Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 18/09/15 – part II

Massenbach-Letter. News

Massenbach*

Das komplette Interview zum Nachlesen:

Jasper Barenberg: Zig Tausende Flüchtlinge sind schon in Deutschland angekommen. Zig Tausende weitere werden folgen. Entlang der sogenannten Balkan-Route sind nach Schätzungen des UN-Flüchtlingshilfswerks allein in Griechenland gerade weitere 30.000 Menschen unterwegs. Sie fliehen vor dem Krieg im Irak oder vor der Gewalt in Afghanistan. Vor allem aber kommen im Moment immer mehr Syrer zu uns. Aber wer kommt da eigentlich gerade und warum gerade jetzt?

– Darüber können wir in den nächsten Minuten mit Salem El-Hamid sprechen, dem Generalsekretär der Deutsch-Syrischen Gesellschaft. Schönen guten Morgen!

Salem El-Hamid: Guten Morgen.

Barenberg: Es werden ja gewöhnlich zwei Erklärungen dafür gegeben, warum gerade jetzt so viele Syrer zu uns kommen. Das Ausmaß der Gewalt und der Zerstörung in Syrien selber habe noch einmal zugenommen und außerdem seien die Menschen nicht mehr hoffnungsvoll, in keiner Weise, dass es irgendeine Wende zum Besseren geben könnte. Sind das zwei wichtige Gründe?

El-Hamid: Ja, das sind sicherlich wichtige Gründe. Aber es sind nicht nur die, sondern, wissen Sie, Flucht ist meist nicht nur aus einem Grund oder aus zwei Gründen. Es sind meistens mehrere Gründe. Einer der wichtigsten Gründe ist die Perspektivlosigkeit der Menschen. Sie wissen ja, die Flucht hat begonnen seit zirka fünf Jahren mittlerweile. Wir haben Leute in den Flüchtlingslagern in der Türkei, in Jordanien, im Libanon und überall. Und diese Leute haben am Anfang gedacht, die Sache würde ja nicht so lange dauern. Es hat keiner gedacht, dass es fünf Jahre dauert. In der Zwischenzeit merkt man, das ist überhaupt keine Lösung in Sicht. Und auch die Lage hat sich in den Lagern in den letzten Jahren deutlich verschlechtert. Die Kinder können nicht mehr zur Schule gehen. Das müssen Sie sich mal vorstellen. Die Familien wollen ihre Kinder zur Schule schicken, da gibt es keine Schulen mehr. Also entwickelt sich eine Generation von Menschen, die überhaupt keine Zukunft mehr sehen. Das ist eigentlich der wichtigste Grund, warum jetzt die Welle in der letzten Zeit deutlich zugenommen hat.

Barenberg: Lassen Sie uns noch gerade sprechen über die, die bisher in Lagern in Jordanien, in der Türkei, im Libanon gewesen sind. Was macht ein Aufenthalt von mehreren Monaten oder mehreren Jahren mit einer Familie aus Syrien? In welchem Zustand, wenn ich das so sagen darf, ist eine Familie, wenn sie ein paar Jahre in einem solchen Lager verbracht hat?

El-Hamid: Die haben Probleme, Arbeit zu finden. Wissen Sie, zum Beispiel die Lage im Libanon, die sehen Sie ja jeden Tag im Fernsehen. Die Leute haben große Probleme, Arbeit zu finden. Im Libanon besteht die Bevölkerung mittlerweile fast zu einem Viertel aus Syrern. Und viel Arbeit gibt es nicht und auch überhaupt keine Unterstützung seitens der Regierung, so wie hier zum Beispiel bei uns in Deutschland. Die Türkei gibt kein Kindergeld und keine Unterstützung, auch der Libanon nicht oder Jordanien auch nicht. Zwar gibt es eine gewisse Hilfe von den Organisationen, von der UNO, aber das reicht nicht, eine Familie komplett zu ernähren. Die Menschen verlieren jegliche Perspektive und deswegen ist das einer der wichtigsten Gründe, meiner Meinung nach. Natürlich hat in letzter Zeit die ISIS an Einfluss in Syrien zugenommen. Sie haben es ja sicher in den Nachrichten mitverfolgt, als sie jetzt vor kurzem Palmyra besetzt haben. Und sie machen sich in Richtung Homs auf den Weg und sogar versuchen sie, an Damaskus heranzukommen an der Küste.

Barenberg: Wir hören aber auch von diesen Fassbomben, die Assads Luftwaffe auf die Menschen in den umkämpften Städten fallen lässt. Welche Rolle spielt das? Hat auch in Syrien der Exodus zugenommen in den letzten Wochen und Monaten?

El-Hamid: Ja! Das ist ein Krieg! Das müssen Sie sich einmal vorstellen. Ich nehme als Beispiel irgendeine Stadt. Da wird gekämpft und da wird natürlich mit aller Gewalt gekämpft, sowohl mit Bomben als auch mit Raketen. Da sind Menschen in ihren Häusern versteckt und die werden von beiden Seiten bedroht. Es wird keiner verschont. Bomben kennen kein genaues Ziel. Da werden Menschen getötet, die überwiegend unschuldig sind. Und natürlich fliehen die Leute. Ich kenne viele Familien, zum Beispiel meine eigene. Meine Brüder sind einmal geflüchtet am Anfang Richtung al-Hasaka, dann wieder nach Aleppo und dann von Aleppo wieder nach Damaskus. Die Leute suchen nach einem sicheren Ort und das ist auch logisch und verständlich.

Barenberg: Wenn man sich dann entschließt, Syrien zu verlassen, oder ein Flüchtlingslager in der Region, das kostet viel Geld, man muss Schlepper bezahlen. Kommen am Ende nur Menschen, schaffen es am Ende nur Menschen nach Europa, nach Deutschland, die über Geld verfügen, um all das bezahlen zu können?

El-Hamid: Eigentlich zum großen Teil ja. Es hat begonnen vor ein paar Jahren. Die Preise schwanken zwischen 3000 Dollar bis 12.000 Dollar. Wer Luxus haben will, der bezahlt mehr. Der kriegt ein Flugticket über die Türkei oder über Griechenland oder irgendwo. Und wer weniger bezahlen kann, der muss ein bisschen laufen. Wer 3000 oder 2000 bezahlt, der muss mehr riskieren. Das hat schon so begonnen am Anfang. Ich habe auch verfolgt und gesehen, wie viele Leute nach Deutschland kommen durch die Schlepper. Da ist ein Wettbewerb und wer mehr Geld hat, hat mehr Sicherheit, wer weniger Geld hat, hat weniger Sicherheit.

Barenberg: Heißt das auch, dass es vor allem Angehörige, sagen wir, der Mittelschicht aus Syrien schaffen, Angehörige der Mittelschicht oder junge Akademiker?

El-Hamid: Ja, das ist so wie gesagt. Diese Mittelschicht, diejenigen, die Geld haben, die haben weniger Risiko. Die bezahlen Geld und da gibt es Schlepper, die sie nach Deutschland bringen. Und das sind ja Tausende.

Barenberg: Was für ein Deutschland-Bild haben die, die sich auf den Weg machen nach Europa und speziell nach Deutschland? Ist Deutschland so etwas wie ein Sehnsuchtsort geworden?

El-Hamid: Ja, wissen Sie, Deutschland war eigentlich immer das Lieblingsland von den Menschen im Orient. Wir alle haben ja ein unheimlich schönes Bild von Deutschland. Deutschland hat ja eine bestimmte historische Geschichte, auch eine sehr gute Geschichte mit der arabischen Welt. Die Menschen mögen Deutschland. Das war immer so. Es war aber schwierig, natürlich, legal nach Deutschland überhaupt zu kommen, auch als normaler Mensch ein Touristenvisum zu bekommen von der deutschen Botschaft, sehr, sehr schwierig, auch für Akademiker, auch für Verwandte. Auf einmal schaffen es jetzt die Leute durch die Schlepper, einfach nach Deutschland zu kommen. Und das ist wie ein Wechsel in der ganzen Situation. Und natürlich, Deutschland ist immer beliebt bei den Menschen dort.

Barenberg: Sie arbeiten als Arzt hier in Deutschland.

El-Hamid: Ja.

Barenberg: Wer wendet sich an Sie? Wer fragt bei Ihnen nach, welche Möglichkeiten es gibt, hier in Deutschland eine Zukunft aufzubauen?

