Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 01.04.16

Massenbach-Letter. News —With Closure of Balkan Route, Italy Focuses on Potential for a Renewed Adriatic Migrant Route

Erzbischof Sckick in Damaskus

Rock Legends Rolling Stones Give Historic Concert in Cuba

How the G.O.P. Elite Lost Its Voters to Donald Trump ( .there was plenty of spirited chatter about Mr. Trump, but less discussion of the voters who fueled his rise, and little about what could be done to assuage them.)

Understanding the Islamic State’s Retreat from Palmyra

DEBKAfile: Assads fate hangs on the Palmyra battle and on Russian air support

COLUMN John Kemp – Reuters News: Gulf migrant workers will be biggest victims of oil shock.

ifo-Schnelldienst des ifo-Instituts fr Wirtschaftsforschung: J Braml Nach den US-Wahlen-Business as Usual

Die Medien und die Demokratie auf dem Balkan

Friedman: Bosnia, Kosovo and Brussels

Asylflle belasten Gerichte – Staat und Justiz verlieren ihre Autoritt.

Auf den Mob folgt die Elite. Der erstarkende Rechtspopulismus in Europa ist nicht vom Himmel gefallen. Ist er Ausdruck eines jahrelangen Versagens demokratischer Krfte?

My recommendation to: http://www.balkanalysis.com/

With Closure of Balkan Route, Italy Focuses on Potential for a Renewed Adriatic Migrant Route

Exclusive: Germanys BND Investigating Migration Risks and Russian Influence in Greece

Massenbach*"Hello Havana! Good evening to my Cuban people!"
Rock Legends Rolling Stones Give Historic Concert in Cuba (VIDEO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmUJnEyFkQI

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ifo-Schnelldienst des ifo-Instituts fr Wirtschaftsforschung: J Braml Nach den US-Wahlen-Business as Usual à more attachment!

But compare Bramls analysis with: FT- Saudi Arabia loses oil market share to rivals in key nations – Worlds largest oil exporter suffers setback amid low prices.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5e8c1d52-f19f-11e5-aff5-19b4e253664a.html#axzz44Jl9QU4N and

– [GALLUP] Opposition to Fracking Mounts in the U.S.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/190355/opposition-fracking-mounts.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=syndication

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Asylflle belasten Gerichte – Staat und Justiz verlieren ihre Autoritt.

Viele Migranten werden trotz rechtskrftiger Urteile nicht abgeschoben. Der Vorsitzende des Bundes Deutscher Verwaltungsrichter warnt vor den Folgen.

Der Zustrom Hunderttausender Flchtlinge belastet die Justiz. 2015 haben sich die Eingangszahlen bei den Verwaltungsgerichten im Vergleich zum Vorjahr nahezu verdoppelt, sagte der Vorsitzende des Bundes Deutscher Verwaltungsrichter, Robert Seegmller, der Deutschen Presse-Agentur. Zugleich beklagte er, dass die Behrden ausreisepflichtige Migranten zu schleppend abschben. Wenn Auslnder nach entsprechenden Urteilen nicht konsequent abgeschoben werden, verlieren der deutsche Staat und seine Justiz massiv an Autoritt.

Das Vollzugsdefizit bei den Abschiebungen sei mit der groen Zahl ankommender Flchtlinge immer schlimmer geworden. Die deutschen Behrden werden dem nach meinem Eindruck berhaupt nicht mehr Herr.

Seegmller berichtete von einem Verfahren, in dem ein Angeklagter nach einem fr ihn ungnstigen Urteil aufgesprungen sei und rief, das sei ihm egal, er werde ohnehin nicht abgeschoben. Und das ist ja leider wahr. Die Quote ist beklagenswert niedrig, sagte der Richter.

Oft seien ausreisepflichtige Auslnder am Tag der Abschiebung krank oder einfach nicht auffindbar. Es gibt zwar das Instrument der Abschiebehaft, doch wird dieses im Vergleich zu frher nur relativ zurckhaltend genutzt. Mglicherweise auch deshalb, weil die rechtlichen Voraussetzungen recht kompliziert seien.

Auch bei den Rckfhrungen von Asylbewerbern gem den Dublin-Regeln in den eigentlich zustndigen EU-Staat gibt es seit lngerem Probleme, wie Seegmller sagte. Findet diese ber einen gewissen Zeitraum nicht statt, wird nach den Regeln der Dublin-III-Verordnung Deutschland selbst zustndig fr das Asylverfahren. Das haben viele Asylsuchende natrlich im Hinterkopf – und verzgern die Sache entsprechend. Das fhrt unter Richterkollegen dann auch teilweise zu einer gewissen Resignation, weil sie das Gefhl haben, viele ihrer Entscheidungen letztlich fr den Papierkorb zu schreiben.

Die Richter arbeiten unter Volldampf

Die Belastung der Verwaltungsgerichte wird nach Einschtzung des Verbandschefs so schnell nicht sinken. Wir rechnen im kommenden Vierteljahr mit deutlich steigenden Fallzahlen, sagte er. Inzwischen seien etwa ein Drittel aller Verfahren an den Verwaltungsgerichten Asylstreitflle.

Den Arbeitszuwachs htten viele Lnder aber mit Neueinstellungen von Richtern abgefedert, so dass wir mit den Zahlen momentan ganz gut zurechtkommen, sagte er. Besonders gut reagiert haben beispielsweise Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bayern und Baden-Wrttemberg. Deshalb hielten sich auch die Verfahrensdauern zurzeit im Rahmen. Doch ist der groe Berg an Verfahren, den das Bundesamt fr Flchtlinge und Migration nun schneller abarbeiten will, bei uns noch nicht angekommen.

In den beiden bevlkerungsreichsten Lndern Nordrhein-Westfalen und Bayern sind die Fallzahlen ber die Jahre nach oben geschnellt. An Rhein und Ruhr vervierfachte sich die Zahl gegenber 2011. Damit steckten Asylrechtsfragen im vergangenen Jahr hinter 41 Prozent aller von den dortigen Verwaltungsgerichten zu bearbeitenden Verfahren.

In Bayern stieg die Zahl der Asylflle von 2012 bis 2015 um mehr als das Dreifache. Die Richterinnen und Richter an den Verwaltungsgerichten arbeiten unter Volldampf, sagte der Prsident des Bayerischen Verwaltungsgerichtshofs, Stephan Kersten. 26 neue Richterstellen wurden fr das Jahr 2016 an den Verwaltungsgerichten im Freistaat geschaffen.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/fluechtlingskrise/asylfaelle-belasten-gerichte-dann-verlieren-staat-und-justiz-ihre-autoritaet-14144566.html?GETS=pt;7;pcp;newsletter;pcc;newsletter.redaktionell.Themen+des+Tages&utm_source=FAZnewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter_FAZ_Themen+des+Tages

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30.03.2016 – Nr. 060

Erzbischof Schick zum Besuch im syrischen Damaskus

Der Nahe Osten darf nicht zur christenfreien Zone werden

Erzbischof Schick gefragt im syrischen TV.

Der Vorsitzende der Kommission Weltkirche der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Erzbischof Dr. Ludwig Schick (Bamberg), hat heute (30. Mrz 2016) einen Besuch im syrischen Damaskus beendet. Anlass der Reise war ein Zeichen der Solidaritt an die Christen in Syrien. Erzbischof Schick war ber das libanesische Beirut bereits am Montag nach Syrien gereist. Der aus Sicherheitsgrnden streng vertraulich vorbereitete Besuch fand seinen Hhepunkt gestern Abend in der Feier der Eucharistie im Griechisch-Katholischen Patriarchat von Damaskus mit Patriarch Gregorius III. Lahm, dem Oberhaupt der Griechisch-Katholischen Kirche. ( more. see att.)

http://www.dbk.de/nc/presse/details/?presseid=3088

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From our Russian news desk: Post-Syrian Russia and Middle East To get another Libya in Syria, much closer to the South Caucasus,

Central Asia and Russia proper is not an attractive option for decision makers in the Kremlin. (more see att.)

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With Closure of Balkan Route, Italy Focuses on Potential for a Renewed Adriatic Migrant Route .

The Adriatic Route: Italian Public and Official Perception

The ongoing refugee and migrant crisis is currently receiving much media coverage in Italy. The country fears that the old smugglers routes from Albania to Southern Apulia are going to be reactivated in the near future, especially after the closure of the Balkan route used by migrants to reach Northern Europe via Macedonia and Serbia.

This Adriatic route, which goes from the Albanian mountains all across the Adriatic Sea to Italy is very well known to the Italian authorities and general public. They still have a vivid memory of the millions of Albanians who left their home country via boat and reached the Apulian shores in the 1990s.

