Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 02/08/13

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

Massenbach* “Eine politische Strategie fängt mit einem zielführenden Mandat an.” (UvM)

©Thomas Trutschel/ photothek.net

(Foto: Außenminister Gudio Westerwelle, l., bei der Eröffnung des Generalkonsulats in Masar-i-Scharif am 9. Juni, mit Atta Mohammed Noor, Gouverneur der Provinz Balkh,2. v.r., und Abdul Haider, stellvertretender Aussenminister von Afghanistan)

Deutsche Diplomaten beklagen Sicherheitsvakuum im Norden

Die Sicherheitslage im Norden Afghanistans hat wird auch nach offizieller deutscher Einschätzung als problematisch angesehen. Die Sicherheitslage hat sich mit Beginn der Frühjahrsoffensive in einigen der bekannt problematischen Regionen des Nordens deutlich spürbar verschlechtert, zitiert der Spiegel aus einem Bericht des deutschen Generalkonsulats in Masar-i-Scharif vom 11. Juli an das Auswärtige Amt. Die Taliban nutzten ein Sicherheitsvakuum in den Regionen, aus denen die ISAF-Truppen abgezogen wurden und wo die afghanischen Sicherheitskräfte nunmehr allein zuständig sind.

Bei einem Blick auf die Rubrik RC N Watch hier ist das alles nicht überraschend. Und recht offensichtlich ist auch, was mit den bekannt problematischen Regionen des Nordens gemeint ist: Im Westen die Provinz Faryab einschließlich des Distrikts Ghowrmach, die Provinz Baghlan und zum Teil auch die Region rund um Kundus.

Überraschend ist es nicht – es deckt sich eben nur nicht mir der “alles wird gut”-Rethorik von ISAF.

Die Unterrichtung der Öffentlichkeit 30/13 vom 26.07.13 gibt nochmal ein aktuelles Bild.
In Faryab, Kunduz, Baghlan und Badakhsan ist die Lage weiterhin sehr angespannt.

Gefallene innerhalb einer Woche:
6 ALP
8 ANP
2 ANA
1 ABP
2 ANSF (unspezifiziert)
seit dem 04.07.: 6 ANSF bei Op in Baghlan

Die Hochwertangriffe in Kunduz und Baghlan in der vergangenen Woche zeigen ebenfalls die Fähigkeiten der Gegenseite.

Die Einzelvorgänge:

“Die seit dem 14.05.13 laufende Counter Narcotics-Operation der afghanischen Sicherheitskräfte (Afghan National Security Forces / ANSF) in der Provinz Badakhshan wird unverändert fortgeführt.

Am 16.07.13 gerieten ANSF-Kräfte in Kunduz in einen Hinterhalt regierungsfeindlicher Kräfte (Opposing Militant Forces / OMF). Dabei sind nach afghanischen Angaben drei Angehörige der afghanischen Lokalpolizei (Afghan Local Police / ALP) gefallen. Ein OMF soll getötet worden sein. In einer anschließenden Search and Clear-Operation sollen weitere fünf OMF getötet worden sein.

Am 17.07.13 sind bei einem Gefecht in der Provinz Badakhshan nach afghanischen Angaben vier Angehörige der afghanischen Polizei (Afghan National Police / ANP) gefallen, drei weitere wurden verwundet. (…)

Am 18.07.13 sind nach afghanischen Angaben bei einem Überfall in der Provinz Kunduz vier ANP gefallen, ein weiterer wurde verwundet. Durch den Einsatz einer benachbarten ANSF-Einheit konnte der ANP-Posten rasch zurück gewonnen werden.
Nach afghanischen Angaben unterbrachen OMF am 19.07.13 im Distrikt Dowlatabad in der Provinz Faryab die Stromversorgung mit Hilfe einer Sprengung. Bei einem Angriff auf Reparaturkräfte sind zwei Angehörige der ANSF gefallen, drei weitere wurden verwundet. Zwei OMF sollen getötet worden sein. Nachdem die ANSF das Gebiet wieder unter Kontrolle gebracht hatte, konnte die Stromversorgung wieder hergestellt werden.

Die ANSF führten am 20.07.13 im Norden der Provinz Baghlan eine Cordon and Search Operation mit insgesamt rund 700 ANSF durch. Deutsche Kräfte, die im Rahmen des Partnering beteiligt waren, gerieten hierbei nicht unter Beschuss. Bei der Operation sind am 20.07.13 nach afghanischen Angaben zwei Angehörige der afghanischen Lokalpolizei gefallen, ein weiterer wurde verwundet. Fünf OMF sollen getötet, drei weitere verletzt worden sein. ISAF unterstützte mit Luftnahunterstützung, die durch die deutschen Kräfte vor Ort koordiniert wurde.

