Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 28/11/14

Massenbach-Letter. News

*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*

· U.S. welcomes oil deal between Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad

· Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung: Investitionsschutz nur in TTIP aufnehmen, um globale Standards zu entwickeln

· Vattenfall: German plea to Sweden over threat to coal mines

· Weshalb die Verlängerung der Verhandlungen mit dem Iran keine Verlegenheitslösung ist.

· NATO/EU Cooperation with Russia on Military Airlift


· Friedman: The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East

· Barack Obama verfügt neue Einwanderungspolitik

Massenbach* Kahlschlag bei der DW (Deutsche Welle) droht – Fernsehprogramme in Deutsch, Spanisch und Arabisch in Berlin eingestellt

DJV fordert höheres Budget

18. Nov. 2014 – Der DJV hat hat die Abbauszenarien bei der Deutschen Welle in Berlin und Bonn auf das Schärfste verurteilt. Intendant Peter Limbourg droht derzeit mit Kahlschlag. Er informiert derzeit die Mitarbeiter in Bonn über einschneidende Maßnahmen. Die Mitarbeiter in Berlin wurden bereits gestern informiert. Sollten die Finanzzusagen für den Sender im nächsten Jahr nicht deutlich steigen, werden die Fernsehprogramme in Deutsch, Spanisch und Arabisch in Berlin eingestellt. Es bliebe dann nur noch das Englische Programm übrig. Am Standort Bonn sollen journalistische Angebote in 10 Sprachen aufgegeben werden. „Die vorgelegten Maßnahmen zerstören das Herz des Senders und sind nicht hinnehmbar“, sagte der DJV-Bundesvorsitzende Michael Konken. „Sollten die Pläne Wirklichkeit werden, wäre dies das Ende des deutschen Auslandrundfunks auf Kosten hunderter hochqualifizierter Mitarbeiter.“

Hintergrund des angedrohten Kahlschlags ist die strukturelle Unterfinanzierung des Senders. Die Deutsche Welle wird ausschließlich vom Bund finanziert. Seit 1998 wurde das Budget des Senders nicht angehoben, Preissteigerungen nicht ausgeglichen. Real stehen der Deutschen Welle gegenüber 1998 rund ein Drittel weniger Mittel zur Verfügung. Der DJV- Bundesvorsitzende forderte deshalb eine deutliche Anhebung des Budgets für die Deutsche Welle. „Die Außendarstellung für Deutschland ist heute wichtiger denn je. Deutschland kann es sich nicht leisten, die Meinungshoheit auf den Medienmärkten der Welt anderen zu überlassen.“



*German plea to Sweden over threat to coal mines*

The cooling towers of Vattenfall’s Schwarze Pumpe lignite-fuelled power station in Spremberg, Brandenburg

Germany has made a dramatic appeal to Sweden to help it out of an energy dilemma that threatens Europe’s biggest economy as it shifts away from nuclear power and fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor, warned Sweden’s new prime minister Stefan Löfven last month that there would be “serious consequences” for electricity supplies and jobs if Sweden’s state-owned utility Vattenfall ditched plans to expand two coal mines in the northeast of Germany.

The intervention is a clear sign of the challenges Germany faces as it grapples with an ambitious switch to renewable energy – the so-called Energiewende.

Under the policy, Germany aims to derive 80 per cent of its electricity from clean sources by 2050. As part of that, it is closing down all of its nuclear power stations by 2022.

But it is making up the energy shortfall caused by the nuclear phase-out by generating power from coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel. Last year, German electricity production from lignite or brown coal, a particularly polluting form of the fuel, reached its highest level since 1990.

Germany’s heavy reliance on coal has left it struggling to meet its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile high levies on bills to pay for renewable power mean that household energy prices are among the highest in Europe.

Angela Merkel’s cabinet is due to meet next week to discuss mothballing some coal-fired power stations as a means of helping the country reach its carbon goals.

But Berlin’s lobbying of Stockholm underlines a view held by some in the German government that coal-fired generation is vital to the security of the country’s power supply.

In a letter written last month to Mr Löfven and seen by the Financial Times, Mr Gabriel said Vattenfall’s continued investment in two lignite mines in Brandenburg and Saxony that supply coal to nearby power plants “would be important to me personally” and added “I would be grateful if you could use your influence to make that happen.”

Mr Gabriel, who is also Germany’s economy minister, fired off the letter after Mr Löfven’s centre-left coalition government won a September election in which the climate change impact of Vattenfall’s German coal operations was a big issue.

But the intervention did not stop Vattenfall. Magnus Hall, its new chief executive, announced on October 30 that the utility would look at selling off its lignite mining and generation assets in Germany.

“We have a clear strategy to reduce our CO2 exposure and to transform our business into a more renewable-based portfolio,” Mr Hall said in a statement.

Mr Löfven told the FT on Sunday that he had explained to Mr Gabriel in a phone call that Vattenfall’s board acted independently of the government.

“I also told Sigmar that we have a policy that we don’t want to harm Germany, so it is up to the board to handle this situation in the best way,” he said.

He added that Vattenfall’s board had decided to look into selling the German lignite mines and power plants and that “this is in line with government policy that we need Vattenfall to be a leading actor in renewables and clean energy”.

“But this decision was not from the government,” Mr Löfven said. “We are not telling Vattenfall to do something; they made their own decision. But it is in line with our policy, and we will keep that policy.”

Separately, Vattenfall has also filed a lawsuit against Germany seeking €4.7bn in compensation over Berlin’s decision to close the country’s fleet of nuclear power stations.

A spokeswoman for the German economics ministry said Mr Gabriel’s letter concerned Vattenfall’s responsibility to preserve jobs and a secure and affordable energy supply in Germany, “which has arisen from the profitable operation of this business in the past”.

Mr Gabriel described the situation in more graphic terms in his letter to Mr Löfven.

A failure to expand the two mines “would entail serious consequences for power generation and employment in the region”, including the closure of two new power plants 20 years earlier than currently planned, and the loss of up to 16,000 jobs in a “structurally weak region of Germany”, Mr Gabriel said.

Germany still believed its plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 was a “necessary step”, he told Mr Löfven.

“However, we also strongly believe that we cannot simultaneously quit nuclear energy and coal-based power generation.”

“Dear Stefan, Germany will indeed phase out fossil power generation as well – but at a gentler speed that can somehow be managed in terms of its consequences.”

Vattenfall declined to comment except to say the decision to look at the ownership structure of its German lignite operations was taken by the company’s board.


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Barack Obama verfügt neue Einwanderungspolitik*

Thomas E. Mann: Obama’s Immigration Order Isn’t a Power Grab Executive Branch November 20, 2014

… That acknowledgement … is welcome. Until we as a country face up to the destructiveness of our asymmetric partisan polarization, there is little chance of improving our dysfunctional government.

