Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 29.03.18

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • Turkey, Russia, Iran to hold talks on Syria amid Turkish military campaign.
  • Iran’s Defense Minister Due in Russia Next Week – 7th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS).
  • Wall Street Journal: U.S., China Quietly Seek Trade Solutions After Days of Loud Threats.
  • Crisis Group: ISIS Returnees Bring Both Hope and Fear to Chechnya
  • Zentrale Themen der dt. Sicherheits- und Verteidigungsindustrie („SVI“) -Das Gemeinschaftspapier des BDI, BDLI, BDSV sowie der IG Metall –

A Lone Wolf in Afrin. (Olive Branch revealed an ongoing trend in Turkey’s isolation from its Western partners.)

  • The Caucasian Knot. News.

Massenbach*Zentrale Themen der dt. Sicherheits- und Verteidigungsindustrie („SVI“)

26. März 2018 – Das Gemeinschaftspapier des BDI, BDLI, BDSV sowie der IG Metall –

Die SVI ist kein Wirtschaftssektor wie andere: Sie besteht aus Systemhäusern sowie hoch leistungsfähigen Mittelständlern. Mit der Ausrüstung von Bundeswehr und Organen der inneren Sicherheit („BOS“) ist sie Teil der nationalen Sicherheitsvorsorge. Zugleich nimmt die Regierung eine entscheidende Rolle ein (u.a. bei F&E, Beschaffung, Exporten, länderübergreifenden Projekten).

Das unterstreicht die Notwendigkeit gemeinsamen und abgestimmten Handelns zwischen Regierung, Unternehmen und Gewerkschaft im Wege einer kontinuierlichen und offenen Kommunikation auf Augenhöhe. Dazu sollten – wie im Koalitionsvertrag angekündigt – die Branchendialoge fortgesetzt werden; neben dem BMWi sind hier das Kanzleramt, das BMVg, das BMI und das AA gefragt…….

Verfügbarkeit verbessern: Gemeinsam sollten Wege gefunden werden, um die Verfügbarkeit vorhandenen Gerätes zu verbessern.

Die SVI stellt dazu folgende Punkte zur Diskussion:

(a) den Abschluss von Rahmenvereinbarungen zur Instandhaltung mit Ersatzteilbevorratung;

(b) die Prüfung neuer anreizbasierter Modelle zur Begleitung des Lebenszyklus von Gerät;

(c) die Erleichterung und Standardisierung von instandhaltungsbezogenen Beschaffungen;

(d) die Beseitigung von Transaktionshürden durch Standardisierung von Vergabegrundlagen


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

  • A Lone Wolf in Afrin.

Timur AkhmetovMA in Middle Eastern Studies, RIAC Expert

(…Olive Branch revealed an ongoing trend in Turkey’s isolation from its Western partners.)

  • The Caucasian Knot. News.


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Crisis Group: ISIS Returnees Bring Both Hope and Fear to Chechnya

The return of ISIS fighters to Chechnya could pose a security challenge for the war-torn Russian republic. The authorities may respond true to form, with repression, but efforts to repatriate women and children stranded in Syria and, in some cases, to reintegrate foreign fighters should not be discounted.

The victories over ISIS in Mosul and Raqqa pose a dilemma for states whose citizens travelled to join the Islamic State’s (ISIS) ranks and who may now seek to return home. These states include Russia, and in particular its republic of Chechnya.

On the one hand, Chechen authorities fear the return of insurgents who fought for ISIS. They worry those militants, most of whom are mortal enemies of Ramzan Kadyrov’s heavy-handed regime, will renew the attacks they mounted some years ago in Chechnya. As has been the case in the past, authorities might not stop at jailing returnees, and might also go after their families, friends or associates, potentially hardening hatred of the regime among a wider circle of people.

On the other hand, some officials and activists in Chechnya are spearheading efforts to bring back women and children stranded in the Middle East after the death or imprisonment of their insurgent husbands and fathers. Those efforts, alongside limited attempts to rehabilitate some former fighters, offer a ray of hope that at least some returnees who renounce ISIS can be reintegrated into Chechen society.

