Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 03.06.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· Kinderehen nach Scharia-Recht spalten deutsche Justiz.

· Trucks Carrying Weapons For al-Nusra Front Arrive From Turkey Daily

· Turkey Headed for Period of Insecurity

· GMF: Turkey – Changing Relations with Iran

· Why Putin sent a lost Israeli tank home

· George Friedman: Germany Looks to Ease Russian Sanctions

· FT. Nick Butler: Has gas demand in Europe peaked?

· Azeri Southern Gas Corridor’s Construction Goes as Scheduled * Azerbaijan FM, OSCE Discuss Next Meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh.

· thyssenkrupp Mannex am Bau der Transanatolischen Pipeline beteiligt

· Relations between Serbia and Croatia will form Serbia’s EU accession process.

Massenbach*Israel’s new defense minister backs two-state solution

DEBKAfile May 30, 2016, 11:35 PM (IDT)

Avigdor Lieberman Israel’s new defense minister said Monday he supports a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.
In a statement to reporters after parliament approved his appointment, Lieberman said he supports "two states for two peoples."

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel is "willing to negotiate with the Arab states with revisions to their 2002 peace initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region" since it was presented. He said it would include the "goal of two states for two peoples."
Lieberman said he agreed with Netanyahu that there are some "very positive" elements in the Arab initiative that could make for a "serious dialogue with all the neighbors in the region."

Why Putin sent a lost Israeli tank home.

DEBKAfile Special Report May 30, 2016, 6:48 PM (IDT)

The American M48 Patton tank upgraded by the IDF was captured by Syrian forces with its three-man crew in the Sultan Yaakov battle in the Lebanon war of 1982. The three-man crew was lost. To this day the fate of Zacharia Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman has never been determined.
After the battle President Hafez Assad, father of the incumbent Bashar Assad, who established in the the1960s the first Russian-Syrian alliance the, agreed to let the Russian have the tank. They were keen to study the reactive armor the IDF had installed. Special teams of the Engineering Corps flew the tank from Sultan Yaakov battle field to Moscow.
Thirty four years later, the “Magach” (battering ram) tank arrived home after spending years in the Kubinka Tank Museum near Moscow, as a result of a gesture by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Israel PM Binyamin Netanyahu.
It is safe to assume that Putin consulted Assad before making this gesture and both had their own reasons for making it. It is also possible that the Syrian ruler may also decide to disclose what happened to the three missing Israeli soldiers and perhaps even return their remains.
debkafile sources in Moscow and Jerusalem probed to find out the motives of Putin and Assad, allies of Iran and Hizballah, in making this gesture. They find an answer in Putin’s broader designs for the Middle East alongside his military actions in Syria. In every recent conference between high ranking Russian and Israeli officials, the key issue of South Syria has come up in order to bridge their different objectives.
Moscow holds that all of South Syria must come under the Assad regime rule, as the key to its stability. Israel, along with the US, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, anxious to keep South Syria under the control of their respective Syrian rebel militias. Israel regards their presence as vital for preventing Iranian and Hizballah forces moving into the Syrian Golan up to the Israeli border. Putin offers Jerusalem an alternative. If Israel agrees to withdraw its support from the Syrian rebels to help Assad reclaim the region Moscow is willing to vouch that the Russian army stationed in Syria will prevent Iranian and Hizballah fighters from infiltrating or getting near the Israeli border.
The Russian president aims to restore the status quo prevailing in the Israeli-Syrian border region for 42 years since the 1974 Yom Kippur War. He envisages this situation producing three developments:

  • The beginning of political exchanges between Israel and Syria, as a first step towards peace negotiations.
  • This process would distance Damascus from Tehran and Beirut.
  • It would also further distance Israel from the United States.

Putin appreciates that sending the tank back to Israel will not spark this entire process, but he thinks it might be a good token beginning.

Netanyahu to Meet in Russia With Putin for Bilateral Talks

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Russia to discuss a wide range of international issues, including Syria, with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. During the upcoming meeting, the implementation of agreements reached within the framework of Netanyahu’s April 21, 2016 Moscow visit will be discussed. Issues relevant to bilateral cooperation will get special attention, Peskov said in a statement.

"This visit was planned long ago. The agenda is quite broad [and includes] advanced and partnership relations in various areas, the large potential in the economy, but also in the areas of security and the wide field of mutual cooperation in international policy," Peskov told journalists. When asked if the two leaders would discuss the crisis in Syria, Peskov said, "Undoubtedly."


From our Russian news desk:see attachments.

Trucks Carrying Weapons For al-Nusra Front Arrive From Turkey Daily. This allows the terrorist group to continue attacking local targets.
14:02 27.05.2016(updated 16:53 27.05.2016)

Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said in his press briefing on Friday that weapons and ammunitions are continuously being delivered to the al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria, allowing them to engage Syrian government forces and hindering the fight against Daesh in the country. "The never-ending flow of large trucks from Turkey carrying weapons and ammunition crosses the Turkish-Syrian border. This constant feed of live forces and weapons allows terrorists from the Nusra Front to continue their provocative shelling and make advances on Syrian government forces, which diminishes [government military] activity against Islamic State terrorists in other areas," Rudskoy said during a briefing.

Rudskoy also added that the US has acknowledged that the heaviest fighting is centered around areas where the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front is most active. "Everyone knows, and our US partners admit that the biggest hot spots of active military operations are those parts of the Syrian Republic where the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists from the al-Nusra Front run rampant." So far, according to Rudskoy, the US has refused to conduct joint operations against terrorist groups in Syria, which has led to an escalation of the conflict.

The al-Nusra Front terrorist group hampers the ceasefire efforts in northern areas of Syria, the Russian General Staff said Friday. "It is very clear that the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, active in the regions of Aleppo and Idlib, is the main obstacle to expanding the ceasefire regime to northern areas of Syria," Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, said.

Moreover, the Al-Nusra Front has used the ‚period of silence‘ to partly restore its combat capability. Rudskoy told reporters.

Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu offered to conduct joint air strikes against terrorist groups in Syria, but the Pentagon declined the offer. However, The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry says Moscow hasn’t ruled out a possible joint operation in the future. –

Radio Vatikan: Moskau: Putin und Patriarch planen gemeinsame Syrienreise.

Russlands Präsident Wladimir Putin und der Moskauer Patriarch Kyrill I. planen eine gemeinsame Syrienreise. Das wurde beim Besuch des Kremlchefs und des Oberhaupts der weltweit größten orthodoxen Kirche auf dem Berg Athos am vergangenen Wochenende bekannt, wie die deutsche katholische Nachrichtenagentur KNA am Dienstag berichtet. Demnach solle die gemeinsame Reise schon im Juni erfolgen. Es gehe darum, den orthodoxen Christen in Syrien beizustehen und die Interessen Russlands zu wahren, so die KNA.

Erst am Wochenende hatte Putin die griechischen Mönchsrepublik am Berg Athos im Rahmen seines Staatsbesuchs in Griechenland besucht. Abt Ephraim hatte er zuvor bei einem Treffen in der Athos-Hauptstadt Karyes versichert: „Die gemeinsame Orthodoxie und gegenseitige Sympathie verbinden unsere Völker.“ Putin fügte in Anspielung auf Griechenlands Finanz- und Sozialkrise hinzu: „Das hilft uns, die derzeitigen Schwierigkeiten zu bewältigen.“

(kap 31.05.2016)-

What do young men and women that travel to the Islamic State seek? The answer is not a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.