The crocodile tears in reaction to President Obama acting well beyond his constitutional authority and destroying prospects in Congress for bipartisan agreement on a range of pressing public problems, including immigration, are laughable …

Republicans have never accepted the legitimacy of his presidency nor demonstrated any willingness to enter into negotiations with him to deal with the Great Recession, stagnant wages, serious flaws in the regulation of financial services, unsustainable health care costs, a deteriorating infrastructure, climate change, and a widely acknowledged broken immigration system.

Instead, since the 2010 elections returned the GOP to the majority in the House, they have engaged in unprecedented and irresponsible brinksmanship and hostage-taking that have threatened the full faith and credit of the country, weakened the economy, and precipitated a sharp decline in the public’s trust in government.

Now that the President has decided to use his well documented constitutional and statutory authority to ease temporarily one of the most difficult and painful problems facing the country, Republicans are shocked, yes shocked that he would “poison the well” and destroy any chance of bipartisan comity in the new Congress.

Let’s get serious. Republicans used their majority foothold in the House to guarantee that Congress would be the graveyard of serious policymaking, a far cry from the deliberative first branch of government designed by the framers. They have reduced the legislative process to nothing more than a tool in a partisan war to control the levers of public power. The cost of such unrelenting opposition and gridlock is that policymaking initiative and power inevitably will flow elsewhere — to the executive and the courts.


Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* NATO/EU Cooperation with Russia on Military Airlift*

Germany and its NATO and EU partners continue to rely on Russian heavy airlift to support their expeditionary military and humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa, despite political tensions over Ukraine and associated western sanctions. Germany was the driving force behind the creation of the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS), which provides assured access for fourteen NATO and EU member states to Russian and Ukrainian An-124-100 large cargo aircraft operating out of Germany’s Leipzig-Halle Airport. When the requirement was rebid in 2012, NATO determined that the combination of Russian and Ukrainian An-124s offered by Ruslan SALIS was the only solution that fully met its members’ technical requirements for the transport of heavy weight and outsized cargo.1 Another extension of the program is likely before the end of this year

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, NATO foreign ministers announced on 1 April a decision “to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.” A North Atlantic Council meeting at the level of foreign ministers on 24-25 June decided to maintain the suspension, as did the NATO Summit meeting in Wales 4-5 September.2 One area thus far unaffected by this decision is cooperation with Russian commercial air services providing heavy airlift support for NATO- and EU-led military and humanitarian relief operations as well as for members’ national military requirements.

The decision to rely on charters of Russian and Ukrainian transport aircraft to satisfy the heavy airlift requirements of NATO and EU military forces was determined primarily by the significant advantages offered by the An-124 in comparison with other large cargo aircraft. The An-124 has nearly twice the payload capacity and greater range than a Boeing C-17, and it is more cost effective to operate. It can load and unload cargo from both ends and its ability to “kneel” for front-end loading and its built-in cranes and winches make rapid turnarounds possible even at underdeveloped airfields.

An-124 Commercial Operators
Operator Country Number of Aircraft
Volga-Dnepr Russia 10
Antonov Ukraine 7
224 Flight Unit Russia 7
Polet Airlines Russia 4
Maximus Air Cargo United Arab Emirates (UAE) 1

A Means to An End: Ruslan SALIS and 224 Flight Unit

Ruslan SALIS, a joint venture of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group and Ukraine’s Antonov State Company, has provided heavy airlift services for up to eighteen NATO and/or EU members since 2006. The contract was re-competed in 2012 and Ruslan SALIS was awarded a new two-year contract for 2013/2014 with options for extension until 2017.

According to a NATO report dated April 2014, the SALIS consortium currently serves the heavy airlift needs of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. These countries have contracted for a minimum of 2,450 flying hours in 2014. Germany is the largest single user and Germany and France together account for about two-thirds of the total flight hours.3

Ruslan SALIS has access to a combined fleet of seventeen An-124-100 aircraft, ten of which are operated by Volga-Dnepr and seven by Antonov. It guarantees assured access to six An-124-100 aircraft, two of which are kept available for immediate use at Germany’s Leipzig-Halle Airport. Two more are available on six days notice and two more on nine days notice from the home airfields of Volga-Dnepr and Antonov in Ulyanovsk, Russia and Gostomel, Ukraine. The current contract also allows participants in the program to use Il-76 and An-225 transport aircraft if and when they are available.4

NATO and EU members have relied on the SALIS program to support and return their forces and equipment from Afghanistan and to respond to a number of emerging crises in Africa and the Middle East. In March 2014, Germany offered some of its SALIS airlift quota to help EU partners move troops and equipment from Europe to the Central African Republic for the EU’s interim peacekeeping mission EUFOR RCA, which was tasked with securing the area around the capital Bangui and providing a safe environment until the UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA took over in mid-September.5

Germany also has relied on the SALIS program to transport military equipment and humanitarian relief supplies to areas of northern Iraq threatened by Islamic State extremists.

  • On 22 and 27 August, Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 transport aircraft flew a total of 120 tons of humanitarian relief supplies—food, medical supplies, and blankets—from Leipzig-Halle to Irbil.6 A third Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 delivered about 80 tons of German military equipment from Leipzig to the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq on 5 September.7
  • Three Ruslan SALIS An-124-100 flights were conducted between 27 September and 1 October, transporting antitank weapons, machine guns, assault rifles, and associated ammunition as well as night vision devices, trucks, and all-terrain utility vehicles for use by the Peshmerga. According to the German Ministry of Defense, three more flights were scheduled for early October.8

Germany was able to take advantage of empty cargo space on Ruslan SALIS An-124s flying out to Afghanistan to bring home German military equipment and supplies—either directly from Mazar-e Sharif to Leipzig or to the Bundeswehr’s transit hub in Trabzon, Turkey for transfer to sealift. The shipments to northern Iraq involved only slight detours for the An-124s and avoided the necessity of chartering additional aircraft to fly supplies to the Peshmerga.