There is the danger of a route from Albania, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi recently said, indicating that Italian officials are constantly monitoring the situation. Other officials have echoed this comment but express cautious assessments, like Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

We are used to making provisions as well as observing reality, Alfano said. So far we have no evidence of any huge flow from the Balkans. It doesnt seem appropriate to create alarmism on this since its not a fact today.

Although it may not be a reality yet, nonetheless the Italian government is already starting to consider the eventuality of this event in the short term. Hence, it is working to identify all the necessary measures that need to be taken to cope with potential major influxes of migrants, such as the creation of hot spots, reception and identification facilities.

The Mediterranean and Balkan Route

Italy received more than 10,000 migrants coming from North Africa via the Mediterranean route between 1 January and 10 March of this year. Overall, Italy and Greece together had to deal with more than 150,000 asylum-seekers over the same period, according to official data released by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The Mediterranean route appears to have been the preferred choice made by Sub-Saharan and North African migrants so far, mainly leaving Libya or Egypt to get to the little island of Lampedusa or Sicily.

On the other hand, the Balkan route, which became popular last summer and autumn for millions of Syrians and Iraqis, is no longer an option. As Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia announced border closures, more and more arrivals are likely to happen thanks to improving weather conditions. At present, 12,000 migrants are living in makeshift houses and shelters near Idomeni still wait to cross the frontier between EU Member State Greece and Macedonia, though a recent violent attempt supported by international activists failed (around 2,000 participants were returned to Greece unharmed by the Macedonian Army, though three migrants died while trying to cross a river).

The President of the European Council Donald Tusk officially confirmed this closure of frontiers recently in a statement: irregular flows of migrants along the Western Balkan route have come to an end, he said. Now, after the shutdown of a major migrant route, new alternatives to get to the heart of Europe are emerging. It is likely that migrants will be forced towards Albania and then to Italy. Not only is this route more convenient, but a Macedonian initiative for joint border cooperation was accepted by Bulgarian officials, who are also fortifying their border with Greece. Macedonian military and police are continually repairing stretches of fence with Greece that migrants continually attempt to break, despite the presence of Greek police and Frontex officials.

Over the past six months, the Italian authorities have been holding talks with their Tirana and Montenegro counterparts to work in a joint effort to prevent the re-emerging of people smugglers routes.

The EU Response: the Deal with Turkey and Possible Route Diversification towards the Adriatic

The EUs controversial agreement with Turkey is designed to stop the flow of migrants to Greece, and to return those trying to enter via boat. But it remains to be seen whether a deal with Turkeys will make a difference. Despite claims that police have been having more success, arrivals to the Greek islands continue with a daily average of some 2,000. And the long and complex sea border between the two countries will make it difficult for the coast guard, Frontex and eventual NATO ships to stop all the smugglers.

However, the perception that the Balkan Route (through Macedonia) is now sealed will spread among the migrant communities, and not only Italian officials are concerned about what this will mean for Albania and Italy. The spokesperson of Frontex recently underlined that old routes could get reactivated. This means that refugees are increasingly going to use the routes from Greece to Italy and from Turkey to Italy.

Mogherinis Visit to Tirana

As for the European institutions, last month Federica Mogherini, the EU Foreign Policy Commissioner, traveled to Tirana to meet the Albanian authorities and discuss in detail all the problems related to the migration crisis.

Further, Italian Interior Minister Alfano raised the issue at several international summits constantly making clear that this is not only an Italian problem, but a European one. In the past six months, Europe has struggled to come up with effective solutions regarding the refugee crisis, mainly due to a lack of consensus among Members States on the equal distribution of quotas of migrants.

Italys Handling of the Crisis: Downplaying the Risks while Making Rapid Intervention Plans with Albania and Montenegro

Italy has seen many more migrant arrivals this winter compared to both 2014 and 2015, and therefore is trying to downplay the risks accompanying this influx.

Indeed, when asked about refugee flows from the Balkans, Mario Morcone, the head of the Migration Department at the Italian Interior Ministry, commented that there is no sign yet to say that its happening.

However, according to Frontex, there are rising concerns for Southern Italy. Irregular migrants picked up in Apulia are most often now travelers who had first entered Greece, whereas those detected in Calabria normally come from Egypt or Turkey. Most such people are Syrians, Pakistanis and Afghans.

Moreover, at the end of February at the regional security and public order meeting in Bari in the Apulia region, the Italian Interior Minister made some important remarks on current developments: the work we are doing is very hard and serious. The same holds true for our liaison officers in the Balkan region. Here Im referring to the intervention planning with Montenegro and Albania in collaboration with Frontex. We are working to prevent this route from reopening. However, should it ever happen, we are ready to tackle the flows of migrants.

Minister Alfano also added that Albania represents a strategic partner for Europe to face the Balkan question, and that Italian officials are doing everything within their power to keep Greece from being left alone in addressing the emergency and humanitarian crisis.

The January Meeting in Amsterdam, Official and Unofficial Talks with Albania, and the Policy of a European Solution

In addition, during a previous informal meeting of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs in Amsterdam last January, which was predominantly dedicated to the migration crisis, Italy specifically demanded more cooperation and coordination on this theme.

The country has been involved in both official and unofficial track-two diplomacy talks with the Albanian counterparts, but Minister Alfano remarked once again that it cannot be only a bilateral relation with Tirana; it must be a European issue too. We are doing our job but it is crucial that each of the European Member States does its own part as well.

The Italian government is already working to take all necessary measures to address a potential emergency as well as offering humanitarian and relief efforts. In Alfanos words, we should not put the cart before the horse. Now what we are doing is putting a lot of effort into adopting a prevention policy at the international level, and at the same time trying to reduce the likelihood of a refugee crisis in the Adriatic Sea.

Finally, on a visit to a Sicilian reception facility on 14 March government officials reiterated that the solution to tackle the migration crisis can only be European. Italys job is to protect the external southern frontier of Europe, in order to make movements of people within Europe not only free but also safe. The only solution is a European solution Alfano stated.

http://www.balkanalysis.com/blog/2016/03/21/with-closure-of-balkan-route-italy-focuses-on-potential-for-a-renewed-adriatic-migrant-route/

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Exclusive: Germanys BND Investigating Migration Risks and Russian Influence in Greece.

Balkanalysis.com editors note: this new study assesses BND outlook, structure, operational procedure, secret migrant interrogation practices, strategic assets and some key targets in Greece, both Greek and Russian, as the migration war takes new and dangerous forms.

Indeed, both BND investigations were ordered, one European security official states, because Merkel has been continuously wrongly informed about the migrant situation on the ground by top advisor Christoph Heusgen. Although Heusgen has decades of experience in senior positions, this source says, he is not competent on security issues- only diplomatic ones. Yet a close study of public documents relating to Heusgens diplomacy regarding the US, Israel and the Balkans calls even that qualification into question.

contd. see att. pdf.( Exclusive : Germanys BND Investigating)

http://www.balkanalysis.com/blog/2016/03/07/exclusive-germanys-bnd-investigating-migration-risks-and-russian-influence-in-greece/

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

Barandat* How the G.O.P. Elite Lost Its Voters to Donald Trump.

Donors to the Republican National Committee gathered this month in Miami Beach. Republicans describe a party that has lost touch with less-affluent voters.

(There was plenty of spirited chatter about Mr. Trump, but less discussion of the voters who fueled his rise, and little about what could be done to assuage them.)

The manufacturing executives had gathered in an Atlanta conference room last year to honor their senior United States senator, Johnny Isakson, for his tireless efforts on their behalf in Washington. But as the luncheon wound down, Mr. Isakson found himself facing a man from Coweta County. The man, Burl Finkelstein, said trade policies with Mexico and China were strangling the family-owned kitchen-parts company he helped manage, and imperiling the jobs it provided. Mr. Isakson politely brushed him off, Mr. Finkelstein recalled, as he had many times before.

So when the Georgia primary rolled around this month, Mr. Finkelstein, along with many others in his town, pulled the lever for Donald J. Trump, who made him feel that someone had finally started listening. He gets it, Mr. Finkelstein said in a recent interview. Weve sold ourselves out.

As the Republican Party collapses on itself, conservative leaders struggling to explain Mr. Trumps appeal have largely seized on his unique qualities as a candidate: his larger-than-life persona, his ability to dominate the airwaves, his tough-sounding if unrealistic policy proposals. Others ascribe Mr. Trumps rise to the xenophobia and racism of Americans angry over their declining power.