Chechens in Syria

Chechens are fighting on both sides of the war in Syria, due in part to the assertive role of Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen republic, in the Russian Federation’s foreign policy. In 2015, as Russia launched an air campaign to bolster Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime, Kadyrov professed his enthusiasm for sending ground forces from Chechnya to fight ISIS.

Chechen authorities now have connections in Syria, which appear in some cases to have enabled them to use novel approaches in dealing with the threat of returning ISIS fighters.

His motives for doing so partly related to the particular threat ISIS posed in Chechnya. The republic had been ravaged by two separatist wars in the 1990s and 2000s, the second of which pitted the government against an insurrection increasingly dominated by jihadists.

By the mid-2000s, Kadyrov’s ruthless counter-insurgency campaign had shifted much of the violence to other North Caucasus republics. But when, in June 2015, ISIS declared its Vilayat Kavkaz (Caucasus province), it proclaimed Chechnya part of that province. The declaration, while largely symbolic, suggested a growing affinity for ISIS among North Caucasus insurgents, some of whom, by 2016, were nominally fighting under ISIS’s banner.

Russian officials estimate that as of 2016 some 3,500 Russian citizens had gone to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS, though the numbers cited vary, with some sources suggesting the actual figure exceeds 5,000. Reports vary as to how many of those citizens are ethnic Chechens, though figures sourced to Chechen law enforcement agencies run as high as 4,000. These may include non-Russian citizens, as some appear to be members of the Chechen diaspora who embarked from other countries, not Chechnya itself. Some Chechens served in ISIS’s top ranks.

Kadyrov saw a chance to eliminate potentially dangerous opponents in Syria, while at the same time demonstrating his loyalty to the Kremlin, which has lavished subsidies upon the republic he leads. He told President Vladimir Putin he would lead men into battle himself to “wipe out ISIS”. For most intents it was a boast – and in fact Kadyrov’s forces mostly ended up not fighting ISIS but policing areas recaptured from rebels by the Syrian regime. But the idea of deploying Chechens was an opportunity for Moscow, which was cautious about sending large numbers of Russian soldiers to Syria due to public relations concerns, and the Kremlin saw “outsourcing” the work to Kadyrovites as an attractive option.

The Kremlin and Kadyrov still needed to manage the optics of a regional leader getting embroiled in a conflict abroad. Hence the official line has varied as to who from Chechnya is serving in Syria and in what capacity.

Kadyrov first denied media reports that some 500 Chechens were fighting for Assad, but in January 2017 he acknowledged that “young men from Chechnya are serving” in the Russian Defense Ministry’s military police battalion in Syria. As is often the case with Kadyrov, he made the admission over Instagram, just after two Chechen parliamentarians met with Bashar’s brother, Maher al-Assad, the powerful commander of the Republican Guard, and visited the battalion in question. The “young men” were likely members of the Chechen National Guard “on loan” to Moscow and under federal command. Putin may have urged Kadyrov to use his loyalists to back Russia’s military campaign.

The degree of Kadyrov’s involvement is significant. Chechen authorities now have connections in Syria, which appear in some cases to have enabled them to use novel approaches in dealing with the threat of returning ISIS fighters and in facilitating the return of women and children that joined ISIS.

The first quandary authorities face is what to do with insurgents who do return: apply the indiscriminate long-term incarceration that in the past has shown short-term results but risks feeding anger at the authorities over time; or take a more nuanced approach, filtering out militants who could potentially be pulled away from ISIS and jihadism, monitoring them closely, giving them shorter sentences and attempting to reintegrate them into society.

Some [returnees] may be impervious to efforts to persuade them to abandon ISIS and violence. But others, given the opportunity, might reintegrate into society and pose no further danger.

