Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 23/10/15

Massenbach-Letter. News

· „Die Bedrohung durch den IS, dieser Sekte von Terroristen, die ein fürchterliches Bild des Islams abgeben, ist in unserer Gegend angekommen.“ Navid Kermani bei der Friedenspreis-Vergabe in der Frankfurter Paulskirche

· EC President Juncker calls special summit on Western Balkans migrant emergency

Massenbach* Are we witnessing ‘Syrianization’ of Turkey? – US, Turkish divisions on Syria greater than ever –
Summary: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims “no difference” between Islamic State and Syrian Kurdish group backed by the United States; Syrian opposition groups reject UN talks; did Netanyahu ignore warnings about an intifada?

Fehim Tastekin reports that the charge made by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Oct. 14 that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) may have collaborated with the Islamic State (IS) in the terrorist bombings in Ankara four days earlier “is being whispered persistently into the ears of journalists and opinion-makers. An extraordinary effort appears to be underway to lead the public by the nose rather than to shed light on the attack.”

Cengiz Candar writes, "The moment he [Davutoglu] made this allegation, IS not only still was the main suspect, but reporters had found who the second suicide bomber was. The first suicide bomber had already been identified as an IS operative. Key information came from Idris Emen, a young reporter who discovered the eastern town of Adiyaman as one of the sources of IS recruits in Turkey and had extensively reported about the community for the Radikal daily all the way back on Sept. 29, 2013, under the headline ‚Adiyaman: The jihadist route to Syria.‘ The names he reported then became the perpetrators of IS suicide attacks at Diyarbakir on June 5, at Suruc on July 19 and at Ankara on Oct. 10. In the wake of the Ankara bombing, Emen spoke, in Adiyaman, to the father of the second suicide bomber in the Ankara attack. Although the man had informed security officials about his son’s IS involvement, no precautionary measures were taken. When all these reports were widely circulated, the government declared a ban on any reporting on the Ankara bombing while the investigation was underway.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Oct. 14, “For Turkey, there is no difference between the PKK, its extension PYD [Democratic Union Party of Syria] or [IS]. … They are all terrorist organizations with bloody hands.”

Candar concludes, “The imminent result of this ostensible vicious circle will be expanding the fight between the Kurds and IS into Turkey. That means further destabilization of Turkey; in other words, the beginnings of Turkey’s ‚Syrianization.’”

Erdogan’s charge complicates US policy toward Syria. The United States does not consider the PYD a terrorist group. To the contrary, the PYD is now among Washington’s preferred partners in Syria. Erdogan’s linking the PYD with IS can’t but clash with US strategy, including speculation over a no-fly or "safe" zone in northern Syria. US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly raised the idea again this month, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed a coalition-enforced safe zone in the Democratic presidential debate Oct. 13.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in May that a no-fly zone would be a “major combat mission” and "difficult to contemplate."

"Difficult to contemplate" may be an understatement, especially if Turkey considers the US-allied PYD a terrorist enemy.

Syrian opposition unites against UN plan

Asaad Hanna explains how the expatriate Syrian opposition groups have sought to bridge the gap with armed resistance groups operating in Syria by rejecting the latest peace effort of UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura. Hanna writes, “After becoming closer to the factions, the political opposition now hopes to obtain public support and restore its legitimacy, a big part of which it lost in the Syrian street. Perhaps it can count on that support more than that of the foreign countries that used to support it, and then abandoned it. The political experience of the military factions and the coalition is now being put to the test by the diplomatic forces, especially since the Russian intervention in Syria in early October, which led to ongoing negotiations between international parties that will include the opposition formations.”

The bottom line for the United States, already reeling from the failed "train-and-equip" mission, may be that the usually fragmented Syrian opposition found a way to rally around opposition to UN-brokered peace talks rather than more intensive coordination against IS. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Aim to defeat Daesh in Syria, not prop up Assad: Russian PM


Filed on October 17, 2015

A Russian SU-24M jet fighter takes off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria.

"It is up to the Syrian people to decide who will be the head of Syria…. At the moment, we operate on the premise that Al Assad is the legitimate president." C

The aim of Russia’s military operation in Syria is not to keep President Bashar Al Assad in power but to defeat Daesh militants, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday. Russia began air strikes in Syria in late September, in a move which Moscow says is weakening Daesh militants but which Western powers say aims to support Assad.

Some of Russia’s air strikes have hit groups which are not affiliated to Daesh but are trying to unseat Assad, and are backed by the United States and its allies.

