Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 10/070/15

Massenbach-Letter. News

· Saudi sovereign fund to invest $10bn in Russia * Tensions with Russia could prompt NATO strategy rethink

· New Trade Routes – Arab World * Oil under $60 beyond 2016 suggests market rethinking shale * ARAB WORLD MAPS (Islamic State) – The Caliphate keeps on growing (En-Fr)

· In Syria, the weakness of the Islamic State and U.S. strategy on display

· The Independent: Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

· Eurozone: Breakdown or Breakthrough?

· DIW: Anteil von Frauen in Führungspositionen seit 2001 gestiegen – Entwicklung zuletzt aber nur noch verhalten

Massenbach* In Syria, the weakness of the Islamic State and U.S. strategy on display*

Vor einem Jahr haben die islamistischen ISIS-Milizen ihr Kalifat ausgerufen und sich zum Islamischen Staat erklärt. Ein Überblick über die Entwicklung in diesem Jahr findet sich unter anderem hier. ( )

By Liz Sly July 6 at 7:03 PM

AKCAKALE, Turkey — The unexpected rout of Islamic State forces across a wide arc of territory in their northeastern Syria heartland has exposed vulnerabilities in the ranks of the militants — and also the limits of the U.S.-led strategy devised to confront them.

Islamic State fighters have been driven out of a third of their flagship province of Raqqa in recent weeks by a Kurdish-led force that has emerged as one of the most effective American partners in the war. The offensive, backed by U.S. airstrikes, has deprived the militants of control of their most important border crossing with Turkey and forced them onto the defensive in their self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa city, something that would have been unthinkable as recently as a month ago.

The advance has shifted the focus of the fight from Iraq to Syria for the first time in months. A blitz of 18 coalition airstrikes against Raqqa over the weekend took out bridges and roads used by the Islamic State to move supplies to battlefronts elsewhere. The air attack was one of the most intense in Syria, according to a Pentagon statement and activists in Raqqa.

On Monday, President Obama cited the recent gains in Syria as evidence of progress. “When we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can be pushed back,” he said in Washington after the Pentagon briefed him on the status of the war.

“ISIL’s strategic weaknesses are real,” he added, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

But the absence of reliable local forces to press the fight deeper into the Islamic State’s home turf has revealed the weakness of the U.S. strategy, analysts say. And rising tensions between Arabs in the area and their purported Kurdish liberators risk jeopardizing the gains.

The offensive is taking Kurdish forces far beyond traditionally Kurdish territory and into areas where Syrian Arabs are in the majority, drawing allegations from Syrians and the Turkish government that the Kurds are taking advantage of the U.S.-led air war to carve out a Kurdish state.

The Syrian opposition has accused the Kurds of driving Arabs from their villages to consolidate their control.

“Their goal is to change the demography of the area and create a state of Kurdistan, and the reality is that this is happening under the cover of American airstrikes,” said Ahmed Haj Saleh, a longtime Syrian activist from Raqqa.

“I’m secular and I am an apostate, but if I have to, I will carry a weapon and join ISIS,” he said, using a term for the Islamic State. “I will not allow the demography of this area to change.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that his country will “never allow” the Kurds to establish a state on its border with Syria.

[The hidden hand behind the Islamic State? It’s Saddam Hussein’s.]

Obama outlines progress against the Islamic State(1:38)

President Obama says recent territory losses by the Islamic State show the extremist group will be defeated, but the effort must include local forces on the ground to be successful. (Reuters)

A spokesman for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, the Kurdish militia that is leading the fight, denied that the Kurds intend to establish a state. The areas captured “are a part of Syria and will remain part of Syria unless there is a decision by international powers,” YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said. Arabs who fled their homes are welcome to return unless there is evidence that they cooperated with the Islamic State, he added.

The tensions underscore one of the long-faulted shortcomings of the U.S.-led strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State — the lack of palatable alternatives to the Islamic State for the people living in its core territories, the Sunni Arab provinces spanning the borders of Iraq and Syria.

“That Sunni alternative simply doesn’t exist yet,” said Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy in Washington. “This is where the focus on quick wins becomes problematic. The U.S. isn’t thinking about what happens after ISIS is pushed out of an area.”

[Inside an undercover network trying to expose Islamic State atrocities]

An unexpected victory

The recent battle in northern Syria turned into a quicker win than anyone expected.

An offensive to recapture the key border town of Tal Abyad, the Islamic State’s main conduit for foreign fighters and supplies from Turkey, was expected to take weeks at the least, U.S. and Kurdish officials said.

Instead, the Islamic State barely put up a fight. Its defenses collapsed last month after two days, and retreating fighters were quickly driven out of scores of towns and villages farther south, putting the advancing force within 35 miles of Raqqa.

Residents there reported signs of panic as the Islamic State dug trenches, appealed for volunteers in mosques, rounded up suspected dissidents and ordered thousands of Kurds in the city to leave.

“It’s like they are in shock,” said a businessman in Raqqa, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety.

But airstrikes could prove counterproductive over the long term if they are viewed as empowering groups alien or hostile to the local population, analysts say. The YPG has been an effective U.S. partner in the war, but it is currently the only one in Syria, making it difficult to press the advantage of the militants’ apparent disarray.

