*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*
· Recent trends in FDI activity in Europe: Regaining lost ground to accelerate growth.
· EXCLUSIVE-Iraqi Kurdistan oil pipeline export capacity to double
· STRATFOR: The Remapping of the Middle East
· Islamic State or Islamic Fascism?
· The Islamic State isn’t just killing people. It’s destroying a culture
Massenbach* European Nations Boost Arms Supplies, Military Support to Kurds*
BARCELONA, Spain – European military support for the Kurds continued to swell Wednesday, with Germany, Italy – and even tiny Albania – announcing arms supplies to Peshmerga forces fighting the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) armies.
They join Britain and France in arms supplies to the Kurds, who are also being backed with US air strikes against the militants and logistical help from Canada.
As Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi held talks in Baghdad and Erbil on Wednesday, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti announced that Rome would supply the Kurds with light automatic weapons and ammunition from the Italian Armed Forces, as well as weapons from the former Soviet Union which were seized during the Balkan wars in the 1990s.
Italy has already sent six planes of humanitarian aid to Iraq.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after a Cabinet meeting that his country is prepared to send arms to the Peshmerga.
Earlier this week, Steinmeier said in an interview with German ZDF radio that Berlin had a shared responsibility to support Kurds against their war on the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS/ISIS).
“We cannot on the one hand praise the Kurdish security forces, pat them on the back for fighting ISIS on behalf of all of us, then when they ask for help just say ‘see how you get on’.”
Steinmeier also said that “Europe can’t be indifferent to the IS advance.”
British and US security services also were working together Wednesday to try to identify the English-accented militant shown beheading US journalist James Foley in a video.
The Islamic State armies have captured large parts of territory in northern Iraq since June and have declared a Caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The fighting has killed thousands of people and displaced 1.5 million.
The UK has announced it has deployed the Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft alongside Tornado bombers to provide intelligence on IS movements.
Air support is vital to the Kurds, who do not have an air force. The Peshmerga remain the only reliable military force in Iraq, after the Iraqi army collapsed against the IS advance. However, Iraq still has an operating air force.
Stepped-up US and Iraqi air strikes are reported to have been vital in the Peshmerga winning back the strategic Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest, from IS militants this week.
Meanwhile, the Albanian Government said Wednesday it is sending weapons to Erbil to do its part in an international coalition against terrorism. The weapons include 22 million cartridges, 15,000 grenades and 32,000 mortar missiles.
German defense ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said the Kurds have presented a “wish list” of weapons they need to the international community, and that training for Kurdish forces also was being considered.
France, the first European country to call to arm the Kurds, has confirmed delivery of sophisticated weapons to the Kurdish forces. British media, meanwhile, have reported that Britain has deployed SAS special forces in northern Iraq to work with US troops in intelligence gathering.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday he is committing two cargo planes to transport military supplies into northern Iraq as part of the international effort to bolster Kurdish forces in the embattled region.
Stichwort: Unkonventioneller Krieg
25.8.2014 IFSH Stellungnahme Hans-Georg Ehrhart Russlands unkonventioneller Krieg in der Ukraine: was tun?
… tut sich der Westen schwer, auf diese Herausforderung angemessen zu reagieren. Dafür gibt es viele Gründe. Einer davon scheint die von Beobachtern konstatierte angeblich völlig neue Art der Kriegführung zu sein. Diese firmiert unter dem Fachbegriff „unkonventioneller Krieg“ oder, mit den Worten des russischen Generalstabschefs Waleri Gerassimow, „nichtlinearer Krieg“ und ist so neu nicht.
Dabei handelt es sich um einen verdeckten, mit unkonventionellen Mitteln durchgeführten und in unklaren Gefechtslinien verlaufenden Gewaltkonflikt, der von einem Staat durch die Unterstützung einer Widerstandsbewegung gezielt in einem anderen Staat betrieben wird, um eine Regierung zu einem bestimmten Verhalten zu zwingen oder sie zu stürzen.
Der betroffene Staat betreibt dann Aufstandsbekämpfung, während der unkonventionell operierende Staat den Aufstand unterstützt … Unkonventionelle Kriegführung ist eine Form irregulärer Kriegführung, die indirekte und asymmetrische Ansätze bevorzugt, aber das ganze Spektrum der Einflussmöglichkeiten nutzt: offene und verdeckte, militärische und zivile, diplomatische und wirtschaftliche, informationelle und propagandistische. Diese ganze Bandbreite nutzt auch Moskau …
Unkonventionelle Kriegführung gehört nicht zum gängigen Repertoire der Bundeswehr und irreguläre Kriegführung ist für die Bundesregierung bislang kein Thema. In den USA und in Russland denkt man jedoch anders.
Hier wie dort wird unkonventionelle Kriegführung konzeptionalisiert, gelehrt, geplant und – wenn zur Erreichung eines strategischen Ziels als notwendig erachtet – auch durchgeführt. So konstatieren amerikanische Militärdoktrinen, dass heikle Operationen im Rahmen unkonventioneller Kriegführung im 21. Jahrhundert relevanter denn je sind und dass die US Streitkräfte sich in absehbarer Zukunft vor allem in irregulären Kriegen engagieren werden.