"Russia, the United States, and all other states that have a stake in seeing peace in this region and in Syria, and a strong government, too, should be discussing precisely political issues," Medvedev said in an interview with Rossiya TV channel.

"It does not really matter who will be at the helm. We don’t want Daesh to run Syria, do we? It should be a civilized and legitimate government. This is what we need to discuss," Medvedev said, using another name for the Daesh.

Asked whether Syria had to be ruled by Assad, Medvedev said: "No, absolutely not. It is up to the Syrian people to decide who will be the head of Syria…. At the moment, we operate on the premise that Al Assad is the legitimate president."

The US President Barack Obama said on Friday there was no meeting of the minds with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin over the continuing rule of Assad, and that the Syrian civil war could only end with a political solution leading to a new inclusive government.

According to Russia, its air force has made 669 sorties, hitting 456 targets in Syria, since the start of the operation on September 30.

Putin: Russian strikes in Syria killed hundreds of militants

Putin said between 5,000 and 7,000 people from Russia and other ex-Soviet nations are fighting alongside Daesh militants.

Russian airstrikes in Syria have killed hundreds of militants, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday as he called for a shared military effort of ex-Soviet nations to prevent possible militant incursions to Syria from Afghanistan.

Putin told a meeting of leaders of ex-Soviet nations in Kazakhstan that the Russian military has achieved "impressive" results during the air campaign in Syria that began on Sept. 30. "Dozens of control facilities and ammunition depots, hundreds of terrorists and a large number of weapons have been destroyed," he said.

Putin reaffirmed that the Russian bombing blitz against the Daesh group and other militant groups in Syria will continue "for the period of the Syrian troops‘ offensive operations against terrorists," but wouldn’t elaborate.

He said between 5,000 and 7,000 people from Russia and other ex-Soviet nations are fighting alongside Daesh militants.

"We can’t allow them to use the experience they have just gained in Syria back home," he said.

Russian jets have flown more than 600 combat sorties since start of the air campaign, said Col.-Gen. Andrei Kartapolov of the Russian military’s General Staff.

He shrugged off the US claim that four of the 26 cruise missiles launched at targets in Syria by Russian navy ships from the southern part of the Caspian Sea had crashed on the Iranian territory. "The Pentagon may say whatever it wants," he told the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. "All our missiles reached their targets."

Kartapolov said the Russian jets haven’t yet faced any surface-to-air missiles and warned that their use by the rebels would signal a foreign involvement.

Putin, speaking in Kazakhstan, said the situation in Afghanistan is "close to critical" and called on other ex-Soviet nations to be prepared to act together to repel a possible attack.

"Terrorists of all kinds are getting increasing clout and aren’t hiding their plans of further expansion," Putin said in televised remarks. "One of their goals is to push into the Central Asian region. It’s important that we are prepared to react to this scenario together."

Russia to test its most advanced smart bomb in Syria: reports

DEBKAfile October 19, 2015, 6:44 PM (IDT)

Russia is preparing to test its newest precision-guided munition, the KAB-250, in Syria in the near future, reports said Sunday.

There are two versions of the state-of-the-art bomb, a satellite-guided one and a laser-guided one. The 10.5-foot-long, 565-pound weapon can be adjusted with different speeds and trajectories, and can withstand any weather conditions at any time of day, according to the reports. They added that the previous version, the KAB-500 PGM, is already being used to bomb US-trained rebels.


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Abfuhr für Merkel: Türkei will kein „Flüchtlings-KZ“ werden*

Der türkische Regierungschef Davutoglu hat die Bitte von Angela Merkel abschlägig beschieden, die Türkei möge die Flüchtlinge zurücknehmen. Davon könne keine Rede sein, sagte Davutoglu nach der Abreise Merkels. Außerdem erhöht die Türkei ihre finanziellen Forderungen.

Die Türkei verlangt von der Europäischen Union (EU) frisches Geld für ihre Zusammenarbeit in der Flüchtlingskrise. Es könne nicht darum gehen, bereits zugesagte Mittel lediglich früher ausgezahlt zu bekommen, sagte Ministerpräsident Ahmet Davutoglu am Montag im türkischen Fernsehen. Einen Tag nach seinem Gespräche mit Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel sagte er zugleich, Europa solle nicht erwarten, dass die Türkei alle Flüchtlinge aufnehme. Die Vorstellung, man habe der Türkei Geld gegeben, nun sei sie zufrieden und alle Migranten sollten dort bleiben, werde von der Türkei nicht hingenommen. „Niemand sollte erwarten, dass die Türkei zu einem Land wird, dass alle Migranten beherbergt, wie ein Konzentrationslager“, sagte Davutoglu.