224 Flight Unit (224 Лётный отряд) is a Russian state-owned air transport company operating under the authority of the Russian Air Force, which provides the aircraft and crews for its operations. The company is best known for transporting the Russian president’s cars and equipment during state visits abroad, but it also has secured numerous contracts to provide air transport services for NATO members, including the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.9

  • In late 2010, France signed a four-year contract with the 224 Flight Unit through its French partner ICS to provide air transport services for the French military. Between April and September 2011, the 224 Flight Unit reportedly flew more than 100 flights between air bases in France and French operating bases in Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates.10
  • In early 2013, France used An-124s and other transport aircraft from both the 224 Flight Unit and Volga-Dnepr to deploy French forces to Mali in support of Operation SERVAL.11 Jean-Christophe Notin, in his recent book La guerre de la France au Mali, claims that Operation SERVAL’s success depended to a great degree on the availability of Russian transport aircraft.12
  • The Netherlands relied on An-124s operated by Russia’s 224 Flight Unit to transport three CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Mali on 9 and 11 September 2014 in support the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA).13

Voronezh-based Polet Airlines, a Russian commercial operator with four An-124-100 aircraft (two of which were sold to and then leased back from Ilyushin Finance Company), also has provided military airlift services for NATO countries, in particular the United Kingdom. However, financial and legal difficulties over the past year have hindered the company’s operations. The British Ministry of Defense reportedly has refused all freedom of information requests seeking details on the types of military cargo Polet has carried for the UK and to what destinations.14

An Essential Military Asset but a Political Embarrassment

FAKT, a political magazine produced by Germany’s Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk for ARD television, attempted to spark a political discussion over German and NATO dependence on Russian airlift in a program first aired on 16 September. Martin Hoch, a security expert for the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and Omid Nouripour, a Green member of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, both argued that it is unwise to continue relying on Russia for heavy airlift support when tensions are strained over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the West is imposing sanctions on Russia. Former German defense minister Franz Josef Jung, who played a major role in launching the SALIS project, also argued that there would have to be consequences for SALIS if a solution is not found quickly to the situation in Ukraine.15

German defense officials were quick to defend the use of Russian airlift and reject suggestions that the SALIS program should be suspended or cancelled because of political tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

  • A Defense Ministry spokesman told the Leipziger Volkszeitung in mid-September that there is no reason to reconsider the agreement with Ruslan SALIS. The spokesman described Ruslan SALIS as a “reliable partner” and said sanctions against Russia do not preclude cooperation with “a German company under Russian management” (Ruslan SALIS is registered as a German company based in Leipzig).16
  • Lieutenant Colonel Boris Nannt, the Defense Ministry’s press spokesman for logistics, said current tensions with Russia “have no ramifications” for cooperation with Russia on military airlift.17
  • Hans-Peter Bartels, Chairman of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, told the weekly Focus there is “no reason to question the SALIS agreement, because it is working.” Bartels went on to describe the SALIS program as “ideal for the Bundeswehr.”18

Despite the Defense Ministry’s defense of the program, German political leaders have been wary of associating themselves with it in public.

  • According to an article in Air Forwarder Global, a weekly newsletter for the air freight industry, Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to visit the Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 aircraft exhibit and lounge when she made her opening rounds at the ILA Berlin Air Show on 20 May. Moreover, the Chancellery reportedly demanded that the Russian aircraft be completely removed from the ILA exhibition area at Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport for the duration of Merkel’s visit to the air show.19
  • Although Ruslan SALIS An-124s have carried most of the German military and humanitarian relief supplies to northern Iraq, a delivery of arms timed to coincide with the visit of defense minister Ursula von der Leyen to Irbil on 25 September was loaded aboard a Dutch KDC-10 transport. The KDC-10 broke down in Leipzig, however, and was unable to deliver the arms during von der Leyen’s visit.20

Prospects for Future Cooperation

The latest two-year contract with Ruslan SALIS expires at the end of 2014 but discussions are already underway among the participants on another extension, according to spokesmen for the German Defense Ministry and Volga-Dnepr.21

Lloyd’s Loading List, a London-based news service for logistics professionals, reported in mid-August that Volga-Dnepr and Antonov Airlines intend to continue their cooperation despite the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and political and trade disputes between Russia and the West. The report cited Ruslan International sales director Paul Furlonger, who said that Volga-Dnepr and Antonov will continue their cooperation in Ruslan International and Ruslan SALIS “until and unless some external action dictates otherwise.”22

Ukraine’s Antonov needs to remain in the program for financial reasons. The New York Times reported in mid-October that Antonov’s revenues from aircraft sales have fallen sharply and cited critics who claimed the company is “now on life support” and living off its earnings from the joint venture with Volga-Dnepr. With 13,000 jobs on the line at Antonov and another 70,000 workers at other factories supplying parts, the Ukrainian government is unlikely to put the company at risk by forcing an end to the Ruslan SALIS venture.23

German defense and military officials also reportedly remain committed to SALIS.24 The Defense Ministry told Germany’s Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that the extremely limited availability of comparable airlift capabilities on the world market, delays in the introduction of the A400M transport aircraft and the proven past performance of Ruslan SALIS in terms of reliability, flexibility, and affordability all argue in favor of continuing the program.25

Over the longer term, NATO and EU demand for An-124 service will decline due to the end of combat operations in Afghanistan and the delivery of new C-17 and A400M transport aircraft to allied fleets. However, the An-124’s ability to carry outsize loads too large for even these aircraft and to quickly deliver equipment and supplies in a crisis with the fewest possible flights are likely to keep these aircraft employed at some level in support of NATO and EU operations well into the future.

Stephan Wallace is a defense and security policy analyst following political, military, and economic developments in Europe. He has worked more than 33 years on this area for the U.S. government, most recently for the U.S. Department of Defense. He can be contacted by email at The views expressed are those of the author alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS).

Credit for this post’s featured image goes to L’Etat-major des Armées (EMA) [French Defense Staff] and L’établissement de communication et de production audiovisuelle de la Défense (ECPAD) [French Defense Ministry’s Establishment for Audiovisual Communication and Production].


*Geopolitical Development Aspects of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union.

*Relationship with the European Union*

Non-governmental organization

“Centre for Science and Social Innovations”

Director, PhD in Policy

Ivan Babin

At the beginning of my report I’d like to inform you that the Treaty establishing the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was signed on May 29th in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Treaty takes effect on January 1st, 2015. It is expected that the treaty will become a new form of economic integration of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Nowadays, these countries already have common custom territory and they totally provide 85 % of internal gross product of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

It’s necessary to be accurately defined in terms before considering tendencies of the Eurasian Union development. What is the Eurasian Union and what is the Customs Union?

The answers for these two questions can help us to understand the exclusivity of these Unions and show an integrative role in the creation of new associations with continental or may be even transcontinental value. ……..(continued)

….. From our point of view, Europe has lost itself in the civilizational sense at the beginning of the new millennium and has become part of the global space in many ways. Unfortunately, the logic of this space is set up not by the Euro members.

The Social Justice Index compares the 28 EU states across six dimensions: poverty prevention, equitable education, labor market access, social cohesion and non-discrimination, health as well as intergenerational justice. It reveals that EU countries considerably vary in their ability to create a truly inclusive society.

The social imbalance between the affluent Northern European states and the many Southern and South-Eastern European countries has intensified over the course of the crisis. Whilst, there is still a high level of social inclusion in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. The social injustice in countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy or Hungary has increased. Alongside the North-South division, the analysis is particularly critical of the growing imbalance between generations. Young people are much harder hit by social injustice than those who are older. 28 per cent of children and young people are threatened by poverty or social exclusion right across the EU, which is significantly more than in 2009.

