Home » today » News » Berbok in the Middle East glass shop – 2024-02-23 19:13:27

Berbok in the Middle East glass shop – 2024-02-23 19:13:27

/ world today news/ German Foreign Minister Analena Berbock is preparing to start her fourth tour in the Middle East after the outbreak of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on October 7. She previously visited Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This time, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Sebastian Fischer said the visit would consist of two parts: first the Middle East, then Southeast Asia.

Berbok’s trip will begin with a visit to Israel, where he will meet with his new Israeli counterpart Israel Katz and President Yitzhak Herzog, before holding talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki before heading to Egypt and Lebanon.

The main topics of the negotiations are expected to be the tragic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the complicated situation in the West Bank, as well as the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border. Further efforts to free Israeli hostages held by Hamas will also be discussed.

Judging by the restrained reaction of the German press, serious experts in Berlin do not pin any hopes on the upcoming Middle East tour of the foreign minister. For objective and subjective reasons. If we talk about the former, then Berbock’s visit comes at a time when, according to polling data from DeutschlandTrend, the share of people satisfied with her work as foreign minister has decreased by 7 percentage points to 31 percent compared to December 2023.

German experts note, that “the country’s foreign policy is in a stupor when real discussion of its failures is replaced by discussions of Berbok’s make-up” or why “Chancellor Olaf Scholz must explain himself to the world community after every statement by the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Furthermore, they specifically state that Germany’s relations with its four main neighbors France, Poland, Italy and the United Kingdom are at their worst in decades.”

As for the Middle East, until recently Germany, which has a historical tradition of presence in this region of the world, despite the Atlantic foreign policy solidarity, has maintained its desire to use the so-called “crisis diplomacy”, to come up with various initiatives and promote them in real politics.

Thus, Der Spiegel recalls how Berbock’s direct predecessor in this post, the Social Democrat Heiko Maas, once managed to get the warring parties in the Libyan civil war to sit down at the negotiating table in Berlin. True, nothing came of it – the war in Libya continued, but Maas was praised for such mediation.

But the most authoritative figure in the Middle East was Frank-Walter Steinmeier, but before his failure in the Ukrainian crisis within the so-called Normandy format. He actively participated in the Iran nuclear agreement, the settlement of the situation in Yemen, Iran-Saudi relations, while feeling and understanding that the transformation of the regional subsystem of the Middle East is taking place.

It was not by chance that Steinmeier proposed a variety of initiatives to resolve conflicts, as well as to deepen economic cooperation with the countries of the region. But all that has already passed.

Germany now has a coalition government consisting of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is headed by Berbok, who “infused into the country’s foreign policy the ideas of morality, human rights and liberal values, integrating it strictly into the course of US policy in the package of traditional protection of Israeli interests”.

Which deprived German diplomacy of any room for maneuver. From her side, only empty words are heard and “the necessary applications for the coexistence of the two states of Israel and Palestine”. Returning to the current situation, Burbock’s visit to the Middle East will follow a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. However, he will work on certain ideas and projects on Gaza and other issues during the negotiations. And why and with what does Berbok fly there?

Now for the subjective points. Berbok failed to create the necessary external image in the Islamic world. Or she gives someone the wrong gift, as happened in Saudi Arabia, where she gave an “inappropriate” gift to her colleague, then they “forget” to meet her at the airport, then her plane breaks down.

It is not by chance that the native media allegedly “accidentally” often publish photos of her “in a feminist image”, in various outfits. Once, who knows why, she remembered to appear at a diplomatic reception in an Arab country in a short dress, flashing her bare knees.

In this regard, some regional experts write that “when they meet with Berbok in their offices, her colleagues, heads of ministries of foreign affairs, do not know where to look first – at her face or at her often exposed knees, too the plunging neckline, or to taste her longing gaze from under her eyelashes. It is unlikely that such a note will be removed from Berbok’s diplomatic etiquette during a visit to the region this time.

But all this, as an Arab diplomat wrote, “occurs in the initial, visual stage.” In the Islamic world, they no longer listen to the Europeans, who play either a destructive role in the region or none at all. Besides, Berbock doesn’t have a new diplomatic plan in her bag, and she’s unlikely to offer Israel and other Middle Eastern partners an acceptable format for resolving the Gaza crisis and all. The main thing, as has happened more than once, is that this time she, like an elephant in the “glass shop of the Middle East”, wastes less glassware.

Translation: ES

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