Die am 04.07.13 begonnene Search and Clear Operation der ANSF in der Provinz Faryab wurde am 20.07.13 beendet. ISAF unterstützte mit Aufklärungsmitteln und durch Einsatz von Luftnahunterstützung. Im Laufe der Operation sind nach afghanischen Angaben sechs ANSF-Angehörige gefallen, fünf weitere wurden verwundet. Rund 40 OMF sollen getötet sowie zahlreiche weitere verletzt worden sein. Einige OMF sollen sich zudem im Nachgang Reintegrationsprogrammen angeschlossen haben.

Am 21.07.13 haben nach afghanischen Angaben OMF ein Lager der afghanischen Armee (ANA) im Südwesten der Provinz Faryab angegriffen. Dabei sollen zwei ANA-Soldaten gefallen und drei weitere verwundet worden sein.

Am 23.07.13 wurde im Distrikt Warduj in der Provinz Badakhshan ein Kontrollposten der afghanischen Grenzpolizei (Afghan Border Police / ABP) durch eine unbekannte Anzahl von OMF angegriffen. Dabei ist nach afghanischen Angaben ein Angehöriger der ABP gefallen, drei weitere wurden verwundet.
Am 24.07.13 verübten OMF in der Provinz Kunduz einen IED-Anschlag auf eine deutsche Patrouille. Ein Kraftfahrzeug wurde dabei leicht beschädigt.”

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Policy = res publica

Bärbel Freudenberg-PilsterFreudenberg-Pilster* History-NSA: permission to spy in Germany

Germany has been under surveillance by the United States for decades, and German leaders have been fully aware of it, says historian Josef Foschepoth. The reason? Secret post-war accords.

Deutsche Welle: The NSA spy scandal continues to ruffle feathers in Germany, Mr. Foschepoth. As a historian, you say the surveillance has been going on since the early days of post-war Germany. So, the revelations of Edward Snowden were not a surprise to you?

Josef Foschepoth: No, not really. I was surprised instead by the initial reactions, in particular, from the political side. They were as if this had happened for the first time, as if it was something terribly bad and unique. But that is not the case. From my own research, I know that this happened countless times in the 1960s in Germany.

How do you explain the rather low-key response from the German government?

Well, such affairs are always very uncomfortable because they bring to light something that had functioned in the shadows. And this function should not be disturbed, so it’s played down. But now, this is no longer the case because it is an instance of severe and intensive surveillance. And moreover: it has been conducted by a friendly state.

This surveillance, as you’ve said, has been going on for decades, since the beginning of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. What rights did the occupation forces – among them, the Americans – have at that time?

Let’s be clear that the victorious forces were in Germany to occupy the country. They wanted to make sure that Germany would never again be a threat as it was during the Nazi dictatorship. But, after the victory over Nazi Germany, a further conflict began with the Soviet Union and the Cold War was born. It was a two-fold conflict that required a new strategy from the United States. A policy of double containment ensued: containment of the Soviet Union on the one hand and Germany on the other. And an essential element of this policy was surveillance.

The so-called General Treaty, which regulated ties between Germany and the three allied powers, went into effect in 1955. The Federal Republic was to have the full powers of sovereignty over its domestic and foreign affairs. What did that mean for the surveillance strategy of the Americans?

These formulations, of course, are always very nice and are meant for the public, more than anything. Ten years after the end of World War Two, the Germans felt the fundamental urge to be a sovereign state once again. But that was not the case at all because in the treaties from 1955 – it was volumes of treaties – were secret supplemental agreements which guaranteed key rights for the Western allied forces; among them, the right to monitor telephone and postal communications.

What was the motivation for the German side behind all this?

The Americans exerted massive pressure. They did not want to give up this territory, which was geostrategically important for its surveillance operations. German leaders, of course, wanted to be able to say that we now had a bit more sovereignty; in other words, a few strokes for the reawakening national psyche. Of course, what they didn’t say was we had to accept the same circumstances we had in the past under the occupation in the future as well, due to the international treaties and secret agreements. And these agreements are still valid and binding for every German government, even today.

How could these agreements survive all these years?

They were secret. The US had build a little America with its bases, in which the German government could not govern. When then-chancellor Helmut Kohl worked to clinch German reunification, he realized that this issue was a little difficult and controversial, so he said let’s just ignore it, and so, there were no negotiations over America’s special status rights. Therefore, these supplemental agreements are still in effect.

Chancellor Merkel stresses that Germany is not a ‚big brother‘ society. You say that Germany is one of the most closely monitored countries in Europe.

The phrase ‚big brother society‘ is certainly a bit polemical. But let me put it this way: The fall from grace happened in 1955 when Konrad Adenauer agreed to the special status rights in negotiations with the allied forces. The recognition of these rights by the chancellor meant that there was no going back to the sanctity and privacy of post and telecommunications, as it is written in the German constitution. That is how the large German-allied intelligence complex arose.

That is interesting in that Germans are known for being very private about their data and it’s why they put great emphasis on data privacy.

In the early years of the Federal Republic that was even more pronounced than it is today. That is why it was kept secret in the first place.