But the story is also one of a party elite that abandoned its most faithful voters, blue-collar white Americans, who faced economic pain and uncertainty over the past decade as the partys donors, lawmakers and lobbyists prospered. From mobile home parks in Florida and factory towns in Michigan, to Virginias coal country, where as many as one in five adults live on Social Security disability payments, disenchanted Republican voters lost faith in the agenda of their partys leaders.

In dozens of interviews, Republican lawmakers, donors, activists and others described some with resignation, some with anger a party that paved the way for a Trump-like figure to steal its base, as it lost touch with less affluent voters and misunderstood their growing anguish.

This is absolutely a crisis for the party elite and beyond the party elite, for elected officials, and for the way people have been raised as Republicans in the power structure for a generation, said Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary for President George W. Bush. If Donald Trump wins, he will change what it means to be a Republican.

Many trace the rupture to the countrys economic crisis eight years ago: While Americans grew more skeptical of the banking industry in the aftermath, some Republicans played down the frustrations of their own voters.

Photo

Burl Finkelstein voted for Donald J. Trump in Georgias primary. He gets it, Mr. Finkelstein said. Weve sold ourselves out.

While wages declined and workers grew anxious about retirement, Republicans offered an economic program still centered on tax cuts for the affluent and the curtailing of popular entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. And where working-class voters saw immigrants filling their schools and competing against them for jobs, Republican leaders saw an emerging pool of voters to court.

They have to come to terms with what they created, said Laura Ingraham, a conservative activist and talk-radio host. Theyll talk about everything except the fact that their policies are unpopular.

The distance was magnified by the Supreme Courts 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which gave wealthy donors rising weight in Republican circles, even amid signs that the partys downscale voters were demanding more of a voice.

Most of these voters had long since given up on an increasingly liberal and cosmopolitan Democratic Party. In Mr. Trump, they found a tribune: a blue-collar billionaire who stood in the lobby of a Manhattan skyscraper bearing his name and pledged to expand Social Security, refuse the money of big donors, sock it to Chinese central bankers and relieve Americans of unfair competition from foreign workers.

The Democratic Party is also reckoning this year with a populist insurgency, driven in part by economic pain and growing anger against Washington and Wall Street. But while Senator Bernie Sanders trails Hillary Clinton in delegates, Mr. Trumps unlikely campaign has become a seemingly unstoppable force, one that Republican lawmakers, donors and activists are only now fully confronting.

The Republican Party is being dramatically transformed, said Foster Friess, a Wyoming investor and philanthropist who is among the partys most significant donors. Republicans and Democrats alike, Mr. Friess said, had neglected the people who truly make our country work the truck drivers, farmers, welders, hospitality workers.

Seeds of a Split

Six years ago, as the 2010 elections neared, everything seemed to be falling into place.

Republicans celebrated an impending repudiation of President Obama in congressional races, in which they would eventually pick up 63 seats. On the ninth floor of the storied Beresford apartment building on Central Park West, guests clinked glasses at a fund-raiser for Republican Senate candidates hosted by Paul Singer, the billionaire investor.

A self-described Goldwater conservative and proponent of an immigration overhaul deal, Mr. Singer had publicly lamented indiscriminate attacks by political leaders against anything that moves in the world of finance. In 2010, Mr. Singer tripled his campaign giving, doling out almost $3 million in contributions to Republicans.

As Mr. Obamas presidency unfolded, Mr. Singer became one of the pillars of a new Republican donor class. He gave generously to conservative super PACs and to the rising political network overseen by Charles G. and David H. Koch. He and other donors groomed rising stars like Marco Rubio of Florida, a Tea Party ally elected to the Senate in the 2010 wave, and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Mr. Ryan, a devotee of supply-side economics and an advocate for privatizing Social Security, became one of the partys leading policy voices, and later the House speaker. His Ryan budgets which called for large income tax cuts for the wealthy, lower taxes on capital gains and the shifting of Medicare to a voucher system became the gold standard for Republican policy, and drew plaudits from big donors for their seriousness and depth.

In Washington, Republicans read Tea Party anger over Mr. Obamas health care law as a principled rejection of social welfare programs, despite evidence that those voters broadly supported spending they believed they deserved, like Social Security and Medicare. Amid intense anger at Wall Street, Republicans urged voters to blame the recession on excessively generous federal home-lending policies, while moving to roll back regulation of one of their biggest sources of campaign money, the financial industry.

These voters would have loved someone to stand up and say, We should put someone in jail, said Matthew Dowd, a political consultant and former adviser to President Bush.

While the party was drawing more of its money from an elite group of the wealthy, it was drawing more votes from working-class and middle-income whites. Between 2008 and 2012, according to the Pew Research Center, more lower-income and less-educated white voters shifted their allegiance to Republicans.

These voters had fled the Democratic Party and were angry at Mr. Obama, whom they believed did not have their interests at heart. But not all of them were deeply conservative; many did not think about politics in ideological terms at all. A 2011 Pew survey called them the Disaffecteds.

Older white voters with little education beyond high school, under enormous economic stress, the Disaffecteds surged to the Republican Party early in Mr. Obamas first term. But they were as cynical about business as they were about government. They viewed immigrants as a burden and an economic threat. They opposed free trade more than any other group in the country.

Some conservative intellectuals warned that the party was headed for trouble. Republicans had become too identified with big business and the wealthy their donor class. They urged Republican lawmakers to embrace policies that could have a more direct impact on pay and economic prospects for these voters: wage subsidies, relocation aid to the long-term unemployed, even targeted infrastructure spending. But much of the partys agenda remained frozen.

They figured, These are conservative voters, anti-Obama voters. Well give them the same policies weve always given them, said James Pethokoukis, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. High-earner tax cuts, which people are skeptical of; business tax cuts, even though these businesses seem to be doing great. It didnt resonate with the problems in their lives.

Misreading the Mood

During the 2012 campaign, the partys donors rallied behind Mitt Romney, a patrician former private equity executive. Fully exploiting the Citizens United decision, they poured tens of millions of dollars into a super PAC that helped Mr. Romney overcome more populist challengers during the primary. Mr. Romney advocated tax cuts and deregulation, and selected Mr. Ryan as his running mate. At the Republican National Convention, the party approved a platform blasting Mr. Obama for delays in trade deals and pledging to complete negotiations for a new trans-Pacific trade pact. Mr. Trump, who endorsed Mr. Romney, was denied a live convention speaking slot.

When Mr. Romney lost, the Republican National Committee commissioned a detailed review, as did the Kochs and other outside groups. Advisers to the Kochs, finding that Mr. Romney had increased the partys share of elderly voters, concluded that proposals to overhaul entitlements were not hurting Republicans.

The committees review made one notable recommendation on policy: The party should embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform, or our partys appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.

But rank-and-file Republicans had other ideas. For many blue-collar Republicans, anger against Mr. Obama now extended to their own partys leadership, whom they viewed as not only failing to stand up to Mr. Obama, but also as colluding with him to make their lives worse.

They saw illegal immigration not only as a cultural and security threat, but also as an economic one, intertwined with trade deals that had stripped away good manufacturing jobs while immigrants competed for whatever work remained.

In 2013 in western New York, one of the last remaining American manufacturers of dinnerware went out of business, adding 110 lost jobs to the Rust Belt toll. Representative Chris Collins, a Republican from the Buffalo area, had been the plants majority owner until the previous year, when voters elected him to Congress. His former firm had been undercut by Chinese imports that were a third cheaper, Mr. Collins argued, propped up by Chinese currency manipulation.

Ive seen what happens when a country is allowed to undersell the U.S., said Mr. Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Mr. Trump. Those jobs were stolen. And the politicians let it happen.

Nothing to Move the Ball

While jobs in places like Buffalo were vanishing, Washington was coming to resemble a gilded city of lobbyists, contractors and lawmakers. In 2014, the median wealth of members of Congress reached $1 million, about 18 times that of the typical American household, according to disclosures tabulated by the Center for Responsive Politics. During the same year, real hourly wages remained flat or fell for nearly all American workers.

Ed McMullen, a public relations executive who worked for the conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1980s, watched the gulf widen between the Washington establishment and the working people in his home state, South Carolina.

Thirty years later, the same people are sitting in Washington that I worked with, making a million a year, going to fancy dinner parties, and theyve done nothing to move the ball, said Mr. McMullen, who has joined the Trump campaign. Therein lies the great chasm between the think tanks, the ideologues and the real world.

In early 2014, a group of neighbors from a Florida mobile home community called Carriage Cove, near Daytona, took seats in a town-hall-style meeting with Representative Ron DeSantis, a Republican. It was a mix of Republicans and Democrats, almost all of them seniors living on fixed incomes.

