Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 28/06/13

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

Seit Mai 2012:
Auch an die
Mitglieder des Verteidigungsausschusses
des Deutschen Bundestages.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
John F. Kennedy, Ich bin ein Berliner, 26 Juni 1963

Nabucco: Pipeline-Projekt der OMV gescheitert

http://wp.me/p3kW0r-3z

Massenbach Asia Times: US ‚rebalancing‘ in the Hindu Kush
By M K Bhadrakumar

The entente cordial over Afghanistan, which was the finest flower of the United States‘ „reset“ with Russia during Barack Obama’s first term as president, is wilting.

Moscow has reacted sharply to the triumphalist surprise announcement by senior officials traveling with Obama to the recent Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland regarding the commencement of Afghan peace talks in Doha – though protests from Kabul appear to have put these on hold for the time being.

The talks between US officials and Taliban representatives were due to start on Thursday, but Afghan government anger at the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar forced them to be called off, Reuters has reported.

Senior United States officials project that President Obama has a „hands-on“ role in kick-starting the talks. They singled out Germany, Norway and Britain for having „contributed significantly“ through the past year, but the „core players“ are the governments of Afghanistan, Qatar, Pakistan and the US.

Russia does not figure as a serious enough player in the Afghan endgame, as far as Washington is concerned. The US officials say Washington „particularly appreciates“ Pakistan’s role in the recent months in urging the Taliban to join a peace process. They perceive a „genuine“ shift in Pakistani policy. As they put it,

Pakistan has been genuinely supportive of a peace process … there has in the past been skepticism about their support, but in recent months … we’ve seen evidence that there is genuine support and that they’ve employed their influence such as it is to encourage the Taliban to engage, and to engage in this particular format [at Doha].

Extra leap of faith
Quite obviously, there has been very close US-Pakistan coordination. US Secretary of State John Kerry met Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Kiani at least twice in recent months. Special representative James Dobbins visited Kiani in Rawalpindi a fortnight ago. Kerry telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday and is scheduled to visit Islamabad.

This „genuine“ shift in the Pakistani stance generates optimism in Washington regarding „a regional buy-in for stability in South Asia“. The US officials hope „to get that type of regional consensus“. Evidently, Kerry hopes to utilize his forthcoming visit to Delhi and Islamabad to harmonize the Indian and Pakistani approaches. However, the regional powers such as Russia or India will have to muster the presence of mind to take an extra leap of faith over the inclusion of the Haqqani Network in the Doha talks.

Delhi, in particular, estimates that the Haqqanis perpetrated two murderous attacks on the Indian embassy in Kabul, which resulted in the killing of two senior Indian diplomats. The US had empathized with Delhi but has now done a volte face. There is palpable angst in Delhi.

The US officials now have the following to say about the Haqqani Network by way of justifying the Obama administration’s decision to sit down with them for talks:

We [US] considered the Haqqani Network an especially dangerous element of the overall Taliban movement. So the Haqqanis themselves declare themselves part of the overall [Taliban] movement, and we have all evidence that supports that claim … so we consider them a fully subordinate part of the overall insurgency. So when the Taliban movement opens the office [in Qatar] and is represented by its political commission, that political commission represents, as we understand it, the Haqqani elements as well. We don’t know the exact makeup of the Taliban delegation, but we believe that it broadly represents, as authorized by Mullah Omar, the entire movement to include the Haqqanis.

The sophistry in the argument is self-evident. What emerges is that the so-called „red lines“ that the Obama administration had dictated for the Taliban to observe before the commencement of any formal talks on reconciliation have been coolly abandoned – snapping the links with al-Qaeda, vowing to work within the four walls of the Afghan constitution and abandoning their medieval practices on the human rights front in regard of issues such as the role of women in society.

