Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 11.05.18

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • WSJ-Opinion – After Obama’s Iran Deal – Trump can exit because Obama never built U.S. support for the pact.
  • Sanctions spell the end of OPEC output deal: Kemp – Reuters News
  • NEWS Digest about Iran
  • Joint Statements to the Press With Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray – Remarks – Mike Pompeo – U.S. Secretary of State.

· My Wish List for the Bundeskanzleramt –Andrey Kortunov.

  • Unbalanced Europe and the New Order in the OSCE Space
  • CTC-Westpoint: The Islamic State’s Lingering Legacy among Young Men from the Mosul Area
  • Grußwort von Staatsministerin Müntefering zur Feierstunde anlässlich 40 Jahren Städtepartnerschaft zwischen Dortmund und Rostow am Don.

Massenbach*WSJ-Opinion – After Obama’s Iran Deal.

  • Trump can exit because Obama never built U.S. support for the pact –

By The Editorial Board

May 8, 2018 7:11 p.m. ET

President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, rightly calling it “defective at its core.” Yet he also offered Iran a chance to negotiate a better deal if it truly doesn’t want a nuclear weapon. Mr. Trump’s challenge now is to build a strategy and alliances to contain Iran until it accepts the crucial constraints that Barack Obama refused to impose.


The Obama Administration spent years negotiating a lopsided pact that gave Tehran $100 billion of sanctions relief and a chance to revive its nuclear-weapons program after a 15-year waiting period. Instead of cutting off “all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb” as Mr. Obama claimed, the deal delayed the country’s entry into the nuclear club and gave the mullahs cash to fund their Middle East adventurism.


Mr. Trump outlined a more realistic strategy in October, promising to work with allies to close the deal’s loopholes, address Tehran’s missile and weapons proliferation, and “deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.” An Iranian nuke would be a modest problem if Iran were a democracy. But the Islamic Republic is no India and has a four-decade history of oppressing its own people, taking foreign hostages and threatening neighbors with extinction.

State Department policy chief Brian Hook spent months shuttling between European capitals to get an agreement to strengthen inspections of suspected nuclear sites, stop Iran from developing ballistic missiles and eliminate the deal’s sunset provisions. Deal signatories China and Russia don’t share U.S. strategic goals in the Mideast, but the Trump Administration’s reasonable presumption is that Britain, France and Germany do.

Mr. Trump’s case for fixing the deal was bolstered last week when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed intelligence that Iran repeatedly lied to U.N. weapons inspectors about past nuclear activity. As Mr. Trump noted Tuesday, Tehran doesn’t allow inspectors access to many military sites. Mr. Netanyahu also revealed that Iran hid an extensive nuclear archive, which would still be secret if not for Israeli intelligence.

Regimes that have peaceful intentions don’t behave this way. When South Africa decided to denuclearize in the early 1990s, President F.W. de Klerk ordered the destruction of all sensitive technical and policy documents and gave U.N. inspectors “anytime, anywhere” access to inspect nuclear facilities. In Moammar Gadhafi’s case, U.S. officials physically removed sensitive nuclear-weapons documents, uranium and equipment from Libya.

Yet Britain, France and Germany waved away Israel’s intelligence, and European Union chief Federica Mogherini said the evidence doesn’t “put in question Iran’s compliance” with the nuclear deal. The Europeans may think they can maintain commercial dealings with Iran and wait out Mr. Trump through the 2020 election.

This is risky because Mr. Trump said in the next 90 to 180 days the U.S. will reimpose “the highest level of economic sanction” on Iran’s energy and automotive industries, ports, shipbuilding and more. The sanctions will cut Iran off from the global financial system even as the regime faces labor strikes and political protests amid a struggling economy. The country may find fewer buyers for its oil exports, and the rial has plunged.

Iran may try to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Europe to keep euros flowing to Tehran. But the U.S. has leverage. As Mr. Trump said Tuesday, “Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.” Attempting to isolate the U.S. could present European companies with an eventual choice of doing business with the U.S. or Iran. The smarter play is for Europe to persuade Iran that to maintain commerce with the world it should renegotiate the pact.


