Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 06.05.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· Ottoman Empire Borders Versus Modern-Day Borders

· Butler: Saudi Arabia — the dangers of a fanciful vision * Modernisierung des Rohstoffsektors im Iran – Chancen für deutsche Unternehmen

· CSIS: Iran in a Reconnecting Eurasia

· CSIS: Turkey in a Reconnecting Eurasia

· CSIS: The European Union in a Reconnecting Eurasia

· DEBKAfile: Suddenly Russia consents to consider Assad’s ouster

· Net Assessment of Russia.

· „Wir Moslems können nicht gleichzeitig mit euch existieren"

· "Bildungshysterie" produziert arbeitslose Akademiker

· Ex post?!-> Handelsblatt: Geahnt haben es alle, gewusst nur wenige: Mit den Hilfspaketen für Griechenland wurden nicht die Griechen gerettet, sondern vor allem die Banken. (ESMT)

· Bruecher, B. et al: Somatic Mutation Theory – Why it’s Wrong for Most Cancers.

Massenbach*Ottoman Empire Borders Versus Modern-Day Borders.

Geopolitical Futures logo

Ottoman Empire Borders Versus Modern-Day Borders

This map is designed to show some of the hidden fault lines underlying the states of the Middle East, and the reasons these states, which were held together by foreign powers and domestic tyrants, disintegrated.

The Ottoman Empire lasted for about six centuries before it collapsed after World War I. Towards the waning years of the 17th century, its forces had penetrated as far west as Vienna. Its power and reach were enormous and enduring. The green areas of the map show what remained of the empire in the mid-19th century, after it was long past its prime. Its power had declined, but the extent of its rule, even in decline, bound together a region reaching from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula and to a large part of North Africa.

The fine white lines show the boundaries of Ottoman provinces. You will notice that Ottoman provinces, even in modern-day Turkey, which was the core of the empire, were relatively small. There were several explanations for the size of provinces. One was efficiency. Governors and staff managing a small expanse of territory were inherently more efficient than those managing a larger one. Another explanation was political. Ottoman sultans who had also held the title of caliph since the early 16th century did not want to be challenged by governors managing large areas, where they could grow rich and powerful. However, that did happen on occasion, including in Egypt when Muhammad Ali Pasha (an Albanian) was appointed governor in the early 19th century. Smaller provincial governors were weak, poor and could be played off against each other.

But there was another reason for the size of the provinces. Any empire wants to keep peace within its borders. After centuries of rule, the Ottomans understood that the empire was filled with small, hostile clans, tribes, religions and so on. Fusing them together in a single large province promised conflict. Keeping them apart in clever ways, in smaller provinces, limited the opportunities for conflict. The Ottomans also understood that populations shifted, relationships between groups varied and, as things changed, so should the provinces. The Ottomans were constantly tinkering with provincial boundaries. To the extent possible, and with less than perfect success, the Ottomans used these boundaries to keep the peace. The Ottomans understood their domain and created borders that limited conflict.

After World War I, the Ottomans collapsed and the British and French moved in to govern the region south of Turkey. The founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, fused the many provinces of modern Turkey into one nation. The British and the French imposed boundaries generally heedless of the Ottoman model, inventing new states with old names from the Turkish border south into the Arabian Peninsula. Syria went to the French, who carved off a small piece for their allies, the Maronite Christians, called Lebanon. The British moved the Hashemites from the western Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula to rule Iraq and the eastern bank of the Jordan River, an area called Transjordan, which later became Jordan.

All of these changes made sense from the standpoint of British and French interests and the politics of the region. However, they ignored the boundaries created by the Ottomans. In doing so, they did the opposite of what the Ottomans tried to do. Rather than having small entities containing hopefully compatible groups, they fused hostile groups into large, European-style entities resembling nation-states, as well as small entities that suited their needs.

On a map, these new entities look like nation-states, but they lack the essential character of a European nation-state: commonality. Loaded into Lebanon, for example, were Maronite and Greek Christians, Sunni and Shiite Muslims and Druze, all further divided into hostile clans. Lebanon regularly experienced brutal civil wars that could not be managed by a state that was weaker than its subject groups.

The same was done on a larger scale in Iraq and Syria. Consisting of hostile groups, they could be held together only by foreign powers. When Britain and France lost their empires after World War II, Iraq and Syria were held together by tyrants. And when the tyrants fell or became weak, nothing held them together and these countries plunged into civil war.

The map displays the Ottoman vision of the region, flawed like all such things are but tested over centuries. And it shows the European model, ignoring the Ottoman model, which is now in the process of collapse.


Russian News.

Net Assessment of Russia.

April 14, 2016 Russia is facing a number of challenges, most notably increasing Western influence along its western periphery and declining prices for oil and gas, which are key sources of revenue for the Kremlin. How the country deals with these issues will determine its future path.

Russia’s behavior is also shaped by its demography ( see att. map). Russia is facing a demographic crisis, and its population will shrink over the coming decades. From 1992 to 2010, the country saw negative to zero population growth. Fertility rates during this period ranged from 1.2 to 1.6 children per woman. In the following years through 2014, the country’s population growth barely entered into positive territory, with a rate of 0.1 to 0.2 percent. Fertility rates still hover at 1.6 to 1.7 births per woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.0, meaning the population will continue to decline. This demographic trend is placing pressure on Russia to secure its geopolitical goals before the demographic crisis degrades the ability of the military and economy to support an expansion of the country’s buffer zones.

Russia’s Geopolitical Imperatives

When Russia extends its control further west into Europe, potential attackers on the North European Plain must travel farther to reach Moscow. The collapse of the Soviet Union severely eroded Russia’s ability to protect its core. In 1989, St. Petersburg was about 1,000 miles from NATO troops. Today, the city is only about 200 miles away from Western military bases. For its basic national security, Russia must thus control two key buffer zones, Belarus and Ukraine. Dominating the Baltics is also a strategic goal for Russia, but of secondary importance. Ideally, the country’s defense requires that Russia maintain strong forces on the North European Plain and be anchored in the Carpathian Mountains in the south.