They had come to ask Mr. DeSantis why he had put his name on a letter urging Republican leaders to take up Mr. Obamas offer of a deal to overhaul Social Security. Mr. DeSantis seemed caught off guard, neighbors who attended the meeting recalled. He did not necessarily agree with everything in the letter, he told them. When they persisted, Mr. DeSantis left, explaining that he was not feeling well.

In Virginia, an unheralded college professor from the Richmond suburbs named Dave Brat announced a primary challenge to Representative Eric Cantor, the majority leader. Mr. Brat attacked Mr. Cantor for his ties to Wall Street. But as the campaign heated up, Mr. Brat recalled in an interview, he began railing against his partys immigration proposals. I saw this very crony-ist aspect of the nations power structure pushing this agenda, Mr. Brat said.

That message helped propel Mr. Brat to victory, though many Republican leaders dismissed his election as a fluke. Elsewhere in the country, with the help of business groups, they tamped down insurgent conservative candidates. That fall, Republicans won control of the Senate further confirmation, seemingly, that the party had corrected course.

But some remained worried. In August 2014, Kellyanne Conway, a prominent Republican pollster, met with leading Republican donors at a law firm in Chicago. Among the partys base, immigration remained a simmering issue, one they should seize. Her polling showed a new open-mindedness to populist approaches, regardless of partisan or ideological preferences, Ms. Conway wrote in a memo to the partys donors.

The donors responded tepidly, Ms. Conway recalled, and were wary of efforts to curb immigration. They said, We need labor and we need votes.

A Dangerous Issue

Last March, Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee filed into a Capitol Hill conference room to discuss trade. The Obama administration, negotiating a trade pact with Pacific Rim nations, was seeking congressional approval to fast-track the deal. Opposition was intense not only among labor unions, but among many Republican voters, while the partys leadership, atypically, was supporting Mr. Obamas effort.

For help, the lawmakers turned to Frank Luntz, the Republican messaging guru. For two decades, Mr. Luntz had instructed Republicans on how to talk about thorny issues. Do not say estate tax. Say death tax. Do not privatize Social Security. Personalize it.

Few issues were now as dangerous to them as trade, Mr. Luntz told the lawmakers, especially a trade pact sought by a president their voters hated. Many Americans did not believe that the economic benefits of trade deals trickled down to their neighborhoods. They did not care if free trade provided them with cheaper socks and cellphones. Most believed free trade benefited other countries, not their own.

I told them to stop calling it free trade, and start calling it American trade, Mr. Luntz said in an interview. American businesses, American services American, American, American!

While Republicans debated rhetorical approaches, Mr. Trump took a radically different tack. Announcing his campaign a few months later, he spun a tale of unfair trade deals hashed out by lobbyists, backscratchers and incompetent presidents who were stealing jobs from Americans. He would stop the flow of jobs over the border with Mexico, Mr. Trump promised, and build a wall to stop the flow of people.

That message has resonated with lower-income voters, and helped drive Mr. Trumps string of successes. In Mississippi and Michigan, both of which Mr. Trump won, six in 10 Republican primary voters said that free trade cost the country more jobs that it produced, exit polls showed.

But it has done little to convince Republican leaders that they need to rethink their approach or devise new proposals for blue-collar workers who are hurting.

During a recent interview with CNBC, Mr. Ryan was asked if Republicans needed to respond to less-affluent voters who believed that Republicans were tending only to the interests of those at the top.

Mr. Ryan, who during the same interview called again for the overhaul of entitlements and the reduction of debt, rejected that idea.

People dont think like that, he said. People want to know the deck is fair. Bernie Sanders talks about that stuff. Thats not who we are.

But it is no longer so certain what the Republican Party is. This month, as the partys leading donors met at the Ritz-Carlton in Miami Beach, there was plenty of spirited chatter about Mr. Trump, but less discussion of the voters who fueled his rise, and little about what could be done to assuage them.

Haley Barbour, a former party chairman, spoke as women in sundresses and men in dark suits sipped evening cocktails on a patio overlooking the Atlantic. In sometimes subdued tones, he told them that he could not predict what would come next.

Were cursed to live in interesting times, Mr. Barbour said. Anyone that tells you that theyve seen anything like this, theyll lie to you about other things. I dont know where were going to end up.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/28/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-voters.html?emc=edit_th_20160328&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=42724716&_r=0

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Middle East / Syria

DEBKAfile: Assads fate hangs on the Palmyra battle and on Russian air support

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 26, 2016, 4:07 PM (IDT

Cracks in the united US-Russian front over the Syrian rulers fate surfaced even before the ink was dry on the joint announcement issued in Moscow Friday, March 25, by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, setting August as the deadline for a political solution of the five-year Syrian conflict.

Shortly after Kerrys departure for Brussels, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters, Washington now accepts Moscows argument that Assads future shouldnt be open for negotiation right now." However, taking exception to the phrase right now, State Department spokesman John Kirby immediately snapped back, Any suggestion that we have changed in any way our view of Assads future is false.

Did this exchange spell another Washington-Moscow impasse on the future of the war and the Syrian ruler? Not exactly; Our military and intelligence analysts report that the two powers are in accord on the principle that Assad must go, but are maneuvering on the timeline for the war to end and the Syrian rulers handover of power.

The Americans want it to be sooner. The transition should start in August and result in adding opposition parties to the regime in positions of real influence.

President Barack Obama, when he conducts his farewell Gulf tour in April, would like to show Saudi Arabia and Gulf emirates that he has finally kept his word to them to evict Bashar Assad from power before he leaves the White House next January. The US would also be better placed for bringing the Syrian opposition into line for a negotiated deal.
But Putin prefers a delay because he has problems to solve first. The six-month long Russian military intervention in the Syrian conflict turned the tide of the war. The Syrian army and its Iranian and Hizballah allies were able to stabilize their positions and even score some important victories against rebel forces in central and northern Syria. Last year, Putin and Irans supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were definitely on the same page and fully coordinated.

That cordial relationship was thrown out of kilter by the Kremlins decision to work with the White House for bringing the disastrous Syrian war to an end and terminating the Assad era.
From November, Irans Gen. Qassem Soleimanis frequent visits to Moscow on liaison duty petered out.

Khamanei is adamantly opposed to Russia and the US commandeering the decision on Assads departure and its timetable. He is even more outraged by the way Putin has moved in on Syria and made it Russias home ground in the Middle East.

The rift with Tehran prompted Putin to announce on March 14 the partial pullback of his military forces from Syria. It was a threat to pull the rug that had turned the tide of the war in favor of Damascus and Tehran.

Reluctant to burn those boats, Moscow has been juggling its balls in the air, trying not to drop any. At first, he suspended Russian air cover for government-led battles. The Islamic State immediately seized on this opening in the south and advanced on the towns of Nawa, Sheikh Maskin and Daraa.

Moscow hoped that this setback would teach Bashar Assad to toe the Russian line.

Then, in the second part of last week, Putin ordered the Russian air force to renew its air strikes in the east in support of the Syrian armys march from central Syria on the historic town of Palmyra. Friday and Saturday, the Syrian army and its allies were battling for control of the UNESCO World Heritage city, nearly a year after the Islamic State overran it and vandalized its historic remains.

debkafiles military sources stress that their capture of the reconstructed ancient Citadel perched on a hill over the city would have been beyond their strength without Russian air support. Finishing the job and recovering the entire city of Palmyra will depend heavily on Russian air strikes continuing to hammer the jihadist occupiers.
Putin faces a momentous decision. He has already taught Assad and Tehran a harsh lesson: with Russian air support, they win battles, but not without it, as their failure in the south has demonstrated.

Will he help Assad win Palmyra?

Crowning the Syrian dictator with such a striking victory would stiffen his resistance to American pressure for him to quit in short order. He would stand out as the only Syrian war leader capable of pushing ISIS back. But if the Russian leader decides to cut off air support in mid-battle for Palmyra, Assad and Iran will be forced to face the fact that without active Russian military support, they are in hot water.

The Syrian ruler would then have to accept his approaching end. That is the dilemma facing Putin.

http://www.debka.com/article/25328/Assads-fate-hangs-on-the-Palmyra-battle–and-on-Russian-air-support

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Friedman / Shapiro:Understanding the Islamic State’s Retreat from Palmyra

Summary The media is awash with triumphant stories of Bashar al-Assads regime retaking Palmyra from the Islamic State. The only problem with this narrative is that according to multiple sources, Palmyra was not retaken so much as it was given up. According to the BBC, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, IS withdrew from the city in the face of superior numbers and firepower, and saved the bulk of its force in the city to fight another day.