Mr. Obama issued his own broadside Tuesday against withdrawal, but then he made it easier for Mr. Trump by never winning domestic support for the deal. He refused to submit it for Senate approval as a treaty, which would have had the force of law. Mr. Trump is walking away from Mr. Obama’s personal commitment to Iran, not an American commitment.

But this is also a warning to Mr. Trump that his Administration has more work to do to execute his Iran strategy. This means building bipartisan support in Congress for sanctions; diplomacy to deter Iran’s adventures in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East; and more diplomacy with Europe to fix the nuclear deal’s fatal weaknesses.

Perhaps the best part of Mr. Trump’s remarks came at the end when he spoke to “the long-suffering people of Iran.” He said “the people of America stand with you” and made the offer of better relations and a more prosperous future if their leaders will shed their destructive nuclear and imperial dreams. Political change in Tehran remains the best hope for a non-nuclear Iran.


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

  • My Wish List for the Bundeskanzleramt

28 апреля 2018 –Andrey Kortunov

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

I understand the fundamentals. Russia lost Germany back in 2014 or even earlier. Seventy-three years after the end of WW2 and twenty-eight years after the reunification, the new generation of Germans owes Russian nothing. After the Ukrainian crisis, no ‘business as usual’ is possible in any foreseeable future; Moscow and Berlin continue to sharply disagree on many critically important international matters. Germany is and will always be a disciplined member of NATO and that of the European Union; it will not take any initiatives that might look risky, inappropriate or untimely to other members of these organizations. To cut it short, there are absolutely no reasons to hope for any breakthrough in the German-Russian relations just because a new coalition government has finally arrived at Berlin.

However, a new government in Berlin is always a new opportunity — not only for Germany itself, but also for its international partners, Russia including. After all, the Federal Republic is not just another European country. It has always been a driving force behind the European integration, an articuatel — and sometimes explicitly dissenting — voice in the North Atlantic Alliance. Is there another country that could be more interested in overcoming the new division of our common continent, in avoiding a nuclear and conventional arms race in Europe, in preventing nationalism, populism and unilateralism from getting the upper hand anywhere between Lisbon and Vladivostok?….. The starting point should be a strong common European policy towards Russia. The road to Moscow does not lead through Berlin alone, but also through Brussels. The guidelines for this are provided by the five principles for a European policy towards Russia drafted by Federica Mogherini and agreed upon by all EU foreign ministers in March 2016: Firstly, full implementation of the Minsk agreement; secondly, closer relations with Russia’s neighbours; thirdly, strengthening European resilience against interference; fourthly, selective engagement with Russia for instance in combatting terrorism; fifthly, strengthening people-to-people contacts. These five guidelines have not lost any of their relevance today. However, their implementation requires new energy and political investment….”

  • Unbalanced Europe and the New Order in the OSCE Space

May 3, 2018 – Ivan Timofeev-PhD in Political Science, RIAC Director of Programs, RIAC Member, Head of „Contemporary State“ program at Valdai Discussion Club, RIAC member

“The collapse of relations between Russia and the West after 2014 put an end to the idea of Greater Europe. The area of common security and cooperation from Lisbon to Vladivostok, or even wider – from Vancouver to Vladivostok – remains on paper in numerous documents that are gradually being buried in archives….”

  • Azerbaijan after the Presidential Elections: Internal and Foreign Policy Dynamics

May 4, 2018-Sergey Markedonov

PhD in History, Associate Professor, Department of Regional Studies and Foreign Policy, Russian State University for the Humanities, RIAC Expert

  • Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 23-29, 2018

Resignation of Serzh Sargsyan from the post of Prime Minister of Armenia against the background of mass protests; end of flooding in the Volgograd Region; scheduling the date to elect the leader of Dagestan; election of a Georgian MP with the participation of Gigi Ugulava; revocation of the banking licence from the Makhachkala bank affiliated with Gamidov; statement on the return to politics proclaimed by the founder of the „Georgian Dream“ Party, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of April 23-29, 2018, prepared by the „Caucasian Knot„.