The borderlands that lie between Russia and Europe, in the area stretching from the Baltics in the north to Bulgaria in the south, have been contested by various empires and regional powers for centuries. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, members of the former Warsaw Pact, as well as the three Baltic states, joined both NATO and the European Union. In the 1990s, Russia, weakened by the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the ensuing political and economic chaos, could do little to respond. Nevertheless, the Kremlin regarded this expansion as a direct threat to Russia’s national security.

Moreover, maintaining Belarus and Ukraine in its sphere of influence has been a key priority for the Kremlin over the years. After protesters who enjoyed the support of the West toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, Russia tried to regain influence in Ukraine by seizing the strategic Crimean Peninsula – home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – and sending troops to back separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s moves in Ukraine prompted NATO, as well as the U.S. on a bilateral level, to boost defense ties with countries along NATO’s eastern edge. The crisis in Ukraine led to new agreements for Western troop rotations in Central and Eastern European countries, as well as the establishment of new NATO integration centers. NATO established a new Spearhead Force, while increasing the size of its Rapid Reaction Forces. Furthermore, the U.S. will have three fully manned combat brigades in continuous rotation in Europe by early 2017. An alliance structure that includes Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states, among others, is emerging. For Russia, increased NATO presence – and in particular U.S. presence – in its backyard constitutes a major threat.

However, Russia’s top priority is Ukraine. It is Russia’s imperative that the U.S. and NATO not base troops in Ukrainian territory, and that the West refrain from providing significant military assistance for Ukraine. Western moves to base troops or provide significant military assistance to Kiev would amount to a direct threat to Russia’s fundamental national security.

Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, has practiced a strategy of linkage. In order to enhance its leverage on key geopolitical matters, Moscow at times makes moves in one area, with the aim of boosting Russia’s negotiating position with leading powers in an unrelated dispute. The Kremlin has thus linked the current crises in Syria with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

In mid-2013, Russia inserted itself into the international crisis over Syria’s use of chemical weapons by negotiating a deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons program. When protests broke out in Ukraine in late 2013, the U.S. was not prepared to allow Moscow to shape the outcome of another crisis. In 2015, finding itself in a weakened position, Russia once more turned to the issue of Syria, launching an air campaign in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime with the hope of using its enhanced role in Syria to increase the Kremlin’s negotiating position with the U.S. regarding the future of Ukraine. After reshaping perceptions of Russian power, strengthening the position of Assad’s forces, and prompting negotiations with the U.S., the limited Syrian intervention largely fulfilled its strategic purpose for Russia. While some Russian forces are still active in Syria, Putin’s announcement in March that the bulk of Russia’s forces would leave the country signals that Moscow is turning its attention back to its primary strategic challenges in Europe.

Russia’s Economic Crisis

The current population distribution and geography of Russia makes developing a modern economy very difficult. Even basic activities such as food distribution can be a daunting task. Russia’s major rail and road systems remain strongly concentrated in European Russia, particularly metropolitan areas. The country lacks sufficient infrastructure, both in quantity and quality, to efficiently connect farmers to cities and industrial centers to commercial ones. Construction and maintenance of such infrastructure is a very costly and never-ending endeavor. However, such construction is Russia’s only option given that its river system does not facilitate the transportation of raw materials and agricultural goods to port for export.

In 2000, the government made the pivotal decision to redirect the country’s economic activity back to natural resource production and export, while de-emphasizing the industrial development it had been pursuing for almost a century. This helped mitigate the effects of a declining population given natural resource production is less labor-intensive than industrial production. The decision was put into action just in time to take advantage of rising commodity prices. As a result, the country enjoyed a large increase in revenue that helped strengthen its economy and enable it to engage in selective reindustrialization.

However, high commodity prices are not a permanent fixture in the global economy. While U.S. and European Union sanctions on Russian firms and individuals have led to financial losses, the fall in the price of oil has had the most significant negative impact on the economy and the regime. The World Bank estimates that Russia’s economy will contract by 1.9 percent in 2016, in contrast to an earlier forecast of merely 0.6 percent, and much of this shift is due to the price of oil. In late 2014, oil was priced at over $80 per barrel, while the ruble traded at 44.9 to the dollar. In mid-April 2016, oil prices were at $43 per barrel, and the ruble traded at 65 to the dollar. The fall in the value of the ruble, combined with Russia’s ban on food imports from the European Union and other countries, led to an increase in the cost of a variety of foods.

Most important, as oil prices plunged, so did Russia’s budget revenue. As a result, the Russian government instituted several rounds of budget cuts including reductions to health, education, housing, utilities and regional expenditures. In early 2016, Russian ministries were instructed to cut spending by 10 percent, and defense expenditures were also reduced by 5 percent.

Russia’s economic problems and continued budget cuts present a challenge for the regime, both internally and externally. Its power rests on three pillars: the security services, provision of economic incentives to a small group of elites and the acquiescence of the Russian population. The security services remain loyal to the regime, but there are signs that Putin may be worried about their status. In April, he announced the creation of a new National Guard, which will be accountable directly to him. The National Guard will take control of OMON, Russia’s riot police, and SOBR, the country’s SWAT forces. The creation of this new force signals that the president is highly concerned about internal stability, and perhaps even about the reliability of Russia’s elites and security services. The State Duma elections planned for September 2016 are also likely driving regime fears about stability and potential protests.

At the same time, Russia’s economic troubles are limiting the amount of resources available for distribution among elites. These elites include key figures within the security establishment. Continued financial difficulties for Russia would bring about greater tensions among competing elites. Moreover, budget cuts and rising consumer prices are impacting the daily lives of Putin’s constituents. Managing Russia’s limited financial resources in order to placate competing elite groups, while also working to prevent social unrest over economic grievances, is the Kremlin’s top domestic priority and challenge.