A $500 million Pentagon program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to confront the Islamic State has barely gotten off the ground, more than a year after Obama announced it. Fewer than 200 rebels have entered the program, and U.S. officials say they are having a hard time finding Syrians who are willing to prioritize the fight against the Islamic State over the battle to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Although Free Syrian Army units are fighting with the Kurds, they represent a small minority of the overall force, which is grouped in a coalition called the Burkan al-Furat, or Euphrates Volcano.

The biggest of the rebel brigades, Thuwar al-Raqqa, or Raqqa Revolutionaries, wants to press on to Raqqa city, said Abu Shujaa, a spokesman for the group, who uses a pseudonym. But unlike the Kurds, who coordinate airstrikes through a U.S. operations center in the neighboring Kurdish region of Iraq, the Raqqa Revolutionaries have no contact with the U.S. military and therefore no way to call in the airstrikes that proved so crucial to the recent conquests.

The Kurdish fighters are more interested in turning west, the spokesman said, toward the Islamic State-controlled border town of Jarablus, to further expand the Kurdish enclave, rather than in advancing toward Raqqa.

“It seems the coalition doesn’t trust Arabs. They only bomb ISIS to help the Kurds,” he said.

Obama acknowledged that more must be done to train and equip local forces and that ultimately defeating the militants will be “the job of local forces on the ground.”

The Islamic State “has filled a void, and we have to make sure that as we push them out, that void is filled,” he said.

U.S. officials say they are looking for ways to team with rebel groups to take the fight deeper into Syrian Arab areas, including Raqqa. “The key will be the Arab units, and we’re very prepared to work with them and strengthen them wherever we can,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss strategy.

Such partnerships would offer an alternative to the U.S. plan to train and equip a separate Syrian force, but finding those groups “is itself a challenge,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a congressional hearing last month.

Risk in Kurdish gains

The lack of partners in Syria is in part the fault of the administration’s “Iraq first” strategy, which has prioritized the fight in Iraq over that in Syria, said Hassan Hassan, who co-wrote the book “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror” and is an analyst at Chatham House, a London-based think tank. He has long maintained that Syria may prove an easier battleground than Iraq, where the Islamic State has a long history and offers Sunnis an alternative to the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

“ISIS is far less entrenched in Syria than in Iraq. It’s new to Syria, it’s a foreign organization, it’s more like an Iraqi organization than a Syrian one,” Hassan said.

“In Syria, there’s more potential, because there are more forces on the ground, but they are not given enough help,” he added, citing the presence of numerous rebel groups that have been fighting the Islamic State for more than a year.

That could change, however. Much in the way that Iraq’s reliance on Kurdish and Shiite fighters has alienated Sunnis there, Kurdish gains in Syria risk driving support for the Islamic State, said Hamid, of the Brookings Institution.

“This is exactly what ISIS wants. They want to be perceived as the last line of defense for Sunnis in Iraq and Syria,” he said. “The extent to which we contribute to that narrative becomes really problematic.”

The narrative already has taken hold among the thousands of Syrians who fled the recent fighting across the border into the Turkish town of Akcakale. Many say they won’t return as long as their homes remain under the control of the YPG, whose leftist ideology is at odds with the conservative inclinations of many from the area.

“These new guys have no mercy,” said a 22-year-old man who asked to be referred to only as Abu Mohammed because he is concerned about his safety. He fled ahead of the rapidly advancing Kurdish force, but had the battle continued any longer, he would have joined the Islamic State, he said.

“If you want to defend your religion and your land and your honor, you should join Islamic State,” he said. “Because if you don’t, the YPG will come and take your land.”

U.S. allies in Middle East ramping up support for rebels in Syria

Assad’s hold on power looks shakier than ever

Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut

Missy Ryan in Washington contributed to this report.

Liz Sly is the Post’s Beirut bureau chief. She has spent more than 15 years covering the Middle East, including the Iraq war. Other postings include Africa, China and Afghanistan.


The Independent: Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants*

· Exclusive: The aim is to create a Syrian equivalent to the ‚Sunni Awakening‘ that turned the tide against al-Qaeda during the US occupation of Iraq*

Kim Sengupta – Wednesday, 8 July 2015

They have seen their people slaughtered, their communities terrorised and dispossessed and their ancestral lands laid to waste. Now, some of the most influential tribal leaders in Syria have come together to try to end the savage civil war that has afflicted their country.

They have formed a new tribal coalition and, The Independent can reveal, held secret talks with the UN’s special envoy for Syria and the US General who is Barack Obama’s representative to the rebels fighting against the Assad regime.

The tribal chiefs have also met ministers from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, key financial and military backers of the opposition, and are soon to meet King Abdullah of Jordan.

These leaders wield enormous influence and command the fealty of hundreds of thousands of Syrians through the extended clan system. At confidential talks to which they were invited with the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura, two weeks ago in Geneva, 11 of their leaders were asked to help reach a peace deal with the Syrian government.

Early last month, some of the same leaders were privately urged by General John Allen, the former US commander of Western forces in Afghanistan given the task of creating a viable fighting force from the moderate rebels, to enlist their tribal fighters in the battle against Isis. The US aim is to create a Syrian equivalent to the previous “Sunni Awakening” that turned the tide against al-Qaeda during the US occupation of Iraq.