Angela Merkel war am Wochenende in der Türkei vorstellig geworden, um die Türkei zu bitten, die Flüchtlinge wieder zurückzunehmen. Präsident Erdogan verlangt dafür, dass die EU seinen Krieg gegen die PKK unterstützt.

„Was frisches Geld angeht, sprechen wir von rund drei Milliarden Euro in der ersten Phase“, betonte der Regierungschef. Dies solle jährlich überprüft werden, da sich der Bedarf erhöhen könne. Das Geld hatten Merkel und die EU versprochen, es handelt sich um europäische Steuergelder.

Beim EU-Gipfel in der vergangenen Woche hatte sich die Gemeinschaft auf einen Aktionsplan mit der Türkei in der Flüchtlingskrise verständigt. Die Regierung in Ankara könnte für die Kosten der Unterbringung von Flüchtlingen mehrere Milliarden Euro erhalten, sagte Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel. Im Gegenzug solle sich die Türkei verpflichten, syrische Flüchtlinge besser zu betreuen und die Grenze nach Griechenland stärker zu sichern. Mehr als zwei Millionen Flüchtlinge befinden sich zurzeit in der Türkei, vor allem aus Syrien und dem Irak. Das Land gilt als Schlüsselfaktor, um die Weiterreise der Menschen nach Westeuropa zu verhindern.

Zypern blockiert EU-Beitrittsgespräche mit der Türkei*

Die zypriotische Regierung meldete am Montag, dass sie den Neustart der EU-Beitrittsverhandlungen mit der Türkei weiterhin blockieren werde.

Ankara hätte nicht genug getan, um sich für die Wiedervereinigung auf der Insel einzusetzen. Die Insel ist seit dem Jahr 1974 geteilt. Es mache keinen Sinn die folgenden EU-Kapitel über die Justiz und Grundrecht oder Freiheit und Sicherheit zu eröffnen, zitiert der EU Observer Zyperns Präsident Nikos Anastasiades. Seit dem Jahr 2009 hat Zypern insgesamt sechs von 35 EU-Verhandlungskapiteln in Bezug auf die Türkei blockiert. Am vergangenen Sonntag hatte Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel der Türkei bei ihrem Staatsbesuch in Ankara die Wiederaufnahme der Beitrittsverhandlungen in Aussicht gestellt. Die Debatte über den EU-Beitritt der Türkei hat eine lange Geschichte.

Die EU fordert von Ankara, sich auf Grundlage eines Assoziierungsabkommens für Flugzeuge und Schiffe aus Zypern zu öffnen. Die Türkei hingegen verlangt, dass die EU die Isolierung des türkisch besetzen Nordzyperns aufhebt. Die von den Insel-Türken gestellte Regierung ist international nicht anerkannt. Ende 2006 beschlossen die EU-Staaten wegen des anhaltenden Streits in Zypern-Fragen, die Beitrittsgespräche in acht von insgesamt 35 Verhandlungskapiteln zu blockieren. Dabei geht es um Handels- und Zollfragen. Die türkische Regierung hat den Beitritt zur EU als vorrangiges Ziel formuliert und eine Reihe von Reformpaketen auf den Weg gebracht. Neben der Zypern-Politik Ankaras kritisiert die EU allerdings auch Einschränkungen der Meinungs- und Pressefreiheit sowie Defizite bei der Rechtsstaatlichkeit.

****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* Carnegie – Imagining a New Security Order in the Persian Gulf

For over three decades, the question of who controls the Persian Gulf has formed the basis for America’s massive military buildup in the region.

At the heart of the region’s security dilemma is a clash of visions: Iran seeks the departure of U.S. forces so it can exert what it sees as its rightful authority

over the region, while the Gulf Arab states want the United States to balance Iranian power.

Resolving this impasse will not be easy. But the Iranian nuclear agreement presents an opportunity to take a first step toward creating a new security

order in the Gulf, one that could improve relations between Iran and the Gulf Arab states and facilitate a lessening of the U.S. military commitment.

The Case for a New Architecture

• The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a key pillar of the existing order, excludes Iran, Iraq, and external powers with a significant role in the

region. Moreover, it does not provide a platform for dialogue on many security challenges or for reducing tensions, managing crises, preventing

conflict, and improving predictability.