El-Hamid: Bei mir melden sich natürlich viele Ärzte, auch alle möglichen Menschen, aber überwiegend Ärzte. Die suchen Arbeit, die suchen Ausbildung vor allem. Ich versuche, Menschen auch zu helfen, ihnen eine Facharztausbildung zu vermitteln an bestimmten Krankenhäusern, in bestimmten Einrichtungen. Das habe ich eigentlich immer getan, auch schon vor den Ereignissen jetzt. Jetzt natürlich in dieser Zeit sind die Zahlen anders als vor ein paar Jahren.

Barenberg: Und sind Sie zuversichtlich, dass es vielen Flüchtlingen aus Syrien gelingen wird, hier eine Arbeit zu finden, sich ihren Lebensunterhalt selbst zu verdienen?

El-Hamid: Viele Menschen können Arbeit finden, vor allem die gut ausgebildeten Leute. Wir haben viele Ärzte, Ingenieure, Studenten, alles Mögliche. Die werden sicherlich ihre Zukunft hier finden. Aber in diesem Zusammenhang möchte ich noch mal etwas sagen. Ich denke, Deutschland spielt eine entscheidende Rolle bei der Hilfe für die Menschen in Syrien. Ich würde aber auch darauf hinweisen, Deutschland kann auch mehr machen, um an das Problem heranzukommen, um dabei zu helfen, eine Lösung zu finden, damit diese Flüchtlingswelle einigermaßen abebbt.

Barenberg: Was wäre das?

El-Hamid: Das wären nach meiner Meinung zwei oder drei Aspekte. Das Wichtigste: Erst mal kann Deutschland viel machen, vor Ort zu helfen. Deutschland hat viel Geld, hat viele Möglichkeiten, hat viel Know-how, Technik, zum Beispiel die Elektrizität in Syrien in Gang zu bringen. Sogar in Damaskus, in den großen Städten fehlt der Strom manchmal 18 Stunden am Tag oder 15 Stunden am Tag. Das Wasser wird unterbrochen. Viele Infrastrukturprobleme gibt es. Dabei ein bisschen zu helfen, die aufzubauen, damit den Menschen vor Ort geholfen wird, sodass viele nicht unbedingt fliehen müssen. Das ist das eine und das Zweite, was eigentlich das Wichtigste ist, meine ich, dass Deutschland mit Frankreich und mit England zusammenarbeitet. Das sind die großen europäischen Staaten, die mächtig sind in Europa. Die müssen ihren Einfluss bei den Amerikanern geltend machen: Die Amerikaner die regionalen Mächte am Ort, die eigentlich hauptsächlich für den Krieg verantwortlich sind – das ist Saudi-Arabien, das ist die Türkei und Iran -, die müssen es hinbekommen, diesen Stellvertreterkrieg zu beenden, damit die Leute am Ort bleiben. Es hat ja keinen Sinn, dass man weiter den Menschen hilft, aber der Krieg weiterläuft.

Barenberg: Ein Appell heute Morgen hier im Deutschlandfunk von Salem El-Hamid, dem Generalsekretär der Deutsch-Syrischen Gesellschaft. Danke für das Gespräch heute Morgen.

El-Hamid: Ich danke Ihnen auch.

Äußerungen unserer Gesprächspartner geben deren eigene Auffassungen wieder. Der Deutschlandfunk macht sich Äußerungen seiner Gesprächspartner in Interviews und Diskussionen nicht zu eigen.

http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/syrische-fluechtlinge-in-nahost-die-menschen-verlieren.694.de.html?dram:article_id=330635

—àTelekom sagt Hilfe bei Unterstützung von Flüchtlingen zu (see attachment)

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First Iranian marines land in Syria, link up with newly-arrived Russian troops*
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 11, 2015, 8:45 AM (GMT+02:00)

First Rev Guards elite troops land in Syria

Iran this week sent its first ground troops to Syria, around 1,000 marines and elite troops of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). They moved straight into Ghorin, a small military air facility just south of the port town of Latakia, and hooked up with the just-landed Russian marines at Jablah. Three weeks ago, DEBKA file began reporting on Russian-Iranian military intervention afoot for saving the Syrian ruler Bashar Assad, followed on September 1 by the first disclosure of the Russian buildup in Syria.

Our military sources report now that Moscow is about to send a shipment of advanced S-300 air defense missile systems for deployment at Jablah, the base the Russians have built outside Latakia for the intake of the Russian troops. The S-300 systems will also shield the Iranian facility at Ghorin.

Jablah has been converted into a busy depot for the Russian troops still arriving in Syria, combatants from units of Marine Brigades 810 and 336.

Russian MiG-31 interceptor craft standing by at the Mezza airbase at Damascus airport offer the combined Russian-Iranian force air cover. To the west, the giant Dmitri Donskoy TK-20 nuclear submarine is on its way to Syrian waters. Latakia is therefore fast growing into a powerful Russian-Iranian military enclave, able to accommodate Assad and top regime officials if they are forced to leave Damascus.

According to our military sources, it is too soon to determine the exact function of this enclave, whether defensive or, after settling in, the Russian and/or the Iranian forces are planning to go after Syrian rebel and Islamic State forces making gains in northern Syria.

There is no evidence to bear out the curious briefing high-ranking defense sources gave Israeli military correspondents Thursday that the incoming Iranian troops have come to beef up the large-scale Syrian army-Hizballah units, who have been unsuccessfully battering away at the rebel fighters holding the key town of Zabadani for nearly two months. Our sources find the Iranian and Russian units fully occupied for now in expanding and outfitting their new quarters at Ghorin and Jablah.

http://web.debka.com/article/24883/First-Iranian-marines-land-in-Syria-link-up-with-newly-arrived-Russian-troops

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Constructing a New Syria: Dealing with the Real Outcome of the “ISIS War”

It is all too easy to focus on the fighting with ISIS in Iraq and Syria, or the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria, and ignore the full implications of the Syrian civil war and the challenge it poses for the future. No one can ignore the threat that ISIS poses to the region, or the immediate humanitarian threat to more than half of Syria’s population.

http://csis.org/publication/constructing-new-syria-dealing-real-outcome-isis-war

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Russia calls on US to co-operate with its military in Syria

Kathrin Hille in Moscow, Erika Solomon in Beirut and John Reed in Jerusalem

Last updated: September 11, 2015 10:29 pm

Russia has called on the US to co-operate with its military in Syria to avert “unintended incidents” as Moscow boosts its forces in the war-torn country in what Russian foreign policy officials say is a bid to lead the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on Friday that “we are always in favour of military people talking to each other in a professional way” because such contacts were “important for the avoidance of undesired, unintended incidents”.

John Kirby, state department spokesman, said that he did not know what Mr Lavrov was referring to when he talked about possible “unintended incidents”.

“We would welcome constructive efforts by Russia against Isis, but that cannot be a function of continued support to the Assad regime,” he said. “The most productive thing that they can do is to stop aiding the Assad regime.”

US officials say they do not know whether the Russian military build-up in Syria is designed to bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad, to help carve out a pro-Assad enclave or to lay down a marker for a future political transition in Syria. But Russian policy advisers say it is an attempt by Vladimir Putin to carve out a central role for himself in the resolution of the Syria crisis and extricate himself from his international isolation over Ukraine.

“We are taking the initiative in this conflict, which is no longer about who rules in Damascus but who can fight the most dangerous threat, the threat of terror,” said one foreign policy official.

The move is viewed with suspicion in Western capitals. Russian special forces and soldiers from the GRU, Russia’s sprawling military intelligence agency, have long been working in Syrian territory, say intelligence officials, but while their recently ramped up presence appears defensive, the Kremlin is clearly “giving itself options,” said one.

Observers in Lebanon, Israel and Russia described Moscow’s moves as an upgrading of its assistance to the Syrian regime and a substantial reinforcement of Moscow’s presence along the coast. Two Hizbollah commanders told the FT that Russia was working on a project that they believed to be a base in Latakia, and said that in recent months Moscow had been sending in extra manpower and newer, more sophisticated weaponry.

A squadron of five Russian naval ships equipped with guided missiles has also set off to conduct manoeuvres in Syrian territorial waters, a source close to the Russian navy told Reuters news agency on Friday.

Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s defence minister, confirmed the build-up when he told reporters this week that Russian military advisers and others had arrived in Syria in recent days. “As far as we understand, at this stage we are talking about a limited force that includes advisers, a security team and preparations for operating planes and combat helicopters,” Mr Ya’alon said. He called the move “significant”.

There have also been signs suggesting that Russian soldiers could begin fighting as well. Late last month, a video posted online appeared to show an armoured personnel carrier from a Russian army unit in battle, and Russian-language commands can be heard. Women identifying themselves as wives of Russian soldiers deployed in Syria have also expressed fears in social media groups that their husbands may now have been sent on combat missions.

