Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 08.12.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • NZZ: Amerika, hast du es (immer noch) besser?
  • The world needs to rethink the value of water
  • Asharq Al-Awsat: Libyan Deputy PM Calls on Russia to Participate in Reconstructing Country
  • WSJ: Trump Leads From Behind in Syria
  • Gerhard Fulda: Vorherrschaft im Nahen Osten?
  • Friedman / GPF: Stalingrad
  • Carnegie Moscow: Russia Has Grand Designs For the International Order (D. Trenin)
  • Putin Informed About Daesh’s Total Defeat in Syria’s Euphrates Valley

The president also noted that de-escalation zones in Syria must be strengthened and the bloodshed must be stopped before transitioning to a political settlement.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201712061059760868-putin-daesh-complete-defeat-euphrates/

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

  • In China’s Footsteps: Why the Russian Bear Should Enter Stealth Mode (Timofeev) (rec. UvM)
  • China and Russia Explore Bilateral Investment
  • The Caucasian Knot / News from the Caucasus Region

Zitat des Tages:

Eine Frau, gleichgestellt, wird überlegen.
Sokrates

Massenbach* NZZ: Amerika, hast du es (immer noch) besser?

  • Die Politik ist in Aufruhr, die Zukunft erst mal düster. Unter Trump gilt Sprunghaftigkeit als Programm. Was können die Europäer, aller Kritik zum Trotz, vom neuen amerikanischen Politstil lernen?

Von Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

«Amerika, du hast es besser» – der Satz geht auf ein vermutlich 1827 geschriebenes Gedicht Goethes zurück, und dieser Umstand hat der Formulierung eine unverdiente Sprichwörtlichkeit gegeben. Unverdient deshalb, weil es dem Autor in diesem eher altersgeschwätzigen Text nicht etwa um eine übergreifende Einschätzung ging. Vielmehr stand ein spezifischer Aspekt im Vordergrund, der Goethe mehr am Herzen lag als den meisten seiner Zeitgenossen.

Er wollte die angebliche Freiheit der jungen Vereinigten Staaten von «unnützem Erinnern / und vergeblichem Streit» absetzen. Der Geist der Restauration sollte nicht obsiegen dürfen in seinem Bemühen, eine neue Gegenwart auf die Wiederherstellung feudaler Hierarchien und auf die Verurteilung des von Goethe so bewunderten Napoleon Bonaparte zu gründen.

Abschaffung des Staates als Entwicklungsprinzip

Hegel betrachtete die in seiner Lebenszeit entstehende amerikanische Gesellschaft als einen «Ableger» Europas und verglich sie mit Städten wie dem aus Hamburg hervorgegangenen Altona oder Fürth im Verhältnis zu Nürnberg. Doch er gestand diesem Ableger ein dem alten Europa überlegenes Zukunftspotenzial zu, das er mit dem noch zu erschliessenden Raum zwischen der atlantischen und der pazifischen Küste gleichsetzte. Auch die Goethe so wichtige Freiheit Amerikas von jeder Fixierung auf die eigene Vergangenheit sollte der Neuen Welt ja ein besseres Potenzial für zukünftige Entwicklungen verheissen.

Was Tocqueville an Amerika vor allem bewunderte, war eine allgegenwärtige Leidenschaft für individuelle und nationale Freiheit.

Für Alexis de Tocquevilles berühmten, 1835 und 1840 veröffentlichten Erfahrungsbericht «De la démocratie en Amérique» wurden die aus der Französischen Revolution ererbten Zentralbegriffe «Freiheit» und «Gleichheit» ausschlaggebend. Was Tocqueville an Amerika vor allem bewunderte, war eine allgegenwärtige Leidenschaft für individuelle und nationale Freiheit, während er in Europa eine Obsession der Gleichheit diagnostizierte, die er als ein Hindernis für robusten Fortschritt ansah.

Am Rand seiner Reflexionen zur britischen Herrschaft in Indien schliesslich formulierte Karl Marx fast beiläufig eine Hypothese über zukünftige Entwicklungen in Europa und in den Vereinigten Staaten, deren prognostischer Anspruch sich rundum bewährt hat. Während er Europa ein ständiges Wachsen des Staates und seiner Institutionen voraussagte, identifizierte er Tendenzen zur Abschaffung des Staates als ein genuines Entwicklungsprinzip Amerikas.

Trump, der Erfüllungsgehilfe

Ein Abbau staatlicher Strukturen gehört nun zu den wenigen Wahlkampfthemen, deren Realisierung Donald Trump mit Konsequenz verfolgt – was ausgerechnet die eineinhalb Jahrhunderte alte Prognose von Marx bestätigt. Trumps ebenso motivationsstarker wie inhaltlich leerer Slogan «Let’s make America great again» hingegen lässt sich mit Hegels Intuition verbinden, wonach die Zukunftsperspektiven der Vereinigten Staaten auf längere Zeiträume setzen können als diejenigen Europas (bezeichnend ist in dieser Hinsicht, dass konservative Bewegungen in Europa – etwa Marine Le Pens Front national – eher für ein Festhalten an gefährdeter als für eine Wiederherstellung verlorener Grösse plädieren).

Die politische Inkohärenz des amerikanischen Präsidenten, paradoxerweise das kohärenteste Merkmal seiner bisherigen Regierungszeit, seine an ein Suchtphänomen grenzende Fixierung auf Resonanz sowie die Leichtigkeit, mit der er naturwissenschaftliches Wissen ignoriert, sind derweil strukturell gesehen ein Äquivalent jener grossen Unabhängigkeit von allem Vergangenen, um die Goethe Amerika beneidete.

Und die versprochenen Steuersenkungen kann man dann im Sinn Tocquevilles als eine die individuelle Freiheit befördernde Massnahme ansehen, während Gleichheitsforderungen nicht zu Trumps Diskurs gehören, nicht einmal in seiner Hinwendung zu jenen unterprivilegierten weissen Schichten, denen er vor allem seinen Wahlsieg verdankt.

Was diese Wähler angeht, so kann es als eine «List der Vernunft» gelten, dass die Resonanzsucht des Präsidenten erstmals eine nationale und internationale Aufmerksamkeit auf Millionen weisser Bürger gelenkt hat, die – vor allem wegen ihrer rassistischen Haltungen – noch nie mit einer Lobby rechnen konnten. Dennoch ist die Art des Ressentiments, auf der Trump surft, kein spezifisch amerikanisches Phänomen.

Es gehört jenen weltweit wachsenden Schichten, deren Beschäftigung und deren sozialer Status durch sich beschleunigende technische Innovationen obsolet geworden sind. Spezifisch amerikanisch ist allein der politische Stil, mit dem Trump und seine Regierung auf eine weltweit existierende innenpolitische Situation reagieren.

Der in seiner Bedeutung weit unterschätzte Kontext unserer politischen Gegenwart – so meine These – ist eine Auflösung und Ersetzung jenes für die westlichen Kulturen über eineinhalb Jahrhunderte ganz selbstverständlichen historischen Weltbilds, wie es in der Zeit um 1800 entstanden war und den Rahmen für parlamentarisch-demokratische Formen der Politik vorgegeben hatte. Es versprach eine Aufhebung jeder Vergangenheit durch ihr aktives Verstehen und zugleich eine Zukunft, welche die Bürger und ihre Repräsentanten als einen zu gestaltenden Horizont von Möglichkeiten nutzen sollten.

Zwischen dieser Zukunft und jener Vergangenheit erschien die Gegenwart als blosser Moment des Übergangs, in dem auf der Grundlage von vergangenen Erfahrungen die jeweils für die Zukunft ausschlaggebenden Entscheidungen nach rationalen Kriterien fallen sollten. Voraussetzung dieser Selbst- und Weltkonzeption war die Annahme, dass kein Phänomen seiner Transformation in der Zeit entgehen konnte.

In der Zukunft lauert Gefahr

Die Systeme unserer Bildung und unserer Politik haben das historische Weltbild zwar bis heute als normative Prämisse bewahrt, doch seit Jahrzehnten schon ist es nicht mehr ausschlaggebend für unser Erleben und unser Verhalten im Alltag. Statt einen freien Horizont der Möglichkeiten sehen wir in der Zukunft Gefahren und Katastrophen, die unvermeidlich auf uns zukommen (der Klimawandel ist nur die prominenteste unter ihnen). Statt jede Vergangenheit hinter uns zu lassen, ist unsere Gegenwart – nicht zuletzt aufgrund elektronischer Speichertechnologien – von Materialien aus vielfältigen Vergangenheiten überschwemmt.

Zwischen dieser gleichsam aggressiven Vergangenheit und jener von Gefahren blockierten Zukunft ist aus der engen Gegenwart des Übergangs eine sich immer mehr verbreiternde Gegenwart der unübersichtlichen Gleichzeitigkeiten geworden. Je breiter die Gegenwart wird, desto deutlicher artikuliert sich die Zeit in einer Hektik ohne Richtung, die keine langfristigen Entwicklungsbewegungen mehr zeigt. B

de

Seit Jahren schon versuchen die europäische und die amerikanische Politik sich auf diese tiefgreifenden Veränderungen einzustellen. In der allerorten beklagten und doch auch allerorten realisierten Annäherung an einen populistischen Stil der Politik liegt eine übergreifende Reaktion auf neue Typen von Wählern, die in ihren Gefühlen aktiviert werden möchten und sich nicht mehr ausschliesslich als Träger von Vernunftentscheidungen verstehen.

Ebenso reagiert die Rede von der postpolitischen Zeit – als einem angeblich zu vermeidenden Albtraum – allenthalben auf den Verlust des Glaubens an eine gestaltbare Zukunft. Europäische Politiker und Kommentatoren freilich halten mit grösserer kontrafaktischer Konsistenz – und vielleicht ja zu Recht – an den Prämissen des historischen Weltbilds als einer normativen Voraussetzung fest, während die wohl kaum programmatische, geplante Innovation von Trumps Regierungsstil genau darin liegt, sich ganz offen und in vieler Hinsicht postpolitisch zu verhalten.

Zu diesem postpolitischen Repertoire gehören ein Populismus ohne schlechtes Gewissen, eine Inkohärenz und Perspektivenlosigkeit, die sich nie zu Entschuldigungen verpflichtet fühlt, und vor allem eine Tag für Tag spürbare Sprunghaftigkeit, welche Gebildete als planlose Hektik schockiert und die Anhänger des Präsidenten als kraftvolle Dynamik begeistert.

Inzwischen ist die sich verbreiternde Gegenwart unserer Welt in dem unter Intellektuellen schnell zu einer ökologischen Trumpfkarte gewordenen Begriff «Anthropozän» bei ihrer maximal denkbaren Ausdehnung angekommen. Er umfasst in den meisten seiner Gebrauchsformen die Zeit seit dem Auftreten des Homo sapiens auf unserem Planeten, welche mit dem Beginn umweltschädlicher Wirkungen gleichgesetzt wird, bis hin zu einer Zukunft, in der die Menschheit aufgrund dann unumkehrbar gewordener Umweltschäden aussterben soll.

Kollektive Leidenschaft für die Weltrettung

Unter Europäern hat diese zugleich wissenschaftlich solide wie mythologisch wirksame Erzählung eine kollektive Leidenschaft in Bewegung gesetzt, die das auf Dauer gestellte Überleben der Menschheit durch ökologisch korrektes Verhalten – gegen alle evolutionsgeschichtliche Wahrscheinlichkeit – erzwingen will.

Donald Trump hingegen ignoriert alle den Klimawandel betreffenden Warnungen, deren Berücksichtigung im kurzatmig angelegten Rhythmus seines Regierungsstils ohnehin keinen Platz hätte. Damit besetzt er aber – in einem langfristigen Rahmen und gewiss ohne sich dessen bewusst zu sein – eine Position, die sehr wahrscheinlich realistischer ist als die ökologisch korrekten Forderungen jener Zeitgenossen, welche die Existenz der Menschheit auf ewig stellen wollen.

Hat es Amerika mit einem solchen Präsidenten besser – «immer noch» besser, wenn wir uns an Goethes Zitat als unseren Ausgangspunkt erinnern wollen? Zunächst scheint die Frage ja rhetorisch im banalen Sinn des Wortgebrauchs zu sein – wenn man etwa an die Peinlichkeit denkt, unter der wir Amerikaner heute leiden, wenn wir ausserhalb unseres Landes nach den Gründen und Auswirkungen dieses Übergangs in der nationalen Politik gefragt werden.

Doch dann mag sich auch eine gegenläufige, ja vielleicht sogar störrische Reaktion einstellen, die man der Ästhetik menschlicher Existenz zuschlagen kann. Ist Donald Trump – am posthistorischen Ende des Vergleichs zwischen Europa und den Vereinigten Staaten – ein exzentrischer Einzelfall oder Agent eines Weltzustandes, der sich nicht mehr schönreden lässt?

Mit der Präsenz von Menschheitsproblemen dieser Grössenordnung gnadenlos konfrontiert zu sein, gilt für manche – immer noch – als das bessere Leben.-

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht ist der Albert Guérard Professor in Literature an der Stanford University. Der Text geht auf einen Vortrag zurück, den er auf Einladung des Schweizerischen Instituts für Auslandforschung jüngst im Auditorium Maximum der Universität Zürich gehalten hat.

https://www.nzz.ch/feuilleton/die-usa-unter-donald-trump-amerika-hast-du-es-immer-noch-besser-ld.1288977

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

  • In China’s Footsteps: Why the Russian Bear Should Enter Stealth Mode (Timofeev) (rec. UvM)
  • China and Russia Explore Bilateral Investment
  • The Caucasian Knot / News from Caucasia

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Carnegie Moscow: Russia Has Grand Designs For the International Order (D. Trenin)

….Moscow’s new grand strategy is still in gestation. It seeks to maximize connectivity with all, while putting Russia’s own interests first. Managing a large number of very different partners is difficult, but not impossible, as Moscow’s recent experience in the Middle East shows.

Keeping relations with China on an even keel will be a major long-term task. Creating a new regional order with China, India, Iran, Turkey and others will not be easy either. However, the European Union and Ukraine are also part of Grand Eurasia, and the mission will not be accomplished before Europe and Russia reach a new normal based on empathy in diversity….

http://carnegie.ru/2017/10/26/russia-has-grand-designs-for-international-order-pub-73568?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWldZek1XVXdOR000TjJGaSIsInQiOiJ2OGVEM3lPQlh2bGpXU2R5V1ZOa0h6M01TandBQmJtN0dRRGJVOVUzXC9cLzVLV0tXeVFsSmlCMWJDVWJBdmlqMERNTnN2dG1uUUhlaEpwM09RZUZtVThpSURpVXN1VURrU1JTNmFCdjM1dE1rSnZjUk53cnlUQmlzMTBJdWNTUzJ1In0%3D

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/russias-formative-plan-c-foreign-policy-59357

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Stalingrad

Nov. 22, 2017 The German army during World War II regarded the city as a way station en route to Baku’s oil, but it turned out to be a meat grinder.

By George Friedman

On Nov. 19, 1942, the Soviet Union launched Operation Uranus. Its goal was to envelop and destroy the German army fighting in the city of Stalingrad. Uranus closed the noose on the Germans a few days later.

 

I have been writing about the four great battles of 1942 that extinguished the Axis powers’ chances of winning World War II. So far, I’ve written about Midway, Guadalcanal and El Alamein. Now, it is time to write about the most massive, brutal and crucial of those four battles: Stalingrad. It was a battle that stretched over five months, from late August 1942 to early February 1943, but Operation Uranus was its decisive moment. As with the other battles I’ve discussed, Stalingrad did not win the war for Russia. What it did was make a German victory impossible.

  • Intelligence Failures
  • The Meat Grinder
  • What if

(for more see att. “Stalingrad”)

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/stalingrad/

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* The world needs to rethink the value of water

November 24, 2017 New research highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to guide better policy and practice …

The value of water for people, the environment, industry, agriculture and cultures has been long-recognised, not least because achieving safely-managed drinking water is essential for human life. The scale of the investment for universal and safely-managed drinking water and sanitation is vast …

But there is an increasing need to re-think the value of water for a number of reasons: Water is not just about sustaining life, it plays a vital role in sustainable development. Water’s value is evident in all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals …

Water security is a growing global concern. The negative impacts of water shortages, flooding and pollution have placed water related risks among the top 5 global threats by the World Economic Forum for several years running …

Last month the World Bank demonstrated the consequences of water scarcity and shocks: the cost of a drought in cities is four times greater than a flood, and a single drought in rural Africa can ignite a chain of deprivation and poverty across generations …

Putting a monetary value on water and capturing the cultural benefits of water are only one step …

Co-author Richard Damania, Global Lead Economist, World Bank Water Practice: „We show that water underpins development, and that we must manage it sustainably. Multiple policies will be needed for multiple goals. Current water management policies are outdated and unsuited to addressing the water related challenges of the 21st century. Without policies to allocate finite supplies of water more efficiently, control the burgeoning demand for water and reduce wastage, water stress will intensify where water is already scarce and spread to regions of the world — with impacts on economic growth and the development of water-stressed nations“ …

 

Oxford University:

 

adelphi / carec
Rethinking Water in Central Asia – The costs of inaction and benefits of water cooperation
23.11.2017 … The collapse of the political, social and economic system in Central Asia in the early 1990s has resulted in intensive competition for water resources in and between Central Asian countries. Despite numerous efforts by international partners to strengthen regional cooperation and dialogue, cooperation has remained very limited … Central Asia is witnessing intense competition over water resources and their use for irrigation and hydropower generation. Despite general political commitment to cooperation, water policies in Central Asia are largely driven by uncoordinated and partly contradicting national strategies … Based on an analysis of the reasons for non-cooperation and lessons learned, it examines the risks and costs of inaction in terms of transboundary water cooperation, and the potential benefits of such cooperation … This limited water cooperation, however, entails significant costs and major risks for the future development of the region … analyses these “costs of inaction” … By raising awareness of these costs of inaction, and by setting out a variety of pathways towards eliminating them in the future, the present report seeks to encourage and support Central Asian policy-makers in strengthening regional water cooperation and improved water governance. The costs of inaction mirror the potential benefits of water cooperation, and their scale hence demonstrates the scale of the benefits and opportunities that better water management and closer cooperation can deliver for Central Asia … Both the policy brief and the report are also available in Russian.
https://www.adelphi.de/en/publication/rethinking-water-central-asia

https://www.adelphi.de/en/system/files/mediathek/bilder/Rethinking%20Water%20in%20Central%20Asia%20-%20adelphi%20carec%20ENG.pdf

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Middle East

WSJ: Trump Leads From Behind in Syria

John Kerry trusted Russia. The president should ask him how that worked out.

ByDennis Ross – Dec. 4, 2017 7:12 p.m. ET

President Trump has made reversing his predecessor’s legacy a guiding principle, except in one area: Syria. Much like President Obama, Mr. Trump’s policy has been exclusively anti-Islamic State, giving Iran and Russia a free hand to dictate outcomes in the country. This won’t end well.

Mr. Trump apparently sees cooperation with the Russians as the best solution. On July 7, in Germany, Mr. Trump and Vladimir Putin announced a cease-fire in southwest Syria. On Nov. 11, in Vietnam, they issued a joint statement confirming “the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce cease-fire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict.” That ultimate political solution, they declared, should follow the guidelines set by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.

This sounds great at first: The resolution, passed in December 2015, sets timelines for cease-fires, a new constitution and a transitional government. Yet Bashar Assad, employing sieges and starvation, has prevented the delivery of humanitarian assistance to his own people. This—along with his barrel bombs and political obstructionism—has prevented any progress in achieving the resolution’s goals. The Russians and Iranians have only enabled him.

In November 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry reached an agreement on Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The agreed-to principles were incorporated in Resolution 2254 the following month. Later, Mr. Kerry would negotiate a joint operational center with the Russians to coordinate attacks in Syria—but the Russian onslaught against Aleppo in 2016 precluded its implementation. The Russians fulfilled none of their obligations, leading a frustrated Mr. Kerry to declare that Moscow and its allies have to decide whether “they are serious about implementing a United Nations Security Council resolution.”

Russia’s actions since have only proved it is not serious about Resolution 2254. The Trump administration might think it will be different this time, because the de-escalation zone in southwest Syria has been working. The administration clearly hopes to broaden the de-escalation zone and pursue a diplomatic solution. As Defense Secretary Jim Mattis explained in November, the U.S. can demilitarize the country area by area, until a diplomatic solution offers a way forward. While it would be good if this approach could work, the indicators aren’t positive.

Take the de-escalation zones: The one in southwestern Syria has worked, but only because it freed up the Assad regime and its Iranian allies to attack the other so-called de-escalation zones relentlessly. In one such area, Syrian regime cluster bombs have been hitting Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus. U.N. diplomat Jan Egeland has spoken of a “massive loss of civilian life” and declared that “there is only escalation in this de-escalation zone.” In a different zone, the town of Atarib was recently bombed, killing more than 50 civilians. Once the regime retakes these areas, it will surely turn its attention to southwestern Syria.

Also worrying: The day after the presidential joint statement last month, Mr. Lavrov declared that the departure of foreign forces called for in the recently concluded memorandum of principles between the U.S., Russia and Jordan did not apply to the “Iranian or pro-Iranian forces.”

Iran is also developing a front in Syria against Israel, with no sign of Russian opposition—despite talk of a buffer. During a recent visit to the Golan Heights, the local Israeli commander showed me a Quds Force-Hezbollah command post on a hill less than 4 miles away. Here is a conflict waiting to erupt.

There is little chance of the Russians implementing a peace agreement in good faith so long as they see no cost for noncompliance. The Trump administration could alter Mr. Putin’s calculus—and make the diplomatic process more credible—by conveying quietly that if the Russians will not stop the Assad-Shia expansion into the de-escalation zones, the U.S. will.

Boots on the ground wouldn’t be necessary. The U.S. already has air power in the region dwarfing what the Russians used to secure Assad and change the balance of power in Syria. Mr. Putin knows that. He wants Russia, not the U.S., to be seen as the arbiter of Syria’s future. If there are any doubts about this, consider his active diplomacy with Assad and the leaders of Iran and Turkey over the past few weeks.

John Kerry eventually realized that words alone would not get Mr. Putin to respond in Syria. Time will tell whether the Trump administration has learned that lesson.

Mr. Ross has held senior national security positions in several presidential administrations and is counselor at the Washington Institute.

About Dennis Ross: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Ross

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-leads-from-behind-in-syria-1512432726

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Vorherrschaft im Nahen Osten?

Von Gerhard Fulda

Der Artikel ist auch als PDF in englischer Sprache verfügbar.

Tun sie das wirklich? Wird mit diesem Satz irgendetwas erklärt? Oder soll dies Mantra nur verschleiern, dass kaum jemand die Rolle Israels in dieser Region öffentlich analysieren will?

Was ist eigentlich eine Vorherrschaft? In den Ländern deutscher Sprache gab es einen Kampf um die Vorherrschaft zuletzt zwischen Habsburg und Preußen. Aber dort wollten beide Dynastien jeweils am Ende ganz allein regieren. Das will sicher heute niemand den Kontrahenten im Vorderen Orient vorwerfen. Dann führt also die Suche nach einer historischen Parallele in unserer eigenen Vergangenheit wohl eher in die Irre.

Von einem Streben nach Vorherrschaft im Zusammenhang mit den heutigen Auseinandersetzungen im Nahen Osten könnte man viel verständlicher sprechen, wenn damit nur die globale Auseinandersetzung zwischen den USA und Russland gemeint wäre. Tatsächlich hatten die USA die Unterstützung der syrischen Opposition nach den zunächst friedlichen Demonstrationen gegen Präsident Assad mit der Absicht begonnen, den russischen Einfluss in der Region zu mindern. Vollmundig wurde in Washington gefragt, wie könne ein Land in der Region Naher Osten als Global Player auftreten wollen, das zu Hause noch nicht einmal so viel Sozialprodukt erwirtschafte wie der amerikanische Bundesstaat Kalifornien? Heute wissen wir, dass die USA den Kampf um diese Vorherrschaft jedenfalls mit Blick auf Syrien verloren haben.

Auf der rein regionalen Ebene bleibt offen, was mit einer Entscheidung in dem angeblichen Kampf um die Vorherrschaft gewonnen oder verloren werden könnte. An welchen inhaltlichen Kriterien ließe sich messen, ob der Einfluss auf die Nachbarländer zu- oder abnimmt? Bei den finanziellen Ressourcen läge Saudi-Arabien vorn; bei den sogenannten human resources Iran – dieser wohl auch bei der militärischen Schlagkraft.
Aber auf keiner dieser Ebenen ist es bisher zu einer direkten Konfrontation gekommen. Es ist auch nicht erkennbar, wie eine Veränderung dieser gesellschaftlichen und politischen Kräfteverhältnisse zu einer Dominanz des einen Staates über den anderen führen sollte. Und religiös würde die Sunna nicht an die Stelle der Shia treten oder umgekehrt, selbst wenn eines der beiden Länder das andere militärisch völlig erobern könnte.

Auch ein historischer Rückblick in die Region selbst hilft nicht weiter. Es gibt zwar zwei Anhaltspunkte: Ehe es zur Gründung des Staates Saudi-Arabien kam, hatte der klar von einem Vormachtstreben getriebene Beduinenstamm der Sa’uds erfolgreiche Eroberungskriege gegen fast alle anderen Stämme der arabischen Halbinsel geführt. Aber dabei handelte es sich nicht um eine Krise zwischen Staaten.

Das andere war der irakische Versuch unter Saddam Hussein, seinen Machtbereich und seine finanziellen Ressourcen durch Kriege gegen Iran und gegen Kuwait zu vergrößern. Bei diesen missglückten Unternehmungen handelte es sich aber in erster Linie um Versuche militärischer Eroberungen und höchstens sekundär um eine regionale Vorherrschaft. Deshalb lassen die beiden in der Region zu benennenden Fälle keine noch heute relevanten und lehrreichen Schlussfolgerungen zu.

Trotz alledem ist unverkennbar, dass die Spannungen zwischen Iran und Saudi-Arabien nicht nur zugenommen haben, sondern sich in Stellvertreterkriegen manifestieren, deren Unmenschlichkeit bisher durch keinerlei Vermittlungsansätze hätte abgemildert oder gar beendet werden können. Die Kämpfe im Jemen, in Irak und Syrien, mit oder gegen AlQaida oder Isis, die Perspektive eines neuen Bürgerkrieges im Libanon zeigen vielmehr, dass die Entscheidungsträger in Riadh und in Teheran diese Spannungen als äußerst bedrohlich empfinden.

Warum das so ist, lässt sich offenbar mit den Worten „Streben nach Vorherrschaft“ nicht beantworten. Auf die Spur einer adäquaten Terminologie gelangt man aber mit anderen historischen Hintergründen für dieses beidseitige Empfinden äußerster Bedrohung.

Iran hatte 1953 den Sturz des demokratisch gewählten Premierministers Mossadegh durch eine militärische Aktion der Geheimdienste der USA und Großbritanniens erlebt. Im April 1980 hatten die USA versucht, mit einer dann fehl geschlagenen Kommandoaktion die Geiseln in der in Teheran besetzten amerikanischen Botschaft zu befreien. Seither findet sich Iran auf der „Achse des Bösen“ wieder. Die in dieser Zeit in Iran traumatisch gefestigte Einschätzung lautete: Die USA betreiben Regime Change.
Mit der Rückkehr Chomeinis nach Teheran aus dem Pariser Exil hatte sich die Revolution der Ayatollahs gegen Shah Pahlevi endgültig durchgesetzt und das hieß: die Geistlichkeit übte die Macht aus, nicht mehr eine erbliche Monarchie.

Saudi-Arabien dagegen hat zwar die Regelung des religiösen Lebens vollkommen den Geistlichen der sunnitischen Lehre der Wahabiten überlassen. Die weltliche Macht aber liegt ausschließlich bei den Nachfahren des Staatsgründers Abd AlAziz. Das war nicht immer unumstritten. Bevor Abd AlAziz durch die Vertreibung der Hashemiten aus Mekka im Jahre 1932 die ganze Macht übernehmen und sich zum König erklären konnte, hatte er 1926 die schwierigste Hürde zu überwinden: Einen Aufstand mehrerer Stämme, die sich die Forderung der Muslimbrüder zu eigen gemacht hatten, dass auch die weltliche Macht von geistlichen Führern ausgeübt werden solle.

Man kann sich den Antagonismus dieses Systemunterschieds zwischen den Regierungsformen Irans und Saudi-Arabiens am besten mit der folgenden Vorstellung verdeutlichen: Würde das heutige iranische Herrschaftssystem auf der arabischen Halbinsel eingeführt, wäre dies das Ende des dortigen Könighauses.

Ließe sich dagegen das saudische System in Iran einführen, dann herrschte dort wieder der Shah. Oder noch prägnanter: Selbst wenn beide Seiten weder in Worten noch in Taten irgendeine Politik gegen die andere betrieben, würden sie jeweils dort als Bedrohung empfunden, als das Gegenmodell und damit als die potentielle Ankündigung der wechselseitigen Entmachtung.

Saudi-Arabien hat sich spätestens nach Saddam Husseins Angriff auf Kuwait unter den Schutzschirm der USA begeben – nach Kuwait wären in kürzester Zeit die saudischen Ölfelder erobert worden. Allein diese enge Beziehung mit den USA erscheint in Teheran als Ankündigung des nächsten Versuches, einen Regimewechsel in der Islamischen Republik herbeizuführen.

Iran hat schon mehrfach beklagt, die shiitischen Minderheiten in Bahrein und im Osten Saudi-Arabiens würden in ihrer freien Religionsausübung behindert. Jedes Mal schrillen dann in Riadh die Alarmglocken. Denn gerade im Osten liegt der größte Teil der Ölvorkommen. Terroranschläge, ein Aufstand und ein Bürgerkrieg, gar ein Versuch der Sezession – das alles würde das Königreich in eine Existenzkrise stürzen.

Aggressive Verhaltensweisen entspringen oft aus dem empfundenen Bedürfnis, sich verteidigen zu müssen.

Erst auf der Grundlage dieser Analyse lassen sich Gedanken entwickeln, wie zumindest der Anfang einer Entspannung aussehen könnte. Iran und Saudi-Arabien haben historische Gründe, Bedrohungssignale ernst zu nehmen. Beide sind eng eingebettet in Beziehungen zu je einer anderen Großmacht, die sich ihrerseits antagonistisch gegenüber stehen.

Das muss aber nicht ausschließen, dass in beiden Ländern in absehbarer Zeit die Erkenntnis reift: Die Konfrontation bringt nicht nur Vorteile, sondern auch politische Kosten. In weiten Teilen der Welt wird „der Islam“ nicht mehr als friedfertig empfunden. Würden aber die beiden größten Staaten im islamischen Nahen Osten gemeinsam die Bereitschaft zur Koexistenz sichtbar machen, dann würde es sehr schwer, ihnen die Verantwortung für zunehmende Instabilität in der Region zuzuweisen.

Vielleicht könnte eine solche Bereitschaft in Worte gekleidet werden, die konkret ansprechen, von welcher Bedrohung die bisherigen Auseinandersetzungen beflügelt wurden. Als Angriffskriege noch als Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln galten, hätte man als beruhigendes Gegenrezept wohl von der Möglichkeit eines Nicht-Angriffspakts gesprochen. So wie beim Briand-Kellog-Pakt von 1928.

Statt militärischer Drohung gibt es heute subtilere Wege, bei einem Gegner Überlebensängste zu schüren. Das gefährdende Stichwort heißt: „regime change“. Stellen wir uns also einmal vor, ein saudischer König und ein Großayatollah als iranischer Führer würden übereinstimmend erklären, ihre Politik gegenüber dem Nachbarland lasse sich in den Worten zusammenfassen: „No regime change“.

Das könnte Wunder wirken. Beide Länder haben in der Vergangenheit viel Kritik auf sich gezogen. Zu Recht oder nicht – gemeinsam muss ihnen daran gelegen sein, die Reputation ihrer Länder und ihrer Religionen zu pflegen. Ganz konkret hieße dies für die Wirtschaft, dass ausländische Investitionen und technologisches Know-how leichter angelockt würden, wenn weniger politische Risiken eingepreist werden müssten. Denn der beiderseitige Gewinn würde umso eher greifbar, je früher nach einem solchen Signal Gespräche möglich würden, wie das Versprechen einzuhalten wäre.

Die Namen der beiden Staatsoberhäupter könnten in der Zukunft für ein historisches Ereignis stehen – für den Beginn einer Phase der regionalen Befriedung und der Zusammenarbeit. Sie würden zu Symbolen einer wirklichen Souveränität ihrer Länder, auch gegenüber größeren Mächten. Diese Politik hätten sie selbst eingeleitet.

Dr. Gerhard Fulda ist Botschafter a.D., Vizepräsident der Deutsch-Arabischen Gesellschaft und BIB-Gründungsmitglied. 

http://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=41199

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Libyan Deputy PM Calls on Russia to Participate in Reconstructing Country

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Destroyed and damaged buildings are seen in Sabri, a central Benghazi district, Libya.

The Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk said that the committee responsible for organizing world conference to reconstruct Benghazi has started sending invitations to regional, local and international companies.

The announcement was made at a time when Deputy Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Ahmed Omar Maiteeq called on Russia to participate in reconstructing his country.

The companies are invited to provide their visions for the reconstruction of Benghazi, amid estimates that it will cost some nine billion dollars.

He noted that Russia played a more active role in Libya in recent months, saying that its actions were aimed at “renouncing violence, achieving peace and restoring Libyan institutions.”

Maiteeq made his remarks on the sidelines of the Mediterranean Dialogues (MED 2017) forum in Rome. ( https://rome-med.org/ )

He added that Libya expects Russia to take part in the post-conflict reconstruction of Libya, reported the Russia’s Sputnik news agency.

„Now most of the Russian projects in Libya are still suspended or out of work, but next year will see a trend towards development and reconstruction in Libya and we hope Russia will participate in that,“ he said.

For his part, member of the House of Representatives Issam al-Jahani told Asharq Al-Awsat that „there was no accurate reading of the extent of the destruction that has been inflicted on Benghazi until now.“

He pointed out that the city has „suffered before the war on terrorism from infrastructure deficiencies, which have increased after the war.”

The Libyan-Egyptian Economic Chamber has a lready revealed „intensive contacts“ with the Egyptian government to participate in reconstruction projects in Libya at an estimated cost of $9 billion.

Head of the Libyan side, Hani Soufrakis said that the Central Bank of Libya has approved this amount to fund projects to reconstruct Libyan cities in the east of the country.

Jahani noted however that the cost for the reconstruction of Benghazi “will exceed this figure, given the size of the destruction in the city.”

He pointed out that it has not yet been determined whether this cost will include the reconstruction of fully damaged properties, or if it will be limited to the renovation process alone.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1102051/libyan-deputy-pm-calls-russia-participate-reconstructing-country

About:   Mediterranian Dialogues-  https://rome-med.org/speeches/a-view-from-russia/   

 See additionally :    https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1102056/sisi-mattis-review-military-cooperation-counter-terrorism                                    

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

11-22-17 Fulda_Supremacy_in_the_Middle_East.pdf
12-06-17 In China’s Footsteps_Why the Russian Bear Should Enter Stealth Mode.pdf
11-22-17 Friedman_GPF_Stalingrad.pdf
10-24-17 Trenin_Russia Has Grand Designs For the International Order (Op-ed).pdf

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Massenbach-Letter.NEWS 01.12.2017

Massenbach-Letter. News  

Friedrich Engels 28 November 1820 – 5 August 1895) was a German philosopher, social scientist, journalist and businessman.

[„ … Jeder von uns wird mehr oder weniger beeinflußt von dem intellektuellen Medium, in dem er sich vorzugsweise bewegt …“

Friedrich Engels an Pjotr Lawrowitsch Lawrow, 12. November 1875 –

( KARL MARX – FRIEDRICH ENGELS WERKE – BAND 34, Berlin 1966 (Hrsg.: Institut für Marxismus-Leninismus beim ZK der SED), S. 170.)

 

  • Brigadegeneral a.D. Klaus Wittmann zu RT: NATO Präsenz im Baltikum und Polen ist absolut berechtigt
  • Deutsche Bischofskonferenz veröffentlicht Arbeitshilfe zur Situation der Christen in Nigeria
  • US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson Remarks: The U.S. and Europe: Strengthening Western Alliances
  • McKinsey: More tooth, less tail – Getting beyond NATO’s 2 percent rule
  • Barnier in Berlin: „Die Zukunft der EU ist wichtiger als der Brexit“
  • Iran Reshapes the Middle East
  • In Israel, Danger Is on the Horizon
  • The world needs to rethink the value of water

 

 

  • Asia Times: Bad terms: Pakistan’s raw deal with China over Gwadar port

 

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

  • RUS-CH-Relations
  • Opportunities for Russian–EU energy cooperation (RIAC-DGAP)
  • The Caucasian Knot: NEWS

 

 

   

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Massenbach* The world needs to rethink the value of water

November 24, 2017   New research highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to guide better policy and practice …The value of water for people, the environment, industry, agriculture and cultures has been long-recognised, not least because achieving safely-managed drinking water is essential for human life. The scale of the investment for universal and safely-managed drinking water and sanitation is vast …But there is an increasing need to re-think the value of water for a number of reasons: Water is not just about sustaining life, it plays a vital role in sustainable development. Water’s value is evident in all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals …Water security is a growing global concern. The negative impacts of water shortages, flooding and pollution have placed water related risks among the top 5 global threats by the World Economic Forum for several years running …Last month the World Bank demonstrated the consequences of water scarcity and shocks: the cost of a drought in cities is four times greater than a flood, and a single drought in rural Africa can ignite a chain of deprivation and poverty across generations … Putting a monetary value on water and capturing the cultural benefits of water are only one step … Co-author Richard Damania, Global Lead Economist, World Bank Water Practice: „We show that water underpins development, and that we must manage it sustainably. Multiple policies will be needed for multiple goals.

Current water management policies are outdated and unsuited to addressing the water related challenges of the 21st century. Without policies to allocate finite supplies of water more efficiently, control the burgeoning demand for water and reduce wastage, water stress will intensify where water is already scarce and spread to regions of the world — with impacts on economic growth and the development of water-stressed nations“ …

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171124084323.htm

Bezugsdokument Oxford University …

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/science-blog/why-world-needs-rethink-value-water

  In Israel, Danger Is on the Horizon

Nov. 28, 2017. The threats that Israel faced in the past are resurfacing. 

The fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq put a number of issues on hold in the Middle East. But the Islamic State is now all but defeated, and with the loss of a common enemy has come the loss of a common purpose for the anti-IS coalition. Concerns that dominated the region before IS are dominating the region once more. That means Israel, which mostly sat on the sidelines in Syria and Iraq, will become a more active player.

Whoever emerged as the victor in the war in Syria would have been an enemy to Israel, and all things being equal, the Israelis preferred the Assad regime to IS. But Assad is still an enemy, and the more his regime consolidates its power, the more of a threat Syria becomes.

A Nightmare Scenario

Israel’s strategic position in the Middle East changed in 2011 when the Syrian civil war broke out. At the time, there was great uncertainty on all of Israel’s borders, particularly on the Egyptian border. Egypt fell into disarray, and the Muslim Brotherhood briefly rose to power. Although Egypt’s military never seriously relinquished control, Israel had to begin considering a worst-case scenario: a hostile government in a country that was the most serious threat to Israel’s existence in the decades following 1948.

A return to hostilities with Egypt would have been a serious threat. But Israel’s biggest fear isn’t invasion by one enemy; it has the military and advantageous geography to resist any single invader in the region. The country’s nightmare scenario is a well-coordinated invasion by multiple powers. (Had the coalition of Arab states that attacked Israel in 1948 been better coordinated, it might have defeated Israel.) The civil war in Syria, therefore, was actually the silver lining in the uprising in Egypt for the Israelis. At the same time that Israel was dreading the return of past demons in Egypt, its enemies to the north were suddenly incapacitated.

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A picture taken on Nov. 20, 2017, shows Israeli Merkava Mark IV tanks taking part in a military exercise near the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

This turned out to be a boon for Israel, especially once Egypt’s military replaced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi with the current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Syria was being torn apart, and the Assad regime was too busy fighting for survival to challenge Israel. Hezbollah, which viewed the Assad regime as an ally and which fought a war with Israel in 2006, was preoccupied in Syria. And, most important for Israel, Iran’s strategy to create a crescent of influence extending to the Mediterranean was temporarily thwarted.

Israel was more secure at that moment than it had ever been. As long as the fighting continued in Syria, Israel faced no immediate threats on its borders. This is not to say that Israel was uninterested in who won out in Damascus, but the best-case scenario for Israel was a long, drawn-out civil war that weakened all sides. And for a few years, this was exactly what happened. Israel intervened occasionally to prevent certain types of weapons, like anti-air or anti-ship missiles, from finding their way into Hezbollah’s hands. But for the most part, Israel, which in the past has had to act pre-emptively to ensure its survival, was largely a bystander.

This passivity made sense while the war raged on. But now the conflict is scaling down and Israel must examine its options. It is in this context that the media’s recent obsession with a budding friendship between Israel and Saudi Arabia must be understood. That Israel and Saudi Arabia should find common cause right now makes perfect sense: It’s a classic case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Iran is a threat to both countries, and the Iran nuclear deal signaled to the United States’ two oldest and most reliable allies in the region that U.S. interests – not Israeli or Saudi interests – were going to dictate future U.S. policy in the Middle East. Intelligence sharing and behind-the-scenes cooperation between the Saudis and Israelis is not so much a revelation as a fait accompli.

There are limits, however, to what Saudi Arabia can offer Israel. Much has been made of the possibility that Saudi Arabia may be willing to recognize Israel – and coax other Arab states to do the same – in exchange for an Israeli strike on Hezbollah in Lebanon. That is the kind of simplistic geopolitical thinking that gives analysis a bad name. Saudi Arabia can offer Israel very little at this point: Egypt and Jordan already recognize Israel, Syria is beyond Riyadh’s reach, Lebanon is now also out of its grasp, and the Gulf states are no longer all under Saudi control now that Riyadh has severed ties with Qatar and is reportedly having trouble with Kuwait too. Israel will not risk its security for recognition from a few Gulf states.

Concerns Closer to Home

The only area in which Saudi Arabia could help Israel is much closer to home, in the interminable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since the collapse of the Camp David negotiations in 2000, Israel has charted its own course in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel has pulled out of Palestinian areas that were either unimportant or indefensible. It has continued building settlements in the West Bank, creating numerous new “facts on the ground,” in the past decade and a half. Israel has waged mini-wars against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as if the Gaza Strip were an overgrown garden that required occasional upkeep. Israel could afford this approach because its strategic environment was relatively steady.

But this isn’t the case any longer. The Palestinian issue by itself is not a serious threat to Israel, but it can become one if the Palestinian territories erupt at the same time that Israel faces a foreign invader. Israel has not had to think in these terms for decades, but it no longer has that luxury. Assad’s victory, Iran’s ascendance in the region, Washington’s distractions, Egypt’s instability and even Turkey’s increased assertiveness in its old Ottoman stomping grounds are all potential threats for which Israel must prepare. Israel does not want a Palestinian intifada to break out at a time when the country is facing critical threats, nor does it want a foreign power to be able to use the Palestinians to distract Israel from its regional priorities.