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster*   Grußwort von Staatsministerin Müntefering zur Feierstunde anlässlich 40 Jahren Städtepartnerschaft zwischen Dortmund und Rostow am Don

04.05.2018 – Rede

— es gilt das gesprochene Wort —

Sehr geehrter Herr Oberbürgermeister Sierau,
sehr geehrter Herr Botschafter Netschajew,
sehr geehrter Herr Kuschnarew,
liebe Bürgerinnen und Bürger aus Rostow und Dortmund,

Herzlichen Dank – für die freundliche Einladung, lieber Herr Oberbürgermeister Sierau, heute mit Ihnen und Ihren Gästen zu feiern. Das 40–jährige Jubiläum der Städtepartnerschaft zwischen Dortmund und Rostow am Don ist ein guter Grund!

Ich bin auch gern dabei, denn die deutsch-russischen Städtepartnerschaften liegen mir sehr am Herzen.

Aber: wer hätte gedacht, dass deutsche Außenpolitik schon in Dortmund anfängt!

Letzte Woche habe ich in Berlin im Auswärtigen Amt den russischen Botschafter, Herrn Netschajew, kennen gelernt. Eine Begegnung, die in mir auch meine persönlichen Erinnerungen wieder wach gerufen hat.

Die Erinnerung an die russische Sprache, lieber Herr Botschafter, die ich während meiner ersten Schuljahre lernen konnte. Und die Erinnerung an die russischen Märchen, die wir als Kinder in der Schule sogar auf die Bühne gebracht haben. Auch wenn meine Sprache heute brach liegt – eine Lehre bleibt!
Diese russischen Volksmärchen erzählen über das Leben der Menschen, über Freundschaft und Verbundenheit und darüber, wie man gemeinsam den Gefahren und Widrigkeiten des Alltags trotzen kann.einladen, mitzutun. Sie eröffnen Räume für Begegnung von Bürgerinnen und Bürgern, von Schülerinnen und Schülern, von Sportlern oder Künstlern.

Sie ermöglichen den Erfahrungsaustausch: der Fachleute in den Rathäusern, etwa über Fragen der Stadtentwicklung oder den Strukturwandel, der hier in unserer Region noch nicht abgeschlossen, aber mit Fleiß und Phantasie gemeistert wurde.

Das „Märchen vom Rübchen“ etwa, ist mir in Erinnerung: Alle müssen gemeinsam an ihm ziehen, um es schlussendlich zu ernten.

Trotz aller Schwierigkeiten, die es zwischen unseren Ländern und Europa und Russland gerade gibt, sollten wir uns immer wieder gemeinsam daran erinnern: dass man am Ende an einem Strang ziehen muss, wenn Gutes erreicht werden soll.

Sehr verehrte Damen und Herren!

Städtepartnerschaften sind auch deswegen so bedeutsam. Weil sie viele Menschen

Meine Heimatstadt Herne, rund 20 Kilometer von hier, hat zum Beispiel mit Belgorod in Russland eine Partnerschaft – eine Kommune, die einen ähnlichen Strukturwandel zu bewältigen hat.

Städtepartnerschaften sind damit ein wichtiger Teil unserer Außenpolitik: Sie sind Außenpolitik von unten, eine Außenpolitik der Zivilgesellschaft, im besten Sinne.

Dieses Potential der Völkerverständigung, das Potential der Städte und Gemeinden in den Internationalen Beziehungen – das müssen wir weiter fördern!

Das „Deutsch-russische Jahr der kommunalen und regionalen Partnerschaften“, das von den Außenministern Deutschlands und Russlands im Juni in Krasnodar eröffnet wurde, ist deswegen ein guter, ein richtiger Weg, den wir weiter beschreiten müssen.

Das Ziel dieses Vorhabens, das bereits angelaufen ist, ist ehrgeizig: Es soll die deutsch-russischen Städtepartnerschaften stärker ins öffentliche Bewusstsein rücken und Anregungen geben für die Auseinandersetzung mit aktuellen gesellschaftspolitischen Fragen, die unsere beiden Länder beschäftigen.