Palmyra is a strategically important town for both the Assad regime and IS, but not because it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. If there were more Roman ruins in Raqqa, the IS capital, no doubt the rest of the world would be more outraged over IS control there. For the Assad regime, Palmyra means strategic depth: if forces loyal to Assad hold Palmyra and can project force around the city, the major population centers of Hama and Homs are no longer on the front lines with IS. For IS, Palmyra is important because a strong force could use it as a base from which to cut east and separate IS forces in Syria from Iraq.

This is only the second time that the Assad regime has taken the fight to IS. The last time was in a regime offensive in Aleppo province last November, when, with Russian support, Assads troops were able to lift the IS siege on Kuweires air base. That victory was to be part of a larger operation that enabled Syrian regime forces to gain the upper hand against the rebels in Aleppo province. Now, the Assad regime is taking advantage of the (relative) quiet of the ceasefire with the Syrian rebels to take the fight to IS at a strategically significant point.

It would be a mistake to read too much into the capabilities of the Syrian army based on an Islamic State retreat from Palmyra. ISW notes that of the roughly 5,000 Assad-aligned forces on the ground in Palmyra, a significant number are not actually part of the Syrian army. They include hundreds of fighters from Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iraqi Shiite militias, Hezbollah and others, all backed by continued Russian air support. Even if the reports are true that Syrian government forces are in total control of Palmyra it does not mean a uniform professional fighting force is about to continue the offensive. Taking Palmyra is the easy part. Maintaining long supply lines over hundreds of miles of desert to keep IS on the retreat is much more difficult.

This is not to dismiss the significance of IS retreating from Palmyra. When we laid out the Islamic States strategic position in December, we noted this area as one of IS key vulnerabilities. But that is one of the reasons we are cautious about viewing this as an outright victory for the Assad regime. IS faced an attack from a significantly augmented force. IS fought fiercely at first, but when it was determined that nothing could be gained from further engagement, commanders in Raqqa told their fighters to fall back and live to fight another day. It is unlikely this hodgepodge of various militias and forces intends to set up shop permanently in Palmyra. And it is impossible for the Assad regime to contemplate an offensive into the IS heartland. Fielding the forces necessary to undertake such an operation would leave Aleppo and the Alawite coast wide open to a rebel attack.

IS capitulation in Palmyra is not going to be permanent. In May 2015, when the Islamic State overran Palmyra, the Russians had not yet committed troops and air assets to support Assad, whose forces were on their heels from various rebel attacks in the north. IS seized Palmyra because it had the opportunity to do so, and it will wait for further opportunities to arise in the future.

In Iraq, when U.S.-backed Iraqi soldiers and Shiite militias took Ramadi from the Islamic State, it still took months for this coalition to control the entire city. Even then, control was achieved only because IS pulled back to the city of Ht. According to the BBC, the sounds of battle can still be heard in the eastern parts of Palmyra. IS has had just under a year in Palmyra to lace the city with booby traps and other unwelcome surprises for newly entering forces. It is impossible to know how many fighters IS lost numbers range from 25 to 400, depending on the source but even if we accept the larger number, it still indicates IS pulled out the bulk of its forces.

For IS, the most important concern in Palmyra is not control over the city. IS has to make sure that a significant military force cannot use Palmyra as a staging ground for a major assault on more important IS territories or stop IS ability to move fluidly throughout the Syrian desert. The goal then for IS has been to engage in various spoiling attacks and guerrilla operations so that forces in Palmyra are more concerned about defense than offense. Even if Assad regime forces decided to undertake a broader offensive against IS, every mile ventured deeper into the Syrian desert would be another mile of the supply chain for IS to attack.

So while the West decries the destruction of historic ruins and the media celebrates the symbolism of this IS defeat, this outcry has not made IS any weaker. The only way to truly affect IS strength is through engagements on the battlefield that it cannot win. And no matter the composition of the force that has put IS on the defensive, the ostensible leader of that force is Assad. Assad has been many things to the West in recent years from predictable dictator to civilian-killing pariah and now to hero/reliable ally in the fight against the Islamic State. On March 24, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In the press conference afterward, Kerry noted that he believed Russia was going to try to get President Assad to make the right decision over these next days to engage in a political process that results in a genuine transition and in peace in Syria. Now, three days later, Assad can claim an important victory against the Islamic State.

All of this is happening in the context of a complex dialogue between Russia and the U.S. about not just Syria but Ukraine. The better Assad looks to the world, the less reason there is for the U.S. to insist on his removal in any potential larger settlement. Kerry spoke of Assad making the right decision. Assad seems to have responded by starting a completely different conversation about why he is valuable to the U.S. in its fight against IS. The U.S. has in recent weeks assassinated senior IS leaders and is laying preparations to support Iraqi and Kurdish fighters in what will be a bloody battle to attempt to retake Mosul. The U.S. is also backing the Syrian Democratic Forces to exert pressure on IS from the north. But the rest of Syria, it seems, is being left to Assad and to the Russians. The U.S. has to continue to say it doesnt like Assad because of what he has done in the past, but no matter what the U.S. says, either directly or indirectly, Assad has become a partner in the fight against the Islamic State.

And so forces loyal to Assad now have control over Palmyra because Islamic State was unable to fend off the Russian-backed onslaught. Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of Assads image continues and the world rejoices that UNESCO World Heritage sites are out of IS hands, at least for the moment. But the salient point is that even though IS could not win in Palmyra over the past three weeks, it hasnt lost either. IS has decided to withdraw to more defensible positions. It is biding its time and planning its counterattack.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/understanding-the-islamic-states-retreat-from-palmyra/

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Friedman: Bosnia, Kosovo and Brussels.


The Muslim question, whether a matter of
terrorismor immigration, has become the core European problem, just as the Christians are a core Muslim question.

March 25, 2016 These attacks in Belgium are a continuation of Muslim-Christian confrontations that began when the Soviet Union fell.

By George Friedman.

Summary There is a deep connection between the end of the Cold War, the Yugoslav wars and the attacks in Brussels. They may appear separate but are deeply interconnected. The release of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union triggered a seismic shift along the fault line of U.S. containment strategy that runs through the Middle East. These tremors are still playing out today.

Radovan Karadi, former president of Republika Srpska, a Serbian enclave in Bosnia, was found guilty of genocide by a United Nations tribunal yesterday. He was accused of the deaths of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s. The date of his conviction, March 24, is also the 17th anniversary of the beginning of the NATO bombing campaign in Serbia that led to separation and independence of Kosovo from Serbia. It is also the week in which members of the Islamic State carried out an assault on Brussels. The three events are intimately connected.

The American strategy during the Cold War was to contain the Soviet Union. One part of the containment line ran through Europe. Another part, after the Sino-Soviet split, ran along the northern Chinese border. The third line ran from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan through the Islamic world, with predominantly Muslim countries on each side of the line. The tremendous force of the Western alliance, China and the Soviet Union had frozen these boundaries into place. With the exception of Afghanistan later in the Cold War, this created a tense but coherent region. Various countries were in different alliances, and some in none, but on the whole the Cold War brought a relative stability to the region. The shifts that took place were managed by the great powers to limit their destabilizing effect along the line of confrontation.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and the line disappeared, three things happened. In Europe, Western-style democracies emerged in the former Warsaw Pact countries. In China, the Peoples Liberation Army and the Communist Party shifted their focus to economic development. And the line from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan destabilized. It did not destabilize all at once, or even quickly. But as the force field between the U.S. and the Soviets disappeared, the region regained its autonomy and destabilized. Put another way, the Muslim world destabilized, and Muslims confronted the Christian world that had shaped their map.

This began in Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was a country invented after World War II, containing Muslims and Christians, with a wide range of bad memories about each other and therefore hostility. After World War II, Yugoslavia was frozen into place by two forces. One was the communist government of Josip Broz Tito, which submerged ethnic and religious difference under its government apparatus and security structure. The other force freezing Yugoslavia into place was the fact that, having come to power independent of the Soviets, Tito did not want to become a Soviet satellite. Therefore, Yugoslavia maintained a neutrality tilted mildly to the West. That stance froze Yugoslavia, as neither the U.S. nor the Soviets wanted to take the risk of shifting its orientation, and Tito did not want do anything to trigger a change in policy.

Tito died in 1980, and Yugoslavia became increasingly fractious. But it was not until after the fall of the Soviet Union that a fragmented Yugoslavia unfroze and went to war. This was not a Muslim-Christian war, as it was also a war against Croatian Catholics and Serbian Christian Orthodox, along with numerous other confrontations. But it was the Serbian-Bosnian confrontation that became the bloodiest and the Serbian-Albanian confrontation that triggered NATOs air attacks. Both were confrontations between Christians and Muslims and one was what todays verdict was about.