There are also indications that Russia’s budget woes are undermining the Kremlin’s ability to spend funds on some strategic projects. Leaders in places such as Crimea and Abkhazia have complained about lack of sufficient funding from Moscow. Over the past several years, Russia has financed breakaway regions in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, far-right political parties in Europe and other groups in order to boost its influence in strategic areas. Russia’s economic troubles are not preventing Moscow from acting abroad: it still provides military and economic assistance to allies in the Caucasus, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and beyond. However, budgetary pressures are reducing the amount of funding available for these projects.

Russia’s Strategy

Russia is constrained. The country faces growing U.S. involvement in the borderlands to its west, a pro-Western government in Kiev and significant economic challenges. Russia’s top priorities are to prevent a Western military presence in or significant military assistance to Ukraine, while also safeguarding domestic stability. At the same time, Russia has few places to turn for help overcoming its constraints. China is undergoing an economic slowdown, and despite some increased cooperation, China has little interest in Russia’s strategic goals in Europe and cannot replace Europe as a major export destination for Russian natural gas.

Our long-term view is that Russia will weaken and the country’s internal unity will erode. Russia is facing a host of internal and external challenges, but it is still a major regional power with military and financial tools it can exercise. The country strives to maintain close economic and political ties with countries in its periphery, especially Central Asia and Belarus, in order to ensure that its buffer zones are protected. Russia’s arms deals in the Middle East generate revenue, but are also a tool for making Russia a player in the region. Russia’s limited military moves in Syria were designed to give Moscow leverage in its negotiations with the U.S. over the status of Ukraine. Ultimately, protecting its buffer zones, especially in Eastern Europe, will remain Russia’s primary strategic goal.

Suddenly Russia consents to consider Assad’s ouster.
DEBKAfileExclusive ReportMay 4, 2016, 10:39 AM (GMT+02:00)

Washington and Moscow have made dramatic progress over the last few days in marathon telephone talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on ending the war in Syria. Russia agreed for the first time to discuss the possibility that Syrian President Bashar Assad will step down, and the conditions under which such a process will take place, according to debkafile’s intelligence sources.

The sources add that the Russians also agreed to begin to negotiate the future of senior Syrian military commanders who are carrying out the war against the rebels. The contacts that include the Saudis and the Jordanians have reached such an advanced stage that participants have started to prepare lists of Syrian commanders who will be removed or remain in their posts.

One of the clearest signs of the progress was the arrival of nearly all of the heads and commanders of the Syrian rebel organizations on Monday and Tuesday (May 2-3) for intensive talks at the US Central Command Forward-Jordan, a war room outside Amman staffed by officers from the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The gathering was arranged via a series of meetings held in Geneva over the last few days between the top diplomats of the US, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Our sources report that US officials and senior officers in charge of the Obama administration’s strategy for the war in Syria presented the rebel leaders and commanders with a series of agreements already reached by Washington and Moscow on ways of ending the war. The main part of the agreement focused on the resignation of Assad and the departure of him and his family from the country-the Syrian opposition’s key demand for continuing the talks.

The rebel leaders were asked by the US officials and officers, who were accompanied by Saudi and Jordanian officials, to help facilitate implementation of the agreed measures and not to try to interfere with them, or in other words, to stop the fighting.

According to the information from our sources, the discussions in Jordan are continuing.

Washington’s current goal is achieve a ceasefire in all of Syria that will prevent an imminent attack by Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah forces on Aleppo, the country’s second-largest city.
Our military sources report that on Monday and Tuesday, by order of President Vladimir Putin, the Russian air force suddenly halted its airstrikes in the Aleppo area.
Thus, the Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah armies are preparing to launch their assault without the air support needed to capture the city. Even though the Syrian air force can operate in an uninhibited manner in the Aleppo area, it is not up to a large-scale and decisive attack.

No specific information is forthcoming for the Russian U-turn on Assad ousters in mid offensive for the recovery of Aleppo.
However Putin is prone to sudden zigzag in policies.’s-ouster-


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* „Wir Moslems können nicht gleichzeitig mit euch existieren"

18.11.2012 | 18:10 | DETLEF KLEINERT (Die Presse)

Warum die Christenverfolgung in der islamischen Welt zunimmt: Wo die Scharia regiert, haben Nichtmuslime alles Recht verloren.

Auf dem Tahrir-Platz in Kairo kündete ein Transparent dieser Tage: „85 Millionen wollen die Anwendung der Scharia“. Rund 10.000 Salafisten hatten sich versammelt, um die strikte Befolgung des Koran in der Verfassung zu verlangen. Was dies in der Praxis bedeutet, hat ein Terrorist erläutert, nachdem er mit Anderen 60 Katholiken im Irak ermordet hatte: „Ihr Christen seid alle ,Kafara‘ (Ungläubige), wir können nicht gleichzeitig mit euch existieren!“

So kommt es, dass weltweit rund 100 Millionen Christen verfolgt, gedemütigt und – in letzter Konsequenz – auch ermordet werden. Vor allem in islamischen Ländern: Je strenger der Koran ausgelegt wird, desto unbarmherziger ist die systematische Vertreibung, der mörderische Terror.

Nur einige Beispiele: In Indonesien wurden in den vergangenen Jahren mehr als 1000 Kirchen in Brand gesteckt; in Ägypten wurden in den letzten 30 Jahren mehr als 1800 Kopten aus religiösen Gründen ermordet. Im Herbst 2011 riefen Imame in mehr als 20 oberägyptischen Moscheen zum Sturm gegen Kirchen und zum Mord an Christen auf – die Sicherheitskräfte zogen ab.