But in exclusive interviews after they had formed a new “Coalition of Syrian Tribes and Clans”, the leaders said they were determined not to be manipulated by outside powers; foreign interference, they maintained, had been among the main causes of their country’s current malaise.

Read more: MoD to step up military training missions in Middle EastIsis fighter ‚was trained in counterterrorism by State Department‘India says Isis could obtain nuclear weapon from PakistanIsis video shows prisoner ‚forced to dig his own grave‘Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video

The US is not the only such foreign power, and others have different agendas. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states want them to confront President Bashar al-Assad as well as taking on Isis. Jordan has declared that it is willing to host training camps for moderate rebels, but the leaders say they will decide how to respond after they have met the King.

Their aim, said Ayid al-Utayfi, head of the Utayfiat clan of the Annaza tribe, was to form a united front for planning strategy evolving from talks with General Allen, so that a common goal could be developed that does not pit one tribe against another. “From now on we want such discussions to take place with the Coalition we have formed,” he said. “That way there will be much less chance of divisions and suspicion.”

The tribal chiefs are not part of the exiled Syrian National Coalition, the Western-recognised government in exile, nor were they seeking to supplant it. Some of them still live in Syria but most have been driven into exile in neighbouring countries, either by the regime or by Isis.

Sunni tribal dynamics are a key factor in the course of the Syrian conflict. The leaders in Geneva were all opponents of the regime, but others, often from the same tribes, are loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Brothers and cousins can be on opposing sides but are often in regular touch with one another. Isis, too, has been assiduous in using the system, courting tribes and clans which had been marginalised by Syria’s ruling Baath party or whose members were angered at the exploitation of natural resources in their area, such as oil and gas, by the regime.

The leaders share suspicion of American intentions. “I spoke to General Allen’s people myself when they asked our fighters to join in the fight against Daesh [Isis],” Sheikh Ayid said. “The fact is that we have been fighting Daesh by ourselves and we had to do it without American support, without air cover.

“Why are they providing air cover to the Kurds and Shia fighters in Iraq and not us? We told the Americans that we will consider what they have to say when they give us equal treatment. But the dialogue will continue, we have not turned our backs on the Americans.”

He himself had lived in Palmyra, the town in which ancient artefacts are now being destroyed by Isis and its main Roman amphitheatre used as a place of murder with children as executioners. “Of course we want to protect our heritage, and Daesh will be pushed back,” he said. “But why didn’t the Americans bomb them when they made the advance on Palmyra? There has been no consultation with us on what they have been doing.” Timeline: The emergence of Isis

More generally, the sheikhs complain that the Americans are asking the tribes to fight Isis while only paying lip service to taking on the Assad regime. They maintain this is because Barack Obama needs the Iranians, President Assad’s main backers, to help fight Isis in Iraq, and is also seeking to make nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Read more: Women taking the mantle of community leadersSyria ‚chlorine attacks‘: Dozens reported suffocatedAleppo residents describe ‚Syria’s circle of hell‘US to investigate ‚deaths of 52 civilians‘ in Syria airstrikesGovernment air strike near school outside Aleppo kills seven

“The US has to save Iraq after the mess they created there and President Obama wants the nuclear deal with Iran as his legacy,” said Alsheikh Irhiman Kawan Ajbara, of the Ougaidat tribe. “The ones being sacrificed for this are the Syrians. But it was the sectarian policies of the Nouri al-Maliki [the former Shia Prime Minister of Iraq] and Assad which has created this terrible situation.

“My fellow sheikhs and I have the support of around 300,000 people each from our direct tribes, and many more from the extended clans and sub-clans. We realise that we have a responsibility to act. If the regime wants peace then of course we will discuss that, but we have seen no sign that the regime is serious about talking.”

The leaders are critical of the UN envoy, Mr de Mistura, for being slow to condemn regime atrocities, such the use of barrel-bombs, and say that local truces he has arranged have been used by the regime to seize back territory. He was also criticised for saying that Assad was still “part of the solution” in Syria, something regarded as anathema by the opposition.

Sheikh Hashem Sulaiman al-Jarba said: “We were disappointed with what Mr de Mistura had to say and with what he has done so far. He needs to be much tougher with the regime.”

However their newly-elected chairman, Sheikh Saleh al Tahan al-Nuaimi, head of a tribe based near Israel in south-west Syria, said progress had been made.

“He was 60 per cent better in his understanding of the situation after talking to us, and I am sure the other 40 per cent will follow. We can come to an agreement on when conditions are right for negotiations with the regime, though that time has not been reached yet.”


Breakdown or Breakthrough?

“Merkel has to face at least two big problems. If Greece stays in the euro area, her crisis management needs to be overhauled and replaced, possibly with a giant step toward real political and fiscal European integration. If Greece goes, the same applies, given the growing risk of political contagion.”

The past few days have certainly been rich with dramatic twists and turns in the Greek drama. Nobody knows with certainty how the story will end—not the Greek politicians, the German creditors, or least of all me.