In depth

Syria crisis

An increasingly complicated armed conflict is pitting rebel groups not only against the regime and its allies, but also against each other

Further reading

Mr Putin, while claiming that combat missions were not yet on his agenda, conceded last week that he was “looking at different options” in Syria.

“Russia now doesn’t seem willing to hide it — it’s more or less open policy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a formal announcement of Russian combat involvement in Syria over the next couple of weeks,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy.

Secretary of state John Kerry called his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov twice in the space of four days to complain about the increased Russian presence in the conflict.

“This could lead to greater violence and even more instability in Syria and is not helpful for that the international community should be trying to achieve inside Syria,” said Mr Kirby.

Russian officials and experts counter that their involvement could help to end the bloody civil war. They say that while Moscow’s position on supporting Mr Assad had not changed, the Kremlin had lost all hope that Syria’s territorial integrity could be salvaged.

“Syria as we know it no longer exists, and the challenge now is to minimise the danger this poses to everyone,” said one official. “Therefore it is not really against the US’ interests if we get involved there more. As for Syria’s neighbours, they might also watch our steps with hope even if they don’t state that publicly.”

The two Hizbollah commanders concurred that Syria’s break up was possible. “If it’s going to partition, they want the biggest piece,” the field commander said of the Russians. “And they want Bashar to run it — at least in the first stage.”

The commanders described a sphere of influence that Russia, Iran and Mr Assad deemed necessary to control — from the city of Aleppo near the Turkish border, along the Mediterranean coast, through the central city of Homs, down to the capital Damascus and its surrounding suburbs and into the southern border region with Israel. This comprises the populated western spine of the country, leaving out the largely desert, oil-rich eastern regions, much of which are held by Isis. Moscow is also keen to defend its Mediterranean base at Tartus and the city of Latakia, one of its biggest international listening stations.

People familiar with Kremlin strategy say that as the advance of Isis wears down the west’s resolve to bring Mr Assad down, Mr Putin also sees a chance to score an unexpected foreign policy success just as he did two years ago with the deal on chemical weapons destruction in Syria. This, in turn, could divert attention from the festering Ukraine conflict.

“He feels that Ukraine is hopeless and he can’t achieve anything there any more,” said a Russian foreign policy adviser who declined to be named. “He thinks that Syria is easier than Ukraine.”

But other officials and analysts described Russia’s deployment as a flexing of muscles in the context of superpower rivalry with the US in areas outside of the Middle East.

“They are trying to create some tension, in my opinion, to press the United States because of their arguments about the Ukraine crisis, sanctions, and other specific issues between Russia and the US right now,” said Zvi Magen, a senior research fellow with the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “It’s not the first time they used the Middle East field for these kind of interests.”

Additional reporting by Sam Jones in London and Geoff Dyer in Washington

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cc8ea412-587c-11e5-a28b-50226830d644.html?siteedition=intl#axzz3lWiU3kfP

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Russian Interests in Syria ‚Not in Conflict‘ With Others

05:56 15.09.2015(updated 09:13 15.09.2015) Get short URL

The White House spokesperson confirmed that Russia shares the same concerns over extremism in Syria like other countries and didn’t rule out the possibility of American and Russian Presidents to discuss Syrian conflict in the nearest future.

© Photo: SANA

Lack of Russian-US ‚Military-to-Military‘ Contact in Syria May Prove LethalNATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis told Defense One that "it is very dangerous to have both Russian and US troops in a confined battle space, essentially on opposite sides of a civil war, without contact for deconfliction of any combat or support activities." The former commander emphasized that "open communication at the strategic and tactical level are both important." http://sptnkne.ws/JnT

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Russia’s interests in Syria are not at cross purposes with other countries as Moscow shares similar concerns over extremism, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.

"It is clear, as some of the coverage over the last 48 hours indicates, that the interests of the Russians in Syria are not in complete conflict with the interests of the rest of the world," Earnest stated.

The press secretary explained that Moscow has its concerns about violent extremism.

"The Russians certainly have their concerns about further volatility in an already dangerous region of the world, particularly in a country that essentially has functioned as a client state of theirs and where Russia has significant investments," he said.

Earnest reiterated that Washington said that additional Russian support for the Assad regime would be "destabilizing and counterproductive."

"So that’s why we, in our conversations, we have urged the Russians to consider how they could constructively coordinate their efforts with the more than 60-member coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," he concluded.

In recent days, Russia has confirmed that it is assisting the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad in an effort to combat ISIL terrorists.

Following the news, Western media began reporting on Russia’s alleged military buildup in Syria.

Russia has been engaged in international efforts to solve the ongoing civil war in Syria, as well as provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

The presidents of the United States and Russia may discuss the ongoing conflict in Syria.

"I certainly wouldn’t rule out additional — or I certainly wouldn’t rule out future presidential-level conversations on this topic and others," Earnest said. "And so at the appropriate time, I wouldn’t rule out a presidential conversation at this time."

Barack Obama feels like "they have the kind of relationship [with Vladimir Putin] that allows them to be pretty blunt with one another," the press secretary added.

Syria has been engulfed in a civil war since 2011. Apart from countering the so-called moderate opposition, Syrian government forces are fighting against militants from extremist groups including Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate in the country.

Since the start of the conflict, the United States and some of its allies have supported the moderate Syrian rebels while calling for the current president’s resignation.

Russia stands for the peaceful conflict-resolution, having hosted two rounds of intra-Syrian peace talks this year in an attempt to promote dialogue between the government and the opposition.

http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150915/1027002521.html

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Uri Avnery: Die wirkliche Bedrohung

„Sagen wir es unverblümt: Den IS zu stoppen versuchen, bedeutet, das Assad-Regime zu unterstützen. Bashar al-Assad ist ein widerwärtiger Kerl, aber er hat Syrien zusammen gehalten, seine Minderheiten geschützt und die israelische Grenze ruhig gehalten. Verglichen mit dem IS ist er ein Verbündeter. So ist es auch mit dem Iran, ein stabiles Regime mit einer politischen Tradition, die Tausende von Jahren zurückreicht – im Gegensatz zu Saudi Arabien, Katar und Genossen, die den IS unterstützen.“

Ich habe Angst vor der Islamischen Staat-Bewegung, auch ISIS oder Daesh genannt.

Es ist die einzige wirkliche Gefahr, die Israel bedroht, die die Welt bedroht, die mich bedroht.

Diejenigen, die dies heute mit Gleichgültigkeit oder mit Desinteresse behandeln, werden es bedauern.

IM JAHR, in dem ich geboren wurde – 1923 – inszenierte ein lächerlicher, kleiner Demagoge mit einem komischen Schnauzbart, Adolf Hitler, in München einen versuchten Putsch. Er wurde von ein paar Polizisten niedergeschlagen und bald vergessen.

Die Welt hatte viel ernstere Gefahren, mit denen es sich beschäftigen musste. In Deutschland war Inflation. In Russland entwickelte sich die junge Sowjet-Union. Es gab den gefährlichen Wettbewerb zwischen den beiden mächtigen Kolonialmächten, Großbritannien und Frankreich. 1929 kam die schreckliche wirtschaftliche Krise, die die Weltwirtschaft zu Grunde richtete.

Aber der kleine Münchner Demagoge hatte eine Waffe, die nicht von erfahrenen Staatsmännern und schlauen Politikern wahr genommen wurde: eine mächtige Ideologie. Sie verwandelte die Demütigung einer großen Nation in eine Waffe, die effektiver war als Schlachtschiffe und Kampfflugzeuge. Innerhalb einer erstaunlich kurzen Zeit – nur ein paar Jahre – eroberte er Deutschland, dann Europa und fast die ganze Welt.

Millionen Menschen kamen während des Prozesses zu Tode. Unsägliches Elend suchte viele Länder heim. Ganz zu schweigen vom Holocaust, einem Verbrechen, das fast ohne Parallele in den Annalen der modernen Geschichte ist.

Wie machte er das? Zunächst nicht durch politische und militärische Macht, sondern durch die Macht einer Idee, einen Geisteszustand, eine geistige Explosion.

Ich war im ersten Viertel meines Lebens Zeuge davon. Dies kommt mir ins Gedächtnis, wenn ich auf die Bewegung schaue, die sich selbst IS, der „Islamische Staat“ nennt.