The depth of the hatred can be seen in the Bosnian genocide, but it must be remembered that all sides carried out brutal actions. By 1999, the mere fear that something might happen in Kosovo it had not yet triggered an air campaign in Kosovo and in Serbia (then still called Yugoslavia) that lasted more than two months. One way to look at this war is that it was the first warning to the Europeans that Europe was still capable of atrocity. But the Europeans always had an odd view of the Balkans as a place in Europe but not of Europe. They took home few lessons from there.

The second and more useful way to look at the war in Yugoslavia is that this was the first violent post-Cold War confrontation between Muslims and Christians. Most view Yugoslavias horrors as neither European nor connected to other events. I regard this as the first part of the collapse of the confrontation line of the Cold War, and the first open warfare between Christians and Muslims. It was not unique or separate. It was an opening event that spread throughout the Islamic region that had been frozen in place by the Cold War.

The 1990s were a decade of destabilization and redefinition. One of the most important parts of the redefinition was the decline of the Soviet-supported secular Arab groups like the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the rise of a consciously Islamist movement in the Muslim world. In a way, it meant the decline of Fatah and the rise of Hamas. But it also meant that secular regimes, like those of Egypt, Syria and Libya, were losing their international foundations.

As the artificial strength of the Cold War diminished, what emerged was an extension of what happened in Yugoslavia. Under the many forces let loose, the most lasting was the re-emergence of Islam as a significant political force, and a force that at least in parts, saw itself as confronting Europe and Christianity. In Yugoslavia we saw both the Christians and Muslims rising against each other.

Geopolitical earthquakes may take a generation or more to play out. Today, we see Moammar Gadhafi dead, Bashar al-Assad embattled and the Egyptian secularists struggling to hold on, but the common denominator is the religious confronting the insufficiently religious. But there is another dimension, which is the Muslim facing the Christian and vice versa. And it should be remembered that for the Islamist, Christianity has been a historical enemy since well before the Crusades. This view and force was suppressed but never eliminated during the Cold War.

You can see its return in Brussels, where one of the factions generated after the end of the Cold War, the Islamic State, struck randomly at Europeans regardless of who they were or what they believed. And obviously this is stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment, as is inevitable. The Muslim question, whether a matter of terrorism or immigration, has become the core European problem, just as the Christians are a core Muslim question.

And all of this can be glimpsed in Yugoslavia, where this cycle of endless cycles began. The events in Bosnia and Kosovo were both the settling of Yugoslav scores flowing from the European creation of Yugoslavia and the opening of the chapter in Christian-Muslim confrontation that we are living through now. The trial of Ratko Mladi ended one phase, 20 years after the deed was done. But while the Serbs may have been the bloodiest, they were far from alone. And now they have many more joining in the fray. As Europe sits on the edge of action of what sort is unknown and the Muslim world boils, we can look back to Yugoslavia as the preface few of us saw.

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*Massenbach’s

Recommendation*

COLUMN John Kemp – Reuters News: Gulf migrant workers will be biggest victims of oil shock.

Check out the attached map as well showing just how dependent Saudi Arabias economy has become on foreign workers.

23-Mar-2016 14:48:46

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

* Saudi Arabia’s migrant population:

By John Kemp

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s army of migrant workers will be among the biggest losers from the slump in oil

prices and the impact will reverberate to poor countries across the Middle East and South Asia where many of them originate.

Saudi Arabia relies more heavily on migrant labour than any other large country except neighbouring United Arab Emirates,

according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The oil boom brought an unprecedented influx of migrants mostly from poorer countries in the Middle East and South and

Southeast Asia. (http://tmsnrt.rs/1VEmyDV).

The number of migrants resident in the kingdom has almost doubled from 5.3 million in 2000 to 10.2 million in 2015

("Trends in International Migrant Stock", UN, 2015).

Saudi Arabia hosts more migrants than other country in the world other than the United States (47 million), Germany (12

million) and Russia (12 million).

Migrants account for 32 percent of the resident population, up from less than 25 percent in 2000. In the case of males the

share is as high as 39 percent.

The share of migrants in the population and the workforce has increased despite attempts to encourage the employment of

locals under official "Saudisation" policies pursued fitfully over the last four decades.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted 1.9 migrants from India, 1.3 million from Indonesia, 1.1 million from Pakistan, 970,000 from

Bangladesh, 730,000 from Egypt, 620,000 from Syria, and 580,000 from Yemen, according to the UN.

Smaller but significant numbers of migrants came from Afghanistan (365,000), Sudan (365,000), Nepal (380,000), Myanmar

(200,000), Jordan (180,000), Ethiopia (125,000) and Lebanon (115,000).

In 2014, migrant workers sent home to their families an estimated $36 billion ("Saudi Arabia Article IV Consultation",

IMF, 2015).

Remittances from workers in Saudi Arabia play a crucial role in some of the smaller and poorer economies of the Middle East

and Asia.

But now that economic model is under threat from the slump in oil prices, which has pushed the government budget deep into

the red and the economy close to recession.

JOBS IMPERATIVE

Intensified efforts at Saudisation of the workforce are a centre piece of the government’s programme for adjusting to

lower oil prices and creating more private sector employment.

Even before the slump, the unemployment rate for Saudi nationals was 11.7 percent, according to the International

Monetary Fund.

But unemployment was much worse for certain demographic sections including women (33 percent) and young people aged

15-19 (49 percent), 20-24 (41 percent) and 25-29 (22 percent).

Unemployment is worse in some politically important and conservative regions, such as Riyadh, Hail and the Northern

Borders.

"It is not that job creation has been a problem employment growth has been strong – but rather the majority of these jobs

have been filled by expatriates," the IMF observed about the economy before the slump.

With growth slowing, a youthful population, and the government unable to afford to create more public sector jobs,

the need to create more employment for nationals has become urgent.

Saudisation has been stepped up which has left many migrants fearful about their continued employment and residency prospects

("In era of cheap oil, Saudi loses shine for foreign workers", Reuters, March 23). [ nL5N16U3JH ]

As the government seeks to maintain social and political stability and conserve cash amid a prolonged drop in oil prices

and revenue, payments to migrant workers and even their jobs are the most attractive source of savings.

REGIONAL IMPACT

The same pressure to reduce the number of migrants is likely to play out across the other oil-dependent economies around the

Gulf.

In addition to the 10.1 million migrants in Saudi Arabia, there are 8.1 million in the United Arab Emirates, 2.9 million

in Kuwait, 1.8 million in Oman, 1.7 million in Qatar, and 700,000 in Bahrain.

In most of these countries, migrants make up an even larger share of the local population than in Saudi Arabia, according to

UN calculations.

The situation in each of these economies is different. Some are more petroleum-dependent than others. Some have larger

foreign reserves. And the origin of the migrants varies significantly.

Western Asia, which includes the Gulf Arab countries, has the highest share of migrants in the population of any region of

the world after North America. In the Gulf itself the share is much higher.

In total, there are more than 25 million migrants across the Gulf, including 8 million from India, 3 million from Pakistan, 3

million from Bangladesh, 2 million from Egypt and 1.8 million from Indonesia.

None of these countries is a major net oil exporter but they all seem set to suffer ripple effects from the oil shock.

If remittances from the Gulf region slow, or workers are sent home, it will hit some of these poor economies particularly

hard.

Gulf economies absorbed a lot of young, mostly male, workers from some of the poorest countries in the world, so the

implications stretch well beyond the simple economic impact to include the effects on social stability and counter-terrorism.

John Kemp

Senior Market Analyst

Reuters

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Serbien

moderated by Srecko Velimirovic

Die Medien und die Demokratie auf dem Balkan.

Fr die WAZ ist kein Platz in Serbien, verkndete der damalige Wirtschaftsminister des Landes, Mladjan Dinki, im September 2010 in der Zeitung Veernje Novosti. Der Staat msse dem Konzern verbieten, in Serbien zu investieren. Das Blatt gehrte zur Hlfte der Essener WAZ-Gruppe (bis 1997 Zeitungsgruppe WAZ, seit 2013 Funke-Gruppe). Diese hatte versucht, die Zeitung komplett zu bernehmen, war aber gescheitert. Der Konzern hatte daraufhin erklrt, dass er sein Engagement in Serbien beenden und smtliche Beteiligungen verkaufen wolle. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt gehrten dort auch die fhrende Tageszeitung Politika und 55 Prozent des Regionalblatts Dnevnik aus Novi Sad zu seinem Portfolio. Bodo Hombach, Geschftsfhrer der WAZ-Mediengruppe, entgegnete auf den Rauswurf: Den Wunsch des Ministers () wollen wir gerne erfllen. Das ginge aber noch viel schneller, wenn Herr Dinki den serbischen Oligarchen auffordern wrde, uns unser Geld () zurckzugeben. Der Oligarch hie Milan Beko, es ging um 120 Millionen Euro.