For the new EU commission as well as policymakers across Europe, these results illustrate the need for an integrated European strategy that not only stimulates economic progress but also places greater emphasis on improving social justice among the youth within the Union.

The Islamic radicalism in Europe is increasing and that sometimes brings sad fruit. So young people in Germany are often imbued with Salafist ideology after visiting Islamic religious centers. Unfortunately, these young people sometimes take decision to join and fight under the banner of the Islamic State. According to the studies, two thousand people left Germany and went to the Islamic State.

Well-known American political scientist Samuel Huntington in his book "The Clash of Civilizations" assesses trends in the development of the civilizations and especially highlights the problem of the Islamic radicalism. The recent events in Hamburg and other German cities proved this statement.

The counteraction to the Islamic radicalism could become a unifying agenda for the European and the Eurasian Union. We need to develop the economic relations and have regard to the threat to our civilizations. At the same time we need to solve the problem of the search of mutual cooperation.

We admit that the countries of the Eurasian Union as well as the European countries are dependent on global financial institutions and various international agreements. These agreements often try to obtrude different decisions to both the European and the Eurasian Union.

Nowadays, none of the European Union member-states is able to solve their own problems without the permission of the European bureaucracy, i.e. the global market. All decisions in the Eurasian Union are made by consensus. And today it is impossible to imagine that the leaders of the Eurasian Union would impose a model of economic and political development to any member-states of the Eurasian Union. This fact also makes the EAEU exclusive. The Eurasian Union expands an economic impact with the interested states in the South Caucasus….(continued)

,,,,,,,The new “Big Seven” group including Brazil, India, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Russia and Turkey was formed. According to the recently published economic overview of the Financial Times newspaper, the new “Big Seven” group advances the G-7 (Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the USA, France and Japan) in GDP calculated at par purchasing power (PPS).

According to Financial Times, these data suggest a dramatic change in the balance of forces in the world. The countries with emerging economy are in top twenty rankings now.

These figures show the growing influence of the Asian countries in the global economy and the necessity for both the European and the Eurasian Union to cooperate with them.

These steps show that the two largest unions on the continent – the European Union and the emerging Eurasian Union are based on the rules of free trade and the compatibility of control system including the relationship with the third countries and regional bodies. As a result, these two Unions are able to extend the aforecited principles to the whole space of the Atlantic and the Pacific regions. Afterwards, the leaders of the European and the Eurasian Union can have a constructive dialogue about the principles of interaction with the Asia-Pacific and the North American countries as well as with the other regions.

During the 11th Annual Meeting of Yalta European Strategy (YES) in Kiev Stefan Fuele, the European Commissioner for Expansion and Neighbourhood Policy, announced that Russia had proposed to the EU leadership to form a free trade zone with the EAEU. According to his words, the cooperation between the European Union and the Customs Union should be developed in trade and economic spheres as well as in the security structure. Stefan Fuele also added that it’s time for the European leaders not just to offer fragments but to give the complete picture:

"We need a consistent policy with respect to Russia … The time has come not to hide behind slogans such as ‘Free Economic Zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok.’ We need to give specific content to this, which would go further than the trade and economic cooperation. I think we need to raise the stakes in this ‘game’ if we want to restore trust in the security structure… it seems to me, that it’s time for official relations at a high level of cooperation between the European and the Eurasian Union with the Customs Union", said Fuele.

The famous European scientists came to the same opinion with Stefan Fuele. They also regard the Eurasian integration as a geopolitical cluster in a changing world.

Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) headed by I.S. Ivanov (the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia) and Des Browne (former Defense Minister of Great Britain) together with Adam Rotfeld (former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland) prepared and published a major report on "Problems and prospects of Building Greater Europe" that was published in one of the RIAC’s activities. The report focused on the following tasks:

• Joint efforts against the threat of jihad in Syria and Iraq as well as the Islamic State which may be a threat to the whole world.

• The necessity of building Greater Europe as a single security space.

• The necessity of creation Greater Europe by deepening trade and investment ties that will rely, primarily, on the engagement of the Eurasian and the European Union. As a result, the relationship with the Asia-Pacific region will also develop.

• The necessity of improving cooperation in the energy sector and the diversification of different approaches in this sphere.

• The necessity of developing human contacts.

The solution of these and other problems can provide the best conditions for prosperity and integration to the new generation of the Europeans.

At the end of my report I’d like to stress that the high-level cooperation of the European Union and the Eurasian Customs Union will become a strategy of continental and macro-regional paradigms of the world development.


The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East*

By George Friedman

Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to yield an agreement, but the deadline for a deal has been extended without a hitch. What would have been a significant crisis a year ago, replete with threats and anxiety, has been handled without drama or difficulty. This new response to yet another failure to reach an accord marks a shift in the relationship between the United States and Iran, a shift that can’t be understood without first considering the massive geopolitical shifts that have taken place in the Middle East, redefining the urgency of the nuclear issue.

These shifts are rooted in the emergence of the Islamic State. Ideologically, there is little difference between the Islamic State and other radical Islamic jihadist movements. But in terms of geographical presence, the Islamic State has set itself apart from the rest. While al Qaeda might have longed to take control of a significant nation-state, it primarily remained a sparse, if widespread, terrorist organization. It held no significant territory permanently; it was a movement, not a place. But the Islamic State, as its name suggests, is different. It sees itself as the kernel from which a transnational Islamic state should grow, and it has established itself in Syria and Iraq as a geographical entity. The group controls a roughly defined region in the two countries, and it has something of a conventional military, designed to defend and expand the state’s control. Thus far, whatever advances and reversals it has seen, the Islamic State has retained this character. While the group certainly funnels a substantial portion of its power into dispersed guerrilla formations and retains a significant regional terrorist apparatus, it remains something rather new for the region — an Islamist movement acting as a regional state.

It is unclear whether the Islamic State can survive. It is under attack by American aircraft, and the United States is attempting to create a coalition force that will attack and conquer it. It is also unclear whether the group can expand. The Islamic State appears to have reached its limits in Kurdistan, and the Iraqi army (which was badly defeated in the first stage of the Islamic State’s emergence) is showing some signs of being able to launch counteroffensives.

A New Territorial Threat

The Islamic State has created a vortex that has drawn in regional and global powers, redefining how they behave. The group’s presence is both novel and impossible to ignore because it is a territorial entity. Nations have been forced to readjust their policies and relations with each other as a result. We see this inside of Syria and Iraq. Damascus and Baghdad are not the only ones that need to deal with the Islamic State; other regional powers — Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia chief among them — need to recalculate their positions as well. A terrorist organization can inflict pain and cause turmoil, but it survives by remaining dispersed. The Islamic State has a terrorism element, but it is also a concentrated force that could potentially expand its territory. The group behaves geopolitically, and as long as it survives it poses a geopolitical challenge.