IM FRÜHEN 7. Jahrhundert der christlichen Ära, hatte ein kleiner Kaufmann in der gottverlassenen arabischen Wüste eine Idee. In einer erstaunlich kurzen Zeit eroberten er und seine Kumpane seine Heimatstadt Mekka, dann die ganze Arabische Halbinsel, dann den fruchtbaren Halbmond und schließlich einen großen Teil der zivilisierten Welt, vom atlantischen Ozean bis nach Nordindien und darüber hinaus. Seine Nachfolger erreichten das Herz Frankreichs und belagerten Wien.

Wie konnte ein kleiner arabischer Stamm all dies erreichen? Nicht durch militärische Überlegenheit, sondern durch die Kraft einer neuen berauschenden Religion, einer Religion , die so progressiv und befreiend war, dass ihr irdische Macht nicht widerstehen konnte.

Gegen eine berauschende neue Idee sind materielle Waffen machtlos, Armeen und Flotten lassen mächtige Empires scheitern, wie Byzanz und Persien. Aber Ideen sind unsichtbar, Realisten können sie nicht sehen, erfahrene Staatsmänner und mächtige Generäle sind für sie wie blind.

„Wie viele Divisionen hat der Papst?“ antwortete Stalin geringschätzig, als er über die Macht der Kirche gefragt wurde. Doch das Sowjetreich zerfiel und verschwand und die katholische Kirche ist noch hier.

AL-Daula al ISLAMIYA, der Islamische Staat ist eine „fundamentalistische“ Bewegung. Das Fundament ist der Islamische Staat, der vor 1400 Jahren vom Propheten Muhammad in Medina und Mekka gegründet wurde. Diese zurückblickende Einstellung ist ein Propagandatrick. Wie kann jemand etwas wieder aufwecken, das vor so vielen Jahrhunderten existierte?

In Realität ist IS eine extrem moderne Bewegung, eine Bewegung von heute und wahrscheinlich von morgen. Sie benützt die neuesten Hilfsmittel wie das Internet. Sie ist eine revolutionäre Bewegung, wahrscheinlich die revolutionärste in der heutigen Welt.

Während sie zur Macht kommt, benützt sie barbarische Methoden aus längst vergangenen Zeiten, um sehr moderne Ziele zu erreichen. Sie verursacht Terror. Nicht den propagandistischen Terminus „Terrorismus“, der heute von allen Regierungen benützt wird, um ihre Feinde zu stigmatisieren. Sondern aktuelle Grausamkeiten, entsetzliche Taten, wie das Köpfen, das Zerstören von unschätzbaren antiken Ruinen – alles, um lähmende Furcht in die Herzen seiner beabsichtigten Feinde zu treiben .

Die IS-Bewegung kümmert sich nicht wirklich um Europa, die US und Israel. Nicht jetzt . Sie benützt sie als Propaganda-Treibstoff, um ihr wirkliches Ziel zu erreichen: die ganze islamische Welt zu gewinnen.

Wenn ihr dies gelingt, dann kann man sich den nächsten Schritt vorstellen. Nachdem die Kreuzfahrer Palästina und seine Umgebung erobert hatten, kam ein kurdischer Abenteurer Salah-a-Din al Ayyubi (Saladin für europäische Ohren), der die arabische Welt unter seiner Führung vereinigen wollte. Erst nachdem ihm dies gelang, wandte er sich den Kreuzfahrern zu und löschte sie aus.

Saladin war natürlich kein Kaufmann von Gräueltaten im IS-Stil. Er war ein zu tiefst menschlicher Herrscher und als solcher auch in der europäischen Literatur gefeiert (s. Walter Scott und Lessing). Aber seine Strategie ist jedem Muslim bekannt, einschließlich der Führer des heutigen islamischen „Kalifats“: vereinige erst die Araber, erst dann wende dich den Ungläubigen zu.

WÄHREND DER letzten zweihundert Jahre ist die arabische Welt gedemütigt und unterdrückt worden. Die Demütigung hat noch mehr als die Unterdrückung die Seele jedes arabischen Jungen und Mädchens versengt. Einmal bewunderte die ganze Welt die arabische Zivilisation und die arabischen Wissenschaften (arabische Zahlen). Während des europäischen dunklen Mittelalters waren die barbarischen Europäer von den islamischen Ländern geblendet.

Kein junger Araber kann darauf verzichten, den Glanz, des vergangenen Kalifats mit dem Elend der augenblicklichen arabischen Realität zu vergleichen; mit der Armut, der Rückständigkeit, der politischen Impotenz. Rückständige Völker wie Japan und China haben sich entwickelt und wurden Weltmächte, schlagen den Westen mit ihren eigenen Schlichen, aber der arabische Riese bleibt ohnmächtig und verdient die Verachtung der Welt. Selbst so ein winziges Land wie das der Juden (Juden um Allahs Willen) schlägt die arabischen Länder.

Ein riesiges Reservoir von Demütigung hat sich in der arabischen Welt zusammengebraut, unsichtbar und unbemerkt von den westlichen Mächten.

In solch einer Situation gibt es zwei Wege. Der eine ist der mühsame Weg: sich von der Vergangenheit zu trennen und einen modernen Staat aufzubauen. Das war der Weg von Mustafa Kemal, dem türkischen General, der die Tradition (z. B. die arabische Schrift) verbannte und eine neue türkische Nation aufbaute( und die lateinische Schrift einführte). Es war eine tiefgründige Revolution, vielleicht die effektivste des 20. Jahrhundert. Er verdiente sich den Titel Atatürk, Vater der Türken.

In der arabischen Welt gab es einen Versuch, einen pan-arabischen Nationalismus zu schaffen, eine schwache Nachahmung des westlichen Originals. Gamal Abd-al-Nassar versuchte es und wurde problemlos von Israel geschlagen.

Der andere Weg ist, die Vergangenheit zu idealisieren und zu behaupten, sie neu zu beleben. Das ist der Weg, den IS geht, und er ist weithin erfolgreich. Mit wenig Aufwand hat es große Teile Syriens und des Irak genommen, die offiziellen Grenzen gelöscht, die von westlichen Imperialisten (1919) gezogen wurden. Nachahmer schufen in der ganzen muslimischen Welt Ähnliches und haben viel Tausende potentieller Kämpfer aus den muslimischen Ghettos aus dem Westen und Osten angezogen.

Jetzt beginnt der IS seinen Marsch zum Sieg. Da scheint es keinen zu geben, der ihn anhält.

ALS ERSTES weil keiner die Gefahr zu realisieren scheint. Eine Idee bekämpfen? Zur Hölle mit Ideen. Ideen sind für Intellektuelle und dergleichen. Wirkliche Staatsmänner schauen auf die Fakten. Wie viele Divisionen hat der IS?

Zweitens gibt es rund herum noch andere Gefahren. Die iranische Bombe. Das syrische Chaos. Der Zusammenbruch von Libyien. Die Ölpreise. Und nun die Lawine von Flüchtlingen, meistens aus der muslimischen Welt.

Wie ein riesiges Kleinkind sind die USA hilflos. Sie unterstützen eine imaginäre, säkulare syrische Opposition, die nur an amerikanischen Universitäten existiert. Sie kämpft gegen den Hauptfeind des IS, das Assad-Regime. Sie unterstützen den türkischen Führer, der gegen die Kurden kämpft, die gegen den IS kämpft. Sie bombardieren den IS aus der Luft, riskieren nichts und erreichen auch nichts. Keine Stiefel auf den Boden. Um Himmels willen.

Regieren ist zu wählen, wie Pierre Mendes-France einmal sagte: In der gegenwärtigen arabischen Welt liegt die Wahl zwischen schlimm, schlimmer und am schlimmsten. Im Kampf gegen das Schlimmste, ist das Schlimme ein Verbündeter.

Sagen wir es unverblümt: Den IS zu stoppen versuchen, bedeutet, das Assad-Regime zu unterstützen. Bashar al-Assad ist ein widerwärtiger Kerl, aber er hat Syrien zusammen gehalten, seine Minderheiten geschützt und die israelische Grenze ruhig gehalten. Verglichen mit dem IS ist er ein Verbündeter. So ist es auch mit dem Iran, ein stabiles Regime mit einer politischen Tradition, die Tausende von Jahren zurückreicht – im Gegensatz zu Saudi Arabien, Katar und Genossen, die den IS unterstützen.

Unser eigener Bibi ist so naiv wie ein neugeborenes Kind. Er ist schlau, oberflächlich und ignorant. Seine iranische Besessenheit macht ihn für die neuen Realitäten geradezu blind.