If the request for change in the Arab countries maintains its relevancy, the extra-regional powers will have to fundamentally reshape their Middle East policies.

Young people discussed it in 2011 on Tunisia’s central Bourguiba Avenue and Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Freedom, justice, and dignity were the three most popular words of the Arab Spring. One of the participants of the revolution, coming from the outskirts of Tunisia’s capital, phrased its main message as follows: “make passport tearing impossible for any flick.”

The matter at issue is an efficient state and the integration of the majority into the political and economic system. The same was true for Peru during the time of rampant Sendero Luminoso, described by Hernando de Soto in his book The Other Path and other works.

To achieve this goal, intellectuals will have to articulate a strategic vision for the national future (the most important element of the above narrative), while Middle East politicians will have to change the attitude towards their own societies and embark on the road of structural political and economic reforms. (more see att.)


Diplomatic Tightrope: Will Russia Solve Yet Another Syrian Problem?

With the peace process in Syria stalling, the international talks slowly falling into sleep mode and the bloodshed still raging in the country’s northern part, Moscow is proposing a remarkable diplomatic solution to the country’s seething ethnic tensions.

Russia, which by its own admission has eliminated over 28,000 terrorists since the start of the Syrian operation last September, is now attempting to take over the leading role in negotiations on the future of Syria, the Danish newspaper Politiken suggested.

Surprisingly to the West, which mainly sees Russia as a supporter of Assad, Moscow, has recently made a number of proposals for a new constitution, which may greatly restrict and decentralize Assad’s power. One of them is a proposal to limit the president’s term of office to seven years, Politiken wrote. According to a think-tank under the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian proposal aims at substantially limiting the Syrian president’s power to make Assad’s resignation unnecessary because his role after a transition period will be nothing but marginal.

Russia proposes that the president should be increasingly responsible to the elected parliament. The president will therefore lack any legislative powers, which shall instead be vested in the parliament. The Russian draft constitution also omits the formerly crucial principle that the Syrian president must be a Muslim, Politiken wrote.

In the draft of a new Syrian constitution, which was recently leaked to the media in the Middle East, Russia suggested that Syria should change its official name from the Syrian Arab Republic to the Republic of Syria, in order to appeal to ethnic minorities such as Kurds and Turkmen, Politiken reported, citing Gulf News.

Besides, the Russian draft will supposedly give the Syrian Kurds a constitutional right to speak their own language on par with Arabic. However, the Kurdish autonomy must not be political or economic, but rather cultural, the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar wrote.

One goal that Kurds and Arabs currently have in common these days is to out Daesh from the town of Raqqa. However, reconciliation between the two ethnic communities may prove a tough task in the future, according to the latest poll, Politiken wrote, quoting the Syrian Observer.

In the autonomous Kurdish region near the border with Turkey, a whole 79.6 percent of the population spoke in favor of federalism, which in future can guarantee them autonomy. At the same time, roughly as many non-Kurds (78.1 percent) oppose any autonomy for minorities. In the government-controlled areas, 65.6 percent of the population are against decentralization and prefer a single government with all the power. However, 55.3 percent of the population in areas under rebel control are in favor of decentralization.

Alawites, the ethnic group from which Assad himself comes from, are known as the fiercest opponents of any autonomy, which, according to Politiken, may be perceived as a "reluctance to share Syria."

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would support Syria’s federalization, as long as it is backed by the country’s inhabitants.

"Whichever form of government, be it federalization, decentralization or a unitary state, must be approved by all Syrians," Lavrov said as quoted by RIA Novosti. "We have never tried to make decisions on behalf of the Syrian people," he stressed.

Prior to the war, Syria had an Arab majority of 74 percent of the population. The Kurds made up some 9 percent, whereas the Turkmen numbered some 100,000.

EBRD and EU join forces to help Georgia’s private sector seize new opportunities.

US$ 100 million to support the development of Georgian SMEs

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are stepping up their support for businesses in Georgia with a joint programme to help domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) converge with EU standards so that they can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between Georgia and the EU.

The establishment of a free-trade area is part of the EU’s Association Agreements (AAs) with Georgia signed in 2014. It will offer local firms access to the EU Single Market, the world’s largest free-trade area, and help boost economic development and growth in Georgia.

Under the agreement the EBRD is extending a loan of around 220 million Georgian lari (US$ 100 million equivalent) in a local currency financing package to Bank of Georgia to support the development of local SMEs. The financing facility is denominated in local currency and will be on-lent to the private sector; it includes DCFTA SME finance of up to US$ 50 million equivalent, SME finance of up to US$ 40 million equivalent and Women in Business SME finance of up to US$ 10 million equivalent.

The facility will help local SMEs invest in improvements to product quality and modernise their services to meet EU standards. This in turn will create an environment that is beneficial to cross-border trade and economic growth in Georgia.

The EU will provide interested SMEs with investment incentives of up to 15 per cent as well as technical assistance in the form of advisory services from international consultants and the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses.

Furthermore, the financing package will increase access to credit in local currency and specifically support businesses that are managed or owned by female entrepreneurs for better access to finance, know-how and advice.

This is a very attractive financial package for Georgian SMEs and banks for the following reasons.

· Loans to SMEs are in local currency, which is very important for local enterprises.

· The loans have a tenor of up to five years, with a two-year grace period.

· Cash-back investment incentives of up to 15 per cent are available for SMEs.

· First-loss risk cover guarantees up to 10 per cent of the loan portfolio of eligible SMEs.

· Technical advice is available free of charge for these SMEs, from international experts.

· The package includes support for investment in new technologies and equipment.

The signing marks the first phase of the planned EBRD-EU programme under which the EBRD is working with local banks to help businesses further invest in improving product quality and service standards.

Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, said: “The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU opens up an important new market to Georgian companies. The EBRD is ready to help local SMEs become more competitive on regional markets with the provision of long-term local currency financing. Our initial instalment of up to 220 million lari will be a big boost to the private sector. We are grateful to the EU, our largest donor, for its continuing support for the implementation of such an important initiative. The EBRD is committed to supporting businesses and companies in Georgia through investment, know-how and policy dialogue with the government to help the economy make the most of new market opportunities.”

Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director-General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission, commented: “Georgia has made a lot of effort in the approximation to EU standards based on the AA and DCFTA commitments. The DCFTA will contribute to further acceleration of economic growth, a key priority for Georgia’s modernisation and development. In light of the opportunities offered by the DCFTA, Georgian businesses and SMEs have enormous potential to develop. But it is important to prepare them to comply with higher standards and to compete effectively. I believe that the EU grant together with the EBRD loan and technical assistance will provide added value both to SMEs and consumers, so that they can both benefit from the DCFTA and increased competitiveness in the market.”