Professor Josef Foschepoth is a historian at the University of Freiburg and author of the book „Überwachtes Deutschland. Post- und Telefonüberwachung in der alten Bundesrepublik“ (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 2012)

http://www.dw.de/nsa-permission-to-spy-in-germany/a-16981062?maca=en-rss-en-ger-1023-rdf
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Politics: From Vision to Action
Barandat* FRENCH WHITE PAPER ON DEFENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY – 2013

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/content/download/215253/2394121/file/White%20paper%20on%20defense%20%202013.pdf

As an essential attribute of the Nation, sovereignty is a key pillar of national security. Article 3 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen states that “The source of all sovereignty lies essentially in the Nation. No corporate body, no individual may exercise any authority that does not expressly emanate from it”, thus underlining the point that preservation of national sovereignty is a basic responsibility of the political authorities. It underpins the mission of the armed forces and can justify mobilisation of other public resources whenever the situation so requires.

If the Nation ceases to be able to protect its sovereignty, it loses control of its destiny, and the democratic nature of its
national project is put in jeopardy.

…The Élysée Treaty signed with Germany 50 years ago is an act of historic importance: it paved the way for unprecedented cooperation between two great European nations that had long been enemies. Its implementation has led to many joint initiatives that have marked the progress of the European project, culminating in the establishment of common structures such as Eurocorps,
which has gradually been opened up to other countries.

The evolution of the strategic context and the on-going changes to the German defence system, not least the professionalization of its armed forces, make it possible to envisage fresh progress between our two nations, as part of the same logic of mutually
agreed dependence.

France supports a reform of the United Nations Security Council that would make room for new permanent members, including Germany.

….The refocusing of American policy, the deterioration in public finances in Europe and the common nature of the threats and risks to which we are exposed increases the need for EU Member States to take the collective action enabling them to wield greater influence on their environment.

They must therefore take advantage of the current situation to address the capabilities that they can no longer develop or maintain on a purely national basis, and consequently to organise mutually agreed capability interdependencies.

This approach is particularly appropriate for the defence industries. France is ready to support greater specialisation in Europe, based on the recognition of centres of excellence, in order to avoid the duplication of effort and piecemeal approach that can lead to waste. The bilateral framework and format of the six signatory nations to the Letter of Intent (LoI)2 , together with all appropriate solidarity initiatives, must be fully mobilised in order to develop stronger partnerships between nations that share this approach. The European Defence Agency (EDA) should also play a leading role in implementing such an approach.

…..The strategic development of the United States is a third determining factor for international security.
Confirmed by the end of the Cold War, the US’s unparalleled military advantage is set to last for some time yet, given the
sheer size, in absolute terms, of its defence budget (41% of global defence spending in 2012) and the scale of its investment in Research and Development, which have widened its technological lead over the rest of the world.

The US economy, which is beginning to recover from the 2008 crisis, has considerable strengths, not least the exploitation of shale gas and unconventional fuels, which could make the United States energy independent within the next few years.

Nevertheless, returning the nation’s finances to health is a major challenge.
All in all, despite broad political support for military spending, it seems set to receive a declining share of the federal budget, with implications for the United States’ strategic posture.

The first signs of these potential changes are beginning to appear as the United States refocuses its geopolitical priorities. Other than in the case of the legitimate defence of an ally, the US could become more selective about its external commitments as a result of financial constraints, but also owing to the doubts the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have raised about the effectiveness of long-term, heavy-footprint foreign intervention.

For the United States, Europe remains a zone of prime importance, but it understands the implications of the fact that the continent is no longer at the heart of global strategic confrontation. It has therefore begun to reduce its military and naval presence in Europe, whilst its anti-missile defence system is being set up. This lower military priority also extends to the Mediterranean and to Africa. The United States continues to have an interest in the area, as witness the creation of a specialised AFRICOM command and by the assistance it provides in terms of training and equipment. It believes, however, that the Europeans
must play a greater role in its security, since they are more directly concerned by its stability and have the resources needed to take on this responsibility.

On the other hand, the strategic importance of Asia and the Pacific to the United States continues to increase, as defence budgets swell in the region and tension escalates between States in north-east and south-east Asia. The current rebalancing of the US military towards the Asia-Pacific region is therefore likely to continue, and will be an important factor for France’s commitment as a sovereign power and a player in the security of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.

Turning to the Middle East, the US stance will probably be driven by the need to ensure the security of the region.
Faced with the threat from Iran which, in violation of its international undertakings and of six United Nations Security
Council resolutions, continues its nuclear enrichment programme without any civilian justification with the objective of mastering a military nuclear capability, the United States has stepped up its presence in the area, where it has permanent bases and has installed anti-missile systems.

The strategic alliance with Israel and the United States’ economic interest in free circulation of goods and hydrocarbons in this area are, in any case, sufficient reason for the US to maintain a strong presence.

Financial constraints and the lessons learned from recent conflicts will also have a strong influence on methods of intervention:

the United States will probably seek more systematically to share the burden of foreign operations with its European allies, even if this means, in some cases, ceding power of initiative and command to them. The circumstances of the operations conducted in Libya and in Mali could provide a template for situations where American interests are less directly involved. Although not in the front line politically and militarily in such situations, the United States could support European action, although Europeans would not have any guarantee as to the capabilities that might be made available to them.