Religiöse Hasspropaganda

Die religiöse Hasspropaganda bleibt freilich nicht auf Moscheen beschränkt: Über Tonband ist sie am Basar, im Taxi und auch in Privathäusern allgegenwärtig. Die Islamwissenschaftlerin Rita Breuer: „Antichristliche Propaganda muss man in den meisten muslimisch geprägten Ländern nicht mehr hinter vorgehaltener Hand äußern, sie ist salonfähig und gehört vielerorts geradezu zum guten Ton.“

Daraus folgt laut Breuer: „Gleichberechtigung nicht muslimischer Bürger kann es in einem explizit islamisch geprägten Staatswesen nicht geben.“ Denn wo die Scharia regiert, haben Nichtmuslime alles Recht verloren: „Ein islamisch geprägtes Staatswesen ohne religiöse Diskriminierung hat es noch nie gegeben.“

Rita Breuer, die als Entwicklungshelferin lange in islamischen Ländern tätig gewesen ist, erklärt den islamischen Christenhass auch theologisch. Sure 4, Vers 171 sagt unzweideutig: „Jesu, der Sohn der Maria, ist der Gesandte Allahs.“ Der Religionsgründer der Christen, Gottes Sohn, kann und darf natürlich nicht göttlicher sein als Mohammed, der ja „nur“ ein Mensch war. Der Glaube an Jesus Christus stellt damit das gesamte islamische Religionsgebäude infrage. Deshalb werden die „Götzendiener“ – so Sure 9, Vers 17 – „im Feuer ewig verweilen“.

Religionsfreiheit, nur theoretisch

Da ist nichts von jener Barmherzigkeit, die Mouhanad Khorchide im Islam zu erkennen glaubt („Islam ist Barmherzigkeit“, Herder-Verlag). Und wenn er meint, heutige Moslems müssten den Koran im historischen Kontext betrachten, dann mag dies für gebildete Moslems in westlichen Ländern durchaus gelten. Dort aber, wo der Islam als Staatsdoktrin gilt, herrschen andere Grundsätze.

Zum Beispiel in der Türkei, wo es eine Religionsfreiheit allenfalls theoretisch gibt. Rita Breuer: „In der nominell laizistischen Türkei ist eine geradezu hysterische Verfolgung christlicher Mission und dessen, was man dafür hält, zu beobachten.“ 2007 wurden im osttürkischen Malatya zwei zum Christentum konvertierte Türken und ein deutscher Prediger „grausam abgeschlachtet“.

Kein Sonderfall, denn im islamischen Scharia-Recht ist Apostasie – also der Abfall vom islamischen Glauben – ein todeswürdiges Verbrechen. In vielen islamischen Ländern droht Apostaten auch heute noch die Todesstrafe, anderswo rufen die „barmherzigen“ Vertreter des Glaubens zur Lynchjustiz auf. Beispielsweise in Ägypten, wo „viele Imame die Gläubigen zur Tötung der Konvertiten“ aufrufen, so Breuer. „Wer ihrem Ruf folgt, hat keine Strafverfolgung zu befürchten.“

Während aber in der westlichen Welt gerade die Kirchen Toleranz predigen und einige Theologen von einem „Dialog auf Augenhöhe“ schwafeln, findet in der islamischen Welt ein Klima der Feindschaft immer mehr Anhänger. Breuer: „Die Welle der Re-Islamisierung der islamischen Welt und der erneuten Politisierung der Religion gleicht einem schleichenden Gift für das interreligiöse Klima und wirkt sich erheblich zum Nachteil der Christen aus.“

Im innerislamischen Disput haben sich nicht die Liberalen durchgesetzt, sondern die radikalen Islamisten. Keine Frage, dass dies auch Auswirkungen auf die verschiedenen Strömungen des Islam in der westlichen Welt hat.

Scheindialog hilft niemandem

Und nicht zu vergessen: Der hierzulande geführte Scheindialog hilft den bedrohten Christen in der islamischen Welt nicht, sie sind auf eine klare Position der westlichen Kirchen angewiesen. Deshalb erscheint es als Realitätsverweigerung, wenn Theologen – so in der Katholischen Kirche in Wien – immer wieder ein positives und idealisiertes Bild des Islam zeichnen. Eines Islam, der sich mit der christlichen Werteordnung vertrage – den „wahren Islam des Friedens und der Freiheit, der Gleichberechtigung aller Menschen, der Toleranz und des Pluralismus“.

Nur, weiß Rita Breuer: „Diesen angeblich wahren Islam gibt es nicht.“ Im Gegenteil, die Hetze gegen Christen nimmt zu, auch bei uns. „Auch wenn die aktiv militanten Muslime eine Minderheit sind, ist die passive Akzeptanz der Gewalt sehr hoch.“ Ein Satz, der alle zum Nachdenken über Migration und Integration veranlassen sollte.

Zum Nachlesen: Rita Breuer, „Im Namen Allahs? Christenverfolgung im Islam“, Herder-Verlag.


"Bildungshysterie" produziert arbeitslose Akademiker

02.05.2016 | 09:18 | (

Der Titel selber sorge nicht für Arbeitsmarktgerechtigkeit, die Arbeitslosigkeit verlagere sich nur, warnt der deutsche Bildungsphilosoph Matthias Burchardt.

Höhere Bildung garantiert weniger Arbeitslosigkeit und mehr Gehalt – solche Aussagen gehören für Bildungsphilosoph Matthias Burchardt zum "Mythos Akademisierung". Die aktuelle "Bildungshysterie" produziere vielmehr arbeitslose Akademiker und bedrohe das Erfolgsmodell duale Ausbildung, warnt er.

Bildung müsse derzeit im politischen Diskurs als Universallösung herhalten, kritisiert der Forscher der Universität Köln. Um das Handwerk aufzuwerten, müsse man aber nicht alle Handwerker zum Bachelor oder Master ausbilden, sondern – im Falle Deutschlands – bei der Besteuerung ansetzen. Auch sozialpolitische Probleme seien nicht durch eine höhere Akademikerquote zu lösen. "Der Titel selber sorgt nicht für Arbeitsmarktgerechtigkeit, die Arbeitslosigkeit verlagert sich nur." Am Samstag war Burchardt bei der Tagung "Studieren um jeden Preis?" in Wien zu Gast.