“I am very pleased to announce receipt of the largest and the longest-maturity local currency loan granted to a Georgian bank. The loan will enable Bank of Georgia to issue longer-term local currency loans and thus provide vital support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country. One of the main priorities for Bank of Georgia is the further extension of its financing to SMEs in Georgia, including to women-led enterprises to increase women’s participation in developing the country’s private sector. I would like to thank our longstanding partner the EBRD for this successful cooperation,” said Murtaz Kikoria, CEO, Bank of Georgia.

Since 2011 the EU has also provided funding to the EBRD’s Advice for Small Business to boost the know-how of entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses in the European Neighbourhood region. Both programmes are part of the EU4Business initiative, which supports EU projects to back SMEs in Eastern Partnership countries.

With its local presence and 25 years of experience in working to develop the private sector in Georgia, the EBRD is in a strong position to successfully promote this project. The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Georgia and has invested €2.6 billion in the country.

Azerbaijan FM, OSCE Discuss Next Meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has discussed with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs the preparations for the next high-level meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a spokesman for the ministry said Wednesday.

BAKU (Sputnik) — On May 16, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev met in Vienna to discuss the conflict. The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia and France.

The outcome of the meeting in Vienna was discussed as part of preparations for another high-level meeting in June to promote the immediate settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Hikmet Hajiyev told RIA Novosti. –

Azeri Southern Gas Corridor’s Construction Goes as Scheduled.

BAKU (Sputnik) — Work on the construction of a gas pipeline system Southern Gas Corridor which will allow for a gas delivery from the Caspian region to the European Union runs according the schedule, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said Wednesday.

thyssenkrupp Mannex am Bau der Transanatolischen Pipeline beteiligt.

Die rund 2000 Kilometer lange Verbindung verläuft durch die Türkei und ist das Bindeglied zwischen der geplanten Trans-Adria-Pipeline (TAP), der Südkaukasus-Pipeline und dem Gasfeld Schah Denis in Aserbaidschan. An dem Bau der imposanten Leitung ist auch thyssenkrupp Mannex aus der Business Area Materials Services beteiligt. Rund 300.000 Tonnen Warmbreitband-Coils liefert die Essener Gesellschaft über ihren chinesischen Partner Shougang’s Caofeidian & Qian An Steel Mill für das Großprojekt. Ab 2019 sollen rund 16 Milliarden Kubikmeter Erdgas pro Jahr durch die Pipeline transportiert werden. Der Auftrag hat ein Umsatzvolumen von zirka 172 Millionen Euro. Bei Fertigstellung verbindet TANAP zusammen mit den angrenzenden Pipelines das aserbaidschanische Gasfeld Schah Denis mit dem italienischen Brindisi. Eine Strecke von knapp 3600 Kilometern.

The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP; Turkish: Trans-Anadolu Doğalgaz Boru Hattı) is a natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. It will be a central part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will connect the giant Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe through the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), TANAP and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

This project is of strategic importance for both Azerbaijan and Turkey. It will allow first Azerbaijani gas exports to Europe, beyond Turkey. It will also strengthen the role of Turkey as a regional energy hub.


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Kinderehen nach Scharia-Recht spalten deutsche Justiz.

In der Asylkrise kommen mehr minderjährige Mädchen mit ihren oft volljährigen Männern ins Land. Gerichte sind uneins über den Umgang mit den Paaren.

Die Justizminister wollen Scharia-Ehen bekämpfen.

Sie sind jung, haben aber schon viel mitgemacht. Die 15-jährige Alia und der 21-jährige Amir (Namen geändert, d. Red.) sind in Syrien auf dem Land aufgewachsen und gemeinsam geflohen. Ihre Flucht führte quer durch die Türkei. Beim zweiten Versuch gelang die Bootsüberfahrt nach Griechenland, dann ging es auf der Balkanroute nach Norden. Alle Gefahren bestanden sie gemeinsam. Die beiden sind unzertrennbar – dachten sie.

Aber in Deutschland, wo sie im August 2015 ankamen, wurden sie getrennt. Nach einem ersten Aufenthalt in Regensburg ging es weiter in eine Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung im unterfränkischen Schweinfurt. Dann nach Aschaffenburg – und dort nahm das Jugendamt das Mädchen in Obhut.

Denn Alia und Amir sind nicht nur Cousin und Cousine: Das jugendliche Paar ist auch verheiratet – seit Februar 2015, nach syrischem Scharia-Recht (Link: . Die Braut war damals gerade 14 Jahre alt. Deswegen sind die beiden jetzt zu einem Problemfall der deutschen Justiz geworden: Was geschieht mit Flüchtlingspaaren, die selbst nach Ausnahmereglungen im deutschem Recht viel zu jung sind für die Ehe? Muss ihre Verbindung geschützt werden, oder werden in solchen Beziehungen junge Mädchen missbraucht?

In Bayern haben sich bereits das Familiengericht beim Amtsgericht Aschaffenburg und dann das Oberlandesgericht Bamberg mit Alia und Amir befasst – und sind zu einer unterschiedlichen Einschätzung gekommen. Der Fall wird deshalb wohl beim Bundesgerichtshof in Karlsruhe (Link: landen.

Justizministerkonferenz befasst sich mit Neuregelung der Minderjährigenehe

Bayerns Justizminister Winfried Bausback (CSU) würde auf jeden Fall begrüßen, wenn der Bundesgerichtshof Gelegenheit bekäme, in dieser Grundsatzfrage eine höchstrichterliche Entscheidung zu treffen. Zuvor wird sich auch die Justizministerkonferenz (Link: , die am Mittwoch und Donnerstag im brandenburgischen Nauen tagt, auf Vorschlag von Nordrhein-Westfalens Justizminister Thomas Kutschaty (SPD) mit einer Neuregelung der Minderjährigenehe befassen.

Mit der Asylkrise ist das Problem akut geworden. "Im Kontext des Flüchtlingszuzugs sind vermehrt Fälle von verheirateten minderjährigen Mädchen aus Syrien oder anderen Ländern festzustellen", stellt Kutschaty in einem Schreiben fest. Diese verheirateten minderjährigen Flüchtlinge begleiteten ihre zumeist wesentlich älteren Ehemänner oder sollen im Rahmen der Familienzusammenführung einreisen.

Ein Fall für die Justiz ist das jugendliche Paar aus Syrien seit Dezember 2015. Das Jugendamt Aschaffenburg Stadt hatte die 15-jährige Alia am 10. September vergangenen Jahres von ihrem Mann getrennt. Sie kam in eine Jugendhilfeeinrichtung in Schöllkrippen, so wie es wie es üblich ist bei unbegleiteten minderjährigen Flüchtlingen. Ihr Vormund wurde das Jugendamt. Dagegen protestierte Ehemann Amir beim Familiengericht – und beide verweigerten aus Protest die Teilnahme an Integrationskursen. Es kam zur Verhandlung.

Dabei wurde ausgiebig erörtert, inwieweit Alia noch Kind oder schon (Ehe-)Frau ist. Dem Jugendamt ging es vor allem um den verfassungsrechtlichen Schutzanspruch der Minderjährigen. Das Jugendamt berief sich darauf, dass die junge Alia noch nicht zur Führung eines selbstbestimmten Lebens in der Lage sei und die Tragweite einer Ehe nicht absehen könne. Deswegen dürften ihr Aufenthalt und der Kontakt mit ihrem Mann vom Jugendamt bestimmt werden. Auf dessen Mitarbeiter wirkte Alia jünger als 15, Amir dagegen älter als 21 Jahre.