• A new and inclusive regional security dialogue would complement a U.S. regional strategy for balancing Iran. Iranian integration with regional

structures could create opportunities to lower Arab-Iranian tensions in the Gulf while still allowing the United States to impose costs if Tehran

continues behavior that threatens core American interests.

• A more stable security regime would lessen Gulf state dependence on U.S. military presence and create a balance of power in the region more

favorable to U.S. interests.

Recommendations for U.S. Policy

• U.S. engagement in the region should elevate the priority of creating a new multilateral forum on Gulf security issues that includes the GCC

countries, the United States, China, the European Union, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, and Russia. This forum should be the first step in realizing

a long-term vision for a more formal, rules-based security structure.

• Creating an informal network that brings together technical experts to discuss transnational challenges is the most effective way to launch a new

regional security dialogue, assuming there is sufficient buy-in from potential stakeholders, in particular Saudi Arabia and Iran.

• The United States should launch a diplomatic campaign in the fall of 2015 to gain consensus among prospective participants on a plan to move this

initiative forward, with the goal of beginning exploratory conversations over the next six months.

• To give this initiative a boost, a senior U.S. official—the president or the secretary of state—should articulate a long-term security, political, and

economic vision for the Gulf that includes a more effective regional security organization.

ctd. / att.

*****************************************************************************************************************FP 215/

Syria’s Latakia ‚Starting Point‘ for Refugees Heading for Europe.
LATAKIA (Sputnik) — For many of those forced to flee the atrocities of the Syrian civil war, the coastal province of Latakia has become a departure point to Europe, where refugees hope to find safety and stability.


"We are from the city of Aleppo. My son was killed in action, leaving three children. We managed to flee to Latakia with the children. Now I live in the camp with my wife and grandchildren," Said Ibrahim, 53, said.

We met Ibrahim in a huge tent camp for internally displaced persons, which initially was a sports center in a suburb of the capital city of Latakia Governorate.

Latakia Sports City Stadium is one of the largest sports complexes in the country. Back in 1987, it played host to the 10th edition of the Mediterranean Games, multi-sport games held every four years.

© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov

Russian Military Base ‘to Give Syrians Sense of Security’- Latakia Governor

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the center has been turned into a major refugee camp. The vast stadium and sport facilities provide accommodation for internally displaced people, or IDPs.

According to camp administrator Ali Baghdad, who is responsible for reception and accommodation, about 6,000 people are currently living here.

For some Syrians, the camp has become a place of permanent residence, while for others, it was just a transit point on the way to Europe in search of a better life.

At the camp the refugees are provided with three meals a day, fresh water and necessary medical assistance. The lucky ones also have jobs that the authorities have provided for them.


During the years of the Syria conflict, 1.2 million IDPs have passed through Latakia, the province’s governor, Khodr Ibrahim Salem, said. These are primarily refugees from neighboring war-torn regions and the north of the province, where fighting is also ongoing between government forces and rebels of the so-called moderate opposition.

"People from the provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo, Idlib and Deir ez-Zor have come to Latakia. We have tried to provide accommodation and jobs for them… Some were provided with hotel accommodation; some are staying with their relatives or simply with people who care. About 70,000 people live here at IDP centers. Nobody has been left out in the street," the governor said.

He added that recently the situation in Latakia Governorate has become significantly calmer than in the province of Idlib, which was seized by extremists and where people have no opportunity to live, work or study.

"Of course, we’re unable to fully accommodate everyone. For example, a lot of people have arrived from Deir ez-Zor, where they worked in the oil production sector. Naturally, we do not have such jobs for them here," the governor said.


For some people, Latakia has become a starting point on their long journey to Europe.

© Sputnik/ Andrei Stenin

Syrian Army Liberates Two Villages in Latakia Province Near Turkish Border

In September, a RIA Novosti reporter met Syrian refugees, including those from Lakatia and neighboring provinces, in Hungary and Serbia. They were headed primarily for Germany, known as one of the most prosperous states in the European Union, as well as having a positive and humane attitude toward migrants.

"Latakia is convenient [for migrants] because it is located on the sea coast near the Turkish border," a refugee said, adding that in Latakia, refugees use fishing boats to reach the Turkish port city of Iskenderun.

From there, they move onward to western Turkey by bus and then undertake a sea voyage to the Greek islands, typically to Lesbos or Kos. Such a trip costs about $1,500, which is not much for the Syrian middle class, whose members spent years readying themselves for the trip.

The most challenging part is to reach Greece. Greece is part of the Schengen border-less zone and the European Union, and once refugees get there, they can request asylum. Greece and neighboring European countries provide refugees with transport and meals as they are interested in refugees moving onward to more prosperous EU countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands.

