Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 22.4.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • Carnegie Moscow / D. Trenin: Russia Needs American Help to Seal the Deal in Syria
  • Bundeswehr: Staatsbürger in Uniform
  • Grosse Namen: Obama in Berlin
  • Jihadists in Western Africa
  • Counterterrorism and Youth Radicalization in Jordan
  • Integrating digital technologies and energy management in China

Massenbach* Bundeswehr: Staatsbürger in Uniform

Die Bundeswehr befindet sich in der Krise. Jetzt wäre es an der Zeit, dass die Generale ihre Stimme erheben.

Von Sönke Neitzel / Sueddeutsche Zeitung

…Für Verteidigungsminister wie Kanzler (war es) immer sehr bequem, ungestört von den Sacheinwänden der Spitzenmilitärs, die Bundeswehr als ein Spielball für Ränke zu benutzen. Offenbar hat sich dies mit den Auslandseinsätzen seit den 1990er-Jahren noch einmal verschärft. Die Fehler eines einzigen Soldaten in Somalia, Bosnien oder Afghanistan konnten schließlich einem Minister das Amt kosten. Entsprechend kurz wurden die Leinen gehalten, entsprechend strikt die Kommunikation kontrolliert. Die Möglichkeit, jeden General ohne Angabe von Gründen in den vorzeitigen Ruhestand schicken zu können, hat sich dabei als ein wirkungsvolles Disziplinierungselement erwiesen. Und zwar so sehr, dass die Spitzenmilitärs den Willen der Politik so geräuschlos exekutierten, dass kaum etwas Kritisches nach außen drang – etwa über den sich dramatisch verschlechternden Zustand der Bundeswehr.

In der Tat ist zurzeit wohl ein historischer Tiefpunkt erreicht. Diese Armee ist ein Schatten ihrer selbst, was man gerade auch von ausländischen Militärs hinter vorgehaltener Hand immer wieder hört. Allenfalls für kleinere Ausbildungs- und Stabilisierungsmissionen und eine Machtdemonstration reicht es noch – solange alles ruhig bleibt und keine ernsthaften Gefechte zu bestehen sind. Acht bis zehn Jahre wird es wohl dauern bis die Bundeswehr selbst bei steigendem Wehretat wieder über einsatzbereite Großverbände verfügt.

Angesichts der weltpolitischen Lage in den vergangenen 25 Jahren kann diese Entwicklung kaum überraschen; sie ist gerade auch aus der innenpolitischen Logik heraus auch nachvollziehbar. Und doch muss man fragen: Wo blieben eigentlich die warnenden Stimmen der Bundeswehrführung vor einer Entwicklung, die der eigenen Organisation den Boden unter den Füßen wegzog? Die Folgen dieser Haltung treuen Erfüllungsdienstes, in dem kritische Berichte ganz bewusst unterdrückt wurden, blieben auch für die Kultur der Streitkräfte nicht aus. Sie ist mehr denn je von Bürokratismus, Kontrolle und vor allem von Vorsicht geprägt, vom Willen, ja nichts zu Papier zu bringen, was auf der politischen Ebene unerwünscht sein könnte.

Freilich geht es …um die großen außenpolitischen Themen. Was passiert, wenn sich die Vereinigten Staaten in der Nato weniger engagieren, wie soll man auf Russlands neue militärische Stärke reagieren, mit welchen Mitteln dem internationalen Terrorismus begegnen? Im Hinblick auf das stetig steigende Engagement in Mali stellt sich die Frage, ob die deutsche Politik eigentlich irgendwelche Lehren aus dem Einsatz in Afghanistan gezogen hat. Und dies betrifft nicht nur die Bundeswehr, sondern vielleicht noch mehr das Auswärtige Amt, das Ministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und nicht zuletzt den Deutschen Bundestag.

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From our Russian News Desk. (The views expressed are the author‘s own.)

  • In a number of Western African states, ethnic and tribal organizations emerged seeking to achieve highly localized goals through adopting jihadist approaches and slogans to be able to receive material and human support.
  • Anticipating the new tourist season, Turkey is facing a number of new issues that Ankara will have to solve.
  • Proposals on Building a Regional Security System in West Asia and North Africa

( http://russiancouncil.ru/en/activity/workingpapers/Proposals-on-Building-a-Regional-Security-System/ )

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Große Namen: Obama in Berlin

Veröffentlicht am 19. April 2017

Eigentlich wollte man ja Papst Franziskus dabei haben. Wenn in diesem Jahr der Reformation gedacht wird und die evangelische Kirche Kirchentag hält, wäre ein Papstbesuch gerne gesehen gewesen: Papst Franziskus zu Gast bei der deutschen evangelischen Kirche.