The senior US officials now say Washington is pretty much satisfied that the Taliban have issued a statement affirming their good intentions. It does not matter that they do not have any access to the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan and the tangled mountains of eastern Afghanistan where the Haqqanis cohabit and have their daily intercourse with the al-Qaeda – leave alone verify whether the profound links that go back by a quarter century have been conclusively ended.

A level playing field
Even so, the Obama administration is willingly suspending its judgment for the sake of commencing direct talks with the Taliban. So, why is the Obama administration doing this?

Without doubt, the US proposes to „incentivize“ the Taliban by meeting their demand for release of their top leaders detained in Guantanamo Bay. The US hopes the detainee exchange will „lead to a diminution in violence.“

The Taliban have since coyly admitted that they are willing to discuss a „truce“. Conceivably, the Taliban will allow the orderly retreat of the US troops. Most important, Obama will link his decision regarding „the exact shape of our [US] commitment, of our presence beyond 2014“ with the outcome of the Doha talks.

In short, the US seeks the Taliban’s acquiescence with the establishment of the American military bases in Afghanistan. But why should the Taliban give up their robust opposition to foreign occupation of their country?

Evidently, Taliban too have a „wish list“. Their (and Pakistan’s) calculation is that time works in their favor. Once ensconced in power in Kabul and in the provinces straddling the Durand Line, they will be in a position to incrementally assert their dominance, being the most cohesive and ideologically motivated group and enjoying the full backing of the Pakistani military.

The plan for the Doha talks did not demand the disarming of the Taliban. Conceivably, Taliban cadres might even merge with the Afghan armed forces. The mother of all ironies will be if the US and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies find themselves in future assisting the „capacity-building“ of the Afghan armed forces consisting largely of the Taliban cadres.

Meanwhile, the Western powers have unilaterally declared an end to all combat operations and their stated intent henceforth will be to prevent a comeback by the al-Qaeda. The Taliban as such are no longer regarded as „enemy“.

No doubt, the Taliban and their Pakistani mentors are fully justified in assessing that with the passage of time, the strategic balance will only work in their favor because the US and its Western allies will not have the stomach to revert to an active „combat role“ once again in what would at any rate by then – in a year or two from now – become a purely fratricidal strife between Afghan groups locked in a struggle for supremacy.

The US officials admit that „the levels and nature of our presence are obviously going to be influenced, on the one hand, by the levels of violence in Afghanistan, and on the other hand, by the presence or absence of international terrorists in or around Afghanistan.“

That is to say, on the basis of Taliban’s guarantee to cease attacks on American soldiers, the US will establish the military bases. In return, Taliban get rehabilitated politically and would certainly relish the „level playing field“ to work toward incrementally establishing their dominance at the inter-Afghan level.

Uses of militant Islam
The Obama administration desperately wants to end the war so that the US could move on to meet the far more important challenges of the containment of China and Russia. But Afghanistan will still remain a crucial theatre, where the needs to remain embedded, given its strategic location geographically.

Unsurprisingly, Russia has begun circling the wagons. Moscow’s emphasis is ostensibly on the US „walking away“ from Afghanistan leaving the unfinished business of the war. In extensive comments earlier in the week during an interview with the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:

I would like to specify that it is not about full withdrawal of US armed forces from Afghanistan in 2014. The USA and its allies plan to keep more than 10,000 troops in IRA [Afghanistan]. The USA intends to leave nine big military bases in Afghanistan. The final decision on this issue has not been made yet Washington is negotiating with Kabul over that.

Unfortunately, the current situation in IRA is far from stability and has aggravation trends. At the same time, we keep having an impression that the Americans and their allies want to leave fast and hand over security responsibility for the Afghan forces without considering the situation in the areas of this process.

Phasing out ISAF [the International Security
Assistance Force] forces in IRA should be coupled with strengthening Afghan security forces despite the decline in their numbers to avoid security collapse to achieve that they are eventually able to control security in their state, to effectively counteract extremist groupings and drug criminals. We do not see any noticeable advancement in this line.