However, given the amount of noise and sometimes childish excitement on all sides, it is worth the effort to put aside the understandable irritation of the last few frustrating months and try to make a few larger considerations:

It is not true that “after the referendum is before the referendum.” In other words, the balance between creditors and the Greek government has shifted, and potentially in the prime minister’s favor, although it remains to be seen by how much. Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has solidified his political position in Greece. Any attempt at regime change is off the table for now. Creditors have to finally accept that if a deal is struck, it will be struck with the democratically-elected Tsipras and his government, not some technocratic government of national unity. Even debt forgiveness, a no-go area for the government in Berlin just a few days ago, is back on the table, at least in some form. At this point let’s just assume that if Tsipras goes, it will only be because Greece has left the euro zone.

Against this backdrop, and barring the temptation on the Greek side to over-estimate its hand, the ball is only partially in the court of the debt-stricken southern European nation. It is true that Greece has to make credible proposals and that real negotiations have to start. Once they do, however, the European Central Bank (ECB) will regain the necessary legal justification to raise the limit on its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) and give Greek banks some oxygen to breathe, at least for a while. We are talking days not weeks.

How those negotiations progress will depend on more than Greece. Restoring trust is important and initially the burden will be on Tsipras. But then it will become clear whether there are those on the creditors’ side who are looking for excuses to boot Athens out. I am afraid that some in the German government have to do some soul searching as well, since some cabinet members are starting to be perceived as hindrances to a return to a calmer atmosphere among partners. That, at least, is how I interpret the words of the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, who before the European Parliament decried the active attempts by some “German-speaking” creditors to torpedo talks with Athens. Having a bad cop is useful in tough negotiations when the other side plays with fire, but it becomes a counterproductive exercise if letting part of the house burn down becomes the goal. Furthermore, the united anti-Tsipras front of the past few weeks will melt away. France, Italy, and even Austria are looking for a compromise, rather than retribution. Germany can ill afford finding itself in a minority of hardliners.

As to Chancellor Angela Merkel, she has shown incredible capacity to adapt to changing conditions. This time, though, the limits of her crisis management mechanism, based on temporary transfers of sovereignty from debtor countries to creditor countries within the euro zone, has shown its most blatant limits. Hiding behind the institutions and a rule-based approach cannot eliminate the fact that ultimately a decision about membership in the common currency area cannot be left to the consequences of some technical accident, a shortage of liquidity, and the collapse of Greek banks in this case.

Membership is and must continue to be a political decision. Apart from the domestic politics, which have once again become toxic, Merkel has to face at least two big problems. If Greece stays in the euro area, her crisis management needs to be overhauled and replaced, possibly with a giant step toward real political and fiscal European integration. If Greece goes, the same applies, given the growing risk of political contagion. Once euro zone membership becomes reversible, when any political/economic crisis flares up, whether it takes place in Spain, Italy, or even France, it can quickly become an existential threat to the euro zone as a whole. That is not what any German chancellor would like to be remembered for. We will learn in the next few days how she will try to square this circle.


Policy= res publica


Pressemitteilung | 7. Juli 2015

Anteil von Frauen in Führungspositionen seit 2001 gestiegen – Entwicklung zuletzt aber nur noch verhalten

DIW Berlin stellt Führungskräftemonitor 2015 vor – DIW-Forschungsdirektorin Elke Holst schlägt Fünf-Punkte-Plan für mehr Frauen in Führungspositionen vor: „Kein Anlass, sich auszuruhen“

Der Anteil von Frauen in Führungspositionen der Privatwirtschaft in Deutschland nimmt zu: Im Jahr 2013 waren rund 29 Prozent der leitenden Angestellten Frauen – etwa sieben Prozentpunkte mehr als im Jahr 2001. Insbesondere in Westdeutschland hat sich der Anstieg in der jüngeren Vergangenheit aber abgeschwächt, während die Entwicklung in den neuen Ländern dynamischer war. Das geht aus dem neusten Führungskräftemonitor des Deutschen Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin) hervor. „Zwar sind in den vergangenen Jahren immer mehr Frauen in Führungspositionen gekommen, doch es gibt keinen Anlass, sich auszuruhen“, sagt Elke Holst, Forschungsdirektorin für Gender Studies am DIW Berlin. „Ganz im Gegenteil: Die Anstrengungen müssen weiter intensiviert werden.“ Nicht zuletzt die Unternehmen würden von mehr weiblicher Expertise profitieren. Daher schlägt Holst einen Fünf-Punkte-Plan vor: Mehr Frauen in Führungspositionen sollte ein zentrales Unternehmensziel sein, für dieses ein verbindlicher Zeitfahrplan festgelegt und die Unternehmenskultur entsprechend angepasst werden. Zudem sei es nötig, leitende Positionen transparenter zu besetzen und die Personalentwicklung stärker auf verschiedene Lebenslaufmodelle und die Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf auszurichten. „Immer mehr Frauen sind erwerbstätig und hervorragend ausgebildet – deshalb sind auch immer mehr von ihnen für Führungsaufgaben geeignet“, so Holst. „Allein mit Blick auf die zukünftigen demografischen Herausforderungen können wir es uns nicht leisten, dieses Potential brachliegen zu lassen.“