Wie gehen wir um mit einer veränderten Arbeitswelt, die sich gerade angesichts der Digitalisierung von Arbeits- und Produktionsprozessen rasant wandelt? Wie sehen die Städte von morgen aus? Wie funktioniert der Nahverkehr? Haben wir genug Möglichkeiten, Kultur in den Städten zu fördern?

Den Kommunalpolitikern, da bin ich sicher, werden die Themen da so schnell nicht ausgehen – sind es doch gerade die Kommunen, die Orte, an denen sich entscheidet, wie eine Gesellschaft letztlich funktioniert.

Auch Dortmund und Rostow haben eine Reihe von Ähnlichkeiten, die sie einander nah bringen und die die geographische Entfernung zweitranging erscheinen lassen:

  • Beide Städte wurden Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts durch die industrielle Entwicklung mit tiefgreifenden Veränderungsprozessen konfrontiert.
  • Beide Städte haben im 20. Jahrhundert, nach den Gräueln des Zweiten Weltkriegs, den das nationalsozialistische Deutschland entfesselt hatte, mutige Frauen und Männer gehabt, die einen Neuanfang wagten. Dafür sind wir in Deutschland bis heute sehr dankbar.

Die damalige Entscheidung, eine Partnerschaft zwischen einer westdeutschen und einer sowjetischen Stadt zu gründen, das war dabei nur ein erster Schritt.

Noch wichtiger waren – und sind – die Menschen von Dortmund und Rostow, die diese Partnerschaft mit Leben füllen und die ein dichtes Netz von Kontakten aus Politik, Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft und Kultur geknüpft haben.

Ein sehr schönes Beispiel der Dortmund-Rostow-Zusammenarbeit ist das seit 2005 bestehende „East-West-Jazz-Orchestra“, in dem Musiker aus beiden Städten gemeinsam auftreten, in Deutschland, Russland und andernorts. 
Hier arbeiten die Künstler eng zusammen und schaffen ihre gemeinsamen Werke. Diese Räume der Zusammenarbeit und der Kommunikation ermöglichen gleichzeitig auch neue Perspektiven, die wir immer brauchen, wo Verständigung erreicht werden soll.

Dieses Verständnis füreinander brauchen wir auch in der nächsten Generation: Denn es sind die jungen Menschen, die Frieden zwischen unseren Völkern bewahren und unsere Gesellschaften morgen mitgestalten werden. Der Austausch zu fördern, aber auch das historische Bewusstsein zu schärfen, habe ich mir für meine Arbeit als einen Schwerpunkt gesetzt.

Begegnungen und Freundschaften erleichtern vieles und sie sind gerade dann besonders wertvoll, wenn die bilateralen Beziehungen auf politischer Ebene komplizierter werden – gleichzeitig aber Vertrauen und Dialog dringend nötig sind.

Sehr geehrter Herr Botschafter, ein russisches Sprichwort sagt es ganz treffend:

„Freunde zu finden ist leicht, schwieriger ist ein Freund zu sein.“

Unsere Zusammenarbeit mit den Ländern der Östlichen Partnerschaft wollen wir gerade deswegen fortsetzen, weil wir auch wissen: Beide Seiten sind für das Gelingen dieser Projekte verantwortlich. Beide Seiten mögen daher dafür sorgen, sowohl finanzielle Mittel bereitzustellen, als auch den notwendigen Freiraum für diesen offenen Austausch zu schaffen – ohne staatliche Einflussnahme oder erschwerender Beschränkungen.

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren!

40 Jahre Städtepartnerschaft zwischen Dortmund und Rostow – das ist bereits an sich eine großartige Sache!

Sie setzen heute noch „eins drauf“: Nämlich die Unterzeichnung für ein „Zentrum für den deutsch-russischen Austausch“.

Das weist in die Zukunft und macht einmal mehr deutlich, wie sehr beide Seiten auf diese Partnerschaft bauen.

Sie stehen mit Ihrem Engagement damit für das, was ich mir für das deutsch-russische Verhältnis wünsche.