Daraus wird nichts, der Papst hat bereits die Reformation gewürdigt, aber nicht mit den deutschen evangelischen Christen, sondern mit den weltweiten evangelischen Christen. Und zwar in Lund, in Schweden.

Berlin: Die Gedächtniskirche ist Werbefläche für den Kirchentag

Also kommt Barack Obama nach Berlin zum Evangelischen Kirchentag. Nun kann man nicht behaupten, das sei eine Ersatzlösung, Obama ist selber bedeutend genug, um eingeladen zu werden.

Nur frage ich mich leise „warum“? Dass so eine berühmte Gestalt sich gut macht vor dem Brandenburger Tor um dort mit Angela Merkel zu diskutieren, steht außer Frage. Nur: ist das das Bild, das der Kirchentag von sich sehen will? Berühmte Gestalten, eingeflogen, reden miteinander?

Medienberichten nach erwartet Kirchentagspräsidentin Christina Aus der Au vom Besucher aus den USA Worte, „die in diesem Jahr nicht schon tausendmal gesagt und gedruckt“ worden seien. Und das kann Obama ja wirklich, es hat also das Potential, eine gute Veranstaltung zu werden. Nur was das mit Reformation zu tun hat, erschließt sich mir nicht wirklich auf den ersten Blick. Muss es aber auch nicht, ich lasse mich gerne überraschen.

Nur leider wird das dann die Berichterstattung über diesen Kirchentag dominieren. Ich hoffe, dass das Jesusfest, was es ja sein soll, auch noch irgendwo sichtbar ist.

http://blog.radiovatikan.de/grosse-namen/

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Barandat* Carnegie Moscow / Dmitri Trenin: Russia Needs American Help to Seal the Deal in Syria

  • Op-Ed- April 10, 2017- Financial Times

Last Friday’s US air strikes against Syria have dispelled any remaining illusions in Moscow about Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

The Russian reaction to the use of force by the US president was strong but measured. Moscow condemned it as an “act of aggression”, but gave no order to Russian air defence units in Syria to intercept American missiles. Nor did the Kremlin cancel the forthcoming visit by secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

Dmitri Trenin

Director
Moscow Center

Russian interpretations of Mr. Trump’s volte face on Syria mostly focus on the domestic travails of the American president, who faces steadily ratcheting pressure over his associates’ dealings with Moscow. This is seen, in turn, as evidence of the influence of America’s “deep state”, which is inherently hostile to Russia. By reasserting US power on the global stage, the argument goes, Mr. Trump has won a reprieve from his political opponents — but at the price of submitting to their foreign policy agenda.

Ironically, by ordering direct action in Syria, Mr. Trump has effectively done to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, what Mr. Putin himself did to Barack Obama in September 2015 when he launched Russia’s military intervention in the Middle East. Now, both countries are actively engaged in Syria, pursuing only partially overlapping objectives.

The risk of a confrontation has increased since Friday, but, paradoxically, greater American involvement in Syria may also bring about closer US-Russian co-operation there, leading eventually to a political settlement and an end to the bloody six-year civil war.

Mr Trump’s intervention could strengthen Moscow’s hand with respect to the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and to Iran and its client Hizbollah, both of whom have used the regime’s takeover of Aleppo to press for a complete victory, undermining Russian negotiation efforts. Russia needs a political solution in Syria — that is its only acceptable exit strategy — but its allies are prepared to fight until the bitter end.

Before Mr Trump put his finger on the scales, it had looked as if Mr Putin was facing a diplomatic stalemate, and that he was becoming a hostage to Mr Assad. This may now change.

It is not at all clear, of course, what Mr Trump will do next. More strikes on Syria may follow; the presence of US ground troops in the country may expand; and regime change in Damascus may displace the destruction of Isis as the US’s primary military and political objective.

There are doubtless people in Washington counselling the president to move in that direction. Should they prevail, Russia will face the choice of humiliating defeat or conflict with America. This would be the most dangerous moment the world has known since the US’s nuclear stand-off with the Soviet Union over Cuba in 1962.

However, if Washington were now to decide to enter the diplomatic game over Syria, chances for a deal would improve significantly. Moscow has always known that without some sort of political settlement in Syria — impossible without US participation — its achievements there would not be secured.

The Obama administration, despite former secretary of state John Kerry’s best efforts, showed no interest in a serious partnership with Moscow. Mr. Trump, in sharp contrast, may be indeed interested in a deal. The Russians will be right to explore this when Mr Tillerson goes to Moscow.

Mr. Trump prides himself on being a dealmaker. He now has a chance to secure that reputation. And in Mr. Tillerson, James Mattis, US Defense Secretary and HR McMaster, the national security adviser, all of them steeped in the rules of power play, the masters of realpolitik in Moscow might finally have met their match. That they are losing their illusions about Mr Trump and his team is a good thing. But the game is not over. It is just beginning.