Within Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State represents elements of the Sunni Arab population. It has imposed itself on the Sunni Arab regions of Iraq, and although resistance to Islamic State power certainly exists among Sunnis, some resistance to any emergent state is inevitable. The Islamic State has managed to cope with this resistance so far. But the group also has pressed against the boundaries of the Kurdish and Shiite regions, and it has sought to create a geographical link with its forces in Syria, changing Iraq’s internal dynamic considerably. Where the Sunnis were once weak and dispersed, the Islamic State has now become a substantial force in the region north and west of Baghdad, posing a possible threat to Kurdish oil production and Iraqi governance. The group has had an even more complex effect in Syria, as it has weakened other groups resisting the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, thereby strengthening al Assad’s position while increasing its own power. This dynamic illustrates the geopolitical complexity of the Islamic State’s presence.

Countering with a Coalition

The United States withdrew from Iraq hoping that Baghdad, even if unable to govern its territory with a consistent level of authority, would nevertheless develop a balance of power in Iraq in which various degrees of autonomy, formal and informal, would be granted. It was an ambiguous goal, though not unattainable. But the emergence of the Islamic State upset the balance in Iraq dramatically, and initial weaknesses in Iraqi and Kurdish forces facing Islamic State fighters forced the United States to weigh the possibility of the group dominating large parts of Iraq and Syria. This situation posed a challenge that the United States could neither decline nor fully engage. Washington’s solution was to send aircraft and minimal ground forces to attack the Islamic State, while seeking to build a regional coalition that would act.

Today, the key to this coalition is Turkey. Ankara has become a substantial regional power. It has the largest economy and military in the region, and it is the most vulnerable to events in Syria and Iraq, which run along Turkey’s southern border. Ankara’s strategy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been to avoid conflicts with its neighbors, which it has been able to do successfully so far. The United States now wants Turkey to provide forces — particularly ground troops — to resist the Islamic State. Ankara has an interest in doing so, since Iraqi oil would help diversify its sources of energy and because it wants to keep the conflict from spilling into Turkey. The Turkish government has worked hard to keep the Syrian conflict outside its borders and to limit its own direct involvement in the civil war. Ankara also does not want the Islamic State to create pressure on Iraqi Kurds that could eventually spread to Turkish Kurds.

Turkey is in a difficult situation. If it intervenes against the Islamic State alongside the United States, its army will be tested in a way that it has not been tested since the Korean War, and the quality of its performance is uncertain. The risks are real, and victory is far from guaranteed. Turkey would be resuming the role it played in the Arab world during the Ottoman Empire, attempting to shape Arab politics in ways that it finds satisfactory. The United States did not do this well in Iraq, and there is no guarantee that Turkey would succeed either. In fact, Ankara could be drawn into a conflict with the Arab states from which it would not be able to withdraw as neatly as Washington did.

At the same time, instability to Turkey’s south and the emergence of a new territorial power in Syria and Iraq represent fundamental threats to Ankara. There are claims that the Turks secretly support the Islamic State, but I doubt this greatly. The Turks may be favorably inclined toward other Islamist groups, but the Islamic State is both dangerous and likely to draw pressure from the United States against any of its supporters. Still, the Turks will not simply do America’s bidding; Ankara has interests in Syria that do not mesh with those of the United States.

Turkey wants to see the al Assad regime toppled, but the United States is reluctant to do so for fear of opening the door to a Sunni jihadist regime (or at the very least, jihadist anarchy) that, with the Islamic State operational, would be impossible to shape. To some extent, the Turks are floating the al Assad issue as an excuse not to engage in the conflict. But Ankara wants al Assad gone and a pro-Turkey Sunni regime in his place. If the United States refuses to cede to this demand, Turkey has a basis for refusing to intervene; if the United States agrees, Turkey gets the outcome it wants in Syria, but at greater risk to Iraq. Thus the Islamic State has become the focal point of U.S.-Turkish ties, replacing prior issues such as Turkey’s relationship with Israel.

Iran’s Changing Regional Role

The emergence of the Islamic State has similarly redefined Iran’s posture in the region. Tehran sees a pro-Iranian, Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad as critical to its interests, just as it sees its domination of southern Iraq as crucial. Iran fought a war with a Sunni-dominated Iraq in the 1980s, with devastating casualties; avoiding another such war is fundamental to Iranian national security policy. From Tehran’s point of view, the Islamic State has the ability to cripple the government in Baghdad and potentially unravel Iran’s position in Iraq. Though this is not the most likely outcome, it is a potential threat that Iran must counter.

Small Iranian formations have already formed in eastern Kurdistan, and Iranian personnel have piloted Iraqi aircraft in attacks on Islamic State positions. The mere possibility of the Islamic State dominating even parts of Iraq is unacceptable to Tehran, which aligns its interests with those of the United States. Both countries want the Islamic State broken. Both want the government in Baghdad to function. The Americans have no problem with Iran guaranteeing security in the south, and the Iranians have no objection to a pro-American Kurdistan so long as they continue to dominate southern oil flows.

Because of the Islamic State — as well as greater long-term trends — the United States and Iran have been drawn together by their common interests. There have been numerous reports of U.S.-Iranian military cooperation against the Islamic State, while the major issue dividing them (Iran’s nuclear program) has been marginalized. Monday’s announcement that no settlement had been reached in nuclear talks was followed by a calm extension of the deadline for agreement, and neither side threatened the other or gave any indication that the failure changed the general accommodation that has been reached. In our view, as we have always said, achieving a deliverable nuclear weapon is far more difficult than enriching uranium, and Iran is not an imminent nuclear power. That appears to have become the American position. Neither Washington nor Tehran wants to strain relations over the nuclear issue, which has been put on the back burner for now because of the Islamic State’s rise.

This new entente between the United States and Iran naturally alarms Saudi Arabia, the third major power in the region if only for its wealth and ability to finance political movements. Riyadh sees Tehran as a rival in the Persian Gulf that could potentially destabilize Saudi Arabia via its Shiite population. The Saudis also see the United States as the ultimate guarantor of their national security, even though they have been acting without Washington’s buy-in since the Arab Spring. Frightened by Iran’s warming relationship with the United States, Riyadh is also becoming increasingly concerned by America’s growing self-sufficiency in energy, which has dramatically reduced Saudi Arabia’s political importance to the United States.