When intervening themselves, the Americans will doubtless be keener to ensure that the scale of their involvement and commitment of ground forces is proportionate to the extent to which their interests are threatened.

In this context, it is likely that rapid operations and indirect action will be preferred to heavy, extended campaigns. Targeted operations conducted by special forces and remote strikes – cybernetic, where applicable – are likely to become more
frequent, given their flexibility in a context in which conventional intervention will continue to be more difficult politically and sometimes less effective.

The multifaceted crisis that has befallen the European Union is also a major factor.

As a result of the euro crisis that followed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Europe has temporarily lost some of its appeal and influence, in a context characterised by stubbornly low growth rates and ageing populations. Whereas it used to be seen as a model by many countries, the originality of its system of governance has at times been seen as a barrier to solving its problems.

The crisis has highlighted the economic fragility of some countries and the need for structural change. Experienced to various degrees by its Member States, it affects the political equilibrium within the European Union and puts its mutual solidarity to the test, undermining public support for European integration.

Europe does not yet seem willing to take on a greater share of responsibility for the security of the continent and the wider world, despite encouragement in this direction from the United States. On the contrary, in several European
countries the defence effort has dropped below the bar of 1% of GDP. Despite the real progress made under the Common Security and Defence Policy, some ten years after its introduction the European Union is struggling to take the next step, which would enable it to make a more decisive impact on a changing world.

This change of circumstances in the United States and Europe has implications for crisis management policies and for the institutions responsible for international security.

Whether the result of a growing aversion to risk-taking, doubts about the effectiveness of recent operations or the impact of financial constraints, Europe and the United States have greater misgivings about committing to largescale, extended foreign intervention. Furthermore, despite the development of regional organisations, the international institutions are struggling to pick up the baton: they reflect the will of their members and it is increasingly difficult for them to forge a consensus. This impacts on their legitimacy and effectiveness, whilst the attempts at reform launched in the first decade of the 21st century have not achieved the expected results.

UN reform has thus far been a failure.

The G20 has managed to improve economic and financial coordination, but it was never intended to play a role in security. The ambition supported by France to overhaul the foundations of global governance is today stymied by reduced international mobilisation.

Some Western powers have in fact succumbed to fatigue or political realism, while the major emerging nations are not always ready to assume the global responsibilities that go with their growing demographic and economic strength.

This relative inadequacy of the instruments of global governance has become apparent at a time when the principles underpinning the international order need to be clarified and consolidated.

Some of the questions currently raised call for a more focused international debate at the United Nations: how should
self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter be interpreted in relation to cyber-attacks or terrorism conducted by non-State groups from States that are too weak to control their territory effectively? How can we reconcile the urgency which, in certain situations, applies to the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, with the patience that is essential to achieving an international consensus? How can we combine such urgent action with a more long-term political strategy that aims to consolidate the authority of a State as the only legitimate and lasting guarantor of the protection of its population?

The answer to these questions emerges all too slowly in crisis situations, when these principles are put to the test. The international consensus that could support and channel the necessary changes remains inadequate, while new situations
rapidly transform the strategic landscape and open up the range of possibilities.

The strategic implications of these changes impact profoundly on the security of France and its EU partners. Although the spectre of a major conflagration in Europe has receded, Europeans cannot afford to ignore the unstable world around them and to which they are inextricably linked. Both stakeholders in and major beneficiaries of the globalisation process, they have to deal with a
systematic increase in major risks and the vulnerability of the European Union to threats from beyond its borders. For example, a major crisis in Asia would have considerable economic, commercial and financial consequences for Europe.

All the more, owing to geographic proximity, to the depth of the human relations and to the strength of the economic and energy ties between Europe and the southern shores of the Mediterranean, the Arab revolutions pose an even greater challenge for Europe. In the long term, Europe’s security will be enhanced if its Mediterranean neighbours are democratic and prosperous. In the short term, the transitions may nonetheless give rise to tensions and the actions of extremist forces may encourage European opinion to prefer the status quo. In any case, external players can have only limited influence over the outcome of events, which essentially play out along national lines.
In the absence of a shared vision and common principles, no power, no coalition and no international institution has the ability to control global developments.
The world has become genuinely multipolar, but also more fragmented.

For France, this transformation has some positive aspects: it means that while certain events are influenced and sometimes triggered by global developments, every situation must be assessed according to its specific characteristics. This leads to a more regional approach to crisis management. But given the absence of any system to control global events, the lack of global regulation may also lead to chaotic situations.

Future scenarios therefore remain wide open and it would be simplistic to reduce the analysis to over-generalisations. In order to give every opportunity for change to be positive, we need to conduct a differentiated prospective analysis that
addresses the different types of risks and threats that might stand in its way.

