualifying groups. Performances in the last two major tournaments speak rather less favorably of their prospects and they are left in a curious position where, after years in which their potential was often grossly overstated, expectations will perhaps move a little exaggeratedly in the other direction. Gareth Southgate’s team are competent enough and have an outstanding striker in Harry Kane; the problem is that nothing about what goes on behind him seems at all intuitive. There has been plenty of talk about lessons being learned in the team’s wider approach to tournament football; that may be so but the smart money is still on England pulling through the group stage comfortably enough before floundering against bolder opponents.

14) Egypt
What a story Egypt’s World Cup qualification, their first since 1990, provided and the good news might not stop there. Héctor Cúper’s team showed at the Africa Cup of Nations, where they finished runners-up to Cameroon, that they know their way around a major tournament and in Mohammed Salah they have a talisman who can decide tight games against anyone. They have an experienced spine, plenty of momentum and an immediate target – the Argentinian Cúper has already asked them to make the last 16 and, if they can take the initiative against sides that drop deep, it should not be beyond them.

15) Colombia
Colombia spluttered over the line and will need to be better if their quarter-final finish of 2014 is to be emulated. It is almost certainly a final chance on this stage for Radamel Falcao, who so cruelly missed out four years ago, while a repeat of last time around from James Rodríguez – generally disappointing since then – will probably be in order too. José Pekerman was relieved his team secured qualification by drawing with Peru and the resilience the Argentina-born coach showed in the critical draw in Peru will be required in spades eight months from now.

16) Serbia
It has been quite a turnaround for Serbia since, almost exactly three years ago, they underwent the shame of that fateful Euro 2016 qualifier against Albania and the picture looks altogether brighter now after they came top of a hard Group D. Nemanja Matic is the linchpin of a team with a pleasing blend of youth and experience. Slavoljub Muslin probably lacks the goalscoring power for a deep run next summer, but Serbia have been under-performing for some time and should, as a minimum, provide larger countries with an awkward moment or two.

17) Iran
“Team Melli” have never been past the group stage at a World Cup and, while they topped Group A in Asia’s third qualifying round by seven points, it would appear difficult for the Portuguese Carlos Queiroz to inspire something better next summer. Iran found it much harder to put teams away than their position suggested, although they were hardly averse to grinding out a result – five away games brought just two goals in total, both in 1-0 victories. They have a solid defense and a forward of great talent in Sardar Azmoun, but may struggle against stronger sides.

18) Costa Rica
Costa Rica continue to punch above their weight and their record in qualifying against the USA – inflicting two grievous blows in winning 4-0 and 2-0 – was eye-catching. They have a world-class goalkeeper in Keylor Navas although the squad as a whole is aging somewhat. It is a stretch to imagine they have the potential to reach the quarter-finals again, although only a fool would dismiss them out of hand. Their last meeting with a European side, a narrow defeat to Spain two years ago, suggests they should compete.

19) Japan
Vahid Halilhodzic looked to be on borrowed time before Japan, in beating Australia 2-0 six weeks ago, secured their progress to a sixth successive World Cup. The chances of bettering their two last-16 finishes seem fairly remote, although the Bosnian Halilhodzic took Algeria through the group stage in 2014 and, in a funny way, looks a better fit for the final tournament than for the qualifiers. Japan have plenty of European experience these days but, like Algeria, will still need to show signs of over-performing to move up these rankings.

20) Russia
Rarely has the buildup to a World Cup brought such little local enthusiasm for the home team, although Qatar may run Russia close in four years’ time. At the Confederations Cup it was Cristiano Ronaldo, rather than Stanislav Cherchesov’s stodgy side, that brought the crowds out in their droves and there is little obvious reason for that to change. Friendly results, including a win achieved in a slightly eccentric assignment against Dinamo Moscow, have been decent enough but it would currently take an optimistic soul to look beyond a last-16 exit at best.

21) Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia thanked Bert van Marwijk for taking them to a first World Cup in 12 years and promptly parted company with the Dutchman, negotiations for a new contract breaking down amid suggestions that he was not spending enough time in the country. It means they have lost the services of a 2010 World Cup finalist – with Holland – for next year’s tournament and the Argentinian Edgardo Bauza, who had been coaching their qualifying group B rivals the United Arab Emirates, will lead them to Russia instead. They did well to pip Australia to automatic qualification and look forward to players such as the prolific Mohammed al-Sahlawi to step up and have an impact.