There has been speculation that the Islamic State is being funded by Arabian powers, but it would be irrational for Riyadh to be funding the group. The stronger the Islamic State is, the firmer the ties between the United States and Iran become. Washington cannot live with a transnational caliphate that might become regionally powerful someday. The more of a threat the Islamic State becomes, the more Iran and the United States need each other, which runs completely counter to the Saudis‘ security interests. Riyadh needs the tensions between the United States and Iran. Regardless of religious or ideological impulse, Tehran’s alliance with Washington forms an overwhelming force that threatens the Saudi regime’s survival. And the Islamic State has no love for the Saudi royal family. The caliphate can expand in Saudi Arabia’s direction, too, and we’ve already seen grassroots activity related to the Islamic State taking place inside the kingdom. Riyadh has been engaged in Iraq, and it must now try to strengthen Sunni forces other than the Islamic State quickly, so that the forces pushing Washington and Tehran together subside.

America’s Place at the Center of the Middle East

For Washington’s part, the Islamic State has shown that the idea of the United States simply leaving the region is unrealistic. At the same time, the United States will not engage in multidivisional warfare in Iraq. Washington failed to achieve a pro-American stability there the first time; it is unlikely to achieve it this time. U.S. air power applies significant force against the Islamic State and is a token of America’s power and presence — as well as its limits. The U.S. strategy of forming an alliance against the Islamic State is extremely complex, since the Turks do not want to be pulled into the fight without major concessions, the Iranians want reduced pressure on their nuclear programs in exchange for their help, and the Saudis are aware of the dangers posed by Iran.

What is noteworthy is the effect that the Islamic State has had on relationships in the region. The group’s emergence has once again placed the United States at the center of the regional system, and it has forced the three major Middle Eastern powers to redefine their relations with Washington in various ways. It has also revived the deepest fears of Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Ankara wants to avoid being drawn back into the late Ottoman nightmare of controlling Arabs, while Iran has been forced to realign itself with the United States to resist the rise of a Sunni Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as the Shah once had to do. Meanwhile, the Islamic State has raised Saudi fears of U.S. abandonment in favor of Iran, and the United States‘ dread of re-engaging in Iraq has come to define all of its actions.

In the end, it is unlikely that the territorial Islamic State can survive. The truth is that Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia are all waiting for the United States to solve the Islamic State problem with air power and a few ground forces. These actions will not destroy the Islamic State, but they will break the group’s territorial coherence and force it to return to guerrilla tactics and terrorism. Indeed, this is already happening. But the group’s very existence, however temporary, has stunned the region into realizing that prior assumptions did not take into account current realities. Ankara will not be able to avoid increasing its involvement in the conflict; Tehran will have to live with the United States; and Riyadh will have to seriously consider its vulnerabilities. As for the United States, it can simply go home, even if the region is in chaos. But the others are already at home, and that is the point that the Islamic State has made abundantly clear.


Middle East

*Weshalb die Verlängerung der Verhandlungen mit dem Iran keine Verlegenheitslösung ist.*

Die Verhandlungen um Irans Nuklearprogramm werden um sieben Monate verlängert. Darauf einigten sich in Wien Deutschland, Frankreich, Großbritannien, Russland, China und die USA – die sogenannten E3/EU+3. Die ursprünglich auf den 24. November terminierte Frist für eine umfassende Einigung wird jetzt auf den 1. Juli 2015 verschoben. Ein dafür notwendiges politisches Abkommen soll bis zum 1. März 2015 erzielt werden.

Iran wird bis zum Ende der neuen Frist, im Sinne des vor einem Jahr in Genf beschlossenen Interimsabkommens, keine Ausweitung der Kapazität seines Nuklearprogramms vornehmen. Im Gegenzug erhält er monatlich 700 Millionen US-Dollar seines im Ausland eingefrorenen Vermögens. Das umfassende internationale Sanktionsregime bleibt bestehen.

So ernüchternd das Ergebnis dieser letzten Verhandlungsrunde auch scheint, tatsächlich stellt es angesichts der Annäherung in den jeweiligen Verhandlungspositionen einen weiteren Meilenstein auf dem Weg zur umfassenden Einigung dar. Eine Fortsetzung der Gespräche ist daher mehr als nur eine Verlegenheitslösung.

Ein Gesprächsformat mit Selbstwert

Die Gesprächsrunden der E3/EU+3 mit Iran haben mittlerweile einen Selbstwert erlangt. Aus ihnen hat sich ein funktionaler Kanal für einen kontinuierlichen Dialog zwischen Iran und dem Westen entwickelt. Ein Dialog, der in seiner Frequenz vor allem zwischen Teheran und Washington beispiellos ist. Bilaterale Gespräche zwischen den Außenministern beider Länder, noch vor zwei Jahren undenkbar, sind inzwischen Routine.

Diese Gespräche helfen, das nach 35 Jahren diplomatischer Eiszeit fest verankerte gegenseitige Misstrauen vorsichtig abzubauen. Hierbei geht es nicht nur um die Verhandlungsführer beider Seiten, sondern um das gesamte politische Establishment in den USA und im Iran. Beide Regierungen stehen innenpolitisch unter Druck. Und auch die Öffentlichkeit beider Staaten muss auf dem Weg dieser Annäherung wohl überlegt einbezogen werden.

Betrachtet man die schwerwiegenden Krisen im Nahen und Mittleren Osten, wirkt der Nuklearstreit in seiner Essenz überpolitisiert und harmlos. Die Fortsetzung der Gespräche, könnte man schlussfolgern, stehen der Beschäftigung mit dringenderen Problemen im Wege. Doch das Gegenteil ist der Fall: Das Nukleardossier könnte dazu dienen, Auswege aus politischen Krisen gemeinsam zu konzipieren. Denn die Beteiligung Russlands und Chinas sowie der wichtigsten EU-Staaten gewährleistet, dass tatsächlich umfassende Strategien entwickelt werden.

Doch das macht einen abschließenden Erfolg der Nuklearverhandlungen umso notwendiger. Der iranische Außenminister Javad Zarif hat betont, dass der volle Zeitraum der neuen Frist nicht unbedingt benötigt werde. Bereits Mitte Dezember stehen Treffen auf Experten- und Vizeaußenministerebene in Muskat an.

Der Gegenwind wird zunehmen

An der Entschlossenheit der Verhandlungsführer, ein allseits zufrieden stellendes Ergebnis zu erreichen, gibt es kaum Zweifel. Jedoch stehen besonders die Regierungen Washingtons und Teherans unter massivem innenpolitischen Druck.

Die Gegner eines Deals in den USA streben eine Fortsetzung der Isolation Irans an. Sie verlangen einen generellen Stopp des iranischen Nuklearprogramms und arbeiten bereits an weiterführenden Sanktionen. Diese Widersacher der Regierung Obama setzen sich aus neokonservativen Mitgliedern der Demokraten und Republikaner, vorgeblich pro-israelischen Lobbygruppen sowie Interessensverbänden der Staaten des Persischen Golfs – vornehmlich Saudi-Arabiens – zusammen.