…..Not all our partners and allies give the same weight to the strategic importance, for Europe, of its eastern neighbours, the Mediterranean and the part of Africa from the Sahel to Equatorial Africa. However, for France there is no doubt that these regions are of priority interest for the whole of the European Union, and that a common vision of the risks and threats is both desirable and urgent. It is even more important to affirm this collective European priority in that our American and Canadian allies expect us to assume an essential share of our responsibilities in regions where they consider themselves to be less directly concerned.

The area stretching from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean to the Arabo-Persian Gulf is a priority in itself. Each of the different conflicts prevailing in the region have their own dynamic, but they cannot be understood in isolation from each other and the security of this region must be looked at in its globality.

The Arabo-Persian Gulf has particular strategic importance: its stability is a major challenge not only for France and all the European countries, but also for the United States and the big emerging powers. This region, where Iran’s race to acquire nuclear military capability engenders a risk of proliferation, concentrates risks of serious conflict that would have a global impact on the planet. Apart from the existence of still substantial energy reserves, it is one of the main transit routes for the world economy: the Strait of Hormuz is the mandatory point of passage for approximately 30% of global oil exports.

A conflict in the Arabo-Persian Gulf could have serious and varied repercussions:
obstacles to freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, firing of ballistic missiles, destabilisation of countries in the region. Through the play of alliances, it could immediately take on a strong international dimension and would directly involve our country. The United States has dominant strategic influence in the region, but France is stepping up its presence and defence cooperation. It has defence agreements with three States in the region (Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates) and has established a joint military base in Abu Dhabi. A military cooperation agreement has been signed with Bahrain and France entertains close relations with Saudi Arabia. In the event of conflict, the Iranian ballistic missile threat would immediately affect all the countries in the region and hence the French bases and staging posts installed there. In this context, our capacity
to implement our agreements in close coordination with our allies is crucial.

…France supports a reform of the United Nations Security Council that would create a place for new permanent members, including India….

….The strengthening of the American military presence in the region may contribute to control of tensions in Asia and facilitate rollout of stabilising instruments aimed at ensuring peaceful management of disputes. But American engagement does not relieve France, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a signatory of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South-East Asia8, of its responsibilities. France supports the role of the European Union in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and is keen to play a more active role with regional security organisations. It enjoys relations of confidence with all the countries in the region, notably with South Korea and Japan, and supports Japan’s bid to become a member of the UN Security Council…

…With Singapore, our leading commercial partner in South-East Asia and number three in Asia (after China and Japan), it conducts regular political dialogue and very close cooperation in defence and security….

…France also supports Brazil’s ambition to play a growing role on the international stage and its bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council…

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Suter* Exporting and Labor Demand: Micro-Level Evidence from Germany

by Andreas Lichter, Andreas Peichl, Sebastian Siegloch
(July 2013)

Abstract:
It is widely believed that globalization increases the volatility of employment and decreases the bargaining power of workers. One mechanism explaining this relationship is given by the long-standing Hicks-Marshall laws of derived demand: with international trade increasing competition and therefore the price elasticity of product demand, exporters are predicted to have higher labor demand elasticities. Our paper is the first to test this relationship empirically by analyzing the effects of exporting on firms‘ labor demand. Using rich, administrative linked employer-employee panel data from Germany, we explicitly control for issues of self-selection and endogeneity in the firms‘ decisions to export by providing fixed effects and instrumental variable estimates. Our results show that exporting indeed has a positive and significant effect on the own-wage elasticity of unconditional labor demand, due to higher price elasticities of product demand.

Text: See Discussion Paper No. 7494 adobebutton.gif

http://newsroom.iza.org/en/2013/07/29/1292/

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Middle East

Pro-defense Bloc Crumbling in US Congress

WASHINGTON — Time and again, the US House last week considered amendments to a Pentagon spending bill. And each time, unlikely coalitions of Republicans and Democrats voted to divert funds from Afghanistan projects, slash war spending — and nearly kill a controversial anti-terrorism program.

An examination of vote records reveals a pattern that exposes fissures in what Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter dubbed Capitol Hill’s “solid center” that since 9/11 “always” supported defense issues.

Time and again, members of this once-solid pro-defense voting bloc rejected spending hundreds of billions of dollars on new Afghanistan infrastructure projects and even on the country’s security forces, which White House and Pentagon officials say is the key to keeping out the Taliban and al-Qaida after US troops leave.

Time and again, once pro-defense members joined other Republicans and Democrats to form a deficit-slashing voting bloc that reflects the priorities of many Americans and an increasing number of their representatives.

And time and again, members like Reps. Loretta Sanchez, Jim Moran, Walter Jones, Mike Coffman and John Garamendi voted with the increasingly powerful deficit-hawk bloc.

Sanchez, D-Calif., is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC’s) Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee. Moran, D-Va., is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee (HAC-D) who hails from a state with a robust national security presence. All are considered pro-defense.

“All of this comes down to money,” said Christopher Preble, a national security analyst at the Cato Institute. “The question more [lawmakers] are asking is, ‘Just where are you going to find that money?’”