22) South Korea
An unconvincing set of qualifiers was compounded by friendly defeats to Russia and Morocco – 4-2 and 3-2 respectively – this month and optimism is distinctly lacking. South Korea have not won a game since March, when they beat Syria 1-0, and bar the admirable Son Heung-min they possess few names to make opponents sit up. Shin Tae-yong, appointed in July, has a battle on his hands – not least to win round South Korea’s fans, who still hold out hope of a glorious return to the fold for Guus Hiddink.

23) Panama
Barely known to most without a keen interest in the Concacaf qualifying tournament, Panama are a welcome new face and will be ready to bloody a nose or two. If we are being harsh, their form in a group low on quality was essentially middling – and they had a decisive slice of luck against Costa Rica on Tuesday when their equalizer was given despite not crossing the line – but nobody in the country will care. They disrupted the USA, among others, with some strong-arm tactics on the road to Russia – perhaps recalling Honduras’s performance at Brazil 2014.

The Guardian Sport

EU: Washington Does Not Have Authority to Terminate Iran Nuclear Deal


London – European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stressed on Friday that US President Donald Trump does not have the authority to terminate the nuclear deal world powers signed with Iran in wake of his recent announcement of a new strategy against Tehran.

She said: “The president of the United States has many powers, but not this one.”

Trump had announced during a speech unveiling during which he unveiled the new strategy that he could terminate the deal at any time.

In other European reactions to Trump’s stance, France, Germany and Britain said in a joint statement that preserving the nuclear deal “falls within our national interest.”

French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romat said in a statement that the deal was a strong tool to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert stated: “We have a great interest in the continuation of this international unity. If … an important country like the United States comes to a different conclusion as appears to be the case, we will work even harder with other partners to maintain this cohesion.”

Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano declared on Friday that Tehran is “subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.”

He added that Iran is honoring its commitments.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that FM Sergei Lavrov had telephoned his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif on Friday, saying that Moscow will remain completely committed to the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Lavrov told Zarif that Russia was firmly determined to implement the deal in the form in which it was approved by the United Nations Security Council, reported Reuters.

The Kremlin meanwhile warned of “negative and dire consequences” if Washington withdrew from the deal, saying that Tehran would reciprocate such a move.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that spiking the deal “would undoubtedly hurt the atmosphere of predictability, security, stability and non-proliferation in the entire world.”

Echoing Moscow’s stance, Beijing reiterated its commitment to the nuclear deal with Iran.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman hoped that all sides would continue to support and implement the agreement.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “strongly hoped” the Iran nuclear deal will remain in place, after Trump accused Iran of violating the accord.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric noted that Guterres had long praised the 2015 pact as a very important breakthrough to stem the spread of nuclear weapons and advance global peace.

Abu Dhabi to Participate in Frankfurt International Book Fair


Abu Dhabi, London – Dar Al Kutub at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi will travel to Frankfurt, Germany to showcase Abu Dhabi’s dynamic and diverse publishing industry at the world’s largest publishing trade fair.

Celebrating 10 years of the Kalima Project, Dar Al Kutub’s (The National Library) presence at the fair will highlight a selection of more than 100 titles that have been translated from German to Arabic since the project began.

It highlights the translation of works by renowned German writers and literary scholars, including Herta Muller, Michael Marr, Peter Stamm, Ralph Rotman, Daniela Dantes, Daniel Kehlmann, Christa Wolf and Otfried Preussler.

The seminar will be presented by the German Writer and Journalist Stephan Feidner, and will feature Saeed Hamdan, director of Program Management at the National Library Department, Klaus Reichert, president of the German Academy of Language and Literature, and Jordanian poet and interpreter, Mustafa Al-Slaiman.

The fair will be held between October 11 and 15.

Kalima is also organizing a session to highlight the problem of book piracy and intellectual property rights. It will discuss measures to protect authors’ rights, raise awareness on intellectual property protection and promote relevant laws and regulations in response to the global developments in this field.

Aiming to motivate and support creativity in several fields, the symposium will be run by the German Critic Hans Obrist, and will feature Petra Hard from the SuperCamp Publishing house, and Dr. Mathiew Eliot, publishing rights’ official at Kalima.

As part of the discussions focusing on the development of the publishing industry, the library management in Dar Al Kutub will organize a dialogue session on the reality and future of the publishing industry in the Arab world. It will highlight state efforts to promote and empower the industry through the application of international standards and qualifications.

The session will host speakers Abdullah Majid Al Ali, executive director of the Acting Library Sector, and Sheikha Al-Muhairi, acting director of Libraries Department.

World Hungers for Sand while Germany has much of it


Berlin – As incredible as it sounds, the world is running out of sand. Or at least the kind of sand that industries need.

According to the UN Environment Program (UNEP), sand and gravel, known as aggregates, are used in volumes greater than any other raw material on earth except water. And their use greatly exceeds natural renewal rates, the program says.