Dieser Vorgang ist in zweifacher Hinsicht symptomatisch. Er erfolgte zu einem Zeitpunkt, als etliche deutsche Medienunternehmen anfingen, sich aus den Lndern Ost- und Sdosteuropas zurckzuziehen. Und er macht deutlich, dass es dabei nicht immer auf gepflegte kapitalistische Art zuging, sondern dass Machtstrukturen und Machthaber auerhalb der offiziellen Politik eine erhebliche Rolle spielten. Hinzu kommt, dass sich mitunter auch die Investoren aus dem Westen nicht vor Deals mit solchen Figuren scheuten..( Forts. See Die Medien und die Demokratie)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

DEBKAfile: Israeli security firms advice on Brussels airport security unheeded.

DEBKAfile Special Report March 24, 2016, 9:56 AM (IDT)

The Belgian government some weeks ago hired an Israeli security firm to inspect security arrangements at the Zaventem airport of Brussels. The security experts, who were asked for advice on improvements, submitted initial recommendations for urgent upgrades. However those improvements had not been installed by Tuesday, March 22, when Islamist terrorists hit the airports departure hall with exploding suitcases, claiming more than 30 deaths and injuring scores of victims..

The Israeli firm was not alone in underlining the urgency of security upgrades at Zaventem airport in recent weeks. On Feb. 29, European Union security agencies called for an immediate overhaul of the security measures at Belgian airports and borders, which were wide open to access by terrorists and lacked the tools for inspecting passengers on arrival and departure.

After the attack, it turned out that Ukrainian security guards, who had been hired and posted at the airport, had mostly deserted their stations. The few remaining there had carried out only cursory checks.
Not only was Zaventem airport wide open to hostile infiltration, so too is Brussels second airport Charleroi, the terminus for flights to and from Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey. Although the Belgian authorities were warned that Charleroi presented Islamic State terrorists with an open door from those countries into Europe, passengers passing through were still not subjected to searches, even when they headed to Zaventem for connecting flights.

Finally, under the shock of terror, Belgium decided to stem the flow of terrorists by keeping its air space and airports shut to traffic Thursday.

Both Western and Israeli counterterrorism experts meet with skepticism the stream of reports the Belgian authorities and media were still putting out Thursday about the identities of the terrorists who struck the airport and Metro, their numbers and their methods of operation. An Israeli security expert commented that these reports dont match the evidence and leave too many questions unanswered to be credible.
The account of the taxi driver, who said he had driven three terrorists to the airport, is one example. He said that his cab was too small for the five heavy suitcases they wanted to load onto his cab, so they only loaded three. Did that mean that five suitcase bombs were to have been blown up at the airport? And what happened to the two left behind?

Also at odds with the official claim of suicide bombers are the black gloves that two terrorists wore on their left hands, obviously covering remote control mechanisms for the bombs in the luggage carts they were pushing through the departure hall.

Despite the spreading shock effect of the airport attack, it is also becoming clear that the terrorists only accomplished the first part of their jihadist mission. The Islamic State, which approved the operation, had envisaged a much bigger atrocity. This is attested to by the discovery of three bags containing identical kits of firearms and ammunition, a bomb belt, two AK-47 automatic rifles, magazines and hand grenades all intact and unused. The police detonated them by controlled explosion.

Those kits were concealed in advance in apparent readiness to strike the emergency teams, the medics, the security forces and the other first responders when they arrived to tend the victims of the first attack. The kits were placed at strategic points, either by an advance team of terrorist operatives masquerading as airport personnel, or a staff employee.
When investigators examined the submachine guns, they found that someone had tried to fire one of them and it jammed. This might explain why the second half of the Brussels airport atrocity, the mega-massacre, was stalled.

By sheer chance, therefore, hundreds of Belgian security officers and emergency aid personnel were saved from being trapped from three directions in a ball of fire.

Belgian police and security units have been chasing desperately, with very few intelligence clues, for a broad network of at least 20 Islamists, who must have spent months setting up the complicated Brussels operations at the airport and Metro station.

The planning would have involved exhaustive reconnaissance, the precise study of the targeted locations, arms providers, logistics, finance, communications and prepared escape routes before the bombers went in.

http://www.debka.com/article/25319/Israeli-security-firm%E2%80%99s-advice-on-Brussels-airport-security-unheeded

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Auf den Mob folgt die Elite.

Der erstarkende Rechtspopulismus in Europa ist nicht vom Himmel gefallen. Ist er Ausdruck eines jahrelangen Versagens demokratischer Krfte?

Le Choc der Schock kommentierten einhellig die franzsischen Zeitungen Le Figaro und LHumanit die ansonsten wenig bis gar nichts gemein haben im Dezember 2015 den Wahlerfolg des rechtsextremen Front National. Rund 28 Prozent hatte die Partei um Marine Le Pen in der ersten Runde der franzsischen Regionalwahlen erzielt und ging damit als strkste Partei aus den Wahlen hervor.

Ebenfalls mit Entsetzen und einer Art Schockstarre reagierten etablierte Medien und Parteien in Deutschland auf die Wahlerfolge der rechtspopulistischen AfD im Mrz 2016 und auf den Wahlsieg der nationalistischen Wahren Finnen im vergangenen Jahr ganz so, als seien die neuen rechten Parteien aus dem Nichts gekommen.

Sicherlich ist es schockierend, wenn Parteien in die Parlamente gewhlt werden, die wie die AfD auf Flchtlinge schieen lassen wrden oder wie die UKIP syrischen Geflchteten die Schuld an berschwemmungen geben. Doch wirklich berraschen drfte der rechtspopulistische Marsch durch die Institutionen niemanden mehr. Denn die Wahlerfolge von radikalen und populistischen Rechtsparteien ist kein pltzliches Phnomen, sondern Ergebnis einer tief greifenden gesellschaftlichen Unzufriedenheit mit dem politischen System, die vom rechten Lager geschickt aufgefangen wird.

Von der Strae in die Parlamente

Der Aufstieg der radikalen Rechten sei eines der wesentlichen Zge westlicher Demokratien seit einem Vierteljahrhundert, schrieb der Publizist Anthony Painter bereits im Jahr 2013. Drei Jahre spter drfte kaum mehr ein Zweifel darber bestehen, dass der Rechtspopulismus dauerhaft zur neuen politischen Landschaft in Europa gehren wird. In zwlf europischen Staaten konnten rechte Parteien zweistellige Erfolge bei Nationalwahlen erzielen, in fnf Lndern Ungarn, Schweiz, Finnland, Lettland, Norwegen sitzen sie mit am Kabinettstisch oder stellen die Regierung.

Auch im Europaparlament verschaffen sich rechtspopulistische Politiker zunehmend Gehr durch Pbeleien und nationalistische Hetze. Vor kurzem beklagte Parlamentsprsident Martin Schulz die Verrohung der politischen Kultur im EU-Parlament und den mitunter offen gezeigten Rassismus mancher Abgeordneter. Flchtlinge wrden als Hunde und menschlicher Abschaum bezeichnet, der an Europas Ksten gesplt werde, so Schulz. Einen Politiker der griechischen Neonazipartei Chrysi Avgi (Goldene Morgenrte) hatte der SPD-Politiker aus dem Parlament geworfen, als der ber Trken als dumme und schmutzige Barbaren herzog.

Der Mob, nicht die Elite htte die Zusandbeschreibung des politischen Potentials rechten Gedankenguts noch vor wenigen Jahren lauten knnen. Damals war die radikale Rechte entweder gesellschaftlich weitgehend isoliert oder in seiner moderaten Spielart in die rechten Flgel konservativer Volksparteien integriert und damit befriedet. Heute drngen die Rechten in die Parlamente und machen sich dabei die Reprsentationskrise einer auf Konsens getrimmten Postdemokratie zunutze.

Rechte Wahlerfolge trotz wachsendem Wohlstand?

Die Attraktivitt rechtspopulistischer Argumente im reichen Europa erscheint auf den ersten Blick paradox. Die apokalyptische Stimmung whrend der Finanz- und Schuldenkrise 2007/2008 ist in weiten Teilen verstummt, die Sofortprogramme der europischen Regierungen, so teuer sie auch erkauft wurden, haben den drohenden Kollaps der Weltwirtschaft vorerst verhindern knnen. Die meisten EU-Staaten verzeichnen seit Jahren positive Wachstumsraten.