Gender Pay Gap ist rückläufig, aber immer noch erheblich

Für den neuesten Führungskräftemonitor 2015 haben Elke Holst (DIW Berlin), Anne Busch-Heizmann (Universität Hamburg) und Anna Wieber (DIW Berlin) in erster Linie Daten der Langzeiterhebung Sozio-oekonomisches Panel (SOEP) ausgewertet. Als Führungskräfte gelten Angestellte in der Privatwirtschaft, die entweder umfassende Führungsaufgaben haben, sonstige Leitungsfunktionen oder hochqualifizierte Tätigkeiten ausüben. Die Autorinnen informieren nicht nur über die Entwicklung in Führungspositionen, sondern geben auch einen Einblick in die beruflichen und privaten Lebenswirklichkeiten von Führungskräften – insgesamt anhand von neun Kerngrößen mit 51 Einzelindikatoren. Zu den Themen gehören neben Arbeitsmarkt- und Sozialstrukturen, Wochenarbeitszeiten, Bildung und Berufserfahrung, Lebensstilen, Haus- und Familienarbeit sowie Verdiensten und Sondervergütungen auch Arbeitsbelastungen, Anerkennung und soziale Unterstützung.

Den Ergebnissen zufolge sind Frauen – sofern sie in Führungspositionen arbeiten – mittlerweile gleich häufig Vorgesetzte wie Männer (zu einem Anteil von jeweils 65 Prozent). Allerdings sind Frauen im Durchschnitt deutlich weniger Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter unterstellt, was vor allem daran liegen dürfte, dass sie seltener in hohen Führungspositionen und häufiger in kleinen und mittelgroßen Unternehmen arbeiten. Die Verdienstlücke zwischen Frauen und Männern in Führungspositionen – der sogenannte Gender Pay Gap – ist mit 20 Prozent zwar nach wie vor erheblich, seit dem Jahr 2001 (29 Prozent) aber deutlich geschrumpft. Wird anstelle des arithmetischen Mittelwerts der Median verwendet, der dem Verdienst entspricht, der die nach dem Verdienst geordnete Stichprobe in zwei Hälften teilt und als statistisch robuste Größe für die Beschreibung von Einkommensunterschieden gewählt wird, trübt sich das positive Bild ein: Der Verdienstunterschied hat sich kaum verändert (2013: 27 Prozent, 2001: 29 Prozent). Auch bei den über das eigentliche Gehalt hinausgehenden Sondervergütungen wie Gewinnbeteiligungen oder Prämien erhalten Frauen weniger als Männer.

Beruf und Familie für Führungskräfte kaum in Einklang zu bringen

Vollzeitbeschäftigte Frauen in Führungspositionen arbeiteten im Jahr 2013 mit durchschnittlich 45 Wochenstunden nur eine Stunde weniger als ihre männlichen Kollegen. Sowohl Frauen als auch Männer in Führungspositionen würden ihre Arbeitszeit gerne um durchschnittlich sieben bis acht Wochenstunden verkürzen – wohl vor allem deshalb, weil Haus- und Familienarbeit noch immer kaum mit sehr langen Arbeitszeiten in Einklang zu bringen sind. Das gilt insbesondere für Frauen, die auch dann den Großteil der Haus- und Familienarbeit erledigen, wenn sie in Führungspositionen arbeiten. Vor allem bei Verheirateten und Frauen mit Kindern ist dies der Fall. Frauen berichten besonders häufig über Schlafprobleme aufgrund ihrer beruflichen Situation. Aber auch Männer in Führungspositionen leiden unter beruflichen Belastungen wie häufigem Zeitdruck. „Wenn Umstrukturierungen des beruflichen und gesellschaftlichen Alltags nachhaltig sein sollen, müssen sie die Work-Life-Balance im Blick behalten“, betont Anne Busch-Heizmann.

Viele Mütter in Führungspositionen bekommen in Westdeutschland ihr erstes Kind relativ spät – gut die Hälfte erst mit 30 Jahren oder noch später. In Ostdeutschland liegt das Durchschnittsalter der Frauen bei der Geburt des ersten Kindes hingegen bei 25 Jahren. „Offenbar wirken in den neuen Ländern auch heute noch die für die DDR typischen Familiengründungsmuster nach“, erklärt Holst. „Inwieweit dies aber in der Zukunft unter den nun veränderten gesamtdeutschen Rahmenbedingungen so bleibt, wird sich erst noch zeigen müssen.“ Für West und Ost gilt zudem: Frauen in Führungspositionen sind in Deutschland seltener verheiratet als Männer und häufiger Singles.


Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* * Tensions with Russia could prompt NATO strategy rethink*

NATO is preparing for a long standoff with Russia, reluctantly accepting that the Ukraine conflict has fundamentally transformed Europe’s security landscape and that it may have to abandon hope of a constructive relationship with Moscow. …

The tension has prompted debate about whether it is time to rewrite NATO’s master strategy document, designed at a time when there were high hopes that the enmity of the Cold War years could be set aside and Russia and NATO could work together.

The "strategic concept", adopted by NATO leaders at a Lisbon summit in 2010, rates the threat of a conventional attack on NATO territory as low.

The document, which sets out the alliance’s goals and missions, says NATO-Russia cooperation is of strategic importance and adds: "We want to see a true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia."