Also: Lassen Sie uns gemeinsam an diesem „Rübchen“ ziehen!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Jubiläum.

Спасибо! (Danke!)

Vielen Dank!


Politics: From Vision to Action


image0081 Barandat*    COLUMN-Sanctions spell the end of OPEC output deal: Kemp – Reuters News

09-May-2018 12:28:22

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

By John Kemp

LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran marks the end of the current output agreement between OPEC and its allies.

OPEC is likely to insist the current agreement remains in effect, at least for now, but the prospective removal of several hundred thousand barrels per day of Iranian exports from the market will require a major adjustment.

Saudi Arabia has already promised to „mitigate“ the impact of any potential supply shortages, in conjunction with other suppliers and consumer countries, in a statement released immediately after the sanctions decision.

The kingdom is customarily coy about how it might respond but the prospective removal of Iranian crude from the market will send oil prices sharply higher unless other producers step up to fill the gap.

As a practical matter, only Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Russia and the United States have the ability to raise production and exports in the short term.

Saudi Arabia and its close allies Abu Dhabi and Kuwait hold almost all the spare capacity that could respond quickly to a reduction in Iranian exports.

U.S. shale producers could also increase their output but it would take time and their light crude is not a good substitute for heavier Iranian oil.

Russian firms may also hold spare capacity and could certainly increase output over a 12-month horizon. Their crude is a close equivalent to Iranian grades.

The United States and Saudi Arabia appear to have reached a high-level political understanding in which the United States will intensify pressure on Iran in exchange for Saudi Arabia agreeing to help avoid a spike in oil prices.

The existence of an understanding was confirmed by the U.S. Treasury Secretary who told reporters on Tuesday that „we have had conversations with various parties … that would be willing to increase oil supply“.

In retrospect, the president’s tweet on April 20 blaming OPEC for high oil prices can be seen as part of the negotiating process to reach an understanding with Saudi Arabia.

In effect, the United States agreed to implement tough sanctions, and Saudi Arabia agreed to limit the impact on oil prices.

The outlines of that agreement remain unclear, and may not be entirely clear to Washington and Riyadh, but the understanding is vital to the successful implementation of sanctions.

U.S. gasoline prices are already averaging just under $3 per gallon, the highest level since late 2014, up from $2.50 a year ago.

U.S. politicians will want to avoid being blamed for a further escalation in the run up to congressional elections in November.

Assuming the U.S. sanctions are effective in curbing Iran’s crude exports, Saudi Arabia and its OPEC allies will have to raise their production to make up the shortfall, or risk being blamed for a further rise in motoring costs.


The original agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, and other oil exporters, led by Russia, set output levels in December 2016.

The output agreement has already been extended twice, in May and December 2017, and is now scheduled to run until at least December 2018.

Even before the United States decided to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, OPEC’s output agreement was in danger of being overtaken by events.

The collapse in Venezuelan output has reduced production much more than intended and caused global oil inventories to draw down much faster than OPEC predicted at the end of last year.

The result has been a sharp increase in prices, which has been broadly welcomed by OPEC members, especially Saudi Arabia, which needs the revenues to pay for its ambitious transformation programme.

Losing significant volumes of Iranian exports as a result of sanctions will worsen the existing under-supply in the market and cause inventories to decline even faster and prices to rise even higher.

But further significant price increases threaten to complicate OPEC’s strategy by accelerating the upturn in shale drilling, as well as denting the growth in oil consumption.

They also pose a political problem since neither the Trump administration nor Saudi Arabia will want to be blamed for pushing up prices for motorists in the United States and elsewhere.

For all these reasons, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members will come under intense pressure to raise their output to make up for any loss of Iranian barrels.

In theory, U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil industry will not be re-imposed for six months to give customers, traders and banks time to wind down their relationships in an orderly fashion.

In theory, too, the United States is open to granting waivers to importers of Iranian crude, provided they show some willingness to reduce their purchases.