It is difficult to assess how many Chechen militants survived in Syria and, of those who did survive, how many will return to the North Caucasus, rather than remain in the Iraqi or Syrian desert with other ISIS remnants or move on to other war zones.

According to Russian sources, at least several hundred Russian citizens have returned from Syria. The Dagestan government places the exact number of Dagestani returnees from jihad in Syria or Iraq at 108 since 2014, with 86 under criminal investigation. Chechen officials said in December 2017 that 93 women and children had been returned to Russia, but it is unclear how many of these were ethnically Chechen or resident in Chechnya.

Kadyrov’s government, meanwhile, in contrast to neighbouring Dagestan, has proclaimed a “safe corridor” for women returning from Syria. That, of course, is not the case for male insurgents, and there are no official figures for male returnees.

Jean-Francois Ratelle, a Canadian scholar who has studied the North Caucasus insurgency on the ground, estimates that several dozen Chechens have returned, while Akhmet Yarlykapov, a Caucasus specialist at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) cited by the Kommersant newspaper, gave an estimate of 40-50. But Ratelle believes that more are likely to return to Russian republics via Turkey and countries of the South Caucasus.

Russian federal and North Caucasian authorities worry that as fighters return, they could resume their jihad in Chechnya and other republics. In 2015, Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev outlined the threat and urged preventive measures.

In Chechnya’s case, the Kadyrov regime’s heavy-handed response is a particularly complicating factor. An illustration is the sequence of alleged events reported in August 2017 by the independent Moscow-based daily Novaya Gazeta: in December 2016, Chechen authorities claimed they liquidated a suspected ISIS cell in Grozny. Ramzan Kadyrov said that a group of militants who had joined an ISIS cell attacked police in Grozny on 17 December 2016, and as a result of a special operation that he headed seven were killed and four arrested. Three policemen had been killed in the attack, according to state media. Novaya Gazeta disputed the official version and alleged that over the next month, authorities swept up some 200 other people, including friends and relatives of the alleged ISIS members. At least 27 of these people, according to Novaya Gazeta’s sources, were executed on the night of 25 January 2017. Survivors reportedly said they were tortured to extract false confessions. Chechnya’s Minister for National Policy, External Relations and the Press Dzhambulat Umarov called Novaya Gazeta’s earlier report of 27 executions “lies” and claimed the paper’s journalists had no basis or proof for the allegations.

According to Novaya Gazeta’s report, following the raids dozens residing in Krasnaya Turbina, a Chechen town outside the capital Grozny, reportedly sent a letter to Russia’s federal Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika alleging mass raids and the torture of two men suspected of planning to go to Syria. Novaya Gazeta alleged in August 2017 that residents who appealed to Chaika were being pressured and beaten by police, but Chechen authorities denied this claiming the signatories said they had signed the letter by mistake and were remorseful. The remorse, however, may be indicative of a climate of fear: public apologies from Kadyrov’s critics after going public with allegations of abuse are common.

Indiscriminate counter-insurgency tactics may have quelled jihadist violence in the 2000s, but over time, they risk inspiring further animosity

Such indiscriminate counter-insurgency tactics may have quelled jihadist violence in the 2000s, but over time, they risk inspiring further animosity toward the regime that local activists believe could be exploited by ISIS or local insurgents.

The question of what to do with returning militants is clearly a complex one. Some may be impervious to efforts to persuade them to abandon ISIS and violence. But others, given the opportunity, might reintegrate into society and pose no further danger. This would require a more individual approach with regular assessment to establish whether former militants genuinely renounce violence. In some cases, their families might encourage them to do so and play positive supporting roles, according to local activists. Of course, such steps are far easier said than done, especially in Chechnya, which is notorious for indiscriminate repression and whose law enforcement authorities are not well equipped for a more selective approach. But efforts by Kadyrov’s human rights body suggest his government may be open to trying out newer, less repressive measures – at least in some cases.