You are right that the today’s processes in Afghanistan seriously affect the entire situation in the region. There is a threat of its destabilization. Even more so that ethnic Uzbek and Tajik extremist and terrorist groupings in the north of IRA are already working on the plans to penetrate territories of Central Asian countries.

But this is public diplomacy on Lavrov’s part. Evidently, what is on the Russian mind is the US’s propensity, historically speaking, to use the extremist Islamist forces to advance its geopolitical agenda. Old habits die hard, and the US has not been averse to such habits although the Cold War has ended. Theaters such as Bosnia, Libya and, arguably, even Syria testify to that.

Afghanistan is the theater where the strategy to harness the militant jihadis was first attempted by the US in a hugely successful way in the 1980s. The Afghan playpen is still open for the US to pick up the threads where it left in the early 1990s.

Paradoxically, it suits the US geo-strategy to have the Taliban return to power and Afghanistan becoming an „Islamic“ state. The talks in Doha aim at working out the ground rules of a „peaceful co-existence“ between the US and the Taliban.

What Russia would apprehend is that it is a matter of time before this co-habitation between the US and the Taliban would mutate into a tacit „division of labor“ between the two protagonists with regard to Central Asia. The strengthening of the Russian military presence in Tajikistan anticipates such a turn of events in the geopolitics of the region.

On Thursday in Kyrgyzstan, the country’s parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor of the government’s decision determining July 11, 2014, as the date by which the US should vacate its military personnel and equipment from the Manas air base. Last September, Kyrgyzstan agreed with Russia on the consolidation of long-term Russian military presence in Kyrgyzstan within a unified format from 2017 onward.

Perfect partnership
The deep chill in Russia’s ties with the US is beginning to cast its spell on Moscow’s approach to the Afghan situation. Obama has retracted from the earlier assurance given to the Russian leadership that once he got re-elected as president, he would show flexibility on the missile defense issue.

The Group of Eight summit’s communique this week reveals that an uneasy patch-up on Syria apart, the discord between Moscow and Washington continues unresolved. Meanwhile, NATO is steadily approaching Russia’s post-Soviet borders. Georgia’s membership of NATO is on the cards. Above all, a concerted US attempt to destabilize the Russian domestic political scene worries the Kremlin.

Thus, for a variety of reasons, Afghanistan is moving into the center stage of US-Russia tensions. But the big question is what Russia can do to stop the Obama administration in its tracks. Russian leverage is little, except for the US and NATO’s dependence on the Northern Distribution Network, the supply line into Afghanistan from Central Asia, which is, however, not critical.

That is why Moscow sized up the importance of Pakistan’s role and made some overtures to reach an understanding with Islamabad regarding the Afghani situation, but the South Asian paradigm – India-Pakistan rivalry and Russia’s ties with India – put inherent limitations to the Russian diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the US has revived links with the Pakistani military leadership and is cashing in on the latter’s control over foreign and security policies. The Pakistani generals have established a rapport with Kerry, while Washington is restraining itself from being seen in any way as patronizing or encouraging the democratization process in Pakistan leading to the establishment of civilian supremacy.

If anything, Washington remains wary of the leadership of Nawaz Sharif. Suffice to say, the Obama administration is on the right track to figure out that this is the most opportune moment to strike a deal with the Pakistani military leadership so that the Taliban can be „reconciled“.

Indeed, there is no serious contradiction between the respective American and Pakistani interests. What Pakistan is looking for – stability on the Durand Line, a rollback of Indian influence in Kabul, a friendly government in Kabul and so on – does not really affect the US‘ vital interests and core concerns in Afghanistan with regard to Washington’s „rebalancing“ strategy in Asia.

On the other hand, a Pakistani military leadership that is at peace with itself as regards the Afghan situation would be the best mate the US can look for in the region, especially when Washington’s relations with Moscow have soured and the US dependence on the Pakistani transit routes is only going to increase even further with the establishment of the nine American military bases in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that the US was confident direct peace talks will soon go forward.