Russland hat zwar auch Erfahrung in verdeckter Kriegführung, ist aber technologisch und doktrinär weniger darauf vorbereitet als die USA. Nach den negativen Erfahrungen des partiell mit unkonventionellen Mitteln geführten Krieges mit Georgien leitete Moskau eine umfassende Militärreform ein, deren Ziel darin bestand, kleinere Einheiten zu schaffen, die leichter, flexibler und vernetzter operieren können …
Die von Generalstabschef Gerassimow daraus abgeleiteten Erkenntnisse lauten: größere Bedeutung nichtmilitärischer Mittel, größere Rolle asymmetrischer Aktionen, Verwendung von Präzisionswaffen, Nutzung von Spezialkräften und internen Oppositionskräften sowie die zentrale Bedeutung von Informationsoperationen … Angesichts der sich ausschließenden politisch-strategischen Ziele laufen beide Seiten Gefahr, in eine gefährliche Logik des Nullsummendenkens abzudriften, die Europa wieder zu teilen droht. Gefördert wird diese Entwicklung durch alte und neue Formen unkonventioneller Kriegführung. Die Unterstützung der Reform der ukrainischen Sicherheitsorgane durch die Nato und die EU sowie die Lieferung militärischer Ausrüstung durch die USA dürften aus russischer Sicht ebenso dazugehören wie aus westlicher Sicht die russische Unterstützung der Separatisten …
Minister: 7m barrels of Kurdish Oil Sold Internationally*
The Kurds have been exporting oil through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Region has sold 7 million barrels of oil internationally and is confident it will also win the right to sell in the United States, Kurdish natural resources minister Ashti Hawrami said.
In an interview with Rudaw, he said that Kurdish production capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) is expected to rise to 500,000 bpd by the end of the year.
He added that the revenues from the shipments — except for two rounds of oil sales – had been deposited in Kurdistan’s bank.
The Kurds have been looking increasingly confident about their oil exports, via a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, following four major oil sales.
In the most recent delivery, on Sunday a tanker offloaded 80,000 cubic meters of Kurdish crude at Croatia’s Adriatic sea port of Omisalj, bought by Hungary’s oil and gas group, MOL.
Three other tankers have to clients who, for the large part, have remained anonymous.
Earlier shipments of Kurdish crude slammed into long running objections by Baghdad to independent oil sales by Erbil. The United States also has banned direct oil sales by the Kurds,
Two tankers, the Minerva Joy and United Kalavrvta, are stuck in limbo off US coastal waters, as they await a US decision over whether their American buyers can legally receive their cargo.
The sale was stopped after the Iraqi government went to a local court in Texas to dispute the legality of delivering Kurdish oil to the US. But Hawrami was optimistic the KRG would win the case.
“The court will have its decision and we will win the (US) case,” said Hawrami, who insisted the KRG was absolutely determined to sell oil to US companies.
The minister added that foreign oil firms working in areas where there is heavy fighting with Islamic State (IS/ISIS) forces, had postponed operations. But he said this would not affect production.
Hawrami referred to an oil shortage that had caused a crisis in the Kurdistan Region, following the outbreak of Iraq’s war with the Islamic State in June. He said there is now plenty of fuel in gasoline stations.
“We are happy that there’s no longer something called a fuel crisis in the region. We now have a large volume of gasoline in the stations,” Hawrami added. “We are closely monitoring the quality of the gasoline sold.”
The minister said the government would not intervene to set gas prices, which he said was the duty of the parliament’s Oil and Gas Committee.
He said a coupon system for subsidized fuel had not worked. “We will go back to parliament to rework the system.”
Policy= res publica
Freudenberg-Pilster* Europe is Breeding Jihadists, Warns Syrian Kurdish Leader*
PYD Leader Salih Muslim met in Barcelona with the president of the Catalan Parliament, Nuria de Gispert. Photo courtesy of Catalan Parliament*
BARCELONA, Spain – The leader of the Syrian Kurds Salih Muslim warned in Spain that Europe is breeding jihadists who are fighting in their thousands in Syria. In a meeting with Catalan MPs in Barcelona on Tuesday, he accused Turkey of allowing jihadi fighters across its borders into Syria.
Muslim is in Europe to try to persuade Western countries that if they want to fight Islamic militancy at home they must help his Democratic Union Party (PYD) — the dominant force in Syrian Kurdistan (Rovaja) — in its fight against militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS).
On Monday, he warned at a gathering of civil society movements in Barcelona that, “European democracy shouldn’t finish at the borders of Europe. If you don’t have democracy in the Middle East you are not saved in Europe.”
“We have 4,000 people from Europe joining the fighting against us. There is something wrong in Europe which is producing people with this mentality,” Muslim said. “The Europeans should sit and think about what they should do.”
The People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its sister Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), the military wings of the PYD, have been the dominant military force in the Kurdish-populated areas since the withdrawal of most government forces in 2012. They have been mainly fighting against Islamist armed groups, particularly IS and the al-Nusrah Front.
Muslim told Catalan parliamentarians on Tuesday that despite its denials, Turkey was involved in helping IS militants, Quim Arrufat, one of the MPs at the meeting, told Rudaw. “He blamed Turkey for allowing jihadists to cross the border to fight in Syria,” Arrufat said.
“Turkey says that ISIS is dangerous for us and them, but members of ISIS pass through Turkey. We were in Turkey many times and they say that they don’t support these groups but on the ground it is different,” Muslim said the day before.
Arrufat said that the Kurdish leader met in Barcelona with the president of the Catalan Parliament, Nuria de Gispert, and representatives of four major Catalan parties.
During the civil society meeting, which was organized by the Barcelona-based Escarre Centre for Ethnic Minorities and Nations (CIEMEN), Muslim spoke about the issues affecting the three Kurdish cantons of Kobane, Afrin and Cizire, where the PYD declared autonomy in July 2012.
He stressed that the PYD is practicing genuine democracy, but confessed to mistakes.
“Of course we have made some mistakes, because we used to live under the pressure of the (Syrian) system and because of that we don’t have very good experience. We have had mistakes happening, especially regarding human rights (issues),” said Muslim.
“The people need to be trained and we are asking everybody — all the organizations — to teach us,” he added.
He said he expected pro-democracy organizations and Europe to help build a better model of a democratic society for the 3.5 million people living in Rojava.
Human Rights Watch said in a report last June that Kurdish authorities running the three enclaves in northern Syria have committed arbitrary arrests, due process violations and failed to address unsolved killings and disappearances.
In a positive development, the report said that the new constitution introduced in January in the enclaves, called the Social Contract, upholds some important human rights standards and bans the death penalty.