Gespräch über mögliche Verhütungsmöglichkeiten

Alia sollte deshalb nur zeitlich beschränkt und von einem Dritten begleitet Kontakt mit dem Ehemann haben. Auch weil bei einem unbegleiteten Umgang beider zu befürchten sei, dass ungeschützter Geschlechtsverkehr stattfinde und sie höchstwahrscheinlich schwanger werde, hieß es zur Begründung. Deswegen wurde mit dem Paar auch über taugliche Verhütungsmöglichkeiten gesprochen.

Letztlich folgte das Amtsgericht der Argumentation, dass die hiesigen gesetzlichen Regelungen für Minderjährige zu gelten hätten – und nicht der Schutz der Ehe, die nach einem speziellen syrischen Scharia-Recht geschlossen wurde (Aktenzeichen: 7F2013/15).

Das Oberlandesgericht Bamberg (Link: allerdings hob diesen Beschluss am 15. Mai wieder auf (Az: 2 UF 58/16). Alia durfte zu ihrem Mann ziehen. Davor hatte das Gericht von der deutschen Botschaft im Libanon recherchieren und bestätigen lassen, dass die beiden in Syrien rechtmäßig geheiratet hatten. Ein Zivilregisterauszug und die Bestätigung der Eheschließung seitens des syrischen Scharia-Gerichts belegten das.

Wegen der rechtmäßigen Ehe könne das Jugendamt nicht den Aufenthaltsort der Frau und damit die Trennung von ihrem Mann bestimmen, urteilten die Bamberger Richter. Das "kommt dem minderjährigen Verheirateten" selbst zu, beschloss das Oberlandesgericht. "Wahrscheinlich" werde aber Rechtsbeschwerde gegen den Beschluss eingelegt, sagte Aschaffenburgs Jugendamtsleiter Adam Mantel. Dann muss der Bundesgerichtshof entscheiden.

Wie viele Fälle von Minderjährigenehe es unter Flüchtlingen gibt, ist unklar. In Bayern wird das nicht zentral registriert. In Nordrhein-Westfalen geht die für die Verteilung von Flüchtlinge zuständige Bezirksregierung Arnsberg von 188 Fällen aus; in Baden-Württemberg wurden 177 Kinderbräute gezählt.

Erhöhte Zahl der Zwangsehen in den Flüchtlingscamps

Hilfsorganisationen wie Unicef (Link: oder Terre des Femmes (Link: warnen indes vor einer neuen großen Gefahr für die jungen Mädchen. "Vor allem bei minderjährigen Mädchen aus Syrien stieg die Anzahl der Kinderehen stark an", teilte die Hilfsorganisation SOS-Kinderdörfer (Link: weltweit mit. Vor dem Krieg in Syrien seien bei 13 Prozent aller Hochzeiten einer oder beide Ehepartner jünger als 18 Jahre gewesen. Nun seien es mehr als 51 Prozent. Vor allem in Flüchtlingscamps in Jordanien, im Libanon, im Irak und der Türkei habe sich die Zahl der Zwangsehen erhöht.

Das Oberlandesgericht Bamberg konnte im Fall von Alia und Amir allerdings keine Anzeichen für eine Zwangsheirat erkennen. Schließlich hätten die beiden die Gefahren ihrer Flucht gemeinsam gemeistert und erklärt, wieder zusammenleben zu wollen – wie bisher. Beide haben vor Gericht angegeben, dass bereits "ehelicher Verkehr" stattgefunden habe.

Nach Ansicht des bayerischen Justizministers Bausback blieb das Oberlandesgericht Bamberg in seinem Beschluss aber ungenau, ob diese Ehe gegen die gültigen Werte- und Rechtsnormen, den sogenannten Ordre public, verstoße. Damit sei der Weg offen, die Problematik auf höherer Ebene zu klären.

Es gebe rechtspolitischen Handlungsbedarf: "Der Minderjährigenschutz ist in unserer Rechtsordnung ein hohes Gut und Verfassungsauftrag. Ein Rechtsverständnis von Staaten, das es leider vereinzelt in Teilen der Welt noch gibt und das die Ehe für 13- und 14-jährigen (Link: Mädchen öffnet, ist in Deutschland und Europa Gott sei Dank lange überwunden", sagte Bausback der "Welt".

Gesetzesänderungen würde Nachzug im Rahmen der Familienzusammenführung erschweren

Der CSU-Politiker stimmt somit mit NRW-Justizminister Kutschaty überein. Der hatte das Thema Zwangsheirat schon vor knapp zwei Wochen für das sogenannte Kamingespräch bei der Justizministerkonferenz in Nauen angemeldet. Es soll erörtert werden, ob nach ausländischem Recht geschlossenen Ehen die Anerkennung versagt wird, wenn keine Ehemündigkeit nach deutschem Recht besteht, erklärte ein Sprecher des NRW-Justizministeriums. Dazu müssten Paragraf 1303 BGB (Link: und Regelungen im Einführungsgesetz zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuch (EGBGB) geändert werden. Das würde auch den Nachzug im Rahmen der Familienzusammenführung erschweren.

Als mögliche Maßnahme zur Verhinderung solcher Zwangsheiraten "komme zunächst eine Anhebung des Heiratsalters im deutschen Recht auf 18 Jahre in Betracht", was einer Empfehlung der UN-Kinderrechtskonvention (Link: entspricht. Bayern erhofft sich von einer generellen Anhebung, dass die bestehende rechtliche Grauzone für Heiraten im Alter von 14 oder 15 Jahren beseitigt wird. Die Ehe von Alia und Amir wird also zum Präzedenzfall.

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

Barandat* FT. Nick Butler: Has gas demand in Europe peaked?

Can anything reverse the decline of natural gas as a source of primary energy in Europe? Gas demand in 2015, despite a fractional uptick on the 2014 figure, was 20 per cent below the level reached a decade ago. Unless something changes radically, Europe has passed the point of peak gas consumption. The promise of “a golden age of gas” talked up by the industry and some commentators a few years ago looks very tarnished.

The reasons for this are obvious. In the absence of a carbon price, coal is cheap and in countries such as Germany it retains crucial political support because of the jobs it involves. Renewables are subsidised. So gas is squeezed, especially in the power sector because efficiency gains and slow economic growth have kept total electricity demand down.

It is very hard to see any of those factors being reversed anytime soon. There is no prospect of a carbon price set at a level that will change behaviour or force the closure of existing coal-fired stations. Renewable investment remains quite strong, adding to the existing capital stock. With downward pressure on its price gas may be cheap, but coal is cheaper and even if renewable subsidies are pruned back technology is advancing all the time and the costs of both solar and wind are now materially lower than they have ever been.

The result is fierce competition in a market where consumption is at best static. Production from the UK side of the North Sea can only fall which means imports will be required, but there is no shortage of willing suppliers. In addition to Norway, Qatar and Trinidad the first shipments of liquefied gas are now arriving from the US, with more planned. The big question mark is what will happen to trade with Russia — currently the largest single supplier of gas to Europe and the provider of 40 per cent of imports.