The question, then, is whether Saudi Arabia has enough influence with the Palestinians to strong-arm them into signing a peace deal that would allow the Israelis to put the issue to bed, at least temporarily. The timing makes sense: Israel is in a position of power, and perhaps will never be as strong as it is now. The issue will be getting the Palestinians to accept a deal that grants them a small fraction of the country they have envisioned for generations. The recent machinations in Egypt to secure a reconciliation deal between the Fatah and Hamas factions in the Palestinian territories are the first step in this process, but there is a long way to go, and it’s not clear that Saudi Arabia and Egypt have enough pull to make it happen. Iran, which in the past has financially supported Hamas and currently backs the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, would love to spoil the plan.

Right now, Israel is relatively strong and secure, but it may not stay that way. The U.S.-Israeli relationship, though still strong, is not what it once was. Russia is a bit player that can’t really help Israel. Turkey is strengthening and increasingly independent-minded. Iran, Syria and Lebanon are all enemies of Israel, and Israel can’t assume that Egypt and Jordan will be docile forever. Israel must now play a delicate game – but playing that game isn’t going to be easy if it’s facing constant strife at home. If Saudi Arabia can help, then Israel may be willing to return the favor. But there is no silver bullet. No single relationship is going to fix all of Israel’s problems. Israel is strong now, but danger is on the horizon. 

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/israel-danger-horizon/?utm_source=GPF+-+Paid+Newsletter&utm_campaign=7372db095c-RSS_Reality_Check_Paid&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72b76c0285-7372db095c-240043701

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

  • RUS-CH-Relations
  • Opportunities for Russian–EU energy cooperation (RIAC-DGAP)
  • The Caucasian Knot: NEWS

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Asia Times: Bad terms: Pakistan’s raw deal with China over Gwadar port

As details emerge of agreements reached, it seems likely China will profit and Pakistan will pay. Critics say Pakistan’s bureaucrats have blundered.

China will bag a 91% share in gross revenues from Gwadar port, in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, and 85% from the surrounding “free zone,” under a 40-year deal finalized by Pakistani authorities with the China Overseas Port Holding Company.

The numbers were revealed by Pakistan’s federal minister for ports and shipping, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, in the Pakistan Senate last Friday. He also disclosed that Pakistan will pay back US$16 billion in loans obtained from Chinese banks for the development of Gwadar port, the free-trade zone and all communications infrastructure, at rates of over 13%, inclusive of 7% insurance charges.

The project forms part of the US$56 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Business figures say China will recoup its entire CPEC expenditure in the first four years out of earnings from Gwadar port –which was inaugurated a year ago – and the free zone.

Bizenjo added that the Chinese port holding company will operate the port over the next 40 years through a BOT (build-operate-transfer) arrangement. Pakistan will take over the port’s operation, along with responsibility for infrastructure maintenance, after the expiry date.

The minister’s disclosure comes on the heels of persistent demands from lawmakers for details of the long-term agreements inked with the Chinese authorities to be revealed, amid accusations that the federal government had attempted to sweep them under the carpet.

“Such deals need input from the private sector and the government should have involved the trade organizations before signing deals of national significance”

Most senators are of the belief that the long-term agreements are heavily tilted toward China. Raza Rabbani, who is chairman of the Pakistan parliament’s upper house, bowed to pressure from lawmakers and directed the Senate Standing Committee on CEPC to look into whether Pakistan’s national interests are undermined by financial obligations entered into via the agreement with China.

Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf Senator Mohsin Aziz, who could not be reached for comment by Asia Times, is of the view that the long-term contracts entered into in relation to CPEC most certainly do undermine the national interest. “Such deals need input from the private sector and the government should have involved the trade organizations before signing deals of national significance,” he told the Senate, adding that the private sector would have been able to negotiate better deals for Pakistan than its bureaucrats.

Business leaders are indeed skeptical of the agreement’s 40-year term, stressing, in particular, that the infrastructure, roads, machinery and plant is unlikely to remain in workable condition in four decades. By the time Pakistan takes over responsibility for its maintenance, they say, it will need significant upgrading.

Muhammad Ishaq, a leading importer and one-time director of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment & Trade (KPBOIT) told Asia
Times: “The hefty share in the revenue of port and free economic zone is not the only issue which will deal a severe blow to economy. The government also allowed contractors and sub-contractors associated with China Overseas Port Holding Company an exemption from income and sales taxes, and federal excise duties, for a period of 20 years,  besides a 40-year tax holiday granted for imports of equipment, material, plant, appliances and accessories for port and special economic zone.”

He added that major shares of the earnings from the port and free zone would go to Chinese companies, while Pakistan will struggle to service costly loans obtained from Chinese banks. The 2,282-acre free zone, he said, will include factories, logistics hubs, warehousing facilities and display centers that will all be exempt both from customs duties and from provincial and federal taxes.

 

www.atimes.com/article/bad-terms-pakistans-raw-deal-china-gwadar-port/?utm_source=The+Daily+Report&utm_campaign=e1d77950e5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f8bca137f-e1d77950e5-28273647

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 Brigadegeneral a.D. Klaus Wittmann zu RT: NATO Präsenz im Baltikum und Polen ist absolut berechtigt.

RT Deutsch

Am 17.07.2017 veröffentlicht

In mehreren osteuropäischen Ländern finden momentan an der Grenze zu Russland NATO-Manöver statt. Dr. Klaus Wittmann, Brigadegeneral a.D., spricht über die dortige Präsenz des transatlantischen Militärbündnisses und die europäische Sicherheit.“ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G99BwZdGGRw

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                                                                                                            Policy = res publica

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Freudenberg-Pilster  Barnier in Berlin: „Die Zukunft der EU ist wichtiger als der Brexit“

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Der EU-Chefverhandler für den Brexit, Michel Barnier, hat heute (29 Nov 2017) vor Wirtschaftsvertretern in Berlin die Unternehmen dazu aufgerufen, sich bereits jetzt auf den Brexit vorzubereiten.

Wie auch immer die Verhandlungen ausgehen, es werde kein ,business as usual‘ geben, sagte Barnier beim Deutschen Arbeitgebertag. Dies sei eine automatische Folge der Entscheidung der britischen Regierung, die Zollunion und den Binnenmarkt zu verlassen.

„Ich weiß nicht ob jemand den Britischen Unternehmern die ganze Wahrheit über die konkreten Folgen des Brexit gesagt hat. Meine Verantwortung vor Ihnen heute und überall in Europa ist, den Europäischen Unternehmern die Wahrheit zu sagen. Handelsbeziehungen zu einem Land, das nicht der Europäischen Union angehört, werden in jedem Fall Reibungen verursachen.“

Die übrigen 27 EU-Staaten seien sich infolge des Brexit-Votums stärker bewusst geworden, welch bewahrenswerte Errungenschaft der Binnenmarkt sei. „Deutschland wickelt 6 Prozent seines Warenhandels mit dem Vereinigten Königreich ab, aber 56 Prozent mit den übrigen EU-Ländern. Das ist fast das Zehnfache“, betonte Barnier und zitierte Bundeskanzlerin Merkel: „Die Zukunft der EU ist wichtiger als der Brexit.“ Bei der Berliner Sicherheitskonferenz sprach Barnier zuvor auch über die Folgen des Brexit für die Europäische Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik.

29/11/2017

Um sich auf die automatischen Folgen des Brexits vorzubereiten, habe die eigentliche Übergangsphase bereits begonnen. Es sei wichtig, dass alle Unternehmen ihr Engagement im Vereinigten Königreich klar analysieren und bereit seien, gegebenenfalls ihre Logistikkanäle, Lieferketten und Vertragsklauseln anzupassen, sagte Barnier, der zuvor auch bei einer Veranstaltung des Bundesverbands der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) und des Deutschen Industrie- und Handelskammertages (DIHK) gesprochen hatte.

Zuvor am Mittwochmorgen nahm Barnier, der vor seiner Rolle als EU-Chefverhandler für den Brexit auch verteidigungspolitischer Berater von Kommissionspräsident Jean-Claude Juncker war, an der Berliner Sicherheitskonferenz teil und hielt dort eine Rede über die aktuelle und künftige Verteidigungszusammenarbeit der EU mit dem Vereinigten Königreich.

Partnerschaft mit dem Vereinigten Königreich in der Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik angestrebt

„Zum ersten Mal seit 1954 und dem Scheitern der Europäischen Verteidigungsgemeinschaft erleben wir, dass mit beispiellosem Engagement auf eine Europäische Verteidigungs- und Sicherheitsunion hingearbeitet wird. Bis 2025 soll sie stehen!“, sagte Barnier. Im September 2014 hatte Kommissionspräsident Jean-Claude Juncker  in seiner ersten Rede vor dem Europäischen Parlament eine Wiederbelebung der europäischen Verteidigung gefordert. Seither sei viel passiert, unterstrich Barnier: EU und NATO haben 2016 ihre strategische Partnerschaft neu belebt. Die Kommission hat einen Europäischen Verteidigungsfonds auf den Weg gebracht, so dass Verteidigungstechnologien und -ausrüstung erstmals gemeinsam aus dem europäischen Haushalt finanziert werden können.

Zuletzt haben 23 Mitgliedstaaten am 20. November 2017 ihre Absicht bekundet, die Ständige Strukturierte Zusammenarbeit (Pesco) umzusetzen. „Diese Initiative, die unter anderem dem großen persönlichen Einsatz von Ministerin von der Leyen zu verdanken ist, wird zu einem intensiveren europäischen Engagement in der Verteidigung führen, und zwar sowohl auf operativem Gebiet als auch bei den Kapazitäten und in der Rüstungsindustrie“, sagte Barnier.

Zwar werde das Vereinigte Königreich nach dem Brexit nicht mehr an der Entscheidungsfindung und an der Planung der europäischen Verteidigungs- und Sicherheitsinstrumente beteiligt sein. Die EU werde aber für eine Sicherheitspartnerschaft offen sein. „Londons Rückzug wird die bilaterale Zusammenarbeit zwischen bestimmten Mitgliedstaaten und dem Vereinigten Königreich nicht beeinträchtigen – insbesondere nicht die operative Zusammenarbeit. Das Vereinigte Königreich wird sich auch weiterhin im Rahmen der verstärkten Vornepräsenz der NATO (Enhanced Forward Presence) in Estland und Polen engagieren können. Londons Rückzug wird die strategische Partnerschaft zwischen der Europäischen Union und der NATO nicht beeinträchtigen. Und schließlich hat Theresa May die Mitgliedstaaten wiederholt der unverbrüchlichen Bereitschaft des Vereinigten Königreichs versichert, die Sicherheit in Europa zu wahren“, sagte Barnier.

Zu gegebener Zeit werde die EU auch nach dem Brexit mit dem Vereinigten Königreich angemessene Formen der Verteidigungs- und Sicherheitszusammenarbeit finden, sagte Barnier. „Diese Partnerschaft ist für uns alle von Interesse, weil sie von den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern erwartet wird und zur Stabilität und Sicherheit unseres Kontinents und unserer Nachbarschaft beitragen wird.“ 

https://ec.europa.eu/germany/news/20171129-barnier-berlin_de

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat*    McKinsey: More tooth, less tail – Getting beyond NATO’s 2 percent rule

This excerpt from a new book published by Aspen Strategy Group offers a path to better and more meaningful metrics.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump suggested that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was “obsolete,”11. Mark Makela, “Transcript: Donald Trump Expounds on His Foreign Policy Views,” New York Times, March 26, 2016. casting doubt on America’s commitment to the collective defense of Europe. On the eve of accepting the Republican nomination for president, he went so far as to suggest that the United States would come to the defense of its NATO allies only if they had “fulfilled their [financial] obligations to us.”2 2. Maggie Haberman and David E. Sanger, “Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies Against Attack,” New York Times, July 20, 2016. This called into question America’s commitment to one of NATO’s core tenets, collective defense, enshrined in Article 5 of the founding treaty. Shortly after taking office, President Trump revised his view on NATO’s relevance, saying that NATO is no longer obsolete. And just before the July 2017 meeting of the G20, he offered a more vigorous expression of support for Article 5, saying, “The United States has demonstrated with its actions, not just words, that it stands firmly behind Article 5.”3 3. Matthew Day and James Rothwell, “Donald Trump Says West Must Show ‘the will to survive’ in Face of Threats from Russia and North Korea,” Telegraph, July 6, 2017.

The question of obsolescence seems to have been settled. But the debate on burden-sharing continues unabated. In his roundabout way, President Trump has done a notable job of raising the issue of the adequacy of European NATO’s defense spending. Criticism has focused almost entirely on the level of investment by member countries—whether they are meeting the 2 percent commitment—with far less attention paid to their actual ability to defend themselves and their allies. All things considered, the 2 percent rule is a poor way to measure burden-sharing. It came about in part as a convenience, as this was the level of NATO Europe’s spending in 2002, when the target was first agreed upon. It is one of the few things that NATO reports externally. It is useful, if a little crude, but it has a few methodological flaws and takes us only so far. Even the wider concept of burden-sharing, the desire for members to “pay their fair share,” is inherently flawed, since it focuses on inputs rather than outputs.

What is needed is a more explicit focus on the capabilities NATO can deploy in the conduct of its core tasks of collective defense, crisis management, and cooperative security, and new metrics to assess these. A much more robust discussion is possible, even with the fairly limited data publicly available today. This paper is my attempt to contribute to that discussion.

Disproportionate spending? The 2 percent obsession

President Trump argues that “NATO is unfair economically to us, to the United States. Because it really helps them more so than the United States, and we pay a disproportionate share.”4 4. Mark Makela, “Transcript: Donald Trump Expounds on His Foreign Policy Views,” New York Times, March 26, 2016. His message has been echoed by senior administration officials. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in his first meeting with NATO defense ministers in February 2017, warned that the United States could “moderate its commitment” to the alliance if allies did not get serious about meeting the 2 percent goal. “No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values.”5 5. Michael Birnbaum and Dan Lamothe, “Defense Secretary Mattis Issues New Ultimatum to NATO Allies on Defense Spending,” Washington Post, February 15, 2017.

A perception of unequal burdens is not a new issue. It is as old as the alliance itself. President Trump is far from alone in calling for NATO members to meet the 2 percent target. A wide array of American officials has pressured our NATO allies to live up to their commitment, not just in this administration but in the prior ones as well.

President Obama complained of “free riders.”6 6. Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Obama Doctrine,” Atlantic, April 2016. Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates used no less colorful language in his valedictory speech in Brussels, warning of a “dim if not dismal future” for the alliance, pointing to the “very real possibility of collective military irrelevance” and issuing the prescient warning that Americans were beginning to grow tired of expending precious resources defending nations “unwilling to devote the necessary resources . . . to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.”7 7. Robert M. Gates, “Remarks by Secretary Gates at the Security and Defense Agenda” (speech, Brussels, Belgium, June 10, 2011), US Department of Defense.

The historical roots of the issue run even deeper. Indeed, complaints date back almost to the foundation of the alliance in 1949. In 1953, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles threatened “an agonizing reappraisal” of the US commitment to European security if its allies did not step up.8 8. Brian R. Duchin, “The ‘Agonizing Reappraisal’: Eisenhower, Dulles, and the European Defense Community,” Diplomatic History 16, no. 2 (April 1992): 201–22.

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If nothing else, the 2 percent rule has provided a yardstick to measure the gap that has provoked all the complaints (Exhibit 1). From 1985–1989, NATO Europe spent an average of 3.1 percent of GDP on defense. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Western European countries no longer felt an imminent threat from the Warsaw Pact countries and elected to take a “peace dividend.” Spending fell to 2.5 percent in 1990–1994, 2.0 percent in 1995–1999, and 1.9 percent in 2000–2004. Five years later, the average fell yet again, to 1.7 percent. A low point of 1.43 percent (1.40 percent including Canada) was reached in 2015.

Exhibit 1

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Only five member states (Estonia, Greece, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the US) hit the 2 percent benchmark in 2016, and only three of those—the United States, Britain, and Poland—also met NATO’s target of spending 20 percent of their annual defense expenditure on equipment. In 2016, the United States well exceeded the target, spending 3.6 percent of GDP on defense, contributing fully 68 percent of NATO’s combined defense expenditure despite representing only 46 percent of the alliance’s combined GDP.

Some progress, but to what end?

The 2 percent figure dates to the 2002 Prague summit, when it was established as a non-binding target; it was reiterated in Riga in 2006. At the NATO 2014 summit in Wales, all states not meeting the target pledged to do so within the next decade (and states above 2 percent agreed to maintain that level). In the three years since the Wales summit, spending has started to move in the right direction, increasing by 1.8 percent in 2015, 3.3 percent in 2016, and a projected 4.3 percent this year.

Some might argue that the president’s “very strong and frank discussions”9 9. Donald Trump, “Remarks by President Trump in Joint Address to Congress” (speech, Washington, DC, February 28, 2017), White House Office of the Press Secretary. have begun to pay dividends. It is, however, equally plausible that governments have begun to slowly increase spending not just because of US comments but also because they are reassessing their presumption that Western Europe is safe from outside threats. Several former NATO officials have commented on the rising number of geopolitical challenges.10 10. Fabrice Pothier and Alexander Vershbow, NATO and Trump: The Case for a New Transatlantic Bargain, Atlantic Council, June 2017; and Kelly Russo, Putin, Not Trump, Has Led NATO Members to Increase Defense Spending, Atlantic Council, May 25, 2017.

And in any event, the recent increases have raised the overall figure only slightly, to 1.47 percent of GDP—an indicator of how much further the European allies must go to recover lost ground. To get to 2 percent, spending will need to increase by another $107 billion annually ($28 billion in Germany, $17 billion in Italy, $15 billion in Spain, $12 billion in Canada, $5 billion in France, and smaller sums elsewhere).

Some question whether 2 percent is still the right target. It would seem so, as the present level of spending is not producing the desired results. Shortfalls in NATO’s fighting power were most graphically illustrated in Libya in 2011. After taking command of the air war there, the alliance ran short of munitions after just 11 weeks, drawing a harsh rebuke from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who pointed to shortages not just in “boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters, transport aircraft, maintenance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and much more.”11 11. Robert M. Gates, “Remarks by Secretary Gates at the Security and Defense Agenda” (speech, Brussels, Belgium, June 10, 2011), US Department of Defense.

Flawed but indispensable

Many allies question the relevance of the 2 percent target on methodological grounds, citing different methodologies used to calculate national defense spending or calling for related spending to be included. There is no shared understanding of what makes up defense spending. In its definition of “military expenditure,” NATO includes defense ministry budgets, expenditure for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, and research and development costs. Significantly, it also includes pensions. For many states, military pensions represent a substantial proportion of their defense budget (in 2016, 33 percent of Belgium’s defense budget was spent on pensions, as was 24 percent of France’s and 17 percent of Germany’s). The trouble is that while pensions contribute to the 2 percent target, they do not contribute to a state’s fighting power.12 12. Lucie Béraud-Sudreau and Bastian Giegerich, “Counting to Two: Analysing the NATO Defence-Spending Target,” Military Balance Blog, February 14, 2017.

Others, notably Germany, make the case that non-military contributions to security, such as development aid, or even non-monetary contributions, such as overflight rights or basing, should be taken into account. In March 2017, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the 2 percent target was neither “reachable nor desirable” for Germany, and that “it is better to talk about better spending instead of more spending.”13 13. Robert-Jan Bartunek and Lesley Wroughton, “Germany Balks at Tillerson Call for More European NATO Spending,” Thompson Reuters, March 31, 2017. Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, suggests a broader 3 percent target for crisis prevention, development assistance, and defense.14 14. Wolfgang Ischinger, “More EU Foreign and Security Policy,” Munich Security Conference, February 17, 2017.

Finally, some argue that the United States’ status as a global power means that its defense spending is not directly comparable to that of other NATO members. Of nearly 200,000 US forces deployed overseas, just over 99,000 of them are deployed in Europe, suggesting that roughly half of US deployed forces (and by extension roughly half its spending) are dedicated to non-European missions.15 15. Location country report, counts of active duty and reserve service members and APF civilians by location country, personnel category, service, and component as of December 31, 2016, Defense Manpower Data Center, February 27, 2017. By that measure, the US contribution to NATO would not seem nearly so disproportionate.

For all of those problems, the 2 percent metric retains its appeal. It is simple, straightforward, and (relatively) easy to measure. Jan Techau, director of Carnegie Europe, argues that the 2 percent target is “flawed but indispensable” as a measure of “who is and who is not politically committed to NATO’s core task: Europe’s security.”16 16. Jan Techau, The Politics of 2 Percent: NATO and the Security Vacuum in Europe, Carnegie Europe, September 2, 2015.

Current metrics inadequate

In addition to defense spending as a percent of GDP, and the percent of that spending dedicated to major equipment purchases, NATO has set a number of other targets for defense output. At the Riga summit in 2006, it introduced a target that NATO land forces be at least 40 percent deployable and 8 percent deployable on a sustained basis (raised to 50 percent and 10 percent in 2008).17 17. NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 17, 2010. In 2011, NATO went further, developing a more detailed set of output metrics—nine in all, focused on deployability, sustainability, and numbers of deployed air, land, and maritime forces.

NATO member states’ performance on these metrics remains classified, with the notable exception of Denmark.18 18. Input / output metrics – National fact sheet – Denmark, Forsvarsministeriet (Danish Ministry of Defense), 2014–15. However, some of these same figures are publicly reported by the European Defense Agency (EDA) (22 members are common to NATO and the EDA). The latest official figures from the EDA show that only 29 percent of EDA member forces are deployable, and less than 6 percent of them on a sustainable basis,19 19. Defence Data 2014, European Defence Agency, 2016. with unofficial figures suggesting that fewer than 3 percent of European troops are deployable due to a lack of interoperability and equipment shortages.20 20. Defending Europe: The Case for Greater EU Cooperation on Security and Defence, European Commission, May 24, 2017.

Yet even these numbers, while more revealing than the blunt instrument of the 2 percent rule, do not provide a full picture of NATO’s health. The current set of metrics is inadequate to determine whether alliance members are spending enough and on the right things, and generating real combat power as a result. While measuring such attributes is of course more difficult, and the data harder to obtain, the fact remains that there is enough information in the public domain for a robust discussion.

Expect what you inspect

“There is too much focus on the ‘input’ (how much the member states spend) and too little focus on the ‘output’ (how much they get out of it),” says Magnus Petersson, the head of the Centre for Transatlantic Studies at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. The Center for a New American Security argues that what matters is not just how much a nation spends on defense, but what it spends it on, and—critically—its willingness to use it.21 21. Rachel Rizzo and Jim Townsend, “NATO Allies Should Not Be Judged on Defense Spending Alone,” National Interest, May 23, 2017. Jan Techau, former director of Carnegie Europe, says it all: “Spending at 2 percent says very little about a country’s actual military capabilities; its readiness, deployability, and sustainability levels; and the quality of the force that it can field. It also is mum about a country’s willingness to deploy forces and take risks once those forces are deployed. It does not assess whether a country spends its limited resources wisely.”22 22. Jan Techau, The Politics of 2 Percent: NATO and the Security Vacuum in Europe, Carnegie Europe, September 2, 2015.

The 1949 Strategic Concept called for this level of rigor: “A successful defense of the North Atlantic Treaty nations through maximum efficiency of their armed forces, with the minimum necessary expenditures of manpower, money and materials, is the goal of defense planning.”23 23. The Strategic Concept for the Defence of the North Atlantic Area, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, DC 6/1, December 1, 1949. NATO recognized the need again in a recent paper: “Currently, each Member Nation manages its defense budgets in support of the Alliance independently, without fully leveraging successful resource management practices and lessons learned. This study highlights the need for NATO to adopt an analytical framework that provides Alliance Nations a common foundation to achieve effective and efficient defense resource management. The aim is for countries to adopt resource management practices to maintain the future credibility and effectiveness of the Alliance.”24 24. Future Defence Budget Constraints: Challenges and Opportunities, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, December 2016. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has recently suggested that member states publish plans detailing three elements: cash, capabilities, and commitments.25 25. Jens Stoltenberg, “Doorstep statement” (speech, Brussels, Belgium, March 31, 2017), North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In the following, I propose a framework to meet the needs that NATO and others have identified.

1. Spend enough

NATO must measure and report total defense spending.

It is inarguable that there can be no output without investment. Ambassador Doug Lute, former US representative to NATO, makes this case: “There’s a correlated effect, empirically, between input measures and output measures. . . . You’ve got to pay more to get more.”26 26. Malcolm Chalmers, et al., “The cost of European security” (statement by Doug Lute on the panel at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), September 17, 2015, Carnegie Europe. It is important to start with a pure measure of military spending—expenditure that directly contributes to the military output of a nation—what one might call a “real” 2 percent. The NATO definition allows for the inclusion of items such as military and civilian pensions, spending by other government agencies on defense (for example, intelligence services), and military aid. This prompted the UK, in 2015, to add some £2.2 billion to its reported NATO figure by adding civilian and military pensions, contributions to UN peacekeeping missions, and a large portion of the Ministry of Defence’s income from other countries’ defense ministries to its reported figure.27 27. Shifting the Goalposts? Defence Expenditure and the 2% Pledge: Government Response to the Committee’s Second Report of Session 2015–16, House of Commons Defence Committee, June 28, 2016. Although these inclusions were seen as legitimate, it seems likely that they do not contribute to the UK’s fighting power and should be removed from the NATO definition for all nations.

2. Spend it on the right things

NATO should measure and report what the money is spent on.

Measures of defense spending should be the beginning of a discussion on burden-sharing, not the end. Many forces do not allocate defense spending in a manner that maximizes fighting power. In its own NATO 2020 report, the alliance observes that “European defense spending has been consumed disproportionately by personnel and operational costs.”28 28. NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 17, 2010. In fact, more than 50 percent of European spending goes to salaries and pensions. Roughly speaking, an optimal mix is no more than 40 percent on personnel and a quarter on major equipment. Yet NATO Europe forces spend only 15.2 percent of their budgets on equipment, versus a much healthier 25 percent in the United States (and 24.5 percent in France and 22.6 percent in the UK).29 29. Defence expenditure of NATO countries (2009-2016), North Atlantic Treaty Organization, March 13, 2017.

The net result is that the US spends fully $127,000 on each soldier’s equipment, while NATO European members spend only one-fifth that amount, $25,200 per soldier (Exhibit 2). So in addition to the question discussed above about the deployability of Europe’s forces, their actual fighting power if deployed is also in question. The discrepancy in the level of investment on research and development of future weapon systems is equally pronounced: $43,500 per soldier in the US versus less than $9,400 for NATO Europe. (These are 2014 figures; the US figure also includes expenses for testing and evaluation.)

Exhibit 2

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In addition to committing to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, NATO members have committed to spending 20 percent of their annual defense expenditure on equipment and are reporting progress against this target. Although this is an admirable start, NATO should be measuring spending at a more granular level: military pay, civilian pay, major equipment acquisition, research and development, operations and maintenance, and infrastructure. And it must announce the results, even if that causes discomfort in some defense ministries.

3. Spend it well

NATO should measure efficiency and effectiveness in each of these three categories.

Personnel A big part of the problem of spending too much on personnel is the way many forces waste precious resources, maintaining Cold War bureaucracies rather than prioritizing frontline forces. The people and infrastructure supporting the fighting force (the tail) has failed to shrink as fast as the fighting force itself (the tooth), resulting in an ever-deteriorating tooth-to-tail ratio (Exhibit 3). The force is at the same time too large, with too many non-deployable forces, and too small, with too few deployable fighting forces.

Exhibit 3

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Equipment Compounding the problem of too few euros going to equipment, the purchasing power of European governments is dissipated by an inefficient industry structure. Alexander Mattelaer at the Institute for European Studies argues: “The present degree of fragmentation in the European defense markets and organizational structures virtually guarantees a poor return on investment.”30 30. Alexander Mattelaer, “US Leadership and NATO: Revisiting the Principles of NATO Burden-Sharing,” Parameters 46, no. 1 (Spring 2016). McKinsey’s analysis shows 178 different weapon systems in service in Europe, versus 30 in the US.31 31. Munich Security Report 2017, Munich Security Conference, 2017.

Operations and maintenance Many forces have failed to spend enough to maintain what equipment they do have, and their overall maintenance productivity is low. In 2014, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen revealed major deficiencies in the operational capability of important German weapons systems. For example, only 42 of 109 Eurofighters, 38 of 89 Tornado fighters, and 4 of 22 Sea Lynx helicopters were ready for service, mostly due to a lack of spare parts.32 32. Spiegel Staff, “Germany’s Disarmed Forces: Ramshackle Military at Odds with Global Aspirations,” Spiegel Online, September 30, 2014. Much new spending, in Germany at least, will have to go towards repairs of existing equipment that is no longer deployable due to cuts in spending on maintenance since 2010.33 33. Hans Kundnani, “Merkel and Whose Army?,” Foreign Policy, December 13, 2016.

Experience suggests that overall maintenance productivity is low. In areas where allies operate common equipment, NATO should compile and share operational benchmarks—cost per flying hour or track mile, for example. The top dozen air platforms (fighter jets, transport aircraft, and helicopters) are on average operated by five countries in Europe. Each platform has on average four deep maintenance sites, suggesting a great degree of duplication and overlap.34 34. The Future of European Defence: Tackling the Productivity Challenge, McKinsey & Company, May 2013.

4. Measure the outputs

NATO should measure capabilities and continue to measure the readiness, deployability, and sustainability of forces (and its will to use them).

Capabilities During the Cold War, each NATO member had a commitment to a “self-defense plan” that specified a required force structure, a certain readiness level, and a deployability level for their forces. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, those self-defense plans were shelved. Two critical and necessary steps to reform the notion of burden-sharing would be for NATO to craft an integrated defense plan, and for nations to commit to making force structure contributions to that plan, which they agree to fund.

Readiness, deployability, and sustainability As noted, NATO requires members to measure the deployability of their forces and the ability to sustain them in the field, as agreed upon at the Riga summit. It should take the next step and ask nations to publish the figures. There is no reason why the EDA should provide greater transparency than NATO.

Deployed on NATO missions Finally, it would be useful to measure actual contributions to NATO missions as a measure of commitment to the alliance. Which nations are punching above their weight? Purely investment-related metrics have been a notoriously poor guide to predicting actual contributions to NATO missions. Denmark and a few other nations do not meet the 2 percent target, but when it comes to capabilities and contributions, they manage to outperform most other allies.35 35. Alexander Mattelaer, “US Leadership and NATO: Revisiting the Principles of NATO Burden-Sharing,” Parameters 46, no. 1 (Spring 2016).

The US is not immune

The challenge of productivity is equally important to the US defense industry and the Department of Defense (DoD). A recent study by the Defense Business Board found that more than 20 percent of the DoD’s nearly $600 billion annual budget was dedicated to six back-office business processes (facilities management, HR, finance, logistics, acquisitions, and health management).36 36. Transforming Department of Defense’s Core Business Processes for Revolutionary Change, Defense Business Board, 2015. This spending represents a combination of outsourced goods/services, active-duty military and civilian personnel. In total, over one million people work across these six processes, nearly equivalent to the one million or so active-duty military personnel working in mission-facing roles.

The report went on to identify over $125 billion in savings potential over a five-year period, which could be used as “warfighter currency” to fund 50 Army Brigades, 10 Navy Carrier Strike Group deployments, or 83 Air Force F-35 fighter wings. Although this may seem like an ambitious target, it represents an annual productivity gain of just 7 percent per year, which private-sector companies commonly achieve in order to renew, modernize, and strengthen their business. In summary, the DoD has significant opportunity to improve its own tooth-to-tail ratio, focusing on achieving productivity gains in the back-office core business processes and support functions, and reinvesting the savings to fund mission needs.

A path forward

NATO should seek to become the leading proponent of transparency in defense by launching a drive to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its members. It should be unacceptable to NATO members, especially the United States, that the EDA exhibits greater transparency than NATO. To keep metrics simple, the public focus should be on inputs (spending) and outputs (capabilities measured in deployable, ready, sustainable forces). Productivity metrics—the efficiency and effectiveness with which inputs are converted to outputs—should be provided for the benefit of member nations. Burden-sharing can then appropriately focus not simply on what countries spend, but on the forces they provide to ensure the security of Europe and the North Atlantic, as the treaty originally intended.

“We must be careful not to reduce the NATO alliance or the notion of burden-sharing to simply ‘2 percent.’ Our allies don’t just need to spend more. They need to spend better.”
—Senator John McCain, Chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee
37 37. John McCain, “Opening Statement by SASC Chairman John McCain at Hearing on U.S. European Command Posture,” March 23, 2017.

This article was first published in The World Turned Upside Down: Maintaining American Leadership in a Dangerous Age (Aspen Strategy Group, November 2017).

About the author(s)

John Dowdy is a senior partner in McKinsey’s London office.

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-sector/our-insights/more-tooth-less-tail-getting-beyond-natos-2-percent-rule?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1711

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  Iran Reshapes the Middle East

By George Friedman 

Iran has always seen itself as being in competition with the Arab states for domination of the Persian Gulf. Its ambitions were put on hold in the late 1980s, at the end of an eight-year war with Iraq that cost Iran more than a million casualties. The war ended in a military draw, but strategically it blocked Iran’s hopes for expanding its power westward. The war against the Islamic State, particularly in Iraq, has opened that door again.

The Iranian Surge

The primary burden of the fighting in Iraq fell on the Iraqi army, coupled with several Shiite militias, which fought a long battle of attrition to defeat IS. Embedded in the Iraqi army, and in direct control of the militias, were Iranian advisers. The United States had advisers and troops there too, but the Iranians were far more effective at gaining influence in the predominantly Shiite army. The U.S. reluctantly accepted this state of affairs – it needed IS defeated, but it didn’t want to absorb the casualties that would result from the long, grinding battle that was required. Instead, the U.S. relied on airstrikes.

There obviously had to be some degree of coordination among the Iraqi forces and militias – enough, at least, to prevent fratricide. That means there had to be some coordination with Iranian advisers, who were effectively commanding some units of the Iraqi army. How much coordination is unclear, but IS was defeated in the end, and Iran was left in control of at least a significant portion of the military force in Iraq. Given Iran’s influence and presence around Basra in southern Iraq, the Iranians are in a powerful position inside Iraq, with no major forces in position to contain them. And they are free to send more forces into Iraq if they wish.

Iran is also in a strong position in Syria. Together, Iran and Russia have prevented the collapse of the Assad government. Lebanon’s Hezbollah has been deeply involved in the fighting in Syria, with a large number of Iranian officers deployed with it, and Iranian forces are scattered in support of Assad’s Syrian army. The Russians are already discussing an endgame in which Assad regains the parts of Syria he lost. Whether that happens or not, the pressure is off the Assad regime now. Moreover, Russia has already said it plans to reduce its presence in Syria, which leaves the Iranians as the primary influence on the Syrians, deepening a relationship that existed even before the civil war broke out.

Yemen is another area of Iranian strength. In Yemen, bordering Saudi Arabia to the south, the Iranians are supporting the Shiite Houthi rebels. As the Houthis grew stronger in recent years, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others launched airstrikes against them. The airstrikes failed to defeat the Houthis, and now they’re even more powerful. A missile was fired from Yemen toward Riyadh early this month. It was allegedly an Iranian-made missile, and a warning to the Saudis to get out of Yemen.

It is important not to overstate Iran’s strength. It is clearly influential, and the door to more power is open, but Iran is not yet positioned to exert decisive military force in the Middle East. At the same time, Iran’s achievements shouldn’t be understated either. It is the most influential power in Iraq and has a significant number of forces there. It more or less controls the most powerful military force in Lebanon and has limited capabilities in Syria. It also has at least advisers in Yemen. Finally, Iran has even made inroads in Saudi Arabia’s sphere of influence. Qatar’s relationship with Iran is part of the reason it has been boycotted by much of the Arab world.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during Russian-Iranian-Turkish talks at the Black Sea resort in Sochi, Russia, Nov. 22,2017.

The Potential Coalition

Saudi Arabia is currently the greatest threat to Iran’s ambitions. In the 1960s, when the Shah of Iran was still in control, Iran fought a war against the Saudis in Oman. Their relationship remained hostile after the Iranian revolution. Part of the issue is religion: Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Sunni Islam, Iran of Shiite Islam. But there are deeper issues.

The first is oil. The domination of oil resources by the Saudis and related principalities on the west coast of the Persian Gulf created a perpetual threat to Iran because of the military power it bought. In addition, U.S. guarantees to Saudi Arabia intended to assure the flow of oil supplies from the Persian Gulf gave the Saudis an invulnerability that their own military force couldn’t provide.

At the moment, Saudi Arabia is facing extreme difficulties. The decline in the price of oil has created economic and political problems for Riyadh, which has always used its oil wealth to maintain stability. The introduction of a 32-year-old crown prince, and his decision to arrest some of the key figures in the kingdom, creates a level of internal instability that is unpredictable.

Given this domestic situation, Saudi Arabia’s ability to protect itself from Iran is unclear. The Saudis have already demonstrated the limits of their air power in Yemen. The historical expectation was that first the British, then the Americans, would guarantee their national security. But that was when the Persian Gulf was an indispensable supplier of the world’s oil. The price of oil is down, but as important, the sources of oil have multiplied, along with producers’ eagerness to sell it. Saudi oil is simply not that important anymore. 

The Saudis have been reaching out to the Israelis. Israel can certainly provide military hardware. But the fact is that Israel could be facing its own threat from Iran, and its military is actually relatively small and isn’t designed for large-scale foreign deployments. Because of the size of its force, Israel can’t sustain extended, high-attrition warfare of the sort Iran endured in the 1980s. So the Iranians can threaten Israel with the one strategy that is most dangerous to it: a war of attrition. It’s a distant possibility but one that Israel must consider. Simply put, Israel can’t promise Saudi Arabia much more than materiel, no matter what the Saudis offer in return, and materiel is the one thing the Saudis have in abundance already.

The greatest long-term threat to Iran’s interests, however, is Turkey. The Turks face a fundamental geopolitical question. When the Iranians were relatively confined, Turkey was able to focus on domestic affairs, not venturing deeply into Syria or Iraq. But now, Turkey must decide whether it can live with Iran as the major regional power, or it must assert its own claims on the region. Turkey, by geography and inherent military capability, can block Iran if it chooses to make the effort and take the risk, but at the moment it is working with Iran, particularly on Kurdish issues. Eventually, Turkey will have to choose between the Kurdish issue and the broad strategic issue. Part of that will be determined by the U.S. position on various Kurdish factions and the U.S. vision for dealing with Iran. 

A Test of U.S. Disengagement

The U.S. is capable of containing Iran but only with a substantial force. The U.S. has been at war since 2001. At this point, it doesn’t have a clear strategy for the Middle East. In Iraq, the American approach has been to block both Sunnis and Shiites from dominating the country – while reducing the number of U.S. forces present. This left it in the position of having to rely on forces controlled or influenced by Iran to defeat the Islamic State. In Syria, U.S. strategy has been to create a proxy force to overthrow Assad. That has failed. American guarantees to Saudi Arabia and Israel are still in place, but what they mean at this point is unclear. Israel has no need for direct U.S. involvement except under the most extreme war-of-attrition scenario. As for the Saudis, the guarantee the U.S. gave and delivered on during Desert Storm was a very different situation. Oil prices and supply being what they are, it’s not clear what that guarantee is worth.

The U.S. is not configured to deal with the new reality – one that it helped create by invading Iraq and then leaving it, and by supporting the Arab Spring in Syria, which turned into a disaster.

These U.S. policies led to the rise of IS, and the fight against IS in turn opened the door to Iran in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, in Syria. Washington has been obsessed with Iranian nuclear capabilities and didn’t anticipate that Iran’s conventional capability and political influence would turn out to be more effective. At this point, it’s not clear what the American interest is in the region and what price it’s prepared to pay to pursue it.

The Middle East has a new and radically different shape. For the moment, Iran has been freed to assert itself. But it still has a long way to go to assert significant power. Apart from the United States, it faces a potential coalition of Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey. Each has its weaknesses, but Iran does too, and together they can manage the problem and probably will. Don’t forget the Sunni jihadists, either. Defeated in the guise of IS, they have merely dispersed, not surrendered. And Iran has been their enemy. Thus the Iranian surge must be placed in context. It has changed the dynamic of the Middle East, but it remains vulnerable. 

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/iran-reshapes-middle-east/?utm_source=GPF+-+Paid+Newsletter&utm_campaign=53ebff0194-GPF_Weekly_Paid_List&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72b76c0285-53ebff0194-240043701

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*Massenbach’s

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Recommendation*

 

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US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson Remarks: The U.S. and Europe: Strengthening Western Alliances 

11/28/2017Under President Trump, the United States remains committed to our enduring relationship with Europe. Our security commitments to European allies are ironclad.

If we are to sustain the shared security commitments that ensure stability in the region, the Trump administration views it as necessary for our allies to be strong, sovereign, prosperous, and committed to the defense of shared Western ideals.

Over the past 10 months, we have embarked on a new strategic policy that bolsters European and American security: namely, a recommitment to Europe in the wake of the failed “Russia reset;” a new effort to adapt security institutions to combating emerging threats like terrorism, cyberattacks, and nuclear proliferation; and an expectation that European nations accept they are more secure when they contribute more toward their own defense.

These new policy directions will better position the United States and Europe to confront the challenges that threaten our prosperity, the actors that seek to sow chaos and instill doubt in our laws and institutions, and the enemies that threaten our security and oppose our way of life. This is a message I will repeat in my meetings with NATO and OSCE leaders, and in bilateral meetings in a trip to Europe next week

  • the United States places the highest importance on security relationships with European allies, including NATO. Alliances are meaningless if their members are unwilling or unable to honor their commitments

Russia continues aggressive behavior toward other regional neighbors by interfering in election processes and promoting non-democratic ideals. We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia. That is why the United States has strengthened its deterrence and defense commitments in Europe through the European Deterrence Initiative … Russia chose to violate the sovereignty of the largest country in Europe … We are committed to the success of an independent and whole Ukraine … However, Ukraine’s future depends also on winning its internal struggle to implement a broad range of economic, justice, security, and social sector reforms. We encourage Ukraine to continue building capable, trustworthy institutions that will reduce and eventually eliminate corruption, strengthen their judicial system, and deliver economic prosperity to their citizens.

The Ukraine crisis also made clear how energy supplies can be wielded as a political weapon. 