„We anticipate these talks happening in the coming days,“ Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson, said, on Thursday in Washington, adding that she could not be more specific, the report said.

M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for over 29 years, with postings including India’s ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-1998) and to Turkey (1998-2001).

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/SOU-02-210613.html

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Policy = res publica

Bärbel Freudenberg-PilsterFreudenberg-Pilster Examining Americans‘ Attitudes About the NSA Surveillance Program

How do we summarize what Americans think about the NSA surveillance programs? I would say that Americans don’t particularly like the programs (which is not surprising), but in some circumstances find them acceptable if that’s what it takes to help investigate and prevent acts of terrorism.

Our Gallup question on these matters asked if Americans approve or disapprove of the program (more below on how we worded our description). Then, we asked those who disapproved if there were circumstances when they might agree that the use of the programs was acceptable. The original 37% who approve is thus augmented with an additional 21% who initially disapproved, but who — in response to the follow up question — said there might be circumstances in which they approved. Putting this 21% together with the original 37% yields 58% who might find the use of the massive database acquisition programs acceptable.

This equates to quite a range in the attitudes of Americans on this issue, depending on circumstances, and I would say the details of the program as they (the public) understand it. In fact, the way in which the program is described to respondents in the survey question is always an issue when something is new or complex and subject to interpretation.

A comparison the question asked in a Pew/Washington Post survey on this issue with the question we at Gallup asked provides some interesting insights. As I explain in some detail here, the issue isn’t the “right” or “wrong” wording, but rather what we can learn from the responses to the different wording.

Both Gallup and Pew/Post put in their first sentence a reference to the purpose of the program — to investigate terrorism:

  • Gallup: “…as part of its efforts to investigate terrorism…”
  • Pew/Post: “…in an effort to investigate terrorism..”

Gallup described the entity involved as “…a federal government agency..” while Pew/Post specifically mentioned “….the National Security Agency…” We don’t know what difference this makes, but one might assume that the naming of the National Security Agency could have created more of an air of legitimacy.

Gallup described the situation thusly: “…obtained records from larger U.S. telephone and Internet companies in order to compile telephone call logs and Internet communications.” The Pew/Post poll described it as “…getting secret court orders to track telephone call records of millions of Americans…” Note that the Gallup question included mentions of Internet communications, while the Pew/Post question focuses just on telephone call records. The Pew/Post question mentions “millions of Americans,” while the Gallup question does not.

The Gallup question asked for the respondent’s opinion in this fashion: “Based on what you have heard or read about the program to compile telephone call logs and Internet communications, would you say you approve or disapprove of this government program?” The Pew/Post question asked this: “Would you consider this access to telephone call records an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism?” Here we see that the Pew/Post question reminds respondents again — as the final words they hear — that the purpose is “..to investigate terrorism.” The Gallup question did not remind them of the purpose in the final question. The Pew/Post question asks if this is an acceptable or unacceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism. The Gallup question simply asks if the respondent approves or disapproves. The difference in asking if something is acceptable vs. asking if one approves of it is not quantifiable, but it is certainly possible that the two words provoke different reactions.

I should note that the time frames between the two surveys were slightly different, with Pew/Post in the field June 6-9 (except for one question added on June 7 as their field period had already begun) and Gallup was in the field June 10-11. And the context of the two surveys were different; each had different questions asked before the respondents were asked the key questions about the program.

Perhaps with all of these differences, it is not surprising that the results of the two surveys were different. The Pew/Post poll found that 56% of respondents found the activities, as described, “acceptable,” while the Gallup poll found that 37% „approved“ of the activities as we described them.

However, as I noted above, 21% of Americans initially disapproved of the program in the Gallup survey, but in response to a follow-up question said that there could be circumstances in which it would be right for the government to created a database of telephone logs and Internet communications. That yields the aforementioned 58% who might find the activities acceptable, which is very close to the 56% in the Pew/Post survey who find the activities acceptable as “a way for the federal government to investigate terrorism.”