Fasziniert vom Wolf vor ihm, nimmt Bibi den fürchterlichen Tiger nicht wahr der hinter ihm naht.

(Aus dem Englischen: Ellen Rohlfs, vom Verfasser autorisiert)

http://www.uri-avnery.de/news/347/17/Die-wirkliche-Bedrohung

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Barandat* The Hollande Doctrine: Your Guide to Today’s French Foreign and Security Policy

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Sep 8, 2015

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· President Francois Hollande and Minister for Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius of France recently laid out France’s foreign policy priorities for the coming year, at the annual gathering of France’s chiefs of diplomatic mission in late August and at press conference held by Mr. Hollande on September 7. Unlike most of his counterparts, France’s president enjoys strong prerogatives and, traditionally, few constraints on France’s foreign and security policies. The 1958 Constitution, enacted by the late General Charles de Gaulle, makes the president the commander-in-chief of the military and enables him to nominate ambassadors without prior consent from the Parliament. In practice even those presidents whose party did not control the French Parliament have been able to shape foreign policy.

This is why Mr. Hollande’s recent statements are an important and accurate compass for French foreign policy priorities on Syria, Iran, terrorism, and Europe’s growing migration crisis but also on important initiatives such as the December COP21 Paris summit on climate change. President Hollande’s marching orders to France’s diplomatic corps also provide insights into several factors that are shaping foreign policy thinking and doctrine. Despite occasional divergences, Paris’s diplomatic and military activism support U.S. interests as Washington continues to push its European allies to do more and be more active regionally. Many view France as Washington’s closest ally when it comes to a range of national security issues. Understanding France’s positions and their motivations therefore matters for the United States.

France and Europe’s Increasingly Unstable Security Environment

France is facing an increasingly unstable security environment, characterized by asymmetric threats from terrorism, spillover effects from failed states in Europe’s neighborhood, and the resurgence of more classic challenges, such as Russia’s adventurism in Ukraine. As Mr. Hollande put it bluntly on August 25, “there is no split between internal and external policy.” The January terrorist attacks in Paris testified to the danger that crises abroad can bring home, although they also raised domestic issues related to homegrown terrorism and violent extremism. For the French security establishment, the attacks were a confirmation of the bleak assessments in recent years of the threats emanating from regional crisis zones.

This environment leaves France with few other choices than to step up its efforts to enhance its internal and external security, especially at a time when Paris’s closest allies in Washington and London continue to experience relative intervention fatigue after a decade spent fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan with France only sending military forces to Afghanistan. Hence President Hollande’s insistence on August 25 on France’s need to have “the means to shoulder our responsibility.” He recalled his recent decision to “review the military spending act and to allocate even more resources to this field, despite the current budget constraints.” (Mr. Hollande announced in April 2015 that France’s defense spending would grow by €3.8 billion euros over the next four years, likely bringing the country to around the NATO 2 percent defense spending target.) Hence also France’s multiple military interventions abroad in the past few years, from Mali in 2013 to Operation Barkhane today in the Sahel (where 3,000 French forces are fighting resurgent terrorist groups in Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger), and the assistance provided to the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State.

France has deployed within French borders 7,000 soldiers to protect sensitive locations, such as religious sites. France’s multifaceted military involvement—at home and abroad—run the risk of overstretching French military forces. For example, Paris’s decision to contribute to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), created in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis in September 2014 to speed the alliance’s reaction to future crises, has encountered some difficulties. A strong French contribution to the VJTF was seen by some allies as a test of Paris’s real commitment to an organization into whose military structures it only reintegrated in 2008. Despite a highly contested environment, France will contribute forces to the VJTF every year and will lead it in 2021.

Of course, there is no illusion in Paris that France can solve every international crisis by itself. The United States remains a central player whose military assets and enablers—especially in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) area and airlift—remain critical to France’s ability to implement its security policies. Politically, Washington’s ability to build coalitions and to leverage international contributions—including from emerging powers—remains unsurpassed. Yet France’s desire for policy action is often frustrated by Paris’s limited capacity to push other coalition partners, including the United States, to be more ambitious about what it sees as being critical and urgent requirements.

No crisis demonstrates this more than the situation in Syria. France has considered Syria (much more than Iraq) an epicenter of instability for some time—a “black hole” of insecurity, creating millions of refugees in the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of whom are now coming to Europe, and attracting a historically high number of foreign fighters (800 French nationals according to France’s prime minister)—that represents a potential threat to their countries of origin. Mr. Hollande supported air strikes in 2013 after the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own population, but he refused to do so unilaterally when the United Kingdom and United States opted instead for the deal to remove Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapon stores. Mr. Hollande still regrets the lack of immediate action. Since then, Mr. Hollande’s Syria policy has been built on three key parameters: (1) France would not take part in military operations against the Islamic State in Syria because those operations were likely to reinforce Assad rather than weaken his regime; (2) no political solution to the conflict could include Assad; and (3) Iran’s military support to Assad makes Tehran an unlikely contributor to a political solution that would not involve the Syrian leader.

In both his August 28 address and his September 8 press conference, Mr. Hollande announced significant shifts to this policy. First, he authorized the French air force to fly in Syria to gather intelligence and eventually strike terrorist cells associated with the Islamic State. A first French ISR mission in Syria took place today. The decision may be related to existing intelligence about the ongoing preparation by these cells of future terrorist attacks against France (“we want to know what’s in preparation against us in Syria,” said Mr. Hollande), but it is also an admission that Paris’s refusal to strike militarily in Syria contradicted its call for more international activism to end the war. Second, Mr. Hollande showed more flexibility regarding the fate of Mr. Assad, saying on August 28 that a political solution would require his “neutralization” before explaining on September 8 that the Syrian president would need to leave power “at some point or another” (but therefore not a precondition to a transition agreement) if a solution was to be negotiated. Such flexibility may be related to ongoing diplomatic efforts by the United States and Russia that might leave France facing a diplomatic “fait accompli” comparable to the U.S.-Russian 2013 agreement about Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Finally, Mr. Hollande held out the possibility that Iran could make a contribution to a political solution, reflecting the view that Tehran should be given a chance to show its ability to be a constructive actor in the region following the nuclear agreement with the P5+1. Ever a realist, Mr. Hollande also noted on August 28 that “high hopes must not turn into illusions or naivety….”

Regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, the French president reiterated his “full support,” thereby rebutting rumors that France might have some “buyer’s remorse” about the deal. “A major threat has been averted for the moment,” he said. French skepticism toward some of the underlying principles of the Vienna agreement, first articulated in the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action, isn’t a secret. This 2013 agreement endorsed—for the first time—the notion that Tehran could retain a domestic capacity for enrichment, in exchange for temporary restrictions, while the international community had insisted for a decade that Iran must renounce enrichment to ensure in the long term that Iran’s program would remain exclusively peaceful. The 2015 nuclear deal was built on this new principle. Clearly, France will be a careful observer of the deal’s implementation, starting with Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency to resolve concerns related to possible military dimensions of Iran’s past activities.

Is There a French Foreign Policy “Doctrine”?

France’s foreign policy is hard to categorize in classic international relations terms of realism, liberal interventionism, or neoconservatism. It may from time to time exhibit some features of each of these approaches, but French policymakers rarely view diplomacy and foreign policy through such lenses.

National interests remain a fundamental factor in French foreign policymaking, although France is obviously not unique in that regard. For France, those interests are political and security-related but also, and increasingly, related to economic considerations. Foreign Minister Fabius has worked intensively to reinforce the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ prerogatives over trade and France’s “economic diplomacy.” Security and economic interests can converge, as shown by the recent increase in French international weapons sales (2015 has already been record setting in that regard). However, they can also diverge: Paris supported strong EU sanctions against Russia for its aggressive actions in Ukraine and cancelled the Mistral sale. Russia sanctions are likely to cost French companies much more than a decade of Iran sanctions. But these considerations have been outweighed by the need for France and its partners to confront Russia’s challenge to the European security architecture.

However, France’s foreign policy isn’t only driven by national interests; it is heavily influenced by several principles embedded into the French diplomatic culture. They include:

1. The necessity to retain independent courses and capacities for action.

Mr. Fabius reiterated on August 28 that France’s foreign policy independence was “the trademark of our foreign policy and the key to our international influence.” This requirement for independent judgment and policymaking coexists with France’s strong commitment to its closest allies and partners. No country should be better placed than the United States to understand this dual concern, considering the U.S. structural inclination to retain an ability to act by itself if needed, while also standing by its allies. Because France and the United States share this characteristic (perhaps more than Paris and Washington may sometimes realize), it should not come as a surprise that both allies’ independent stances create tensions from time to time. But there is no doubt in France’s diplomatic culture that, while automatic alignment with U.S. positions would not serve France’s interests each and every time, the alliance with Washington will always be a French strategic interest.