Enhancing European energy security by ensuring access to affordable, reliable, diverse, and secure supplies of energy is fundamental to national security objectives. The United States is liberalizing rules governing the export of liquefied natural gas and U.S.-produced crude, and we’re eager to work with European allies to ensure the development of needed infrastructure like import terminals and interconnecting pipelines to promote the diversity of supply to Europe …  

  • The United States will continue to support European infrastructure projects, such as LNG-receiving facilities in Poland and the Interconnector Greece Bulgaria pipeline, to ensure that no country from outside Europe’s Energy Union can use its resources or its position in the global energy market to extort other nations.
  • We continue to view the development of pipelines like the Nord Stream 2 and the multiline TurkStream as unwise, as they only increase market dominance from a single supplier to Europe

As the last pockets of ISIS are defeated in Syria and international focus turns to resolving the Syrian civil conflict, our European partners must continue to be strong advocates for the UN-led Geneva process under UN Security Council Resolution 2254. (att. UvM)

That alone can be the basis for rebuilding the country and implementing a political solution that leaves no role for the Assad regime or his family in Syria’s government. Our European partners have also been strong supporters of our diplomatic and economic pressure campaign against North Korea … As I remarked earlier, one of these challenges is Russia … 

Russia has shown it seeks to define a new post-Soviet global balance of power, one in which Russia, by virtue of its nuclear arsenal, seeks to impose its will on others by force or by partnering with regimes who show a disregard for their own citizens, as is the case with Bashar al-Assad’s continuous use of chemical weapons against his own people.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union liberalized Russian society and created new trade opportunities that benefit Russians, Europeans, and Americans. But Russia has often employed malicious tactics against the U.S. and Europe to drive us apart, weaken our confidence, and undermine the political and economic successes that we have achieved together since the end of the Cold War. Playing politics with energy supplies, launching cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns to undermine free elections, and serially harassing and intimidating diplomats are not the behaviors of a responsible nation. Attacking a neighboring country and threatening others does nothing to improve the lives of Russians or enhance Russia’s standing in the world.  

  • We want Russia to be a constructive neighbor of Europe and of the larger transatlantic community. But that is Russia’s choice to make.

Russia can continue to isolate and impoverish itself by sowing disorder abroad and impeding liberty at home, or it can become a force that will advance the freedom of Russians and the stability of Eurasia …

…. With respect to Russia, there are areas of mutual cooperation. We’re working hard in Syria to defeat ISIS and we are on the cusp of having ISIS once and for all defeated in Syria. We got work yet to do. We are working together with Russia on how to prevent the civil war from re-erupting, and so we’ve had a lot of conversations over what does Russia see as the end state of Syria, what do we see as the end state, and there’s a lot of commonality there.

Tactically, how we get to those to peace talks, we’re working very closely with one another on. We have our ups and downs. If you saw – I think it was a very important joint statement was issued by President Trump and President Putin from Da Nang, Vietnam on the margins of the APEC meeting. That was an important alignment of how we see the Syria peace process going forward, and it was an important statement to have Russia confirm that they see it the same way we do. We’ll use that and we’ll build on it.

I think there are other areas of counterterrorism. Russia has great fear of migration out of the Central Asian regions and terrorism inside of Russia. We think there’s areas of greater cooperation on counterterrorism with Russia. There may be opportunities for cooperation in Afghanistan. We’ve not yet come to what that might be, but we’re talking about it.

In Ukraine, what I’ve said to the Russians is we’re never going to get this relationship back to normal until we solve Ukraine. It just sits there as an enduring obstacle, and we’ve got to address it. So, as you know, I appointed a special representative, former ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, to focus on nothing but working with his Russian counterpart which Putin appointed to see if we can find a way forward – not marginalizing the Normandy process, but working with it to see if we can break the logjam. We’ve had some very substantive discussions. We’re pursuing the possibility of a peacekeeping force in Ukraine to stop the ongoing – every day people are killed, civilians are killed. We want to stop that first and save the lives first, and then let’s start working toward the process.

So there are many areas of cooperation with Russia, and they have many others they’d like to work with us on. We just don’t think it’s time to do that. …

Following the President’s recent decision regarding our policy toward Iran, there is actually much more that binds the United States and Europe together than drives us apart. The JCPOA is no longer the only point of U.S. policy toward Iran; we are committed to addressing the totality of the Iranian threat. We ask our European partners to join us in standing up to all of Iran’s malign behavior. The Iranian regime is antithetical to Western principles in its totalitarian suppression of individual, political, and religious freedom. Neither the United States nor Europe wants another type of North Korea nuclear threat on its hands, nor are any of our nations at ease with Iran’s attempts at hegemony in the Middle East through support for terrorist organizations, militias on the ground in Iraq and Syria, and an active ballistic missile development program.

  • At Europe’s intersection in the region, we know Turkey cannot ignore Iran because of geographic proximity and cultural ties. But we ask Turkey, as a NATO ally, to prioritize the common defense of its treaty allies. Iran – and Russia – cannot offer Turkish people the economic and political benefits that membership in the Western community of nations can provide.
  • We recognize the important contributions of our NATO allies that have been made in Afghanistan, and we ask them to maintain their commitment to the mission … While the United States will continue to maintain our guarantees against a catastrophic failure of security in the region, and will continue to expend resources to maintain our protective umbrella, the nations of Europe must accept greater responsibility for their own security challenges. Our alliances must be made stronger in the current strategic environment; a lack of diligence and duty will only invite greater risk. President Trump said in Warsaw, and I quote, “We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it’s a commitment of will.” Our expenditures are in some ways a reflection of how much we seek to protect peace and freedom. We once again urge European partners who have not done so already to meet the 2 percent of GDP target for defense spending.

This year, Albania, Croatia, France, Hungary, and Romania have newly committed to attaining the 2 percent benchmark. These nations know they must invest in security to preserve liberty. Every NATO member has previously agreed to the Wales Pledge on Defense Investment. It’s time for each of us to honor that agreement

  • ….Even though ISIS is on the brink of complete extinction in Iraq and Syria, the threat of ISIS and associated terror networks will persist in our own country and in others. ISIS is looking for new footholds wherever they can find them, including the Sahel region of West Africa. We must take action so that areas like the Sahel or the Maghreb do not become the next breeding ground for ISIS, al-Qaida, or other terrorist groups. When these groups are able to occupy territory without disruption, their strategists, their bomb makers, and online propagandists have an easier time encouraging, plotting, and executing attacks elsewhere in the world. This was for many months the case in Raqqa. In support of our African and European partners, particularly France, the United States recently committed up to $60 million to assist the G5 Sahel Joint Force to combat terrorism and the potential rise of ISIS in the African Sahel region.

The emergence of ISIS in the Sahel is just one indication that threats to the safety and well-being of our people will continue to have new and unexpected origins. The evolving and unpredictable nature of the threats we face is already clear to the residents of Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Nice, Berlin, Istanbul, London, Manchester, Barcelona, New York, and many other places where our people have suffered at the hands of Islamist terrorists, many of whom were radicalized in front of a computer screen inside their own homes inside their own countries. And the threats we face are clear to countries like Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Germany, who have confronted the destabilizing impact of waves of irregular migration from North Africa and the Middle East.

…We know the people and leaders of Europe are having many conversations about their future. America will not attempt to impose answers to those questions. We recognize that Europe is composed of free nations who, in the great tradition of Western democracy, must be able to choose their own paths forward. As in the past, the United States is committed to working with Europe’s institutional arms, and while we also recognize that our allies are independent and democratic nations with their own history, perspective, and right to determine their future.

This position has a particular relevance for what is transpiring in the UK over the Brexit. The United States will maintain our longstanding special relationship with the United Kingdom, and at the same time maintain a strong relationship with the EU, regardless of the outcome of Brexit. We will not attempt to influence the negotiations, but we urge the EU and UK to move this process forward swiftly and without unnecessary acrimony. We offer an impartial hand of friendship to both parties.

The next chapter of European history must be written in Europe’s own words. …..

https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/11/276002.htm 

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Erzbischof Schick: „Der interreligiöse Dialog ist eine Notwendigkeit“

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Erzbischof Dr. L. Schick (Mitte) . Bishop M. Kukah (links)

Deutsche Bischofskonferenz veröffentlicht Arbeitshilfe zur Situation der Christen in Nigeria

Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz hat heute (29. November 2017) in Berlin eine Arbeitshilfe zur Situation der Christen in Nigeria vorgestellt. Die Veröffentlichung ist Teil der Initiative „Solidarität mit verfolgten und bedrängten Christen in unserer Zeit“.

Erzbischof Dr. Ludwig Schick (Bamberg), Vorsitzender der Kommission Weltkirche der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, erklärte: „Während meines Besuchs im April habe ich die verheerenden Auswirkungen islamistischer Gewalt gesehen. Im Norden Nigerias leiden alle Menschen darunter, ganz besonders die Christen.“ Regelmäßig kommt es in der Region zu Attentaten, Entführungen und brutaler Gewalt durch die islamistische Gruppe Boko Haram, deren Terror seit 2009 rund 20.000 Menschen zum Opfer gefallen sind. Zusätzlich konkurrieren muslimische Nomaden mit mehrheitlich christlichen Bauern um das knapper werdende fruchtbare Land. Immer wieder werden ganze Dörfer durch die Gewalt ausgelöscht.

Im Pressegespräch betonte Erzbischof Schick die Vielschichtigkeit der Konflikte im Norden Nigerias: „Natürlich spielt die religiöse Zugehörigkeit in den Auseinandersetzungen eine Rolle, da Religion ein wesentlicher Teil menschlicher Identität ist. Sie kann die Perspektive der Menschen weiten und Solidarität über die eigene Gruppe hinaus begründen. Nicht selten dient sie aber auch dazu, vorhandene Konflikte aufzuladen. Man wird sicher sagen können, dass die ungerechte Macht- und Ressourcenverteilung ein Kernproblem in Nigeria ist. Die so zustande kommenden Streitigkeiten werden von manchen – besonders von extremistischen muslimischen Kreisen – in einem religiösen Zusammenhang interpretiert. Das ist brandgefährlich.“

Erzbischof Schick wies auf die Notwendigkeit hin, die ökonomische und politische Benachteiligung einzelner Gruppen zu beenden, die grassierende Korruption zu bekämpfen und eine funktionierende Verwaltung aufzubauen. Von Bedeutung seien zudem die Bemühungen um interreligiöse Verständigung: „Das gemeinsame Engagement der Kirche und der lokalen muslimischen Würdenträger für den Frieden hat das Verhältnis zwischen Gläubigen der beiden Religionsgemeinschaften in einigen Regionen entspannt.“ Dass der „interreligiöse Dialog keine Frage des Wollens, sondern eine Notwendigkeit“ sei, zeige auch der Beitrag von Erzbischof Ignatius Kaigama (Jos), der in der Arbeitshilfe das Engagement seiner Diözese beschreibt. Jeweils ungefähr die Hälfte der Nigerianer bekennt sich zum Christentum und zum Islam. Christen stellen im Süden des Landes die Mehrheit, Muslime im Norden.

Bischof Matthew Hassan Kukah aus dem nigerianischen Bistum Sokoto erläuterte die Situation vor Ort. Die mehrheitlich muslimische Region ist durch die Stadt Sokoto bekannt, in der mit dem Sultan von Sokoto der ranghöchste muslimische Würdenträger Nigerias seinen Sitz hat. Bischof Kukah stellte den Alltag der Christen in einem mehrheitlich islamischen Umfeld dar und verwies auf die historischen Gründe der Benachteiligung von Christen in den 19 Bundesstaaten Nordnigerias: „Einige Muslime werfen bis heute Christentum und Kolonialismus in einen Topf. In der Folge werden Christen im Norden Nigerias oft als Kolonialisten und Außenseiter angesehen.“

Der Präsident des Internationalen Katholischen Missionswerks Missio in Aachen, Prälat Dr. Klaus Krämer, stellte einige von Missio geförderte Projekte vor. Dabei würdigte er die interreligiösen Friedensaktivitäten in den vom islamistischen Terror besonders betroffenen Diözesen Maiduguri und Jos. Er betonte, dass eine friedliche religiöse Koexistenz entschiedenen Einsatz verlange, auch angesichts bitterer Rückschläge. „Friedliche religiöse Koexistenz geht einher mit der Pflege interkultureller Kompetenz, der Entwicklung einer eigenen religiösen Identität sowie der Bereitschaft und Fähigkeit zum interreligiösen Dialog. Zu dieser friedlichen religiösen Koexistenz gehört schließlich auch die Freiheit des einzelnen Menschen, sich zu seinem Glauben zu bekennen, ihn zu praktizieren sowie ihn frei wählen zu können. Alle Menschen – vollkommen unabhängig von Religion, ethnischer Zugehörigkeit oder Geschlecht – haben das Recht auf Religionsfreiheit.“

Hintergrund

Die Arbeitshilfe der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz zur Situation der Christen in Nigeria gibt einen Überblick über die Geschichte des Christentums und des Islam in dem westafrikanischen Land, erläutert aktuelle Konfliktlinien und analysiert die Hintergründe der andauernden Gewalt.

Die Initiative „Solidarität mit verfolgten und bedrängten Christen“ wurde von den deutschen Bischöfen 2003 ins Leben gerufen, um für die Lage bedrohter Glaubensgeschwister zu sensibilisieren. Mit Publikationen, liturgischen Handreichungen und öffentlichen Veranstaltungen wird auf die teilweise dramatischen Verhältnisse christlichen Lebens in verschiedenen Teilen der Welt aufmerksam gemacht. Zusätzlich pflegen die Bischöfe mit Solidaritätsreisen den Kontakt zu den unter Druck stehenden Ortskirchen. In Deutschland sucht die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz immer wieder das Gespräch mit Politikern und gesellschaftlichen Akteuren, um auf bedrohliche Entwicklungen hinzuweisen. Jährlicher Höhepunkt der Initiative ist der Gebetstag für verfolgte und bedrängte Christen am 26. Dezember (Stephanustag), der in allen deutschen Diözesen begangen wird.

Hinweise:

Die Statements von Erzbischof Schick, Bischof Kukah sowie von Prälat Krämer sind als pdf-Dateien auch unter www.dbk.de verfügbar.

Die Arbeitshilfe „Solidarität mit verfolgten und bedrängten Christen – Nigeria“ kann in der Rubrik „Veröffentlichungen“ bestellt oder als pdf-Datei heruntergeladen werden.

Das Plakat und der Gebetszettel zum Gebetstag für die verfolgten Christen am 26. Dezember können ebenfalls in der Rubrik „Veröffentlichungen“ bestellt oder als pdf-Dateien heruntergeladen werden.

Weitere Informationen gibt es auf der Initiativseite „Solidarität mit verfolgten und bedrängten Christen in unserer Zeit“.

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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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UdovonMassenbach@t-online.de   Mail@Freudenberg-Pilster.de   JoergBarandat@yahoo.de

2017 200 pressegespraech zur situation der christen in nigeria

2017 200a pressegespraech vorstellung ah nigeria statement eb schick

11 29 17 more tooth less tail getting beyond natos 2 percent rule mckinsey com

11 28 17 tillerson us sec of state the u s and europe strengthening western alliances

united nations s res 2254 2015 udo von massenbach pulse linkedin

11 29 17 rus ch relations us rus eu energy

 

Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 24.11.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • Christian Lindner (FDP) zur Beendigung von “Jamaica“: Weiter arbeiten für ein modernes Land: Veränderung braucht Mut.‘
  • WSJ: Angela Merkel’s Failing Center
  • WSJ: Germany’s Green Energy Meltdown
  •  
  • Belt and Road Initiative

 

  • How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads – A pacified Syria is key to the economic integration of Eurasia through energy and transportation connections
  • Die Ostflanke des Bündnisses ist in Gefahr. Das liegt nicht nur an Russland. Der Landweg durch Europa gleicht für die Truppen einem Hindernisparcours
  •  

 

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

 

–          Policy Priorities in U.S.-Russia Relations – CSIS and RIAC Meeting Report

  • Trio in Tehran

 

    Massenbach*   WSJ: Angela Merkel’s Failing Center

Pragmatism isn’t practical when it fails to inspire voters.

By The Editorial Board

Nov. 20, 2017 7:12 p.m. ET

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s negotiations to form a new coalition collapsed on Sunday night, and good riddance. Whatever else German voters wanted in September’s murky election, they hoped for more political competition. An implausible coalition of the barely willing is the wrong way to deliver.

Conventional wisdom for months overlooked problems with a so-called Jamaica coalition—so labeled because the colors of the participant parties resemble a Caribbean flag. Mrs. Merkel wanted to unite the left-wing Greens and the free-market Free Democrats (FDP) in a government with her center-right Christian Democrats (the CDU and Bavarian CSU). No one could say to what end this motley crew would govern, and the parties couldn’t agree on tax rates, green and coal energy, and especially immigration.

Mrs. Merkel appears to have used the coalition talks mainly to deploy the Greens as a political shield for her own bad instincts on taxes and migration from attacks by her right flank. FDP Leader Christian Lindner has performed a public service by ending the coalition talks. “We were elected to bring about change,” he said Sunday. “It’s better not to govern than to govern wrongly.”

If only Mrs. Merkel would heed that advice. She’s in this jam because her political method prioritizes consensus politics over principle. That’s often called pragmatism, but it’s not very practical when she leaves voters so bored and confused by her milquetoast campaigns that they deny her a majority or at least a plausible coalition.

Instead, voters weary of Germany’s storied consensus-based politics handed the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party a surprising 13% share of the vote in September because it promised to be an alternative. And having punished the FDP in 2013 for bowing too much to Mrs. Merkel in a previous coalition, voters also rewarded Mr. Lindner with nearly 11% for defending his low-tax, low-regulation views aggressively this time around.

This is what normal democratic politics looks like. Mrs. Merkel’s best way forward is to call a new election and run on an agenda to unite and elect a center-right coalition, or step aside to let someone else try. German pundits say the polls predict another murky outcome, but a different campaign might yield different results.

A campaign making ideological commitments about how she wants to govern would give voters something to endorse. The center-left Social Democrats already seem to understand this, which is why they are refusing to repeat the last four years and form another coalition with Mrs. Merkel and are developing their own agenda.

Mrs. Merkel could also try to govern in a minority coalition with either the Greens or the FDP. Then at least she might rule based on some coherent principles. But the Bavarian CSU is facing a challenge in local elections next year from the AfD and seems unlikely to tolerate a coalition with the Greens. A new election seems a better prospect.

Germans are said to recoil from an election do-over for the first time in the postwar era, and after their fraught history of instability in the 1920s and ’30s. They deserve more credit for their democratic transformation over the past 70 years. The real threat now is less electoral uncertainty than the false sense of stability embraced by Mrs. Merkel’s collapsing politics of the middle.

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/angela-merkels-failing-center-1511215697-lMyQjAxMTE3MjIxMTEyNjE1Wj/

 

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

 

–          Policy Priorities in U.S.-Russia Relations – CSIS and RIAC Meeting Report

  •  
  • Trio in TehranVladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran on November 1, 2017, was held in connection with a trilateral meeting of the leaders of Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan. The politicians met up in this format in August 2016 for the first time. At that time, the format was considered successful, and the parties agreed to hold similar meetings on a regular basis.
  • Despite the usual positive feedback from participants on the trilateral dialog, the negotiation format proved to have a number of natural limitations. In fact, it was created around one specific logistics project — the North-South transportation corridor. Not surprisingly, it was the major topic of the trilateral meeting. The rest of the content is an attempt to make the existing framework of negotiations more constructive. This time, logistics was discussed along with transport issues, countering terrorism, trade and energy, as well as with the legal status of the Caspian. To resolve the latter issue, by the way, the trilateral format is not enough, even under the most positive scenario, since Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan also claim their right for Caspian resources.
  • It should not be forgotten that in the Russia-Iran-Azerbaijan trio the last participant obviously loses to the other two in both political and economic power. For geographic reasons, Baku in this cooperation acts more as an indispensable intermediary between Tehran and Moscow, in their energy and logistics projects. At the same time, the Azerbaijani side is quite happy with this situation at the current stage, as this makes it possible to obtain additional sources of income as a transit country. Moreover, Armenia as the main rival of Azerbaijan pretends to play a similar role, though with obviously less success.
  • Perhaps the main innovation of the trilateral negotiations was the project to create a gas corridor from Russia to Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan. It is difficult to call this result a breakthrough, but the successful implementation of the new project combined with the launch of the North-South transportation corridor might increase the importance of this trilateral cooperation. —–
  • Shaken, Not Stirred: Blending an INF/New Start Detox Cocktail
  • Caucasian Knot:
  • Tbilisi: special operation accompanied by explosion
  • Tbilisi City Court upholds Chabuk’s denial of refugee status
  • Senator Kerimov (Dagestan) detained in France under tax evasion case ( Nice Matin“ reported that Suleiman Kerimov is the actual owner of four villas on the Côte d’Azur)

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WSJ: Germany’s Green Energy Meltdown

Voters promised a virtuous revolution get coal and high prices instead.

By The Editorial Board

Updated Nov. 17, 2017 6:55 p.m. ET

 

American climate-change activists point to Europe, and especially Germany, as the paragon of green energy virtue. But they ought to look closer at Angela Merkel’s political struggles as she tries to form a new government in Berlin amid the economic fallout from the Chancellor’s failing energy revolution.

Berlin last month conceded it will miss its 2020 carbon emissions-reduction goal, having cut emissions by just under 30% compared with 1990 instead of the 40% that Mrs. Merkel promised. The goal of 55% by 2030 is almost surely out of reach.

Mrs. Merkel’s failure comes despite astronomical costs. By one estimate, businesses and households paid an extra €125 billion in increased electricity bills between 2000 and 2015 to subsidize renewables, on top of billions more in other handouts. Germans join Danes in paying the highest household electricity rates in Europe, and German companies pay near the top among industrial users. This is a big reason Mrs. Merkel underperformed in September’s election.

Berlin has heavily subsidized renewable energy since 2000, primarily via feed-in tariffs requiring utilities to buy electricity from renewable generators at above-market rates. Mrs. Merkel put that effort into overdrive in 2010 when she introduced the Energiewende, or energy revolution.

The centerpiece is the escalating emissions-reductions targets Germany now is missing, which surpass the 20% reduction by 2020 to which the rest of the European Union has committed. The policy is also supposed to reduce total energy consumption to 50% of the 2008 level by 2050, with a 25% reduction in electricity use. That was a tall enough order for an industrial economy. Then Mrs. Merkel made it even harder in 2011, with a hasty promise after Japan’s Fukushima disaster to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

Energiewende enthusiasts say the policy is racking up successes despite the problems. That’s true only in the sense that if you throw enough money at something, some of the cash has to stick. In electric generating capacity, for instance, renewables are now running almost even with traditional fuel sources.

Yet much of that capacity is wasted—only one-third of Germany’s electricity is actually generated by renewables. Berlin has invested heavily in wind and solar power that is easiest to generate in parts of Germany that need the power the least, especially the north. Berlin will need to spend another huge sum building transmission lines to the industrial south.

The other costs relate to providing electricity when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, which is often in Germany. The traditional plants needed to fill in the gaps are overwhelmingly fired by coal, on which Germany still relies for roughly 40% of its power.

Natural gas would be cleaner and is easy to switch on and off. But gas is more expensive than coal, and the peak daytime consumption hours when gas could recoup that investment are also the times utilities are more likely to be required to buy overpriced solar power.

As a result, natural gas accounts for only 9.4% of Germany’s electricity, down from a little over 14% in 2010. Gas accounts for some 30% of U.S. electricity generation, and the shift to gas from coal explains a majority of the reductions in carbon emissions in U.S. generation since 2005, according to a report last month by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. German households pay nearly 36 U.S. cents a kilowatt-hour of electricity, versus an average of 13 cents in America.

No wonder voters are in revolt. Surveys say that in theory Germans like being green, but polls about household energy costs say otherwise. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) won a surprising 13% vote share in part on a promise to end the Energiewende immediately. A new study from the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research finds that 61% of Germans wouldn’t want to pay even one eurocent more per kilowatt-hour of electricity to fund more renewables.

This is casting Mrs. Merkel’s coalition talks into disarray. Her prospective Green Party partners want to double down on Energiewende distortions by banning coal, starting with the 20 most-polluting plants. Mrs. Merkel’s center-right Christian-Democratic parties and the free-market Free Democrats are willing to close 10 plants at most, in recognition that more would strangle the economy of energy absent nuclear power after 2022.

Whatever agreement she works out, it’s clear that German voters want more honesty about the cash-and-carbon costs of Mrs. Merkel’s green ambitions. If instead she recommits to soaring energy costs and dirty-coal electricity, expect another voter rebellion in 2021.

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/germanys-green-energy-revoltgermanys-green-energy-revolt-1510848988-lMyQjAxMTE3MjEzODUxMzg0Wj/

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                                                                                                            Policy = res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster  Weiter arbeiten für ein modernes Land: Veränderung braucht Mut.“

Erklärung von Christian Lindner, FDP Bundesvorsitzender, zur Beendigung der Sondierungsgespräche / „Jamaica“

„Liebe Parteifreundinnen und Parteifreunde,

das Ergebnis der Bundestagswahl am 24. September 2017 hat die demokratischen Parteien vor eine große Herausforderung  gestellt. Es war vermutlich der komplizierteste Prozess zur Sondierung einer möglichen Regierungsbildung, den die Bundesrepublik Deutschland je gesehen hat. Seit dem 18. Oktober bis in den Abend des 19. Novembers hinein, haben CDU, FDP, Grüne und CSU vermessen, ob trotz der sehr unterschiedlichen Wähleraufträge eine stabile Regierungsbildung zum Wohle unseres Landes möglich ist.

Wir haben Stunden, Tage und Wochen miteinander gerungen. Die Freien Demokraten haben Kompromissangebote gemacht: unter anderem in der Steuer-, der Europa-, der Einwanderungs- und der Bildungspolitik. Denn wir wissen, dass Politik vom Ausgleich lebt. Mit knapp elf Prozent kann man nicht einer ganzen Republik den Kurs vorgeben. Unsere Bereitschaft zum gemeinsamen Handeln zeigen wir in Regierungsbeteiligungen mit Union, SPD und Grünen in den Ländern. Nach vier Wochen lag aber unverändert nur ein Papier mit zahllosen Widersprüchen, offenen Fragen und Zielkonflikten vor. Dort, wo es Übereinkünfte gab, sollten sie oft mit viel Geld der Bürger oder Formelkompromissen erkauft werden.

Im Namen der Mitglieder des Sondierungsteams und in Übereinstimmung mit den Führungsgremien von Bundespartei und Bundestagsfraktion muss ich Ihnen daher heute mitteilen: Dieses Experiment einer Vierparteienkoalition ist leider gescheitert. Trotz langer Sondierungsgespräche konnte in wesentlichen Politikfeldern am Ende keine Verständigung erzielt werden. Es hat sich gezeigt, dass die vier Partner keine gemeinsame Idee zur Gestaltung des Landes und keine gemeinsame Vertrauensbasis erreichen konnten. Wir haben uns diese Entscheidung nicht leicht gemacht. Unser Wunsch war es, eine lagerübergreifende Koalition zu bilden, die den Stillstand der Großen Koalition und politische „Lebenslügen“ etwa bei Einwanderung und Bildung überwindet, um Deutschland voran zu bringen. Was aber am Ende auf dem Verhandlungstisch lag, war im Wesentlichen ein ambitionsloses „Weiter so“ auf dem Kurs der Großen Koalition, gespickt mit zahlreichen Wünschen der Grünen. Dafür können und wollen wir nicht zur Verfügung stehen. Das möchte ich Ihnen anhand einiger Beispiele aus der Schlussrunde von Sonntagabend erläutern:

In der Finanzpolitik war es unser Anliegen, eine neue Balance zwischen Bürger und Staat durch Entlastungen herzustellen. Wir hatten hier weitgehende Kompromisse angeboten. Auf eine große Steuerreform im Umfang von 30 bis 40 Mrd. Euro hätten wir verzichtet; die Abschaffung des Solidaritätszuschlages wären wir bereit gewesen, in Stufen bis zum Ende der Legislaturperiode durchzuführen. Wir mussten erkennen, dass dazu keine Bereitschaft bestand. Am Schluss lag mehr oder weniger das Wahlprogramm der Union vor, das den Soli mäßig reduziert und bis in die nächste Legislaturperiode fortgeschrieben hätte.

Bei der Zuwanderung wollten wir neue Ordnung durch ein Einwanderungsgesetzbuch schaffen. Qualifizierte Einwanderung in den Arbeitsmarkt sollte über ein Punktesystem leichter, humanitäre Zuwanderung dagegen gesteuerter stattfinden. Dies wäre erreichbar gewesen. Beim Familiennachzug für subsidiär Schutzbedürftige gab es bis Sonntagabend aber immer noch keine Einigung. Auch wir hatten Kompromisse eingebracht, die den Grünen eine Zustimmung erleichtert hätte. Eine Übereinkunft war nicht möglich.

Wir wollen eine Trendwende für weltbeste Bildung. Dazu bedarf es nicht nur Geld für Investitionen, sondern auch einer grundlegenden Reform des deutschen Bildungsföderalismus. Die Union hat Ideen vorgelegt, die CSU war hier jedoch zu keinem Schritt bereit. Auch Teile der Grünen, wie etwa Winfried Kretschmann, haben lautstark gegen ihr eigenes Programm und gegen eine Modernisierung des Bildungsföderalismus gewettert.

In der Energie- und Klimapolitik wollten wir Klimaschutz mit Versorgungssicherheit und Bezahlbarkeit von Energie pragmatisch versöhnen. Die Freien Demokraten haben angeboten, bis zu fünf Gigawatt Leistung aus der Kohleverstromung aus dem Netz zu nehmen und noch über zwei weitere Gigawatt in den kommenden Jahren zu sprechen, sofern die Versorgungssicherheit es erlaubt (5+2). Die Energiepolitiker von Union und FDP sahen diese Offerte bereits eher kritisch. Die Grünen wollten dagegen Kraftwerke mit einer Leistung von mindestens neun bis zehn Gigawatt schließen. Die CDU-Vorsitzende schlug einen Kompromiss von sieben Gigawatt vor, den wir als physikalisch kaum realisierbar eingeordnet haben.

Bei der Entwicklung Europas haben wir uns für eine Trendwende zu mehr finanzieller Eigenverantwortung und Solidität eingesetzt. Auch hier haben wir klar Kompromissfähigkeit gezeigt. Um hier eine Brücke der Vernunft zu bauen, die auch für die anderen Parteien gangbar wäre, haben wir vorgeschlagen, sich an der lagerübergreifenden Koalitionsvereinbarung der neuen Regierung unserer weltoffenen Nachbarn in den Niederlanden zu orientieren. Die Antworten aus dem Lager der Grünen waren zum Teil plumpe Anschuldigungen des Nationalismus. Für uns als proeuropäische Partei in der Tradition Hans-Dietrich Genschers wirkt dieser Anwurf geradezu ehrabschneidend. In der Sache waren CDU und Grüne nicht bereit, eine europäische Risikoteilung bzw. Haftungsgemeinschaft im Bereich der privaten Banken, Sparkassen und Volksbanken auszuschließen. Die Grünen wollten darüber hinaus noch weitere Budgets für Finanztransfers in Europa.

Neben den fachlichen Differenzen möchte ich auch eines nicht unerwähnt lassen: Permanent sind wahre oder auch falsche Tatsachenbehauptungen von einzelnen Sondierungsteilnehmern anderer Parteien „durchgestochen“ worden. Permanent gingen bei mir Hinweise ein, wie Teilnehmer unseres Sondierungsteams in sogenannten Hintergrundgesprächen bei Journalisten verächtlich gemacht wurden. Schließlich mussten wir in Interviews einzelner Sondierungsteilnehmer anderer Parteien nachlesen, dass man uns in eine Ecke mit der Politik Donald Trumps rücken wollte. Unter solchen Umständen gedeiht das zarte Pflänzchen gegenseitigen Vertrauens wohl kaum.

Liebe Parteifreundinnen und Parteifreunde,

es war unsere staatspolitische Verantwortung, konstruktiv Gespräche über eine Regierungsbildung zu führen. Dieser Verantwortung sind wir nachgekommen. Genauso ist es jedoch unsere Verantwortung, nicht zu vergessen, dass wir für Trendwenden gewählt worden sind. Sie waren nicht erreichbar.

Den Geist des Sondierungspapiers können wir nicht verantworten. Viele der diskutierten Maßnahmen halten wir für schädlich. Wir wären gezwungen, unsere Grundsätze aufzugeben und alles das, wofür wir Jahre gearbeitet haben. Wir werden unsere Wählerinnen und Wähler nicht im Stich lassen, indem wir eine Politik mittragen, von der wir nicht überzeugt sind.

Es ist besser, nicht zu regieren, als falsch zu regieren. Wir sehen uns auch in der Verantwortung, klar Position zu beziehen, die demokratische Vielfalt zu erhalten und zu beleben.

Also arbeiten wir weiter für ein modernes Land, für weltbeste Bildung, für die Chancen der Digitalisierung und eine faire Balance zwischen Bürger und Staat.

Dafür brauchen wir jetzt umso mehr neues Denken. Und erneut Ihre Unterstützung.

Wir zählen auf Sie.

Ihr

Christian Lindner MdB
Bundesvorsitzender

Freie Demokratische Partei
Hans-Dietrich-Genscher-Haus
Reinhardtstr. 14, 10117 Berlin

 

http://6rpn.mjt.lu/lnk/AEoAAKgWdJwAAUwF_OMAAG2nzPMAARpfgHEAGrcjAAgI2QBaEzaly4W4LjkkQYe2IBc2282jdQAHZFE/1/O5Fz6_qeE_1siP8QfIu2rg/aHR0cHM6Ly9tYWlsaW5ncy5mZHAuZGUvbm9kZS8xMTU1Mzk

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat*  “Belt and Road Initiative” beim 19. Nationalkongress in der Verfassung der KPCh festgeschrieben
“… the Silk Road Spirit – ‘peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit’ … Symbolizing communication and cooperation between the East and the West, the Silk Road Spirit is a historic and cultural heritage shared by all countries around the world …”

What the Inclusion of BRI in the Chinese Constitution Implies
November 07, 2017   The recently concluded 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) amended the Party’s Constitution to include the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as one of the major future objectives.

This has been seen as an “unexpected” development in Beijing’s political practice in some quarters … the BRI’s inclusion in the CPC’s amended Constitution is a significant development since the international community mostly views the initiative as an economic strategy that is linked to China’s external engagement policy, and less of a “political” proposition.

No matter how minor this amendment might appear to be, it signifies a ‘Chinese state strategy’ in the making, both in the domestic and international contexts

… the reference to the BRI in the Constitution was another big recognition for Xi Jinping himself since it was primarily known as his project.

 

Further, the inclusion of BRI in the constitution signifies that it is a long-term national project that will continue to be pursued even if Xi were to step down from the presidency in 2022

By naming the BRI in the CPC Charter, China has placed more policy weight on the initiative and offered it a legal sanctity.

  • Further, its inclusion in the Charter reiterates the fact that the BRI is not merely an economic policy but rather a ‘political project’ that Beijing would like to pursue as part of its national developmental programme. At the same time, the constitutional amendment links BRI with China’s aspiration to ‘build a community of shared interest’ and to achieve “shared growth” through “discussion and collaboration”. This implies the leadership’s ambition to shape the world order through the progress and success of BRI

Moreover, the induction of BRI into the constitution exerts the central leadership’s political control over the provinces since power struggles between different provinces and between the centre and the provinces area known issues in China …

The amendment clubbing BRI with “shared interests” and “shared growth” through “discussion and collaboration” elucidates the foreign policy intent that Beijing attaches to its external engagement policy. That means, Beijing may like to employ a more serious approach for convincing the international community to formally join the BRI, and sign agreements that would be beneficial to China and the outside world. This would further imply that China would pursue a more ‘purposeful’ external engagement policy where the top-down directives of the CPC would exert more pressure on Chinese banks, state-owned companies, private companies and business operators to promote investment decisions abroad that will reflect Beijing’s strategic objectives …

Beijing would be pursuing this consultative process from a position of strength as the world’s second-largest economy … Stressing BRI as a “priority”, he emphasised on opening China further to the outside world and encouraged an equal emphasis on “bringing in” and “going global” in order to promote stable engagement with the international community. This implies that China’s external engagement policy will be more BRI-centric in the years to come.

Nationally, the inclusion of BRI in the CPC charter was a historic moment for Xi Jinping personally. If Mao Zedong is remembered as the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Deng Xiaoping for his “Reform and Opening-up” policy which transformed China into what it is today, Xi Jinping will certainly be remembered for his Belt and Road policy in the years to come.
https://idsa.in/idsacomments/what-the-inclusion-of-bri-in-the-chinese-constitution-implies_jpanda_071117
siehe auch:
Reuters October 24, 2017: Pressure on as Xi’s ‚Belt and Road‘ enshrined in Chinese party charter
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-congress-silkroad/pressure-on-as-xis-belt-and-road-enshrined-in-chinese-party-charter-idUSKBN1CT1IW
The Diplomat October 31, 2017: The Belt and Road Initiative and the Future of Globalization
https://thediplomat.com/2017/10/the-belt-and-road-initiative-and-the-future-of-globalization/

The new geopolitics of trade in Asia
November 15, 2017 … China’s economic and political influence has expanded significantly with the successful launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Belt and Road Initiative. Through these initiatives, China is recycling capital surpluses to finance infrastructure in developing Asia with improvements to regional connectivity.

But leadership in free trade may be China’s last frontier because it hinges on the supply of a commodity in short supply in Xi’s vision for China: liberalization.

 

The 19th Party Congress did not set China on a path to become a free trader.

On the contrary, it confirmed that the impetus for meaningful domestic reform has waned and the state’s role in the economy is the North Star … The geopolitics of trade in Asia are in flux as the three major powers transition to new roles. A United States critical of multilateral and regional undertakings, unable to gain traction in bilateral trade negotiations, and eager to resort to unilateral enforcement as the main thrust of trade policy. A China that is knitting the region together through infrastructure finance and has vied for the title of champion of multilateralism, but comes woefully short in the supply of liberalization. And a Japan that is cutting its teeth in trade leadership by rescuing the TPP project, not out of a desire to displace the United States from its traditional role in regional economic diplomacy but instead to encourage its return …
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/11/15/the-new-geopolitics-of-trade-in-asia/

CSIS
AUDIO: November 9, 2017 Great Powers in Asia
The Role of Asia in the Grand Strategies of China, Russia, and the U.S.
The fates of China, Russia, and the United States, are profoundly bound to the Asian continent. Historically, these powers have shaped and been shaped by Asia, and it is clear that Asia continues to factor centrally in their strategic thinking. In recent years, both Russia and the United States have paid more attention to Asia as a central theater in 21st century geopolitics. With its Belt and Road Initiative and expansive activities in maritime Asia, China is also playing a more active role in Asian geopolitics today.

Yet all three powers also face significant uncertainty … Where does Asia fit in the grand strategic visions of China, Russia, and the U.S.—and what are the implications for regional security? Where is there room for cooperation, and where is there a real possibility of confrontation? What form might either of these take? …
https://www.csis.org/events/great-powers-asia?
Anna Kireeva, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)
zur RUS Rolle + Strategie ggü. Asien: 3:42-14:24
Yun + Glaser zu Belt and Road Initiative, sehr “dünn”, ab 1:23:20
Q+A sehr Korea-lastig

 

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    China’s One Belt, One Road Faces Pushback

Nov. 21, 2017 Countries want China’s funding but not at any cost.

 

China’s One Belt, One Road, a much-touted initiative to connect the country with Europe, the Middle East, Africa and other parts of Asia, is facing resistance from states whose cooperation Beijing needs to build its highly ambitious infrastructure projects. Last week, Pakistan and Nepal both pulled out of deals to build dams with China because of disagreements over the terms of the deals. Countries that have partnered with China on projects such as these need Chinese finance and expertise to help develop their economies and infrastructure. But these two cases show that some countries are unwilling to just accept China’s terms in exchange for access to its cash. There are limits to China’s economic clout, and Beijing can expect similar pushback from other countries.

On Nov. 15, Pakistan announced that it had withdrawn from the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, over its objections to certain terms and conditions set by Beijing. According to the head of Islamabad’s Water and Power Development Authority, China demanded ownership of the project and its operations and wanted its own forces to provide security. Pakistan will use its own financing to go ahead with the dam, which is expected to provide 4,500 megawatts of power – roughly equivalent to the country’s energy shortfall.

Before the dam was included in the $62 billion CPEC project, the Pakistanis had sought financing from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Both institutions refused to fund the project because of its location in the Pakistani-controlled part of the disputed Kashmir region. The project, which has been in the works for 15 years, has already faced numerous delays and could face even more if Pakistan is unable to supply the money needed to complete the dam.

The CPEC will continue to fund other projects, including roadways, energy facilities, transportation systems and the port of Gwadar. At a time when relations with the United States have deteriorated, Pakistan is all the more reliant on China for development assistance, making the decision to reject Chinese funding for the dam even more significant. Pakistan didn’t make this decision lightly, but it couldn’t accept the terms China was seeking; Chinese ownership of a major infrastructure facility guarded by Chinese security forces was just a step too far.

Leaders attend a roundtable meeting during the Belt and Road Forum at the International Conference Center in Yanqi Lake, north of Beijing, on May 15, 2017.

Also last week, Nepal announced that it would scrap a $2.5 billion deal with Chinese state firm China Gezhouba Group to develop the Budhi Gandaki hydroelectric project. The hydroelectric plant would have generated 1,200 megawatts of electricity. The deal was signed last June – less than a month after Nepal agreed to participate in OBOR – by the pro-Beijing Maoist-dominated government in charge at the time.

That government has since been replaced by an interim government, which has said that a key part of its decision to pull out of the deal was that the agreement was reached without a competitive bidding process. There is much speculation that factions that support India within the interim government were behind the decision. Nepal has long been part of a struggle for influence between the world’s two most populous nations. With elections due on Nov. 26, the future balance between pro-China and pro-India factions in Nepal remains unclear, but the struggle between these two camps is just one part of why Nepal pulled out of the deal and why China has had trouble ensuring the cooperation of its partners.

In an article published this week, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post highlighted the larger implications of the cancellation of these two deals. That a Chinese paper has been openly critical of how China has handled this issue is noteworthy. Chinese publications don’t often acknowledge problems associated with a signature project of President Xi Jinping. But people are beginning to take notice of the many problems with OBOR. The failure of these deals is related to the fact that OBOR is an overly ambitious initiative that lacks a coherent strategy.

The most developed of OBOR’s six overland economic corridors runs from Xinjiang province in western China through the entire length of Pakistan to the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. Pakistan views the project as a major part of its close relationship with China and its efforts to address its chronically weak infrastructure. But Pakistan understands that China’s main interest in the project is to ensure that Chinese firms can profit from it, to find new markets for its goods and to establish a new trade route that isn’t dependent on maritime shipping lanes.

It is unlikely that Pakistan and Nepal will be the only countries critical of China’s approach to these infrastructure projects. Countries in Central Asia, where the Chinese are aiming to develop another critical corridor as part of OBOR, could also raise objections to Chinese demands, which are proving to be unduly onerous on China’s partners. These countries want China’s funding, but not at any cost.

 

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/chinas-one-belt-one-road-faces-pushback/

 

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How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads

A pacified Syria is key to the economic integration of Eurasia through energy and transportation connections

By Pepe Escobar November 21, 2017 5:19 AM (UTC+8)

 

image0147

image0147

Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani will hold a summit this Wednesday in Sochi to discuss Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the three power players at the Astana negotiations – where multiple cease-fires, as hard to implement as they are, at least evolve, slowly but surely, towards the ultimate target – a political settlement.