But the U.S. Treasury has already made clear it expects importers to start cutting purchases of Iranian crude immediately if they want to obtain a waiver later, according to a briefing note issued by the Treasury on Tuesday.

The result is that sanctions will start to phase in quickly and could start to progressively cut Iranian exports within the next few months, assuming the sanctions are effective.

OPEC members need to start reacting now if they intend to avert an escalation of prices, rather than leaving the decision to December, by which time the market will be exceptionally tight and it will be too late.

Current OPEC and non-OPEC production levels were specified for a world over-supplied with crude. That world no longer exists.

Negotiating a new deal on output levels is likely to prove tricky since OPEC operates by consensus and sanctions pit two of its most important producers directly against one another.

So the existing deal may technically remain in force while members ignore its output levels in practice.

But the U.S. sanctions on Iran, assuming they are effective, mark the end of the current output agreement.

Related columns:

Saudi Arabia wants higher prices to kick oil addiction„, Reuters, May 3

Rising oil prices put demand destruction back on the agenda„, Reuters, May 2

Mission accomplished for OPEC as oil moves from slump to boom„, Reuters, April 24

OPEC pact likely to evolve rather than terminate„, Reuters, Feb. 24

(Editing by Edmund Blair)

John Kemp – Senior Market Analyst – Reuters 


Joint Statements to the Press With Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray – Remarks – Mike Pompeo – U.S. Secretary of State  

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good afternoon. Today it is my pleasure and a great honor to welcome the Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray to the State Department. Welcome.

We had a great discussion and we had so because Mexico is one of the United States’ closest partners. Together we are working to build a more secure, prosperous, and democratic hemisphere. We are neighbors, allies, and friends.

The conversation, as I said, was forthright. We talked about a range of issues. In particular, we spoke of four vital areas in which we work with Mexico every day: trade; management of our shared border; security; and the shared regional and global priorities of our two countries.

First, it comes as a surprise to no one that our economic interests are deeply intertwined. Mexico is our second largest export market, third largest trading partner. The importance of modernizing NAFTA cannot be overstated, and we will continue to work towards an agreement with Mexico and with Canada.

Second, we manage a couple-thousand-mile border. Every day more than $1.7 billion in trade crosses that border back and forth, supporting thousands of jobs on both sides of that border. We seek to improve efficiency at our ports of entry to support the legitimate flow of commerce between our two countries.

Third, we work together to enhance our shared security by disrupting transnational criminal organizations. We recognize the demand of – for drugs is principally on the American side of the border, and that this problem is destroying communities and tearing families apart. That is why the President has renewed efforts to prevent and treat addiction here at home and to combat the flow of drugs coming into our country from abroad.

Our security is linked to one another’s. It will take our shared resources and commitment to disrupt criminal groups that illegally traffic drugs, weapons, and human beings. Continued cooperation under the Merida Initiative advances our mutual security objectives. We’ve made some progress through the U.S.-Mexico Strategic Dialogue to disrupt these transnational criminal organizations. We should be proud of that. This will continue to be a priority for the administration.

Fourth, and finally, we work together with Mexico on regional and global challenges. For example, we are working with our partners in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to reduce insecurity and violence, enhance economic opportunity, and fight corruption. These shared efforts address the underlying conditions driving illegal immigration. We also cooperate with Mexico to build regional consensus on the crisis in Venezuela. Thank you for your leadership, Secretary, on this issue in particular. I echo the message of Vice President Pence from earlier today at the OAS meeting: We urge our entire hemisphere to impose strict accountability on the corrupt and brutal Maduro regime.

We are always looking for new ways to deepen our partnership with Mexico. Today, good news: the signing of the U.S.-Mexico Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement further expands our relationship and will benefit the North American and U.S. suppliers in the nuclear energy industry.

Again, Foreign Secretary, I want to thank you for coming here today to discuss the many pressing issues facing our two countries. I’m deeply appreciative of having my first press conference here at the State Department with you. Thank you, Foreign Minister.