In Europe, one can meet Syrian natives from all parts of the country — Latakia, Aleppo, the city of Damascus and the rebel-held city of Darayya in southern Syria. In total, over four million people have fled Syria since the start of the civil war, according to UN estimates. Another 7.6 million Syrians have been internally displaced.

The mass outflow of people from Syria has resulted, in part, in a major refugee crisis in Europe. According to the UN, Europe is now facing the largest influx of refugees since the Second World War, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East.


Meanwhile, the Russian military is stationed at the Hmeymim airbase near Latakia, as part of its operation in Syria aimed at combating the Islamic State (ISIL) militant group, which has been operating in the war-torn country. In October, the Syrian army, with Russian air support, started to advance slowly to the east and north, pushing the front line further away from Latakia and freeing more villages from extremists.

Rocket Shelling of Syrian Latakia Port City Leaves 14 Dead

Residents are cautiously returning to the village of Al-Bahsa in the north of the Hama province, which was liberated from Nusra Front militants a week ago. So far, they are only coming to see what is left of their homes after street fighting and to pick up some of their personal belongings. A RIA Novosti reporter met Zeinap, a Al-Bahsa resident, in the ruins of her home. She was trying to salvage something among the dusty fragments of bricks. Zeinap was carefully putting photos of her relatives, kitchenware and clothes into a dirty blanket that she had retrieved from the debris. „Rebels invaded Al-Bahsa in early August. First, they shelled the city with mortars and then intruded, killing everyone on their way, including civilians," she said.

Even Sunni Muslims suffered at the rebels’ hands, despite the fact that the rebels are also members of this branch of Islam. ISIL, a Sunni militant group, denounces Shiites, another religious branch, as heretic Muslims.

The majority of residents simply ran away from their uninvited "saviors." "We expected an attack because the rebels were not far away, in neighboring villages. Even so, we were only able to carry the most essential things," she said, adding that while the city was under rebel control, she stayed with her relatives in Latakia.

"I know that some of our fellow villagers have gone abroad, but I have not heard anything about their fate," Zeinap says. She said she has not risked going by sea, underscoring that she did not want to leave her homeland.


Refugees from war-affected areas of Syria are fleeing in all directions. Some go to neighboring countries, while others set out on longer journeys, several thousand refugees having gone to Russia.


Syrians More Easily Get to US Through Visa Lottery Than Refugee Program

Refugees who choose Russia are typically Syrian Armenians or Circassians, ethnic groups historically related to peoples in the Caucasus region, or members of mixed Russian-Syrian families. The reporter met such a refugee at a Latakia airport. Amir Suliman, 25, is a native of Aleppo, Syria’s "economic capital," which has been divided between the Syrian army and various insurgent groups, including Islamic State and the Nusra Front.

"My mother is Russian and my father is Syrian. Mother decided to leave for Russia because of the war, but father stayed in Latakia," he said.

Suliman is a well-educated young man, who is fluent in Russian, has Russian citizenship and is studying English. "I graduated from the Department of Architecture at Aleppo University, but there is no job for me in Syria now. This is why I’m going to my mother, to Russia. I’ll receive a bachelor’s degree there and will try to find a job," he said.

He boards an Il-76 civilian airliner provided by the Russian Civil Defense and Emergency Situations Ministry together with several dozen other refugees. Amir does not know when he will be able to return to his home country and see his relatives. „I hope that the war will end soon and there will be demand for architects again. We’ll work to restore everything that has been destroyed," he said.


To whom it may concern: War in SyriaКонстантин Сивков: США нивелируют действия России в Сирии

about Konstantin Sivkov: „….Syria offers Putin a chance to take the lead in resolving a major international security crisis, as the Kremlin did two years ago in brokering the collection and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

New pitfalls loom for Moscow in a ramped-up Syria involvement. Russian casualties in a distant war would spur comparison with the Kremlin’s costly occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s. But like the alliance forged in 1941 between the Soviet Union and the Western allies, the threat of escalating savagery posed by Islamic State can be the higher ground that draws the Cold War adversaries to put aside lesser differences, said Konstantin Sivkov, former senior officer of the Russian military general staff.

"Today the enemy is Islamic State but it is no less serious than Hitler’s Nazism," Sivkov said.

Whether Putin succeeds in drawing Western and Mideast states into a broader anti-Islamic State coalition is uncertain, say analysts who see advantages for both sides to put the Ukraine standoff on the back burner.