 

A stable Syria is crucial to all parties involved in Eurasia integration. As Asia Times reported, China has made it clear that a pacified Syria will eventually become a hub of the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – building on the previous business bonanza of legions of small traders commuting between Yiwu and the Levant.

 

Away from intractable war and peace issues, it’s even more enlightening to observe how Turkey, Iran and Russia are playing their overlapping versions of Eurasia economic integration and/or BRI-related business.

 

Much has to do with the energy/transportation connectivity between railway networks – and, further on the down the road, high-speed rail – and what I have described, since the early 2000s, as Pipelineistan.

 

The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, a deal brokered in person in Baku by the late Dr Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, was a major energy/geopolitical coup by the Clinton administration, laying out an umbilical steel cord between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Now comes the Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) railway – inaugurated with great fanfare by Erdogan alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, but also crucially Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov. After all, this is about the integration of the Caucasus with Central Asia.

Erdogan actually went further: BTK is “an important chain in the New Silk Road, which aims to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe.” The new transportation corridor is configured as an important Eurasian hub linking not only the Caucasus with Central Asia but also, in the Big Picture, the EU with Western China.

BTK is just the beginning, considering the long-term strategy of Chinese-built high-speed rail from Xinjiang across Central Asia all the way to Iran, Turkey, and of course, the dream destination: the EU. Erdogan can clearly see how Turkey is strategically positioned to profit from it.

Of course, BTK is not a panacea. Other connectivity points between Iran and Turkey will spring up, and other key BRI interconnectors will pick up speed in the next few years, such as the Eurasian Land Bridge across the revamped Trans-Siberian and an icy version of the Maritime Silk Road: the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic.

What’s particularly interesting in the BTK case is the Pipelineistan interconnection with the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), bringing natural gas from the massive Azeri gas field Shah Deniz-2 to Turkey and eventually the EU.

Turkish analyst Cemil Ertem stresses, “just like TANAP, the BTK Railway not only connects three countries, but also is one of the main trade and transport routes in Asia and Europe, and particularly Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ports. It connects Central Asia to Turkey with the Marmaray project in Istanbul and via the Caspian region. Along with the Southern Gas Corridor, which constitutes TANAP’s backbone, it will also connect ports on the South China Sea to Europe via Turkey.”

It’s no wonder BTK has been met with ecstatic reception across Turkey – or, should we say, what used to be known as Asia Minor. It does spell out, graphically, Ankara’s pivoting to the East (as in increasing trade with China) as well as a new step in the extremely complex strategic interdependence between Ankara and Moscow; the Central Asian “stans”, after all, fall into Russia’s historical sphere of influence.

Add to it the (pending) Russian sale of the S-400 missile defense system to Ankara, and the Russian and Chinese interest in having Turkey as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, a deal brokered in person in Baku by the late Dr Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, was a major energy/geopolitical coup by the Clinton administration, laying out an umbilical steel cord between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

image0125

image0125

Now comes the Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) railway – inaugurated with great fanfare by Erdogan alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, but also crucially Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov. After all, this is about the integration of the Caucasus with Central Asia.

Erdogan actually went further: BTK is “an important chain in the New Silk Road, which aims to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe.” The new transportation corridor is configured as an important Eurasian hub linking not only the Caucasus with Central Asia but also, in the Big Picture, the EU with Western China.

BTK is just the beginning, considering the long-term strategy of Chinese-built high-speed rail from Xinjiang across Central Asia all the way to Iran, Turkey, and of course, the dream destination: the EU. Erdogan can clearly see how Turkey is strategically positioned to profit from it.

 

Of course, BTK is not a panacea. Other connectivity points between Iran and Turkey will spring up, and other key BRI interconnectors will pick up speed in the next few years, such as the Eurasian Land Bridge across the revamped Trans-Siberian and an icy version of the Maritime Silk Road: the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic.

What’s particularly interesting in the BTK case is the Pipelineistan interconnection with the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), bringing natural gas from the massive Azeri gas field Shah Deniz-2 to Turkey and eventually the EU.

Turkish analyst Cemil Ertem stresses, “just like TANAP, the BTK Railway not only connects three countries, but also is one of the main trade and transport routes in Asia and Europe, and particularly Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ports. It connects Central Asia to Turkey with the Marmaray project in Istanbul and via the Caspian region. Along with the Southern Gas Corridor, which constitutes TANAP’s backbone, it will also connect ports on the South China Sea to Europe via Turkey.”

It’s no wonder BTK has been met with ecstatic reception across Turkey – or, should we say, what used to be known as Asia Minor. It does spell out, graphically, Ankara’s pivoting to the East (as in increasing trade with China) as well as a new step in the extremely complex strategic interdependence between Ankara and Moscow; the Central Asian “stans”, after all, fall into Russia’s historical sphere of influence.

Add to it the (pending) Russian sale of the S-400 missile defense system to Ankara, and the Russian and Chinese interest in having Turkey as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

From IPI to IP and then II

Now compare the BTK coup with one of Pipelineistan’s trademark cliff-hanging soap operas; the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India), previously dubbed “the peace pipeline”.

IPI originally was supposed to link southeastern Iran with northern India across Balochistan, via the Pakistani port of Gwadar (now a key hub of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC). The Bush and Obama administrations did everything to prevent IPI from ever being built, betting instead on the rival TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) – which would actually traverse a war zone east of Herat, Afghanistan.

TAPI might eventually be built – even with the Taliban being denied their cut (that was exactly the contention 20 years ago with the first Clinton administration: transit rights). Lately, Russia stepped up its game, with Gazprom seducing India into becoming a partner in TAPI’s construction.

But then came the recent announcement by Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak: Moscow and Tehran will sign a memorandum of understanding to build a 1,200km gas pipeline from Iran to India; call it II. And Gazprom, in parallel, will invest in unexplored Iranian gas fields along the route.

Apart from the fact of a major win for Gazprom – expanding its reach towards South Asia – the clincher is the project won’t be the original IPI (actually IP), where Iran already built the stretch up to the border and offered help for Islamabad to build its own stretch; a move that would be plagued by US sanctions. The Gazprom project will be an underwater pipeline from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean.

From New Delhi’s point of view, this is the ultimate win-win. TAPI remains a nightmarish proposition, and India needs all the gas it can get, fast. Assuming the new Trump administration “Indo-Pacific” rhetoric holds, New Delhi is confident it won’t be slapped with sanctions because it’s doing business with both Iran and Russia.

And then there was another key development coming out of Putin’s recent visit to Tehran: the idea – straight out of BRI – of building a rail link between St. Petersburg (on the Baltic) and Chabahar port close to the Persian Gulf. Chabahar happens to be the key hub of India’s answer to BRI: a maritime trade link to Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing Pakistan, and connected to the North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), of which Iran, India and Russia are key members alongside Caucasus and Central Asian nations.

You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows across Eurasia; integration, all the way. (sic!? UvM)

http://www.atimes.com/article/turkey-iran-russia-india-playing-new-silk-roads/?utm_source=The+Daily+Report&utm_campaign=8b0622c2f3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f8bca137f-8b0622c2f3-28273647

 

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                                                                                                 Middle East    

WDR 5: Krieg ums Wasser: Panikmache oder reale Gefahr?

13.11.2017   Kriege und Krisen trocknen von Syrien bis zum Iran ganze Flüsse aus. Zugleich baut die Türkei Staudamm um Staudamm. Ist ein Krieg ums Wasser dort nur eine Frage der Zeit? Interview mit Martin Keulertz, Dozent an der American University of Beirut.

http://www.ardmediathek.de/radio/Morgenecho/Krieg-ums-Wasser-Panikmache-oder-reale-/WDR-5/Audio-Podcast?bcastId=41952690&documentId=47551986

 

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*Massenbach’s   Recommendation*

Die Achillesferse der Nato

Von ELISABETH BRAW BR

17.11.2017 · Die Ostflanke des Bündnisses ist in Gefahr. Das liegt nicht nur an Russland. Der Landweg durch Europa gleicht für die Truppen einem Hindernisparcours.

I m Juli diesen Jahres nahm die amerikanische Armee an einer Übung in Rumänien teil. Bis heute warten die in Deutschland stationierten Einheiten immer noch auf Teile ihrer Ausrüstung, die sie nach Rumänien verlegt hatten. Aufgrund fehlender Bahntransportkapazitäten sitzt das Material dort fest. Logistik wird oft als langweilig empfunden, aber ohne sie kommen keine Lebensmittel in die Supermärkte. Und auch Nato-Streitkräfte kommen ohne sie nicht dorthin, wo sie gebraucht werden. „Es ist von enormer strategischer Bedeutung, dass sich Streitkräfte in Europa frei und ohne Hindernisse bewegen können“, sagt Generalleutnant Ben Hodges. „Wir müssen uns genauso schnell oder schneller bewegen können als die russischen Streitkräfte. Dann haben die Politiker im Ernstfall mehr Alternativen als beispielsweise einen Befreiungskrieg im Baltikum.“

Als Kommandeur der amerikanischen Heeresstreitkräfte in Europa trägt Hodges eine große Verantwortung dafür, dass die Nato einen Angriff Russlands im Fall des Falles abwehren kann. Oberster Befehlshaber der Nato-Streitkräfte in Europa ist zwar Hodges‘ amerikanischer Kollege General Curtis Scaparrotti. Mit 30.000 Soldatinnen und Soldaten und deren imposanter Ausrüstung verfügt Hodges aber über die Speerspitze für die europäische Verteidigung. Hodges‘ Soldaten – und ihre Kameraden aus anderen Nato-Staaten – können sich in Europa aber nur bedingt bewegen. Im Kalten Krieg führten die Nato-Streitkräfte regelmäßig gewaltige Übungen durch, bei denen Einheiten über weite Entfernungen, auch über Ländergrenzen hinweg, verlegt wurden. Kommandeure wussten genau, welche Straßen und Brücken welches Gewicht tragen konnten, welche Tunnel für Panzer notwendige Ausmaße hatten. Sie wussten, wo Bahnwaggons für Militärtransporte bereitstanden.

Multinationale Nato-Kampftruppen im Baltikum

Heute weiß das niemand mehr so genau. „Die eFP [Enhanced Forward Presence, die Nato-Bataillone im Baltikum und Polen] ist ein Signal, aber keine Abschreckung“, sagt General Sir Richard Barrons, bis letztes Jahr Kommandeur des britischen Joint Forces Command. „Zur Abschreckung braucht man einen Mobilisierungsplan. Man muss wissen, wo die Kräfte und die Ausrüstung sind, und wie mobilisiere ich sie?“ In den neunziger Jahren hörte die Nato auf, Infrastrukturangaben über Brücken, Straßen, und Tunnel in der Allianz zu erheben. Jetzt sammelt sie diese Daten wieder. Das müsste aber viel schneller gehen, damit auch Reparaturen durchgeführt werden können, denn was den Befehlshabern fehlt, ist eine sicher funktionierende Infrastruktur. Deutschland verfügt nur über eine Brücke, die einen großen Konvoi tragen kann; andere Nato-Mitglieder haben gar keine. Das Fehlen geeigneter Brücken ist kein triviales Problem, denn um das Baltikum zu erreichen, müssten Nato-Streitkräfte mehrere große Flüsse überqueren. Gelänge das nicht, stünden kampfkräftige Verbände zwar bereit, zum Einsatz kämen sie aber nicht.

Seit Anfang 2015 hat Russland den Einsatz in Großübungen dreimal so oft geübt wie die Nato in Europa. Es ist für die Nato heute zwar nicht mehr erforderlich, wie im Kalten Krieg regelmäßig Zehntausende von Soldaten aus den Vereinigten Staaten nach Europa zu verlegen und über Wochen hinweg üben zu lassen. In kleinerem Rahmen sind solche Übungen aber notwendig.

Die Nato steht allerlei Herausforderungen gegenüber: Wer soll was zahlen? Wie groß sollen die Streitkräfte der Mitgliedstaaten sein, und welche Großwaffensysteme und Ausrüstung benötigen sie? Sollten amerikanische Streitkräfte Europäern überhaupt helfen? Wenn nicht, wie sollte sich die europäische Seite organisieren? Wie sollten wir gegen Cyber-Gefahren und andere hybride Bedrohungen vorgehen? Und wie gegen Terrorismus? Alarmstufe Rot herrscht bei der Verteidigungsallianz schon jetzt: laut einem internen Bericht könnte sie sich gegen einen russischen Angriff nicht verteidigen. Die schnelle Eingreiftruppe der Nato würde drei bis vier Wochen brauchen, um etwa im Baltikum anzukommen, von den Hauptstreitkräften ganz zu schweigen.

 

  • Die Logistik spielt dabei eine Hauptrolle. Heute sind Brücken, Bahnwaggons und Bürokratie die Achillesferse der Nato-Streitkräfte, denn trotz Kürzungen in fast jedem Mitgliedsstaat stehen den Nato-Nationen immerhin fast drei Millionen Soldatinnen und Soldaten zur Verfügung. Gerade in der Logistik könnte sehr schnell sehr viel getan werden – und es müsste nicht einmal sehr teuer werden. Die Datenerhebung der Allianz zur Verkehrsinfrastruktur in jedem Nato-Mitgliedsstaat könnte beschleunigt werden, und die Nachzügler sollten zur Nachbesserung aufgefordert werden.
  • Noch schneller und billiger wäre eine Reform des Stempel-Fetischismus. Heute muss ein militärischer Konvoi in Deutschland, Rumänien und der Slowakei beispielsweise zehn Arbeitstage vor der Ankunft angemeldet werden. In der Tschechischen Republik sind es sogar 14 Arbeitstage. Und selbst wenn der Konvoi zeitgerecht beantragt wurde kann der Zollbeamte an der Grenze sämtliche Dokumente kontrollieren, wie es ein amerikanisches Regiment an der Grenze zwischen Rumänien und Bulgarien vor kurzem erfahren musste.

 

Für den Fall eines direkten Angriffs fallen wesentliche bürokratische Hürden weg. Ohne zuverlässige Infrastruktur können NATO-Streitkräfte sich aber trotzdem noch nicht einmal so schnell bewegen wie der Apfel-Lieferant. Und ohne regelmäßige Übungen entstünde Chaos. Wenn Logistik und Bürokratie geschmeidig funktionierten, könnte die Nato aber um ein vielfaches stärker auftreten. Eine „Nato-Schengen-Zone“, in der sich Streitkräfte so einfach bewegen können wie europäische Touristen oder Lastkraftwagen mit Äpfeln ist auch eines der Ziele der vieldiskutierten EU-Verteidigungs-Initiative im Rahmen der sogenannten Ständigen Strukturierten Zusammenarbeit (englisch PESCO).

Diesen Monat haben sich die NATO-Verteidigungsminister zudem auf die Aufstellung eines Logistik-Kommandos geeinigt. Dies ist ein wichtiger Schritt, doch mit Brückenreparatur und Bürokratiereform wird sich der Kommandeur dieses neuen Kommandos nicht beschäftigen. Darum müssen sich die nationalen Regierungen zuvorderst selbst kümmern, und zwar schleunigst. Hoffnung gibt da auch eine diesen Monat vorgestellte EU-Initiative, die bis März nächsten Jahres einen Plan zu effizienten Militärtransporten innerhalb der EU vorstellen soll.

Nato-Truppen im Manöver

 

Osteuropa ist für die Nato schon lange kein unbekanntes Terrain mehr. Zu Lande, zu Wasser und in der Luft üben Truppen des Bündnisses vom Baltikum bis nach Rumänien. Mit Einsatzbataillonen unterhalten eine Reihe von Alliierten zudem in Estland, Lettland, Litauen und Polen eine symbolische Präsenz. Im Verteidigungsfall aber bräuchte es mehr als das. Unter anderem: Schnellere Verbindungswege aus dem Westen.

Denn ein Gegner wartet keine internen Verhandlungen der Nato oder der EU ab. Schließlich wissen die Russen bestens, wie es um die Bewegungsmöglichkeiten und damit um die Kampfkraft unserer Streitkräfte steht. Mit Konzepten wie PESCO lässt sich aktuell kein Widersacher abschrecken; mit einsatzbereiten Soldaten, die innerhalb von Tagen Streitkräften entgegentreten können, aber schon. Deutschland fällt hierbei eine Hauptrolle zu.

„Deutschland ist der unentbehrlichste Alliierte der USA in Europa, und ist auch eine entscheidende Transitzone“ sagt Hodges. Schon jetzt schicken die Amerikaner regelmäßig Soldaten nach Europa, die mit Hodges‘ Soldaten gemeinsam üben. Auch diese Kräfte treffen zuerst in Deutschland ein. Darüber hinaus führt die Bundeswehr seit 2016 das eFP-Bataillon der Nato in Litauen.

Die Bundeswehr wird in den nächsten Jahren die Verteidigung Europas nicht anführen können; dazu fehlen wesentliche Fähigkeiten. Als Logistik-Führer könnte Deutschland aber schnell eine fast ebenso wichtige Rolle spielen. Davon würde auch die Zivilbevölkerung profitieren, denn um große Teile der deutschen Infrastruktur steht es nicht gut. Vor allem die Auto- und Eisenbahnbrücken sind veraltet, ebenso das gesamte Schienennetz. Im August musste die wichtigste Schienenverbindung in die Schweiz für mehrere Wochen gesperrt werden.

Das Verteidigungsministerium sollte auch auf mehr gemeinsame Übungen der Nato drängen, denn „Übungen signalisieren nicht nur, dass wir uns verteidigen können, sondern dass wir es auch wollen“, wie Sir Richard erklärt. „Die Gefahr ist, dass wir Litauen nicht rechtzeitig erreichen, um die Deutschen und ihre internationalen Kameraden zu unterstützen“, sagt Hodges. Verteidigungsintegration hin und Aufgabenteilung her: Die Nato muss etliche zentrale Probleme lösen. Mit vergleichsweise wenig Geld könnte sie aber durch Fokus auf Logistik schnell Alarmstufe Rot auf Gelb umschalten.

Quelle: F.A.Z.

Veröffentlicht: 17.11.2017 09:27 Uhr

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/infrastruktur-ist-die-achillesferse-der-nato-15292734.html#void

 

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  • China’s promised energy revolution

Nick Butler FT

 

Can China transform its energy economy? For the last 30 years rapid economic growth – based on heavy industry, manufacturing and construction – has been sustained by hydrocarbons. Coal remains dominant; what has changed is the volumes involved. In 1990, China used some 446m tonnes of coal. This year the figure will be around 2.8bn tonnes.

In parallel, oil demand has grown with the dramatic expansion of car numbers. Oil consumption was 2m barrels a day in 1980. Now it is almost 12m b/d, making China the largest oil importer.

But growth has come at a cost. China, as last week’s announcement from the Global Carbon Project reminded us, is the largest single source of emissions and suffering badly from the low level pollution that covers many cities in smog. President Xi Jinping has promised dramatic change – an energy revolution “to make the skies blue again”. The rhetoric is great but are the promises deliverable?

A comprehensive study of the Chinese energy market published last week as part of the International Energy Agency’s new World Energy Outlook is a great place to start for anyone wanting to understand what is happening and what might happen next.

The facts are remarkable:

 

  • China consumes 25 per cent of energy used globally each day.
  • Coal continues to dominate Chinese energy use – in industry, power generation and heating – providing almost two-thirds of total demand. The country produces and uses over 50 per cent of all the coal burnt globally.
  • Power generation has grown dramatically to meet electricity demand that has quadrupled since 2000.Gas use is relatively small but growing – mostly relying, for now, on imported LNG.
  • China is the leading producer of wind and solar power. Advances in technology and production efficiency have cut costs and made the country the dominant supplier of solar panels to the rest of the world.
  • China is building dozens of new nuclear plants – more than a third of the global total. Its nuclear industry is developing its own reactor technology, aiming to create a world-class export industry.
  • The country leads the global electric vehicle industry. Of the estimated 2m electric vehicles on the world’s roads by the end of this year, at least 40 per cent will be in China.
  • Remarkable advances in energy efficiency have been made, and the amount of energy used for each unit of China’s gross domestic product has fallen 30 per cent since 2000 but emissions remain a challenge. After three years when reported emissions were flat, renewed industrial growth has pushed them up again.

Each of these facts reflects a dramatic change in the last 10 to 15 years. But they do not represent an end point.

The party Congress in Beijing endorsed the latest plan – a sweeping statement of intent entitled “Energy Production and Consumption Revolution Strategy”.

The plan describes a transformation of the whole energy sector over the next decade and a half.

The share of non-fossil fuels will rise to 15 per cent by 2020, and to 20 per cent by 2030, meeting most if not all incremental demand.

By 2030, 80 per cent of all remaining coal-fired power stations will have ultra low emissions as old capacity is retired. GDP energy intensity will fall by 15 per cent and the amount of carbon required will fall by 15 per cent. Further improvements will come over the following decade to 2030.

The target is to ensure that emissions peak by 2030. The long-term goal for 2050 is to reduce the share of fossil fuels to less than half the total, to rebase the whole system on leading-edge energy technologies and equipment and make China an important player in global energy governance.

History suggests it is unwise to underestimate China’s ability to deliver on its plans but in this case there are good reasons for doubt. Infrastructure and market structures are needed to support the changing energy mix.

As the IEA analysis makes clear, the absence of infrastructure and a supportive regulatory regime already limit the potential of natural gas.

The same problems could constrain wind and solar. Electric vehicle numbers are growing but the odds are still that the bulk of the electricity they use will be produced from coal for a long time to come.

An excellent post by Simon Goess for the Energy Collective website spells out the reality.

In addition, industrial changes have to be managed. In coal and the major manufacturing sectors many workers and whole communities remain dependent on activity that is likely to be transformed or eliminated by technology. The Chinese coal industry, for instance, employs 4m. Trade dependence also poses risks.

The target of 80 per cent net self-sufficiency is probably achievable with the combination of coal, new nuclear and renewables, including hydro. But the remaining 20 per cent involves the critical supply of oil where import dependence has doubled in the last five years. On the IEA’s estimate, China will need to invest $6.1tn – $250bn a year on energy supply between now and 2040, two-thirds of which will go into the power sector. Another $2.1tn ($90bn a year) will be needed to deliver the required gains in energy efficiency.

China is a dominant force in the global energy market. Next week I will look at the international implications of what is happening. But energy also matters for the survival of the regime in Beijing. The political process has not been ended by Mr Xi’s triumphant re-election.

A sustained improvement in living standards over the last three decades has helped to keep the Communist party in power. That would not have been possible if the energy system had not been adapted to meet growing demand in what is now a consumer society. The “iron rice bowl” now extends beyond employment and food to mobility and increasingly to the demand for a cleaner environment. As ever, energy and power are inseparable.

https://www.ft.com/content/0094d3c3-405b-3966-a088-1060fa2cdc2e

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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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UdovonMassenbach@t-online.de   Mail@Freudenberg-Pilster.de   JoergBarandat@yahoo.de

11 22 17 lebanon us russia relation trio in tehran rus ir az caucasian news2

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arbeiten fc3bcr ein modernes land verc3a4nderung braucht mut mitteilung5

Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 17.11.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • Syria:Joint Statement by the President of the United States and the President of the Russian Federation

· Geopolitical Future: The North Caucasus: Russia’s Soft Underbelly. The region is a key buffer zone for Moscow

· Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik: Die Kurden als Verbündete des Westens in Syrien und Irak

  • Arabia Foundation: Why the Saudi “Purge” Is Not What It Seems to Be

· An agreement has been reached between Morocco and Russia over the potential sale of the S-400 Triumf air defense missile system

  • VIETNAM at 50 – 1967
  • Defense One: The Future of the Army
  • Reinhard Wolf: DIE SELBSTGEFÄLLIGKEIT DER INTELLIGENZ IM ZEITALTER DES POPULISMUS

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

  • The Catalan Labyrinth – November 9, 2017-REUTERS/Rafael Marchante
  • Pyongyang is Starts and Wins. What Can the Losers Do? November 13, 2017 – KCNA – Andrey Kortunov
  • "The Emperor of Twitter" in the White House – Ilya Kravchenko
  • Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 6-12:
  • In Austria, a native of Chechnya opens fire from a wedding party cortege
  • Court upholds fine imposed on "Open Russia" Krasnodar coordinator
  • Isa Gambotov’s relatives link his persecution with Ossetian-Ingush conflict

Massenbach*Syria:Joint Statement by the President of the United States and the President of the Russian Federation,

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

November 11, 2017

President Trump and President Putin today, meeting on the margins of the APEC conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria. They expressed their satisfaction with successful U.S.-Russia enhanced de-confliction efforts between U.S. and Russian military professionals that have dramatically accelerated ISIS’s losses on the battlefield in recent months.

The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved.

The Presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. They confirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Asad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254.

The two Presidents affirmed that these steps must include full implementation of UNSCR 2254, including constitutional reform and free and fair elections under UN supervision, held to the highest international standards of transparency, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character, as defined in UNSCR 2254, and urged all Syrian parties to participate actively in the Geneva political process and to support efforts to ensure its success.

Finally President Trump and President Putin confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce ceasefire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict. They reviewed progress on the ceasefire in southwest Syria that was finalized the last time the two Presidents met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017.

The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.

The two Presidents discussed the ongoing need to reduce human suffering in Syria and called on all UN member states to increase their contributions to address these humanitarian needs over the coming months.

In addition, President Trump noted that he had a good meeting with President Putin. He further noted that the successful implementation of the agreements announced today will save thousands of lives‎.

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

  • The Catalan Labyrinth – November 9, 2017-REUTERS/Rafael Marchante
  • Pyongyang is Starts and Wins. What Can the Losers Do? November 13, 2017 – KCNA – Andrey Kortunov
  • "The Emperor of Twitter" in the White House – Ilya Kravchenko
  • Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 6-12:
  • In Austria, a native of Chechnya opens fire from a wedding party cortege
  • Court upholds fine imposed on "Open Russia" Krasnodar coordinator
  • Isa Gambotov’s relatives link his persecution with Ossetian-Ingush conflict

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The North Caucasus: Russia’s Soft Underbelly

The region is a key buffer zone for Moscow.

The Region

In sharp contrast with the South Caucasus, the North Caucasus is not composed of separate sovereign states. Instead the North Caucasus is an integral part of Russia, divided between two of the Russian Federation’s eight districts – the North Caucasian Federal District and the Southern Federal District. Most of the region belongs to the North Caucasian district, which split from the Southern district in 2010, a year after the end of the Second Chechen War. With the Southern district lying largely to the north, the North Caucasian district is the only Muslim-majority district in the federation.


(click to enlarge)

The North Caucasus stretches from the Caspian Sea in the southeast to the Sea of Azov in the northwest. The westernmost part of the area, composed of Krasnodar region and the enclave of Adygea, lies within the Southern district. Krasnodar consists mainly of flat lands, which allowed Russia to more easily slavicize the territory after the forced exodus of its Circassian inhabitants in the late 19th century. The rest of the North Caucasus region – the North Caucasian district – has maintained its distinct Muslim identity and hence was configured into a single federal district. This district runs from Krasnodar to the Caspian Sea and consists of the republics of Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan. The region of Stavropol – sandwiched between Krasnodar in the west and Dagestan in the east, and sharing borders with each of the other republics in the south – and North Ossetia are the only majority ethnic Russian and Orthodox Christian units within the North Caucasian district.


(click to enlarge)

This current administrative arrangement of the North Caucasus is the outcome of the Russians’ centuries-long struggle to subdue this region. Until the North Caucasus was brought to heel during the time of the czarist regime in the late 19th century, the region was what noted Caucasus and Central Asia scholar Marie Bennigsen Broxup referred to as a “barrier” that separated Russia from the heart of the Muslim world. At the same time, the mountainous terrain kept major Muslim powers to the south, such as the Ottoman Turks and the Safavid (and later Qajar) Persians, from truly accessing this region. Though both the Turks and the Persians had sought to expand into the Caucasus region, neither side was able to move past the South Caucasus.

By the 18th century, both the Ottomans and the Persians lacked the modern political, economic and military capabilities Russia and the other Europeans had acquired. Furthermore, they were embroiled in a bitter rivalry in the Middle East, and the Turks were heavily committed in Europe where they were starting to lose territory. Ultimately, the Ottomans and Persians were unable to seize the massive Greater Caucasus mountain range. The Russians, however, had no such trouble. Though a lengthy undertaking, Orthodox Christian Russia was much better positioned to eventually occupy the North Caucasus.

Russian Conquest

From a strategic point of view, Russia must control at least the North Caucasus, and ideally the South Caucasus, because these areas are buffer regions; should they fall into hostile hands, the entire Russian core would become vulnerable. These areas, however, have historically proven difficult to control because of both the terrain and the locals.


(click to enlarge)

Ivan the Terrible’s 1556 conquest of Astrakhan (an area of the North Caucasus that lies along the northwestern tip of the Caspian Sea) sparked Russian interest in the region. During this initial thrust into the North Caucasus, which lasted until 1604, the Russians reached as far as Dagestan, thanks to the flat terrain in the region’s northern half. This invasion did not last, however. The Ottomans, who were still a powerful force at the time, supported the Dagestanis against the Russian incursion. The Russians were forced to pull back to Astrakhan.

From 1604 to 1783, the region was more or less left to its own devices. Russia had turned its focus to Europe, and the Turks were tied down in their wars with the Persians. This relative isolation allowed Islam, which had been present in the area since the 8th century, to spread rapidly through the central and western parts of the North Caucasus – in large part because of the halt of the Russian efforts to penetrate the area and the support of the Ottoman Turks and the Crimean Tatars.

Under Catherine II, Russia was able to project power into the North Caucasus. From 1783 to 1824, Russia engaged in a systematic campaign to conquer the region. Between 1785 and 1791, the Russians faced massive resistance from the forces of the Ottoman-backed Chechen Sufi leader Sheikh Mansour, who managed to unite much of the North Caucasus. After a major defeat at the hands of these Muslim warriors, on the banks of the Sunzha River in 1785, the Russian army, buoyed by its victory in the Napoleonic Wars, was able to come back and subdue the resistance. Though ultimately defeated, the uprising established among the locals that Islam could serve as both a unifying force and the basis of armed resistance.

This experience led to a series of jihad-inspired campaigns that continued until the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922. During this time, the North Caucasus saw the decline of the traditional feudal elite and the rise of Sufi orders, further entrenching Islam within the political fabric of the North Caucasus. The U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College scholar Robert F. Baumann explains how Russian efforts to complete their conquest of the region were complicated, as religious fervor proved to be an effective mobilizer of anti-Russian resistance. But though Islamic resistance made the conquest of the region more costly to the Russians, it failed to block the conquest completely.

The ramifications of the Russian conquest of the North Caucasus is not dissimilar to that of British and French colonialism in India and Africa, respectively. As former CIA and national security official Paul Henze notes in a 1996 article, Russian colonialism brought order and development to the North Caucasus – an otherwise chaotic region of tribal highlanders cut off from the rest of the world. Indeed, Moscow provided the region with modern infrastructure in the form of roads, railroads, ports and urban centers, but only after a long campaign to suppress local dissent.

Unlike most other European powers that sought colonies in distant lands, the Russians sought to control a land much closer to home. Indeed, the Caucasus was on Russia’s doorstep, and thus, it was imperative that the Russians fully assimilate the area. They spent a great deal of time trying to convert the people of the region to Orthodox Christianity, operating on the assumption that conversion would aid in assimilation. Ultimately, that policy backfired. Despite the fact that there were many ethno-linguistic groups that inhabited this region, a majority of them had been Muslim for centuries.


(click to enlarge)

Affinity to religion varies considerably across the region. Islam plays an important role in the identity and ideology of the Chechens and the Dagestanis in the east. Yet, as one moves west, religious fervor tends to taper off. Beyond Islam, there is little commonality among the various peoples of the North Caucasus. They are divided along clan, ethnic, linguistic and territorial lines, and the Russians sought to exploit these differences.

At the social level, traditional feudal Muslim elites and religious scholars sought to preserve their power through two sets of laws. The former emphasized customary laws, while the religious leaders sought to increase their influence by promoting Shariah, or Islamic law. Until the arrival of the Russians, these two competing forces were largely able to coexist.

According to Loyola University historian Michael Khodarkovsky, Russia pursued a complex strategy in its effort to take over the North Caucasus region. In some instances, the Russians found allies. But in others, they resorted to force, especially in terms of the takeover of lands and expulsion of the locals. In need of local partners, Russia would often co-opt the feudal Muslim elite, transforming them into loyalists of Moscow through assimilation. Elites from the North Caucasus were sent to study in Moscow, where many embraced Orthodox Christianity and Russian culture. Yet these individuals did not help promote assimilation in the North Caucasus, as few returned home. By the latter half of the 19th century, the Russians realized they needed people to represent Russian interests in the North Caucasus, and Moscow began to support locals who held grievances toward the landed gentry.

The attempts to convert people of the region to Orthodox Christianity undercut the more crucial interests of securing loyalty to the empire. Attempts at conversion were obviously anathema to the Muslim clergy, but they also triggered opposition from within the traditional elite quarters. For the Russians, who saw conversion as part and parcel of their efforts to advance their imperial interests within the region, it was difficult to alter course. In addition to the need to secularize the process of assimilation, there was ambiguity on how the North Caucasus would be controlled by Moscow. Should it be fully absorbed into the empire as a full-fledged province or should it be treated as a colony?

As the Russians searched for the best way to administer the North Caucasus, the region experienced another outbreak of major resistance. The leader of this campaign was Imam Shamil, who in the mid-19th century established the Caucasian Imamate, an Islamic polity that sought to liberate the area from the Russians. The Russians were forced to recognize that the region’s legal traditions had to be incorporated into their new system of governance. But here the Russians found themselves caught in the existing duality between customary and Islamic laws. Siding with the clergy would have helped undermine the tendency toward armed religious resistance, but the Russians needed local interlocutors who would be willing to adopt Russian customs and thus preferred the local economic and political elites.

As a result, throughout the czarist era, Russia struggled with how best to manage the North Caucasus. The empire eventually succeeded in creating a pro-Russian elite class in the region because, for many local elites, the only path toward European modernization was through Russification. Yet the masses remained loyal to Islamic teachings, and the gulf between the elites and the masses widened. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, the elites and the masses would find common cause through the fusion of religious identity with ethnic nationalism.

The Soviet and Post-Soviet Eras

Already isolated from the rest of the world by geography and Russian subjugation, the North Caucasus became more or less completely cloaked behind the iron curtain of communism and the Soviet Union. Well aware of the struggles their czarist predecessors had to face in the North Caucasus, the Soviets divided the region, lumping its various pieces into different Soviet Socialist Republics. The main Soviet Socialist Republic in the North Caucasus combined Chechnya and Ingushetia to form the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Furthermore, the Soviets maintained a sophisticated and efficient coercive security establishment led by the KGB, allowing them to subdue this historically restive region.

Yet the Chechens openly expressed their discontent and, under the leadership of the nationalist guerilla leader Hasan Israilov, mounted an insurgency against the Soviet regime between 1940 and 1944. To suppress opposition, Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered the mass displacement of people from the region after accusing the Chechens of having collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. In 1944, some 650,000 people from the region – most of whom were ethnic Chechens – were forced to relocate to Central Asia. The Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was dissolved and its areas gerrymandered. It was not until the era of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that efforts to make amends with the Chechens began. In 1956, the Chechens were returned to their homes. Two years later, the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was restored.

The region generally remained calm for the next three decades, only to erupt yet again in the early 1990s when 15 republics declared independence and the Soviet Union dissolved. The South Caucasus divided into three independent republics — Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia — along with a few disputed territories. But the Russians were not willing to allow the North Caucasus, especially Chechnya, which declared independence in 1991, to become sovereign entities. Two back-to-back wars ensued, the first lasting from 1993 to 1996 and the second from 1999 to 2009.

Initially, the Chechen wars were dominated by nationalists, who subscribed to the Sufi religious creed, seeking an independent Chechnya. Gradually, however, Salafists assumed greater control of the fighting against Russian forces. These jihadists eventually moved beyond the goal of establishing an independent Islamic Chechnya to pursue broader, transnational agendas including creating a regional Islamic state that would encompass the broader North Caucasus region. Inspired by al-Qaida and aided by the influx of many Arab foreign fighters, Chechen jihadists modeled themselves after the historic religious warriors who resisted Russians in the North Caucasus since the Russian incursions began in the 16th century. In 2007, a regional movement called the Caucasus Emirate was founded.

With the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Caucasus Emirate group has essentially become irrelevant. Many Chechen militants and those from other parts of the North Caucasus moved to Syria and Iraq to join the jihadist regime. This weakening of the Chechen insurgency in the late 2000s allowed the republic to establish a stable regime led by the Kadyrov clan, which has kept peace for at least a decade. The key to this stability is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dedicated support of the Kadyrov regime.

If history is any guide, the peace in Chechnya and the wider North Caucasus right now is likely the calm before the next storm. The Islamic religion and the Islamist ideology remain social and political drivers and have forced Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to increase the role of religion in public life in the republic. This trend, coupled with the declining Russian political economy, suggests that the region will likely see the revival of a Muslim insurgency seeking to exploit Russia’s weakening. If Russia can’t control this area then the other historic players — Turkey and Iran — are in even less of a position to do so.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/north-caucasus-russias-soft-underbelly/?utm_source=GPF+-+Paid+Newsletter&utm_campaign=f99b47de48-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_Deep_Dive&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72b76c0285-f99b47de48-240043701

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Reinhard Wolf: DIE SELBSTGEFÄLLIGKEIT DER INTELLIGENZ IM ZEITALTER DES POPULISMUS.

Plädoyer für mehr Lernbereitschaft in der Demokratie

… In jüngerer Zeit sind Populisten in vielen entwickelten Demokratien auf dem Vormarsch … Rationale Argumente, die sich auf wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse stützen, scheinen die Anhänger dieser Bewegungen kaum noch zu interessieren. Solche Äußerungen prallen an hochgradig emotionalisierten Wählerinnen und Wählern ab, die sich im Konflikt mit dem „Establishment“ sehen und dessen Vertretern keinen Glauben mehr schenken …

Die liberale Demokratie, so glauben viele, ist zunehmend gefährdet, weil der vernünftige Teil der Gesellschaft die frustrierten und emotionalisierten „Massen“ nicht länger erreichen kann. Problemorientierte Deliberation scheint dadurch gefährdet, dass die Gesellschaft mehr und mehr auseinanderdriftet: Die aufgeklärten Bürgerinnen und Bürger, die im sachlichen Austausch gemeinsam nach der Wahrheit und der besten Politik suchen, sind scheinbar konfrontiert mit einem wachsenden Kreis von Mitbürgern, die zur offenen Deliberation nicht mehr fähig sind, weil sie nur noch Bestätigung für ihre vorgefassten Ansichten und identitätsbasierten Gefühle suchen …

  • Diese herablassende Sicht auf die „manipulierbaren Normalbürger“ ist jedoch ebenso falsch wie gefährlich. Aus ihr spricht eine Arroganz und Selbstzufriedenheit, die verkennt, wie stark auch die angeblich vernünftigeren und gebildeteren Bürgerinnen und Meinungsmacher von irrationalen Gesichtspunkten geleitet werden

Dass intelligente und gebildete Menschen keineswegs gegen gefühlsgeleitete Realitätsverweigerung gefeit sind, haben wir wahrscheinlich alle schon in politischen Debatten erlebt und viele von uns gewiss auch an uns selbst …

Zahlreiche Studien bestätigen, dass persönliche Überzeugungen, insbesondere zu ethischen und politischen Fragen, nur selten auf rationaler Abwägung beruhen …

Wer glaubt, dass dies bei intelligenteren Personen anders abläuft, täuscht sich. Zwar können Menschen mit einem höheren Intelligenzquotienten ihre Überzeugungen meist besser begründen. Dies liegt jedoch nicht daran, dass sie ihre Meinungen aufgrund gründlicherer Abwägung gewählt haben, sondern hängt damit zusammen, dass es ihnen leichter fällt, stützende Argumente zu finden … belegen einmal mehr, dass alle Menschen einem sogenannten confirmation bias unterliegen: Sie scheuen kognitive Dissonanz und suchen deshalb einseitig nach Informationen und Argumenten, die ihre gegenwärtigen Meinungen stützen.

Und aus Sicht des Einzelnen hat das auch durchaus Vorteile: Wenn ich meine falsche Meinung zu einer politischen Streitfrage korrigiere, ist der gesellschaftliche Nutzen äußerst gering …

  • Sie zwingt mich also zu einem Eingeständnis, das besonders unangenehm ist für Menschen, die sich für reflektiert und aufgeklärt halten und schon viel in ihre politische Meinung „investiert“ haben … Intelligente und gebildete Menschen sind in dieser Hinsicht besonders geschickt. Deshalb fällt es ihnen leichter, Bestätigung für ihre Überzeugungen zu finden. Wenn es jedoch darum geht, eigene Positionen kritisch zu überprüfen oder gar zu revidieren, sind sie keineswegs offener und lernbereiter als der Rest der Bevölkerung Zukunftsfähigkeit hängt von uns Demokratinnen und Demokraten und unserer Diskussionskultur ab: „Ohne Übereinstimmung bei den grundlegenden Sachverhalten, ohne die Bereitschaft, neue Informationen zuzulassen und einzuräumen, dass ein Gegner womöglich ein gutes Argument anführt und Wissenschaft und Vernunft wichtig sind, werden wir weiter aneinander vorbeireden und es somit unmöglich machen, Gemeinsamkeiten und Kompromisse zu finden“ …

Oder wie es der scheidende Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck wenige Tage später ausgedrückt hat: „Wenn wir nur noch das als Tatsache akzeptieren, was wir ohnehin glauben, wenn Halbwahrheiten, Interpretationen, Verschwörungstheorien, Gerüchte genauso viel zählen wie Wahrheit, dann ist der Raum freigegeben für Demagogen und Autokraten.“

Demokraten müssen künftig noch mehr darauf achten, dass sie sachlich und rational debattieren. Nur so können sie in der Auseinandersetzung echte Alternativen entwickeln und gleichzeitig die Geschlossenheit gegenüber den Gegnern der Demokratie wahren …

Eine besondere Verantwortung für die Bewahrung demokratischer Diskussionskultur kommt denjenigen Bürgerinnen und Bürgern zu, die aufgrund ihrer Fähigkeiten, ihrer beruflichen Positionen oder gesellschaftlichen Funktionen stärkeren Einfluss auf gesellschaftliche Willensbildungsprozesse nehmen können. Dies gilt also für die sogenannte Intelligenz, die aufgrund ihrer überdurchschnittlichen Bildung und ihrer alltäglichen Beschäftigung mit komplexeren Zusammenhängen eine Vorbildfunktion hat … müssen Sachargumente ernst genommen und geprüft werden, auch wenn sie von der „falschen“ Seite kommen … sollten Demokraten sich abweichenden Meinungen und Argumenten bewusst und regelmäßig „aussetzen“.