"Some of the language (in the document) having to do with Russia as a strategic partner of the alliance is certainly cast into question given Russia’s behavior," U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute told reporters last month, though he said no decision had yet been taken to revise it….

The NATO diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was little argument that the strategy document was out of date and would have to be rewritten "reasonably soon."

The chill in relations with Russia would be lasting because Putin’s survival in power "is linked to permanent confrontation with the West," the diplomat said.

But some allies, including Germany, are reluctant to change the strategy document now, partly because it would entail about a year’s work and partly because they do not want to antagonize Russia by closing the door on cooperation, or take any step that could undermine a truce agreement in Ukraine, the diplomat said….

Diplomats worry that rewriting the strategic concept could open a Pandora’s box, with some southern NATO allies, which think the alliance concentrates too much on security challenges from the east, wanting a greater focus on new threats from the south, such as the Islamic State group based in Syria and Iraq.

"It would stimulate a fundamental review of European security, of our approach to the south," one NATO official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

Removing the aspiration of a strategic partnership with Russia from the text would be "a big political step and maybe not necessary", the official said.

NATO seems likely to opt for compromise. NATO leaders could order work on a revamp of the strategy document when they meet in Warsaw next July. It would then be ready for approval when they next meet, probably in 2018, diplomats said.




· Written by Antonio De Bonis

· Thursday, 02 July 2015 12:30

On May 1st 2003, the U.S. President George W. Bush declared that the war against such an undefinable enemy – religious terrorism – was over: “Mission accomplished!”. The war in Iraq ended with the victory achieved through the dynamics of a classic war fought by modern troops. However, what did it happen next? The failure of state-building policies in Iraq and of the use of democracy as a peace-building tool appears very clear given the dramatic situation in the MENA region so far.

This is the new Middle Ages where the interests of empires, cities, corporations, churches, clans, mercenaries, etc. combine. All players are engaged to search their main interests: the control of the territory in order to exploit resources, managing trade and investments, persuading people through the seduction of the needs. Unfortunately, today, two new actors aggravate the situation of generalized chaos: the transnational organized crime and international terrorism.

These phenomena are the products of globalization that has liquefied the international trade with weapons of mass destruction, illicit goods, economy and finance, technology and information. Is at the expense of the nation State that, in some areas more than others, it has been given the prerogative of its exercise to compact communities in favor of a new subject: the market state.

Due to the inability of the national state to exercise its prerogatives, such as providing social assistance, increase education and manage the labour market, the State risks to endanger social cohesion and thus contributes to the emergence of insurrection movements.

The areas of international crisis are dramatically increasing from Asia to the Atlas Mountains, but in any case with the obvious differences. The sense of uncertainty and insecurity of the populations hails from the failure of balance between politics and economics. The international geopolitical situation and the divergence of national interests of the main actors contributes to aggravate this situation. Thus, not only China, Russia and United States as great powers, but a number of second lines are able to mine the precarious international balance by supporting unconventional actors.

In this difficult arena, the new actors of the contemporary Middle Ages such the organized crime and international terrorism may play an important role. Through the control of areas, it seems that they increase their power by influencing, more often determining, local policies.

If we look at the past years and we analyse the most relevant terrorist attacks, we may point out few considerations.

In particular, if we consider the past events in which they have complied with the theory of al-Qaeda intending to strike the far enemy – the United States and Western countries – in order to undermine over time its hegemonic project on the Islamic community, the situations has been changing.

Since last year, moving away from the orthodoxy of al-Qaeda and the birth of the Caliphate, the Islamic State has adopted the theory of Abu Musab al-Suri, a Syrian jihadist militant of longtime and already close to Osama bin Laden. According to him, the Jihad has to be fought not by an organization (the model of al-Qaeda) but by a network of combatants, each of which is called to rise up in the name of the cause in its own territory. We came back to the game theories of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Mao Zedong and the General Vo Nguyen Giap.

In its pamphlet, “Call for a global Islamic resistance”, al-Suri states: “[…] in other words there should be an operating system, a sort of protocol, available to anyone willing to participate in the global jihad is alone, either with a group of trusted companions, instead of an operating organization […]”. In addition, the pamphlet explains the four guiding lines that represent the foundation of the new jihad:

– spontaneity;

– situationist outlook;

– decentralization;

– autonomy.

In conclusion, given the crisis of the nation state, the geopolitical situation characterized by the clash of multiple international players and the increase of areas of crisis, we can unfortunately expect the resurgence of these phenomena. The Islamic State has surely lost ground over time and, at that time, we must increase the attention and learn from the experience made to face the future followers.


Founder and Director of GeoCrime


Middle East

*Saudi sovereign fund to invest $10bn in Russia*

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to invest $10bn in Russia, in a powerful sign of the rapprochement between Moscow and Riyadh.

The Public Investment Fund signed a deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund for the largest foreign direct investment yet in Russia, RDIF said late on Monday. “The first seven projects have received preliminary approval, and we expect to close 10 deals before the end of the year,” said Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF chief executive.