Mehr Konkurrenz und prekäre Beschäftigung

Durch inflationäre Vergabe akademischer Titel schaffe man bloß mehr Konkurrenz und prekäre Beschäftigung. Auch mehr Einkommen bedeute ein Hochschulabschluss in Ländern wie Österreich und Deutschland mit einem starken dualen Ausbildungssystem nicht unbedingt, ein Maurer verdiene mitunter sogar mehr als Geistes- und Sozialwissenschafter.

Der "Mythos Akademisierung", der von Institutionen wie der OECD befeuert werde, habe soziale Selektion mit dem Bildungsabschluss verknüpft. Hauptschulabsolventen werde vermittelt, die Gesellschaft könne sie nicht brauchen. Gleichzeitig sei dadurch diese Schulform, die vor ein paar Jahrzehnten noch ein Garant für einen Posten gewesen sei, entwertet worden. "Im Zuge der Akademisierung wurde plötzlich die Matura im politischen Diskurs für unbedingt notwendig erklärt. Später hieß es dann, dass auch die Matura nichts mehr wert ist."

Uni wird verschult und trivialisiert

Die Uni müsse zwar "jedem, der geeignet und geneigt ist, offenstehen". Wenn der Studienabschluss zur neuen Norm erkoren werde, würden allerdings nicht nur Menschen zu einem Studium gedrängt, denen vielleicht eine berufspraktische Ausbildung mehr liege. "Die Uni wird gleichzeitig in hohem Maße verschult und trivialisiert. Man kann nicht bei gleichbleibendem Niveau Menschen mitnehmen, die nicht dazu geeignet und geneigt sind", so Burchardt.

Außerdem befürchtet er negative Folgen für jene Berufe, deren Ausbildung akademisiert und professionalisiert werden soll. "Diese Tätigkeiten werden im Rahmen einer Bildungshysterie überakademisiert angegangen. Bestimmte pädagogische Rollen kann man aber auch ohne akademische Ausbildung wahrnehmen", kritisiert er die geplante Aufwertung der Kindergartenpädagogik-Ausbildung. Zusätzliche Aufgaben wie Sprachförderung müssten in der Ausbildung verankert werden, dafür müsste man aber nicht zwingend wissenschaftliche Literatur lesen.

Mehr FH, weniger Uni?

Burchardt plädiert für eine Vielfalt von Ausbildungsgängen, um den verschiedenen beruflichen Anforderungen gerecht zu werden. Daher sei es auch wichtig, dass die berufliche Bildung nicht unter die Räder komme, immerhin werde dieses Modell weltweit kopiert. Dem Plan von Österreichs Wissenschaftsminister Reinhold Mitterlehner (ÖVP), einen Teil der Studierenden von den Unis an die eher praxisorientierten Fachhochschulen (FH) umzulenken, kann Burchardt daher prinzipiell etwas abgewinnen – wenn die FH sich auf ihre Stärken in der praktischen Ausbildung besinnen, nachdem sie im Zuge der Bologna-Reform zu mehr Wissenschaftlichkeit gedrängt worden seien.

Generell kritisiert Burchardt Soft-Governance-Methoden von Organisationen wie der OECD, die ohne demokratische Legitimation über Zielvorgaben die Bildungspolitik weltweit beeinflussen. "Es wird als alternativlos dargestellt, diese Ziele umzusetzen, obwohl das auf die nationalen Bildungssysteme ganz verheerende Folgen haben kann."

Bruecher, B. et al.: Somatic Mutation Theory – Why it’s Wrong for Most Cancers

“…It is no accident that mutations are increasingly being questioned as the causal event in the origin of the vast majority of cancers as clinical data show little support for this theory when compared against the metrics of patient outcomes…”. *

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

Barandat* Protests Spread Across Kazakhstan.

May 2, 2016 Unrest in Central Asia could signal regional destabilization.

Nearly 30 years ago, in December 1986, several thousand young Kazakhs took to the streets in protest over the appointment of an ethnic Russian, Gennady Kolbin, as new head of the then-Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic’s branch of the Communist Party. The protests spread to several towns before Soviet security forces violently cracked down on the demonstrators. The 1986 protests in Kazakhstan are remembered today by outsiders as a relatively minor episode in the lead up to the momentous fall of the Soviet Union five years later. And yet, it was these demonstrations that were among the first signals that a significant change was underway in the Soviet Union.

Large-scale protests in Central Asia today are relatively rare. Most of the region’s regimes use a variety of tools, from crackdowns to patronage networks, to prevent potential unrest. Nevertheless, Central Asia is slowly destabilizing. The region is at the crossroads of several interrelated crises. To the north, Russia is experiencing significant financial challenges. To the east, China’s economy is slowing down. In the south, Afghanistan remains highly unstable, while in the west, the Middle East is rife with civil wars and growing rivalries. Central Asia is reeling from the impact of surrounding crises: the region’s exposure to Russia and China, as well a heavy reliance on commodity exports, have caused currencies to plunge, remittances to drop and Central Asian migrants to return home from abroad, jobless.

Kazakhstan, a major energy exporter with strong economic ties to both China and Russia, is thus facing a perfect storm. Low oil prices have led to government budget cuts, while exports fell 42.4 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to the National Bank of Kazakhstan. The International Monetary Fund’s latest projections indicate that the country’s economy will grow by merely 0.1 percent in 2016. And yet, despite deteriorating economic conditions over the past months, there were very few instances of significant public unrest in Kazakhstan.

On April 24, however, a protest took place in the western city of Atyrau, and demonstrations quickly spread over the following days to several other cities, including Kyzylorda and Zhanaozen in the south, Aktau in the west, Aktobe in the north and Semey in the east. The protesters’ grievances center on an amendment to Kazakhstan’s Land Code, which, when it comes into effect in July, will allow the state to sell land to joint ventures that will be allowed to rent out the land to foreigners for up to 25 years, a change from the current period of 10 years. Protesters have reportedly been employing anti-Chinese slogans and expressing concerns that the new law will allow China to take control of Kazakh agricultural lands.