For all its independence, French foreign policy is sometimes criticized for its lack of flexibility, or even for its lack of pragmatism, of which its Syrian policy would be a good example. France’s perceived strong views about the Syrian conflict have sometimes been misunderstood by some of its partners, including in Washington. France’s critics generally underline its tendency to focus on principles, rather than on finding imperfect but potentially workable solutions. There is some truth in this, although French insistence on principles rarely derives from ideology or a lack of pragmatism but rather from a cultural inclination to dislike compromises based on contradictory objectives, which are perceived as the potential source for greater disagreements and conflicts in the future.

2. France’s legitimacy, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to conduct global diplomacy.

This explains why France has decided over the years to maintain—similar to the United States—the largest existing diplomatic network around the world but also the duty felt by France to lead multilateral initiatives related to global issues, in priority through the United Nations or alternatively in alternative multilateral formats. Mr. Hollande mentioned again On August 25 that France “must take action for ourselves, for our interests, for the security of the French people, as well as for our ideals and the preservation of the planet.” While such words could sound empty, U.S. audiences should appreciate an appeal to universal values and the global issues.

One should not underestimate France’s belief that it actually shares a special responsibility to do more than other nations to pursue such objectives. This is why, according to Mr. Hollande, France is “respected as a country, in a central position, and why we can hold discussions with everyone.” The French decision to host the upcoming COP21 conference on climate change in Paris in December—aimed at clinching an international agreement to lower carbon emissions for decades ahead—derives from this very assessment.

3. The need to move the European project forward.

France’s foreign policy establishment believes that globalization makes it hard for European countries—France included—to project power and stability without pooling their capacities and resources. Hence France’s strong support for EU common external and defense policies, despite their obvious shortcomings. Although this principle can contradict France’s penchant for independence and sovereignty, there are very few issues regarding its foreign policy on which France will not try to build a European coalition to extend or reinforce its own actions.

And what is true for foreign policy is even more relevant when it comes to the Eurozone. Mr. Hollande called in his speech for “differentiated integration” within the Eurozone and for the formation of an economic government funded by a proper budget and for additional fiscal and social convergence between its economies. The extent to which France will be able to convince its partners that it means what it says, Germany in particular, so that they follow this path is yet to be seen. But the fact that a French president is pressing for more European integration, at a time when Europe has never been more unpopular among Europe’s citizens, and in France too, says a lot about how embedded the French belief is that moving the European enterprise backwards would risk Europe’s fragmentation or larger unravelling.

Interestingly, foreign policy, especially on European affairs where domestic policies and European policies are intertwined, is increasingly tricky to articulate when domestic support for Europe is low and French malaise is high. Whereas the French president has an unprecedented role to define the country’s foreign policy and to craft decisive initiatives, his domestic critics point out that the president has struggled with being equally decisive vis-à-vis domestic policy. Fortunately so far, France has not experienced the polarization of national security policy, as seen in the United States over the past decade and particularly with the Iran deal.

In many ways, the migration crisis in Europe illustrates this French—and European in general—evolution. The crisis has gained significant attention internationally; within France, political forces hostile to the European Union—such as the far-right National Front—have used the current situation to argue that the European Union and the Schengen agreement that established the free movement of persons between European countries are unable to cope efficiently with the crisis. They now argue that France would be better off reinstating national border control. For Mr. Hollande, on the contrary, the situation requires coordinated European responses, not unilateral, national initiatives that would only play into the hands of Eurosceptic forces.

The president asserted that erecting walls and putting up barbed wire around Europe was antagonistic to Europe’s proclaimed values and would not stop the momentum for migration, because of the “conflicts at its root,” in Syria in particular. He defended the necessity to “respond to humanitarian emergencies, organize the reception of migrants and shoulder our responsibilities in terms of asylum, as well as ensuring the return of rejected migrants and combatting all smuggling networks.” After intense bilateral consultations over the past two weeks, and Mr. Hollande’s own visit in Berlin on August 24, the French president and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany expressed their joint support of the European Commission’s idea to relocate permanently asylum seekers across Europe according to national quotas. While many EU member states, especially Central and Eastern European members continue to oppose this mechanism, a united Franco-German position may drive convergence among the EU members as a whole, above each member state’s own domestic political sensitivities.

Although concerns exist in Paris that France may not be able to carry out all these tasks over the long term, Mr. Hollande appears determined to ensure that France’s commitments are sustained, at least until the next presidential election due in the spring of 2017. The president’s security and foreign policies have so far been met with a relative consensus among French political circles, beyond systematic critics coming from far left and right forces. But as national security issues get increasingly intertwined with French domestic policies, the extent to which this consensus can be maintained remains an open question. Without a doubt, the 2017 French presidential election will be mostly about economics and unemployment. But security and foreign policy issues might well become a significant factor too.

Simond de Galbert is a visiting fellow with the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

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Trends in Iraqi Violence, Casualties and Impact of War: 2003-2015

The focus on the threat posed by ISIS has led to a dangerous tendency to ignore the overall patterns of violence in Iraq and the fact that any lasting peace and stability must address Iraq’s other causes of violence. A new analysis of the patterns of violence in Iraq by the Burke Chair at CSIS examines these issues in detail. It is entitled Trends in Iraqi Violence, Casualties and Impact of War: 2003-2015, and is available on the CSIS web site at

http://csis.org/files/publication/150914_Trends_in_Iraqi_Violence_Casualties.pdf

http://csis.org/publication/trends-iraqi-violence-casualties-and-impact-war-2003-2015-0

It is clear that misgovernment, Maliki’s ambitions, and corruption enabled the invasion by ISIS, and that the sectarian and ethnic divisions that did so much to empower ISIS remain major threats that will threaten Iraq even if ISIS can be fully defeated.

At the same time, the analysis shows that there are major structural problems that have contributed to the rise of violence and Iraq’s deep divisions and instability. These include a massive increase in Iraq’s population, a “youth bulge” as large numbers of young men poured into an economy that could not fully employ them, major problems in a weak economy coupled to the misuse of petroleum export revenues, and a continuing history of poor governance and corruption.

The analysis is divided into sections:

o A summary of the key factors shaping Iraq’s violence and instability, and of outside assessments of critical problems in Iraq’s governance and economy, as well as growing population pressures and a level of hyperurbanization that have increased its sectarian and ethnic tensions as well as created a large pool of unemployed youth.

o A detailed examination of the patterns in violence after the U.S. led invasion n 2003, and its impact increasing the level of civil conflict and polarized sectarian and ethnic differences and tensions.

o The high continuing levels of violence at the point many saw a victory in the U.S. fighting against Al Qaida and hostile Shi’ite forces.

o The critical role the 2010 election played in dividing the country and creating new sources of sectarian and ethnic tension.

o The impact of the withdrawal of U.S. forces at the end of 2011.

o The sharp rise of violence and sectarian fighting as Maliki sought to build up his power and created new levels of sectarian and ethnic violence between 2011 and 2013.

o The shift to a major sectarian conflict and new sources of Arab and Kurdish tension once ISIS began its invasion at the end of 2013, the expansion of the Kurdish “zone” into new areas, and the displacement of some three million Iraqis as IDPs – largely Sunnis – into areas where this increases sectarian tension.

At the same time, it is far from clear that these sources of conflict can be separated from the instability in Syria, Turkey’s conflict with the Kurds, and Iran’s role in Iraq and the resulting tensions with the US. and neighboring Arab states.

The defeat of ISIS does remain a critical priority, but far more attention does need to be given to helping Iraq create solutions to its deeper problems, and no defeat of ISIS can – by itself – bring security or stability to Iraq.

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Franz Josef Strauß

»Gebildet, engagiert, bayrisch«

Godel Rosenberg war zehn Jahre lang Pressesprecher des CSU-Politikers. Darüber hat er nun ein Buch geschrieben. "Franz Josef Strauss und sein Jude" Reflexion von Godel Rosenberg.

Herr Rosenberg, am 6. September wäre Franz Josef Strauß 100 Jahre alt geworden. Wie erinnern Sie sich an den CSU-Politiker?
Als einen gebildeten, engagierten Bayern, Deutschen und Europäer, der kontinuierlich dazu beigetragen hat, dass Deutschland und Westeuropa Teil des westlichen Bündnisses wird, die Menschen in einer sozialen Marktwirtschaft in Frieden und Freiheit leben. Das alles ist keine Selbstverständlichkeit, musste politisch hart erkämpft werden.