The dispute over Ukraine has done nothing to set back Russian trade. Quite the reverse. At the same time as advocating continued sanctions against Moscow because of the Russian annexation of Crimea, the German government is pushing through the new Nordstream2 gas line that will carry Russian gas through subsea pipelines to Germany and then on to western European markets. Eastern European opposition is strong, but not strong enough to counter the weight of German influence in Brussels.

It seems likely that there will be some minor concessions to the east European states that might lose their transit fees, along with an agreement by Moscow to maintain supplies to Ukraine as long as someone pays for the gas. The result will be a net increase in Russian supplies to Europe, with Gazprom clearly prepared to reduce prices to protect its market share. Russia will provide a larger proportion of the limited volumes of gas needed and the notion of a European energy policy designed to promote energy security through diversity of supplies will be dead in the water.

All this suggests that prices could fall further. It must be painful to be holding high-cost gas assets such as expensive LNG facilities — and even more painful to own the growing number of stranded gas fields that are not being developed because they sit at the high end of the cost curve. Those who want to see shale gas produced in the UK or elsewhere now face not just continuing protests but the prospect of weak demand and weak prices.

What could change the situation? A surge in energy demand driven by rapid economic growth in Europe would certainly help but the phrase “rapid economic growth in Europe” sounds like an oxymoron. The establishment of an effective carbon price at a level sufficient to alter behaviour (say $40 or $50 a tonne) would limit the use of coal but the failure of Europe to set such a price — despite numerous commitments to reduce emissions — suggests that the political will necessary to impose serious charges on carbon is still lacking.

In the end, natural gas may be evolving into being a swing supplier — a back-up source of power when the wind doesn’t blow, or when nuclear power plants are delayed. Gas-powered generating capacity would in those circumstances provide a layer of comfort, with capacity payments to meet the costs of keeping stations in continuous readiness even if they are only used for 20 or 30 per cent of the time. In different ways, that is what is happening in both the UK and Germany.

As we move from scarcity to plenty in the energy market, the terms of trade will alter and some suppliers will inevitably lose out. The natural gas suppliers look like being the next victims.


George Friedman: Germany Looks to Ease Russian Sanctions.

Berlin is performing a balancing act between Moscow and the West.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on May 31 that Germany would consider easing sanctions on Russia gradually if there is “substantial” progress on the issue of Ukraine. A day earlier, German weekly Der Spiegel published a story indicating that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is considering lifting some initial sanctions, such as travel restrictions, in return for Moscow’s cooperation on local elections in eastern Ukraine. The article made it clear that senior officials want to become more proactive in finding a way out of the stalemate.

Russia has clearly demonstrated that it will not change its policy toward Ukraine because of the sanctions, and Ukraine has become something of a frozen conflict. Kiev cannot regain control of the parts of Ukraine under the control of pro-Russian elements, nor can it change the status of Crimea.

At the same time, Russia cannot prevent Kiev from forming close ties with Europe and the United States, nor can it trigger an uprising in eastern Ukraine. Short of direct intervention in Ukraine, Russia has been blocked. And a direct intervention would not be easy or without risk for the operation itself, or Russian interests elsewhere.

Therefore, it would be surprising if the Germans didn’t search for a way to lift sanctions, in order to normalize bilateral relations with Russia. From Germany’s point of view, the worst case scenario would be a Cold War to its east. The European Union is sufficiently fragile to frighten Germany. A confrontation between Europe and Russia would likely shatter the EU. NATO is the European defense system, but it has responded minimally to this point. Should the confrontation endure and escalate, the United States would use NATO as a vehicle to conduct a containment strategy against Russia.

Germany needs to hold the EU together because about a quarter of its GDP is derived from exports to Europe. The expectation of countries like Poland, Romania and the Baltics is that Germany would participate fully in containing Russia. Other parts of Europe that have no interest in such a confrontation would pressure Germany to block the American strategy. Germany is forced to infuriate some part of Europe in this situation. Given the fragility of the EU, the pressure of a Cold War could be the final blow to European unity.

Since the Russians have not capitulated to sanctions to this point, it is unlikely that they will. Therefore, it is in Germany’s interest to defuse the confrontation with Russia, and to do that, they must at least loosen the sanctions, or ultimately eliminate them.

There is a basis for a compromise in Ukraine. The Russians want a neutral Ukraine. Kiev may maintain whatever economic and political relations it wishes, but it must not become part of the Western defense system. What Russia cannot tolerate is Western forces on the Ukrainian-Russian border. That would represent an existential threat to Russia.

While such a presence is a bare possibility far down the road, Russia has learned in its history that bare possibilities can rapidly turn into realities. Therefore, neutralization of Ukraine in terms of defense relations is the foundation of any settlement for the Russians. Other issues such as some degree of autonomy for eastern Ukraine are manageable if Russia gets neutralization.

Of course, on the list of other things — far more important than eastern Ukrainian autonomy — that Russia would want to revise is the growing U.S. presence in the Baltics, Poland and Romania. I’ve written extensively about the century-long commitment of the United States to prevent a hegemon from consolidating the resources of the European Peninsula and Russia. The United States resisted potential hegemons in the two world wars and the Cold War. This is the fundamental geopolitical interest of the United States, towering over its interest in who owns what island in the South China Sea. Russia, having sensed a Western push eastward, responded as it normally does by pursuing a blocking position.

The Russians would certainly ask for a removal of forces based on NATO’s eastern front. And now we come to the heart of any settlement over Ukraine. The Russians, having seen a force of any significant size to their west, will not trust the West’s commitment to neutralization. The Americans will not trust the Russians to respect Ukrainian neutrality without a U.S.-led force providing a deterrent in the region. The Russians will not believe that force will respect Ukrainian neutrality.

And this is the dilemma the Germans face. The Ukrainian crisis has drawn the U.S. military into their neighborhood. The Germans, along with other European countries, want to end sanctions. The U.S. deployment of troops in the region has made getting rid of sanctions far more difficult and has turned the sanctions into a side issue.

The Russians have a bigger worry: American intentions. Therefore, this probe by the Germans on lifting sanctions faces a far more difficult hurdle. Eliminating sanctions will not assuage Russian concerns and would undermine the American deployment, which is taking place in the context of NATO. The region is in a different place than it was when sanctions were imposed.

Germany is, as we have argued, facing serious economic problems. The European Union and NATO – both pillars of German national strategy – are experiencing friction, within and between them. And the Americans, pursuing their own interests, are posing a challenge on the eastern edge of the EU, as is Britain in the west, and Mediterranean Europe in the south.

The normal strategy for Germany is to do nothing. But doing nothing, in this case, means allowing a set of destabilizing forces to undermine core German interests. While the Americans and Russians pursue their interests in Europe, Germany cannot yet act on its century-long strategy of building its military power to protect its interests.

Taking that as a given for now, the only other option for Germany is to find another means to balance the Russians and Americans. The Americans are the stronger power, but far away and not yet committed to a full-scale deployment equal to the Cold War. The Russians are far weaker, but much closer. That equalizes the two.