Wenn wir unsere Überzeugungen nicht immer wieder kritisch überprüfen, sind sie bald schon keine „lebendigen Wahrheiten“ mehr, sondern bloß „tote Dogmen“ … sollten Freunde, Kolleginnen und Bekannte, die abweichende Meinungen vertreten, dazu aufgefordert werden, diese auch ausführlich zu äußern und zu begründen, statt sie zu entmutigen oder gar auszugrenzen … ist eine kritische Haltung gerade auch gegenüber der eigenen politischen Position einzunehmen … sollte echte Lernbereitschaft ein wesentliches Element der Identität eines aufgeklärten Demokraten sein. Er sollte nicht stolz darauf sein, dass er immer loyal zu seinem politischen Lager stand und dessen Linie nie verlassen hat, sondern vielmehr sich darauf etwas einbilden, dass er seine Meinung immer wieder geändert hat, wenn er dafür gute Gründe sah.

Der dem Ökonomen John Maynard Keynes zugeschriebene Satz „When the facts change, I change my mind“ sollte einer seiner Wahlsprüche sein … müssen anerkannte wissenschaftliche Befunde auch dann akzeptiert werden, wenn sie der eigenen politischen Einstellung widersprechen … sollten Teilnehmer an einer Debatte einander respektvoll begegnen und bewusst die Identität des Gegenübers achten. Dies ist nicht nur ein Gebot der Höflichkeit und die Voraussetzung für ein gutes Gesprächsklima. Gegenseitiger Respekt fördert nachweislich auch die Lernbereitschaft …

Von allen Staatsformen eignet sich die liberale Demokratie immer noch am besten dazu, Irrtümer zu erkennen und Fehlentwicklungen zu korrigieren. Sie ist ein lernendes System – aber nur dann, wenn wir es individuell auch sind und unsere Diskussionskultur zunehmend darauf ausrichten. In einer Welt, die immer komplexer und dynamischer wird, sollte umfassende Lernbereitschaft ein Kernelement unserer politischen Identität werden. Wer sich nicht als lernendes System versteht, weil er lieber im weltanschaulichen Schützengraben seine politische Identität verteidigt, trägt dazu bei, dass Emotionalisierung und Polarisierung immer leichteres Spiel haben und die sachliche Debatte politischer Alternativen an den Rand gedrängt wird. Er ist weder ein aufgeklärter Demokrat noch ein echter Intellektueller

http://www.bpb.de/shop/zeitschriften/apuz/258512/wandel-des-politischen

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat*Middle East & Africa:

An agreement has been reached between Morocco and Russia over the potential sale of the S-400 Triumf air defense missile system.

§

§ Reports suggest that a deal was reached during the official visit of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to the North African kingdom on October 11, and was signed alongside a number of other accords covering agriculture, tourism, education, as well as defense and security cooperation. The platform will go towards improving Morocco’s air defense capabilities and they will join Turkey, Saudi Arabia as recent purchasers of the system. Morocco’s neighbor Algeria, whose adjoining border has been closed since 1994, also uses the S-400 . Between 2010-2014, Algeria and Morocco were number one and two respectively on the list of Africa’s biggest military spenders.

https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=textlink&utm_term=header

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Middle East

Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik: Die Kurden als Verbündete des Westens in Syrien und Irak:

Effektive Partnerschaft oder politisches Pulverfass?

Seit 2014 unterstützt der Westen kurdische Kämpfer in Syrien und im Irak. Der Nutzen der kurdischen Milizen im Kampf gegen den sogenannten Islamischen Staat (IS) liegt auf der Hand. In unserem aktuellen Arbeitspapier gibt Philipp Biermann jedoch zu bedenken, dass es sich bei den Kurden in Irak und Syrien nicht um einen homogenen Akteur, sondern um einzelne Gruppierungen mit sehr unterschiedlichen Ideologien und konträren Zielsetzungen handele. So sind die nordirakischen Kurden untereinander zerstritten und stehen im Konflikt mit der Zentralregierung in Bagdad. Die syrischen Kurdenmilizen wiederum liefern sich Gefechte mit der Türkei. Der Autor sieht daher langfristig eine Destabilisierung der Region sowie einen Streit innerhalb der NATO als mögliche Konsequenzen für den Westen und fragt: Wie stehen Effektivität und Risiko der westlich-kurdischen Kooperation im Verhältnis zueinander?

Sie finden das Arbeitspapier unter: https://www.baks.bund.de/de/service/arbeitspapiere-sicherheitspolitik

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Arabia Foundation (*): Why the Saudi “Purge” Is Not What It Seems to Be

BY Ali Shihabi on 11.09.2017 –

11.09.2017

* The Arabia Foundation is based in Washington DC but generally explains the Saudi government’s position. This lengthy statement of the reasons for the purge is worth reading not because it is necessarily correct or complete (both of which are arguable) but because it closely reflects how the authorities in Riyadh would like the changes to be perceived internally and externally (which makes it essential reading). It is also very revealing (perhaps unintentionally).

This past weekend, Saudi Arabia detained numerous members of the royal family, as well as current and former ministers and prominent businessmen, on charges of corruption. Many argued that the detentions constitute a thinly veiled attempt by the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to consolidate political power. However, this narrative misses the mark; the “purge” is not about removing political rivals who threatened MBS’s position as heir apparent but rather about sending a message to political and economic elites that their entitlement to extreme wealth and privilege, and their impunity, is coming to an end.

In insular nondemocratic systems, trumped-up corruption charges are often used as a pretext to eliminate political opponents. In this context, the sweeping nature of the arrests, the high profiles of the detainees (e.g., celebrity investor Prince Waleed bin Talal), and the general opaqueness of Saudi politics fueled speculation that this past weekend’s events constituted exactly that.

However, a careful examination of the list of detainees belies this assertion. With the exception of Minister of the National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdallah, the detainee list is made up entirely of individuals who had no capacity to challenge the succession. Indeed, many of those arrested, such as Prince Waleed, had gone out of their way to publicly express their support for the Crown Prince and curry favor with the new leadership.

As for Prince Mutaib, despite leading the national guard, he posed no political threat to the Crown Prince. Saudi watchers have consistently misread a royal family member’s command of key military apparatuses, specifically, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, and the national guard, as something that gives that family member independent control over his respective organization. This is a flawed interpretation. These ministries have always behaved as part of the extended government bureaucracy that looks to the King, rather than to the individual minister, as the ultimate source of authority. This is why no elements in the Ministry of Interior or in the national guard resisted or reacted to the removal of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN) or Prince Mutaib. For these two men, their individual authority over the entities they were responsible for ended with the loss of their command. Whatever authority they enjoyed had been delegated to them by the king, and once this was withdrawn, that authority ended.

In actuality, Saudi Arabia completed its political transition last June when King Salman replaced MBN with MBS as heir to the throne. The transition (mislabeled a coup by some) saw the elder MBN being relieved of all government responsibilities, swearing an oath of allegiance to his younger cousin, and exiting politics. MBN’s removal was swiftly followed by the appointment of a new generation of young princes and technocrats to key ministerial posts and governorates.

This step inevitably created winners and losers within the royal family. Given the relatively young age of the new Crown Prince, the action naturally alienated many of MBS’s older cousins, and even some uncles, who suddenly found themselves politically marginalized as a result of their younger relative’s rapid rise to power. But alienation does not mean that these princes possess the power to threaten the throne or to determine the succession. This has been particularly true since the passing of the founding generation of princes who originally united the country with the founder, King Abdul Aziz. Just as MBN and Prince Mutaib derived their stature and influence solely by virtue of the delegated authority granted to them by the ruling monarch, other members of the royal family do too. No royal maintains an independent constituency among the population at large. And, unlike politicians in, say, modern Lebanon, or the dukes of medieval Europe, individual Saudi royals lack any direct constituencies among the people that they can galvanize against the monarchy by, for example, ordering them to take to the streets, let alone have the capacity to mobilize sections of the military on their own behalf. This is why it is wrong to interpret last weekend’s arrests as an action that materially increases the political risk to the monarchy.

Bearing this in mind, King Salman and MBS have chosen to go the populist route by appealing to the Saudi public, and specifically to the youth, rather than seeking to placate the many “losers” in this succession by lavishing them with money (a tactic widely used in the past that was highly unpopular with the Saudi public and that has become increasingly unaffordable). Now there will be no paying-off of discontented princes in exchange for their loyalty and acquiescence.

The very public arrest of these high-profile individuals serves an important objective. To begin with, the choice of the particular individuals who were arrested is highly symbolic. The system in the Kingdom over the years has certainly produced many more examples of corruption and ill-gotten wealth than just these specific people. Rather than arrest every offender, the government made a deliberate choice, selecting a number of very high-profile individuals with wide name recognition, most of whom are instantly recognizable to the public and seen as beneficiaries of ill-gotten wealth. By doing this, the government sent the message to all elites that action will be taken and that nobody is immune, encouraging them all to cooperate with the state in returning assets and to face the new reality that the old order has been replaced with a new one and they had better reconcile themselves to it.

In the short term, these detentions will lead, directly and indirectly (i.e., by example of what can happen to those who do not cooperate), to the recovery of substantial ill-gotten assets from many members of the elite, including, in all probability, vast tracts of urban land that were “acquired” by senior royals in decades past. The monopolization of this resource limited the amount of urban land available to the masses, pushing up land and home prices, which contributed to massive land and home shortages. Remedying this situation will reduce the cost of home ownership, thereby alleviating a major source of grievance among middle- and lower-class Saudis.

Although commentators have widely criticized what they see as arbitrary and selective steps taken quickly and without “due process,” they must understand that this spate of arrests is as much a political and symbolic act as it is a legal one. In all likelihood the government made sure prior to taking this step that it had enough hard evidence to stand up in a Saudi court (and even to outside observers if required). Certainly a drip-by-drip process drawn out over months and years would have been much more disruptive.

More importantly, in a country beset by an extremely wide political spectrum ranging from the extreme religious right to the liberal left, achieving consensus on key issues is virtually impossible. Hence, if any reform is to take place within a reasonable time frame, it will have to be autocratically managed. Reforms such as removing the prohibition on women’s driving, combating extremism, and curbing elite entitlements would have been impossible to accomplish through deliberation and consensus. Coercive action and an authoritarian hand, rather than endless debate, discussion, and negotiation with thousands of royals and political, economic, and religious elites, was needed to drive home to these individuals that the monarchy is serious about fundamental reform and that the “old guard” needs to get with the program or face dire consequences.

Previous attempts to negotiate elite entitlements achieved negligible results. To cite just one example, relentless pushback and delay tactics scuttled a recent initiative that would have forced elites to pay full utility costs and newly introduced property taxes on undeveloped land. Arresting high-profile household names, people long considered to be untouchable, was the best way for the King and the Crown Prince to deliver the shock needed to recalibrate the behavior and expectations of the elite class.

What the King and MBS are attempting is not new for developing states pursuing comprehensive socioeconomic transformation. In 2008, the ruler of Dubai responded to Dubai’s financial collapse by mounting a wide-scale purge of senior government officials who had perpetuated the corrupt practices that were rife during the emirate’s rapid development. Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s 2012 campaign against his fellow “princelings,” descendants of party scions whose station gave them unparalleled economic privilege and virtual control over key sectors of the national economy, also comes to mind.

Both campaigns were initially shocking and considered to be highly controversial among observers who questioned the wisdom and speed of such actions, but they proved to be politically popular because they demonstrated a firm break with a venal past. Powerful elites who for decades had avoided accountability were publicly investigated, detained, prosecuted, and sentenced. Today, both Dubai and China are better off for it.

The detention of the Kingdom’s own princelings, while clearly authoritarian and also populist in nature, is necessary to bring about the type of social and economic transformation the Kingdom needs to restructure the social contract between the throne and the people. Are these actions risky? Absolutely. But when comprehensive reform is required to safeguard the Kingdom’s post-petroleum future, and when the status quo (with, at best, a glacial approach to reform) threatens the country’s present, decisive action is not only preferable to inaction but also actually far less risky.

Paradoxically, the Saudi “purge” may very well secure the future of Saudi elites as a class, and even the future of the very elites who were arrested. In Dubai, the crackdown ended when convicted elites were quietly released after they had returned looted state assets. It is probable that the Kingdom will follow a similar path. For Saudi elites, succumbing to a “revolution” from above that requires them to forfeit some of their extreme wealth and privilege is still preferable to a real populist revolution from below, which would wipe them out completely and destroy the country.

http://www.arabiafoundation.org/arabia-comment/why-the-saudi-purge-is-not-what-it-seems-to-be/

About Arabia Foundation / Advisory Board: Advisory Board

Ambassador (Ret.) Adam Ereli

Adam Ereli is founder and principal of the Ibero-American Group, a strategic advisory firm based in Washington, DC. Ambassador Ereli previously served as US ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, deputy State Department spokesman, and principal deputy assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

Ambassador (Ret.) Chas W. Freeman Jr.

Chas W. Freeman Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He is the former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs. He served as vice chair of the Atlantic Council; cochair of the United States–China Policy Foundation; and president of the Middle East Policy Council.

Professor F. Gregory Gause III

Gregory Gause III is the John H. Lindsey ’44 chair, professor of international affairs, and head of the International Affairs Department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. Dr. Gause received his PhD in political science from Harvard University.

Professor Bernard Haykel

Bernard Haykel is a historian of the Arabian Peninsula and a scholar of Islamic law and Islamic political movements. He is professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, where he is also director of the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. He earned his DPhil in oriental studies from the University of Oxford.

Dr. Edward L. Morse

Ed Morse is the global head of commodities research at Citigroup. He has worked as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for Energy Policy; and been in management at Phillips Petroleum Company. In addition, he is a cofounder of PFC Energy, a former publisher of Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, and president of Energy Intelligence Group. He is chair of the New York Energy Forum and a member of the advisory board for the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

http://www.arabiafoundation.org/about/advisory-board/

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VIETNAM at 50 – 1967

https://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.497123!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_804/image.jpg

https://www.stripes.com/vietnam-at-50-1967-1.497129?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Weekly+Update

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Defense One: The Future of the Army

Ever since 1845, when the Royal Army dispatched its brand-new Telegraph Detachment to the fight in Crimea, electric and

later electronic battlefield communications have been a part of war. Today’s battles — and the pseudo-conflicts dubbed hybrid war —

are shaped by online maneuvering unimaginable to the 19th century’s light brigadiers.

Tactics and technology are changing far faster than doctrine, laws, and rules. “The next great conflict will play out not just on physical

terrain but also in the electrical pulses of cyberspace and the electronic spectrum,” writes Patrick Tucker in this ebook’s first

piece, “For the US Army, ‘Cyber War’ Is Quickly Becoming Just ‘War’.” He continues, “But while anonymous enemies like ISIS or

Russia’s “little green men” are free to use the digital space as they like, U.S. Army leaders say legal requirements and a pre-digital rules

structure complicate their response.

That’s why, for the last 18 months, the service has been experimenting with different concepts of operations for the cyber units that will be

on the front lines of tomorrow’s fights.”

From these nascent tactics to research into drones and even weapons that will alter their behaviors to match the mental and physical

states of the troops who wield them, the future of the Army will reflect an ever-increasing reliance on and exploitation of data and

information.

No doubt that some of the twists and turns of the next few years will have us feeling like the bewildered British horsemen taking orders

from mysterious clicking devices.

Bradley Peniston

Deputy Editor, Defense One

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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

11-14-17 Trump – Catalania – Pyongyang – Caucasian News.pdf

11-14-17 BAKS_arbeitspapier_sicherheitspolitik_2017_25-Kurden als Verbuendete des Westens.pdf

10-26-17 The North Caucasus_ Russia’s Soft Underbelly – Geopolit ical Futures.pdf

11-09-17 Defense One_The Future_of_the_Army.pdf

Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 10.11.17

Massenbach-Letter. News – The Battle to Come Over Reconstruction in Syria –

  • Report: Full cost of U.S. wars overseas approaching $6 trillion
  • The Arab View of Russia’s Role in the MENA: Changing Arab Perceptions of Russia, and the Implications for US Policy
  • John Kemp (Reuters): Modern Saudi politics and government
  • Geopolitical Futures/Friedman: Saudi Arabia, at War With Itself
  • Foreign Policy: The American Alliance With Turkey Was Built On a Myth
  • Nick Butler (FT): Lessons from Britain’s broken energy market

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

  • Igor Ivanov – One Year after the U.S. Presidential Elections
  • EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV – 1917 Russian Revolution: Changing the Geopolitical Map of the World Revolution Had a Huge Impact on the Events of the Twentieth Century, November 7, 2017
  • On November 6–11, the city of Da Nang in central Vietnam will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting
  • European Union Is Back in the Game
  • “The Caucasian Knot”:
  • – Human Rights Watch calls Russian Authorities
  • – Details of attack in Ingushetia
  • – Armed conflict in Northern Caucasus
  • – In Volgograd, 27 people hold march in defence of Constitution

Massenbach*

Residents walk through the rubble of the resort town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside, Syria, May 18, 2017

The Battle to Come Over Reconstruction in Syria

Frederick Deknatel Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017

Last month, for the first time in six years, the Syrian government hosted an international trade fair in Damascus. Staged at a fairground in the southern outskirts of the capital, near the airport, the exhibition was promoted as a sign of victory for President Bashar al-Assad. Russian, Iranian and Chinese companies headlined the list of attendees, which also included representatives of European firms.

The fair—last held in the summer of 2011, as Syria’s uprising was just turning into a civil war—“sends a message that the war has ended … and we are at the start of the path towards reconstruction,” said Bouthaina Shaaban, an Assad adviser who is often the face of the regime to Western media.

But the war is still rumbling on. When they arrived at the fair, attendees might have seen smoke rising in the distance in Damascus’ battered suburbs or heard the sound of shelling up the highway. Two days after the event opened, mortar fire hit the fairground’s entrance, reportedly killing six people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war. The violence went unmentioned by Syrian state media.

Instead, the Assad regime is talking reconstruction and striking deals. In early September, Iran signed a potentially lucrative agreement with Assad’s government to rebuild Syria’s destroyed power grid. This week, Syria’s ambassador to China spoke buoyantly about the war winding down in much of the country and government forces retaking key oil fields in eastern Syria, where the self-proclaimed Islamic State is being forced out. Firms from China would be given priority in reconstruction contracts, the ambassador said. “Chinese companies are more welcome than, say, Western companies and will find a very friendly environment in Syria.”

The contours of the conflict are still following a familiar script, at least at the level of foreign ministers and spokespeople: Western powers, including the United States, say one thing, while the regime and its backers—mainly Russia and Iran, which both have forces in Syria—say something else entirely. Yet the reality on the ground is becoming clearer, as Assad’s regime steadily consolidates its control of territories it won back from rebels, from Aleppo to Homs to the outskirts of Damascus. The end game is also getting more apparent: Rebels will be driven out, or they will surrender under siege and bombardment. The suburbs of Damascus are set to share the fate of Aleppo, which was bombed and besieged into submission by a regime offensive last year that included Russian air power and some of the worst urban warfare of this century.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, which is steadily losing territory, seems more removed than ever from Syria’s civil war and questions about Assad’s position. President Donald Trump’s madhouse address to the United Nations General Assembly was just the latest proof. He offered token criticism of the “criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad” but little outline of U.S. policy in Syria beyond “big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS.” Trump slowly delivered a teleprompter line about seeking “the de-escalation of the Syrian conflict,” as if he was reading it for the first time.

Government plans for “redeveloped” neighborhoods are a vision of a country emptied of Assad’s opponents.

Earlier this month, the U.N.’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, who has tried to mediate round after round of failed peace talks, urged the Syrian opposition to accept that it had lost the war. “For the opposition, the message is very clear: if they were planning to win the war, facts are proving that is not the case,” he told reporters. “So now it’s time to win the peace.”

Whether the opposition can adapt to this new reality is an open question. Last week in New York, the “Friends of Syria”—a group of Western and Arab nations opposed to Assad who have never agreed on a unified strategy in Syria—declared that they would not support reconstruction efforts without a political transition in place. Like many of the group’s previous statements, this one described things in Syria as it wishes they were, rather than as they are.

But there is little doubt these days that an eventual peace—if that word can be used to describe a shattered and divided Syria—will be mostly on Assad’s terms. He has fewer reasons than ever to give in to Western demands about political reform or offer concessions in the hope of national reconciliation. “Assad lost half of the country, half of Aleppo and parts of Damascus, and he wouldn’t budge,” Aron Lund, a fellow at the Century Foundation, told The Washington Post. “Now that he’s taken most of that back, it’s ridiculous to think he’ll budge now.”

Reconstruction, then, is shaping up to be the next battleground, and it could pit the regime against a different array of antagonists. Pro-Assad militias—which have increasingly fought outside the purview of the state, creating competing power centers in regime-controlled territory—could fight over patronage and influence in order to try and preserve their place as racketeers and local strongmen in the new, splintered Syria.

Heavy-handed and corruption-tainted reconstruction efforts could also alienate other Syrians, from Assad supporters to those who have surrendered or been displaced under the terms of “evacuation” deals that have ended long sieges. “The regime’s rush to reconstruction may be little more than a prelude to the renewal of violence,” Steven Heydemann, a professor of Middle East studies at Smith College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, warned last month. “What we know about the conditions that promote the recurrence of violence after civil war gives rise to ominous warning signals about what is happening in the Syrian case.”

In Syria’s cities, which have been the central battlegrounds in the war, “reconstruction is also an opportunity to reconfigure the urban landscape … and, in doing so, to reshape or consolidate political and power dynamics,” according to Benedetta Berti, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. That process already appears to be underway outside Damascus and in Homs, where neighborhoods that were hotbeds for the uprising—poor, informal, mostly Sunni districts that the government likened before the war to slums—are being cleared and “redeveloped.”

Plans with generic renderings of high-rises and modernist housing blocks evoke a drab corner of Dubai, or Moscow, with little connection to Syria’s urban fabric or the people in it. They are a vision of a country largely emptied of Assad’s opponents. As Tom Rollins reported for IRIN last spring, in Basateen al-Razi, the Damascus neighborhood that is the model for this urban plan, activists, outside analysts and former residents say the policy “is not only being used to forcibly dispossess Basateen al-Razi civilians but also to engineer demographic change.”

Whenever the fighting ends, some of the worst aspects of the war—forced displacement, the division of ethnic groups, the reconfiguration of Syrian society—could still continue, just through other means.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/trend-lines/23246/the-battle-to-come-over-reconstruction-in-syria

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

  • Igor Ivanov – One Year after the U.S. Presidential Elections
  • EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV – 1917 Russian Revolution: Changing the Geopolitical Map of the World Revolution Had a Huge Impact on the Events of the Twentieth Century, November 7, 2017
  • On November 6–11, the city of Da Nang in central Vietnam will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting
  • European Union Is Back in the Game
  • “The Caucasian Knot”:
  • – Human Rights Watch calls Russian Authorities
  • – Details of attack in Ingushetia
  • – Armed conflict in Northern Caucasus
  • In Volgograd, 27 people hold march in defence of Constitution

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Report: Full cost of U.S. wars overseas approaching $6 trillion

WASHINGTON — Overseas combat operations since 2001 have cost the United States an estimated $4.3 trillion so far, and trillions more in veterans benefits spending in years to come, according to the latest analysis from the Costs of War project.

The annual analysis from Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs shows a steadily growing tally for the 16 years of wars overseas. Study author Neta Crawford said the goal of the ongoing project is to better illustrate the true costs of overseas military operations.

“Every war costs money before, during and after it occurs — as governments prepare for, wage, and recover from armed conflict by replacing equipment, caring for the wounded and repairing infrastructure destroyed in the fighting,” she wrote in the 2017 report.

Of the total, only about $1.9 trillion has been reported by defense officials as official overseas contingency operations funding.

But the research includes another $880 billion in new base defense spending related to combat efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan since 2001, as well as about $780 billion in boosted Department of Homeland Security costs in that time frame.

Veterans spending has increased by almost $300 billion so far as a result of those conflicts, and future spending on those benefits over the next four decades is estimated to top $1 trillion more.

Crawford noted that all of the costs could rise with President Donald Trump’s recent decision to boost U.S. end strength in Afghanistan.

“There is no end in sight to the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and the associated operations in Pakistan,” she wrote.

Administration officials have already requested about $70 billion more in overseas contingency spending as part of their fiscal 2018 budget proposal. The entire federal budget plan, including mandatory benefits spending, totals about $4 billion.

The full Costs of War report is available on the university’s web site. ( or att.)

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2017/11/08/report-full-cost-of-us-wars-overseas-approaching-6-trillion/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBB%2011.08.2017&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat*Jamestown – The Arab View of Russia’s Role in the MENA: Changing Arab Perceptions of Russia, and the Implications for US Policy

October 5, 2017 … According to international law, the Russian intervention in Syria is legitimate, since it was launched at the request of the Syrian government. Yet, the Western powers have accused Russia of aggression and expansionism.

This rebuke likely stems from the fact that the United States and other Western powers feel that they are losing influence in the Middle East, while Russia is gaining strategic advantage in this crucial region, which Moscow considers its “near abroad.”

For Russia, the Middle East is instrumental to its national security, especially along Russia’s mostly Muslim-populated southern border areas, whose citizens have in their scores joined various terrorist factions in both Syria and Iraq … Decades of US interventions in the Middle East, in particular the invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq, and later Libya, have put the United States in a position of being blamed by both the terrorist factions and the ordinary Muslim public for the crisis embroiling the region …

Moscow’s alternative vision appeals to many in the Arab world, much more than the Western approach that seeks to upend the status quo and impose, by the application of both soft and hard power, neoconservative, liberal democracy to the region.

Due to the failures that US interventions of the past two decades have brought upon a range of Middle Eastern countries, from Afghanistan and Iraq, to Libya and Syria, to name but a few, the region seems to be more susceptible to fresh approaches; and Russia, with silent backing from China, seems to be offering that alternative.

Unlike Soviet foreign policy, which was strongly ideological in nature and sought to spread Communist ideas across countries of interest, post-Soviet Russian policy is markedly non-ideological and pragmatic in nature …

As a member of the BRICS—a political-economic bloc of major developing economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—Russia is not alone in its pursuit of influence in the region. China is silently backing most Russian moves. And despite assessments to the contrary by some Western policy analysts and think tanks, there is little room for speculation about a Sino-Russian rivalry in this region or elsewhere. What China lacks, Russia has and vice versa.

Thus, each member of this duo perfectly complements the other, together building a strong foundation for long-term partnership across the board. Chinese financial might and the size of its economy, in addition to its energy dependence on both Russia and Iran, among others, make the duo perfect partners for creating a new world order in this crucial region. This point has been made clear by Chinese announcements of investments in Syrian post-war reconstruction.

Washington’s moves to impose fresh sanctions on Russia, as well US efforts to put pressure on Iran and Turkey, are achieving results that may run contrary to established American policy.

Specifically, those actions may draw Russia, China, Iran and Turkey closer together into an unbreakable Eurasian alliance that has the potential to change the political discourse for decades to come.

The case in point is the admission of India and Pakistan as full members of the Russian- and Chinese-led Shanghai Security Cooperation Organization (SCO); while Iran is poised to join soon, likely followed by Iraq, and Turkey in the near future. Devoid of ideological undertones, including “exporting democracy” and military interventionism, which underpin Western attitudes toward the region, the Russia-China duo’s regional approach is markedly pragmatic and focuses on four key pillars of cooperation:
-Military,
-Security,
-Economic, and
-Political/diplomatic cooperation on regional and global issues.

While Russia is rising politically and militarily as a key global player, China is expanding economically, ascending at the expense of other economic giants such as Japan and Germany.

Both countries are seeking strategic partnerships in crucial regions and developing markets, including the Middle East¯for its energy resources¯as well as developmental and infrastructural investments, the latter being particularly attractive to China in pursuit of its larger global agenda

In addition to the military, economic and social security as well as investment that the BRICS offer as a group, Middle Eastern states also value certain contributions that China and Russia may proffer individually. In particular, the Chinese multi-billion, mega-development project “One Belt One Road” (OBOR)—which encompasses a number of regional countries, including Syria, Jordan and Turkey—is extremely attractive to key regional states.

China and Russia have principally devised their economic and political ties based on a sprouting cluster of strategic partnerships that involve economic and military cooperation at all levels. The strong ties between China and Russia are temporary, but they share their expansionist tactics together on various continents including Asia, Africa and South America, where China is cultivating a strong presence that can serve as a springboard for its future economic leap at the expense of the US. China, of course, cannot proceed or vie for the international market without fully being supported by Russian, which itself seeks to control many continents regardless of American interests …

As the trilateral Russia-Turkey-Iran alliance gains traction, Russia, due to its advantage as a major world power, is securing access to the whole of Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and major parts of Europe. By locking Iran within the alliance, together with China, Russia is gaining access to strategic sea-lanes and maritime choke points, therefore developing an upper hand in countering possible Western-led disruptions in energy supplies. Adding to the Russian Arab alliance is Qatar, which of late has been courting both Russia and Iran in light of the GCC diplomatic crisis. By coming together, Russia, Iran and Qatar—the three top world producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG)—can effectively control global gas supplies, and by extension gain a significant say over much of the global geopolitical discourse …

https://jamestown.org/program/arab-view-russias-role-mena-changing-arab-perceptions-russia-implications-us-policy/

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Middle East

There is no definitive book on modern Saudi politics and government but the outlines of the system as it operated between the 1960s and the accession of King Salman in 2015 are clearly visible in Vassiliev’s King Faisal: Personality, Faith and Times and Hertog’s Princes, Brokers and Bureaucrats: Oil and the State in Saudi Arabia. Vassiliev’s book is a bit of a hagiography and ends in the 1970s but is very readable and essential to understand how the collective government system developed after the death of the founding king. Hertog brings the story up to date and tackles the complex question of corruption and patronage.

US shale firms promise higher output and returns

White House is conducting its own foreign policy

Saudi purge to prove popular and useful ($WSJ)

Saudi purge is widening with more arrests

Saudi purge removes last independent power centre

Saudi purge takes the kingdom into uncharted waters

Saudi Aramco’s reserves audit is progressing

John Kemp

Senior Market Analyst

Reuters

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Saudi Arabia, at War With Itself

Nov 6, 2017
By Kamran Bokhari

Forget Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, just a few of the countries in which Saudi Arabia is fighting a proxy war with Iran, its long-time enemy. The Saudi royal family now appears to be at war with itself. Regardless of who wins, the conflict could destabilize Saudi Arabia, which was already weakening anyway.

Palace Intrigue

What’s happening in the country is the definition of palace intrigue. The king, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, took the throne in January 2015 following the death of his half brother, Abdullah, a son of the nation’s founder who had ruled the country for two decades. It was a relatively straightforward succession. It’s now common knowledge that it took a behind-the-scenes power struggle for King Salman to crown his son, Mohammed bin Salman, a prince and name him his chosen successor. But on Nov. 4, the power struggle became brazenly public. That day, Salman and his son had more than a dozen princes and former high-level officials arrested, including a world-famous billionaire. The reason for their detention is simple: Salman is trying to remove obstacles that could prevent Mohammed bin Salman from succeeding him.

King Salman is the first monarch in the history of the modern kingdom to buck this particular tradition. Usually, a successor is chosen by consensus among the sons of the founder of the kingdom. But now that the second generation is nearly all dead, and now that there are too many third-generation princes to convene, it has become more difficult to choose who will become the next king.

He has bucked other traditions too. Salman has strengthened his son’s claim by bestowing on him sweeping powers over security and economic affairs. Mohammed bin Salman is the defense minister, the head of a strategic economic council, controller of Saudi Aramco and, after Nov. 4, the chief of an anti-corruption agency. And Salman did all this by removing from power his half brother and his nephew, both of whom were crown princes. He has also sidelined powerful members of the clerical and tribal establishments.

Some rumors suggest that the purges were made in response to a plot against Mohammed bin Salman. It’s unclear if that is actually the case. But whether the rumors are true or whether the arrests were pre-emptive, the outcome is the same: There are fewer threats to a Mohammed bin Salman reign. One of the princes arrested, Mitab bin Abdullah, for example, was the minister of the National Guard – the parallel military force to the regular armed forces under the Ministry of Defense. He and Mohammed bin Salman shared responsibility for Saudi Arabia’s armed forces. Until Nov. 4, that is.

Mitab’s brother, Turki bin Abdullah, was also arrested. (He was removed from his post as governor of Riyadh in 2015, the year King Salman took the throne.) Perhaps the most famous target was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. He is an entrepreneur who is mostly disinterested in politics, but his father is a known liberal who opposed Salman as king and now opposes Mohammed bin Salman as his successor.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, on Oct. 24, 2017.

Facing the Facts

Arresting these individuals accomplishes two things. First, it guarantees their capitulation to Mohammed bin Salman. Second, it gives the Salman faction more mileage out of the anti-corruption drive. Between that and their calls for a more moderate version of Islam, the king and his son are moving away from the traditional sources of support (clerics and tribal establishments) and toward new ones: popular appeal among the country’s youth, which makes up about two-thirds of the population. The old guard is an obstacle for the reforms needed to move the kingdom beyond its current impasse – put simply: depending almost solely on oil revenue – and thus a threat for the leadership. They are using populism to inoculate themselves from the potential consequences of their power grab.

In the process, though, they are inadvertently laying the foundations for the next crisis. Relying on popular support means they will be forced to enact more reforms than they actually want to – or are even capable of. Despots who try to be populists usually end up being neither and, in their failure, lose power.

It is too early to tell what will be the outcome of the power struggle. Whoever comes out on top will be unable to ignore the fact: that Saudi Arabia is a country in decline, largely because of low oil prices but also because of the general disarray in the Middle East. In this context, then, the events of Nov. 4 are more than petty power grabs – they are attempts to make the country pliable enough to accept necessary reform at a time of increasing regional chaos.

The kingdom cannot both change its nature and hope to meet the external challenges at the same time. It has to consolidate at home before it can act effectively beyond its borders. But this sequence of priorities is not a luxury that the Saudis enjoy. Their historical enemies the Iranians are gaining ground, and they cannot simply focus on domestic politics.

Take, for example, another thing that happened Nov. 4. The leader of Riyadh’s main proxy in Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, resigned after criticizing Iranian interference in his country. By having Hariri pull out of the coalition government in Lebanon, the Saudis hope to weaken Iran’s premier proxy, Hezbollah, which benefits from the coalition government in Beirut. But it’s a weak and probably ineffective move. Now that the Islamic State is weakened, Iran has the advantage in Iraq and Syria.

Riyadh’s inability to deal with external threats, if anything, will only intensify its domestic ones. Even though the king and his son have the upper hand, an inability to effectively counter the Iranian threat could weaken their position at home and thus aggravate the infighting.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/saudi-arabia-war/

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Foreign Policy: Argument

The American Alliance With Turkey Was Built On a Myth

It’s time to realize that Washington and Ankara share neither values nor interests,

and that their partnership cannot return to its Cold War heyday.

By Steven A. Cook

| October 12, 2017, 9:00 AM

This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pushed the U.S.-Turkey relationship from bad to worse. On Tuesday, he claimed that “spies” had infiltrated U.S. missions in Turkey and said that Turkey didn’t consider the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, John Bass, to be a legitimate representative of the United States.

Turkey’s president thus escalated a tit-for-tat diplomatic crisis that started on Sunday, when the U.S. Embassy announced that the United States had been forced “to reassess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of U.S. mission facilities and personnel,” and as a result would no longer process non-immigrant visas. The decision was undoubtedly a response to the arrest of Metin Topuz, a “foreign service national” who has worked with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s office in the Turkish capital for many years, but was accused of supporting the Fethullahist Terror Organization by the Turkish government, which holds the group responsible for the failed coup in July 2016. The Turkish government responded in kind to the U.S. refusal to process visas — before Erdogan followed up with his rhetorical broadside.

The Topuz case can be logged into an increasingly long list of conflicts that have challenged the U.S. relationship with Erdogan’s Turkey over the last few years. It is now clear that Turkey and the United States are less allies and partners than antagonists and strategic competitors, especially in the Middle East.

But it would be a mistake to lay Washington and Ankara’s troubled relations at the feet of Turkey’s charismatic and pugnacious president. In truth, the United States and Turkey have been headed for a collision since Christmas Day in 1991, when the Soviet Union disintegrated.

So much analysis and commentary about Turkey over the last decade has emphasized Erdogan’s consolidation of his personal political power. Although this work has been generally accurate, it tends to obscure three important factors in Turkish politics and foreign policy. First, for all that Erdogan is the central decision-maker, his ideas about Turkish power and mistrust of the West have broad support among Turks — and with good historical reasons. Second, the United States and Turkey share neither values nor interests.

Second, the United States and Turkey share neither values nor interests.

Finally, the world has changed a lot since the heyday of the U.S.-Turkey alliance, over a quarter century ago.

Given the changing international dynamics, the U.S. relationship with any plausible Turkish ruling party would likely be frayed at this point. If Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), were in power, for instance, there would still be considerable tension in the U.S.-Turkey relationship. It would of course look different, but the “strategic relationship” or “model partnership” would have no more content and meaning than it does now. For example, the CHP leadership has taken a pro-Bashar al-Assad stance in Syria and is as strongly opposed to Kurdish nationalism, if not more so, than Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party. And to varying degrees, all political parties in Turkey have tended to flirt with Iran over the years.

This is a reality that often dumbfounds American officials, who tend to work with a set of outdated ideas about Turkey. Policy continues to be made based on the mythology of the Cold War, which has produced a romantic retrospective of Americans and Turks “standing shoulder-to-shoulder during the great ideological battle with the Soviet Union” or some such formulation. The myths of the Cold War era obscure the reality that, without the common Soviet threat, there was not much to bind Washington and Ankara together. The bilateral relationship was not based on friendship, trust, or values, but rather the exigencies of the countries’ shared conflict.

Even after Russian guards lowered the hammer and sickle from atop the Kremlin all those years ago, American officials erroneously assumed that Turkey would remain shoulder-to-shoulder with its American partners. In the early 1990s, some in the foreign policy community thought Turkey was uniquely positioned to guide the newly independent Turkic states of Central Asia — whose citizens share cultural and linguistic affinities with Turks — in stable, democratic governance. In the middle and latter part of that decade, the foreign-policy community regarded Ankara as a driver of security and peace in the Middle East. More recently, Turkey was held out as a “model” for Arab countries seeking to build more prosperous and democratic societies.

None of these projects proved successful, because they overestimated Turkey’s capacities, underestimated the historical legacies of the Ottoman domination of the Middle East, and misread Turkish domestic politics and the worldview of the country’s current leadership. With each failure, the United States and Turkey drifted further apart.

Although the details of each of these episodes are important, there was something else at work that contributed to the unsuccessful outcomes. The American foreign-policy community is slowly learning that much of what it believed about Turkey turned out not to be the case. The country’s leaders — including the military command — are neither democrats nor pro-Western. In fact, they are deeply suspicious of the West, especially the United States.

It is a common misconception that relations between the United States and Turkey were always warm, similar to traditional allies like the British or Germans. There were good working relationships between American and Turkish officers at NATO, of course, but those ties always had an element of mistrust, stemming from the often prickly nationalism of the Turkish side suspicious of American intent regarding Kurds and Washington’s commitment to Turkish security. The officers were not as “staunchly pro-Western” as so many press reports over the years indicated, but rather first and only pro-Turkey. The same could be said for the Turkish political leadership.

Most importantly, Turkey’s leaders do not share the interests of the United States.

Most importantly, Turkey’s leaders do not share the interests of the United States.

At a level of abstraction, of course, both Ankara and Washington oppose the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, support peace between Israelis and Palestinians, fight terrorism, and want Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fall. Yet Turkish and American prescriptions for achieving their ambitions are so far apart that it stretches credulity to suggest that these goals are actually shared. In each case, officials from both governments can articulate how the other has undercut their efforts in these areas. From an American perspective, Turkey’s periodic warming of its ties with Iran has weakened efforts to contain Tehran’s nuclear development, while Ankara is also guilty of enabling extremists in Syria and supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

These tensions pre-date Erdogan and the rise of the Justice and Development Party. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, for example, the Turks chafed mightily over international sanctions on Iraq. And of course, there were differences over many years concerning Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the subsequent American arms embargo, and security in the Aegean.

The world has changed so much that Turkey, a NATO ally, works with Russia — whose leaders are intent on weakening the Western alliance — in Syria while the United States fights the self-declared Islamic State with Syrian Kurdish forces who the Turks believe (rightly) to be part and parcel of a terrorist organization that has waged war against Ankara since 1984. The strategic relationship has now been reduced to American access to Incirlik Air Base, from which the United States and its allies conduct operations against the Islamic State. From time to time, the Turks have threatened to rescind permission to use the facility for this purpose.

The very fact that it has become relatively easy for each country to work with the other’s adversary suggests that the strain in U.S.-Turkey ties is less about Erdogan’s worldview or former President Barack Obama’s retrenchment but about the way international politics is ordered a quarter century after the Cold War.

Since the “war of the visas” began, journalists have been asking whether the spat between the United States and Turkey will escalate. There is no way of knowing, of course, though much depends on Erdogan’s domestic political calculations. Given the reservoir of anti-Americanism in Turkey, any Turkish leader derives political benefits from conflict with the United States.

But the larger question is: How does the United States manage Turkey’s shift from strategic partner to a relationship that recognizes Turkey’s importance as both a onetime partner and an adversary? If American policymakers continue to view Turkey through the Cold War lens, they will continue to get nowhere. Already, American diplomats are fruitlessly invoking U.S. and Turkish shared values, while American citizens and U.S. government employees are jailed and abused. It’s time to recognize that the world has changed — and so has the U.S.-Turkey relationship.

Steven A. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. His new book, False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East, was published in June.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/12/the-american-alliance-with-turkey-was-built-on-a-myth/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New+Campaign&utm_term=%2AEditors+Picks

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Lessons from Britain’s broken energy market

Nick Butler’s blog

The report published last month by Professor Dieter Helm on what the British prime minister calls “the UK’s broken energy market” is an intelligent response to the question posed by the ministers who commissioned it.

The proposals it makes are radical and it will be intriguing to see if the government has the nerve to implement them.

But there is a wider point of interest. Many countries are embarking on strategies of decarbonisation with the aim of reducing emissions, and there are serious reviews of energy policy underway across the world. Patterns of use vary with economic circumstances and so do existing policies. But there are some very important common aspects and those wanting to find a rational way of decarbonising at the lowest practical cost can learn a lot by understanding Britain’s mistakes.

Four clear lessons can be learnt from Professor Helm’s analysis and proposals.

First, set the objectives and then allow market mechanisms to identify the solutions. The energy market is a hybrid system involving both public power and private capital. The optimal outcome is one in which the public policy objectives — security of supply, a progressive reduction in emissions and competitiveness — can be met in the most cost-effective way. That should not involve specifying the technologies to be used.

Some will argue that the UK’s subsidies for technologies such as wind and solar over the last decade have produced the cost reductions and efficiency gains which have now made both highly competitive. That is not clearly proven — and in any case the situation has changed. Neither wind nor solar now need special treatment. They can compete effectively in any system that puts a cost on carbon.