Repatriating Women and Children

Alongside the worries above, Chechnya has tried to bring back relatives of fighters from Syria. Heda Saratova, a member of Kadyrov’s official Human Rights Council, has been involved both in repatriating women and children and, to a limited extent, in efforts to rehabilitate some returning militants. Saratova, with tentative support from local authorities, is working to build a rehabilitation centre in Grozny to apply a more individual approach to returning women from Syria that she hopes could later be applied to men as well.

According to Chechens who have worked to bring these families home, some women were brought to Syria by their husbands, while others followed of their own free will and still others were themselves ISIS recruits. Grozny relatives of stranded women told Crisis Group they were “deceived” into travelling to Syria, though, given the aura of fear and taboo surrounding possible links with ISIS, the relatives declined to elaborate as to how. Some women took children with them, but in many cases, the children were born in Syria.

Rights activists estimate that over 700 women and children of Chechen background are stuck in Syria and Iraq. There are likely many more from other Russian republics – some reports suggest camps full of stranded wives, sons and daughters of dead, incarcerated or escaped ISIS fighters.

It is a paradox that leniency and more nuanced measures may be tentatively tested in one of Russia’s most brutal regions

As of December 2017, Saratova’s group, Objective, reports having helped, together with Chechen authorities, bring back 93 women and children.

This limited success illustrates the ties that Kadyrov and his coterie have in Syria. Ziyad Sabsabi, a senator from Chechnya in Russia’s Federation Council and Kadyrov’s official representative in the Middle East, appears to be the main broker of repatriations of women and children from Chechnya and other parts of Russia. Women and children are also being evacuated with the help of the Chechen Republic’s Friends Association in Jordan, headed by Samih Beno, an ethnic Chechen and a Jordanian politician.

“These women were taken there by force, by their husbands. The men went there to fight. [There was an online campaign] to recruit them. They became cannon fodder”, Saratova told Crisis Group in September in Grozny. “There were women whose husbands had died, and they had become hostages. They were in prison, and they had nothing to eat. And now these poor mothers [pointing to women in her office] are visiting various officials to at least try to bring back their grandchildren. Ramzan Akhmatovich [Kadyrov] said in his interview that he got an order from Vladimir Putin to use all his connections, all his resources, to get these children back”.

The reality is more complex than simply men forcing women to travel, Saratova concedes. In some cases, women themselves chose to go. Some may return disillusioned by their experience with ISIS, but others may still share some of its beliefs and will need their own rehabilitation programs, even if not always quite the same as those of former fighters. According to Saratova, women would need to be monitored for several months after their return.

There are also other complications: several women repatriated through Chechen efforts were incarcerated in Dagestan, even though Chechen authorities said in October that women could avoid criminal persecution if they turned themselves in. The incident, which Saratova described as “shocking”, highlighted the clash in policies between Chechnya, which had pledged a safe corridor for returning women, and Dagestan. In the past, Dagestan has made efforts to reintegrate insurgents, but this time showed little leniency to returning women. If such measures are to work, it will require coordination and compromise between the authorities of the various North Caucasus republics.

A More Disaggregated Approach for Insurgents

Saratova’s work in repatriating women and children from Syria, and closely working with their families, has equipped her with connections and skills that could be applied in reintegrating militants as well.

In 2014, her organisation helped bring back Said Mazhaev, a Chechen insurgent, who was seeking to return home from Syria. After Mazhaev served a short prison term, he renounced ISIS, and Saratova, together with Chechen Deputy Interior Minister Apti Alaudinov, began involving him in meetings with Chechen youth to disabuse them of any allure the movement might hold.

In a 2017 conversation with Crisis Group, Saratova described the effect of these meetings:

The reaction of young people to his words was very interesting. When officials come out and say, ‘don’t go to Syria, it’s bad’, they are bored. They slept at those events. Said Mazhaev came out and said: ‘Guys, I’ve been there, and I understood it was all a lie – and I came back. Don’t let them lie to you’. The reaction was amazing. These young people followed him. They asked him questions. The whole auditorium came alive. I always say, ‘these guys that come back, why give them 10-15 years in prison? Who are they going to be when they come back?’ I always say, ‘let’s use these people. They have information. They can show that the ideology of ISIS is a lie’. You need rehabilitation. Of course, not all of them have reconsidered. It’s a lot of work. But there are tons of people coming back and we need to be ready to [rehabilitate]. We need to be ready to work with these people.