Im Iran äußert sich die tief sitzende Skepsis gegenüber den USA vor allem in ultrakonservativen Kreisen in Parlament, Klerus, Militärapparat und politischer Elite. Für sie ist bereits der Versuch ein Nuklearabkommen zu erreichen ein Verrat der Systeminteressen.

Und dennoch steht das iranische Verhandlungsteam, angeführt von Außenminister Zarif, innenpolitisch auf wesentlich soliderem Boden als das amerikanische Pendant. Bei aller sich in Iran medial und im Parlament äußernden Kritik an Zarif ist ihnen die Rückendeckung des Revolutionsführer Ajatollah Ali Khamenei gewiss. Ahmad Jannati, Vorsitzender des mächtigen Wächterrats, beteuerte in seiner Freitagspredigt vergangenen Freitag, dass sowohl das iranische Volk als auch der Revolutionsführer hinter dem Verhandlungsteam stünden. Daher bräuchten sie die Amerikaner nicht zu fürchten.

Mit anderen Worten: So sehr die Gegner eines Abkommens auch Skepsis und Misstrauen schüren, Zarifs Verhandlungsteam wird gemeinsam mit der Regierung Hassan Rouhani in der Lage sein, das Abkommen intern durchzubringen.

Anders sieht es in Washington aus. Dort musste Präsident Obama eine herbe Niederlage im Repräsentantenhaus hinnehmen. Nur mit viel Mühe wird er in den kommenden Monaten neue Sanktionen gegen Iran verhindern können. Mit einem präsidentiellen Erlass kann er bestehende Sanktionen suspendieren und neue aufhalten.

Die entscheidende Frage wird jedoch sein, ob er jemals in der Lage sein wird, die unliateralen Sanktionen aufzuheben. Denn das ist die Kernforderung Irans für Zugeständnisse im Nuklearprogramm.

Das erklärt die Skepsis der iranischen Kritiker am Nukleardeal: Wird Obama im Falle eines Abkommens tatsächlich liefern können?

Die fehlende Reziprozität der Atomverhandlungen

Ein kritisches Manko der Verhandlungen liegt darin, dass es keine ausreichende Reziprozität bei der Durchführung irreversibler Maßnahmen gibt.

So hat sich Iran bereit erklärt, angereichertes, gasförmiges Uran in nukleare Brennstäbe zu konvertieren. Einmal erfolgt, ist die weitere Anreicherung des Urans technisch nicht mehr möglich. Sollte sich Iran zudem bereit erklären, seinen Schwerwasserreaktor in Arak in einen Leichtwasserreaktor umzuwandeln, oder die Anlage in Fordo lediglich für Research & Development zu nutzen und nicht mehr als Militäranlage zu deklarieren, ergreift es weitere unwiderrufliche Maßnahmen.

Wenn man die Signale aus Teheran vorsichtig deutet, scheint Iran bereit zu sein, solche Schritte zu ergreifen. Doch hierfür bedarf es nicht nur der absoluten Zusicherung, dass die Sanktionen aufgehoben werden. Teheran verlangt zudem einen (eher kurz als lang angelegten) Zeitplan, in dem die Sanktionen aufgehoben werden. Dies ist für die Obama-Regierung derzeit kaum möglich.

Diplomatie mit Teheran stärken

Einerseits macht die Verlängerung der Frist einen Verhandlungserfolg schwieriger. Die Kritiker und Gegner in Teheran und Washington verspüren Rückenwind und werden die Zeit nutzen, weiter gegen ein Abkommen zu agitieren.

Andererseits jedoch besteht die Chance einer Verlängerung darin, dass die jeweilige Position der anderen Seite besser nachvollzogen wird. Nur so kann es den Akteuren überhaupt gelingen, weiter aufeinander zuzugehen.

Ein Schlüssel zum Verhandlungsdurchbruch besteht in einer Stärkung der Internationalen Atomenergiebehörde (IAEO). Sie kann feststellen, ob der Iran – wie bisher geschehen – im Sinne des Interimsabkommens handelt oder nicht. Die hierzu veröffentlichten Berichte und Gutachten der Behörde sollten zur einzig relevanten Grundlage für die Fortsetzung der Gespräche werden. Denn sie behandeln diesen höchst politisierten Themenkomplex rein technisch. Und unter technischen Gesichtspunkten, ist die Lösung des Konflikts zum Greifen nah.

Neben der IAEO bescheinigt dies auch die Arms Control Association. Die Nicht-Proliferationsexpertin Kelsey Davenport betonte zuletzt, dass sich die Parteien in eine Problematik manövriert hätten, die auf Grundlage von Fragen der Proliferation unbedenklich sei. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass die Fortsetzung der Diplomatie diesen Sachverhalt auch in politische Unbedenklichkeit übersetzt.

Von: Adnan Tabatabai
Veröffentlicht am 25.11.2014




*Investitionsschutz nur in TTIP aufnehmen, um globale Standards zu entwickeln*

Der Schutz von Investitionen gehört zu den umstrittensten Fragen bei den laufenden TTIP-Verhandlungen zwischen der EU und den USA. Befürworter_innen sehen darin die Möglichkeit, private Investitionen durch die Garantie der Rechtssicherheit zu fördern. Andere sehen in dem System der unabhängigen Schiedsgerichte eine Paralleljustiz, die die demokratischen Entscheidungen der Gaststaaten einschränken.

Um einen Beitrag zur Versachlichung der Diskussion zu leisten, wurde Rechtsanwalt Dr. Jan Ole Voß von der Kanzlei Becker Büttner Held beauftragt, die Entwicklung des internationalen Investorenschutzrechts zu skizzieren. Zudem sollte der Autor die gegenwärtigen Verhandlungsvorschläge zum Investitionsschutz im Rahmen vom TTIP – soweit bekannt – bewerten. Sein Fazit: Ein Abkommen zum Investorenschutz ist unter entwickelten Rechtsstaaten wie den USA und den EU-Mitgliedsstaaten „nicht zwingend notwendig“. Wenn ein Kapitel zum Schutz von Investitionen aufgenommen werden soll, dann nur mit dem Ziel einheitliche globale Standards zu schaffen, um das Investitionsrecht zu einem völkerrechtskonformen und rechtsstaatlichen Instrument weiter zu entwickeln.

Dagegen lehnt die frühere Bundesjustizministerin, Prof. Dr. Herta Däubler-Gmelin, in ihrem Kommentar zur vorliegenden Studie den Einschluss eines Investitionsschutzabkommens in das TTIP ab. Die Neutralität der nicht staatlichen Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit ist anhand der bisherigen Spruchpraxis anzuzweifeln. Einzig die Etablierung einer internationalen Gerichtsbarkeit, wie das Straßburger Gericht für Menschenrechte, könnte eine unabhängige Rechtsprechung garantieren.