Policy objectives can therefore be delivered through open competition. As the Helm report demonstrates, many of the UK’s problems — such as unnecessarily high prices — are the result of competition being excluded from the process. The easiest way to achieve the desired outcomes, and to encourage both research and investment, is to establish a carbon price.

The failure to set this at a level where it would begin to alter behaviour has constrained the approach to decarbonisation across Europe over the last decade. Ideally, a carbon price would be universal but even in the context of national policy-making it is the best tool for the job.

Second, look for the lowest cost solutions across the whole energy system. In too many countries the dominant focus of policy is on power generation. The electricity sector is important but not all important. What matters is that the policy of reducing emissions should be delivered at the lowest possible net cost.

Electricity provides around 40 per cent of final energy supplies across the EU and that number should grow as more activity, starting with transportation, is electrified.

But the remaining 60 per cent contains many activities, including industry and agriculture, where decarbonisation gains are possible and probably cheaper than relying on super-expensive electricity generation projects such as Hinkley Point.

Efficiency, too, is very effective in reducing demand and costs, although again the UK, with its ludicrously complicated and ineffective “green deal”, is an example to avoid.

Third, keep ministers and inexperienced officials out of the process that allocates contracts. Ministers should set the policy objectives but delivery should be managed by people who know what they are doing. This seems obvious when considering the provision of healthcare but tends to be ignored when it comes to energy.

Any country embarking on the development of a new policy should study the abysmal track record of the UK’s energy department in 2013 when ministers and officials made gross mistakes first in forecasting future prices and then in negotiating with highly experienced and well-funded companies backed by lavish lobbying efforts. Needless to say the companies won. The consumer lost and will be paying the bill for decades to come.

Prof Helm proposes a single authority, a National System Operator, to manage the acquisition of supplies through a simplified system of auctions. I would go further and encourage countries to ban ministers and officials from going through the revolving door to work for any company involved in a public policy decision with which they have been involved. Removing the tax deductibility of lobbying activity would also help.

Fourth, remember that climate change policy needs public support. Among those who understand what is at stake, support for action is substantial but across the wider population interest is limited.

Climate change was barely debated at the last elections in the US, UK or France. If policies to deliver emissions reduction are associated with high costs — which amount to corporate welfare payments — enthusiasm for action will fall.

As Prof Helm says, the “ excessive costs are not only an unnecessary burden on households and businesses, they also risk undermining the broader democratic support for decarbonisation”. Consumers rightly expect new technologies and productivity increases to mean lower not higher costs. When world prices for both renewables and conventional supplies such as natural gas are falling they are understandably disillusioned to find bills still rising.

The positive and encouraging message from Prof Helm’s report is that there are realistic alternatives. The costs of decarbonisation are coming down. Well-designed policies can help reduce them further. The process of getting to a lower carbon economy does not have to involve an intolerable economic cost.

https://www.ft.com/content/28f46850-827a-343d-a919-61e7069e3c06

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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

11-08-17 One Year after the U.S. Presidential Elections – Caucasian Affairs.pdf

11-08-17 Costs of U.S. Post-9_11 NC Crawford FINAL .pdf

Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 03.11.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • WSJ: The Manafort Indictment – Charges relate to money-laundering cash from Ukraine
  • U.S. Forces in Niger
  • CFA-Franc-Zone
  • Exclusive: Chad wants to cut off Glencore’s oil supplies in debt row
  • Tesla slapped with labor complaint by UAW
  • Türkei rechnet mit Verlängerung von „Turkish Stream“ bis Serbien
  • The Real Story of the Reformation

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

  • Protestant Project: Five Hundred Years Later
  • Ousting the JCPOA
  • Association Lite: Armenian Take on “Integration of Integrations”
  • Russia, the USA & Europe: Is Instability Immutable?
  • News from Caucasia

“Times They Are A-Changin’.”

Massenbach*WSJ: The Manafort Indictment –

Charges relate to money-laundering cash from Ukraine

Mueller’s charges relate to money-laundering cash from Ukraine.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for tax fraud on Monday, and the main charge against Donald Trump is poor judgment for hiring the notorious Beltway operator.

The indictment accuses Mr. Manafort (and business partner Richard Gates ) of funneling money from a pro-Russia party in Ukraine into offshore shell companies and bank accounts. They then allegedly used these accounts to fund their spending habits, neglecting to declare the money to the IRS.

The indictment also accuses Mr. Manafort of failing to register as an agent for a foreign government as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This is news mainly because violations of that law haven’t been successfully prosecuted since 1966. The Russia probe has exposed the degree to which lobbyists ignore this statute that the Justice Department has failed to enforce. (Democrat Anthony Podesta announced Monday that he is leaving his lobbying firm amid the Mueller probe. He is the brother of John Podesta, who ran Hillary Clinton’s campaign.)

The most striking news is that none of this involves the 2016 election campaign. The indictment makes clear that Mr. Manafort’s work for Ukraine and his money transfers ended in 2014. The 2016 charges are related to false statements Mr. Manafort made to the Justice Department.

In other words, Mr. Manafort stands accused of a financial and lobbying scam, which is exactly what Mr. Trump risked in hiring a swamp denizen. Mr. Manafort has lobbied for a rogues gallery of dictators, with the occasional domestic scandal (HUD contracts).

Separately, Mr. Mueller released a guilty plea by Trump campaign policy adviser George Papadopoulos for lying to the FBI in early 2017 about his interaction with “foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.” The plea suggests Russians might have been attempting to supply the Trump campaign with opposition research on Hillary Clinton. But Mr. Mueller provides no evidence this happened.

One popular theory is that Mr. Mueller is throwing the book at Mr. Manafort so he will cop a plea and tell what he knows about Russian-Trump campaign chicanery. But that assumes he knows something that to date no Congressional investigation has found. Prosecutors typically try to turn witnesses before they indict, and Messrs. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty on Monday.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned in recent days that Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm hired by Democrats to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump, was hired initially by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website largely funded by GOP donor Paul Singer. This is embarrassing for the Free Beacon, which has been caught jumping in bed with sleazy operators like Fusion.

But none of this absolves Democrats from their role in financing Fusion to hire Christopher Steele, the former British spook, to collect information about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia. The Free Beacon says it had nothing to do with Mr. Steele or his dossier.

The Democrat-Fusion-Russia story requires as full an investigation as the question of Trump-Russia collusion. All the more so given that the FBI may have used the Steele dossier, much of which has been discredited, to begin investigating the Trump campaign and to seek a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Some readers were offended that we suggested last week that Mr. Mueller is too close to the FBI after running it for a dozen years to investigate the agency’s role with the dossier. But no one has explained why such a relationship isn’t a conflict of interest. The probe can continue with someone else in charge, but most of the press corps is so invested in the Russia-Trump collusion narrative that they refuse even to acknowledge uncomfortable facts they’d usually be shouting about.

Americans deserve to know how Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign, but one problem with special prosecutors is that they exist to prosecute—someone, somewhere for something—more than they shed light. The latter should be Congress’s job, and the Members should keep pressing to tell the complete story.

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/the-manafort-indictment-1509402445-lMyQjAxMTE3ODMyMTEzMjE2Wj/

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Türkei rechnet mit Verlängerung von „Turkish Stream“ bis Serbien

Der türkische Präsident Recep Tayyip Erdogan hat die Hoffnung geäußert, dass die Gaspipeline „Turkish Stream“ bis Serbien verlängert wird und dieses Land somit keine Probleme mit der Gasversorgung haben wird. Dies erklärte Erdogan auf einer gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz mit seinem serbischen Amtskollegen, Aleksandar Vučić.

„‚Turkish Stream‘ ist ein sehr wichtiges Projekt, heute verläuft die Pipeline über das Schwarze Meer, ferner wird sie über unser Territorium nach Europa verlaufen. Wir sind dabei, alle damit verbundenen Fragen mit dem russischen Präsidenten zu besprechen“, wird Erdogan von Medien zitiert.

© Sputnik/ Sergej Gunejew

Belgrad will Verlegung von Turkish Stream durch Serbien

Zuvor hatte der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin Verhandlungen mit seinem türkischen Amtskollegen geführt und dabei den Bau der Gaspipeline „Turkish Stream“ und des Atomkraftwerkes „Akkuyu“ besprochen. „Wir messen den Projekten ‚Akkuyu‘ und ‚Turkish Stream‘ eine große Bedeutung bei. Sie werden fortgesetzt, und wir sind bereit, ihnen einen Ruck zu geben“, betonte Erdogan.

Indes versucht Bulgarien, das bei der Inbetriebnahme von „Turkish Stream“ nach 2020 riskiert, Einnahmen aus dem Transit des russischen Gases zu verlieren, weiterhin, sein Territorium in die potentielle Strecke der neuen Gaspipeline einzuschließen.

https://de.sputniknews.com/politik/20171010317806300-gaspipeline-gasversorgung-atomkraftwerk-transit-strecke/

Turkish Stream

Geplanter Verlauf der Pipeline „Turkish Stream“

Turkish Stream (auch Turkstream; russisch Турецкий поток; türkisch Türk Akımı) ist ein internationales Projekt einer Gaspipeline mit 4 Röhren, die auf dem Grund des Schwarzen Meeres von der südrussischen Küstenstadt Anapa in die Türkei verlegt werden soll. Zum Bau der ca. 1100 km langen Gaspipeline soll auf russischem Staatsgebiet die für das aufgegebene Projekt South Stream gebaute Infrastruktur genutzt werden. Der Offshore-Teil der Pipeline wird 910 km betragen, der Onshore-Teil auf türkischem Boden 180 km. Die Pipeline wird von Anapa aus auf dem Boden des Schwarzen Meeres bis zum türkischen Ort Kiyiköy im europäischen Teil der Türkei verlaufen und weiter zur Ortschaft Lüleburgaz, wo die Übergabe von Gas an türkische Abnehmer stattfinden soll.[1] Die Investitionen für Turkstream werden vollständig von Gazprom finanziert

Zweck der Pipeline

Pipeline-Netz von Russland nach Westeuropa

Russisches Erdgas wird derzeit über die Pipeline Blue Stream direkt in die Türkei geliefert, ohne dass es durch ein anderes Transitland transportiert werden muss. Turkish Stream wird die Transportkapazität von Bluestream, die maximal 16 Millionen Tonnen Erdgas pro Jahr ermöglicht, erheblich vergrößern, und so einen möglicherweise wachsenden Bedarf der Türkei decken. Die Türkei hat derzeit realistisch gesehen wenig Alternativen zu russischem Erdgas.

Eine weitere Möglichkeit von Turkish Stream besteht in der Lieferung von Erdgas über die Türkei als Transitland in Länder der Europäischen Union. Gazprom begann, für die Versorgung Südosteuropas die Pipeline South Stream zu bauen, die Gas nach Bulgarien liefern sollte. Inzwischen änderte Gazprom seine Pläne und treibt nun das Turkish-Stream-Projekt voran. Die Kapazität der vier Röhren von Turkish Stream wird bis zu 63 Milliarden m³ Gas pro Jahr betragen, wovon 47 Milliarden m³ Gas nach İpsala an der türkisch-griechischen Grenze transportiert werden sollen. Dort soll ein Verteilerzentrum gebaut werden, das das Gas in die europäischen Länder transportiert. Gazprom beabsichtigt, mit der neuen Gaspipeline die Transportwege zu diversifizieren, um damit die Abhängigkeit der Lieferanten und Käufer von den Transitländern Weißrussland, Polen, Ukraine, Slowakei und Österreich zu verringern, durch die derzeit Pipelines für russisches Erdgas nach Südeuropa verlaufen. Derzeit liefert Russland durch mehrere Pipelines, unter anderen auch durch die Pipeline Nord Stream, die durch die Ostsee verläuft, Erdgas nach Deutschland und Westeuropa. Davon verlaufen einige durch die Ukraine. Nach Ablauf des russisch-ukrainischen Gastransitvertrags 2019 soll kein neuer Vertrag mehr geschlossen und kein Gas mehr durch die Ukraine in die Europäische Union transportiert werden.

Stand des Projektes

Gazprom und die türkische Botas Petroleum Pipeline Corporation unterzeichneten am 1. Dezember 2014 eine Absichtserklärung (Memorandum of Understanding) für den Bau der Pipeline von Russland in die Türkei. Ein Vertrag darüber soll im Juni 2015 abgeschlossen werden. Der Bau einer Pipeline in Griechenland, die das Gas an der türkischen Grenze übernehmen und weitertransportieren soll, ist noch Gegenstand politischer Abstimmungen.

Wettbewerb um Gaslieferung und -transport

Die Transanatolische Pipeline (TANAP), deren Bau 2015 begonnen wurde und die ebenso wie Turkish-Stream durch den Südlichen Korridor verlaufen soll, soll ebenfalls Erdgas nach Griechenland liefern. TANAP wird nicht mit russischem Gas, sondern von Aserbaidschan aus mit Gas versorgt. Von Griechenland aus soll das aserbaidschanische Gas in andere europäische Länder, vor allem nach Südosteuropa, weitergepumpt werden. Die Anteile an TANAP werden von der türkischen Botas und TPAO (20 %) sowie der staatlichen SOCAR aus Aserbaidschan gehalten (80 %).[9] Einziger Pipeline-Betreiber Griechenlands ist DESFA (National Natural Gas System Operator S.A.) Das Dritte Energiepaket der EU verlangt die Trennung von Netzbetrieb und Erzeugung. Die EU-Kommission prüft deswegen die Übernahme des griechischen Gasfernleitungsnetzbetreibers DESFA durch die staatliche Mineralölgesellschaft der Republik Aserbaidschan SOCAR.[10], die einen Anteil von 66 % an DESFA kaufen möchte. Wettbewerber wie Turkish Stream könnten von SOCAR am Zugang zum griechischen Pipeline-Netz gehindert werden.

Tesla-Pipeline

Die Tesla-Pipeline ist ein von der EU als “Project of Common Interests” eingestuftes Vorhaben, den Transport von Erdgas zwischen Griechenland und Österreich zu ermöglichen. Russisches Erdgas, das durch die geplante Turkish-Stream-Pipeline nach Griechenland transportiert wurde, soll nach Mitteleuropa, die Balkanländer und nach Italien weitergeleitet werden, über Mazedonien, Serbien, Ungarn und Österreich. Auf griechischem Boden soll dafür eine Pipeline von der Grenze zur Türkei an die Grenze zu Mazedonien und zwei oder drei Verdichterstationen gebaut werden.

Entstehungsgeschichte

2014

Am 1. Dezember erklärte der russische Staatspräsident Wladimir Putin auf einer Pressekonferenz in Ankara, dass Russland wegen der Position der Europäischen Union auf den Bau der Pipeline South Stream verzichten werde. Frei werdende Ressourcen würden in andere Regionen und Flüssiggas-Projekte umgeleitet. „Wir denken, dass die Position der Europäischen Kommission nicht konstruktiv war. Tatsächlich war es nicht so, dass die Europäische Kommission bei der Verwirklichung dieses Projekts geholfen hätte, vielmehr sehen wir, dass der Verwirklichung Hindernisse in den Weg gelegt werden. Wenn Europa das Projekt nicht verwirklichen will, so heißt das, dass es nicht verwirklicht wird.“ erklärte Putin. Ursache für den Verzicht auf den Bau von South Stream sei, so Putin, dass Bulgarien keine Baugenehmigung erteilt habe. Das Handeln der bulgarischen Regierung war dabei Teil der westlichen Sanktionspolitik gegenüber Russland als Reaktion auf die Ukrainekrise bzw. auf den Krieg in der Ukraine seit 2014. Gazprom-Chef Alexei Miller erklärte am 1. Dezember, dass das Gaspipeline-Projekt South Stream geschlossen sei und es keine Rückkehr zu diesem Projekt geben werde.

2015

Miller kündigte am 14. Januar 2015 an, die Gaslieferungen über das Territorium der Ukraine mit der Inbetriebnahme von Turkish Stream gänzlich einstellen zu wollen. Er forderte die Europäer auf, die nötige Infrastruktur im Südosten des Kontinents zu schaffen, um eine Belieferung über die neue Pipeline zu ermöglichen. Die EU-Kommission ist auch beim neuen Projekt skeptisch ob der Durchführbarkeit und fürchtet, Russland wolle Uneinigkeit zwischen EU-Staaten schüren.

Die Weiterarbeit am Projekt wurde nach dem Abschuss einer Suchoi Su-24 im November 2015 von Russland angehalten

2016–2017

Im Juli 2016 wurden die Gespräche wiederaufgenommen. Im September erhielt Gazprom von den türkischen Behörden die erste Genehmigung für den Bau des Seeabschnitts und die Genehmigung für Untersuchungsarbeiten zu beiden Strängen der Offshore-Pipeline in der ausschließlichen Wirtschaftszone und in den Küstengewässern der Türkei.

Am 10. Oktober 2016 unterzeichneten die Energieminister beider Länder (Berat Albayrak (Kabinett Yıldırım) und Alexander Nowak (Kabinett Medwedew)) im Beisein der Präsidenten Erdogan und Putin in Istanbul ein Regierungsabkommen über den Bau der Pipeline. Das Abkommen betrifft zwei Offshore-Röhren von Russland in die Türkei, die durch das Schwarze Meer verlegt werden, und außerdem eine Onshore-Röhre, die Gas an die türkische Grenze zu Nachbarstaaten transportieren soll.

Die Türkei ist nach Deutschland der zweitgrößte Exportmarkt für den staatlich kontrollierten russischen Energiekonzern Gazprom. Konzernchef Alexej Miller sagte, der Bau könne 2017 beginnen und 2019 beendet sein.

Am 4. Juli 2017 gab Präsident Putin persönlich den Baubeginn des Tiefwasserabschnitts bekannt.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Stream

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

  • Protestant Project: Five Hundred Years Later
  • Ousting the JCPOA
  • Association Lite: Armenian Take on “Integration of Integrations”
  • Russia, the USA & Europe: Is Instability Immutable?

– News from Caucasia

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* The Real Story of the Reformation

Martin Luther wanted to coax theologians into a debate on indulgences—not reset Christianity.

This week the world celebrates the 500th anniversary of an event that never happened. Well, something did happen, and it altered the course of history. But what actually took place is astoundingly different from how it is portrayed today.

As the story is told, on Oct. 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther socked the European church establishment in the kisser by defiantly nailing his “95 Theses” on indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The thunder of his hammer resounded throughout the world. It was as though he had stuck his finger in the pope’s eye.

The document brazenly charged the Catholic Church with corruption. The corrupt powers-that-be were put on notice that the vile practice of indulgences—whereby the faithful could throw a coin in the coffer to buy their way out of purgatory or worse—must end forever.

Except it never happened, at least not that way. Luther probably didn’t post his theses on the famous date celebrated each year, though he likely did within a month of the designated day. And they might never have been posted by Luther, despite five centuries of paintings depicting him doing just that. As it happens, he may have handed the document to a church custodian to post. And if Luther did post it himself, he may even have unheroically affixed it with paste.

More important, posting the document on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church was not an act of calculated defiance. That door had long served as the community bulletin board for anything and everything. For context, imagine the fabled document posted next to a flyer for a missing cat.

The most important difference between how most people remember the event and what actually happened is that the 30-something monk never dreamt that history would notice what he was doing. He did not intend to be defiant or to cause trouble. And he certainly did not plan to shake the foundations of the church he loved and obediently served. The idea that this all might lead to a sundering of the church was unthinkable. If he had thought of it, it would have utterly horrified him.

And the theses were written in Latin, which no one but cultural elites could understand. If there was anything provocative in what he wrote, it was only because such documents typically contained an edgy thesis or two in the hopes of instigating a robust debate.

The brainy Saxon monk merely wanted to coax his fellow theologians into an academic debate on indulgences, thinking that something might be done about the troubling practice through the proper and customary channels. What happened shocked Luther more than anyone.

A copy of the document was promptly delivered to Rome, where it furrowed Vatican brows and upset the papal stomach. Far worse, Luther’s well-meaning Saxon colleagues quickly translated the document into German. Then they duplicated it endlessly without his permission, courtesy of a relatively new technology invented by a fellow German, Johannes Gutenberg. Suddenly everyone was reading it across Europe and debating its points. Before Luther could say “sola scriptura,” the horse had slipped out of the barn and was wildly trampling the status quo that had existed for centuries.

Within four years, Luther’s written and oral responses to the growing conflagration had taken the world by storm and he arguably had become the first genuine celebrity in world history. The frothy torrent of writings that poured from his pen would make printers and publishers rich, with no royalties ever paid to him for his troubles. And his woodcut portraits reproduced like rabbits across the German landscape.

The powerful ideas Luther’s writings conveyed would in time lead to virtually everything we now take for granted in the modern world. By prompting the end of Vatican hegemony, Luther opened the door for the creation of thousands of new churches under dozens of denominations, Lutheran among them. In the coming centuries, this attitude would help elevate the concepts of religious pluralism, tolerance, democracy and freedom.

Who knew? Certainly not Martin Luther, whose grotesque pronouncements against the Jews near the end of his life proved that he simply did not comprehend the ramifications of what he had loosed upon the world.

But by humbly raising the questions he had in 1517, and then by responding to the attacks that followed as truthfully and carefully as he could, Luther ended up cracking the great edifice of medieval Christendom in twain. And for good and for ill both, out of that opening the future itself seemed to fly.

Mr. Metaxas is the author of “Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World,” just out from Viking Press.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-real-story-of-the-reformation-1509402785?mod=nwsrl_commentary_u_s_&cx_refModule=nwsrl#cx_testId=16&cx_testVariant=ctrl&cx_artPos=8

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat*U.S. Forces in Niger Were Denied Armed Drone

New information shows ambushed Green Beret team was part of a larger, potentially more dangerous mission

Members of the 3rd Special Forces Group Airborne 2nd Battalion leave pins and salute the casket after the burial of Army Sgt. La David Johnson on Oct. 23 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

U.S. military officials sought permission to send an armed drone near a patrol of Green Berets before a deadly ambush Oct. 4 in Niger, but the request was blocked, raising questions about whether those forces had adequate protection against the dangers of their mission.

New information shows the Green Beret team was part of a larger mission, one potentially more dangerous than initially described, and one believed to merit an armed drone. But the request was blocked in a chain of approval that snakes through the Pentagon, State Department and the Nigerien government, according to officials briefed on the events.

One focus of military investigations into what happened in Niger will be what a military official now says were two changes in the mission of the Green Beret team—from initially training Nigerien forces, to advising on a mission to capture or kill a wanted terrorist, to investigating the terrorist’s abandoned camp.

U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers observe Nigerien armed forces service members during an exercise in Niger this year.

On Oct. 4, after the U.S.-Nigerien team had destroyed the camp, four Americans and five Nigerien soldiers were killed in a firefight with suspected Islamic State fighters, and two other Americans and as many as eight Nigeriens were wounded.

The ambush and the circumstances surrounding it have taken on political weight in Washington as the deadliest military clash for Americans since President Donald Trump took office. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has pressed for more information, and a public spat broke out about condolence calls by Mr. Trump.

The drone request suggests that military officials were aware of a change in the security landscape in western Niger, where more than two dozen previous patrols had been conducted without incident. Intelligence indicated a low risk of enemy contact, and there had been no enemy attacks on U.S. forces there for the past year, according to officials investigating the incident.

The initial decision against the use of an armed drone reflects an effort by the U.S. mission in Niger to maintain a light footprint in the country amid local resistance to the deployment of armed aircraft—a challenge for officials also seeking to adequately support U.S. troops there.

An Department of Defense handout shows U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black (top left), Sgt. La David Johnson (top right), Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, (bottom left), and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, (bottom right), the four U.S. soldiers killed in the attack on U.S. and Nigerien forces on Oct. 4

After the firefight broke out on Oct. 4, some military officials also wanted an armed drone, but it is unclear if one was in the area and whether any request was made, according to a military official. An unarmed drone was dispatched, and French Mirage jet fighters arrived about an hour later, followed by French helicopters.

U.S. officials have repeatedly modified the timeline as facts trickle in.

The Green Beret patrol was one of two operating in the area at about the same time, Pentagon officials said. The second consisted of an elite commando team specializing in missions to track down wanted jihadists; both were involved at the time in a hunt for an associate of Adnan abu Walid al-Sahawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, according to current and former officials briefed on the events.

Related

· Death of U.S. Soldiers in Niger Sparks FBI Probe, Criticism

· U.S. Revises Timeline on Niger Battle

· Four Americans Killed in Niger Battle Had Limited Combat Experience

The targeted militant was operating in the border region, moving between Niger and Mali, and the elite team was also operating on both sides of the border, officials said. The jihadist is an important figure in Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, an organization operating in the two countries, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

The Green Beret team’s role in Niger was initially to help train the country’s security forces. But then, before the October mission began, the group was asked to advise the Nigerien quick-reaction force that was to assist the elite commando unit on its mission to capture or kill the terrorist target, according to a military official.

That mission was scrubbed because weather conditions increased the risk for helicopter flight to the site where the jihadist was thought to be, the official said.

The commando unit then sought another U.S. team to check out what appeared to be an abandoned terror camp that the jihadist had used, according to current and former officials briefed on the events.

The Green Beret patrol, now available to be retasked, was sent to the camp, the officials said.

The patrol was made up mostly of Green Berets, with other soldiers attached. All were considered well trained, having gone through the comprehensive work-ups of the elite Special Forces, according to Pentagon records. But their experience levels varied, according to the records; at least one had never deployed and at least four hadn’t seen combat.

The team, along with 30 Nigerien troops, left the country’s capital, Niamey, the morning of Oct. 3.

The new mission, to find the abandoned camp and shelter, was considered relatively low-risk. An assessment showed there was little likelihood of an enemy attack, officials have said, after the wanted terrorist was known to have abandoned the camp.

Military investigators have been examining the official orders that led to the assignment. A key unanswered question is who formally changed the Green Beret-led team’s mission—the U.S. Africa Command, known as Africom, the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, or another agency.

Investigators also are working to find out if there was adequate intelligence to evaluate the likelihood of enemy contact and whether the team was prepared for helping an elite commando team track and kill Mr. Sahawi’s associate.

Investigations into the ambush by military officials, aided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are likely to take weeks, according to officials briefed on the inquiry.

Mr. Sahawi is considered a top target in the “tri-border” region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, according to European officials. The area is made up in large part of wildlife preserves, allowing militants, often in groups of just a few dozen, to move across borders, hide out and strike as needed.

The joint U.S.-Nigerien team relatively quickly located and arrived at the camp that had been abandoned by Mr. Sahawi’s lieutenant. The team, according to military reports, collected some information and destroyed the shelter they found, though military officials don’t know if it was a regular camp or had only been used once.

From there, late on Oct. 3, the team began the trek back to their base camp, according to a military official.

Based on the reports submitted by the Green Berets after they left the abandoned terrorist camp, the team hiked throughout the night of Oct. 3 to Oct. 4, never staying in one place for more than a couple of hours.

While on the route back to their camp, in the morning of Oct. 4, the Nigerien forces asked to stop at a village to get breakfast and refill their canteens.

When U.S. forces visit a village, it is standard procedure to meet with the elder, explain their broader mission and enlist a measure of support from the local population.

That meeting went longer than expected. At 10:40 a.m. local time, minutes after leaving the village, the troops were ambushed.

Investigators are probing the question of how the jihadists found the Green Berets, since intelligence hadn’t documented any militants operating in the area of the village.

The length of the village meeting has caused some military officials to question whether villagers tried to delay the Green Berets. But military officials said they now believe the village elder wasn’t involved.

Military officials don’t know if the fighters who ambushed the Green Beret-led team were affiliated with the terrorist being hunted by the elite team.

One official noted that the areas were far apart, and the Green Beret team had taken steps to avoid being tracked. Other officials believe he was likely responsible for the attack.

An hour into the fight, minutes after a request from the team for air support, the unarmed drone arrived, allowing more senior military commanders to watch the firefight.

The French Mirage jet fighters from an airfield in Niamey were underway within a half-hour and in the area 30 minutes later, the Pentagon said. French helicopters left from Mali, officials said.

During the fight, four soldiers became separated from the rest of the team. Those soldiers would be the Americans killed.

Late on the afternoon of Oct. 4, French helicopters evacuated two wounded U.S. soldiers. It wasn’t until that evening that the bodies of three of the four U.S. soldiers killed were evacuated.

The body of the fourth soldier, Sgt. La David Johnson, was still missing. He was found two days later by Nigerien forces.

Military officials declined to say why the initial request for an armed drone was made. The U.S. Africa Command, which is responsible for military operations for most of the continent, typically must request permission from the U.S. ambassador or the chief of mission at a U.S. embassy in a given country for any military operation, according to current and former officials briefed on the events.

If the ambassador blocks the mission, the decision can be appealed by military officials to the Pentagon.

That step typically requires a discussion between the secretaries of Defense and State. Military officials said top officers are reluctant to take disputes with an ambassador to the secretary of Defense, out of concern of sending a signal that the command isn’t able to work effectively with its diplomatic partners. No high-level discussion in advance of the Green Beret patrol that began Oct. 3 appears to have taken place.

State Department officials denied that their teams in Africa can block military requests for drone flights or strikes and said diplomats didn’t stop a request for an armed drone in Niger.

“The U.S. ambassador in Niger did not deny support or protection for military personnel involved in the October 4 ambush,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. “The ambassador supported all efforts to ensure the safety of our military colleagues in the field.”

One of the officials briefed on the events said sensitivities in Niger concerning the use of armed drones have delayed their use. The two countries signed an agreement in 2013 allowing Washington to establish a drone base there. The $100 million base is set to be completed next year.

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/u-s-forces-in-niger-were-denied-armed-drone-1509146561-lMyQjAxMTI3NTI3ODUyMzg0Wj/

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What Is America Doing in Niger?

The unfortunately politicized debate prompted by the death two weeks ago of four U.S. soldiers in Niger has revealed a great deal of ignorance about what, precisely, the U.S. is doing in Niger and why. The truth is that while its policy is debatable, the U.S. is right to be involved in Niger and support it in its fight against violent Islamist extremists.

Niger is a fragile democracy that, aside from uranium deposits, is rich in little other than culture. It is the poorest of the poor: Niger ranks 187 (PDF) on the United Nations‘ 2016 Human Development Index out of a total of 188 countries — only the Central African Republic gets a worse rating.

Yet, it has found itself at the epicenter of the local and regional war on terror, with overlapping local and regional violent groups based within Niger and coming into the country from nearly every side. Some of these groups are affiliated with al-Qaida, some with the Islamic State.

Regardless of which flag the terror groups fly, they threaten to tear Niger apart, or at the very least stymie the country’s efforts to develop economically and politically and otherwise improve the life of its citizens. More to the point, it cannot hope to defend itself let alone make progress without outside help.

The wolves at Niger’s heels, it is true, pose only a negligible direct threat to the U.S. It would be naïve, however, to believe that the region’s slide into anarchy and the unchecked progress of violent Islamist groups do not matter to the larger world or to the U.S.

Some of the terrorists in the region set their sights well beyond local borders and are keen on the larger, global jihad. In addition, the violence and instability they generate locally threaten the entire region and beyond.

They spur migration out of the region to the detriment of other parts of Africa as well as to Europe, which many of the migrants attempt to reach. However welcoming one might be toward African migrants, the progress of the far-right in recent German elections underscores how destabilizing the issue can be.

Anything that weakens the region is against U.S. interests; anything that weakens its Western allies likewise is against its interests. And speaking of allies, France currently is at war in Niger and in several of its neighbor nations. The French effort helps but is insufficient. They could use help themselves.

Unlike French forces, U.S. forces in the region are there to train and not to fight.

Helping Niger (and also France) is precisely why U.S. troops are there. To be clear, unlike French forces, U.S. forces in the region are there to train and not to fight. They work with Niger’s security services, which are remarkably capable given their lack of just about everything, which means that whatever help the U.S. gives them goes a long way.

The U.S. government, moreover, provides security assistance as part of a larger aid package intended to help the country’s economic development and improve its governance.

Helping Niger (and France) should not be controversial. It is the right thing to do. Putting soldiers there, where they might come under fire, also should not be controversial. Rather, the debate should be about the efficacy of U.S. assistance and its sufficiency. Is the U.S. doing enough? Is it doing the right things? Does it have the right strategy?

U.S. policy in the region since President Trump took office has been more or less a continuation of policies that date to the George W. Bush’s administration, which is when U.S. troops began the present training effort, with some tweaks by Obama.

Obama wanted more focus on things like governance alongside pure security assistance; Trump puts greater emphasis on the security assistance, with the U.S. military playing a larger and more unfettered role.

The results of Bush’s and Obama’s policies are disputable, and there is good reason to think that Trump’s policies are no more likely to succeed. Meanwhile, the security situation in Niger since the beginning of the Bush-era programs to the present day has continued to decline.

Maybe the right thing to do is carry on, but if America owes the fallen soldiers anything, it is an open debate about the next best steps, about how best to help Niger in line with what the U.S. can do there and U.S. national interests.

https://www.rand.org/blog/2017/10/us-helping-niger-halt-spread-of-terror-in-region.html

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

CFA-Franc-Zone. Die CFA-Franc-Zone bilden die Länder, in denen die zentralafrikanische Währung CFA-Franc BEAC bzw. die westafrikanische Währung CFA-Franc BCEAO gilt. Die meisten dieser Länder verbindet die ehemalige Zugehörigkeit zur Union française bzw. Communauté française und der durch die Bindung des CFA-Franc an den Franc bzw. Euro starke wirtschaftliche als auch politische Einfluss Frankreichs.[1]

Die CFA-Franc-Zonen:

· CFA-Franc BCEAO (Wirtschaftsunion UEMOA)

· CFA-Franc BEAC (Wirtschaftsunion CEMAC)

Satellitenfoto Afrikas: Nur kleine Teile der CFA-Zone sind Wüstengebiete, der überwiegenden Teil der CFA-Zone liegt im subtropischen Regenwaldgebiet Afrikas.

….. Beziehung zum Euro-Währungsraum

Frankreich ist in seinen Entscheidungen bezüglich des CFA-Franc autonom, sofern sich Natur und Geltungsbereich der zugrundeliegenden Vereinbarungen nicht ändern. Andernfalls ist die Zustimmung des EU-Rates auf der Grundlage einer Kommissionsempfehlung nach Anhörung der Europäischen Zentralbank erforderlich

Frankreich ist allein für die Abwicklung mit den CFA-Staaten verantwortlich. Es ist nicht vorgesehen, dass sich EZB oder EU direkt mit einem CFA-Land abstimmen.

Verbindungen zur Europäischen Union

Der CFA-Franc wurde 1945 geschaffen und war seit dieser Zeit mit festem Wechselkurs an den Französischen Franc gebunden. Mit Einführung des Euro musste dieses monetäre Netzwerk auf den Euro umgestellt werden. Im Rahmen der EU wurde bestimmt, dass Frankreich die monetären Klärungen bezüglich der CFA-Zone mit der EZB durchzuführen habe. Die EZB sollte eine Stellungnahme ausarbeiten, und diese mit dem zuständigen EU-Kommissar für Wirtschaft und Finanzen abstimmen. Der EU-Kommissar hatte dann diese Stellungnahme dem EU-Finanzministerrat vorzulegen.

Die Verhandlungen führten Dominique Strauss-Kahn als Finanzminister Frankreichs, Christian Noyer als Vizepräsident der EZB, Yves-Thibault de Silguy als EU-Kommissar für Wirtschaft und Finanzen und Währung für die Europäische Union.

Österreich war seit Jahresanfang 1998 mit diesem Fall befasst, da – gemäß Zeitplan – die Beschlussfassung über die Anbindung des CFA-Franc an den Euro in der zweiten Jahreshälfte 1998 fallen sollte. In dieser Zeit hatte Österreich die Präsidentschaft in der EU.

Währungsreserven]

Zur Absicherung der CFA-Franc-Konvertibilität sind folgende Regelungen vereinbart:

Die CFA-Länder haben auf 85 % ihrer Währungsreserven keinen Zugriff, da diese beim Agence France Trésor zu hinterlegen sind. 65 % ihrer Währungsreserven haben die CFA-Länder beim Agence France Trésor zu hinterlegen, als Ausgleich für die Garantie der CFA-Franc-Konvertibilität durch die Republik Frankreich.[17] Weitere 20 % ihrer Währungsreserven haben die Länder zu hinterlegen, um finanzielle Unwägbarkeiten abzusichern.

Kritik am CFA-Finanzsystem

Das CFA-System der Währungsreserven wird in Afrika massiv kritisiert. So forderte der Präsident von Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, eine Rückgabe der bei der Banque de France liegenden Währungsreserven an die CFA-Staaten.

Kritiker werfen Frankreich und den regierenden Eliten in seinen ehemaligen Kolonien vor, der einzige rationale Grund für die Existenz des CFA-Franc sei ein stillschweigendes Übereinkommen, um die Staaten der Franc-Zone auszuplündern. Die Bilanz der Partnerschaft zwischen Frankreich und seinen früheren afrikanischen Kolonien sei höchst einseitig. So sichere sich Frankreich einen riesigen Markt für seine Produkte, eine ununterbrochene Versorgung mit billigen Rohstoffen, die Repatriierung des Löwenanteils der lokalen Ersparnisse, konkurrenzlosen politischen Einfluss, kostenlose strategische Präsenz auf Militärbasen und die Gewissheit, dass es sich auf die diplomatische Unterstützung seiner afrikanischen Verbündeten verlassen konnte. Für die Afrikaner hingegen bedeute diese Partnerschaft eine Schwächung des Handels, Geldknappheit, hohe Zinssätze, massive Kapitalflucht und Schuldenberge, deren Rückzahlung die nötigen Investitionen in Bildung und Ausbildung, in Gesundheitswesen, Nahrungsproduktion, in Wohnbau und in die Industrie verhindere.

Der CFA-Franc wird von Kritikern als eine den Ländern nach der Unabhängigkeit aufgezwungene Einheitswährung angesehen, obwohl sie gar nicht mehr in das von Frankreich begründete gemeinsame Marktbündnis eingebunden seien. Der CFA-Franc sei eine Währung, die geschaffen worden sei, um die afrikanischen Länder arm zu halten.

Eine Entkolonialisierung der CFA-Staaten habe nach Meinung von Kritikern nie stattgefunden, der (Neo-)Kolonialismus sei weiter in Kraft.

Kritiker werfen dem CFA-System vor, es habe 50 Jahre lang Generationen französischer Unternehmer und Politiker, den Messieurs Afrique und deren afrikanischen Juniorpartnern, zum eigenen Nutzen gedient, auf Kosten des französischen Steuerzahlers sowie der Armen in den afrikanischen Ländern. Es sei ein Selbstbedienungsladen der Elite. Französische Unternehmer hätten in Afrika doppelt so hohe Gewinnmargen wie in ihrem Mutterland. Die Preise für französische Importe im subsaharischen Afrika – durchgesetzt mittels Lieferbindungen und politischer Patronage – hätten lange Zeit 30 % über den Weltmarktpreisen für vergleichbare Güter und Dienstleistungen gelegen.

Insgesamt verhindere der CFA-Franc jede eigenständige Wirtschafts- und Sozialpolitik der betreffenden Staaten. Er bremse die Entwicklung und behindere die regionale Integration.

Militärpräsenz Frankreichs

Militärabkommen

Die Zusammenarbeit mit Afrika und hier vor allem der CFA-Zone hat für Frankreich oberste Priorität. 80 % des gesamten französischen Militärkooperationsbudgets werden in dieser Region investiert.

Das französische Parlament lässt sich regelmäßig über den aktuellen Stand von den Verantwortlichen Bericht erstatten.

12 der 14 CFA-Staaten sind mit Militärabkommen an Frankreich gebunden

· Accords de défense (Verteidigungsabkommen) bestehen mit Kamerun, Zentralafrikanische Republik, Elfenbeinküste, Gabun, Senegal und Togo.

· Accords de coopération militaire (Militärkooperationsabkommen) bestehen mit Benin, Zentralafrikanische Republik, Kongo/Brazzaville, Äquatorialguinea, Mali, Niger, Tschad, Togo und den Komoren.

· Zudem unterhält Frankreich in acht der 14 CFA-Staaten eigene Ecoles nationales vocation regionale (Militärschulen).

Abgewickelt und verwaltet wird dies von der DCMD (Direction de la coopération militaire et de défense). Die französische Politik hat der DCMD einen umfassenden und genauen Auftrag erteilt.[40] Dieser Auftrag umfasst unter anderem, dass der Absatz von französischem Militärgerät zu unterstützen ist. In den Jahren 2002 bis 2005 umfassten französische Waffenlieferungsverträge eine Vertragshöhe von 900 Millionen Dollar.

Militärbasen

Die Verhandlungen über die Unabhängigkeit der Kolonien beinhalteten bereits die Sicherung des Weiterbestandes des französischen militärischen Stützpunktnetzes. Aus der französischen Kolonialarmee wurde eine französische stationierte Interventionsarmee

Die Stationierungs- und Stützpunktstruktur veränderte sich im Laufe der Jahre, und hat 2008 diese Struktur:

· Elfenbeinküste, Abidjan: Troupes Françaises de Côte d’Ivoire / OPEX Licorne (2000 Mann)

· Gabun, Libreville: Troupes Françaises du Gabon (980 Mann)

· Senegal, Dakar: Forces Françaises interarmées du Cap Vert (1200 Mann)

· Dschibuti (nicht CFA): Forces Françaises de Djibouti (2900 Mann)

· Stationierung im Rahmen von OPEX (Opérations extérieures) in CFA-Staaten:

· Tschad, Hauptbasis N’Djamena: OPEX Epervier (1250 Mann)

· Togo support OPEX Licorne[ (150 Mann)

<![if !supportLists]>· : OPEX Aramis (50 Mann)

· Golf von Guinea: OPEX Corymbe (100 Mann)

· Zentralafrikanische Republik, Hauptbasis Bangui: OPEX Boali (400 Mann)

2008 hatte Frankreich in sieben von 14 CFA-Staaten Truppen stationiert, bzw. es sind Truppen eingesetzt, die aktiv kämpfen.

Militärinterventionen seit 1960

Seit der Unabhängigkeit der afrikanischen Kolonien (1960) hat Frankreich eine Vielzahl von Militärinterventionen in Afrika, vor allem der CFA-Zone, durchgeführt. Seit 1976 werden diese Militärinterventionen als OPEX (opérations exceptionnelles) bezeichnet. OPEX gelten als zwingende Notwendigkeit zur Sicherstellung der Nationalen Sicherheit Frankreichs.

Nach der Unabhängigkeit der Kolonien führte Frankreich 1964 in Gabun seine erste Militärintervention in einem CFA-Staat durch. Seither hat Frankreich durchschnittlich alle 14 Monate eine große Militärintervention in Afrika durchgeführt (1964–2007 37 Militärinterventionen).

Ziel dieser Interventionen war es jeweils, Frankreich-freundliche Regierungen der CFA-Zone an der Macht zu halten, oder an die Macht zu bringen.

Bei Kriegen in Afrika ist die französische Armee einer der Hauptakteure Die französische Politik in Afrika (und damit die Militärpolitik) ist eine traditionelle Domäne des französischen Staatspräsidenten, der die Einsatzbefehle in der Regel direkt erteilt. Dem Parlament wird Bericht erstattet. In Anhörungen werden auch die zuständigen Militärs von den Parlamentariern befragt. Ausmaß und Auswirkungen der jeweiligen OPEX sind den französischen Politikern damit in vollem Umfang und sehr detailliert bekannt.