Doch der statistische Blick auf steigende Wohlstandskennziffern verschleiert die Tatsache, dass wachsender Reichtum nicht heit, dass er fr alle gleich wchst. Beispielsweise zhlen Deutschland und Polen laut aktueller IW-Studie zu den Gewinnern der Finanz- und Schuldenkrise. Zugleich klettert in beiden Lndern die soziale Ungleichheit auf immer neue Hchststnde. Das Einkommensgeflle wchst stetig seit dem Ende der 80er-Jahre, kommentiert etwa Zbigniew Karpiski von der Polnischen Akademie der Wissenschaften die Lage in Polen. Zugleich sinke die Akzeptanz der Ungleichheit in der polnischen Bevlkerung, so Karpiski.

Auch die Erholung der deutschen Wirtschaft war mit hohen sozialen Kosten verbunden. Nur ein kleiner werdender Teil der Bevlkerung profitiert von dem Aufschwung, whrend die Realeinkommen fr das Gros der Bevlkerung immer weiter absinken. Zehn Prozent besitzt laut Bundessozialministerium ber die Hlfte des gesellschaftlichen Reichtums. 12,5 Millionen Menschen in Deutschland leben in Armut, rechnet der Parittische Wohlfahrtsverband vor.

Bereits 2009 wies die Organisation fr Sicherheit und Zusammenhalt in Europa (OSZE) darauf hin, dass die konomische Krise einen fruchtbarer Nhrboden fr rassistische und fremdenfeindliche Intoleranz darstelle. Besorgniserregend sei vor allem der Hass auf Asylbewerber, Migranten und Minderheiten, die zu Sndenbcken fr die wirtschaftlichen Fehlentwicklungen gemacht wrden. Ein Jahr spter warnte Amnesty International (AI) in seinem Jahresbericht vor einem dramatischen Anstieg auslnderfeindlicher Tendenzen infolge sozialer Abstiegsngste, insbesondere in Italien, Ungarn und der Slowakei.

Globalisierungsverlierer whlen rechts, nicht links

Die viel beschworene wachsende Schere zwischen arm und reich machen sich rechte Parteien zunutze. Den nationalistischen Krften ist gelungen, wo demokratische Krfte und insbesondere die traditionellen Volksparteien zunehmend versagen: Die Einbindung der so genannten Globalisierungsverlierer. Rechte Parteien punkten dort, wo etablierte Parteien keine Sprache fr die gesellschaftlichen Rnder gefunden haben. Globalisierungskritik und eine antikapitalistische Rhetorik sind zentrale Wesenszge der Neuen Rechten, die zugleich so neu nicht ist: Auch die nationalsozialistischen Parteien in Deutschland und sterreich der 30er Jahre verfolgten eine strikt antikapitalistische Linie und verstanden sich als sozialistisch, wenngleich unter vlkischen Vorzeichen. Eine explizit neo liberal argumentierende radikale Rechte, wie sie beispielsweise in Skandinavien lange Bestand hatte, ist heute nahezu verschwunden.

Wer sich erinnert: Der Protest gegen soziale Verwerfung infolge der Finanz- und Schuldenkrise sowie an Demokratiedefiziten der EU-Institutionen wurde zunchst mageblich aus dem linken Lager artikuliert. Die Indignados-Bewegung in Spanien, die Massenproteste auf dem Syntagma-Platz in Griechenland, eine Neue Antikapitalistische Partei in Frankreich sowie zahlreiche Occupy-Ableger in europischen Hauptstdten waren die mageblichen Trger des Widerstands gegen den frei drehenden Finanzkapitalismus. Selbst die deutsche Bundeskanzlerin, Mitarchitektin der neoliberalen Reformprogramme, uerte damals Verstndnis fr die Protest-Camper.

Doch die Fortsetzung neoliberaler Krisenstrategien legt den Schluss nahe, dass die europische Linke entweder nicht die richtigen Antworten auf die Krise hatte oder schlicht zu schwach war, dem neoliberalen Konsens etwas entgegenzusetzen. Es kam zum vorlufigen Scheitern linker Gegenprojekte. Das Protest-Pendel schlug nach rechts aus, ohne die Mitte zu streifen.

Vor diesem Hintergrund ist nachvollziehbar, dass die Neue Rechte vor allem dort Erfolge verzeichnet, wo sie im natrlichen Biotop der Linken fischt. Analysen der Whlerwanderungen belegen bereinstimmend, dass beispielsweise in Deutschland die meisten der zugewonnen Stimmen der AfD aus dem linken Lager kommen. Auch die Schwedendemokraten (SD) rekrutieren ihre Anhngerschaft mehrheitlich aus der (mnnlichen) Arbeiterschaft, dem traditionellen Bollwerk der schwedischen Sozialdemokraten. hnliches gilt fr die sterreichische FP und die norwegische Fortschrittspartei: Ihre Whler sind meist Arbeiter mit geringer formaler Bildung, mit wenig Aufstiegschancen und umso greren Abstiegsngsten. Globalisierungsverlierer whlen heute rechts, nicht links.

Krise des reprsentativen Systems

Die Selbst-Demontage der europischen Sozialdemokratie ab Anfang der 2000er Jahre tut ihr briges. Die Neuausrichtung der britischen Labour-Partei unter Tony Blair, der SPD unter Gerhard Schrder und der griechischen PASOK unter Georgiou Papandreou stehen exemplarisch fr den Niedergang europischer Arbeiterparteien, die sich von ihrer traditionellen Whlerklientel entfremdet haben. Ein ideologisches Vakuum, das rechte Parteien geschickt zu fllen wissen.

Ebenso rcht sich die Tatsache, dass die EU sich in den letzten Jahren immer mehr zu einem zentralistisch ausgerichteten Brokratieapparat entwickelte, der sich einem demokratischen Zugriff zunehmend verschliet. Klar ist, dass transnationale Angelegenheiten nur bedingt im nationalstaatlichen Rahmen entschieden werden knnen. Doch wurde transnational von EU-Technokraten immer hufiger mit bedarf keiner Abstimmung bersetzt, etwa bei den Geheimverhandlungen ber die Megaprojekte TTIP/CETA oder bei den Sparprogrammen der Troika, deren Politik konomischer Sachzwnge fundamentale demokratische Rechte aushebelte.

Den Forderungen nach demokratischer Erneuerung des EU-Projekts wurde stur die Fortsetzung einer Politik der starken Mitte entgegengesetzt, selbst als klar wurde, dass diese Mitte lngst an Integrationskraft verloren hatte und die Rnder an Boden gewannen. Die Aufstnde in Griechenland gegen die sozialen Verwerfungen der Austerittspolitik liefern dafr Zeugnis ebenso wie das Erstarken eurokritischer Krfte auf dem gesamten Kontinent.

Die europische Reprsentationskrise erklrt, warum die Forderung nach mehr Brgerbeteiligung ein klassisch linker Topos mittlerweile fester Bestandteil rechtspopulistischer Rhetorik ist und sich rechte Parteien so erfolgreich als authentische Vertreter einer angeblichen schweigenden Mehrheit inszenieren. Politik, so verknden die Populisten, msse wieder ein Ausdruck des wahren Volkswillens sein, schreibt der sterreichische Politikberater Werner T. Bauer in einer Studie ber rechtsextreme Parteien.

Ob das liberale Europa dem autoritren Traum in den nchsten Jahren etwas entgegensetzen kann oder ob es zum Bndnis zwischen Mob und Elite kommen wird, das die Geschichtsschreibung Faschismus nannte, bleibt abzuwarten. Noch haben die etablierten Parteien keine nachhaltige Strategie, wie sie mit dem Rechtsruck umgehen will. Aktives Ignorieren hat sich als ebenso wirkungslos erwiesen wie die Teil-bernahme rechter Forderungen. Beides gehrt in die Abteilung Symbolpolitik und Herumdoktern auf der Symptom-Ebene. Solange die tiefer sitzenden Ursachen nicht angegangen werden, wird sich Europa an einer dauerhaften Prsenz rechtspopulistischer und rechtsextremer Parteien gewhnen mssen.

Martin Schulz kndigte unterdessen an, mit aller Kraft gegen jene zu kmpfen, die Hass, Ausgrenzung und Intoleranz predigen. Er werde das nicht einfach hinnehmen, sagte Schulz in einem Zeitungsinterview, denn eine solche Politik hat Europa schon einmal in die Katastrophe gefhrt.

http://www.euractiv.de/section/eu-innenpolitik/news/auf-den-mob-folgt-die-elite/

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see our letter on:

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

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UdovonMassenbachMailJoergBarandat

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