This range in opinions is, in some ways, not a bit surprising. No one in the government, at the NSA, nor anywhere else probably likes the idea of snooping through everyone’s phone calls and emails, but instead finds it a necessary action in the interest of a greater good. One can say that Americans on the whole tend to disapprove of the concept, but when pushed can find it acceptable to use in order to fight terrorism.

The key in all of this is that people don’t usually have fixed, ironclad attitudes toward many issues stored in some mental filing cabinet ready to be accessed by those who inquire. This is particularly true for something that they don’t think a lot about, something new, and something that has ambiguities and strengths and weaknesses. That’s why we find that random samples of the public ca react differently to a concept, depending on how they are asked about it. Again, this is not a bad thing, nor should it cast negative aspersions on the American population. As is true with the analysis of relationships and differences between variables across all fields of science, it provides us better insights and understanding.

One of the most fascinating patterns in all of this is the big shift in Americans’ attitudes within the data over the past seven years, based on partisan identification. Back in 2006, Republicans approved (by 49% to 12%) of a federal government agency obtaining records from three of the largest U.S. telephone companies “in order to create a database of billions of telephone numbers dialed by Americans,” while Democrats’ views were 16% approve, 50% disapprove. Fast forward to today, Republicans are at 32% approve, 63% disapprove of the current program as described in the survey, while Democrats are at 49% approve, 40% disapprove. In other words, Republicans went from a +37-percentage-point margin of approval in 2006 (with George W. Bush as president) to a -31-point margin today (with Barack Obama as president). Democrats went from a -34-percentage-point margin in 2006 to a +9-point margin today.

It obviously makes a difference who is president. Partisans apparently tend to make the assumption that if a president of their political allegiance is in office, then the program must be OK. And vice versa.

http://pollingmatters.gallup.com/2013/06/examining-americans-attitudes-about-nsa.html
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Politics: From Vision to Action
Barandat NDIA

[NDIA] Joint Logistics Panelists Agree to Shed Weight

Lt. Gen. Brooks L. Bash external link, Director for Logistics at the Joint Staff, centered his presentation on the constraints that logistics has and will always impose on warfighting. From that perspective, for the US to pivot to the Pacific only makes things harder with the huge distances involved.

New threats to the US supply routes, which by and large have not been challenged since WWII, come in varied shapes from missile profileration to swarms of small ships. From a broader macro perspective, logistical chokepoints such as the straits of Hormuz or Malacca could severely damage the economy if they become hotspots.

Bash made a compelling case for the ability to break self-reinforcing patterns that lead to hard-to-sustain situations. Insurgents use IEDs, you develop MRAPs in response, insurgents use bigger IEDs, you build heavier MRAPs, rinse and repeat. Keep doing this and you’re facing a logistics and maintenance nightmare. Case in point: fuel use is currently at about 23 gallons/soldier/day in Afghanistan. How about using motorcycles external link? They don’t trigger newer IEDs set to blow only under heavy loads, can go offroad, and are agile and fast.

We asked Lt. Gen. Bash whether he thought recent logistics innovations such as K-Max unmanned helicopters or JPADS – as great as they are – weren’t taylored to fight an insurgency and might fare poorly against a future peer competitor. Bash disagrees that any potential adversary is really on track to be a peer competitor from a technological perspective, and restated his case for agility in the Pacific, involving less fuel, less weight, and fast technology iteration.

Dancing with the Stars Panel Wants to Get Slim

default.jpg DoD logistics post-sequester: as seen by allies

Brooks Bash’s point happened to be a good segue into the following “fireside chat” from the entire military logistics community: the Joint Staff, DLA, TRANSCOM, and each of the 4 services. Panelists agreed that quality of life expectations had grown significantly. The words “frugal” and even “spartan” came up several times. Of course it’s easy to say from the comfort and safety of a conference hall in Crystal City, but both past US operations, and the current state of allied resources, do show much more sparse deployments than what US troops are currently experiencing in Afghanistan.