Sivkov envisions a division of the anti-Islamic State mission to have Russia guide Syrian army actions on the ground with Russian arms and intelligence, while the United States and its allies provide reconnaissance and air power to back so-called moderate rebels in their attacks on the Islamist extremists.

"To exclude the possibility of midair collisions of Russian and U.S. aircraft, it would be expedient to divide the country into two zones of responsibility for aircraft operations — one controlled by Russia and the other by the United States," Sivkov said of the plan being put forward by the Kremlin.”


Middle East

Turkey ready to accept 6-month transition period for Assad: Reuters

ANKARA: Turkey is ready to accept a political transition in Syria in which President Bashar Assad remains in symbolic power for six months before leaving office, two senior government officials said on Tuesday.

"Work on a plan for Assad’s departure is underway … (Assad) can stay for six months and we accept that because there will be a guarantee of his departure," one of the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We have moved forward on the issue to a certain degree with the United States and our other allies. There is not an exact consensus on when the six month period would begin, but we think it won’t be too long."

Britain says Syria’s Assad must go ‚at some point‘: LONDON: Britain wants Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power "at some point" as part of any deal by world powers to end the conflict, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Tuesday. „We are ready to engage with anyone who is willing to talk about what that political transition in Syria might look like, but we are very clear from our point of view it must involve, at some point, the departure of Bashar Assad," Hammond told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

He said a proposal for safe zones in northern Syria to use as a base for fighting ISIS was deemed impractical.




OPEC has stalled the shale revolution: Kemp – RTRS

20-Oct-2015 13:15:43

(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

By John Kemp

LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The resilience of U.S. shale producers has surpassed all expectations as they have wrung extra efficiencies out of their operations and pulled rigs back to the most prolific sections of existing plays.

The shale sector’s ability to cut costs and sustain their output in the face of plunging prices has been extraordinary and testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and technical skill of the independent producers. Shale producers are justifiably proud of their ability to survive the perfect storm that has hit their industry since the middle of 2014.

But it should not disguise the fact that the collapse in oil prices has paused the shale revolution, with the sector’s focus shifting from growth to survival. The revolution cannot be reversed. Techniques once mastered will not be unlearned. And adversity has forced shale drillers to become more efficient. If and when prices rise, shale output is very likely to start increasing again, and from an even lower cost base. For the time being, however, lower prices have stunted shale’s growth in the United States and slowed its spread around the rest of the world.


In North Dakota, the oil boom has stalled as low prices have brought formerly rapid production growth to a standstill since the end of 2014.

State oil output grew at an compound average rate of just 0.38 percent per month over the last 12 months, according to records published by the Department of Mineral Resources.

By contrast, production increased at a compound rate of 2.37 per month in the 12 months before prices started to crash in June 2014 (

Output has been flat at 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) since the end of 2014, the deepest and most protracted pause since the shale revolution began in the state in 2005


If production had continued rising on its pre-June 2014 trend, output would now be 330,000 bpd higher at 1.52 million bpd.

Some analysts question whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is winning its price war against high-cost producers.

They point to resilience in shale production in North Dakota and Texas as evidence that OPEC’s strategy has had only limited success.

But the correct comparison is with what would have happened if prices had remained at the pre-June 2014 level of over $100 per barrel and

OPEC had cut its own production in a bid to support them.

In that case, North Dakota production would probably have grown to over 1.5 million bpd by now and reached almost 1.7

million bpd by the end of 2015.

By allowing prices to tumble, OPEC has shut in 300,000 to 500,000 bpd of probable shale production growth in North Dakota.


For the United States as a whole, crude and condensates production would have hit 11.3 million bpd by the end of 2015 if it had continued increasing along the pre-June 2014 trend

( and

Instead, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts production will end the year at around 9.0 million bpd (“Short Term Energy Outlook” Oct 2015).

The gap of more than 2 million barrels between actual and pre-June 2014 trend output illustrates why prices could not have remained above $100 and the crash was necessary to rebalance the market.

Herbert Stein, chief economic adviser to President Richard Nixon, once observed that “if something cannot go on forever, it will stop” (“Essays on economics, politics and life” 1998).

In the case of oil prices and the shale revolution, U.S. production was on an unsustainable trajectory so prices have fallen and the trend has stopped.

The 2 million barrel gap is also an indication of OPEC’s success shutting in shale production growth and pushing the oil market onto a new trajectory.

The 2 million barrel gap is a very rough calculation and should not be taken too literally: the real gap could be 1.5 million or even 1.0 million barrels.