Wie haben Sie die Gedenkfeiern für Franz Josef Strauß empfunden?
Am vergangenen Wochenende gab es drei Veranstaltungen. Eine der Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, eine der Bayerischen Staatsregierung und eine der CSU und der Familie in Rott am Inn. Drei ganz unterschiedliche Gedenkfeiern, die aber eines gemeinsam hatten: stolz auf einen Bayern zu sein, der Bayern, Deutschland und Europa im 20. Jahrhundert nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg mitgestaltet und mitgeprägt hat.

Können Sie das so unterstreichen?
Ja. Ich habe zehn Jahre, von 1978 bis 1988, als Pressesprecher für Franz Josef Strauß gearbeitet. Über die 50er- und 60er-Jahre kann ich natürlich nicht als authentischer Zeitzeuge sprechen. Aber das, was ich über Franz Josef Strauß in den Reden am vergangenen Wochenende gehört habe, entspricht dem, was ich erfahren habe.

Wie war es, als Sie angefangen haben, bei ihm zu arbeiten?
Ich war damals 31 Jahre alt, ein junger Journalist, der seine Ausbildung in München abgeschlossen und einige Jahre Zeitungserfahrungen erworben hatte. CSU-Pressesprecher zu werden, war eine große Herausforderung, die ich rückblickend als die zehn wichtigsten beruflichen Jahre meines Lebens betrachte.

Wie wirkte Strauß auf Sie?
Er war sehr gebildet, war arbeitsam und forderte seinen Mitarbeitern und sich selbst alles ab. Wenn man das überlebt – und das habe ich Gottseidank, gesund und munter –, waren das Jahre, in denen ich viel erlebt, gelernt habe und in den inzwischen 27 Folgejahre gut nutzen konnte.

Was konnten Sie mitnehmen?
Das richtige Koordinatensystem: letztendlich zählt nur die kontinuierliche Leistung.

Franz Josef Strauß polarisierte. Wäre er denn heute noch oder wieder modern?
Er war stets lernwillig und lernfähig, damit hätte er sich auch im 21. Jahrhundert behaupten können.

In Ihrem Buch »Franz Josef Strauß und sein Jude« schreiben Sie nicht nur über die deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen, sondern auch ganz speziell über die bayrisch-israelischen Beziehungen. Was unterscheidet die beiden voneinander?
Sie sind nicht wesentlich anders. Es ging immer wieder um die Wiedergutmachung dessen, was zwischen 1933 und 1945 passiert ist. In Israel und Deutschland wurden fast zur gleichen Zeit wie wir inzwischen wissen erfolgreiche Demokratien, Rechts- und Sozialstaaten aufgebaut. Das verbindet Franz Josef Strauß mit David Ben Gurion. Es gibt also eine ganze Reihe von Parallelen. Eine der wichtigsten Aussagen beider Staatsmänner ist: Wir müssen unserer Jugend Bildungschancen anbieten und den älteren Menschen die Sicherheit im Alter geben. Das waren wichtige Maxime für den Neuanfang in Deutschland und Israel. Die Voraussetzungen dafür waren in Israel ungleich schwerer. Heute sind beide gefestigte Demokratien.

Warum haben Sie sich für diesen Titel entschieden?
Weil der Titel aufmerksam macht, zum Lesen und Nachfragen anregen soll.

Meinen Sie?
Ja, Juden wie Nichtjuden fühlen sich durch den Titel erstmal verunsichert. Das Besondere ist, dass ich 1978 als Sohn jüdischer Eltern, die die Schoa überlebt haben, CSU-Pressesprecher in Bayern wurde und mich in dieser Funktion zehn Jahre behaupten konnte.

War das schwierig?
Nein, mein Judesein hat damals fast keine Rolle gespielt. Ich habe das Buch als Israeli 25 Jahre danach zu schreiben begonnen. Das Buch ist ein kompromissloser Rückblick mit der Erfahrung von heute 17 Jahren als Israeli.

Hat sich Franz Josef Strauß für die Geschichte Ihrer Familie interessiert?
Wir hatten eine ganze Reihe von Gesprächen. Er wollte einmal wissen, woher mein Vorname käme oder wie meine Eltern überlebt haben. Er war ein guter Zuhörer. Bei seinen beiden Besuchen in Israel 1980 und 1985 war ich dabei. Er war ein hochwillkommener Gast in Israel. Jerusalem hat ihm nie vergessen, dass er als Verteidigungsminister in einer Zeit Waffen an Israel geliefert hat, in der Israel von der gesamten Welt – inklusive den USA – boykottiert wurde. Er hat Moral vor Recht gelten lassen. Die Waffenlieferungen waren mehr als eine mutige Entscheidung, denn wenn die Sache damals an die Öffentlichkeit gekommen wäre, hätte dies das Ende der Karriere des Politikers Franz Josef Strauß bedeutet.

Wie wird Franz Josef Strauß in Israel wahrgenommen?
Die heutige Generation kennt ihn natürlich nicht mehr. Schimon Peres ist der letzte noch lebende israelische Politiker, der sich an Strauss erinnert. Er hat damals die Verhandlungen über die Waffenlieferung geführt. Peres sagte mir über Strauß: »Er half, als wir Hilfe brauchten.«

Mit dem Autor sprach Katrin Richter.

Mehr Informationen zum Buch unter:
http://www.allitera.de

http://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/23298

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Middle East

Foreign Policy: The King and ISIS

King Salman came to Washington touting military and counterterrorism cooperation.

But can the U.S.-Saudi relationship survive the House of Saud’s sponsorship of Islamic radicalism across the globe?

When Saudi Arabia’s King Salman made his first visit to Washington since ascending the throne in January, his goals were simple. The 79-year-old ruler wanted to paper over the disputes that have eroded the U.S.-Saudi relationship for years and extract from President Barack Obama’s administration a payoff for Riyadh’s tepid support of the nuclear deal with Iran. With the White House eager to maintain momentum on the nuclear agreement after securing the Senate votes to block the Republican rejection of the deal, King Salman’s timing was excellent — all but erasing memories of his no-show at a Camp David conference of Gulf leaders in May.

Papering over differences is one of diplomacy’s finer and more useful arts. With the Saudis anxious about a possible warming in the U.S. relationship with Iran and sharp disagreements regarding Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and the broader sectarian blood bath in the Middle East, the visit was a solid piece of work in the service of Washington’s ever more schizophrenic partnership with Riyadh — perhaps the most convoluted bilateral relationship the United States has had with any country. The atmospherics around the visit were sufficiently positive that few mentioned the contradictions that seem to be fraying ties between the United States and its longtime friend in the Gulf.

One commentator who did dwell on the deep dissonance in the relationship was Thomas Friedman, in a New York Times column published just before King Salman’s arrival. Teeing off on some benighted retired Air Force general who opposed the nuclear deal on the grounds that Iran was the leading sponsor of Islamic radicalism in the world, Friedman exclaimed: “Nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam … and imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam.”

Friedman is on target in arguing that Saudi Arabia’s contribution to Islamist extremism has far outstripped Iran’s. Indeed, Tehran’s effort to transcend sect and become the leader of the Muslim world’s radical rejectionist stream has been in tatters since the Arab Spring and the heightening of sectarian tensions because of the Syrian civil war. Although systemic misgovernance is the Arab world’s deadliest disease, Saudi Arabia’s energetic propagation of Wahhabism — which began as a response to Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 — has been central to the rise of violent extremism, from Indonesia to Mali.

Friedman’s explanation for why the United States has never challenged Riyadh is crude — in both senses of the word. “We’re addicted to their oil and addicts never tell the truth to their pushers,” he wrote.

This is too easy; if oil were the only vital U.S. interest binding it to the kingdom, dealing with the export of extremism would be vastly easier. What Friedman and almost everyone else misses is the increasingly pivotal importance of counterterrorism cooperation in the U.S.-Saudi relationship. That may set heads spinning, but when it comes to tactical counterterrorism — uncovering conspiracies and disrupting them — Saudi Arabia has become an invaluable partner, one of the very best Washington has.

Following Saudi Arabia’s apparent epiphany after the May 2003 bombings in Riyadh, which killed 39 people, ties between U.S. counterterrorism authorities and their Saudi counterparts have grown close, collegial, and effective. There is a reason why Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, now second in line to the throne and the architect of Saudi counterterrorism strategy, is far and away Washington’s favorite leader in Riyadh.