On the surface, these protests may appear minor: estimates for the total number of protesters range from hundreds to merely a few thousand. Nevertheless, there are several indicators that we should take these protests seriously. First, the geographic spread of the protests shows that there is relatively widespread discontent and that individuals across the country are watching developments in other areas. Second, the protesters’ grievances mix economic and nationalist concerns, thus potentially boosting their ability to appeal to a wider public.

Most important, Kazakhstan’s regime appears to feel threatened by these protests. Some protesters have been arrested, while there are reports of protesters clashing with riot police and some local authorities warning individuals not to demonstrate. Significantly, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev publicly warned that protest organizers will be punished. In a speech on May 1, he said Ukraine was an example of a country where “there is no unity” and as a result “no tasks are solved.” The regime is thus attempting to crack down on protesters while appealing to the public to opt for stability, but the leadership’s fierce public reaction to the demonstrations shows insecurity and fear of unrest.

In our net assessment of Central Asia, we wrote that as Eurasia’s interconnected crises intensify, we will be watching for indicators of growing public unrest and regime weaknesses. Kazakhstan’s leadership may fear protests, but these demonstrations are unlikely to destabilize the regime. They are, in a way, reminiscent of the December 1986 protests: today’s demonstrations may not bring about change on their own, but they signal that large systemic shifts are underway in the region. Central Asia is surrounded by crises, and Kazakhstan’s protests indicate that the region is unraveling as well.

CSIS: Iran in a Reconnecting Eurasia.

Foreign Economic and Security Interests.

Iran in a Reconnecting Eurasia examines the full scope of Iranian national interests in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and analyzes the broad outlines of Iranian engagement over the coming years. It is part of a six-part CSIS series, “Eurasia from the Outside In,” which includes studies focusing on Turkey, the European Union, Iran, India, Russia, and China.

CSIS: Turkey in a Reconnecting Eurasia.

Turkey in a Reconnecting Eurasia examines the full scope of Turkish national interests in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and analyzes the broad outlines of Turkish engagement over the coming years.

CSIS: The European Union in a Reconnecting Eurasia.

The European Union in a Reconnecting Eurasia examines the full scope of EU interests in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and analyzes the broad outlines of EU engagement over the coming years.


Middle East

Modernisierung des Rohstoffsektors im Iran – Chancen für deutsche Unternehmen

Die Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) hat jetzt in dem Kurzbericht „Iran – ein rohstoffwirtschaftlicher Sachstand“ (Commodity TopNews 49) die wesentlichen Fakten zum Rohstoffpotenzial des Iran zusammengestellt und zugleich die wichtigsten Investitionsvorhaben im Rohstoffsektor aufgezeigt.

Der Iran verfügt über sehr bedeutende Kohlenwasserstoffvorräte. Mit dem geplanten Ausbau der Förderung könnte das Land zukünftig wieder eine zentrale Rolle im Weltmarkt für Erdöl und regional für Erdgas einnehmen. Zudem ist der Iran regional heute schon ein bedeutender Produzent mineralischer Rohstoffe, deren Fördermengen nach aktuellen Plänen langfristig deutlich gesteigert werden könnten.

Neben der dauerhaften Aufhebung der Handelssanktionen bildet die Erhöhung der Sicherheiten für ausländische Investitionen eine weitere wichtige Grundlage für die Modernisierung des Rohstoff-sektors. „Daraus könnten sich Chancen für deutsche Unternehmen in allen Bereichen des irani-schen Rohstoffsektors ergeben – von der Bereitstellung innovativer Technologien und Lösungen über die Lieferung von Maschinen und Anlagen bis hin zu Investitionen in die Weiterverarbeitungs-kapazitäten“, so die Einschätzung von Mitautor Dr. Sven-Uwe Schulz.

Link zum BGR-Bericht:




“Saudi Arabia — the dangers of a fanciful vision”

Nick Butler.

Saudi Arabia is in a mess. That conclusion seems to be common ground — the view of serious outside analysts and of the country’s own government. The only question is whether the problems can be corrected by shock treatment of the sort announced in Riyadh last week.

The immediate challenge is clear. Last year, revenue from oil exports fell by 23 per cent. That matters in a country that is 77 per cent dependent on oil income. Unemployment is officially 11.6 per cent, not counting the millions who hold non-jobs in and around the agencies of the state. In total, 70 per cent of Saudis work for the government. In the first half of last year, according to Mohammed al-Sheikh, the chief economic adviser to the all-powerful deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (known universally as MbS), the kingdom’s financial reserves were being drawn down at a rate that would have exhausted them by the end of 2017 — far earlier than had previously been estimated by outside authorities such as the International Monetary Fund.

All those problems were well summed up in a note from McKinseys published at the end of last year that talked of the prospect of a rapid economic deterioration in Saudi Arabia over the next decade.

So radical change is needed, which brings us to the announcement last week of MbS’s Vision 2030, designed to create a modern economy free of dependence on oil. The full announcement is worth reading because it demonstrates the sheer scale of the ambition, but a few headlines will give you the flavour.

  • A stake in the state-owned oil company will be floated in an IPO within the next two years.
  • The funds from that and other asset sales — perhaps $2tn dollars or more — will be invested in a new sovereign wealth fund to give the country a regular income from non-oil sources.
  • The country will be opened up to tourism.
  • Expats will be allowed to own property within Saudi Arabia.
  • New small and medium-sized enterprises will be encouraged to the point where they account for 35 per cent of economic activity.
  • Subsidies for oil, water and electricity will be progressive eliminated.
  • Unemployment will be reduced to 7 per cent
  • A range of new industrial sectors will be developed, including petrochemicals, manufacturing and finance on the basis of foreign investment.
  • An anti-corruption drive in the Ministry of Defence will be combined with the development of a domestic military equipment business that will be capable of meeting at least half of the country’s needs.