At the moment, the Germans worry about the Americans more than they worry about the Russians. The Russians are pursuing their buffers. The Americans, in resisting that, may do what they did during the 20th century – swamp Europe with its power. Given German economic vulnerability at the moment, the Americans can destabilize the foundations of Germany. Therefore, it makes sense for Germany, playing the balance of power in Europe as Britain did in the 19th century, to reach out to Russia. Russia can counterbalance the Americans and would welcome German economic activity in the country, given its weakened economy.

But eliminating sanctions doesn’t fully solve Germany’s problems. The core problem, a Cold War emerging to its east, is the real issue. Of course, if Germany pursues this strategy, NATO and the EU are likely to fragment as well. But Germany may have reached the conclusion that these institutions, even if they survive, will not function as they used to and are worth the price if a balance of power that contains the Americans can be created.


New ORG Report: The UK and UN Peace Operations: A Case for Greater Engagement

Oxford Research Group has published a new report, written by David Curran and Paul D. Williams, on why the UK needs to take on a greater role in UN peace operations. Whilst the UK makes significant political and financial contributions to such operations, it has not deployed many of its own uniformed personnel as peacekeepers since the mid-1990s. Today, Cyprus is the only mission with British ‘blue helmet’ contingents deployed. The UK also maintains a small number of staff officers and military experts scattered across a few other UN missions, mainly in Africa.

The report discusses recent signs that the UK may give UN peace operations a more significant role in British foreign policy and argues that it is in the UK’s interests to do more and enhance its participation in UN peace operations. Enhanced participation would bring political, security, and institutional benefits, not least by strengthening the UN system, as an important stated objective of UK foreign policy. For the British military, meanwhile, greater participation in peace operations would boost skills retention, facilitate relevant retraining, and further refine specialist capabilities developed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read the full report >>


Middle East

Magnus Ranstorp examines how Islamic State recruits from Europe are raising significant funds through microfinance techniques within the European Union and transferring the proceeds to the Islamic State.

With the very recent death of Taliban emir Mullah Mansoor in a U.S. airstrike, Tore Hamming and Olivier Roy weigh the costs and benefits to al-Qa`ida of al-Zawahiri’s bay`a to Mansoor last summer, arguing that the strengthening fortunes of the Taliban and al-Zawahiri’s need for allies to confront the Islamic State make it likely he will also subordinate himself to newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada.

As the world watches to see if an internationally backed Government of National Accord in Libya can establish itself and take on the Islamic State and other terrorist groups present there, Andrew McGregor examines how security in southern Libya might be impacted if international powers decide to intervene militarily.

Finally, Animesh Roul outlines how Bangladesh has increasingly become fertile ground for al-Qa`ida and the Islamic State with both groups taking advantage of an upsurge in Islamist militancy to expand their presence and to build alliances with local jihadist groups.


George Friedman: Nationalism is Rising, Not Fascism.

May 31, 2016 The claims of an increase in fascism in Europe and the U.S. derive from a misunderstanding of the term.

Recently, there have been a number of articles and statements asserting that fascism is rising in Europe, and that Donald Trump is an American example of fascism. This is a misrepresentation of a very real phenomenon. The nation-state is reasserting itself as the primary vehicle of political life. Multinational institutions like the European Union and multilateral trade treaties are being challenged because they are seen by some as not being in the national interest. The charge of a rise in fascism derives from a profound misunderstanding of what fascism is. It is also an attempt to discredit the resurgence of nationalism and to defend the multinational systems that have dominated the West since World War II.

Nationalism is the core of the Enlightenment’s notion of liberal democracy. It asserts that the multinational dynasties that ruled autocratically denied basic human rights. Among these was the right to national self-determination and the right of citizens to decide what was in the national interest. With the exception of Immanuel Kant, the Enlightenment feared tyranny, and saw the multinational empires dominating Europe as the essence of tyranny. Destroying them meant replacing them with nation-states. The American and French revolutions were both nationalist risings, as were the nationalist risings that swept Europe in 1848. Liberal revolutions were by definitions nationalist because they were risings against multinational empires.

Fascism differs from nationalism in two profound ways. First, self-determination was not considered a universal right by fascists. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco, to mention three obvious fascists, only endorsed nationalism for Germany, Italy and Spain. The rights of other nations to a nation-state of their own was at best unclear to the fascists. In a very real sense, Hitler and Mussolini believed in multinationalism, albeit with other nations submitting to their will. Fascism in its historical form was an assault on the right of nations to pursue their self-interest, and an elevation of the fascists’ right to pursue it based on an assertion of their nations’ inherent superiority and right to rule.

But the more profound difference was the conception of internal governance. Liberal nationalism accepted that the right to hold power was subject to explicit and periodic selection of the leaders by the people. How this was done varied. The American system is very different from the British, but the core principles remain the same. It also requires that opponents of the elected have the right to speak out against them, and to organize parties to challenge them in the future. Most important, it affirms that the people have the right to govern themselves through these mechanisms and that those elected to lead must govern in the people’s name. Leaders must also be permitted to govern and extra-legal means cannot be used to paralyze the government, any more than the government has the right to suppress dissent.

Fascism asserts that a Hitler or Mussolini represent the people but are not answerable to them. The core of fascism is the idea of the dictator, who emerges through his own will. He cannot be challenged without betraying the people. Therefore, free speech and opposition parties are banned and those who attempt to oppose the regime are treated as criminals. Fascism without the dictator, without the elimination of elections, without suppression of free speech and the right to assemble, isn’t fascism.

Arguing that being part of the European Union is not in the British interest, that NATO has outlived its usefulness, that protectionist policies or anti-immigration policies are desirable is not fascist. These ideas have no connection to fascism whatsoever. They are far more closely linked to traditional liberal democracy. They represent the reassertion of the foundation of liberal democracy, which is the self-governing nation-state. It is the foundation of the United Nations, whose members are nation-states, and where the right to national self-determination is fundamental.

Liberal democracy does not dictate whether a nation should be a member in a multinational organization, adopt free trade policies or protectionism, or welcome or exclude immigrants. These are decisions to be made by the people – or more precisely, by the representatives they select. The choices may be wise, unwise or even unjust. However, the power to make these choices rests, in a liberal democracy, in the hands of the citizens.

What we are seeing is the rise of the nation-state against the will of multinational organizations and agreements. There are serious questions about membership in the EU, NATO and trade agreements, and equally about the right to control borders. Reasonable people can disagree, and it is the political process of each nation that retains the power to determine shifts in policy. There is no guarantee that the citizenry will be wise, but that cuts both ways and in every direction.

The current rise of nationalism in Europe is the result of European institutions’ failure to function effectively. Eight years after 2008, Europe still has not solved its economic problems. A year after the massive influx of refugees in Europe, there is still no coherent and effective policy to address the issue. Given this, it would be irresponsible for citizens and leaders not to raise questions as to whether they should remain in the EU or follow its dictates. Similarly, there is no reason for Donald Trump not to challenge the idea that free trade is always advantageous, or to question NATO. However obnoxious his style and however confusing his presentation, he is asking questions that must be asked.