This op-ed was originally published in the Financial Times

http://carnegie.ru/2017/04/10/russia-needs-american-help-to-seal-deal-in-syria-pub-68632?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWlRFNVltWmxNRGN4TVdJNSIsInQiOiIwOW5ublpsZ3Q3MHpKZUF5aW9WOVkzQVZIYW5maG9xendnMTdwSVg1cVR1ZzAySEFMd0p1czBcL1hRXC8ralhpWEhxWjJtUmxnanlhMVZSKzFvMDZqUGpUeCtMUXM1T2tGN2E4OHZoUjY3V2VJU3NNR0VTNkc5Ym9oMGZUQXFZR0dtIn0%3D *******************************************************************************************************************

Middle East

Counterterrorism and Youth Radicalization in Jordan:

Social and Political Dimensions

April 14, 2017

Abstract: Youth radicalization by Islamist extremists poses a domestic security challenge for Jordan, a key U.S. ally and crucial link in the campaign against the Islamic State. Jordanian policies aimed at neutralizing this jihadi threat have long emphasized bolstering the government’s policing capabilities and control over society. Yet ongoing terrorist attacks carried out by Jordanian youths suggest this conventional approach is not working. Economic deprivation, substandard education, and the presence of radical Islamist discourse are part of the problem, but the fundamental concern is that Jordan’s booming youth population has no emotive attachment to Jordanian identity and thus little stake in political order. Recent research by the authors in Jordan makes clear that young Jordanians are susceptible to radicalization not just because Islamist radicalism seems so strong, but because the political alternative—everyday life as a Jordanian citizen—is so weak. This creates a compelling argument for more political engagement with youngsters as part of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.

Shortly after the founding of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2013, the first Jordanian youtha left the kingdom to join the jihadi organization. Since then, between 2,000 and 4,000 Jordanians have fought with the Islamic State, which makes Jordan one of the world’s highest per capita contributors of foreign fighters.b As extremist overflow from the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars loomed, the government responded with the traditional counterterrorism strategy of strengthening its physical and legal security infrastructure. The General Intelligence Directorate (GID), gendarmerie, and Special Forces ramped up their operations, with an eye toward Syrian refugee camps and urban areas. The U.S.-funded and Raytheon-contracted Border Security Program began protecting the northern border with Syria.1 The legal system, too, expanded its purview. In 2014, the government vastly expanded its existing anti-terror law, allowing police to arrest anyone whose spoken or published views were deemed threatening to stability.2 This past March, the judiciary executed 15 prisoners in a single day, most of whom were convicted of Islamic State-related terrorism.3 Finally, the government strengthened its influence over religious discourse as well, setting guidelines for mosque sermons and utilizing official Islamic institutions to counter extremist teachings with moderate Islam.4

These conventional counterterrorism strategies target what scholars have called “pull” factors, or the ideological and material benefits that draw recruits into terrorist group membership.5 From the perspective of the Jordanian government, the centerpiece of this approach is unapologetically militaristic—to relentlessly strike at the organizational infrastructure of terrorism through the early detection of militant activities, swift dismantling of discovered cells, and prevention of border penetration by Islamic State operatives from Syria.6 The imposition of steep punishments for those linked even tangentially to extremist violence is another pillar of this policy. The logic is austere: impose a harsh disincentive for even dabbling in radicalism that would theoretically outweigh the financial rewards or religious affirmations of joining the Islamic State—and for those that slip through, hope to catch them before any terrorist act.

Despite these efforts, Jordan still suffered an unprecedented surge of homegrown terrorism starting in late 2015, instilling new fears of instability in a country still grappling with nearly one million Syrian refugees. In November 2015, a Jordanian police officer killed five, including two Americans, at a security training facility outside of Amman, with reports indicating the 28-year-old had become influenced by radical Islamism.7 Months later, in March 2016, security forces were locked in a major shootout with an Islamic State cell in Irbid, close to the northern Syrian border.8 In June, a local shooter inspired by the Islamic State rampaged through a GID office near the largest Palestinian refugee camp.9 Weeks later, an Islamic State suicide bombing struck an army outpost on the eastern Syrian border, an area that has since witnessed several more bombing attempts.10 In September, Christian journalist Nahed Hattar was assassinated in Amman outside the national courthouse by a local imam known for his extremist views.11 In December, several Islamic State jihadis went on a shooting spree against the police in the southern town of Karak, resulting in more than a dozen deaths (including a Canadian tourist) and only ending after a dramatic siege at the historic Crusader castle there.12