All this builds on a full-scale McKinsey study called “Saudi Arabia — Beyond Oil”, which was published at the end of last year.

The only problem with this grand plan is that is completely unrealistic. To say, as MbS did last week, that by 2020 Saudi Arabia will no longer be dependent on oil revenue is beyond a dream. To say that the country doesn’t care whether the oil price is $30 a barrel or $70 is ridiculous. But the real problem is the reality when it comes to implementation. Last week’s policy statement makes no reference to any of the difficulties of delivering what is promised.

Are we really supposed to believe that Saudi Arabia can create an industry to build technically complex military equipment from a zero base?

Or to believe that western tourists are going to flock to a country whose laws allow people to be stoned to death for adultery or gay sex? The human rights problems are amply and regularly set out in reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. How many western women will be happy to slip into a burkini for their holidays?

How is the civil service which MBS accepted last week was corrupt and inefficient to be reformed when so many of the brightest and best Saudis are happier to live and work in London or New York?

How is Aramco to be converted into a company that can meet western standards of transparency and good governance? Will the kingdom, for instance, allow an independent external analysis of the company’s claimed oil and gas reserves?

And, perhaps most important of all, how will the Saudi government break the hold of Wahhabist religious fundamentalism, something the royal family has not managed over the last century?

Without a serious analysis of the delivery process, Vision 2030 is meaningless rhetoric. The barriers to progress are not new. They have defeated every attempt to achieve change and reform made by successive Saudi governments. Promises of economic diversification, of industrial development, of education for all and of a transformation of the energy sector through the development of renewables have all ended in failure. To ignore the problems of delivery is to demonstrate the unreality of the whole approach. I hope McKinsey — a firm of the highest integrity — will point this out rather allowing its brand to be tarnished by association with a project that it must know cannot work.

The worst thing is that MbS, who is 30 and has not enjoyed the benefit of a western education with its inbuilt tone of scepticism, actually believes what he is saying and does indeed think that he can transform the country by an act of personal will. The deputy crown prince is the sort of character about whom Shakespeare could have written a great play. It would not have ended happily.

It might be tempting to say that these are Saudi Arabia’s problems and that after innumerable further, and no doubt very lucrative, consultancy studies little will change and MbS will be swept away — perhaps by a change of the guard after his father’s death.

That view is too narrow. Saudi Arabia matters in the region — look at the damage being done in Yemen and by the wider conflict with Iran which MbS has been stoking. Provocative behaviour, driven on by economic weakness and competition for shares of the oil market, could make a bad neighbourhood even more volatile.

And the country matters in the world, as well. Global oil consumption may be coming to its peak but it will stay at around 90 to 100mbd for a very long time. The kingdom is a crucial part of the equation and should be on the side of stability. Pretending the price doesn’t matter reflects a lack of interest or knowledge when it comes to the wider consequences of the policies being pursued.

For Saudi Arabia, the lack of realism behind Vision 2030 can only make a messy situation worse. For those outside the kingdom, the naivity of the approach is another unwelcome source of instability and danger.

Al Arabiya: Vision 2030: Saudi Arabia is not all about oil.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s interviews with Bloomberg and Al Arabiya news channel, and his launching of Saudi Vision 2030, clarified his image as someone who has worked silently in recent months to develop an ambitious plan for the future. He has laid out a roadmap to realize society’s aspirations, including the economy, culture, arts and entertainment. The people heard him say what they wanted to say.

In 2002, British petroleum geologist Colin Campbell – who worked in global oil companies and discovered several oilfields worldwide – published a study entitled “The End of the Oil Era.” He wrote: “Production conditions will confront significant difficulties long before extracting the last drop of oil.”

This inevitable scenario has upset researchers in development because as much as oil has contributed to global development, serving people and improving medicine, livelihoods, economies and education, it has also influenced values. Vision 2030 comes from a quest for a non-oil strategy to be prepared for when oil runs out.

Saudi Arabia was founded without oil, as the prince said, so oil is not sacred to the country. He insists on the importance of convincing society of his vision, and wants it to be made clear to intellectuals, preachers, specialists and social media users so they can explain it to their communities.


This reminds us of his grandfather, King Abdulaziz, who according to his consultant Hafiz Wahbah was also passionate about convincing people of what he was about to do for society. The prince displayed his characteristic for persuasion when he clearly spoke of what ministers and princes must commit to within his vision, and spoke about the importance of fighting corruption within the framework of relevant institutions.

We bid oil farewell, and welcome a future that unites responsibility, achievement, stability and wellbeing

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

The vision addresses the economy, the post-oil era, military spending and planning, and social and cultural change by strengthening relations between society and art. The economy is the quickest way to cultural, social and intellectual change, as well as openness to the world.

For decades the world has spoken about Saudi Arabia, where most of the population consists of youths who do not have a voice. However, a young prince – who sees in them an unmatched asset – wants to share his opinions and suggestions, and devise his vision, with them.

“We must pay tribute to all Saudis,” he told Al Arabiya news channel. “We have strong energy, courage, high culture and strong professionalism. We only need to work. We are working to achieve the Saudi Arabia that we want in the future.” We bid oil farewell, and welcome a future that unites responsibility, achievement, stability and wellbeing. The Gulf is not all about oil, as late Minister Ghazi al-Gosaibi once said.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Apr. 28, 2016.



moderated by Srecko Velimirovic

The German Left Party has posed 31 questions relating to Serbia to the government in Berlin, Germany’s state-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle is reporting.

Source: Deutsche Welle Wednesday, May 4, 2016 | 13:45

Sevim Dagdelen and several other federal deputies of the Left Party asked about "Serbia’s relations with Kosovo, an agreement with NATO, and how will it affect Serbia’s European path," said the media outlet, adding that it had "exclusive insight" into the answers that reveal Berlin’s positions on Serbia’s geopolitical positioning."