The deal, which was initiated with a memorandum of understanding during the St Petersburg Economic Forum last month, comes as Riyadh and Moscow are working to rebuild relations long plagued by the Russian government’s support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

RDIF declined to comment on whether the investment was part of this political agenda, but Mr Dmitriev said Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, deputy crown prince and defence minister, had played an “immense” role of support in sealing the deal. The prince visited St Petersburg with a large delegation during the economic forum and participated in president Vladimir Putin’s meeting with global investment fund heads.

Mr Dmitriev said RDIF had been working for more than a year on bringing PIF to Russia, and the political climate might have helped close the deal. “Sometimes the wind can help bring the ship to its destination,” he said.

Since King Salman ascended the Saudi throne in January, his government and that of Mr Putin have tried to bridge their differences on possible ways out of Syria’s four-year civil war. While Riyadh backs “moderate” Islamists in Syria, Moscow remains resolutely opposed to any engagement of Islamist forces as a means of stopping the rapid expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

But Mr Putin and King Salman have discussed the issue on the phone, followed by a visit of Mr Putin’s envoy for the Middle East, deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov, to Riyadh, and the Saudi defence minister’s visit to Russia. A visit of King Salman to Moscow is being discussed.

RDIF said PIF’s funds would be invested in projects for infrastructure, retail, logistics and agriculture over a period of up to five years, and the Saudi investment vehicle would invest together with other foreign sovereign wealth funds mostly from Asia, including the Russia-China Investment Fund, a $2bn vehicle backed by the China Investment Corporation and RDIF.

RDIF also agreed to invest jointly with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority in projects in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.

PIF’s commitment adds to pledges from Asian and Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds to Russia. Until 2013, RDIF had established partnerships with western sovereign funds. Since then, the Russian fund’s new partnerships have been dominated by Asia and the Middle East as Russia’s political stand-off with the west has made US and European funds cautious over teaming up with a state-backed entity.

Mr Dmitriev urged European investors to interpret the Saudi deal as a signal to come back. “Europe needs to continue to work with Russia,” he said.




*New Trade Routes – Arab World*

Despite widespread unrest in the region, countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are investing huge amounts in infrastructure. The Suez Canal is being expanded and new ports such as King Abdullah Port bring the prospect of more trade, perhaps even within the region.

Download report ( )


Oil under $60 beyond 2016 suggests market rethinking shale*

NEW YORK | By Jonathan Leff and Jessica Resnick-Ault

The almost 10 percent nosedive in headline oil prices this week has many hallmarks of a shocking but short-lived slump, triggered by a confluence of external events and exacerbated by safety-seeking investors and momentum-chasing traders.

By Tuesday afternoon, the crowded race to the exit was winding down, with prices recovering from three-month lows as traders reassessed the factors they blamed for the worst slide in four months: Greece’s debt woes; China’s stock market meltdown; talks with Iran over its nuclear program; a stronger dollar; a rise in the number of U.S. oil rigs; a breach of key technical triggers.

Yet a deeper look at the market suggests an important and more lasting rethink may now be afoot: longer-term oil prices, normally less volatile and reactive than immediate delivery, have suffered an almost equally violent collapse, pushing crude prices for 2017 to below $60 a barrel for the first time ever.

If U.S. shale drillers – the world’s new ’swing‘ producers – can still turn a profit at below $60 a barrel, then the fall in long-dated oil prices may be rational. If not, as some bullish market analysts worry, then lower prices could be choking off new supplies the world may need as soon as next year.

"If you take the curve at face value, it appears to be saying that U.S. shale can grow … if WTI stays below $60 for three years. That doesn’t seem very likely," Paul Horsnell, global head of commodities research at Standard Chartered, said, referring to West Texas Intermediate crude.

"One would guess that all those companies that had been holding back from cutting projects and jobs over the past few months are not going to hold on much longer, and another shakeout will start. And it probably won’t be long before U.S. rig counts start to dive again."

Link to chart:

U.S. oil futures for December 2017 delivery have dropped by as much as $5 a barrel, or 8 percent, in the past two days, an even deeper retreat than last November when OPEC’s surprise decision to maintain oil output despite a global glut sent markets into a deepening tailspin.

The more liquid frontline prices for delivery in August this year have fallen only slightly further this week and are still several dollars above their trough from March. Longer-dated futures are plumbing contract lows, testing the break-even economics for U.S. shale oil drillers.

The cause of this unusual tumble is still a topic of debate.

Some link it to a future shift in fundamentals such as the expected boost in Iran’s oil exports next year. Others say it may reflect the realization that oil industry costs are falling faster than expected as activity slumps. A few wonder if it is an unusually large producer hedge, or a big macro-economy fund trade unwinding.


Longer-term oil futures are normally insulated from the speculative, short-term fluctuations and factors that afflict immediate prices. Too illiquid to attract fast money, they tend to trade on more strategic themes, whether a long-term bet on prices or a corporation seeking to hedge its price risks.

Front-month oil futures have posted a daily change of more than $1 a barrel on 62 occasions this year, trading in a range of over $20; December 2017 has moved by that magnitude only 18 times, trading between $61 and $67 a barrel.

The fact that this week’s activity has affected both ends of the futures curve in nearly equal measure is unusual, says Credit Suisse analyst Jan Stuart.