Kay-Christian Emeis, director of the Institute of Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Center for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG) near Hamburg, Germany, says that worldwide demand for sand is enormous, an estimated 14 billion tons annually, more than half of which is used in Asia.

UNEP explained that sand is indispensable in the industry of many things, such as glass, paper, toothpaste, detergents, cosmetics, electronics and aeronautics, and it is used predominantly in construction and land restorations. Concrete is made with cement, water, sand and gravel.

Even desert countries, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, import sand (marine sand) from Australia, for example to build their skyscrapers.

Harald Elsner, a geologist at Germany’s Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) notes that the mineral composition and grain-size distribution of desert sand are not suited to construction.

Most desert sand cannot be used for concrete or land reclamation, as wind erosion shapes round grains that do not blend well, UNEP added.

When Dubai created a group of 300 artificial islands representing a map of the world, it used 450 million tons of Australian sand. As the HZG explains, desert sand would be blown away much too quickly.

The worldwide construction boom, particularly in China, has not left Germany a bystander. According to government statistics, more than 270,000 dwellings in Germany were either newly built or reconstructed in 2016, which is a high record.

This year, the German Construction Industry Federation expects the number to top 300,000.

Berlin Opera House Thanks Taxpayers with Free Concert


Berlin – Berlin’s Opera House thanked German taxpayers with a free concert on Saturday. It was attended by hundreds of citizens, whose money contributed to the reopening of the historic building.

About 300 people attended the “Concert for Berlin,” which was also broadcast live.

The Opera House’s director Daniel Barenboim thanked taxpayers for the renovation of the 250-year-old building.

The Berlin Opera Hall was reopened on Tuesday after a seven-year renovation.

The renovation process cost a total of 400 million euros. They were equally funded by the federal budget and the local budget of the Berlin Municipality.

Some free seats remained vacant at the concert, which featured performances of the works of Italy’s Giuseppe Verdi and England’s Edward Elgar.

Celebration of the opera house’s reopening began on Tuesday and ended over the weekend.

The opera is scheduled to close for two months to allow musicians, exhibitors and employees to adapt to the new technology installed at the building.

EU Sets Duties on Iran, Russia Steel

London- The European Union has decided to set duties on hot-rolled steel from four countries, including Iran and Russia, as Germany invited ministers and senior officials from leading steel producing states to a meeting in Berlin on Nov. 30 to discuss overcapacity in the sector.

The EU set on Friday the duties on steel from Brazil, Iran, Russia and Ukraine after a complaint by manufacturers in the union that the product used for construction and machinery was being sold at excessively low prices.

The EU will levy anti-dumping tariffs of between 17.6 and 96.5 euros ($20.6-112.8) per ton from Saturday, its official journal said.

The European Commission had initially proposed setting a minimum price – of 472.27 euros per ton – but revised its proposal after failing to secure backing from EU member states.

In a related development, sources said that officials from countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are expected to join the Nov. 30 meeting in Berlin.

G20 leaders agreed in the last summit they held in Hamburg in July to postpone discussions on a solution to the international differences over the steel market.

“We want to discuss together how we can prevent overcapacity on the global market and guarantee fair competition,” Matthias Machnig, state secretary in the German Economy Ministry, told business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

“Our goal is to avoid new punitive tariffs for our businesses,” Machnig said.

Reports have said that US President Donald Trump is still determined to impose tariffs on steel imports despite repeated delays on a decision.

Return of the German Volk

Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel, the Alternative for Germany party’s leading politicians, in Berlin on Wednesday.

BERLIN— The Volk is back in its tribal sense. That was the message of Alexander Gauland, a leading politician of the extremist Alternative for Germany (or AfD) party, when he vowed on election night to “take back our country and our Volk!”

Volk means people. Sure it does. It’s a simple little word. Sure it is. Gauland was just feeling giddy because his party had won 94 seats in Parliament, a breakthrough that has reshaped German postwar politics. Sure he was.

I would like to believe in the inoffensive nature of this four-letter word. I can’t, not in Gauland’s mouth. His statement raises the question: Take back Germany from whom? The immigrant rabble, I assume, and the half-breed hordes, and the Muslims who, for the AfD, serve as today’s Jews.

The clamor of Hitler was for “Fuhrer, Volk und Vaterland.” Only membership of the Aryan Volk assured non-inclusion among the doomed masses. They, the others, were the “untermenschen,” or sub-humans: the Jews destined for annihilation, the Slavs destined for slavery.