Muslim has been visiting Europe for the past two years, trying to gather support for his people. But he said that Europe had began to listen only since IS militants captured Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul in June, beginning a dominoes-fall that has the militants in control of about a third of Iraq.
IS has declared an Islamic Calipate that straddles Syria and Iraq.
“We have been in Europe more than two years just knocking the doors and trying for the people to listen to us. We have been fighting against ISIS in the small city of Kobane for a year, while in Mosul six battalions of the Iraqi army could not stand ISIS for 24 hours,” Muslim remarked.
Regarding a planned referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan on independence from Iraq, Muslim said: “Every part of Kurdistan has different conditions. Maybe in South Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan) they can look for the referendum and look for independence. It is their view and the result of the referendum will be respected by us because the people are deciding the fate.”
“In our case we, as a political party and component of Syria, believe that it is not the time for the independence of (Syrian) Kurdistan. The others should also respect what we are doing on our part. We should be within a democratic Syria.”
Regarding the lack of international aid to the Kurdish enclaves in Syria, Muslim said that the cantons “need everything.”
“But first of all we need the weapons to defend ourselves. We need artillery, because what ISIS has brought from Mosul is very sophisticated. They are mainly American weapons. We are buying from the black market… even sometimes we buy from them, people related to ISIS, because they have lots of weapons, huge amounts,” said Muslim.
He said that just a few days ago the enclave started receiving some international aid after the UN adopted a resolution allowing aid delivery without the approval of the Syrian government in Damascus.
Jalil Tamo, a Syrian Kurd who has been living in Spain for the past 33 years and has many family members in the city of Kobane, is thankful for the Kurdish resistance in Syria.
“The most important thing for me at this moment is that, thanks to the Kurdish guerrillas, my family is protected against the Islamist criminals. If the guerrillas were not there the Islamists would come to our areas and they would do brutal things against our women and our land,” said Tamo, claiming no political affiliation.
Politics: From Vision to Action
Barandat* DEBKAfile: Taking the US fight against IS into Syria would consolidate Assad and his Iranian-Hizballah allies*
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 23, 2014, 6:20 PM (IDT)
British and German intelligence sources reported Saturday, Aug. 23, that US intelligence aid to the Assad regime, channeled through German BND intelligence, had enabled the Syrian air force to more precisely target al Qaeda units. These reports tie in with proliferating accounts from Washington that President Barack Obama is on the point of a decision to extend military strikes into Syria for targeting the Islamic State’s terrorist base. He has been warned by some top US generals that IS poses a threat to the United States and cannot be seriously engaged without dealing with the group’s Syrian stronghold. “We’re not going to be restricted by borders,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, in a comment Thursday.
debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that there is no confirmation from the ground in Syria that Washington is indeed passing intelligence to Syria through Berlin to help the Syrian air force reach IS targets. The fact is that Syria is falling well short of arresting the IS advance on two critical fronts:
1. Aleppo. The Islamist threat looms grimly over an approaching Syrian-Hizballah military victory, under Iranian commanders, in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. They have come close to dislodging rebel forces from their last footholds, only to be faced with a new enemy. In the last fortnight, al Qaeda forces armed with American weapons taken booty in Iraq have surged out of their northern Syrian stronghold of Raqqa to capture dozens of villages around the city. Syrian and Hizballah forces, after completing their takeover of Aleppo, will find themselves encircled by Islamist units.
2. Tabqa Air Base. IS forces have pinned down some 1,000 Syrian air force and military personnel in the Tabqa air base southwest of Raqqa. They are locked in fierce combat. Every attempt by the Syrian army in the last two weeks to break the siege has been repelled by the Islamists. The latest attempt by the new Syrian Republican Guard’s 124th Brigade to reverse the battle has not so far broken the extremists’ stranglehold.
The fall of Tabqa air base would represent the Islamic State’s next major victory after the capture of Iraq’s second city of Mosul in July. It would open the road to Hama, 480 km to the west, and the main highways to Syria’s most important ports and naval bases in Latakia and Tartus in the Assad clan’s heartland.
In a word, by taking Tabqa, IS would virtually roll back a year of advances made by the Hizballah-backed Syrian military against the insurgency, and replace the former threat to the Assad regime with a new one from the Islamic State.
So in any decision to extend US military action from Iraq to Syria, President Obama must take into consideration its likely collateral effect – if successful, which would be to rescue Assad’s rule in Damascus from the Islamist peril and relieve his Hizballah and Iranian allies of this pressure.
After declaring for nearly four years that Bashar Assad must go, the US president may end up sending a US aircraft carrier to save him.
This decision by the US president would bear heavily on the security of two of Syria’s neighbors, Israel and Jordan. debkafile’s military and intelligence sources add that, in view of Egyptian president Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi’s recent clandestine contacts with President Assad, an American decision to strike al Qaeda in Syria may also influence El-Sisi’s calculations about hosting diplomacy for an accommodation of the Gaza conflict.
STRATFOR: The Remapping of the Middle East*
Iraq and Syria Follow Lebanon’s Precedent
Lebanon was created out of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. This agreement between Britain and France reshaped the collapsed Ottoman Empire south of Turkey into the states we know today — Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and to some extent the Arabian Peninsula as well. For nearly 100 years, Sykes-Picot defined the region. A strong case can be made that the nation-states Sykes-Picot created are now defunct, and that what is occurring in Syria and Iraq represents the emergence of post-British/French maps that will replace those the United States has been trying to maintain since the collapse of Franco-British power.
The Invention of Middle East Nation-States
Sykes-Picot, named for French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot and his British counterpart, Sir Mark Sykes, did two things. First, it created a British-dominated Iraq. Second, it divided the Ottoman province of Syria on a line from the Mediterranean Sea east through Mount Hermon. Everything north of this line was French. Everything south of this line was British. The French, who had been involved in the Levant since the 19th century, had allies among the region’s Christians. They carved out part of Syria and created a country for them. Lacking a better name, they called it Lebanon, after the nearby mountain of the same name.