MajGen Michael Dana from the Marine Corps in particular was lively and engaged in his advocacy of a lighter, truly expeditionary Corps whose purpose is “get there first and kick butt.” In order to do that, the Marines need to “lighten up” (literally, not as a figure of speech). As Bash noted, with 60+% of convoys in Afghanistan carrying fuel, and most of that fuel being used on generators, the gyms, bars, and other quality-of-life facilities add up and have a real impact on the overall logistical footprint. Suddenly repealing the Big Flat TVs Everywhere Act sounds like the right thing to do.

US Army Lt. General Raymond Mason violently agreed with Dana, then exposed the rationale for a retrograde (as opposed to abandoning/gifting a lot of gear in Afghanistan). Out of $25B worth of USA materiel there, he estimated at $19B the part that is needed back. That tends to be the “latest and greatest” equipment too. Compare these $19B to $3-$5B to ship the equipment back plus a $9B reset, and you’re still in the black by billions of dollars. Besides, would procurement funding (under a “different color of money”) be available to buy that stuff anew? Not to speak of lead time issues.

Here are some of the other takeaways:

  • In its dialogue with the COCOMs and services, TRANSCOM tries to offer a choice of parameters to work out the best time/cost trade-off: is a or 2-day delay acceptable to the mission if it can lead to big savings?
  • DLA realizes that fuel infrastructure needs improvements. As the USAF is trying to transition away from JP8 external link towards commercial fuel, an opportunity will open up to phase out WWII-era milspec fuel storage infrastructure, whose maintenance costs go in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • With the number of existing Army depots and arsenals, there is not only the room but the need for a BRAC process because of significant overcapacity. More generally, marginal improvements can always be done, but big savings cannot be achieved without a BRAC. The panelists where acutely aware of resistance on the Hill to base closures, a subject broached in more detail in subsequent sessions.
  • As the panel with the heaviest military/civilian ratio, words of caution on efficiency pushed too far abounded. Mason phrased it thus: if being efficient is “killing the last guy with the last bullet… what if you miss?” There is a level of inventory slack and “inefficiency” inherent to effective military operations.
  • The mandated 50/50 split between government and the private sector in maintenance depots seems to be universally reviled. “Wrench turning is not an inherently governmental function.” The lack of competition between the government and contractors to see who will be most cost-effective also was thought as infuriating. “The rulesets are counter-intuitive and counter-capitalistic” got a fair amount of applause.
  • Combat configured loads (CCLs) assembled before shipping could see more use.
  • US military logistics tend to be better at getting in than out.

See also

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Suter Skill Development in Middle Level Occupations:
The Role of Apprenticeship Training

Abstract

Concerns about the polarization of the labor market are widespread. However, countries vary widely in strategies for strengthening jobs at intermediate levels of skill.

This paper examines the diversity of approaches to apprenticeship and related training for middle-level occupations.
We begin by defining and describing middle-skills occupations, largely in terms of education and experience.

The next step is to describe skill requirements and alternative approaches to preparing and upgrading the skills of individuals
for these occupations.

Programs of academic education and apprenticeship programs emphasizing work-based learning have often competed
for the same space but the full picture reveals significant numbers of complementarities.

Third, we consider the evidence on the costs and effectiveness of apprenticeship training in several countries.

The final section highlights empirical and policy research results concerning the advantages of apprenticeship
training for intermediate level skills, jobs, and careers.

http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/publications/policypapers/viewAbstract?policypaper_id=61

http://ftp.iza.org/pp61.pdf

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Middle East

US troop buildup in Jordan after Turkey shuts US-NATO arms corridor to Syrian rebels

DEBKAfile Special Report June 22, 2013, 5:44 AM (IDT)

The US decision to upgrade Syrian rebel weaponry has run into a major setback: debkafile reveals that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan phoned President Barack Obama in Berlin Wednesday, June 19, to report his sudden decision to shut down the Turkish corridor for the transfer of US and NATO arms to the Syrian rebels.