[Authorities in Chechnya] would be better off trying to reintegrate at least some returning insurgents and using those who have abandoned jihadism to deter others.

To be sure, Kadyrov may hope that people like Saratova will help build his own domestic and international reputation. Some of her work is public relations, an effort to put a kinder, gentler face on a regime known for systematic abuses. Nevertheless, a more differentiated approach for dealing with militants, with opportunities to reintegrate into society, has proven effective in other North Caucasus republics, such as Ingushetia and Dagestan, and should not be discounted in Chechnya.

A Crack of Light in a Very Dark Tunnel

Kadyrov has been harsher than any of his North Caucasus counterparts in dealing with the jihadist threat, and a major course correction seems unlikely any time soon. Indeed, in many ways it is a paradox that leniency and more nuanced measures may be tentatively tested in one of Russia’s most brutal regions. ….

But as difficult as it may be, and without excusing the abusive actions of Kadyrov’s regime, efforts such as Saratova’s should be noted, closely watched and encouraged, in the hope that over time they could offer alternatives to the republic’s traditional repressive methods.

Realistically, authorities in Chechnya will likely continue with indiscriminate crackdowns. But either way, they would be better off trying to reintegrate at least some returning insurgents and using those who have abandoned jihadism to deter others, as Saratova has described, from violence.

Moscow could even consider assisting such efforts and sharing experiences in dealing with a problem that, in one way or another, will affect other regions of Russia and other countries. Recognising even small positive signs from official Chechen organs could eventually help move them in a more positive direction and shine a light on what is otherwise one of the most obscure and repressive corners of Russia.


Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* Wall Street Journal: U.S., China Quietly Seek Trade Solutions After Days of Loud Threats

Wide-ranging discussions aimed at widening market access follow Washington’s vow to use tariffs, which sent U.S. stocks sharply lower

By Lingling Wei in Beijing and Bob Davis in Washington

Updated March 26, 2018 7:01 a.m. ET

China and the U.S. have quietly started negotiating to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets, after a week filled with harsh words from both sides over Washington’s threat to use tariffs to address trade imbalances, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The talks, which cover wide areas including financial services and manufacturing, are being led by Liu He, China’s economic czar in Beijing, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington.

In a letter Messrs. Mnuchin and Lighthizer sent to Mr. Liu late last week, the Trump administration set out specific requests that include a reduction of Chinese tariffs on U.S. automobiles, more Chinese purchases of U.S. semiconductors and greater access to China’s financial sector by American companies, the people said. Mr. Mnuchin is weighing a trip to Beijing to pursue the negotiations, one of these people said.

Mr. Mnuchin on Saturday called Mr. Liu, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, whose promotion as vice premier during the just-concluded annual legislative session essentially makes him the country’s economic captain.

“Secretary Mnuchin called Liu He to congratulate him on the official announcement of his new role,” a Treasury spokesman said. “They also discussed the trade deficit between our two countries and committed to continuing the dialogue to find a mutually agreeable way to reduce it.”

The behind-the-scenes discussions might come as relief to those rattled by announcements last week of U.S. plans to hit China with tariffs, investment restrictions and other measures aimed at addressing the U.S.’s $375 billion merchandise trade deficit with the world’s second-leading economic power. The announcement—and the immediate threat of Chinese retaliation—sent U.S. stock prices into a sharp decline.

Farm-belt constituents of President Donald Trump, whose exports face possible retaliatory tariffs by China, decried the tariff plans, and in foreign capitals from Canberra to Brussels, U.S. allies nervously weighed diplomatic options as tensions mounted between Washington and Beijing.