"This isn’t a simple front-month correlation trade or a dip in demand," he says. "This is investors who invest all along the curve picking up the ball and going home. That’s what this looks like."

Some fundamental factors are also in play.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, which may conclude this week in Vienna, have increased the likelihood that a country that was once OPEC’s second-largest producer will ramp up exports as sanctions are eased – likely adding more supply to the market next year at the earliest.

Others pointed to the latest U.S. rig count data released last Thursday, showing the first increase in oil drilling since December. The addition 14 rigs was a bigger rise than expected.

The rise suggests that at $60 a barrel, "producers can ramp up activity given improved returns with costs down nearly 30 percent and producers increasingly comfortable at the current costs/revenue/funding mix," Goldman Sachs, which is predicting a deeper and prolonged oil slump, said in a note on Monday.


Some suggested that the selloff, which began last week ahead of the U.S. Independence Day holiday, may have provoked reticent oil producers to hedge, locking in far-forward prices for fear they may fall much further.

Oil option volatility fell last month to its lowest level in seven months, making hedging relatively cheaper for drillers who had locked in only 15 percent of their 2016 prices, according analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

The oil VIX index, a proxy for options pricing in the main oil ETF, has surged alongside oil prices in recent days, rising from 33.8 to over 42, its highest since mid-April, in a possible sign of increased demand to buy options protection.

Yet market sources saw little immediate evidence of a big hedge that could explain the price move.

Trading volumes in the December 2016 and 2017 WTI contracts, which were the fourth and fifth most-active in the market on Monday, was elevated, but not unusually so. The 2016 contract traded just over 35,000 lots, double the 30-day average but a hair less than on July 1, data show.

"We have not seen a lot of activity in the last 24-48 hours," said John Saucer, vice president of research and analytics at Mobius Risk Group, which advises companies on hedging. "We saw a lot last month."



moderated by Srecko Velimirovic

Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic talked on Wednesday with U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby about the pressing regional, bilateral and international issues, including the Ukraine situation.

During the meeting, the officials exchanged views on the major regional, bilateral and international issues, with an emphasis on Serbia’s role, as the country holding the chairmanship of the OSCE, in resolving the current situation in Ukraine, the ministry of foreign affairs said in a release.

On behalf of the U.S. administration, Kirby extended thanks to Serbia for its support to restoring diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba, reads the release.



Twitter has become essential for keeping up with news and analysis on commodities from a wide range of sources. There is a lot of dross on the network but also some real gold that offers great information and insights. The secret is to be very selective in who you follow. Here are the accounts I find essential reading (clicking on any of the links should take you straight to their Twitter page and enable you to follow them if you wish):

Reuters Commodities top news feed @ReutersCommods

Andy Home at Reuters on metals and mining @AndyHomeMetals

Clyde Russell at Reuters on Asian commodity markets @ClydeCommods

Sam Wilkin at Reuters on the Middle East @WilkinReports

Jonathan Leff at Reuters on commodities and energy @jonathanaleff

David Sheppard at the FT on all things oil @OilSheppard

Collin Eaton at the Houston Chronicle on US oil and gas @CollinEatonHC

Valerie Marcel at Chatham House on oil and gas @ValerieMarcel

Ernest Scheyder at Reuters on North Dakota @ErnestScheyder

Henry Sanderson at the FT on commodities @hjesanderson

Summer Said at the WSJ on Middle East energy @summer_said

Patrick Rucker at Reuters on Washington energy policy @PatrickMRucker

Christopher Johnson at Reuters for oil @chris1reuters

Neil Hume at the FT for all things energy and commodities @humenm

Oil Merchant on everything related to oil industry and financial markets @EnergyRosen

Bloomberg Energy News @BloombergNRG

Bloomberg Commodities @BNCommodities

Bloomberg Business @business

Algo Futures Trader on everything oil and prices @CL_fTrader

Anjli Raval at the FT on oil and gas @AnjliRaval

Fuelfix on US oil and gas @fuelfixblog

People’s Daily, flagship of China’s Communist Party @PDChina

Robin Mills on Middle East energy @robinenergy

John Krohn at the EIA on US energy @Krohn_DC

Shawn McCarthy at the Globe and Mail on Canada energy @smmcarthy55

Matt Robinson at Columbia Center for Energy Policy @mattenergy

Ed Crooks at the FT on all things energy related @Ed_Crooks

Javier Blas at Bloomberg on energy @JavierBlas2

James Coleman on energy law @EnergyLawProf

International Energy Agency @IEA

Energy Information Administration @EIAgov

Progressive Railroad for all things related to trains and safety @rail_pro_mag

Association of American Railroads for rail news @AAR_FreightRail

Railway Age for rail news @RailwayAge

Jason Bordoff at Columbia Center for Global Energy Policy @JasonBordoff

Financial Post Energy for news on Canada’s oil and gas sector @FPEnergy

FP Energy Editor Yadullah Hussain @Yad_FPEnergy

John Kemp

Senior Market Analyst




see our letter on:

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



06-29-15 New Trade Routes – Arab World.pdf

06-01-15 ARAB WORLD MAPS (Islamic State) – The Caliphate keeps on growing (En-Fr) _ The M.pdf