Six adopted amendments that diverted funds from Afghanistan projects or forces received 823 GOP votes and 897 Democratic votes, a stunning bipartisan statement about America’s involvement there beyond 2014 for a chamber known more recently for partisan brawls.

In another telling vote, Jones, R-N.C., Coffman, R-Colo., and Garamendi, D-Calif., were joined by some of the House’s most senior pro-defense members in pushing through an amendment that would, if enacted, slash war spending.

HASC Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., senior HASC member Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., and several other Democratic HASC members voted for the measure.

The amendment, offered by the kind of collection of tea party Republicans and liberal Democrats the defense sector has come to fear, reduced the House Appropriations Committee’s Overseas Contingency Operations funding level by $3.5 billion. The panel’s war-funding amount topped $85 billion.

The bipartisan amendment passed 215-206. Without the support of the HASC and HAC-D members, however, it would have failed.

The message from Republicans and Democrats on spending much more in Afghanistan was clear: Those dollars should be devoted to repairing America’s economic situation, not roads in Afghanistan.

Some analysts, however, question whether unspent funds can be applied to reducing an existing federal deficit.

“The number of Republicans that are willing to take the position that … we should raise taxes to keep military spending at current levels is dwindling,” Preble said.

Last week’s voting record shows the change is bipartisan, eroding what Carter described at the recent Aspen Security Summit as “a solid center of opinion that supported defense that you could count on.”

There are a number of reasons for the change, Carter said, noting a leading one is that “time has passed since 9/11.”

Another is war fatigue.

“People are tired of the two wars. They’re tired of Afghanistan. They’re tired of Iraq,” Carter said. “They’re tired of it.”

In the crescendo of the two-day floor debate over the appropriations bill, many of the same lawmakers shunned their pro-defense and national security credentials.

During a nonpartisan July 24 floor debate on an amendment that would have defunded controversial surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA), Republicans clashed with Republicans, further exposing a divide that began in 2010 between the parties’ tea party privacy hawks and the old-school national security hawks.

Democrats joined the GOP privacy hawks, and the chamber narrowly rejected the amendment, with 217 members voting no and 205 in favor. Among the bloc were pro-defense members like Sanchez, Moran, Jones, Coffman, Garamendi, as well as a Republican HASC member, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, and three Appropriations Defense subcommittee members: Reps. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and Bill Owens, D-N.Y.

Experts say the 205-member bipartisan coalition, comprising 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats, signals a shift on Capitol Hill from the post-9/11 era of policy and budgetary carte blanche for the Pentagon and other security agencies.

“While ultimately not successful, this vote showed that more than 200 members of Congress — including the author of the Patriot Act — oppose these programs,” said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, a civil liberties organization. These programs barely survived after a full-court lobbying campaign by the White House, the intelligence community and the NSA proper.

“Today’s vote shows that the tide is turning,” Segal said in a warning to the defense sector. “The expiration date on these programs is coming due.”


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*Massenbach’sRecommendation*

Turkey’s Syria Policy in Shambles Over Support for Jihadists

A man checks an apartment in a damaged building at the site of a blast in the
town of Reyhanli, Hatay province, near the Turkish-Syrian border,
May 13, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

RTXZKP6.jpg?t=thumbnail_578Developments in Syria continue to take unexpected and unsavory turns for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose overreaching and one-dimensional Syria policy — predicated solely on the fall of President Bashar al-Assad and his Baathist regime while smacking heavily of Sunni leanings — has resulted in new headaches for Ankara.

Misguided assumptions about Assad’s staying power, the scant attention paid to the country’s ethnic, religious and sectarian realities, and overt and covert support for al-Qaeda-affiliated groups along Turkey’s border with Syria are coming home to roost for the Erdogan government.

The victory by Syrian Kurds in the strategic town of Ras al-Ain on July 19 against Islamist fighters headed by Jabhat al-Nusra — designated a terrorist organization by the United Nations and the United States as well as a number of other Western countries — is only the latest development that has thrown Ankara off balance.

The Erdogan government was clearly banking on the success of al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, not only against Assad forces, but also against Syrian Kurds, whose struggle for autonomy is spearheaded by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkey has been wary of the political intentions of Syrian Kurds since the outbreak of violence in Syria. Ankara’s concern is that moves by the Syrian Kurds toward autonomy could serve as examples for its own restive Kurdish population, which is seeking expanded rights.

During an official visit to Washington in January, Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu reportedly criticized the timing of the US decision to declare Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization. The English-language Hurriyet Daily News reported from Washington on Jan. 17, “US officials fear that groups such as the front could hijack the uprising. Turkish officials, however, said it was more important to focus on the ‘chaos’ that al-Assad has created instead of groups such as al-Nusra.”

Turkish officials deny, of course, that Ankara is arming groups affiliated with al-Qaeda. They argue that any logistic or humanitarian support from Turkey goes to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Western diplomats in Ankara, however, say that Turkey does not discern between groups operating under the FSA umbrella, which includes those like Jabhat al-Nusra, whose open intention is to establish an Islamic state in Syria.