But coupled with demand growth of around 1.5 million bpd in 2015, up from less than 1 million bpd in 2014, it is a measure of how far the oil market has come in terms of rebalancing.


The oil market remains oversupplied, but the oversupply would have been far worse if prices had not fallen by more than half over since the middle of 2014.

OPEC’s strategy, in reality a Saudi strategy, of holding output steady and forcing other countries to adjust their own production has been reasonably successful and there is no reason to discontinue it now. In any event, it is not clear either Saudi Arabia or the organisation as a whole had much alternative in 2014, or has

much choice now.

Some countries, including Venezuela and Iran, have indicated OPEC should cut production and aim for a price of $70 or even $80 per barrel.

But while most shale producers are struggling with prices below $50, many are ready to start increasing output again if U.S. crude prices hit $60 or $70, which would worsen oversupply in the short term.

There has been a lot of speculation about which countries are the intended target of Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s decision to maintain output, allow prices to fall, and curb high-cost production.

U.S. shale producers (authors of the shale revolution), Russia (for geopolitical reasons), and Venezuela (also for geopolitical reasons) have all been mentioned.

But Saudi and OPEC officials have been careful to say their target is to restrain “high-cost” production rather than shale. Shale is mid-cost production, at least in the most prolific and well-understood plays like Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian.

In any event, Saudi Arabia and OPEC cannot target any particular group of producers. The pain of low prices is widespread. OPEC has no control over who buckles first.

By increasing their efficiency, shale producers have pushed more of the adjustment onto non-OPEC non-shale producers (NONS) in the North Sea, the Arctic, deepwater, megaprojects and frontier areas, as well as weaker members of OPEC in Latin America and Africa.

John Kemp

Senior Market Analyst




moderated by Srecko Velimirovic

U.S. Lt-Gen Hodges on two-day visit to Serbia.

Commander of the U.S. army in Europe Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges has arrived on a two-day visit to Serbia at the invitation of Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces (VS) Lt-Gen Milosav Simovic.

EC President Juncker calls special summit on Western Balkans migrant emergency*

European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker has called a special meeting of heads of state and government on October 25 to discuss the unfolding emergency in the countries along the Western Balkans migratory route, the EC said on October 21.

In view of the unfolding emergency, “there is a need for much greater co-operation, more extensive consultation and immediate operational action,” the EC said.

The objective of the October 25 meeting will be to agree common operational conclusions which could be immediately implemented.

The EC said that the meeting would be attended by the heads of state or government of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

European Council President Donald Tusk, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have also been invited to attend the meeting. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) will also be represented.

Austrian authorities say around 4500 refugees overran their border with Slovenia at Spielfeld on Tuesday afternoon, euronews reported.

It took the border guards completely by surprise. Until then they had been letting groups of one of two hundred people through at a time, but it seems that after days of being herded about in the rain and cold, the refugees patience snapped.

On October 21, Deutsche Welle reported that Slovenia’s parliament had approved a new law on Wednesday morning allowing the army more power to assist border police. The small eastern European nation has become the latest bottleneck in the refugee crisis as its neighbors begin to shut their borders.

The legislation, crafted by an all-night government meeting on Tuesday , allows the army to patrol the frontier even when border police are not present. The army has already been deployed at the border since Monday, but so far only when directly assisting squads of police officers.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Border Police said that they had stopped 13 groups of migrants entering the country illegally, a total of 265 people. The groups were intercepted, variously, at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint, also near the Lesovo border checkpoint, and in two cases, the migrants attempted to enter Bulgaria across the border with Greece.



Turkey will use Euro-billions to push its Kurdish problem into Europe

For decades Turkey has adopted a policy of pawning off its Kurdish problem on Europe. Indeed since the 1960s waves of Kurdish migrants and refugees made their way to the European mainland. Now, a senior European Union (EU) source has told Breitbart London that the latest deal between Turkey and the EU could see a new increase in the numbers of Kurds being pushed out of Turkey and into EU member states.

Indeed over 85 per cent of the Kurdish diaspora in Western countries comes from Turkey, which has long-issued temporary visas for European mainland countries that it has visa-free agreements with – Macedonia and Bosnia being key examples.

A European Commission source has told Breitbart London that the latest deal, which offers Turkey €3 billion and visa liberalisation with EU member states will lead to Turkey exporting more of their internal Kurdish problems to Europe.