In 1933, Victor Klemperer, the diarist of the Nazi era, wrote: “Yet again a new opportunity for celebration, a new national holiday for the people: Hitler’s birthday. The term Volk (people) is now as customary in spoken and written language as salt at table, everything is spiced with a soupçon of Volk: Volksfest (festival of the people), Volksgenosse (comrade of the people), Volksgemeinschaft (community of the people.)”

The Federal Republic has journeyed, with detours, from this exclusionary “völkisch” identity to one that is open and inclusive. German identity can never be a simple thing; history dictates that. But Germans, with each post-1945 generation, have grown more comfortable with themselves. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said flatly: “The Volk is everyone who lives in this country.”

That would include, in a population of 82 million, more than one million recent immigrants (many of them Syrian). Last year, the Federal Statistical Office said that roughly 18.6 million people in Germany had a migrant background, or 23 percent of the population.

There is a word in German for the population: “Bevölkerung.” It is as flat, straightforward and bland as “Volk” is charged, emotive and tribal. Between “Volk” and “Bevölkerung,” myth and migration, Germany has sought itself. On the whole it has done well.

And yet, as the election this month showed, even a country with a strong economy and low unemployment is not immune to the anger and fear that feeds the AfD. Looking at the world today I hear Bob Dylan’s words: “Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is.”

The something is a violent, reactionary current. It is a rightist, nativist, nationalist and, yes, “völkisch” reaction against globalization, against migration, against miscegenation, against the disappearance of borders and the blurring of genders, against the half-tones of political correctness, against Babel, against the stranger and the other, against the smug self-interested consensus of the urban, global elite.

The indecipherable swirl and cacophony of the modern world feeds unease. Technology is a wonderful thing if you are putting it to use, less so if it is putting an end to your usefulness.

Gauland wants Germany back but the Germany of his fantasy is gone, baby, gone. The British wanted their country back — and got the disaster of Brexit, a delusional act of irreparable self-harm.

Enough Americans wanted something back — a weird, white-dominated pastiche of the 1950s utterly removed from the United States today — to elect Donald Trump, who keeps referring to the need to defend “our people.”

As in: “We need a travel ban for certain dangerous countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people.”

Now, “our people,” in the American case, refers to a nation of immigrants (including Trump’s grandfather from Germany), but Trump’s “defense,” like Gauland’s, targets immigrant hordes. As Marx observed, history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.

Still, the most dangerous thing would be to fail to take these rightist, xenophobic currents seriously, to assume they will go away because logically they should; after all, the world has moved on.

But not all the world: wired metropolises yes, vast peripheries no. The worst form of liberal arrogance is to dismiss the forces that brought Trump to power and are feeding resurgent nationalism around the world. Nobody was ever persuaded by being made to feel stupid.

On the western façade of the Reichstag, which houses the Parliament, is an old inscription: “Dem Deutschen Volke” — “To the German People.” When I lived in Germany, in 2000, there was a furor over a proposal to install in the building a work by the artist Hans Haacke with the illuminated words “Der Bevölkerung” — “To the Population.” Some Germans thought it was insulting. Today, the dedications to people and population are both there.

That’s appropriate. The slogan of the protesting East Germans who brought down the Berlin Wall was “Wir sind das Volk” (“We are the People.”) Words, like history, are many-shaded. It depends how they are used.

The great danger is when they lose their meaning entirely, as with Trump; or are deployed to raise W. B. Yeats’s “blood-dimmed tide,” as with Gauland. When both happen at once, beware.

(The New York Times)

The World Applauds King Salman’s Order Allowing Women to Drive

Washington, London, Berlin – Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to drive was widely supported around the world, as international leaders have officially welcomed the King’s order.

US President Donald Trump commended the royal order to apply the traffic system and its executive regulations – including issuance of driving licenses – for both males and females alike, the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This is a positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we will continue to support the Kingdom in its efforts to strengthen the Saudi society and economy through reforms like this and the implementation of the Saudi Vision 2030,” Trump said, according to the statement.

The US Department of State has also welcomed the Saudi royal order.

In the daily press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert stressed that this decision was a great step and a very positive sign.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, for his part, tweeted that ending the restrictions represented an “important step in the right direction.”

In London, UK Prime Minister Theresa May described the Saudi decision as an “important step towards gender equality.”

“The empowerment of women around the world is not only an issue I care deeply about, it is also key to nations’ economic development,” she said.

From Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman welcomed Saudi Arabia’s order to grant women the right to drive as “a big step for Saudi society.”

Spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday that Merkel has repeatedly brought up the situation of women during visits to Saudi Arabia. “It is a particularly important issue to her,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a political researcher at Georges Washington University told Asharq Al-Awsat that King Salman’s move to allow Saudi women to drive was a “courageous decision and will open up social and economic prospects for women in Saudi Arabia.”