OPEX können kurz dauern, aber auch eine sehr lange Laufzeit haben. OPEX Epervier im Tschad wurde 1986 von Präsident François Mitterrand, Premierminister Fabius und Verteidigungsminister Quilès angeordnet. Die OPEX Epervier läuft aktuell (2008) noch immer.

Kritik an der CFA-Politik Frankreichs

Kritiker werfen der französischen Politik vor, mit Militärinterventionen in der CFA-Zone die politischen Fakten zu zementieren. Die Diktatoren dieser Länder regierten mit Frankreichs Zustimmung und Unterstützung
Ebenso wird Frankreich vorgeworfen, für Regierende afrikanischer Länder bzw. deren Vermögen ein gutes Versteck darzustellen

In Frankreich ist dieses Vorgehen der französischen Politik nicht unumstritten, auch international wird es kritisiert, wird aber von der Mehrheit der französischen Politiker unterstützt

Lebensstandard

Einkommen, Verschuldung, Korruption

Weltweiter Anteil an der Bevölkerung, die mit weniger als einem Dollar pro Tag lebt. UN-Schätzungen 1990–2005

Ärmste Staaten der Welt: Low-Income-Countries (LIC) (Einkommen/Einwohner unter 745 US$), Quelle: Weltbank 2001

Korruption im internationalen Vergleich (2007)

Verschuldung Karte der HIPC-Länder

Die CFA-Staaten gehören zu den Ländern mit den niedrigsten Einkommen der Welt. Gleichzeitig gehören sie zur Gruppe der hochverschuldeten Entwicklungsländer.

Der Korruptionswahrnehmungsindex liegt bei eins bis drei, d. h. am unteren Ende der Skala.

Transparency International Frankreich klagte 2008 vor einem französischen Gericht fünf afrikanische Staatschefs wegen Korruption an, darunter die vier CFA-Staatschefs Omar Bongo (Gabun), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Republik Kongo), Blaise Campaoré (Burkina Faso) und Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Äquatorialguinea).

Lebenserwartung, Gesundheitsversorgung, AIDS

Prozentsatz der Bevölkerung mit Gesundheitsversorgung

UN 2006: 2005–2010 Lebenserwartung bei der Geburt (Jahre)

Die Lebenserwartung in der CFA-Zone gehört zur niedrigsten der Welt. Die Gesundheitssysteme in den CFA-Ländern sind sehr schlecht ausgebaut. Eine Folge davon ist die höchste Kindersterblichkeitsrate weltweit.

Verschmutztes Trinkwasser ist ein wesentlicher Grund für viele Krankheits- und Todesfälle in den Entwicklungsländern. Die CFA-Zone ist – weltweit verglichen – besonders schlecht mit sauberem Trinkwasser versorgt. Dabei liegt es meist nicht an der Verfügbarkeit von Wasser, sondern an der Qualität dieses Wassers. Eine flächendeckende Trinkwasserreinigung ist nicht gegeben.

Anteil der HIV-Infizierten und Aidskranken an der Bevölkerung (2005)

Die AIDS-Infizierungsrate ist im weltweiten Vergleich erhöht. Bezogen auf Afrika haben andere Nicht-CFA-Länder höhere Infizierungsraten, bei gleichzeitig höherer Lebenserwartung der dortigen Bevölkerung. Die hohen Todesraten sind auch der niedrigen Gesundheitsversorgungsrate zuzuschreiben (siehe Übersicht).

Inwieweit die AIDS-Raten tatsächlich so hoch sind wie angegeben ist strittig, da oftmals andere Krankheiten als AIDS diagnostiziert werden. So werden z. B. vom französischen Atomkonzern AREVA Mitarbeiter mit Strahlenkrankheit in firmeneigenen Krankenhäusern als AIDS-infiziert dargestellt.

2006[71]
Welt-
Region
AIDS
Infizierte
gesamt
AIDS
Neu-
infektionen
AIDS
Todes-
fälle
AIDS
Sterbe-
rate %
AFRIKA / Sub-Sahara 24,7 Mio. 2,8 Mio. 2,1 Mio. 8,5 %
AMERIKA / Süd (= Lateinam.) 1,7 Mio. 140.000 65.000 3,85 %
AMERIKA / Karibik 250.000 27.000 19.000 7,6 %
EUROPA / West u. Zentral 740.000 22.000 12.000 1,65 %

Hunger und Vitaminmangel

Prozentsatz der Bevölkerung mit Mangel an Vitamin A

Prozentsatz der Bevölkerung die Hunger leidet, World Food Programme, 2006

Hunger ist in den CFA-Staaten tägliche Normalität für Millionen von Menschen. Vitaminmangel ist auf Grund der grundsätzlich schlechten Nahrungsversorgung in der CFA-Zone an der Tagesordnung.

Überfischung und gefährdete Nahrungsversorgung

Seit den 1950er Jahren sind die westafrikanischen Grundfischbestände auf ein Viertel geschrumpft.[72] Zum Beispiel wurden im Senegal die Gesamtbestände von fünf Arten untersucht. Sie gingen in den vergangenen 15 Jahren um 75 % zurück. Dieser Trend ist entlang der gesamten westafrikanischen Küste bis nach Namibia zu beobachten.

Das Umweltprogramm der Vereinten Nationen (UNEP) schätzt, dass nicht-einheimische Schiffe rund 80 bis 90 % des Fischfangs vor Westafrika betreiben. Hauptverantwortlich für die Überfischung sind die Flotten der EU, Russlands und einiger Länder Asiens. Herausragend ist hier die EU, die mit rund 80 % Hauptabnehmer der Fisch- und Holzexporte aus der Gemeinschaft Westafrikanischer Staaten (ECOWAS, beinhaltet die CFA-Zone) ist. Es zeichnet sich jedoch bereits ein Wettbewerb mit asiatischen Nationen wie beispielsweise China um die Ressourcen ab.

Als soziologische Folge der für die nur einfach ausgestatteten einheimischen Fischer zurückgehenden Fischerträge gehen, laut WWF, diese teilweise dazu über, sich als Schlepper zu betätigen oder selbst die Flucht in die EU zu versuchen. Gleichzeitig gefährde die nicht nachhaltige Fischerei die Nahrungsversorgung der einheimischen Bevölkerung.

Rechte und Stellung von Frauen und Kindern

Kinder

Kindersterblichkeitsrate

UN-HDI 2007/08: Prozentanteil der Kinder, die zu klein sind für ihr Alter

Weltweit ist die Kindersterblichkeit in der CFA-Zone eine der höchsten. Der Anteil der Kinder, die zu klein sind für ihr Alter, liegt in den CFA-Staaten bei 30 % und höher.

In den CFA-Staaten Benin, Burkina Faso, Kamerun, Elfenbeinküste, Gabun, Mali, Togo, und im nicht zur CFA-Zone gehörenden Nigeria existiert laut einer UNICEF-Studie Kinderhandel.[77]

Kindersklaven werden in Westafrika in der Landwirtschaft eingesetzt. In Kamerun, Elfenbeinküste, Mali, Niger, Togo, und anderen Ländern werden sie bei Anbau und Ernte von Baumwolle, Kakao, Kaffee, Bananen etc. eingesetzt. Als Steinmetze werden sie in Niger und Togo eingesetzt. In größeren Städten werden die Kinder als Sex-Sklaven verwendet. Aufsehen erregte im April 2008 eine von einer ehemaligen Kindersklavin angestrengte Staatsklage gegen Niger, da es durch Gewohnheitsrecht die Praxis der Sklaverei trotz entgegenstehender Strafgesetze legitimiere.

Alphabetisierung und Bildungschancen

Bildungsindex (basierend auf dem 2007/08 Human Development Report)

Alphabetisierungsrate weltweit nach Ländern

Von den vierzehn CFA-Staaten haben neun eine Alphabetisierungsrate von unter 50 %. Unter den zehn am wenigsten alphabetisierten Staaten der Welt sind sieben CFA-Staaten. Die vier am wenigsten alphabetisierten Länder weltweit sind die CFA-Staaten

  • Niger mit einer Alphabetisierungsrate von 28,7 %,
  • Tschad mit 25,7 %,
  • Mali mit 24,0 % und
  • Burkina Faso mit 23,6 %.

Die Kinder der CFA-Zone haben – im weltweiten Vergleich – die geringsten Schulbesuchsquoten. So besuchen in Niger nur 36 % der Jungen und 25 % der Mädchen eine Grundschule, in Burkina Faso sind es 35 bzw. 29 %.

Weltweit ist die Möglichkeit für Mädchen Schulen zu besuchen in der CFA-Zone am geringsten.

Index der menschlichen Entwicklung

Zehn der 14 CFA-Staaten werden von der UN in der Liste der Least Developed Countries geführt bzw. gehören gemäß dem Index der menschlichen Entwicklung des Entwicklungsprogramms der Vereinten Nationen zu den am wenigsten entwickelten Ländern der Welt.

1997 befanden sich unter 175 gelisteten Staaten drei CFA-Staaten unter den ärmsten zehn, im Jahr 2007/08 unter 177 Staaten sechs CFA-Staaten:

UN-HDI 2013

UN-Least Developed Countries 2007

1997
Platz
1997
Land
2007/08
Platz
2007/08
Land
166. Mosambik 168. Demokratische Republik Kongo
167. Guinea 169. Äthiopien
168. Eritrea 170. Tschad (CFA)
169. Burundi 171. Zentralafrikanische Republik (CFA)
170. Äthiopien 172. Mosambik
171. Mali (CFA) 173. Mali (CFA)
172. Burkina Faso (CFA) 174. Niger (CFA)
173. Niger (CFA) 175. Guinea-Bissau (CFA)
174. Ruanda 176. Burkina Faso (CFA)
175. Sierra Leone 177. Sierra Leone

Wirtschaft

Bruttonationalprodukt und Wirtschaftswachstum

Bruttonationalprodukt /
Wachstumsrate 2007

Bruttonationalprodukt/per Kopf (nominal) 2007 (IMF, April 2008)

Das Bruttonationalprodukt pro Kopf reicht in den CFA-Staaten von unter 500 Dollar (Togo) bis zu über 6000 Dollar (Gabun). Die Wachstumsraten liegen dabei im weltweiten Mittelfeld mit 2 bis 6 %.

Export

Baumwolle

Baumwollproduktion im Jahr 2005

Für die CFA-Länder Benin, Burkina Faso, Zentralafrikanische Republik, Elfenbeinküste, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tschad und Togo ist Baumwolle ein wichtiges Export- und Wirtschaftsgut mit beachtlichen Produktionsmengen. Etwa 6 Millionen Menschen in der CFA-Zone leben direkt von der Baumwolle. Ungefähr 10 bis 15 % der weltweiten Roh-Baumwollexporte kommen aus den CFA-Ländern.

Nur etwa 6 % der in der CFA-Zone angebauten Baumwolle können auch in der CFA-Zone verarbeitet werden, da es kaum Textilindustrie in der CFA-Zone gibt. Etwa 90 % der angebauten Baumwolle wird exportiert und ist damit abhängig vom Weltmarktpreis.

Rohstoffe

Erdöl

Ölförderländer

In vier CFA-Staaten wird nennenswert Erdöl gefördert. Die Fördermengen der CFA-Staaten 2007:

Für die CFA-Staaten Republik Kongo, Elfenbeinküste und Senegal ist die Erdölverarbeitung ein wichtiger Wirtschaftszweig. Die Republik Kongo verarbeitet dabei eigenes Erdöl, während die Elfenbeinküste und Senegal das Erdöl importieren müssen.

Bodenschätze

Für Niger, Mali und Burkina Faso ist Gold ein wichtiges Exportgut. Teile des Staatsgebietes dieser Länder sind für die landwirtschaftliche Nutzung nicht geeignet, da sie Gebiete der Sahara-Wüste und der Sahelzone sind. Diese kargen Landschaften bergen jedoch reiche Bodenschätze.

In den CFA-Staaten Zentralafrikanische Republik, Elfenbeinküste, Burkina Faso und Republik Kongo werden Diamanten gefördert. Die Zentralafrikanische Republik ist der zehntgrößte Diamantenförderer weltweit. Das Diamantengeschäft ist unter starker internationaler Kritik, da es sich bei den gehandelten Diamanten um Blutdiamanten handeln soll. Besonders die Republik Kongo soll mit diesen Blutdiamanten regen Handel treiben. Kritisiert wird auch, das in den Diamantenminen (wie in den Goldminen) von Niger und Burkina Faso Kinder als Arbeiter eingesetzt werden.[88][89][90]

In Togo und Senegal sind Phosphate ein wichtiges Exportgut. Aluminium ist ein wichtiges Exportgut für Kamerun. In Gabun wird Mangan gefördert.

Uran

Uran wird in Burkina Faso, Kamerun, Zentralafrikanische Republik, Tschad, Gabun, Mali, Niger, Senegal und Togo gesucht bzw. abgebaut.[91] Niger ist dabei der viertgrößte Uranexporteur der Welt nach Kanada, Australien und Kasachstan.

An einer Reihe von Fördergebieten bzw. Explorationsvorhaben ist der französische Areva-Konzern beteiligt. Allein im CFA-Staat Niger fördert Areva soviel Uran, dass damit 40 % des gesamten Jahresuranbedarfs Frankreichs für die Stromerzeugung gedeckt werden. Der dabei gezahlte Uranpreis liegt bei weniger als einem Drittel des Weltmarktpreises.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFA-Franc-Zone

CFA franc

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Usage of:
West African CFA franc (XOF)
Central African CFA franc (XAF)

The CFA franc (in French: franc CFA [fʁɑ̃ seɛfɑ], or colloquially franc) is the name of two currencies used in parts of West and Central African countries which are guaranteed by the French treasury. The two CFA franc currencies are the West African CFA franc and the Central African CFA franc. Although theoretically separate, the two CFA franc currencies are effectively interchangeable.

Both CFA francs have a fixed exchange rate to the euro: 100 CFA francs = 1 former French (nouveau) franc = 0.152449 euro; or 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs exactly.

Although Central African CFA francs and West African CFA francs have always been at parity and have therefore always had the same monetary value against other currencies, they are in principle separate currencies. They could theoretically have different values from any moment if one of the two CFA monetary authorities, or France, decided it. Therefore, West African CFA coins and banknotes are theoretically not accepted in countries using Central African CFA francs, and vice versa. However, in practice, the permanent parity of the two CFA franc currencies is widely assumed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFA_franc

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Exclusive: Chad wants to cut off Glencore’s oil supplies in debt row

N‘DJAMENA/LONDON (Reuters) – Chad is on a collision course with top creditor Glencore as it wants to divert oil from the Swiss trading house to U.S. energy company ExxonMobil from the new year amid a dispute over debt restructuring.

A government document showed that Chad wants to hand over crude oil marketing rights currently held by Glencore under a $1.4 billion loan agreement to Exxon, the biggest oil producer in the Central African country.

Three government and industry sources confirmed the details. Sources close to Glencore say they believe the contract does not allow such a change.

Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, Chad is renegotiating its hefty external commercial debt, namely to Glencore, which eats up nearly all of its oil profits – the country’s main source of revenue.

The near $1.4 billion debt to Glencore is being restructured for a second time since the 2014 oil price crash, in a move expected to be completed by the year-end or early next year.

Weighed down by drought, a refugee crisis and militant group Boko Haram, the government has become frustrated with Glencore and its handling of the debt restructuring, sources in the administration say.

Since 2014, Exxon has been paying royalties to the government in physical crude cargoes that were subsequently allocated by state firm SHT to Glencore.

But this process will end in early January as the government has asked Exxon to pay royalties in cash instead, according to a letter from the company dating from mid-October.

“In this context, we wish to levy in cash, and not in kind, the royalties due by the Consortium on January 2, 2018,” the letter stated.

The change will see Exxon replace Glencore as the marketer of the royalty oil.

Spokesmen for ExxonMobil and Glencore declined to comment. Chad’s finance ministry did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Exxon operates the Doba consortium, the biggest producing group in the country at around 63,000 barrels per day (bpd) out of Chad’s 131,000 bpd in 2017, government data showed.

Cash-strapped Chad has received loans from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank among other entities, with another $12.9 billion of pledged funding as of September from public and private donors for its 2017-2021 national development plan.

A sticking point, a banking source said, was a request from Chad for another grace period on principal repayment that Glencore had so far refused.

Chad previously had a grace period in 2016, after Brent oil futures hit their lowest level since the end of 2003.

“Glencore does not want to hear about a restructuring,” a government source said. “This is why we have decided to take the marketing of our oil away from them.”

A source close to Glencore said the development would represent a “clear and serious breach of the agreement”.

“Glencore is in the middle of negotiations and is optimistic about a restructuring,” the source said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-glencore-chad-oil-exclusive/exclusive-chad-wants-to-cut-off-glencores-oil-supplies-in-debt-row-idUSKBN1CZ1TK

About: Glencore

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Tesla slapped with labor complaint by UAW

The United Auto Workers on Wednesday hit Tesla with a federal labor complaint, claiming the electric vehicle maker consistently harassed and recently fired union supporters despite their strong performance records.

The UAW claims the company has intimidated and harassed employees, and targeted union supporters in their recent round of dismissals. The labor group charges the company swept up many pro-union workers when it fired several hundred workers in the last two weeks.

A Tesla spokesman said the company respects workers’ rights to discuss organizing and protesting.

“Performance reviews result in promotions and occasionally in employee departures,” the spokesman said. “No one at Tesla has ever or will ever have any action taken against them based on their feelings on unionization.”

He added that complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board are a common practice for union organizers.

Tesla workers are not represented by a union, although the UAW has supported workers seeking to organize at the plant.

Tesla fired hundreds of workers this month, including engineers, factory workers, and sales and administrative staff. The company said the dismissals, which employees have estimated to be between 400 and 700 workers, were based on annual performance reviews. Tesla refused to say how many employees have been fired.

Tesla is trying to expand production of its new Model 3 sedan, but only produce 260 cars last quarter. It has a backlog of about 450,000 orders for the lower cost electric vehicle.

www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/26/tesla-slapped-with-labor-complaint-by-uaw/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=gmsv&utm_medium=email

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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

11-03-17 CFA-Franc-Zone – Wikipedia.pdf

11-03-17 CFA franc – Wikipedia.pdf

10-31-17 Protestant Project_Five Hundred Years Later.pdf

Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 27.10.17

Massenbach-Letter. News – Fats Domino, One of Rock ’n’ Roll’s First Stars, Is Dead at 89 –

  • Japan’s Election Warning to China
  • Friends of Europe study: Jumping over its shadow – Germany and the future of European defence
  • With Workers Split Over Trump, Unions Look to Bridge the Divide
  • Basler Zeitung: “Sie hat doch gar nichts getan.”
  • CICERO: ANgela Merkel – Die Nichtregierungsorganisation
  • WSJ- The Client – Hillary Clinton and the Democrats paid for a former spy to work with Russians to smear Trump.

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

  • Germany’s Southern Сorridor to Greater Eurasia: Away from Warsaw towards Damascus
  • Navalny’s volunteers: paid up PR-campaigns or a new political power?
  • Muqtada al-Sadr: A Way into the Arab World?
  • Carnegie-Moscow: Dagestan’s Main Problem Isn’t Clans. It’s the Russian System

Massenbach*With Workers Split Over Trump, Unions Look to Bridge the Divide

Organized labor faces crisis as White House draws blue-collar workers’ support, service workers’ opposition

President Donald Trump at the North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference in Washington in April, 2017..

At the largest meeting of organized labor next week, U.S. unions are shutting out politicians so they can determine who their friends are.

The question for labor unions is how to deal with a Republican White House that many of its members oppose but whose policies also appeal to significant elements of the labor movement.

President Donald Trump has peeled support from workers who say they’ve felt the sting of globalization. He has pushed policies—including on energy and trade—that appeal to blue-collar workers in fields such as construction, manufacturing and mining.

But what’s become the majority of organized labor—service unions such as those for teachers, government employees and health-care workers—opposes administration policies such as immigration restrictions and an overhaul of the tax system.

Worker advocates must decide how to proceed next week in St. Louis during the AFL-CIO’s once-every-four-year convention. There the nation’s largest labor federation will bring together 56 unions, including the American Federation of Teachers and the United Mine Workers, to set the policy tone and pick leadership through the next presidential election.

In a show of a political independence, the AFL-CIO didn’t invite lawmakers of either party or members of the administration to speak at the convention, a break from past protocol. In recent conventions, President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) were featured speakers.

“The labor movement is at crisis point,” said Greg Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers union and a member of the AFL-CIO’s executive council. “We need to strategize a plan for the next four years, and how we intend to come together.”

During last year’s presidential election, many unions formally supported Hillary Clinton, but union members voted for the Democratic candidate at the lowest rates since 1980. Unions are grappling with diminished political influence. In 1976, nearly 30% of voters came from union households. Last year, it was just 18%, according to Cornell University’s Roper Center.

Mr. Trump’s administration has welcomed certain unions with open arms. The president hosted leaders of construction unions during his first week in the Oval Office and was the featured speaker at North America’s Building Trades Unions conference in April. That AFL-CIO division represents about a quarter of 12.5 million total members.

“Did you ever think you’d see a president who knows how much concrete and rebar you can lay down in a single day? Believe me, I know,” Mr. Trump said in his speech. He went on to salute trade workers group by group—ironworkers, plumbers, electricians—each to a round of applause.

Mr. Trump’s outreach echoes that of Ronald Reagan’s . Mr. Reagan performed relatively well with union voters, and sought to court them, including speaking at an AFL-CIO convention. He was a former union president, leading the Screen Actors Guild, but he sparred with unions during his presidency, most notably when he fired more than 10,000 unionized air-traffic controllers who were on strike in 1981.

The current White House has been slower to engage with unions outside of manufacturing and construction. It has made no high-profile outreach to unions representing federal government workers, which protested the federal hiring freeze and intent to shrink the size of government, or to the Service Employees International Union, one of the largest unions outside of the AFL-CIO. The SEIU, for example, has called Mr. Trump’s ending of the program that protected undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children “cruel” and “racist.”

A White House spokesman said it is open to working with anyone interested in helping the president fulfill his agenda.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said: “This administration cares deeply about job creation and opportunity for all Americans, and hearing from all stakeholders—including business, labor and community groups—is part of delivering for the American workforce.”

Meanwhile, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams was given a place of honor near Mr. Trump during a visit to a historic auto plant this year in Ypsilanti, Mich. “They had me sitting right next to him, which was surprising,” Mr. Williams told reporters in July.

Mr. Williams says he has spoken with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about changing the North American Free Trade Agreement, and found them to be supportive. Mr. Trump has promised to withdraw from the pact unless a better deal can be negotiated for U.S. businesses and workers.

Mr. Acosta impressed apprentice carpenters last month when he quizzed them on the proper fasteners for framing roofs during a tour of a training center, said William Waterkotte, leader of the carpenters union in the Pittsburgh region. “We’re going to support those who support working class, blue-collar Americans,” Mr. Waterkotte said.

The Mine Workers praised the administration this month after it announced the withdrawal from Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan and worked with a Republican-controlled Congress to secure health care for its retirees in the spring. “Labor unions assume we can’t convince Republicans to help, and I think we’ve demonstrated that they will,” said Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts.

Other unions aren’t as encouraged by the results.

Mr. Trump has “been a disappointment, even to those who voted for him,” said Teachers Federation President Randi Weingarten. “Infrastructure spending never got off the ground … and his first economic move was to strip people of their health insurance.”

The leadership of the AFL-CIO is longtime Democrats, said Gary Chaison, a Clark University professor emeritus of labor and industrial relations. But Mr. Trump’s message resonated with rank-and-file members, which weakens union’s leverage with either party.

“The AFL-CIO might prefer an old-fashioned enemy,” he said. “Someone they could hate.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, himself a former coal miner, is now in the position of attempting to unify disparate unions as he seeks re-election to the post he has held since 2009.

Mr. Trumka has had an uneven relationship with Mr. Trump so far. He said in April he was ready to work with the president and accepted a spot on the president’s manufacturing council. But he resigned from that council in August over Mr. Trump’s response to protests and violence in Charlottesville, Va., and is a vocal opponent of tax-overhaul plans. Mr. Trumka couldn’t be reached for comment.

“My members, like most Americans, are angry that the system isn’t working for them,” Mr. Trumka said in late August. “As a result, they were willing to take a risk on Donald Trump.”

Mr. Trumka said those voters aren’t getting what they hoped for because the “Wall Street wing” of the administration has won out.

“Instead of a bold, new direction, workers have gotten broken promises,” he said. “You’re beginning to see a lot of people come back across the bridge.”

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/with-workers-split-over-trump-unions-look-to-bridge-the-divide-1508497202-lMyQjAxMTE3NDI0MjMyOTIwWj/

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

  • Germany’s Southern Сorridor to Greater Eurasia: Away from Warsaw towards Damascus
  • Navalny’s volunteers: paid up PR-campaigns or a new political power?
  • Muqtada al-Sadr: A Way into the Arab World?

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CTC Westpoint – Combating Terrorism

Beyond the Caliphate: Morocco

“Beyond the Caliphate: Morocco” is the third case study released as part of the Combating Terrorism Center’s Beyond the Caliphate project, an effort that seeks to evaluate how the Islamic State’s influence, operational reach, and capabilities are changing in areas that fall outside of its physical caliphate.

Even though there have been no attacks by the Islamic State in Morocco to date, this study finds that 33 terrorist plots linked to or inspired by the group have been uncovered in Morocco since June 2014. It also finds that slightly more than 60% of those plots had direct links to Islamic State operatives either based in Syria or Iraq, or within Morocco itself. In the majority of those cases, the Islamic State attempted to "remote control" and provide operational guidance to local cells from afar.

Given the Maghreb’s strategic location and the links between operatives of Moroccan descent and recent attacks in Europe, these attempted plots serve as a warning to the international community that Morocco is not to be overlooked. Indeed, as increasing numbers of communities within close proximity to Morocco see violence from actors linked to or inspired by the Islamic State, the data reviewed in this study demonstrates how Morocco could very well become a stage for similar forms of violence.

To access the project page, with link to the Morocco report, click here.

https://ctc.usma.edu/programs-resources/beyond-the-caliphate-2

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Basler Zeitung: “Sie hat doch gar nichts getan.”

Katalonien und Spanien nähern sich dem Abgrund. Die EU-Politiker schweigen depressiv. Merkel versagt.

Das alles wird Angela Merkel bedauern. Aber Verantwortung wird sie nie dafür übernehmen.

Markus Somm

Der spanische Ministerpräsident Mariano Rajoy hat am Donnerstag bekannt gegeben, dass er Kataloniens Regierung entmachten und die Region von Madrid aus verwalten möchte. Das erlaubt ihm zwar ein Artikel in der Verfassung, der aber in den vergangenen 40 Jahren noch nie angewandt wurde, was deutlich macht, wie ungewöhnlich der Schritt ist.

Am Freitag verlangte er Neuwahlen. Währenddessen tagten in Brüssel die Staats- und Regierungschefs der EU – und die meisten hatten dazu nichts zu sagen, was sie als höhere Einsicht ausgaben, was tatsächlich aber wohl eher Ausdruck einer Eigenschaft ist, wie so typisch scheint für diese Generation von Berufspolitikern: Sie sind überfordert. Sie wissen weder ein noch aus.

Wie schon so oft hat sich die mächtigste Frau des Kontinents, Angela Merkel, dabei auch als die am offensichtlichsten überforderte erwiesen. Die Verfassung sei einzuhalten, beschied die deutsche Bundeskanzlerin den Katalanen, und stellte sich bedingungslos auf die Seite der spanischen Regierung, die im Begriff ist, ihr Land zu zerstören.

Was machtvoll und entschieden wirkte, war nichts anderes als eine Kapitulation vor den Umständen. Merkel glaubt wohl, sie könnte das aussitzen, was ohnehin ihre oberste Handlungsmaxime zu sein scheint, die sie zwar bisher an der Macht gehalten, aber in Europa und in Deutschland vor allem Ruinen hinterlassen hat. Manchmal müssen Politiker auch etwas tun, das Mut erfordert, Merkel tut nur etwas, wenn alle ihr sagen, was zu tun wäre – und auch dann wartet sie, bis es zu spät ist und ihr alle dies bestätigen.

Der Brutalo-Kurs

Insgeheim ahnen doch die meisten Politiker, dass Rajoy so nicht ans Ziel gelangt. Glaubt er denn wirklich, die Wünsche der Katalanen nach mehr Autonomie würden sich einfach in Luft auflösen, weil man sich fürchtet vor dem Verfassungsbruch? Niemand zittert in Barcelona. Wer hat Angst vor Mariano Rajoy, dem bärtigen Aussitzer selber, der eher wie ein frustrierter Primarlehrer vor der Pensionierung aussieht als wie ein Mann der Tat? So führen sich Verlierer auf, bevor sie verloren haben.

Wenn Rajoy diesen Weg weiterverfolgt, wird er am Ende Truppen einsetzen müssen, denn nur mit Gewalt wird er seinen Brutalo–Kurs durchsetzen können. Der Tages–Anzeiger hat ihn vor kurzem mit Recep Erdogan, dem türkischen Diktator, verglichen, ein grotesker Vergleich, denn im Gegensatz zu Erdogan fehlt es Rajoy wohl an der nötigen Brutalität. Die Türkei führt seit Jahrzehnten einen ungerechten Krieg gegen die eigenen Kurden, man tötet und löscht aus, man prügelt und misshandelt; die Spanier haben in ihrer langen, blutrünstigen Geschichte zwar bewiesen, dass sie das ebenso gut meistern, doch inzwischen ist das lange her.

Es mangelt an türkischer Routine. Rajoy, dem bärtigen Technokraten, traue ich das nicht mehr zu. Irgendwann wird es trotzdem eine gültige Volksabstimmung über die Unabhängigkeit von Katalonien geben – und Rajoy dürfte diese verlieren, weil er in der Zwischenzeit alles dafür getan hat, um auch noch den letzten Katalanen davon zu überzeugen, dass Spanien ein fremdes, feindseliges Regime darstellt.

Merkel wird das im Nachhinein alles bedauern. So wie sie wohl bedauert, dass sie eine Million Flüchtlinge einfach so aufgenommen hat und Deutschland mutwillig unsicher, ärmer und zerstrittener gemacht hat, genauso wie sie bedauert, dass ihre CDU zum ersten Mal seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg ernsthaft von Konservativen bedrängt wird und auf lange Sicht ihre Mehrheitsfähigkeit eingebüsst hat, genauso wie sie auch bedauert, dass Grossbritannien die EU verlassen wird, was an erster Stelle die deutsche Bundeskanzlerin bewirkt hat, weil sie wie Rajoy auf Paragrafen herumgeritten ist, statt wie eine kluge Politikerin zu handeln.

Die Engländer, genauer: deren Premier David Cameron, hätten von der EU, also von Merkel, bloss einiger Konzessionen bedurft in Sachen Immigration, ein paar Paragrafen hätte man übersehen oder biegen müssen, damit England den Zustrom von Einwandern hätte besser steuern können – und es wäre nie zum Brexit gekommen.

Auch wird Merkel hinterher bedauern, dass die Verhandlungen, die jetzt über den Brexit stattfinden, von Seiten der EU so irrational aggressiv und stur geführt werden, als ob Rajoy damit betraut wäre – mit dem wahrscheinlichen Ergebnis, dass die Beziehungen zwischen Grossbritannien und der EU auf Dauer so gestört bleiben, dass wir alle hier in Europa Schaden nehmen.

Der Geist von Rajoy und Merkel

Die Briten haben Europa drei Mal mit dem Blut ihrer jungen Männer und Frauen vor dem Untergang gerettet: Sicher hätten sie eine viel, viel bessere Behandlung verdient. Doch das alles erinnert an den Umgang der EU mit der Schweiz: wer, wie auch wir, alle Regeln ernst nimmt und höflich bleibt, wird von der EU kujoniert und misshandelt – wer dagegen auf die Regeln pfeift und macht, was er will und dabei sich noch von den Deutschen alles bezahlen lässt, weil diese aus schlechtem Gewissen ohnehin alles bezahlen, was man von ihnen verlangt, dem gibt man nach.

Seit Jahren signalisieren wir Schweizer der EU, dass die Personenfreizügigkeit unser spezielles, da vielsprachiges und kleines Land überfordert, dass wir andere Regeln bräuchten oder etwas Nachsicht, ohne Erfolg, ohne Ergebnis, stattdessen werden Volksabstimmungen ignoriert, unsere Diplomaten ausgelacht (was diese sich gerne gefallen lassen), Ressentiments gegen uns angebliche Rosinenpicker gehegt und gepflegt (wobei wir im Gegensatz zu den meisten EU-Ländern für diese sauren Rosinen teuer und pünktlich bezahlen); kurz, es herrscht der Geist von Rajoy und Merkel in Brüssel, die indessen nicht aus Stärke oder Raffinesse so selbstgerecht auf Paragrafen thronen, sondern aus Schwäche und Ratlosigkeit.

Wenn es Merkel nämlich passt, weil sie ans Ende des Aussitzens gelangt ist, dann gelten für sie keine Regeln. Als sie eine Million Einwanderer über Nacht nach Deutschland einreisen liess, ohne ihr Kabinett, die EU oder sonst jemanden zu fragen, sprengte sie kurzerhand das Schengen- und Dublin-Abkommen in die Luft – mit Folgen, von denen sich Europa vielleicht nie mehr erholt.

Das alles wird Merkel bedauern. Aber Verantwortung wird sie nie dafür übernehmen.

Als Griechenland faktisch bankrott war, setzte Merkel zahllose Regeln ausser Kraft, auf die man sich einst geeinigt hatte, um den Euro zu einer tauglichen Währung zu machen. Mit anderen Worten: Merkel oder die EU beugen die Regeln, wann immer es ihnen kommod erscheint, und die gleichen Politiker und Funktionäre machen uns, oder den Briten oder den Katalanen dann Vorhaltungen, wenn wir schon nur darüber verhandeln möchten, die Regel zu ändern.

Das alles wird Merkel bedauern. Aber Verantwortung wird sie nie dafür übernehmen. Denn sie hat ja gar nichts getan – dürfte sie sagen, während sie traurig auf die Ruinenlandschaften blickt, die sie den Europäern hinterlassen hat. Sie hat ja gar nichts getan. Da hat sie allerdings recht. (Basler Zeitung)

Erstellt: 21.10.2017, 08:23 Uhr

https://bazonline.ch/ausland/europa/sie-hat-doch-gar-nichts-getan/story/23198368

CICERO: ANgela Merkel – Die Nichtregierungsorganisation

VON JENS PETER PAUL am 24. Oktober 2017

Die alte Regierung ist nur noch geschäftsführend im Amt und wird auf unbestimmte Zeit nicht mehr als eine lahme Ente sein. Dabei hätte es Alternativen gegeben. Aber Angela Merkel setzt auch hier auf: weiter wie bisher

Bis zum Dienstag, den 24. Oktober 2017 um 11 Uhr, war Angela Merkel noch im Vollbesitz ihrer exekutiven Kräfte als Kanzlerin der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Mit der ersten Zusammenkunft des 19. Deutschen Bundestages endet dieser Zustand. In diesem Moment „erledigt“ sich ihr Amt, wie es im Grundgesetz schnörkellos heißt, was gegen 17 Uhr desselben Tages dadurch amtlich werden wird, dass der Bundespräsident der Kanzlerin und ihrem Rest-Kabinett in Schloss Bellevue die Entlassungsurkunden aushändigt.

Wie stets in solchen Fällen, in denen nicht unmittelbar darauf ein neuer Kanzler gewählt wird, ersucht der Bundespräsident im nächsten Moment die bis eben amtierende Kanzlerin, gemäß Artikel 69 Absatz III Grundgesetz „die Geschäfte bis zur Ernennung seines Nachfolgers weiterzuführen“ (eine weibliche Form ist im Verfassungstext unverändert nicht vorgesehen).

Diese Hilfskonstruktion vermeidet eine führungslose Zeit, auch wenn die Kanzlerin seit dem Wahlabend, erst recht seit dem unverzüglichen Abgang der SPD in die Opposition, ohne Mehrheit im Bundestag dasteht, auf die sie sich in Abstimmungen stützen könnte.

Lahme Ente auf unbestimmte Zeit

Angela Merkel schöpft noch eine gewisse Legitimation aus dem Wahlergebnis von 2013 sowie – wenn auch in deutlich schwächerer Form – aus dem jüngsten von 2017, in dem ihre CDU noch 26,8 Prozent der Stimmen auf sich vereinigen konnte. Die Kanzlerin und ihre geschrumpfte Ministerriege sind also ab Dienstagabend „verpflichtet“, den Regierungsladen geschäftsführend am Laufen zu halten. Mehr als die politische Gestaltungskraft einer lahmen Ente kann eine solche Konstellation jedoch nicht mehr für sich beanspruchen.

Innen- und außenpolitische Entscheidungen, die eine künftige Regierung über ein Mindestmaß hinaus einschränken und festlegen würden, sind ihr zwar nach dem Wortlaut der Verfassung nicht untersagt, würden aber jeden möglichen zukünftigen Koalitionspartner verprellen. Sie verbieten sich also aus politischem Kalkül. Das Ausland kann und wird Angela Merkel in der Zeit des bevorstehenden Interregnums nicht mehr für voll nehmen, weil jede Äußerung von ihr unter dem Vorbehalt steht, dass eine künftige Koalition ihr darin zu folgen bereit ist.

Merkel hat es verpasst zu gestalten

Angesichts des Experimentalcharakters eines Jamaika-Bündnisses wiegt diese Einschränkung deutlich stärker, als wenn heute bereits etwa eine Neuauflage einer Großen Koalition absehbar wäre oder auch eine schwarz-gelbe oder schwarz-grüne.

Bis Dienstag 11 Uhr hatte Merkel gemäß Wortlaut und Kommentierung der Verfassung noch die Möglichkeit, ihr Kabinett so umzubauen, dass ein Mindestmaß an Arbeitsfähigkeit und Stringenz bleibt. Nach Darstellung ihres Sprechers nutzte sie diese bewusst nicht, weil sie keinen Anlass dazu sah. Vielmehr befinde sich die Kanzlerin, sagte Steffen Seibert am Montag, ob regulär amtierend oder lediglich geschäftsführend, „in der absoluten demokratischen Normalität“. Eine geschäftsführende Regierung habe „quasi dieselben Rechte wie eine regulär im Amt befindliche“. Sie habe dieselben Befugnisse, „aber natürlich werden auch dabei die politischen Gepflogenheiten beachtet werden“.

Das zentrale Argument des Regierungssprechers lautet: Das wurde schon immer so gemacht – deshalb kann es nicht verkehrt sein. Dieses Argument ist formal zutreffend, missachtet allerdings eine Reihe von Besonderheiten, die die kommenden Wochen und Monate aus machtstrategischer und ganz praktischer P erspektive auszeichnen werden – und die es in dieser Form seit 1949 noch nicht gegeben hat.

Eine Regierung voller Widersprüche

Auf ungewisse Zeit – nach täglich wiederholter Darstellung der Sondierer sogar bis ins nächste Jahr hinein – leben wir nun mit einer Regierungsfrau- und -mannschaft voller interner Widersprüche:

1. Wolfgang Schäuble, tragende Säule der bisherigen Merkel-Kabinette, wurde verabschiedet ins Amt des Bundestagspräsidenten. Anstatt das Amt des Bundesfinanzministers neu zu besetzen, wird Merkels Vertrauter Peter Altmaier auf ihr Geheiß das nach dem Kanzleramt wichtigste Haus nebenbei mitverwalten. Sofern ihm dafür als „Jamaika“-Chefverhandler noch Zeit bleibt.

Die Korrektur- und Wächterfunktion des Finanzministers könnte ausgehebelt und ad absurdum geführt werden. CDU, CSU, FDP und Grüne schicken sich an, allfällige Meinungsverschiedenheiten mit Milliardensummen aus dem Staatshaushalt zuzuschütten. Jede Hoffnung, ein Kanzleramtsundnebenbeifinanzminister Altmaier werde hier wirkungsvoll im Interesse der Steuerzahler und späterer Generationen intervenieren, könnte sich als naiv herausstellen. Die CDU selbst nennt in einem internen Papier einen Aufwand von 100 Milliarden Euro, sollten die Wünsche der möglicherweise künftigen Koalitionäre realisiert werden.

2. Andrea Nahles, bisher Bundesarbeitsministerin und verantwortlich für die bestimmungsgemäße Verwendung von 137.582.419.000,00 Euro, den mit Abstand größten Einzelposten des Bundeshaushalts, hat ihr Haus fluchtartig verlassen, um sich den Posten der Oppositionsführerin zu sichern. Merkels Antwort: Anstatt umgehend für vollwertigen Ersatz zu sorgen, betraut sie Katharina Barley, die mit Abstand unerfahrenste Ministerin, mit dem Nebenjob der Leitung des vergleichsweise gigantischen Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales.

3. Alexander Dobrindt hinterlässt als Bundesminister für Verkehr und Infrastruktur bei seinem Wechsel auf die Position des CSU-Landesgruppenvorsitzenden eine derartige Fülle ungelöster Probleme und offener Baustellen, dass es eines echten Könners bedürfte, wenigstens das Schlimmste zu verhindern. Durchweg handelt es sich um Themen, die keinerlei Aufschub vertragen, schon gar nicht bis ins nächste Jahr hinein. Statt dessen wird Christian Schmidt, Bundesminister für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung, das bisher schon komplett überforderte Verkehrsministerium im Nebenjob mitverwalten. Sofern auch er dazu angesichts seiner Mitarbeit in den „Jamaika“-Gremien noch Zeit findet.

Die Grenze zur Wurschtigkeit überschritten

Ein gewisses Maß an Fahren auf Sicht mag angesichts der täglich neuen Wendungen der Weltlage unvermeidlich, sogar vernünftig sein. Mit der hier beschriebenen Handhabung der ihr anvertrauten Regierungsgewalt überschreitet Angela Merkel jedoch die Grenze zur Wurschtigkeit. Das mag folgenlos bleiben, wenn alles einigermaßen nach Plan läuft und nichts Unvorhergesehens passiert.

Die vergangenen zwei Jahre lehren uns aber: Sicher ist national und international gar nichts mehr. Es war vor diesem Hintergrund nicht nur Merkels Recht, sondern ihre Pflicht, die Möglichkeiten zu nutzen, die ihr das Grundgesetz bis zur Konstituierung des neuen Bundestages bietet. Zwei Wochen nach der Wahl, als die Abgänge und neuen Prioritäten ihrer Ministerriege ersichtlich waren, hätte sie das Kabinett so umbilden und personell neu ausstatten müssen, dass es für die bevorstehenden Monate ein Maximum an Kompetenz und Stabilität zu gewährleisten im Stande ist und daneben auch eine Personalreserve vorhält, sogar auch in der Form der Benennung eines Ministers ohne Geschäftsbereich, der notfalls weitere Vakanzen verhindern könnte.