In the 1950s, the McCarthyites charged anyone they didn’t like with being communists. Today, those who disapprove of the challengers of the current system call them fascists. Now, some of the opponents of the EU or immigration may really be fascists. But the hurdle for being a fascist is quite high. Fascism is far more than racism, tinkering with the judiciary, or staging a violent demonstration. Real fascism is Nazi Germany’s “leader principle” – which dictated absolute obedience to the Führer, whose authority was understood to be above the law.

We are seeing a return to nationalism in Europe and the United States because it is not clear to many that internationalism, as followed since World War II, benefits them any longer. They may be right or wrong, but to claim that fascism is sweeping Europe and the United States raises the question of whether those who say this understand the principles of fascism or the intimate connection between nationalism and liberal democracy.

GMF: Turkey – Changing Relations with Iran.

As Iran enjoys a shining moment in politics and re-enters the global state system, Turkey is considering policy options towards Iran. Shortly after taking office, Turkey’s new prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, stressed the need for improved relations with Tehran.

In his analysis brief titled, “The Iranian Moment and Turkey,” Gökhan Bacık, professor of political science at Ipek University, discusses the possibility of a compartmentalized relationship between Turkey and Iran making it possible for the neighbors to cooperate on economic issues despite their differences on important regional political issues.

Read the full article here.




Unrealistic Plans To Stop African Migration Into Europe

By Paolo von Schirach on May 30, 2016 12:42 pm


WASHINGTON – How can Europe stop the endless tide of poor migrants arriving daily from Africa? Very simple, argues Matteo Renzi, Italy’s Prime Minister. The EU will offer a “Migration Compact” to the poor African states. Europe will provide about 60 billion euro in fresh funds for new infrastructure and other worthy economic and social development projects that will dramatically improve economic conditions, and therefore opportunities at home for the African poor. In exchange, the African governments will promise to enact measures aimed at preventing this endless migration of the poor towards what they perceive as better places to live in Europe.

A good plan?

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Since we all understand that poverty and lack of opportunity are the main drivers of this potentially endless migration, let’s finance genuine economic growth and jobs in Africa, so that the poor will have an incentive to stay, rather than leave.

Yes, good plan indeed. Except that it is a really silly idea destined to fail. In fact it is so unrealistic that we can only call it dumb. I have no idea why this Migration Compact idea is even under consideration in Brussels; but it is obvious that it cannot be implemented. And even if it could be implemented, it would not produce the intended results: i.e. stop migration.

The numbers are daunting

First of all let’s look at some numbers. Africa’s total population is about 1. 1 billion people, most of them poor. Even if only a small percentage want to emigrate to Europe, that is several million. Second point, this proposed EU fund would be about 60 billion Euro to be disbursed over a number of years. This sounds like a lot of money. But it isn’t, given Africa’s size and population and the prevailing horrible conditions when it comes to the insufficiency or complete lack of the basics: electricity, clean water, schools, hospitals, roads.

In other words, 60 billion Euro, while not negligible money, is simply not enough to move the needle. Third and crucial point, several decades of failed or under performing development assistance programs aimed at Africa provide ample evidence that it is impossible to plan, organize, manage and efficiently implement large-scale initiatives involving multiple partners with diverse agendas.

Mission impossible

And this Migration Compact mega project would combine all the problems encountered in earlier occasions. Let me name just a few. There will be a huge fund managed by a bureaucracy that will focus mostly on byzantine, made in the EU procedures, rather than substance. Add to this the need to create a Master Plan involving multiple backward countries that would identify projects to be funded and time lines –all this with the full cooperation of chronically inefficient and usually corrupt African governments. Then you would need the creation of a robust monitoring and evaluation system that would identify problems at every point of the continuum, (planning, project design, environmental impact assessments, buy in of local communities, creation of project implementation units at the ministerial and local government level, and so on), and craft appropriate and timely corrective measures. And, last but not least, you would also need the creation of a workable mechanism that would allow disbursements only to the government that are in full compliance with the rules of this Migration Compact. This means that if a government does not actively discourage migration, funding to its project would stop.

it will not work

Now, anybody who knows anything at all about the challenges involved in designing and implementing even modest development projects in Africa would tell you that this horrendously complicated mechanism will never work as intended.

Creating a Master Plan with so many stakeholders involved would take years. Many projects agreed upon, however worthy, would make no real difference in creating economic opportunity, and therefore a real incentive for poor people to stay home. Disbursements would be messy and untimely. There would be a lot of waste due to poor planning and execution. There would be additional waste due to the lack of proper monitoring. And of course endemic corruption would guarantee that a significant portion of all these new money would end up elsewhere. Last but least, whatever they pledged to do, most African governments will not be willing or able to stop migrants. They simply do not have the resources to do this.

A bad idea

Anyway, you get the picture. This Migration Compact idea is a monumentally ill-advised plan. The fact that someone proposed it as a practical tool to address a crisis is bad enough. The fact that the EU is looking at it shows that in desperate times desperate people are willing to believe anything, including magic.

Endless migration wave

Here is the thing. Europe is unfortunately on the receiving end of a massive secular migration. Poor Africans want to go to Europe in the hope of finding a better life. They’ll keep coming. However, slow growth Europe, unable as it is to take care of its own citizens, simply does not have the additional resources to receive and assimilate these illiterate masses. And yet, it has no solutions.

Having no solutions its leaders are inclined to debate and may be even approve the crazy dreams of a hapless Italian Prime Minister in charge of a country in which even garbage collection is often an insurmountable challenge.



moderated by Srecko Velimirovic

Relations between Serbia and Croatia will form Serbia’s EU accession process.

According to Vecernje Novosti’s correspondent in Zagreb, in shaping the criteria for chapters 23 and 24, "Croatian demands have not been accepted under the formulations that Zagreb asked" and are instead "much milder and adapted to the European practice."

Diplomats in Brussels will receive from Zagreb the permission to allow defining the criteria for chapters 23 and 24 with Serbia, "which means that Zagreb has abandoned its blockade (of Serbia’s EU accession talks)," writes the newspaper.

There will also be insistence that the two countries resolve bilateral problems in order to avoid another attempt to block Serbia on its European path.

In recent days Zagreb has been under strong diplomatic pressure from Brussels, but also from European allies who asked it to abandon its blockade of chapter 23, so that it can be opened during the Dutch presidency, by the end of June.

Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said that Croatia’s conditions are Serbia’s obligation, and that without respecting those conditions there would be no progress in the Serbia’s EU accession negotiations.

Source: Vecernje novosti Wednesday, June 1, 2016 | 09:33


SPIEGEL ONLINE: „Annäherung der Erzfeinde: Warum die USA bald um Russland buhlen werden“

Hier erklärt der USA-Experte Josef Braml, warum Amerika die Russen dringend braucht.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Barack Obama hatte seine Präsidentschaft mit einem "Neustart" in den Beziehungen zu Russland begonnen, heute ist das Verhältnis feindselig. Ist er gescheitert?