FOREIGN SECRETARY VIDEGARAY: Thank you very much, Secretary. Although I’ll be speaking in Spanish in a moment, I just want to say that I am very, very proud and very honored to have this first conversation with you as Secretary of State, because we’ve met before, but not in your role as Secretary of State, so I am very, very, very honored. And we had, as you said, a very productive, very frank first conversation as such. Let me switch to Spanish.

(Via interpreter) Since the beginning of the administration of President Trump, the Mexican Government, the government of President Pena Nieto, has promoted and offered an institutional relationship of mutual benefit and mutual respect. We acknowledge that we share threats, that we have opportunities that we can take advantage of together; and we also need to say we also have some differences, some of which are public and well known, but we cannot allow those differences to define this relationship. We need to be able to work for the interest of two neighboring countries and two neighboring peoples who are brothers so as to overcome our differences. Mexico, Mr. Secretary Pompeo, is a large country, a proud country, proud of its history, enthused about its future, and we are a sovereign state. And as a sovereign state, we offer the United States our friendship, the will to work together on the issues that join us to do good things – good things for the people of the United States and of course for the people of Mexico.

The relationship between Mexico and the United States finds itself at a turning point of the decisions made between our governments in the next few months, even in the next few days. Well, this will determine the relationship between our two countries for the next years and even the next few decades. We find ourselves at that crucial moment in the renegotiation and modernization of NAFTA, a renegotiation that Mexico faces in good faith with constructive spirit, convinced that North America can be the most competitive region in the world, and with the belief that we have huge, concrete opportunities for prosperity and well-paid jobs for all of our inhabitants.

We have shared challenges on the issue of security, and moments ago Secretary Pompeo was mentioning the work we’ve done throughout a new high-level group to fight transnational criminal organizations. We will continue along that path. This is what we have agreed upon on the understanding that the problem does not have to do with supply or demand; the problem is a market at the regional level that needs to be disarticulated so as to be able to fight successfully this phenomenon.

With regards to migration, we face common challenges. Mexico has stopped become – being simply an origin country; we are also becoming a country that receives migrants. We need to continue to think about priority to the fundamental dignity of migrants, whatever their migratory condition. Of course, we will continue to work on the regional issues where we share values and a vision. This is the case with regards to Central America. In particular with the countries of the so-called Northern Triangle – Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras – we will continue to promote development and security. We have agreed upon the fact that in the next few weeks we will have in the city of Washington the second conference that puts together Mexico and the United States as cohosts with the three governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and other regional partners that will continue to be part of this effort.

With regards to Venezuela, we share to a very large extent the concern given the situation of systematic disruption of democracy. We will continue to call for a solution arising from Venezuelans themselves who can find a peaceful solution to re-establish democracy in their country. Of course, we will continue to work on different causes at multilateral organizations where we share values and purposes.

I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to underscore the fact that the Government of Mexico is very pleased with the progress made to achieve the denuclearization of the North Korean Peninsula. We recognize the work of Secretary Pompeo in this regards. This is an issue that affects us all around the world.

Finally, I’d like to thank the Department of State, the Department of Energy, and the entirety of the Trump administration who was part of this for the signature of the Cooperation Agreement for the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy. This agreement, which will be presented throughout a newsletter in the next few minutes, will allow us to continue strengthening cooperation, specifically in the area of technological transfers so that Mexico can continue to develop its nuclear energy so that the next governments in Mexico can continue to develop the use of nuclear technology for medical purposes, for example, or for the generation of electricity if that is decided in the future.

Thank you, Secretary, for the signature of this agreement which I believe it is important to highlight; beyond everything we see on the media and the differences we might have, this shows we continue to work together, we continue to address specific issues that are useful for our peoples and creating a better future for our region. I wish you the greatest of success. It is an honor for me to be back at the Department of State and to be here with you at your first message to the media in this hall. Thank you, Secretary Pompeo. We are ready to continue working together.