The British named the area to the west of the Jordan River after the Ottoman administrative district of Filistina, which turned into Palestine on the English tongue. However, the British had a problem. During World War I, while the British were fighting the Ottoman Turks, they had allied with a number of Arabian tribes seeking to expel the Turks. Two major tribes, hostile to each other, were the major British allies. The British had promised postwar power to both. It gave the victorious Sauds the right to rule Arabia — hence Saudi Arabia. The other tribe, the Hashemites, had already been given the newly invented Iraqi monarchy and, outside of Arabia, a narrow strip of arable ground to the east of the Jordan River. For lack of a better name, it was called Trans-Jordan, or the other side of the Jordan. In due course the "trans" was dropped and it became Jordan.
And thus, along with Syria, five entities were created between the Mediterranean and Tigris, and between Turkey and the new nation of Saudi Arabia. This five became six after the United Nations voted to create Israel in 1947. The Sykes-Picot agreement suited European models and gave the Europeans a framework for managing the region that conformed to European administrative principles. The most important interest, the oil in Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula, was protected from the upheaval in their periphery as Turkey and Persia were undergoing upheaval. This gave the Europeans what they wanted.
What it did not do was create a framework that made a great deal of sense to the Arabs living in this region. The European model of individual rights expressed to the nation-states did not fit their cultural model. For the Arabs, the family — not the individual — was the fundamental unit of society. Families belonged to clans and clans to tribes, not nations. The Europeans used the concept of the nation-state to express divisions between "us" and "them." To the Arabs, this was an alien framework, which to this day still competes with religious and tribal identities.
The states the Europeans created were arbitrary, the inhabitants did not give their primary loyalty to them, and the tensions within states always went over the border to neighboring states. The British and French imposed ruling structures before the war, and then a wave of coups overthrew them after World War II. Syria and Iraq became pro-Soviet states while Israel, Jordan and the Arabians became pro-American, and monarchies and dictatorships ruled over most of the Arab countries. These authoritarian regimes held the countries together.
Reality Overcomes Cartography
It was Lebanon that came apart first. Lebanon was a pure invention carved out of Syria. As long as the Christians for whom Paris created Lebanon remained the dominant group, it worked, although the Christians themselves were divided into warring clans. But after World War II, the demographics changed, and the Shiite population increased. Compounding this was the movement of Palestinians into Lebanon in 1948. Lebanon thus became a container for competing clans. Although the clans were of different religions, this did not define the situation. Multiple clans in many of these religious groupings fought each other and allied with other religions.
Moreover, Lebanon’s issues were not confined to Lebanon. The line dividing Lebanon from Syria was an arbitrary boundary drawn by the French. Syria and Lebanon were not one country, but the newly created Lebanon was not one country, either. In 1976 Syria — or more precisely, the Alawite dictatorship in Damascus — invaded Lebanon. Its intent was to destroy the Palestinians, and their main ally was a Christian clan. The Syrian invasion set off a civil war that was already flaring up and that lasted until 1990.
Lebanon was divided into various areas controlled by various clans. The clans evolved. The dominant Shiite clan was built around Nabi Berri. Later, Iran sponsored another faction, Hezbollah. Each religious faction had multiple clans, and within the clans there were multiple competitors for power. From the outside it appeared to be strictly a religious war, but that was an incomplete view. It was a competition among clans for money, security, revenge and power. And religion played a role, but alliances crossed religious lines frequently.
The state became far less powerful than the clans. Beirut, the capital, became a battleground for the clans. The Israelis invaded in order to crush the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with Syria’s blessing, and at one point the United States intervened, partly to block the Israelis. When Hezbollah blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing hundreds of Marines, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, realizing the amount of power it would take to even try to stabilize Lebanon, withdrew all troops. He determined that the fate of Lebanon was not a fundamental U.S. interest, even if there was a Cold War underway.
The complexity of Lebanon goes far beyond this description, and the external meddling from Israel, Syria, Iran and the United States is even more complicated. The point is that the clans became the reality of Lebanon, and the Lebanese government became irrelevant. An agreement was reached between the factions and their patrons in 1989 that ended the internal fighting — for the most part — and strengthened the state. But in the end, the state existed at the forbearance of the clans. The map may show a nation, but it is really a country of microscopic clans engaged in a microscopic geopolitical struggle for security and power. Lebanon remains a country in which the warlords have become national politicians, but there is little doubt that their power comes from being warlords and that, under pressure, the clans will reassert themselves.
Repeats in Syria and Iraq
A similar process has taken place in Syria. The arbitrary nation-state has become a region of competing clans. The Alawite clan, led by Bashar al Assad (who has played the roles of warlord and president), had ruled the country. An uprising supported by various countries threw the Alawites into retreat. The insurgents were also divided along multiple lines. Now, Syria resembles Lebanon. There is one large clan, but it cannot destroy the smaller ones, and the smaller ones cannot destroy the large clan. There is a permanent stalemate, and even if the Alawites are destroyed, their enemies are so divided that it is difficult to see how Syria can go back to being a country, except as a historical curiosity. Countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States might support various clans, but in the end, the clans survive.
Something very similar happened in Iraq. As the Americans departed, the government that was created was dominated by Shia, who were fragmented. To a great degree, the government excluded the Sunnis, who saw themselves in danger of marginalization. The Sunnis consisted of various tribes and clans (some containing Shiites) and politico-religious movements like the Islamic State. They rose up in alliance and have now left Baghdad floundering, the Iraqi army seeking balance and the Kurds scrambling to secure their territory.
It is a three-way war, but in some ways it is a three-way war with more than 20 clans involved in temporary alliances. No one group is strong enough to destroy the others on the broader level. Sunni, Shiite and Kurd have their own territories. On the level of the tribes and clans, some could be destroyed, but the most likely outcome is what happened in Lebanon: the permanent power of the sub-national groups, with perhaps some agreement later on that creates a state in which power stays with the smaller groups, because that is where loyalty lies.