To give you an idea of the complexity, since the heinous terrorist attack on pro-Kurdish activists in Turkey last week, fingers have been pointed in multiple directions. The Turkish government blamed ISIS, others have blamed a laissez-faire attitude towards protecting Kurds, whereas one of the senior figures affected by the attack didn’t mince his words: “From our perspective, this is not a dark and deep attack or an attack which is launched by external forces”.

This was a thinly veiled charged levelled at the Turkish authorities themselves.

Germany’s population of Kurds is currently half a million, compared with around 2.5 million non-Kurdish Turkish nationals. Clashes between the two groups has led to rioting on the streets, and a kind of ethnic violence that we are not used to seeing this side of the Mediterranean. The same is happening in Sweden, with its Kurdish population of around 80,000, and its Turkish population of around 100,000.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to Breitbart London, one senior EU source, who deals with migration and security-related issues told us: “The Turks have been issuing one year passes so [Kurds] could move to Macedonia and Bosnia… they have visa-free agreements with them… and they in turn have visa-free access to EU member states.”

What a difference two decades makes. There was outrage when Italy failed to detain just 2,500 Kurds in 1997. And there are parallels with today too: “The EU on January 26, 1998 announced a 43-point plan to reduce the migration of Kurds into the EU”. Despite the bureaucrats’ best efforts, the migration was not reduced.

And Turkey continues to encourage Kurdish people to move as a priority. The country has been at war with its Kurdish population, specifically with the proscribed terrorist PKK group, since the 1980s. But it’s hard to distinguish the “terrorists” from Kurdish political activists, so interlinked are they.

Anti-ISIS protests in London are packed to the gunwales with PKK activists and communist-sympathisers, and even the HDP, whose rally was targeted by the bombings in Ankara last week, will admit that many of its activists and figures have family members in the PKK.

“They encourage Kurds [to leave]. Even one Kurd out of Turkey is considered a good thing,” said our source.

He said the Turkish authorities have been working in conjunction with people smugglers, at the worst colluding, at best turning a blind eye, so migrants can easily use Turkey as a transit country: “Turkish police are involved with people smugglers,” he said, adding that in the mid-2000s, there were around 400 people a month using this route to get into Europe.

This appears to be backed up by the University of California’s Migration News site, which as far back as 1998 noted:

Most of the Kurds arriving in Italy reportedly paid about $3,000 each for passage from Turkey to Italy; many make contact with smugglers in the Kucuk Pazar waterfront section of Istanbul…

Other Kurds pay $300 to $600 for rides from Istanbul to the 80-mile Turkish-Greek border, then they cross into Greece in small boats. If caught by Turkish authorities attempting to cross into Greece, most Kurds are released after a brief hearing before state prosecutors…

Finally, some foreigners use Turkish passports and visas to enter Germany or France. Genuine passports, reportedly bought from Turkish police, have pictures and visas inserted for up to $3,000. In response to the EU, Turkey began to round up Iraqi Kurds in Istanbul in January, prompting UNHCR to express concern that Turkey may “arbitrarily detain or forcibly return” the Iraqis to persecution.

This, taken in context, raising questions as to the timing of the new Turkey-EU announcement.

With Turkish elections on the horizon, President Erdogan could very much use a promise of a massive injection of cash for his country, together with anti-Kurdish rhetoric, to secure his position in the next few weeks. He is in the weakest place he has been in a decade, and Kurdish parties have been on the rise.

The fact that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting him today is no surprise either, and would simply be unacceptable in most Western democracies so close to an election.

“They’ll give Turkish passports to all the [Kurds from Iraq and Syria] who come to Turkey, and use the €3bn to pay for it. They been giving out Turkish passports freely since 2001, and are looking to move Kurds out,” the EU source said.

This makes sense when considering the EU is, as a part of its “action plan” with Turkey, set to receive “visa liberalisation” with European Member States by 2016.

What is being billed by European leaders as a bid to try and curb migration may actually end up with more people – there are around 15 million Kurds in Turkey alone – moving to EU member states.

And Kurdish migration to Europe has not been peaceful and successful either.

In the past few months we have seen a number of violent clashes on the streets of Sweden and Germany.

It may not be long until these clashes become commonplace across Europe. will use Euro-billions to push its Kurdish problem into Europe



see our letter on:

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



10-17-10 Константин Сивков-Konstantin Sivkov.pdf

10-16-15 Carnegie-Imagining a New Security Order in the Persian Gulf.pdf

10-20-15 Friedenspreis der Deurschen Buchhandels 2015 – Kermani – Über die Grenzen.pdf