  Massenbach’s   image0121 Recommendation

CTC-Westpoint: The Islamic State’s Lingering Legacy among Young Men from the Mosul Area

April 2018, Volume 11, Issue 4

 Abstract: After expulsion of Islamic State forces from Mosul, Iraq’s government declared the country “fully liberated” and the Islamic State “defeated.” But field interviews and non-threatening psychological experiments with young Sunni Arab men from the Mosul area indicate that the Islamic State may have lost its “caliphate,” but not necessarily the allegiance of supporters of both a Sunni Arab homeland and governance by sharia law. These continued supporters of some Islamic State core values appear more willing to make costly sacrifices for these values than those who value a unified Iraq. Nearly all study participants rejected democracy, and expressed unwillingness to tradeoff values for material gain. Thus, rather than relying on implementation of Western values or material incentives to undercut (re)radicalization, the findings suggest that alternative interpretations of local society’s core values could be leveraged as ‘wedge issues’ to better divide groups such as the Islamic State from supporting populations. 

From July to October 2017, the authors conducted in-depth, one-on-one interviews, including evaluation on a series of psychological measures, with young Sunni men just coming out from under Islamic State rule in Mosul, Iraq, and the surrounding region. To a significant degree men like this are likely to shape and be affected by the post Islamic State political and security landscape in the region. The goal was to better understand how people who had lived under the Islamic State perceived: 1) the Islamic State’s rule; 2) the Islamic State’s political and insurrectional prospects following military defeat by the Iraqi Army and allied militia with aid from an international coalition dominated by the United States and Iran; 3) their own political future; and 4) their willingness to make costly sacrifices for their primary reference groups and for political and religious ideals.

The multidisciplinary and multinational team of researchers has been working on the frontlines of the fight against the Islamic State since the beginning of 2015.a In their research with frontline combatants in Iraq (peshmerga, Iraqi Army, Sunni Arab militia, Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (PKK), and captured Islamic State fighters), the authors employed an initial set of psychological measures to gauge willingness to make costly sacrifices.1 In these frontline studies, whose results the authors’ replicated in more than a dozen online studies among thousands of Western Europeans outside the conflict zone, the authors investigated two key components of a theoretical framework they termed “The Devoted Actor” to better understand people’s willingness to make costly sacrifices.2

The Devoted Actor framework integrates research on “sacred values” that are immune to material tradeoffs—whether religious or secular, as when land or law become holy or hallowed—and “identity fusion,” which gives individuals a visceral feeling of oneness and invulnerability to a primary reference group to which they belong.3 The authors found three crucial factors common to those devoted actors most willing to make costly sacrifices: The first was commitment to non-negotiable sacred values and the groups that the actors are wholly fused with. The second was readiness to forsake kin for those values. And the third was devoted actors’ perception that the spiritual strength of their own group (often interpreted as heartfelt commitment to the group’s values) outweighed their perception of the group’s material strength or that of its enemies (often interpreted in terms of manpower and firepower). The authors showed that, in extreme conflicts, expressed willingness to act in defense of core values can trump cost-benefit calculations, with implications for policy decisions relevant to improving the political and security outlook in a particular region.

More generally, these prior studies, as well as the new results presented here, are part of a series of investigations intended to inform policymakers and the public about recent findings from social science research on the relative importance of material interests versus abstract ideals and values, which can help determine individuals’ willingness to make costly sacrifices in geographic “hot spots.” The research methodology does not involve general attitudinal surveys or form-filling questionnaires. Rather, the authors employ a theoretical framework developed in the course of research in conflict zones around the world, using a series of dynamic measures (described below) to tease out that framework so as to identify pathways to and from individual and collective violence and to better understand potential implications for policy…..(for more see att. study)


White House factsheet on Iran sanctions

 U.S. Treasury briefing on Iran sanctions

State Department briefing on sanctions

Iran says nuclear agreement still in effect

Saudi Arabia promises to mitigate impact

U.S. Treasury sees no impact on oil prices

U.S. sanctions: implications and next steps

United States has commitments to increase oil output ($FT)

Saudi Arabia stands to be the biggest winner from sanctions


see our letter on:

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


04-26-18 The Islamic State’s Lingering Legacy among Young Men fr om the Mosul Area – C.pdf
05-08-18 Andrey Kortunov-My Wish List for the Bundeskanzleramt.pdf