The golden age of this cooperation began in 2009, when the terrorist threat was developing most dangerously in the kingdom’s backyard: Yemen. Saudi counterterrorism cooperation at the time prevented hundreds of American deaths, possibly more. Some of the cases are well-known, like the plot to hide bombs in printer cartridges aboard U.S.-bound planes. Without these tips, one or more aircraft would have gone down. Other operations have helped the United States defend against a new class of undetectable bombs that might also be used against aviation. Wherever else one might find fault with them, the Saudis did superb work in these cases.

The cooperation extends beyond the cloak and dagger stuff. Since 2003, the Saudi government’s work on counterterrorism finance has improved considerably, and its efforts in the area of rehabilitating extremists have been recognized internationally.

Still, there is an extraordinary paradox here. Because of the large sums that flow from the country’s religious establishment and huge NGOs to institutions that promote Wahhabi-style Islam — with its malignant views of Shiites, Jews, Christians, and the West — Saudi Arabia remains the fountainhead for Islamist extremism. These funds, together with curricular materials, preachers, television broadcasters, religious literature, and the like stoke radicalism in scores of countries, even if they are typically not directly implicated in violent acts. At the same time, Saudi intelligence services are active around the world trying to prevent the terrorism that grows from this activity.

Crazy? Absolutely, but it is an insanity borne of the kingdom’s original political compact between Muhammad ibn Saud, progenitor of the House of Saud, and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the original Wahhabi, a charismatic preacher — who joined forces to wrest control of the Arabian Peninsula in the mid-18th century. The royal family could rule Arabia so long as it promoted Wahhabism, and the monarchy has relied on Wahhabi clerics to validate its legitimacy as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ever since. Whenever the monarchy has faced challenges to its rule, it has pumped even more money to the clerical establishment, some of which went abroad. Not surprisingly, the prospect of a democratic wave sweeping the region during the Arab Spring led to billions being disbursed.

So why hasn’t the United States pressed Riyadh more effectively to dial back the support for extremism that so clearly affects our security and global interests?

There are several reasons. To begin with, counterterrorism cooperation of the kind that Riyadh has supplied is hard to argue with. No president wants to risk alienating a government that is helping safeguard American lives. While some officials have pushed for engaging the Saudis on the export of extremism, many others are averse to starting a tough discussion that could go nowhere. The Saudis, after all, are unlikely to reconceive their polity on our account.

Further complicating matters has been what might be called the “Politburo syndrome.” As with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the small handful of Saudi gerontocrats who are authorized to do anything — either the king or a few of the senior-most princes — are either dying or too intellectually ossified to persuade anyone to adopt a radically different approach.

So for all the advances after 9/11 and the kiss-and-make-up atmosphere of the moment, the prognosis for the U.S.-Saudi relationship is not encouraging. The two countries’ priorities are simply too far apart.

For the United States, the imperatives are to implement the nuclear deal with Iran and halt the rise of Islamist extremism — above all, contain and diminish the Islamic State without dispatching American combat troops to the region. For the Saudis, the paramount goal is to check and roll back what they see as Iranian advances, especially in Yemen and Syria.

In Yemen, the Saudi campaign against the Houthi insurgents has become the signature initiative for Riyadh’s new and emboldened foreign policy. The United States has voiced hedged support for the Saudi effort — primarily an effort at alliance maintenance, which was a necessity against the backdrop of the nuclear negotiations.

But behind the scenes, Washington has gnawing concerns about the Saudi war effort. The bombing runs are killing civilians in appalling numbers, and a country that hovers on desperation has been plunged into a humanitarian disaster. The United States is trying to refine Saudi targeting, but the carnage remains ghastly, and the Saudi claim that the Houthis are nothing more than an Iranian proxy has also worn thin.

This isn’t just bad for the Yemenis. It’s also bad for the United States because terrorist groups thrive in conflict zones and Yemen’s jihadis — especially al Qaeda — are gaining territory and influence, since they face no pressure except from the occasional U.S. drone shot.

Meanwhile in Syria, the Saudis are not supporting the Islamic State, but they would be quite happy to see other Islamists topple Bashar al-Assad and make Damascus again a Sunni capital. Plenty of money is now flowing from the Persian Gulf to al-Nusra Front, the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. Again, extremists are benefiting from the chaos.

As for the U.S.-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State, the Saudi contribution has been minimal. It hasn’t flown a mission in Iraq yet, according to the accounting on the Pentagon’s website. Exactly why is not clear: Perhaps the Saudis can’t ask for permission from the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government because they don’t have an embassy in Baghdad, or perhaps they just can’t bring themselves to support the Baghdad government. In Syria, it has flown a scant few of the 119 airstrikes not carried out by the United States. In short, Riyadh believes that the extremist problem can be cleaned up later — after it wins the wars in Yemen and Syria and puts Iran back in its place.

Can any of this be fixed? Will our partners of seven decades, as U.S. officials like to refer to the Saudis, join in the fight against extremism and not just its terrorist end-product? Don’t count on it: Saudi Arabia has avoided taking such steps for decades, and there is no reason to think the kingdom can’t stay on its current course for decades more.

As for the United States, it will remain saddled with tactical imperatives that prevent it from addressing the bigger mess. And so Washington will muddle forward against the jihadi threat.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/10/the-king-and-isis-saudi-arabia-egypt-iraq/?utm_content=buffer41b7f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Kuwait, Iran cut oil prices as fight for market share intensifies within OPEC

By Reuters | 14 Sep, 2015, 01.34PM IST

SINGAPORE/TOKYO: Kuwait and Iran have cut their crude oil prices to Asia to multi-year lows against top exporter Saudi Arabia as the battle for market share among producers pits member of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) against each other.

Kuwait, one of the lowest-cost producers, cut its October price to Asia by 60 cents compared with the previous month, undercutting a reduction for a similar Saudi grade. This pulled Kuwaiti oil to its biggest discount to Saudi crude in over a decade, at 65 cents a barrel.

Last week, Iran cut the quarterly price differential for its flagship light crude against Saudi’s Arab Light to the lowest in three years.

The price cuts come as Asia’s economies slow and amid discussions for next year’s supplies between producers and refiners. Also, Iran is looking to elbow its way back into its previous market share once sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear programme are lifted, expected by the middle of next year.

The discounts highlight that there is not only a battle for market share between OPEC and other exporters such as Russia and North America, but also within the Middle East.

The cuts are also a response to expensive Oman and Dubai crudes, which are seen to have failed to reflect ballooning global oversupply.

"All the Middle East producers want us to lift more crude next year," a trader with a North Asian refiner said, summing up recent price discussions.

"It’s not a good sign," the trader said, referring to the oversupply that has pulled oil prices down over 50 per cent since June 2014 to levels last seen during the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

Middle East producers from OPEC have pledged to maintain high output in a fight to defend market share against rising competition. So far, they have stuck to their decision despite calls by other OPEC members such as Venezuela for the Middle East to cut excessive output.

Still, even maintaining the high output, the Middle East’s Asian market share is falling, partly because of surging Russian supplies to China.

Asia’s "share of Middle Eastern crude imports will have declined from around 65 per cent in 2011 to around 60 per cent by the end of this decade," analysts at JBC Energy said last week.

The Middle East’s falling market share comes just as China’s economy grows at its slowest pace in decades, pulling down much of Asia with it and hampering the outlook for fuel consumption.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/kuwait-iran-cut-oil-prices-as-fight-for-market-share-intensifies-within-opec/articleshow/48954713.cms

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*Massenbach’s

Recommendation*

Gallup: U.S. Election 2016 – One in Five Voters Say Immigration Stance Critical to Vote*

Story Highlights

  • One in five say candidate must share immigration views
  • Republicans most likely political group to require agreement
  • Immigrants above national average

PRINCETON, N.J. — Twenty percent of U.S. registered voters say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on immigration, with another 60% saying it will be one of many important considerations they take into account. Registered voters who are Republican, first- or second-generation immigrants or Hispanics are more likely than others to say sharing a candidate’s position on immigration is a must in order to win their vote.

Immigration again promises to be an important issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, as the federal government has been unable to pass a comprehensive reform bill. It already has been one of the more discussed issues this year, in large part because Republican front-runner Donald Trump has made the issue the centerpiece of his campaign.

The question was included in Gallup’s Minority Rights and Relations poll, conducted June 15-July 10. This is the first time Gallup has asked the question about immigration, so it is not known whether voters‘ orientation to the issue today is different from the past.

Earlier this year, Gallup found that 19% of registered voters would only vote for a candidate who shares their views on another highly divisive issue — abortion

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