The May 11 twin car bombing in the Turkish town of Reyhanli, near the Syrian border, which killed more than 50 people, was a watershed in turning public opinion against the government’s Syria policy. It also turned public attention toward the situation of radical Islamist fighters in Syria using Turkey as a safe haven from which to operate. It is generally believed that this is one of the reasons for the Reyhanli atrocity, allegedly perpetrated by vengeful pro-Assad elements in Turkey.

The killing this month of Kamal Hamami, a senior member of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council, by another al-Qaeda-affiliated group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is said to be acting independently of Jabhat al-Nusra, provided Ankara with another reminder that relying on such groups would in the end most likely produce undesirable results.

One of the most undesirable of these results for Ankara, however, has been that the presence of such groups in Syria has made short shrift of any possibility that the West would provide the FSA with sophisticated weapons to fight Assad’s forces. It was therefore inevitable that recent remarks by British Prime Minister David Cameron, indicating in effect that Britain would not arm the FSA, deeply disappointed Erdogan and Davutoglu.

Compounding their disappointment is that Ankara had put much stock in Britain’s previous keenness to arm the FSA. London’s pivotal role in May in getting the European Union to lift its arms embargo on Syria, which was also adversely affecting the Syrian opposition, had also raised hopes in Ankara that the FSA was finally going to get sorely needed heavy weapons from the West.

In a July 21 interview on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, however, Cameron provided clear evidence as to why Britain is opposed to arming the opposition now. Despite paying lip service to the notion of continuing to help the anti-Assad forces, Cameron said the opposition included „a lot of bad guys“ within its ranks.

Pointing out, to Ankara’s chagrin, that Assad had strengthened his position in recent months, Cameron added, “And yes, you do have problems with part of the opposition that is extreme, that we should have nothing to do with.“

Western diplomats in Ankara suggested to Al-Monitor that the killing of Hamami has only heightened concerns in Washington and London that arms supplied to the FSA could end up in the wrong hands. Turkey’s promotion of Jabhat al-Nusra as the most effective force against the Assad regime is, therefore, another item on the growing list of Ankara’s miscalculations on Syria.

The Egyptian transitional government’s retraction of the toppled Muslim Brotherhood’s call for jihad against Assad provides further evidence that Ankara’s reliance on Islamists in the Syrian civil war has been misplaced. Worse yet for Ankara is that the PYD has rolled back Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda-related groups in northern Syria.

This is likely to be welcomed by regional powers, not all of whom, as the actions of the Egyptian transitional government show, are enamored with radical Islamists. There is also the point that Amberin Zaman makes in her July 22 article for Al-Monitor: “Paradoxically, the PYD’s battle against militant Islamists serves the interests of Assad, the West and of the notionally secular Free Syrian Army rebels alike.”

The Erdogan government cannot discount the possibility that large numbers of secularists in Turkey who may also have had a “Kurdish phobia” at one time would also prefer to see a secular Kurdish entity emerge on Turkey’s border with Syria, rather than a fundamentalist operation imposing Sharia on the region. Ironic as it may seem for the Erdogan government, its successful cultivation and development of ties with northern Iraqi Kurds show that similar ties with a Kurdish entity in northern Syria need not be disastrous for Turkey.

The bottom line is that a host of misjudgments, as well as reliance on the wrong groups, has made a shambles of Ankara’s Syria policy, leaving Foreign Minister Davutoglu with few options besides issuing hollow warnings that Turkey will not allow “fait accomplis” on its borders. There is, however, little that Ankara can do other than sit and watch as the situation in Syria unfolds.

Meanwhile the call by Turkish ultranationalists to send the army into northern Syria to stop the Kurds has no credence whatsoever. Such a move would clearly lead Turkey even deeper into the Syrian quagmire.

Haluk Gerger, a well-known Turkish academic and foreign policy expert, once pointed to the turbulent landscape surrounding Turkey and likened it to a country trying to conduct foreign policy in a minefield. This is a crucial point that Davutoglu, for all his academic credentials, appears to have overlooked in his unrealistic and misplaced zeal to establish Turkey as the principal “game setter” of the region.

Semih Idiz is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse. A journalist who has been covering diplomacy and foreign policy issues for major Turkish newspapers for 30 years, his opinion pieces can be followed in the English-language Hurriyet Daily News. His articles have also been published in The Financial Times, The Times of London, Mediterranean Quarterly and Foreign Policy magazine.