Mr. Trump last week hinted the U.S. was employing both carrot and stick. “We’ve spoken to China and we’re in the midst of a very large negotiation,” he said on Thursday as he announced he was threatening China with tariffs on as much as $60 billion in imports and other restrictions. “We’ll see where that takes us.”

Although Beijing reacted angrily to the U.S. tariff threat, Chinese officials have been careful not to escalate the fight by much. China’s Commerce Ministry accused the U.S. of “setting a vile precedent,” and rolled out penalties against $3 billion in U.S. goods including fruit, pork, recycled aluminum and steel pipes. The ministry said those measures were aimed directly at new U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

Yet so far, China hasn’t included on its retaliatory list any mention of the biggest U.S. exports to China such as soybeans, sorghum and Boeing Co. aircraft, which to some observers underscores Beijing’s willingness to negotiate a solution with the Trump administration.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer sent Chinese Vice Premier Liu He,

above, a letter in which the Trump administration set out specific requests, people familiar with the situation said.

Mr. Liu told Mr. Mnuchin in their phone conversation that Washington’s recent trade offensive against China would hurt both countries and the world, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, and he expressed hope that the two sides can work together to “maintain the overall stability of their economic and trade relations.”

Mr. Trump has said he wants China to reduce the bilateral trade deficit by $100 billion. As part of that, he is looking to boost sales of U.S. cars and semiconductors in China.

“The word that I want to use is reciprocal,” he said last week. “When they charge 25% for a car to go in, and we charge 2% for their car to come into the U.S., that’s not good,” he said. The U.S. actually assesses tariffs of 2.5% on imported cars; China’s is 25%. In other areas, the U.S. has higher tariffs than those charged by trading partners, including a 25% tariff on imported pickup trucks and stiff levies on some agricultural products like peanuts.

Washington is also considering the possibility of pressing Beijing to shift some of its semiconductor purchases to U.S. companies from Japanese and South Korean ones, people familiar with the talks said.

Will Trump’s Import Tariffs Cause Trade Wars?

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that imposed tariffs on washing machines and solar panels. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib examined whether these moves could ignite a trade war with South Korea and China. Photo: AP (Originally Published January 24, 2018)

The U.S. side believes the threat of import tariffs gives Washington leverage in pushing for big changes. But critics of the effort warn that forcing China to negotiate under such circumstances might backfire, because any concessions would be seen as bowing to foreign pressure and embarrass the Chinese leadership.​

“We’re working on a pathway to see if we can reach an agreement as to what fair trade is for them,” Mr. Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. Such a deal would include Beijing opening its markets further to U.S. exports, reducing its tariffs and stopping pressure on U.S. companies in China to transfer their technology to Chinese joint-venture partners, he said.

The U.S. is also pressing China to ease restrictions on U.S. financial businesses, particularly requirements that they operate as joint ventures under which U.S. firms are in many cases limited to 51% ownership.

For the past few months, amid a suspension of the formal bilateral trade dialogue, Chinese officials had been looking for specific demands from the U.S. and had been frustrated over a lack of clarity from the Trump administration.

Mr. Liu went to Washington as Mr. Xi’s top economic envoy in late February and met with Messrs. Mnuchin, Lighthizer and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn. Mr. Liu proposed some easing of financial-sector restrictions. The U.S. side asked him to make a formal proposal, people tracking the talks said.

Mr. Liu also met U.S. corporate leaders and other business representatives as he sought to restart the dialogue. At those meetings, the U.S. participants gave Mr. Liu advice on what China would need to do to put relations with the U.S. back on an even keel, individuals with knowledge of the exchanges said.

Among the things suggested to Mr. Liu: accelerate financial liberalization and expand its scope; reduce subsidies to state-owned enterprises; reduce tariffs on autos; provide more regulatory transparency; and end requirements that American firms must enter into joint ventures with Chinese companies to access the Chinese market. Mr. Liu didn’t make commitments at the time, the individuals said, but said he was grateful to hear specifics.