Against this background, the US President informed Congress Friday, June 22, that 700 combat-equipped American military personnel would remain in Jordan at the end of a joint US-Jordanian training exercise. They would include crews of two Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries and the logistics, command and communications personnel needed to support those units. The United States is also leaving behind from the war maneuver a squadron of 12 to 24 F-16 fighter jets at Jordan’s request. Some 300 US troops have been in Jordan since last year.

Erdogan’s decision will leave the Syrian rebels fighting in Aleppo virtually high and dry. The fall of Qusayr cut off their supplies of arms from Lebanon. Deliveries through Jordan reach only as far as southern Syria and are almost impossible to move to the north where the rebels and the Hizballah-backed Syrian army are locked in a decisive battle for Aleppo.

The Turkish prime minister told Obama he is afraid of Russian retribution if he continues to let US and NATO weapons through to the Syrian rebels.
Since the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland last week, Moscow has issued almost daily condemnations of the West for arming “terrorists.”

Rebel spokesmen in Aleppo claimed Friday that they now had weapons which they believe “will change the course of the battle on the ground.”

debkafile’s military sources are strongly skeptical of their ability – even after the new deliveries – to stand up to the onslaught on their positions in the embattled town by the combined strength of the Syrian army, Hizballah troops and armed Iraqi Shiites. The prevailing intelligence assessment is that they will be crushed in Aleppo as they were in Al Qusayr.

That battle was lost after 16 days of ferocious combat; Aleppo is expected to fall after 40-60 days of great bloodshed.

The arms the rebels received from US, NATO and European sources were purchased on international markets – not only because they were relatively cheap but because they were mostly of Russian manufacture. The rebels are thus equipped with Russian weapons for fighting the Russian arms used by the Syria army. This made Moscow angrier than ever.

Until now, the Erdogan government was fully supportive of the Syrian opposition, permitting them to establish vital command centers and rear bases on Turkish soil and send supplies across the border to fighting units. He has now pulled the rug out from under their cause and given Assad a major leg-up

This about-turn is a strategic earthquake – not just in terms of the Syrian war but also for the United States and, as time goes by, for Israel too.

Ten years ago, Erdogan pulled the same maneuver when he denied US troops passage through Turkey to Iraq for opening a second front against Saddam Hussein.

President Obama reacted by topping up the US deployment in Jordan by 700 combat-equipped troops to 1,000. Patriot missile interceptors and F-16 fighter jets are left behind from their joint war game for as long as the security situation requires. debkafile: The joint US-Jordanian maneuver was in fact abruptly curtailed after two weeks although it was planned to continue for two months until the end of August.

The widening disruptions of the surging Syrian war are on the point of tipping over into Jordan and coming closer than ever to Israel.

http://www.debka.com/article/23066/

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Massenbach’sRecommendation

Army will step in to save Egypt from civil warfare – army chief

DEBKAfile June 23, 2013, 10:34 PM (GMT+02:00)

Army Chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi warned Sunday that the armed forces have avoided politics of late, but will be “obliged to intervene” to stop Egypt from “slipping into civil fighting, sectarianism or collapse of state institutions.” He called for consensus and reconciliation. “We have time (a week) to achieve a lot,” said the general, referring to the mass rallies called by opposition groups for June 30 and rival demonstrations by supporters of President Mohamed Morsi.

http://www.debka.com/newsupdate/4788/

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„The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves in all cases to which they think themselves competent, or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.“

–Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Cartwright, 1824

Pressedienst des Landes Berlin
26. Juni 1963
Nr. 122 f

Der Berlin-Besuch des USA-Präsidenten John F. Kennedy

John-F-Kennedy-Ich bin ein Berliner-26 June 1963.pdf

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