Braml: Obamas "Neustart" war aus der Not geboren: Die Amerikaner brauchten die Russen, weil sie die Truppen in Afghanistan aufstocken wollten. Moskaus Verbündeter Kirgisien hatte gedroht, die US-Luftwaffenbasis in Manas zu schließen, die wichtig war für den Nachschub in Afghanistan. Um die Schließung zu verhindern, mussten die Amerikaner mit den Russen reden. Eine Liebesheirat war das nicht.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wieso wurde daraus wieder offene Feindschaft?

Braml: Grund ist Russlands innere Schwäche. 2011 wollte Putin wieder Präsident werden, in Moskau gingen aber Zehntausende auf die Straße. Das hat ihn beunruhigt. Dann kam die Maidan-Revolution. Putin fürchtet, die Ukraine könnte wie Polen eines Tages der EU beitreten und sich zu einem weiteren Land entwickeln, dem es besser geht als Russland selbst. Es ging um das nackte Überleben des Regimes. Dank Krim-Annexion und patriotischer Welle ist Putin jetzt wieder beliebter denn je.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Russische Medien berichteten 2011, Vizepräsident Biden habe Putin gedrängt, dem als liberaler geltenden Medwedew den Vortritt zu lassen.

Braml: Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass Obama und Biden so naiv gewesen sein sollten. Die Fokussierung auf einzelne Persönlichkeiten führt in die Irre. Es geht nicht um Putin. Es wäre nicht damit getan, dass er weg wäre. In den USA ist das ähnlich: Dort hat Außenpolitik mehr Kontinuität, als manchen lieb ist. Die Interessen bleiben gleich.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Bleibt also im Verhältnis zu Russland nach Obamas Abschied alles beim Alten?

Braml: Nein. Eine Annäherung zeichnet sich bereits jetzt ab. In Syrien sind gewisse Verständigungen nicht zu übersehen: Die Russen halten nicht mehr ganz so eisern an Assad fest, für die Amerikaner wiederum ist sein Abschied keine Vorbedingung mehr. Beide Seiten wollen gegen das noch größere Übel kämpfen, den "Islamischen Staat".

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wie sieht Washingtons langfristige Russland-Strategie aus?

Braml: Die Amerikaner haben gemerkt, dass sie Moskau mit den Sanktionen in Pekings Arme getrieben haben. China ist aus US-Sicht eine immer größer werdende Gefahr. Amerika hat ein Interesse daran, Russland gegen China in Stellung zu bringen.


Braml: Die Amerikaner können die für China lebenswichtige Rohstoffzufuhr abdrücken, in der Straße von Hormus, in der Straße von Malakka durch Singapur, das mit den USA verbündet ist, in der Lombok- und Sundastraße über die Nordküste Australiens, mit dem man die Sicherheitsbeziehungen ausgebaut hat. Der ehemalige Schurkenstaat Myanmar wird im Eiltempo "demokratisiert", um bei Bedarf Chinas Pipeline-Verbindung zu unterbinden. China bleibt noch der Landweg aus Russland. In Washington hat man inzwischen begriffen, dass Sanktionen auch den US-Interessen schaden. Das wird korrigiert, wer auch immer als nächstes ins Weiße Haus einzieht.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wieso sollten sich die Russen auf einen "Neustart 2.0" einlassen?

Braml: Russland hat selbst Ängste, von den Chinesen überholt zu werden. Bei Gesprächen neulich in Moskau habe ich auch festgestellt, dass sich dort große Ernüchterung breitmacht: Die Hoffnungen auf großzügige Unterstützung aus China haben sich nicht erfüllt.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Warum eigentlich nicht?

Braml: China intensiviert seine Beziehungen zu Iran. Peking will Teheran als wichtigen Lieferanten, um gegenüber Saudi-Arabien in einer besseren Position zu sein. Die Chinesen investieren dort gerade auch in neue Pipelines. Sie drücken damit den Preis, den Russland verlangen kann.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Zurück zu den Amerikanern: Erwarten Sie eine schnelle Aufhebung der Sanktionen?

Braml: Nein, Washington muss ja auch sein Gesicht wahren. Tendenziell werden die Sanktionen aber zurückgefahren. Und der Westen schafft Anreize, etwa die kürzlich von Merkel erwähnte Idee eines gemeinsamen Handelsraums von Vancouver bis Wladiwostok. Spannend wird sein, ob die Russen darauf eingehen. Sind sie bereit, sich im internationalen Wettbewerb zu behaupten? In Moskau leben ja auch einige Leute gut von Sanktionen und Konfrontation, die Sicherheitseliten zum Beispiel.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wieso sollte Putin seinen Kurs ändern?

Braml: Er und andere verstehen, dass Isolationismus Russland in die Sackgasse führt. Das wurde schon der Sowjetunion zum Verhängnis. Russland läuft Gefahr, zum handelspolitischen Außenseiter zu werden. China wirbt um Kasachstan und andere Länder, die Russland in seine Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion einbinden will. Weil aber die Öleinnahmen sinken, gerät Moskau ins Hintertreffen gegenüber Chinas Scheckbuchdiplomatie.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wieso beunruhigt China die Amerikaner so stark?

Braml: China legt seine Währungsreserven nicht mehr in US-Staatsanleihen an. Peking hat aufgehört, die US-Wirtschaft auf Pump zu finanzieren und benutzt das Geld für eigene Projekte. Die Idee einer "neuen Seidenstraße" ist ein Beispiel, die Asiatische Investmentbank für Infrastruktur ein anderes. Bei der machen sogar Briten, Franzosen und Deutsche mit, trotz massiven Drucks der Amerikaner. China definiert seine Interessen breiter, beteiligt andere und könnte das geopolitisch wichtige Kerngebiet Eurasien in seinem Sinne ordnen. Das widerspricht dem globalen Ordnungsanspruch der angeschlagenen Supermacht USA.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Moskau beschwört das Feindbild USA, bei den Russen kommt das gut an, Putins Beliebtheit ist hoch. Wieso sollte Moskau in Zukunft auf diese Mobilisierungsreserve verzichten?

Braml: Ich vertraue darauf, dass der Kreml über den Tag hinaus denkt. Wirtschaftsnationalismus und Abschottung treiben kurzfristig die Beliebtheitswerte des Präsidenten hoch, gefährden langfristig aber das Fundament seiner Herrschaft. Daran sollte im Übrigen auch im Westen niemand Interesse haben.



GMF: Turkey Headed for Period of Insecurity

Events of the past few week underscore the reality of risk in today’s Turkey. The internal and external position of the country has deteriorated, and the polarization and discord that have long marked Turkish society has reached a new, higher pitch.

In his analysis brief, “Turkey’s Travails, Transatlantic Consequences: Reflections on a Recent Visit,” Dr. Ian Lesser, executive director of GMF’s Brussels office and senior director for foreign policy, argues that Turkey is headed for a protracted period of profound insecurity, and Turkish-Western relations will revert to the security-heavy and often uncomfortable pattern of earlier decades.



see our letter on:

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



05-25-16 GMF Lesser_TurkeysTravails_Turkey Headed for Period of Insecurity.pdf

05-30-16 What do young men and women that travel to the Islamic State seek.docx

05-25-16 CTC-SENTINEL_Vol9Iss513- Microfinancing the Caliphate.pdf

05-16 Bacik_The Iranian Moment and Turkey.pdf