Now, as the two sides have resumed high-level talks, the U.S. is also watching what Mr. Xi will say at the Boao Forum, an annual gathering of world political and business leaders on the southern Chinese island of Hainan in April. Some observers said they expect Mr. Xi to announce plans to allow greater foreign access to markets such as insurance.

“If they open up their markets, it is an enormous opportunity for U.S. companies,” Mr. Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday. “I am cautiously hopeful we reach an agreement, but if not we are proceeding with these tariffs.”


*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Iran’s Defense Minister Due in Russia Next Week

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami plans to travel to Moscow next week to take part in an international security conference.

During the visit, which will be made at the invitation of Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, General Hatami will take part in the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS). On the sidelines of the event, he is planned to hold talks with his Russian counterpart on bilateral, regional and international issues.

On General Hatami’s agenda while in Moscow is also meetings with the defense ministers and security and military officials of a number of other countries attending the conference.

The Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense is organizing the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security on April 4-5. Defense ministers and military officials from over 80 countries are expected to partake in the two-day event.

According to the website of the conference, this year it will be focused on the defeat of terrorists in Syria.

Security issues facing Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America will also be in the spotlight of the forum. A special session will address “Soft power” phenomenon as a tool to pursue military-political objectives.

About Moscow Conference on International Security:

  • Program: ( Results of defeat of the ISIS in Syria and prospects of peace establishment in the region will become the main agenda of the conference.)


Spotlight: Turkey, Russia, Iran to hold talks on Syria amid Turkish military campaign

ANKARA, March 25 (Xinhua) — The presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in a trilateral summit on Syria in Istanbul on April 4.

It comes after the capture by Turkish-led forces of a Kurdish stronghold in northern Syria and amid Turkish threats to extend the massive operation further east.

The meeting will be hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and will be the second such tripartite summit following the previous one last November in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The summit will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani as the three leaders will seek to salvage their efforts to end the seven-year Syrian conflict.

As part of peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana sponsored by Ankara, Moscow and Tehran, the three countries‘ foreign ministers met on Friday and discussed preparations for next month’s summit, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The three countries have worked together despite their different positions. While Iran and Russia have provided military support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey has repeatedly called for his ousting and supported Syrian rebels.


Experts believed that the mere fact that regional actors are gathering would be considered as a message of international dialogue in search of a negotiated peace in war-torn Syria.

"The most concrete result that would emerge from this summit will be one of the determination to pursue the cooperation between Turkey, Russia and Iran," said Kerim Has, a lecturer at Moscow State University.

The specialist on foreign relations and Russia commented that "such a message despite the Afrin operation would be important for the three (regional) players."……..

Some analysts thought that by giving a green light to Turkish airplanes to use the space it controls over Syria, Russia has meddled in the Turkish-U.S. dispute to weaken the NATO alliance.

"The green light given to Operation Olive Branch shows that even though they are reluctant, Russia and Iran prefer Turkey who would transfer in the end the control of Afrin to regime forces rather to an independently manoeuvring YPG, who would be unpredictable," argued Has.

The fact that Turkey has promised to rebuild the infrastructure of Afrin and ensure the safe return of thousands of refugees is also a factor that justifies Ankara’s motive.

While the U.S. State department spokesperson Heather Nauert has voiced concern over a mass evacuation of Afrin city, quoting the United Nations reporting up to 250,000 Kurds having fled the region, massive preparations are underway by Turkish aid organizations such as the Red Crescent to provide immediate assistance to the population of Afrin, said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Tuesday.

"We want to make sure that our operation brings hope to all ethnic populations of Afrin," said the Turkish diplomatic source, implying that until the trilateral summit of April serious assistance will be conveyed to this part of Syria.



see our letter on:

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


03-27-18 Syria_Turkey_Afrin – Caucasian News.pdf

03-26-18 Zentrale_Themen_der_dt_SVI_260318.pdf