Rumpfkabinett für Deutschland

Dazu gehört eine klare und logische Reaktion auf die Tatsache, dass sich die SPD noch am Wahlabend explizit in die Opposition verabschiedet hat. Das ist das gute Recht der SPD, zumal den Sozialdemokraten im Hinblick auf ihre Zukunft auch gar nichts anderes übrig blieb. Aber Merkel hätte diese – seither vielfach bekräftigte und durch Taten untermauerte – Entscheidung ebenso konsequent beantworten müssen mit der Entlassung aller SPD-Minister aus ihrer Regierung, solange sie das noch konnte und durfte. Sie unterließ es um des lieben Friedens willen, um nicht Staub aufzuwirbeln, weil sie die SPD im Notfall doch noch in eine Regierung locken zu können glaubt.

Als Folge hat Merkel, hat es das Land nun mit einem Rumpfkabinett zu tun, dessen eine Hälfte sich nicht nur gedanklich längst in der Opposition befindet, sondern auch ganz praktisch. Den Begriff der Kabinettsdisziplin können die verbliebenen Sozialdemokraten ab jetzt großzügig auslegen, wissend, dass eine geschäftsführende Kanzlerin ohne jede Disziplinierungs- oder Sanktionschance dasteht. Geschäftsführende Minister sind praktisch unkündbar. Allenfalls können sie sich selbst unter Hinweis auf Gesundheitsgründe entfernen. Der Chefin aber sind die Hände gebunden.

Deutsche Bahn und Glyphosat offenbaren das Problem

Wer eine unbesorgte Entfaltung endlich eigener Vorstellungen für eine lediglich abstrakte Gefahr hält, muss sich nur einmal die Rolle anschauen, die die Bundeswirtschaftsministerin in diesen Wochen bei allen Versuchen spielte und weiter spielt, den Bahn-Vorstand wieder arbeitsfähig zu machen. Die sozialdemokratischen Vertreter im DB-Aufsichtsrat blockieren auf ausdrückliche Anweisung von Brigitte Zypries alle Bemühungen, vakante Positionen zu besetzen. Stattdessen ergriffen weitere Manager die Flucht aus einem Konzern, dessen Funktionieren unmittelbar Einfluss hat auf den Alltag unzähliger Menschen und Unternehmen – übrigens auch im Ausland, das mehr und mehr fassunglos auf die deutsche Unfähigkeit reagiert, einen verlässlichen Schienenverkehr sicherzustellen.

Ein ähnlicher Konflikt kocht nun um die Zulassung von Glyphosat hoch: Der CSU-Landwirtschaftsminister ist unverändert strikt dafür, die SPD-Umweltministerin ist unverändert strikt dagegen. Bei der bevorstehenden finalen Abstimmung in Brüssel ist die Bundesrepublik aktionsunfähig. Ein innenpolitisch hochbrisantes Thema wird womöglich ohne Votum der Bundesregierung entschieden – mit Bindungswirkung für Deutschland, aber ohne demokratische Abstimmung hierzulande. Eine böse Sache, egal, wie man zu dem Thema stehen mag.

Unwahrscheinlich aber nicht ausgeschlossen

Das Nichthandeln der Bundeskanzlerin wiegt umso schwerer, als niemand, auch nicht die Kanzlerin selbst, mit Sicherheit von einem Zustandekommen einer CDU-CSU-FDP-Grünen-Koalition ausgehen darf. Horst Seehofer und Christian Lindner („Die Chance steht 50:50“) sind weniger berechenbar denn je. Mehrere Parteitage stehen aus, die zunächst erst einmal den Beginn konkreter Verhandlungen absegnen sollen – jeder einzelne ein Risiko. Woraus wiederum folgt: Es ist zwar nicht wahrscheinlich, aber auch alles andere als ausgeschlossen, dass es nach einem Scheitern der Verhandlungen zunächst eine Minderheitsregierung Merkel geben wird mit anschließenden neuen Versuchen, eine Regierungsmehrheit zusammenzubringen – mit noch einmal geringeren Erfolgschancen. Das hätte dann irgendwann 2018, vielleicht sogar erst 2019 Neuwahlen zur Folge. Womit alles wieder von vorne begänne.

Dieses Szenario nicht wenigstens im Hinterkopf zu behalten, sondern ohne jeden Plan B mit einem dezimierten, zerstrittenen, illoyalen und schon aus praktischen Gründen strukturell überforderten Behelfskabinett in die kommenden Monate hineinzuschlittern, ist das Gegenteil verantwortlicher und umsichtiger Führungsarbeit, die auch überraschende Ereignisse und Entwicklungen antizipiert.

Merkel hat eine große Chance vergeben

Zumal die Bundeskanzlerin durch Unterlassung auch eine großartige Chance ohne Not vergibt. Nach dem miserablen Wahlergebnis hätte sich Frau Merkel ein Kabinett nach ihren Vorstellungen zusammenstellen können. Die SPD-Minister hätte sie durch angesehene, gerne auch parteilose Fachleute ersetzen können.

Oder sie hätte „Jamaika“ schon einmal ganz praktisch vorweggenommen – durch eine Komposition einer Ministerriege, die schwarze, grüne und liberale Elemente und damit die Chance enthält, das Potential einer solchen ungewohnten Konstellation praktisch zu beweisen.

Eine dritte, vielleicht sogar klügste Option hat Merkel ohne Not missachtet: Die Bildung eines überparteilichen Übergangs-Kabinetts, das bis zu ihrer Wiederwahl nach erfolgreichen Koalitionsverhandlungen ziemlich genau das neue Kräfteverhältnis im Bundestag widerspiegelt, also ein getreues Abbild des Wählerwillens darstellt. Wer dieses Angebot ablehnt, müsste damit leben, dass sie offene Ministerposten mit eigenem Personal bestückt – bis hin zu einem reinen CDU-CSU-Kabinett.

Was macht Angela Merkel eigentlich, wenn die SPD ihre Minister übermorgen komplett aus der Regierung abzieht – etwa, weil sie sich über irgendetwas tierisch geärgert hat? Sicher: Die Minister sind „verpflichtet“, der Bitte der Kanzlerin zu entsprechen und geschäftsführend weiterzuarbeiten. Aber: Sie könnten sich arbeitsunfähig melden (so die führenden Verfassungskommentare), oder es könnte eine andere Situation eintreten, die es ihnen unzumutbar erscheinen lässt, das Amt weiterzuführen. Und für einen waidwunden Sozialdemokraten gilt manches schnell als unzumutbar.

Ein überfordertes Reste-Kabinett

Fazit: Unsere Kanzlerin geht mit ihrer Das-wurde-immer-schon-so-gemacht-Haltung ein nicht unerhebliches Risiko ein, plötzlich für Monate mit einer schon aus praktischen, weil zeitlichen Gründen überforderten Reste-Rampe an Kabinett dazustehen – ohne Personal, ohne Mehrheit, ohne Plan. Sie liefert der politischen Konkurrenz frei Haus ein Erpressungspotential, das ihr ein Scheitern von „Jamaika“ regelrecht verbietet. Was für die inhaltliche Rest-Substanz mindestens der CDU nichts Gutes verheißt. Ihre zahlreicher werdenden Kritiker innerhalb der Union werden auch das nicht lustig finden.

Regierungssprecher Steffen Seibert dagegen gibt zu erkennen, dass er bereits alle Fragen im Hinblick auf Arbeitsfähigkeit, Solidität und politischen Zusammenhalt der geschäftsführenden Regierung unter einer geschäftsführenden Kanzlerin für absurd hält: „Ich glaube, sie fühlt sich gut gerüstet. Mehr habe ich dazu aber nicht zu sagen.“

http://cicero.de/angela-merkel-geschäftsführende-regierung-nichtregierungsorganisation

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The Client

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats paid for a former spy to work with Russians to smear Trump.

How did the United States government come to turn its vast surveillance powers upon the 2016 presidential campaign of the party out of power? It appears that part of the answer arrived Tuesday night, when the Washington Post reported:

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The facts as reported by the Post last night bear a remarkable resemblance to the scenario sketched out in July by the Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel:

Here’s a thought: What if it was the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton’s campaign? What if that money flowed from a political entity on the left, to a private law firm, to Fusion, to a British spook, and then to Russian sources?

Thanks to the dogged House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ subpoena of Fusion GPS bank records, those involved in this effort must have known that the truth about this scheme would soon be revealed. Perhaps they sought to manage its release. But the New York Times is a little less kind than the Washington Post in describing the Perkins Coie lawyer at the center of this secret effort to smear Donald Trump:

Earlier this year, Mr. Elias had denied that he had possessed the dossier before the election.

Anita Dunn, a veteran Democratic operative working with Perkins Coie, said on Tuesday that Mr. Elias “was certainly familiar with some of, but not all, of the information” in the dossier. But, she said “he didn’t have and hadn’t seen the full document, nor was he involved in pitching it to reporters.” And Mr. Elias “was not at liberty to confirm Perkins Coie as the client at that point,” Ms. Dunn said.

Brian Fallon, who served as a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, on Tuesday wrote on Twitter that he did not know that Mr. Steele had been working on behalf of the Clinton campaign before the election.

“If I had, I would have volunteered to go to Europe and try to help him,” Mr. Fallon wrote.

Mr. Fallon tells a similar story to the Washington Post:

“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” Fallon said. “But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it.”

The Post notes that the rumors generated by this Clinton dirt-digging effort against Mr. Trump were circulating in Washington as early as the summer of 2016. The Times reports that the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie more than $12 million during the 2016 election campaign. Even for such well-funded political operations as the Clintons and the DNC, that’s a lot of money. Certainly they expected a return on their investment.

Read today’s full column » ( see att.)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-client-1508952533?mod=djemBestOfTheWeb

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Barandat*Japan’s Election Warning to China

How Kim and Xi helped Shinzo Abe keep his supermajority.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before their bilateral meeting, on the sideline of the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 5, 2016.

Japan’s ruling coalition performed better than expected in Sunday’s election, retaining its two-thirds majority in the lower house of the Diet. That gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a fighting chance to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution by his target date of 2020. For that he can thank some unlikely allies: China’s supreme leader Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Mr. Abe has long wanted to change the constitution’s Article Nine, which forever renounces war. But it was only after North Korea began to test nuclear weapons and long-range missiles that his dream became feasible.

Twice in the past two months, Japanese across the country were awakened by civil defense announcements that North Korean missiles were flying over Japan. Many were shocked to learn their government can do little to counter Kim Jong Un’s threat to sink Japan with nuclear weapons. That’s when approval ratings for Mr. Abe, who has boosted defense spending since 2013, began to rise, encouraging him to call a snap election.

Japan was content to live under the U.S. nuclear umbrella through Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union. But Beijing’s support for North Korea as it achieved a nuclear breakout radically changed the equation.

Instead of facing a superpower constrained by mutually assured destruction, Japan is threatened by an erratic young dictator worshipped by his people as a demigod. Nobody knows how he would behave in a crisis. And Japanese may wonder whether the U.S. would retaliate for an attack on Tokyo when that could put Los Angeles at risk.

Moreover, Xi Jinping has stirred enmity against Japan for domestic political purposes. Since he came to power in 2012, China imposed an air-defense identification zone over the disputed Senkaku Islands controlled by Japan. The number of Chinese ships and planes challenging Japanese control of the islands dramatically increased.

Beijing is quick to accuse Mr. Abe of returning Japan to militarism. But his measures to shore up the country’s defenses are moderate and long overdue. In 2014 his administration reinterpreted the constitution to allow collective self-defense, the cornerstone of most alliances among democracies. That makes it possible for Japan to take action to shoot down a North Korean missile crossing its airspace on the way to the U.S.

Japan currently lacks offensive weapons such as bombers or cruise missiles that could strike North Korean missile sites. Earlier this year, the Abe administration raised the possibility of buying cruise missiles from the U.S.

As North Korea expands its nuclear arsenal and develops new missiles, Japanese may demand their own nuclear deterrent. This possibility is already being discussed in defense circles. With plenty of plutonium on hand from its civilian nuclear program, Japan could conduct its first nuclear test within a matter of months.

Sunday’s election shows that Beijing’s failure to rein in Kim Jong Un is having real political consequences. Without the threat from North Korea, Mr. Abe would have lost his supermajority, and possibly the election. If Xi Jinping doesn’t want Japan to rearm, he can cut off Kim Jong Un’s food and oil lifelines. Otherwise the balance of power in Northeast Asia will shift in ways China won’t like.

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/japans-election-warning-to-china-1508786347-lMyQjAxMTI3NDI5MzcyNjMzWj/

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Middle East

Carnegie-Moscow: Dagestan’s Main Problem Isn’t Clans. It’s the Russian System

  • Dagestan’s conflicts are the most complex and tangled in the North Caucasus. –

Dagestan’s outgoing leader was also once presented as a figure who would instill order in the republic and combat clan rule. Indeed, Ramazan Abdulatipov tried to reform the regional elite. But clan rule, nepotism, corruption, and the threat of terrorism are still there four years later. It has proved impossible to modernize Dagestan without changing the Russian system as a whole.

Eleven of Russia’s regional leaders have been replaced in the last few weeks, but the most interesting reshuffle is undoubtedly that in Dagestan, where Vladimir Vasilyev, head of the United Russia faction in the State Duma, has replaced Ramazan Abdulatipov, meaning that a politician who wasn’t born in Dagestan and has never lived there has been put in charge of an extremely complex region.

Dagestan is the largest republic in the North Caucasus, and Russia’s most multiethnic region: its 3 million people represent several dozen ethnic groups, ranging from relatively large ones to very small ones living in just a few villages, or even in just one. The republic has numerous socioeconomic and ethnopolitical problems, and serves as a base for terrorist groups, primarily Vilayat Kavkaz, a local affiliate of the Islamic State.

Vasilyev has already made a number of notable statements, including promising Dagestan generous financial support and a staffing policy that won’t involve ethnic quotas. And yet the similarities are striking to when Abdulatipov was appointed head of the republic in January 2013.

Although Abdulatipov was born in Dagestan, he also reached his career heights outside of the region, having served as a State Duma deputy, deputy prime minister and minister in the federal government, and the Russian ambassador to Tajikistan, among other positions.

The Kremlin billed Abdulatipov’s appointment as part of a new path directed at instilling order and combating clan rule and the privatization of state functions in the republic. The new leader was seen as a unifying figure for those tired of informal rule and shadow politics.

Abdulatipov did indeed try to reform the republic’s elite, and removed several previously untouchable heavyweights from power, including Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov, Derbent Mayor Imam Yaraliyev, and the head of the Russian Pension Fund in Dagestan, Sagid Murtazaliyev. They were all removed from their posts amid high-profile criminal cases.

But clan rule, nepotism, corruption, and the threat of terrorism are still there four years on, and it’s Abdulatipov’s associates who are now accused of being nepotistic and corrupt. Hopes for a quick fix with the help of a carpetbagger, therefore, look naïve at the very least.

It is actually largely incorrect to assume that Dagestan’s central problem is clans. This belief stems from an unjustified view of the republic as a backward ethnic periphery, where all issues are resolved by omnipotent clans. It’s also believed that only a strong outside figure with no ties to local elites can put the clans in their place.

Such perceptions are clearly flawed. Members of these “clans” have participated in both regional and national politics for years, and in the executive and legislative branches at a federal level. The impenetrable barrier between the “backward” North Caucasus region and “progressive” Moscow simply doesn’t exist.

Moreover, before invoking the popular term“clan rule,” one should understand what precipitated this type of behavior. Extralegal and informal governing principles in the region resulted from the complex transformations of our times rather than from the region’s ethnographic specifics.

Complex sociopolitical processes took place in Dagestan without the oversight required from the state, and the republic’s secular courts and law enforcement officials were unable to guarantee people protection and security. This hands-off approach elevated various power groups that have constructed social relations and political order the way they saw fit. They also managed to establish independent dialogue with federal structures, and on numerous occasions helped the Russian state, for instance, in repelling Chechen Islamist Shamil Basayev’s attempted invasion of Dagestan in 1999, as well as in many other less high-profile cases. For some reason, no one talked about the archaic social structure of the North Caucasus and the need to combat clan rule on those occasions.

It’s true that Dagestan has far more terrorist attacks and criminal incidents than other regions. It replaced Chechnya as Russia’s most violent region back in 2005. The Caucasian Knot news website, which has studied armed violence in the North Caucasus for many years, reports a 12 percent increase in the number of incidents in Dagestan in 2016. The number of casualties went up 28 percent in the same period.

Dagestan’s conflicts are the most complex and tangled in the North Caucasus. Ethnic strife persists, but those conflicts are less pronounced than they were in the 1990s, when political liberalization and the rehabilitation of repressed ethnic groups reignited a lot of mutual grievances. The shortage of available land and the ongoing process of migration from the mountains to the plains and from the villages to the cities has eroded Dagestan’s traditional ethnic communities.

While the first post-Soviet conflicts stemmed from past problems, the current ones are new and revolve around land. The main issue discussed at the All-Russian Congress of the Nogai People held in the village of Terekli-Mekteb on July 14, 2017, concerned the right to municipal lands for distant-pasture cattle rearing.

On the other hand, ethnic problems are now supplemented by conflicts between Islamic religious groups. The number of mosques in Dagestan has grown sixty times in the twenty years since the Soviet collapse, and Islam has become an important factor, both in public and in the republic’s everyday life. Dagestan’s re-Islamization has divided its relatively religiously homogenous society into Sufi Islam supporters, moderate Salafis (those who don’t recognize the jurisdiction of the spiritual administration of Dagestani Muslims), and radical jihadists.

Instead of acting as an arbiter in such cases, the authorities often fall back on administrative pressure and the use of force. Abdulatipov gave up on attempts to establish a dialogue between the republic’s spiritual administration and moderate Salafis that started in 2012.

The current situation would be tough for any leader. Entering into a dialogue with unofficial Islam is seen as making a concession to radicals and even terrorists.

But it’s impossible to resolve the issue with special operations alone when dealing with a republic whose population is 90 percent Muslim and increasingly religious. While marginalizing the extremists, the republic’s leadership should try to engage moderate forces, even those that are critical of the government and religious establishment.

Finally, there are conflicts between the local elites and the so-called “Moscow Dagestanis,” some of whom, having achieved success in the Russian capital, would now like to have an impact on events back home.

The notorious clans are not going anywhere: they have been part of government all over Russia for quite a while. While there could be an attempt to minimize their informal influence on important state issues, it would be naïve to think that “correcting” and modernizing Dagestan can happen without fundamental changes in the Russian system of government as a whole.

http://carnegie.ru/commentary/?fa=73528&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWXpkak9UUXdNekE0T1RneiIsInQiOiJGMjEzbEhGWlgyM2hsTzlTdVdpZ3RKWnV1VXFiZmh1QkJoY2xlcWgxV1wvS1loaU8ySDVaSG5vZmNCU0hpOXBaOTcyWkRcL2xGQVwvVVQ5UW5sa2s1bVNySXVqaVFXNnpCSWUxUnRqSSs5S0UzOFhySnBjaXpXaUtwTnFoaG5Xa2VPSyJ9

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Friends of Europe study

Jumping over its shadow – Germany and the future of European defence /

ÜBER DEN EIGENEN SCHATTEN SPRINGEN – DEUTSCHLAND UND DIE ZUKUNFT DER EUROPÄISCHEN VERTEIDIGUNG

11 Oct 2017 … highlights the crucial position of Germany, the most powerful economy in Europe with the biggest potential to build a European defence union, along with France. Its publication is especially timely as Chancellor Angela Merkel begins coalition negotiations with the liberal-right Free Democrats and the anti-nuclear Greens, in which defence is likely to be a bone of contention … Available in both English and German …

… The study’s five chapters include:

-The bear and the shadow

-‘Partially ready to defend’

-Shouldering arms? Germany’s armaments dilemmas

-Fourth time lucky for EU defence?

-Keep going, Germany!

http://www.friendsofeurope.org/publication/jumping-over-its-shadow-germany-and-future-european-defence

… Heutzutage ist es eine Priorität von Verteidigungsstrategen auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks, Deutschland zu überzeugen, einen weitaus größeren Teil der Last der NATO zu tragen. Und nicht nur die der NATO. Eine Stärkung der noch ziemlich unentwickelten „Sicherheits- und Verteidigungsunion“ ist von oberster Priorität … und das erhöht den Druck auf Deutschland, seine militärische Leistungsfähigkeit zu steigern. Wie bereitwillig, schnell und effektiv die Bundesrepublik dazu in der Lage sein wird, ist das Thema dieses Berichts …

Der dunkle Schatten des 20. Jahrhunderts und die vielfältigen Mechanismen gegenseitiger Kontrolle, die nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in die föderalen Institutionen der Bundesrepublik eingebaut wurden, legen Deutschlands Bereitschaft und Fähigkeit, jenseits seiner Grenzen zu agieren, enge psychologische und politische Schranken auf. Europas wirtschaftlich stärkste und bevölkerungsreichste Nation ist schon lange das schwächste Glied in der Kette, wenn es um militärische Entschlossenheit geht

Die deutsche Umkehr fällt zufällig mit der Wahl eines neuen, proeuropäischen Präsidenten in Frankreich zusammen, Emmanuel Macron, der bemüht ist, die Verteidigungszusammenarbeit in Europa und bilateral mit Berlin zu einer Zeit voranzutreiben …

Aufgrund der Größe seiner Wirtschaft, bei weitem Europas größter, ist es von entscheidender Bedeutung für die europäische Sicherheit, wie Berlin seine zusätzlichen Verteidigungseuros ausgibt.

Kein anderes Land kann so viele Mittel investieren wie diese Nation mit 82 Millionen Einwohnern und ein Bruttosozialprodukt von 3,13 Billionen Euro pro Jahr

Frankreich würde es vorziehen, wenn Berlin rasch einsetzbare Projektionskräfte priorisiert, um an Krisenmanagementoperationen außerhalb von Europa teilzunehmen. EU Beamte wollen, dass die Deutschen ihre Priorität auf Cybersicherheit und einsetzbare Polizei- und Sicherheitsausbilder legen, um bei der Stärkung von Nachkriegsgesellschaften zu helfen.

Das Risiko besteht darin, dass Deutschland im nächsten Jahrzehnt Milliarden ausgeben könnte, um eine schwere, weitgehend statische Armee aufzubauen, die auf das wartet, was die meisten Experten für den unwahrscheinlichsten Eventualfall halten – die russische Invasion eines NATO Verbündeten.

Das wäre vielen Deutschen lieber, da sie besser damit zurechtkämen, verbündetes Territorium zu verteidigen als im Ausland einzugreifen. Doch es könnte eine kostspielige Art sein, sich auf vergangene Krisen vorzubereiten, statt wahrscheinlichere künftige Sicherheitsherausforderungen in Europas erweiterter Nachbarschaft zu lösen

Für Deutschland besteht die Herausforderung darin, über den Schatten seiner Vergangenheit zu springen, eine echte strategische Kultur zu entwickeln, eine aussagekräftigere Außenpolitik zu betreiben und brauchbarere Streitkräfte aufzubauen, die mit entsprechender Ausbildung und Ausrüstung bei Bedarf schnell einsetzbar sind

Um seine psychologischen und rechtlichen Handschellen zu lösen, muss Berlin Wege finden, die parlamentarische Kontrolle der Streitkräfte flexibler zu gestalten, Waffenausfuhrbeschränkungen zu erleichtern und die überalterten Verteidigungsbudget- und Beschaffungsprozesse zu modernisieren, um so ein brauchbarer Partner seiner europäischen Verbündeten zu werden …

Deutschland hat keine umfassende nationale Sicherheitsstrategie und keinen nationalen Sicherheitsrat nach amerikanischem Vorbild, um seine Außen-, Sicherheits- und Finanzpolitik zu koordinieren …

Das seit Jahrzehnten von Juniorpartnern der Koalition – Sozialdemokraten, Freien Demokraten oder Grünen – geleitete Auswärtige Amt befasst sich mit dem Dialog mit Russland, der wohlmeinenden, aber wirkungslosen Organisation für Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa, der multilateralen Waffenkontrolle und der Entwicklungshilfe. Das Verteidigungsministerium ist kämpferischer, hat jedoch im Regierungsgefüge weniger Antriebskraft und ist politisch skandalträchtig.

„Diese beiden Ministerien müssen eine bessere strategische Ausrichtung erreichen. Es besteht das Risiko, dass diese beiden Kulturen in einer Zeit kollidieren, in der Deutschland eine Führungsrolle übernehmen muss und sogar versuchen, sich gegenseitig zu untergraben“, äußerte der Diplomat …

Ein hochrangiger General der Bundeswehr, der anonym bleiben will, äußerte, aus seiner Sicht befinde sich Deutschland im Sinne der sogenannten „Gerassimow-Doktrin“ bereits in einem Konflikt mit Russland.

In einem 2013 erschienenen Essay wies des russische Stabschef General Valery Gerassimow auf die Verwischung der Grenzen zwischen Frieden und Krieg im 21. Jahrhundert hin und argumentierte, dass „nicht-militärische Mittel“ zur Durchsetzung strategischer und politischer Ziele jetzt oft effektiver seien als der Einsatz von Waffen …

Als Antwort sagte der General, Deutschland müsse seine militärischen Kapazitäten aufstocken, zwar nicht auf das Niveau des Kalten Krieges, aber genug, um Moskau davon zu überzeugen, dass ein Eingreifen in das Hoheitsgebiet der NATO, wie z. B. der Versuch, die baltischen Staaten zu destabilisieren, zu einem größeren Krieg eskalieren würde und nicht auf einen regionalen Konflikt beschränkt werden könne.

Auch zum Schutze des Zusammenhalts von NATO und EU seien Maßnahmen notwendig, um Versuchen entgegenzuwirken, „Fake News“, Propaganda, Cyberattacken und andere verdeckte Mittel zu nutzen, um Spaltungen in der deutschen Gesellschaft zu schaffen und zu instrumentalisieren. Die Bundeswehr richtete als Reaktion auf … wachsende Bedrohung der militärisch und zivil kritischen Infrastrukturen im April 2017 ihr eigenes Cyberkommando ein.

Aber aus juristischen und historischen Gründen scheint Deutschland weniger gewillt als Frankreich oder die USA, sich als Antwort auf eine Attacke auf eine offensive Cyber-Kriegsführung vorzubereiten … Was im Wesentlichen fehlt, ist ein gemeinsamer europäischer Ansatz bei der Cyberabwehr. In einem virtuellen Raum, der keine nationalen Grenzen kennt, waren die Reaktionen der europäischen Länder bisher deprimierend national, zum Teil aufgrund der Tendenz bestimmter deutscher Kreise, die USA als eine größere Cybergefahr für ihre Verbündeten zu betrachten als Russland oder China

Frankreich und Deutschland sind beide enthusiastische Befürworter einer europäischen Verteidigungs- und Sicherheitsunion, liegen jedoch noch in Detailfragen auseinander.

Keines der beiden Länder ist von der Vorstellung begeistert, dass die Kommission oder die Europäische Verteidigungsagentur wesentlichen Einfluss auf ihren Verteidigungshaushalt nehmen

Die europäische Verteidigungsintegration braucht messbare Zielvorgaben, die von der politischen Führung der EU regelmäßig überprüft werden können. Nur so lassen sich erzielte Fortschritte messen um zu gewährleisten, dass die Rhetorik zur „europäischen Verteidigung“ tatsächlich konkrete Mittel und Kapazitäten hervorbringt …

Trotzdem stehen die Sterne für entscheidende Fortschritte derzeit besonders günstig. Deutschland und Frankreich genießen für die kommenden vier Jahre eine relative politische Stabilität und sind beide entschlossen, künftig enger zusammenzuarbeiten.

Die ideologische Blockade durch Großbritannien besteht nicht mehr …

Aufgrund der zunehmenden globalen Bedrohung ist Europa gezwungen, mehr für seine eigene Sicherheit zu tun. Bei den Verteidigungsausgaben gab es endlich eine Trendwende und die öffentliche Unterstützung einer „europäischen Verteidigung“ war noch nie so stark wie heute

Doch während sowohl Franzosen als auch Deutsche durchweg mehr europäische Verteidigung fordern, meinen sie damit nicht unbedingt dasselbe.

Vereinfacht ausgedrückt haben die Franzosen Zweifel am „europäischen“ Teil und den Deutschen ist „Verteidigung“ weiterhin suspekt. Wie es der französische Stratege Fabrice Pothier ausdrückt: „Das selten anerkannte Paradox besteht darin, dass europäische Verteidigung für Berlin vor allem die Verteidigung Europas im Rahmen der NATO gemäß Artikel 5 bedeutet, für Paris jedoch mehr Autonomie für Europa. Während Frankreich nicht bereit ist, seine Souveränität in Verteidigungsfragen aufzugeben und sich voll in die NATO zu integrieren, verlässt sich Deutschland weiterhin auf Garantien der USA“ …

Viel hängt davon ab, welche Regierungskoalition in Deutschland gebildet wird. Jede Koalition wird sicher über genug haushaltspolitischen Spielraum verfügen, um die Verteidigungsausgaben zu erhöhen. Eine Koalition der CDU/CSU von Kanzlerin Angela Merkel mit der liberalen FDP würde vermutlich die Ausgaben am schnellsten steigern und könnte bereit sein, der Bundeswehr die Teilnahme an Auslandseinsätzen zu erleichtern. Aber selbst unter einer solchen Regierung dürfte Berlin kaum in die Nähe des Ausgabeziels der NATO kommen …

Einiges spricht dafür, dem Vorschlag des Leiters der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz Wolfgang Ischinger zu folgen und eine breiter gefasste Kennzahl von drei Prozent des BIP anzustreben, in der dann neben den Rüstungsausgaben auch die Entwicklungshilfe und andere zivile Instrumente im Bereich Krisenmanagement und Staatsaufbau enthalten sind

OPTIONEN …

1) HAUPTSACHE NATO …

2) VORRANG DER EU-VERTEIDIGUNG …

… Deutschland und Frankreich könnten die Ständige Strukturierte Zusammenarbeit (PESCO) nicht nur für einfache Aufgaben wie ein gemeinsames europäisches Sanitätskorps, Logistik und Cyberverteidigung nutzen, sondern auch für die Aufstellung einer echten europäischen schnellen Eingreiftruppe, mit der die EU Krisenbewältigungseinsätze durchführen kann. Oder sie könnten die Schaffung eines europäischen Polizei- und Strafverfolgungskorps für Staatsbildungsmissionen unterstützen …

3) DER MITTELWEG …

… Merkel, die einflussreichste Politikerin in Europa und die erfahrenste Regierungschefin im Westen, kämpft jetzt um ihren Platz in der Geschichte. Will sie als die Kanzlerin in Erinnerung bleiben, die sich mit ruhiger Hand und halbherzigen Maßnahmen in letzter Minute durch die Eurokrise gewurstelt hat? Wenn sie ein bleibendes Vermächtnis hinterlassen will, verfügt sie über genug politisches Kapital und haushaltspolitische Reserven, um die europäische Verteidigung mit einem kühnen Wurf vor anzubringen. Wenn sie dieses Thema zur Chefsache macht, kann sie – gemeinsam mit dem französischen Präsidenten Emmanuel Macron – ein europäisches Erbe hinterlassen, das sich an der Rolle von Helmut Kohl bei der Schaffung einer gemeinsamen Währung messen kann.

Dafür sind eine ehrgeizige Umsetzung der Ständigen Strukturierten Zusammenarbeit und umfassende industrielle Tauschgeschäfte nötig, die neue Rüstungskooperationsprojekte anregen. Dieses Vorgehen würde auch die NATO stärken …

Das Land braucht nur eine entschiedenere politische Führung und den Willen, zugunsten der europäischen Kooperation Kompromisse bei der Anwendung seiner hohen moralischen Grundsätze einzugehen. Es ist an der Zeit, über die Schatten der eigenen Vergangenheit zu springen

http://www.friendsofeurope.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/GermanReport_v7_web_0.pdf

:

European External Action Service

A Security and Defence Union in the making: recent developments and what’s coming up

20/10/2017 – The last 12 months have seen momentous developments in the area of security and defence. EEAS Deputy Secretary General for Security and Defence Pedro Serrano looks at how the EU is implementing the Global Strategy which set the security of our Union as a priority … Member States have to accept that only through reinforced cooperation will they be able to meet the security expectations of their citizens. The EU has to prove that it is the single most capable cooperation platform that will help its Member States achieve their security objectives in cooperation with others …

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/34278/security-and-defence-union-making-recent-developments-and-whats-coming_en

EU 28 leaders look to launch "permanent structured cooperation" on defence before end 2017

20/10/2017 – The European council comprised of heads of state and government of all 28 EU member states on 19 October confirmed in its Conclusions the timeline set out by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini to launch Permanent Structured Cooperation in the field of defence before the end of the year, with a view to implementing the first joint projects in 2018. Leaders also welcomed work on the coordination of defence plans and on strenghening defence research and development through the European Defence Fund …

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/34257/eu-28-leaders-look-launch-permanent-structured-cooperation-defence-end-2017_en

19/10/2017 Factsheet: Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/34226/permanent-structured-cooperation-pesco-factsheet_en

19/10/2017 Factsheet: Implementation Plan on Security and Defence

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/34215/implementation-plan-security-and-defence-factsheet_en

19/10/2017 Factsheet: EU-NATO cooperation

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/28286/eu-nato-cooperation-factsheet_en

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Fats Domino, One of Rock ’n’ Roll’s First Stars, Is Dead at 89

Mr. Domino performing in 2007 on NBC’s “Today” show.

Fats Domino, the New Orleans rhythm-and-blues singer whose two-fisted boogie-woogie piano and nonchalant vocals, heard on dozens of hits, made him one of the biggest stars of the early rock ’n’ roll era, has died in Louisiana. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by his brother-in-law and former road manager Reggie Hall, who said he had no other details. Mr. Domino lived in Harvey, La., across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

Mr. Domino had more than three dozen Top 40 pop hits through the 1950s and early ’60s, among them “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t It a Shame” (also known as “Ain’t That a Shame”), “I’m Walkin’,” “Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.” Throughout he displayed both the buoyant spirit of New Orleans, his hometown, and a droll resilience that reached listeners He sold 65 million singles in those years, with 23 gold records, making him second only to Elvis Presley as a commercial force. Presley acknowledged Mr. Domino as a predecessor.

“A lot of people seem to think I started this business,” Presley told Jet magazine in 1957. “But rock ’n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that music like colored people. Let’s face it: I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that.”

Rotund and standing 5 feet 5 inches — he would joke that he was as wide as he was tall — Mr. Domino had a big, infectious grin, a fondness for ornate, jewel-encrusted rings and an easygoing manner in performance; even in plaintive songs his voice had a smile in it. And he was a master of the wordless vocal, making hits out of songs full of “woo-woo”s and “la-la”s.

Working with the songwriter, producer and arranger David Bartholomew, Mr. Domino and his band carried New Orleans parade rhythms into rock ’n’ roll and put a local stamp on nearly everything they touched, even country tunes like “Jambalaya” or big-band songs like “My Blue Heaven” and “When My Dreamboat Comes Home.”

Antoine Dominique Domino Jr. was born on Feb. 26, 1928, the youngest of eight children in a family with Creole roots. He grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where he spent most of his life.

Music filled his life from the age of 10, when his family inherited an old piano. After his brother-in-law Harrison Verrett, a traditional-jazz musician, wrote down the notes on the keys and taught him a few chords, Antoine threw himself at the instrument — so enthusiastically that his parents moved it to the garage.

He was almost entirely self-taught, picking up ideas from boogie-woogie masters like Meade Lux Lewis, Pinetop Smith and Amos Milburn. “Back then I used to play everybody’s records; everybody’s records who made records,” he told Offbeat magazine in 2004. “I used to hear ’em, listen at ’em five, six, seven, eight times and I could play it just like the record because I had a good ear for catchin’ notes and different things.”

He attended the Louis B. Macarty School but dropped out in the fourth grade to work as an iceman’s helper. “In the houses where people had a piano in their rooms, I’d stop and play,” he told USA Today in 2007. “That’s how I practiced.”

In his teens, he started working at a club called the Hideaway with a band led by the bassist Billy Diamond, who nicknamed him Fats. Mr. Domino soon became the band’s frontman and a local draw.

“Fats was breaking up the place, man,” Mr. Bartholomew told The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2010. “He was singing and playing the piano and carrying on. Everyone was having a good time. When you saw Fats Domino, it was: ‘Let’s have a party!’ ”

He added: “My first impression was a lasting impression. He was a great singer. He was a great artist. And whatever he was doing, nobody could beat him.”

In 1947 Mr. Domino married Rosemary Hall, and they had eight children, Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Anonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola and Adonica. His wife died in 2008. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

In 1949 Mr. Bartholomew brought Lew Chudd, the owner of Imperial Records in Los Angeles, to the Hideaway. Chudd signed Mr. Domino on the spot, with a contract, unusual for the time, that paid royalties rather than a one-time purchase of songs.

Immediately, Mr. Domino and Mr. Bartholomew wrote “The Fat Man,” a cleaned-up version of a song about drug addiction called “Junkers Blues,” and recorded it with Mr. Bartholomew’s studio band. By 1951 it had sold a million copies.

Mr. Domino’s trademark triplets, picked up from “It’s Midnight,” a 1949 record by the boogie-woogie pianist and singer Little Willie Littlefield, appeared on his next rhythm-and-blues hit, “Every Night About This Time.” The technique spread like wildfire, becoming a virtual requirement for rock ’n’ roll ballads.

“Fats made it popular,” Mr. Bartholomew told Rick Coleman, the author of “Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock ’n’ Roll” (2006). “Then it was on every record.”

In 1952, on a chance visit to Cosimo Matassa’s recording studio in New Orleans, Mr. Domino was asked to help out on a recording by a nervous teenager named Lloyd Price. Sitting in with Mr. Bartholomew’s band, he came up with the memorable piano part for “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” an early rhythm-and-blues record to cross over into the pop charts.

Through the early 1950s Mr. Domino turned out a stream of hits, taking up what seemed like permanent residence in the upper reaches of the R&B charts. His records began crossing over into the pop charts as well.

Photo

Fats Domino in 1956.

In that racially segregated era, white performers used his hits to build their careers. In 1955, “Ain’t It a Shame” became a No. 1 hit for Pat Boone as “Ain’t That a Shame,” while Domino’s arrangement of a traditional song, “Bo Weevil,” was imitated by Teresa Brewer.

Mr. Domino’s appeal to white teenagers broadened as he embarked on national tours and appeared with mixed-race rock ’n’ roll revues like the Moondog Jubilee of Stars Under the Stars, presented by the disc jockey Alan Freed at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Appearances on national television, on Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan’s shows, put him in millions of living rooms.

He did not flaunt his status as an innovator, or as an architect of a powerful cultural movement.

“Fats, how did this rock ’n’ roll all get started anyway?” an interviewer for a Hearst newsreel asked him in 1957. Mr. Domino answered: “Well, what they call rock ’n’ roll now is rhythm and blues. I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans.”

At a news conference in Las Vegas in 1969, after resuming his performing career, Elvis Presley interrupted a reporter who had called him “the king.” He pointed to Mr. Domino, who was in the room, and said, “There’s the real king of rock ’n’ roll.”

Mr. Domino had his biggest hit in 1956 with his version of “Blueberry Hill,” a song that had been recorded by Glenn Miller’s big band in 1940. It peaked at No. 2 on the pop charts and sold a reported three million copies.

“I liked that record ’cause I heard it by Louis Armstrong and I said, ‘That number gonna fit me,’ ” he told Offbeat. “We had to beg Lew Chudd for a while. I told him I wasn’t gonna make no more records till they put that record out. I could feel it, that it was a hit, a good record.”

He followed with two more Top Five pop hits: “Blue Monday” and “I’m Walkin’,” which outsold the version recorded by Ricky Nelson.

“I was lucky enough to write songs that carry a good beat and tell a real story that people could feel was their story, too — something that old people or the kids could both enjoy,” Mr. Domino told The Los Angeles Times in 1985.

Mr. Domino performed in 1950s movies like “Shake, Rattle and Rock,” “The Big Beat” (for which he and Mr. Bartholomew wrote the title song) and “The Girl Can’t Help It.” In 1957, he toured for three months with Chuck Berry, Clyde McPhatter, the Moonglows and others.

Well into the early 1960s, Mr. Domino continued to reach both the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts with songs like “Whole Lotta Lovin’,” “I’m Ready,” “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday,” “Be My Guest,” “Walkin’ to New Orleans” and “My Girl Josephine.”

He toured Europe for the first time in 1962 and met the Beatles in Liverpool, before they were famous. His contract with Imperial ended in 1963, and he went on to record for ABC-Paramount, Mercury, Broadmoor, Reprise and other labels.

His last appearance in the pop Top 100 was in 1968, with a version of “Lady Madonna,” the Beatles song that had been inspired by Mr. Domino’s piano-pounding style. In 1982, he had a country hit with “Whiskey Heaven.”

Although he was no longer a pop sensation, Mr. Domino continued to perform worldwide and appeared for 10 months a year in Las Vegas in the mid-1960s. On tour, he would bring his own pots and pans so he could cook.

His life on the road ended in the early 1980s, when he decided that he did not want to leave New Orleans, saying it was the only place where he liked the food.

He went on to perform regularly at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and in 1987 Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles joined him for a Cinemax special, “Fats Domino and Friends.” He released a holiday album, “Christmas Is a Special Day,” in 1993.

Reclusive and notoriously resistant to interview requests, Mr. Domino stayed home even when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 as one of its first members. He did the same when he received a lifetime achievement Grammy Award in 1987. In 1999, when he was awarded the National Medal of Arts,he sent his daughter Antoinette to the White House to pick up the prize.

He even refused to leave New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city on Aug. 29, 2005, remaining at his flooded home — he was living in the Lower Ninth Ward then — until he was rescued by helicopter on Sept. 1.

“I wasn’t too nervous” about waiting to be saved, he told The New York Times in 2006. “I had my little wine and a couple of beers with me; I’m all right.”

His rescue was loosely the basis for “Saving Fats,” a tall tale in Sam Shepard’s 2010 short story collection “Day Out of Days.”

President George W. Bush visited Mr. Domino’s home in 2006 in recognition of New Orleans’s cultural resilience; that same year, Mr. Domino released “Alive and Kickin,’ ” his first album in more than a decade. The title song began, “All over the country, people want to know / whatever happened to Fats Domino,” then continued, “I’m alive and kicking and I’m where I wanna be.”

He was often seen around New Orleans, emerging from his pink-roofed mansion driving a pink Cadillac. “I just drink my little beers, do some cookin’, anything I feel like ” he told The Daily Telegraph of London in 2007, describing his retirement.

In 1953, in Down Beat magazine, the Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler made a bold-sounding prediction that turned out to be, in retrospect, quite timid. “Can’t you envision a collector in 1993 discovering a Fats Domino record in a Salvation Army Depot and rushing home to put it on the turntable?” he wrote. “We can. It’s good blues, it’s good jazz, and it’s the kind of good that never wears out.”

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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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