The boundary between Lebanon and Syria was always uncertain. The border between Syria and Iraq is now equally uncertain. But then these borders were never native to the region. The Europeans imposed them for European reasons. Therefore, the idea of maintaining a united Iraq misses the point. There was never a united Iraq — only the illusion of one created by invented kings and self-appointed dictators. The war does not have to continue, but as in Lebanon, it will take the exhaustion of the clans and factions to negotiate an end.
The idea that Shia, Sunnis and Kurds can live together is not a fantasy. The fantasy is that the United States has the power or interest to re-create a Franco-British invention crafted out of the debris of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, even if it had an interest, it is doubtful that the United States has the power to pacify Iraq and Syria. It could not impose calm in Lebanon. The triumph of the Islamic State would represent a serious problem for the United States, but no more than it would for the Shia, Kurds and other Sunnis. As in Lebanon, the multiplicity of factions creates a countervailing force that cripples those who reach too far.
There are two issues here. The first is how far the disintegration of nation-states will go in the Arab world. It seems to be underway in Libya, but it has not yet taken root elsewhere. It may be a political formation in the Sykes-Picot areas. Watching the Saudi peninsula will be most interesting. But the second issue is what regional powers will do about this process. Turkey, Iran, Israel and the Saudis cannot be comfortable with either this degree of fragmentation or the spread of more exotic groups. The rise of a Kurdish clan in Iraq would send tremors to the Turks and Iranians.
The historical precedent, of course, would be the rise of a new Ottoman attitude in Turkey that would inspire the Turks to move south and impose an acceptable order on the region. It is hard to see how Turkey would have the power to do this, plus if it created unity among the Arabs it would likely be because the memories of Turkish occupation still sting the Arab mind.
All of this aside, the point is that it is time to stop thinking about stabilizing Syria and Iraq and start thinking of a new dynamic outside of the artificial states that no longer function. To do this, we need to go back to Lebanon, the first state that disintegrated and the first place where clans took control of their own destiny because they had to. We are seeing the Lebanese model spread eastward. It will be interesting to see where else its spreads.
*Islamic State or Islamic Fascism?*
American airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS/ISIS), its military and humanitarian aid to the Kurds that coincided with the removal of Nouri al-Maliki from office and the quick international reception to his resignation all sound like a concerted effort to pull Iraq out of its deep, decade-long crisis.
The United States is still intent on seeing Iraq through, so that the lives of more than 4,000 US soldiers killed in the war and billions of dollars spent on it do not become meaningless. It was partly for this effort that Washington persuaded the Kurds to reenter Iraq’s political process and seek to solve their disputes with Baghdad.
But all this is happening when Sunni Arabs have chosen a totally different path: the moderate Sunnis who joined Iraq’s political process 10 years ago were isolated and banished by Maliki, and as a result they left the playground for a brutal and fascist force that is the Islamic State.
This force is not interested in dialogue with anyone and there is no hope of pulling it into the political process. A recent statement by the group is telling of its nature.
In that statement, the IS claims it attacked Kurdistan because the Kurds had extended their legs beyond their britches, after Erbil sent forces into Kurdish-populated territories beyond its official borders to fill the vacuum left by retreating Iraqi troops. IS sees it as its duty to push the Kurds back to the autonomous borders recognized under Saddam Hussein’s regime.
What this illustrates is that the creators of the Islamic State are not a group of crazy armed men who have read too much into their religious texts. Their brief statement shows that nationalism is as deeply rooted in the Islamic State as religion.
If the foreign jihadis are taken out of IS, what is left are former Baathist security and army officers who fled to Syria after Saddam’s fall in 2003.
These are the same Iraqi officers who in the 1990s turned to religion and began beheading prostitutes and cutting off the tongues and noses of their opponents and proudly documenting the atrocities on camera.
The Islamic State is nothing but a blend of Islamic fatalism and radical nationalism that tries to compensate for all the past humiliations of the Arab nation. This makes IS a fascist state.
The fascination of Islamic radicalism with fascism is not new. Hassan Banna, the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, said in a book in 1935 that Italian fascist and dictator Benito Mussolini was practicing one of the principles of Islam.
The relationship between Islamic extremism and fascism is historical. The extremists have used the Koran to look down on and degrade non-Arabs, boasting that God sent his latest revelation in their language.
The book separates humanity into two: Muslims and non-Muslims. The Koran describes infields “as animals or even worse.” That is why IS militants place their knives on people’s throats without hesitation.
This group has all the means necessary for the rise and propagation of fascism, the prime mover being a feeling of humiliation. That is the feeling that you are great but the world is acting against you, and that you have a glorious past and need to revive it.
Then comes the task of finding the enemy, both domestic and foreign. In the case of the Islamic State the list of domestic enemies is quite long. And the foreign enemy is constantly seen to be “plotting” to destroy their nation (ummah).
A fascist state cannot tolerate differences. That is why, as soon as IS gained a foothold, it set upon Christians, Yezidis, Shabaks and Shiites. This movement has no regard for those outside itself. That is why its fighters kill other men, enslave other women and demolish their temples.
In light of these facts, the question is how to deal with this group? It seems that American airstrikes are not intended to destroy the group. Even if the bombs are intended to eradicate the IS, that is impossible to do. The reason is that this is no longer the ideology of a group of militants, but the ideology of a state.
This group has already established a state within two states, Iraq and Syria. It is unclear what they will do to millions of Kurds, Christians and Shiites if they one day rule Iraq.
I see this group as the guarantee of many more years of war and killings, in the region in general and Iraq in particular. The same way Germans and Italians paid a heavy price for their fascism, the people of Iraq, especially the Sunnis, are in for a similar deal, unless they get their act together and find a moderate alternative to the Islamic State.
* Salam Saadi is the editor-in-chief of Rudaw Kurdish.