Beyond these attacks lurk several deeper security threats. First, the discovery of an enormous arms and explosives cache maintained by the Karak terrorist cell revealed the ease with which militants can obtain weaponry today.13 Jordan has been saturated with arms since it began supporting Western-backed Syrian rebels by serving as a key training and supply route. While weapons smuggling has surged, so too have thefts of combat supplies. In the largest known case to date, huge CIA shipments of U.S.- and Saudi-supplied arms were reportedly stolen and resold on the black market, including some that investigators believe were used in the November 2015 attack that killed Americans.14 Second, while recent terrorism involved just a few dozen attackers, there is a far larger pool of extremists and thus potential terrorists. Each successive attack suffered over the past year was followed by security crackdowns rounding up hundreds more suspected militants. By one estimate, for example, the police and GID arrested 700 suspected jihadis in the two months following the December 2016 Karak siege.15

Finally, Jordan remains squarely within the sights of the Islamic State, with recruiters and ideologues actively encouraging and pursuing new Jordanian membership. For years, Islamic State announcements have openly called for violence against and within the Hashemite Kingdom. An Islamic State video released earlier this month glorified the Karak attack and promised to further destabilize Jordan. The group made clear its vow to destroy the monarchy, especially due to its role in training anti-Islamic State groups in Syria and imprisoning young Jordanians who joined the Islamic State.16

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Integrating digital technologies and energy management in China

April 5, 2017. Energy is a major challenge in China and many other places around the world. Between an aging population and its economic development needs, China faces difficulty in managing its energy resources while also promoting air quality and long-term growth. The country’s population is growing rapidly, and this has major consequences for budget allocations and investment decisions …

Economic growth remains an important priority for the country. With its population expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2028, it is vital that China continues to grow its economy in order to provide jobs and maintain economic prosperity … Finding the proper balance between economic growth and environmental quality, though, is difficult …

These challenges are pressing because there has been a noticeable slowdown in Gross Domestic Product growth in recent years … Even at reduced rates, the rising growth in energy needs necessitates access to energy and raw materials for manufacturing and production …

What China does in the energy area will have important consequences for global markets … Environmental protection is a top priority for Chinese leaders …

Unsafe readings have deadly public health consequences … To deal with environmental issues, Chinese planners have invested substantially in renewable energy …

One source is hydroelectric power as China is the largest producer of this in the world. It also has invested in wind power and solar energy, and has become a global leader in each of those areas …

Connecting the power grid is a strategy that helps countries deal more efficiently with energy … Leaders in China have envisioned a global electricity network by 2050 that will help it deal with air quality and climate change. Dubbed the “Global Energy Interconnection”, this initiative proposes to connect the North, East, and Central grids in China and transfer power over long distances … Smart city initiatives are using sensors and digital devices to manage urban service delivery and help people deal with the inconveniences of daily life …

With the sharp increase in urbanization that is taking place in China, the need for digital solutions has risen …

Sensors also are useful in water management. For example, they help in identifying and managing leaks in water lines. Some studies have estimated that communities in the United States “can be losing as much as 30% of their product along the way to leaks in the distribution system.” To help with this, sensors and advanced metering infrastructure can be installed in treatment plants and underground pipes and help managers see when leaks take place and how much water is being lost before it reaches the end-user. In cities, with aging infrastructure, this represents a way that officials can monitor leaks and manage water in real time. Smart meters allow people to know how they are using water and where they might be able to economize given their usage levels …

Traffic congestion is a problem in virtually every large metropolitan area …

Research by Donald Shoup has found that up to 30 percent of the traffic in metropolitan areas is due to drivers circling business districts in order to find a near-by parking space … Traffic lights and stop signs are inefficient because they are static devices that do not take traffic flows into account … According to a RAND study, “AV [autonomous vehicle] technology can improve fuel economy, improving it by 4-10 percent by accelerating and decelerating more smoothly than a human driver” …

The biggest challenge in China and elsewhere is the need to develop a sustainable future. There are a variety of measures that would help achieve this goal. One key is infrastructure investment. It is important that China build its digital infrastructure in order to provide platforms for online commerce, energy grids, and smart meters …

China’s proposed “Internet Plus” initiative aims to stimulate interconnectivity and therefore spur future economic development … Integrating digital services into a connected ecosystem is a terrific way to build a sustainable economy. Having effective interoperability and connected devices is a way to make the most efficient use of natural resources. Smart meters give people information about their own consumption and this helps them make wiser choices about energy. Governments can facilitate this by having agreed upon standards for connecting devices …

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See our letter on: http://www.massenbach-world.de/41259.html

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

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UdovonMassenbachMailJoergBarandat

04-12-17 SZ Neitzel Generale.pdf

04-14-17 CTC-Westpoint_Counterterrorism and Youth Radicalization in Jordan_ Social and Political Dimesions.pdf

04-18-17 Jihadists in Western Africa.docx

04-18-17 Turkey-Russia & Russian Tourists.docx

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