Zu den Autor_innen

Dr. Jan Ole Voß, LL. M. ist Rechtsanwalt in der auf Energie- und Infrastrukturrecht spezialisierten

Kanzlei Becker Büttner Held.

Prof. Dr. Herta Däubler-Gmelin ist Rechtsanwältin, war Bundesjustizministerin von 1998 bis 2002 und gehörte von 1973 bis 2009 dem Deutschen Bundestag an.

Titel (Langfassung)

Brauchen Investitionen Schutz im TTIP? Überlegungen zum Investitionsschutz im transatlantischen Freihandelsabkommen, WISO Diskurs, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn 2014, 39 S.



Titel (Kurzfassung)

Brauchen Investitionen Schutz im TTIP? Überlegungen zum Investitionsschutz im transatlantischen Freihandelsabkommen, WISO direkt, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn 2014, 4 S.




A slide presentation



U.S. welcomes oil deal between Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad

* Biden addresses energy summit in Istanbul

* Says Europe must continue to diversify energy supplies

* Urges progress on Cyprus solution

ISTANBUL, Nov 22 (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden welcomed an agreement between Iraq’s central government and its northern Kurdistan region over the

management of oil exports, a step forward in a feud that has threatened the unity of Iraq.

In a speech in Istanbul on Saturday that touched on energy issues from Russia to Cyprus, Biden said he was encouraged to see a recent interim agreement between

Baghdad and Arbil on managing exports and revenue sharing.

After years of friction, the two sides last week struck a deal in which Kurds will give half of their overall oil shipments to the federal government and Baghdad will

pay overdue civil servants‘ salaries in the region.

Oil has been at the heart of a feud between the Arab-led government in Baghdad and the ethnic Kurdish-run northern enclave, with disputes over oilfields,

territory and crude revenues shared between the two regions.

The Kurdish autonomous region and the Baghdad government are both important actors in the fight against Islamic State militants who have captured broad

regions of Iraq and Syria.

Biden, who was speaking at an Atlantic Council summit, also said that Washington supported the development of an oil pipeline from southern Iraq’s Basra oilfields

to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a project which Turkey has long advocated despite reluctance in Baghdad.

Addressing tensions in Ukraine, Biden warned that Moscow should not use its energy resources as a political weapon, and said that Europe should look for

alternative energy solutions.

"I have no doubt Russia will and should remain a major source of energy supply for Europe and the world. This is about energy security. To achieve it, Europe

needs to make sure it diversifies its resources, its routes and its suppliers."

Russia and Ukraine reached a temporary pricing deal last month after Moscow switched off the gas supply to its ex-Soviet neighbour, amidst worsening relations

over Russian support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Biden also touched on the exploitation of Cypriot gas reserves, a source of tension between Cyprus and Turkey, which does not recognise the EU member country.

Biden said the reserves could be a force for stability and prosperity in the region if Cyprus developed them in cooperation with all its neighbours.

Talks between Cyprus and its politically and ethnically separate Turkish Cypriot north have broken down in recent weeks.

Speaking shortly after Biden, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that any unilateral exploitation of gas near Cyprus would be met with a similar

response by northern Cyprus.

"That’s why parties should return to the negotiating table as soon as possible," Davutoglu said.


Turkish military to train Peshmerga forces, Kurdish official says

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Turkish military experts will train Kurdish Peshmerga forces on advanced weapons for the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), Kurdistan’s minister for parliamentary affairs, Mawlud Bawamurad told Rudaw.

Bawamurad said that during his visit to the Kurdistan Region on Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also visited the Bapishtan training camp near Erbil where he pledged his country’s security support for the Kurdish forces.

“By his visit to the training camp the Turkish PM wanted to convey this message; ‘We have experts that will train Peshmerga forces on weapons we have supplied to them,” said Bawamurad.

According to Bawamurad the Turkish premier had made it clear to the Iraqi leaders on his visit to Baghdad “that the Kurdistan Region is recognized by the Iraqi constitution and that Ankara will continue its relations with the region.”

In the past two months Kurdish forces have received military equipment and modern weapons from their Western allies while Germany and Britain are already training Peshmerga forces on the use of anti tank weapons and bomb disposal.

Also on Friday, Turkey’s deputy PM Yalcin Akdogan said that Ankara’s improving relations with Baghdad wouldn’t affect the established ties between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region.

“We have active relations with the Kurdistan Region and we would want to expand these relations in every aspect,” Akdogan told Rudaw.


Iranian troops not involved in Jalawla, Sadia fighting; 18 Peshmerga killed

The Peshmerga victory in Jalawla followed a major assault on the militants.

KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region – Iranian troops did not take part in the recapture of Jalawla and Sadia from the Islamic State (ISIS), an operation in which at least 18 Peshmerga soldiers were killed, commanders involved in the fighting said.

“No Iranian combat troops participated in the attacks in Jalawla or Sadia, but they have helped us in military tactics” said Adnan Ama Mina, one of the commanders on the frontlines. “They helped with military advice," he said about the Iranians.

He added that Iraqi warplanes had played a decisive role in liberating both towns.

Following fighting that began early Sunday, Peshmerga fighting with backing from the Iraqi Army and Iranian forces captured all of Jalawla, and by evening had 90 percent of Sadia recaptured from the militants.

Peshmerga commanders said that at least 18 Kurdish soldiers were killed – most by mines and other bombs — and some 40 wounded in the fighting.

The Iraqi military also announced the liberation of Sadia in cooperation with the Peshmerga. “All of Jalawla is under the control of Peshmerga forces,” a Kurdish commander declared.

The Peshmerga victory in Jalawla followed a major assault on the militants.

ISIS militants were seen on the retreat, evacuating the lost town and fleeing toward the Sirwan river and the Qaraj mountains.

Earlier Sunday, Peshmerga forces seized control of five of the town’s neighborhoods and the two nearby villages of Sayid Ahmed and Sayid Jabir. They also said they had taken the stronghold of Tawhid.

A Kurdish commander said that parts of the town were packed with bombs left behind by ISIS and that special bomb disposal teams have been brought in to defuse them.

The major attack to retake Jalawla began on the ground following heavy bombardment of ISIS positions in and around the town by coalition fighter jets and Peshmerga artillery.

Kurdish forces have been battling ISIS around Jalawla for more than three months, after the town fell to the radical group in June following the collapse of the Iraqi army.



see our letter on:

Wir wünschen Ihnen ein angenehmes Wochenende. Ihr Team.

Udo von Massenbach – Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster – Jörg Barandat



11-26-14 Kemp – GO EAST-Oil Markets.pdf