The Islamic State isn’t just killing people. It’s destroying a culture*
Aki Peritz is a former CIA counterterrorism analyst and a co-author of “Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns That Killed bin Laden and Devastated Al-Qaeda.”
Before the world witnessed the full force of the Islamic State’s brutality in the video this past week showing American journalist James Foley’s murder, a different video revealed another kind of destruction the terrorist group is bent on inflicting.
A little more than a minute long, the earlier video focuses on a large tan building with a graceful minaret rising into the day’s haze. Ten seconds in, there’s a flash and a loud bang. The minaret and the building disappear in a plume of smoke. And just like that, the supposed final resting place of the prophet Jonah — he of the very large fish — was reduced to rubble.
The Islamic State has been consolidating its fanatical grip on its conquered lands. Besides the innumerable cruelties the militant group has meted out, such as the forced expulsions of Christians and other minorities, mass executions and the murder of religious leaders, it also has been destroying Iraq’s cultural heritage wherever its black banners flutter overhead.
Since taking over a chunk of northern and western Iraq in June, the Islamic State has systematically blown up heritage sites in and around Mosul, such as the centuries-old shrine to Seth (the third son of Adam and Eve ), the Prophet Jirjis Mosque and the Awn al-Din Shrine. An hour’s drive west of Mosul, in the town of Tal Afar, it has demolished at least three Shiite shrines and three mosques.
Iraq’s biblical and historic sites have suffered enormous damage over the past decade of war. For instance, Baghdad’s National Museum and National Archives were famously looted after the U.S. invasion, while American troops in 2003-2004 used part of ancient Babylon as a heliport and fuel reservoir. But the difference is that the Islamic State makes a deliberate effort to wreck Iraq’s cultural spaces. The group even brags about it; a recent edition of its English-language online magazine, Dabiq , features a photo essay showing many places its fighters have destroyed in and around Nineveh province. And what the organization doesn’t bulldoze, it loots; the Sunday Times recently reported that the Islamic State is ransacking archaeological sites and extracting a “tax” on smugglers moving stolen artifacts.
The Islamic State’s appetite for destruction makes perfect sense. The group claims to adhere to the Salafist worldview; its members want to return Islam to what they perceive to be how Muhammad’s first generations of followers acted and behaved. Salafists explicitly reject post-7th-century “innovations” concerning behavior and Koranic interpretation — which, taken to the extreme, means all other forms of Islamic faith are corrupt and should be expunged. This ideology underpins the Islamic State’s justification for destroying everything of cultural consequence in Mosul and elsewhere.
Of course, this is hardly the first time radicals have delighted in systematically demolishing a nation’s heritage. The Taliban’s dynamiting of ancient statues of the Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in 2001 is another tragic example. But a better analogy of cultural destruction on an industrial scale is China during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976. Chinese youth, empowered by Mao Zedong’s vision of a permanent class struggle, formed Red Guard units across the country. They were then encouraged to stamp out the “four olds” from Chinese society: old customs, old habits, old culture and old thinking.
The Red Guards destroyed temples, mosques, heritage sites, art and libraries, turning much of the country’s 5,000-year-old culture to ash. Only the intercession of high-ranking officials could stop the demolitions. For example, the reason Beijing’s Forbidden City was not greatly damaged is because Premier Zhou Enlai deployed Chinese troops to protect it.
Throughout history, we sometimes see small groups rise up to try to halt — or at least mitigate — the destruction. In Robert Edsel’s book “The Monuments Men” (and in George Clooney’s movie of the same title), a group of volunteers comes together to attempt to rescue priceless cultural artifacts from Nazi ravages during World War II.
Even today, there are those who seek to preserve civilization from within. When al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its allies gobbled up half of Mali in 2012, they conquered Timbuktu , a city of great Islamic scholarship. AQIM’s fanatics bulldozed several shrines in the city, and declared that certain centuries-old texts were unholy and must be put to the torch. But a few librarians and a security guard decided to risk their lives to move some 28,000 texts from harm’s way, until the Malian government and French paratroopers retook the city in early 2013.
President Obama declared Wednesday that the United States “will continue to do what we must do to protect our people” against the Islamic State, and that “we will be vigilant, and we will be relentless.” But in addition to its campaign of airstrikes, the United States should quietly identify and assist those brave enough to try to stem the irredeemable cultural losses being inflicted in Islamic State-controlled territory. Sadly, it is hard to save immovable places such as mosques, monasteries, churches, tombs, shrines and archaeological sites — although residents have made efforts to protect a few places — but we should work with those willing to spirit whatever artifacts can be saved from the conflict zone. The administration should also work with the Kurdistan Regional Government, Turkey and the European Union to house whatever collections can be saved from the Islamic State’s murderous fanatics. The group is quickly erasing Iraq’s cultural heritage, with little holding it back.
No doubt, it’s a bit callous to emphasize the rescue of artifacts and items rather than focus solely on the risks to long-suffering people. Yet for one reason or another, no political player that can bring overwhelming force to the table is effectively challenging the Islamic State — not the Sunni tribes (yet), not the government in Baghdad, not the Iranians and not the United States, despite our limited air campaign and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calling the group “a threat to every stabilized country on Earth.” So, the Islamic State will tighten its grip on its territory and continue its pillaging of Iraq’s heritage.
In the Book of Jonah, God commands the reluctant prophet to journey to the Assyrian city of Nineveh to tell its king and its inhabitants of their coming destruction due to their wickedness. Modern Mosul is built over the bones of ancient Nineveh, and the wicked now rule the city again. We need brave, modern-day Monuments Men (and women) in Iraq to help stop the damage the Islamic State is inflicting every day upon the some of the first drafts of human civilization.
*Recent trends in FDI activity in Europe: Regaining lost ground to accelerate growth*
The European Union has lost its leading position as the world’s most important recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). While the countries of the EU accounted for 50% of global FDI inflows in the early 2000s, the share has fallen to less than 20%. By contrast, the BRIC countries have more than doubled their share in global FDI inflows since 2007. In 2013, China alone received more FDI inflows than all EU countries together.