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Jordan’s Abdullah first Arab visitor to post-coup Cairo

DEBKAfile July 20, 2013, 4:45 PM (GMT+02:00)
King Abdullah II of Jordan arrived in Cairo Saturday on the first visit by an Arab leader since the ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi almost three weeks ago. Abdullah was greeted at the Cairo airport by Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi. DEBKAfile: Saudi King Abdullah approved the Jordanian king’s visit to signal Riyadh’s approval of the Egyptian military’s overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood, which in Jordan too leads the opposition to the throne.

http://www.debka.com/newsupdate/5084/

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Egypt: EU chief Catherine Ashton meets Mohammad Mursi in secret location

Mursi has access to television and is informed about the situation in the country

  • Reuters and AFP
  • Published: 11:56 July 30, 2013

Cairo: Egypt’s rulers allowed an EU envoy to meet deposed President Mohammad Mursi, the first time an outsider has been given access to him since the army overthrew him and jailed him a month ago, and she said she found him in good health.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton revealed little about her two-hour conversation with the deposed Islamist leader after she was taken to an undisclosed location to visit him. Sources said she had left Cairo in a military helicopter for the location where Morsi is being held.

“I’ve tried to make sure that his family know he is well,” said Ashton, who has emerged as one of the only figures accepted by both sides as a potential mediator in a conflict that has plunged the most populous Arab state into violent confrontation.

Ashton said Mursi had access to television and was informed about the situation in the country. Nearly 300 people have been killed in violence since he was removed on July 3.

Ashton said she had made meeting Mursi a condition of her offer to visit Egypt, where she also met with the general who removed him and other top leaders: “I said I Ashton said she had made meeting Mursi a condition of her offer to visit Egypt, where she also met with the general who removed him and other top leaders: “I said I wouldn’t come unless I could see him (Mursi).” Media have speculated about why the military-backed rulers would have allowed her to meet the ousted leader who had been kept incommunicado for a month. She denied that she carried an offer to Mursi of “safe exit” if he were to renounce his claim to the presidency.

She also said she did not know where she was when she met him.

“I saw where he was. I don’t know where he is but I saw the facilities he has,” said Ashton.

Earlier, Ashton’s spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said on Twitter that Ashton had held two hours of “in depth” discussions with the ousted leader.

Egypt’s authorities say Mursi is being investigated for charges including murder, stemming from a 2011 jailbreak when he escaped detention during protests against former autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Ashton, Europe’s top diplomat, has been shuttling between Egypt’s rulers and the Muslim Brotherhood to try to pull the country back from more bloodshed as one of the only outsiders that is accepted by both sides as a potential mediator.

Foreign countries are urging the military-backed rulers to reach compromise with Mursi’s Brotherhood to bring the country back from the brink of further bloodshed. Eighty Brotherhood supporters were gunned down on Saturday.

The government has ordered the Brotherhood to abandon a vigil it has maintained with thousands of supporters camping out to demand Mursi’s return. The Brotherhood says it will not leave the streets unless Mursi is restored.

Ashton is on her second visit to Cairo in 12 days as one of the few outsiders able to speak to both sides in Egypt’s political crisis. On her last visit on July 17, Ashton unsuccessfully requested to meet him and urged his release. His supporters have rallied daily for his reinstatement and on Monday marched from a key Cairo sit-in to several security headquarters.

She is expected to speak to reporters later on Tuesday.

On Monday, Ashton met General Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, the head of the army and the man behind Mursi’s overthrow. She also held talks with members of the interim government installed by the army, and representatives of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing.

Before arriving, she said she would press for a “fully inclusive transition process, taking in all political groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood”.

The EU has attempted to mediate in the political crisis over the past six months as Egyptians have grown increasingly suspicious of US involvement. President Barack Obama delayed delivery last week of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, in a gesture of displeasure at the turn of events.

The violence has raised global anxiety that the army may try to crush the Brotherhood, a movement which emerged from decades in the shadows to win power in elections after Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/egypt/egypt-eu-chief-catherine-ashton-meets-mohammad-mursi-in-secret-location-1.1214804

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Hallo!

Ich haben die Petition „NEIN ZUR SCHLIESSUNG DES MAISON DE FRANCE!“ auf Change.org, weil mir das Thema am Herzen liegt. Kannst Du auch unterschreiben?

Hier ist der Link:

http://www.change.org/de/Petitionen/nein-zur-schliessung-des-maison-de-france?share_id=gNrwPgmitj&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Vielen Dank!

Udo
Hallo Udo,

vielen Dank, dass Sie meine Petition „NEIN ZUR SCHLIESSUNG DES MAISON DE FRANCE! “ unterschrieben haben!

Verhelfen Sie dieser Kampagne zum Erfolg indem Sie Ihre Freunde auf Facebook einladen! Es ist ganz einfach: Klicken Sie hier, um diese Petition auf Facebook zu teilen.

Weiter unten finden Sie eine vorgefertigte E-Mail zum Weiterleiten:

Nochmals vielen Dank! Zusammen sorgen wir für Veränderung!

Betriebsrat Institut Français Berlin

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see our letter on:

Wir wünschen Ihnen ein angenehmes Wochenende. Ihr Team.

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Udo von Massenbach – Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster – Jörg Barandat

UdovonMassenbach Mail
Edith.Suter JoergBarandat

dp7494-IZA-Exporting and Labor Demand.pdf

French White Paper on defense 2013.pdf

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