Among other things, the answers said that the position of the German government toward the issue of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is based on the negotiating framework which Serbia signed in January 2014, which requires "a comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo in the form of a legal binding document" by the end of Serbia’s accession negotiations with the EU. It is added that the negotiating framework does not require Serbia to recognize Kosovo.

On the other hand, the party’s Sevim Dagdelen sees the position of Brussels and Berlin as "effectively coercing" Serbia to recognize Kosovo if it wants to join the EU. It is a way to destabilize the Balkans, she told Deutsche Welle. The Left is the only German parliamentary party whose politicians oppose Kosovo’s independence and NATO enlargement.

The Left was first interested in the way the position of Serbia is affected by the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which Belgrade a year ago concluded with NATO. According to the German government, the IPAP does not say anything about the possible future membership of a country in NATO, nor does it conflict the proclaimed military neutrality of Serbia.

"As its goal in IPAP, Serbia defined the intention to, in line with its national interests, intensify cooperation with NATO and other Partership for Peace countries. Besides, a number of countries are devoted to neutrality but are at the same time maintaining partnership relations with NATO, for example Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Moldavia," the German Foreign Affairs said in its reply, sent on behalf of the government.

It is added that Germany’s ruling CDU/CSU coalition agreement envisages "active encouragement" of Western Balkan countries to join the European Union and NATO, but that "the political will of Serbia will be decisive when it comes to the intensity and continued forms of relations with NATO." Berlin is also aware that the Serbian parliament in December 2007 decided that changing the country’s policy of military would require a referendum.

"The constant attempts to soften Serbia’s neutrality through binding it ever stronger to the Euro-Atlantic structures creates a new uncertainty in the Balkans," Dagdelen said in her interpretation. She is in charge of foreign affairs in her parliamentary club and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German parliament. Dagdelen believes that Serbia is being forced to oppose Russia by moving closer to NATO, but that Serbia is also opposing its own citizens, a majority of whom reject membership in the Western military pact. She also told Deutsche Welle that security in Europe can only exist "with Russia, not against it."

Several of the questions posed by opposition MPs aimed to find out what the German government knows about the Serbian Army’s military exercises with the Russian and Western armies. The answers are not spectacular – rather they are a summary of information that is already well known publicly. For example, they concern the Serbian-Russian Humanitarian Center in Nis, the military exercise Slavic Brotherhood, the flight training conducted by Serbian and Russian pilots – both exercises will be held once again this year. It is also stated that Serbian soldiers took part in three exercises organized by the U.S. army in southern Germany – Saber Junction (with 100 soldiers); Combined Resolve IV (100); and Allied Spirit II (30). However, the German government either did not know or was not willing to say what was the content and purpose of these military drills.

In its replies, the German government also stated that Serbia’s EU orientation is not in conflict with Belgrade’s cooperation with Moscow, even when it comes to military cooperation.

"On the other hand, Serbia as a candidate has taken on the obligation to, before joining the European Union, increasingly align its foreign and security policy with EU’s common foreign and security policy."

Three of the Left Party’s questions are dedicated to the Belgrade-based Belgrade Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) NGO – a brain trust that is publicly advocating Serbia’s membership in NATO. The party asked about the financing of the organization by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division – noting also that this department had provided substantial assistance in order to increase the support for NATO in Ukraine from 13-15 to over 50 percent, over the course of several years.

Berlin replied that the NATO department in question has for several years sponsored one event organized by CEAS, and that the organization also receives funds from the European Commission and various foundations.

The Left also wanted to know about the Serbian Army’s cooperation with the German Army (Bundeswehr). To this, Berlin replied with a detailed overview of courses and trainings that German military instructors provided for some Serbian officers, units, medical staff, accountants. All this has been taking place based on a defense sector cooperation agreement that Germany signed with the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in April 2006.

"At the moment, according to Serbian wishes, consultations are ongoing to replace that agreement with a similar intergovernmental agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Serbia," said the German government.

Deutsche Welle added that one of the questions was dedicated to "the U.S. Air Force air strike on a position of the so-called Islamic State in Libya (on February 19) when two Serbian diplomats who were previously kidnapped are believed to have been killed." The government said it had no particular intelligence or other information about it, and that Berlin "does not known whether Serbian citizens were killed in the attack."


2016 SECURITY JAM.… over the course of 77 hours, Jammers from 131 countries brainstormed responses to terrorism and radicalisation, the future of policing and peacekeeping, cybersecurity, strategic foresight, early-warning and Middle East security. The breadth and depth of discussion was incredible … will feed into the EU’s new Global Strategy, the top 10 Jam recommendations will be circulated in May, and the final in-depth report will be presented at a high-level Friends of Europe debate in June just ahead of NATO’s Warsaw Summit. We will disseminate the report globally to the security community at large …

Ex post?

Handelsblatt: Geahnt haben es alle, gewusst nur wenige: Mit den Hilfspaketen für Griechenland wurden nicht die Griechen gerettet, sondern vor allem die Banken – und zwar auf Kosten der Allgemeinheit. Das belegt eine Studie der European School of Management and Technology (ESMT), die wir im Handelsblatt exklusiv ausbreiten. Danach landeten nur fünf Prozent von 216 Milliarden Euro Rettungsgeldern im griechischen Haushalt. „Die europäischen Steuerzahler haben die privaten Investoren herausgekauft“, bilanziert ESMT-Präsident Jörg Rocholl. Und Griechenland? Wird weiter gerettet werden müssen.



see our letter on:

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



05-02-16 DERA Publikation_ Iran – Ein rohstoffwirtschaftlicher Sachstand.pdf

04-25-16 Interview Al Arabiya – Full Transcript of Prince Mohammed bin Salman.pdf

04-28-16 EU Reconnecting Eurasia_Web.pdf

05-05-16 esmt-studie – Where did the Greek Bailout Money Go.pdf