Although the share of investments coming from non-EU countries is rising, still more than 60% of total inward FDI flows into European countries are intra-EU investments. For the EU as a whole, this means that the majority of recorded FDI does not constitute genuinely new investment from abroad, but rather a shift of capital between EU member states.
The evolution of FDI activity across the euro area is very uneven. The highest inflows during the previous two years were recorded for Spain and Ireland. While Germany and Italy experienced an increase in FDI activity in 2013, it decreased strongly in France. FDI flows are very volatile and do not instantaneously track changes in business conditions. However, countries such as Italy and Greece are attracting much less foreign investment capital than comparable EU countries over a prolonged period, which is likely to reflect competitiveness deficits as well.
While the contribution of FDI to GDP growth is sometimes overstated, FDI would be particularly valuable for the euro area periphery in the current situation. After all, the majority of domestic companies is financially constrained and has problems to access financing via conventional channels. This means that the availability of capital to make large-scale investment in the economy is scarce. By international standards the countries in the EU are already very open for foreign investors. Despite some efforts to promote FDI in the EU, a higher attractiveness for investments from abroad can only come from structural improvements of the economic conditions.
A new OECD benchmark definition (BMD4) will make FDI data more transparent in the future. So far, FDI data are sometimes heavily upward biased as they include also purely financial flows. For a few EU countries which are well known as investment locations, such financial flows are more than 10 times higher than genuine investments in some years.
à"Croatia has an essential role to play, as an energy security hub for the 21st century… You (Croatia) have spectacular assets to do that so long you as you make smart choices as you are going forward," Nuland said.<–(Massenbach-Letter. News July 17,2014 )
*EXCLUSIVE-Iraqi Kurdistan oil pipeline export capacity to double*
* Pipeline capacity to increase to 220,000 bpd
* One source says capacity to rise to 250,000 bpd in 3 months
* Oil revenue lifeline to Arbil as Kurdish forces battle militants (Adds more quotes, details and background)
DUHOK, Iraq/ANKARA, Aug 19 (Reuters) – The capacity of Iraqi Kurdistan’s independent oil pipeline will almost double to at least 200,000 barrels per day by the end of this month, helping the semi-autonomous region increase exports and revenue, industry sources and officials said.
Oil revenues are a lifeline for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, whose peshmerga forces are being supported by U.S. air strikes in their battle against the radical Sunni militants of Islamic State.
"Work to increase the capacity will probably be completed by the end of this month. Once it is completed, pumping can increase to up to 220,000 barrels per day (bpd)," one Turkish official told Reuters.
Industry sources also said the capacity of the pipeline to Turkey, which began operating at the start of this year, was set to rise to around 200,000-220,000 bpd from 100,000-120,000 bpd before the flow stopped for upgrade work.
One of the sources said capacity could climb to 250,000 bpd in two to three months‘ time.
"The crude flow is set to restart when the upgrade work is finished, but the 200,000 bpd to 220,0000 bpd of crude flow will be dependent on the rising oil production in northern Iraq," one official said.
A joint venture of Anglo-Turkish company Genel Energy and Sinopec’s Addax Petroleum is working to ramp up production in the Taq Taq oilfield, Iraqi Kurdistan’s largest, to 140,000 bpd by the end of this month.
After months of fruitless talks with Iraq’s central government, the KRG in May started to export crude on its own independent pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean export terminal of Ceyhan.
The KRG pipeline is located at a distance from the areas controlled by Islamic militants.
The move has infuriated Baghdad, which claims the sole authority to manage Iraqi oil. It has cut allocations to the KRG in the budget and has tried to block KRG’s oil sales by taking legal action.
So far, 7.8 million barrels of Kurdish oil have flowed through the independent pipeline, of which 6.5 million have been loaded onto tankers for export.
The Kurds have managed to load seven export cargoes from Ceyhan, according to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
EXPORTS FINDING CUSTOMERS
The tricky part for Iraqi Kurdistan has so far been to find buyers to export the oil. Baghdad’s persistent efforts to block sales initially deterred some customers.
Iraqi Kurdistan delivered its third major cargo of crude oil out of Ceyhan and a fourth was sailing to Croatia on Friday.
Around $350 million in oil sales have been completed or are under way from shipments sent via the KRG pipeline, a Reuters analysis of satellite tracking data shows.
One cargo of Kurdish crude aboard the United Kalavrvta tanker has been sitting off the Texas coast since late July after Baghdad asked a court to seize the vessel. The ship remains in international waters, unable to unload, while the KRG has appealed the case.
The KRG has said it plans to increase oil sales to around 1 million bpd by the end of 2015, which could give it enough economic clout to speed a move to independence.
Meanwhile, a drive earlier this month by Islamic State militants through northern Iraq to the border with the Kurdish region has alarmed Baghdad, drawn the first U.S. air strikes since the end of American occupation in 2001 and sent tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians fleeing for their lives.
"We provide a lifeline to this region; we boost the economy. Our machines have not stopped; all our staff both expats and locals are at work. Our target is to improve production," Onder Tekeli, general manager of Taq Taq Operating Company (TTOPCO), told Reuters during a short ride inside the facility.
On Tuesday, Iraqi forces launched an offensive to drive Islamic State fighters out of Tikrit, but they halted their advance after facing fierce resistance, officers in the operations room told Reuters.
The Sunni militants‘ advance towards Arbil, which followed a shockingly fast seizure of Iraq’s third-biggest city Mosul in June, have stunned the international community and prompted Western oil companies including ExxonMobil and Chevron to evacuate staff.
The fall in oil output from the region has been negligible, however.
TAQ TAQ OPERATING COMPANY LTD (TTOPCO) is a purpose entity established and jointly owned by Genel Energy PLC of Turkey and Addax Petroleum International Ltd, wholly owned by Sinopec for the conduction of petroleum operations under a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) in the Taq Taq License Area in Northern Iraq. TTOPCO is not a party to the PSC nor own any assets other than what is required to conduct its operations, but is based on no-profit-no-loss principles.
The organization of TTOPCO encompasses a permanent staff of approximately 200 petroleum industry experts originating from Iraq, Turkey, UK, France, Canada and other countries.
TTOPCO is registered under the laws of the British Virgin Islands and maintains offices in Ankara (Turkey), Erbil (Iraq) and within the Taq Taq license area.
Genel Energy plc is an oil company with a registered office in Jersey and field office in Turkey. It has its exploration and production operations in Iraqi Kurdistan with plans to expand its activities into other Middle East and North African countries. The company owns rights in six production sharing contracts, including interests in the Taq Taq, Tawke, and Chia Surkh fields.
Genel Energy was created in 2011 as a result of the reverse acquisition of Turkish Genel Enerji by Tony Hayward led investment company Vallares. Vallares was set up by Tony Hayward, financier Nat Rothschild and banker Julian Metherell. Genel Enerji was controlled by Mehmet Emin Karamehmet through Çukurova Group (56%) and Mehmet Sepil’s family (44%). In 2009, Genel Enerji planned merger with Heritage Oil; however, the deal subsequently collapsed.
Tony Hayward is CEO of Genel Energy while former CEO of Genel Enerji Mehmet Sepil became President of the company. The Board includes former deputy chief executive of BP and chairman of Petrofac, Rodney Chase.
Das Unternehmen erschließt Erdgas- und Erdölvorkommen weltweit, besitzt Raffinerien und vermarktet seine petrochemischen Produkte. In Deutschland ist das Unternehmen durch die Sinopec Europa Handels GmbH in Frankfurt am Main vertreten.
Banking on U.S. shale gas boom, Asia petrochemical firms switch to LPG*
By Seng Li Peng
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Asia petrochemicals firms are building tanks and retooling plants to store and process liquefied petroleum gas imported from the United States, counting on a flood of supply from the shale boom to replace costlier naphtha as a raw material.
Samsung Total Petrochemical [SMCHE.UL], LG Chem and Royal Vopak are among a number of companies in Asia expanding import terminals or retrofitting plants over the next one to two years as they buy more LPG. The gas is used by petrochemicals firms to make a broad range of consumer and industrial plastics.
Asian petrochemicals firms have traditionally used naphtha as a raw material. They are now switching to LPG because rising U.S. supplies have pushed prices below those of both naphtha and LPG from their main supplier, the Middle East. A looming rise in tanker supply from next year will also help cut U.S.-Asia freight costs.
A cutback in naphtha use will hit key regional suppliers of the fuel such as India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Kuwait Petroleum, who are already being forced to cut the premiums they charge on naphtha sales.
The LPG buying will, however, help the United States trim an expected surplus of the gas and give the shipping industry more business at a time when global trade is still recovering from the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Petrochemicals firms in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand have bumped up their use of LPG since June as the gas has cost at least $50 a tonne less than naphtha, said traders who track the Asian fuel market closely.
"The Far East has been using 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes of LPG a month since June," said a trader who tracks naphtha and LPG, compared with at most 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes a month in the past.
Rising supplies of LPG – a compressed mix of propane and butane, also used for heating and transport – have widened the price gap between LPG and naphtha. In June, the average price of the gas was $916 a tonne versus naphtha’s $972, a spread of $56. In the same month of last year gas was $17 cheaper than naphtha, data from Ginga Petroleum showed.
Both naphtha and LPG are produced by refining crude. A barrel of crude typically has a 3 percent LPG yield while for naphtha it is more than 10 percent. LPG is also obtained in the process of extracting natural gas.
The design of petrochemical plants in Asia, though, constrains how much LPG can replace naphtha. Typically, up to 15 percent of naphtha can be replaced. Even within that limit, plants in Asia have room to raise LPG use, which may mean more imports of the gas.
U.S. LPG SURPLUS
The shale boom is expected to spur U.S. LPG production. By 2019, the nation’s surplus of the gas will double to 550,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 270,000 bpd in 2014, said U.S.-based consultancy firm ESAI.
Asia now accounts for more than a quarter of all U.S. LPG exports and that is set to rise steadily this decade. Exports to Asia could rise to 230,000 bpd by 2019 from 70,000-90,000 bpd this year, said Vivek Mathur, senior analyst at ESAI.
Supplies from the Middle East will also grow but exports may not rise as much as U.S. shipments. And Asia is eager to get its hands on U.S. LPG.
Chinese energy giant CNOOC Group’s $8 billion petrochemical complex in Huizhou city aims to use U.S. LPG, a senior executive of the project’s contractor said this week.
Samsung Total will build a 40,000-tonnes LPG tank to ride on the shale boom, a spokesman said, without giving a construction timeline.
South Korea’s LG Chem will raise the LPG volume used by its crackers by half to 66,000 tonnes a month after October maintenance at its Yeosu complex.
And in Singapore, Royal Vopak will build an LPG storage facility with an initial capacity of 80,000 cubic meters to give petrochemical makers an alternative to naphtha.
Naphtha sellers are feeling the pressure. ONGC sold a September cargo at premiums to Middle East quotes of about $14.50 a tonne, its lowest in over two years.
The situation will worsen for them when new tankers are ready and the Panama canal expansion is completed by end-2015.
Some 36 new LPG tankers are scheduled for delivery in 2015 and another 38 in 2016 versus five this year, said a Southeast Asia-based LPG trader, potentially helping lower freight rates.
U.S. LPG is available now for loading below $600 a tonne compared to the $760-$780 for the gas from the Middle East. Even with current freight rates from America to the Far East higher compared to rates from Middle East to Asia, U.S. LPG works out a cheaper option for Asian users.
"LPG prices should be more competitive versus naphtha due to the amount of supplies available," said another LPG trader.
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