Monday, March 7, 2016

Sevim Dagdelen MP Die Linke bei Sophie Shevardnaze (RT)

Turkish meddling in Syria will drag NATO to war for Ankara's imperial ambitions - German MP

Europe is living through troubled times. Waves of refugees strain the socio-economic situation in the union’s countries - already riddled with financial and job crises. That’s as Turkey is playing its own game in Syria, threatening to destabilize the fragile ceasefire in the devastated country - and yet Europe stays silent on the matter. Why is Brussels so willing to turn a blind eye to Ankara’s adventurism with jihadists? Is the refugee crisis more worrying for Europe than the deadly threat from jihadists? And, finally, will the European Union, and especially, Germany, be able to persist under the weight of millions flowing in? We ask Member of the German Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, spokesperson on international affairs for The Left Party, Sevim Dagdelen. 
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Sophie Shevarnadze:The EU has promised to renew EU membership talks with Turkey – in exchange for helping to solve the refugee crisis. You’ve highlighted Turkey’s support of the Islamic State many times – is the EU going to ignore that in exchange for help with the refugees?
Sevim Dagdelen: Yes, unfortunately, the fact is that the European Union and the German government are ready to place the future of refugees into the hands of criminals, that is, the Turkish government and president Erdogan. Erdogan’s government has been supporting terrorist gangs for the last few years, supplying them with arms. The entire 100-kilometer Turkish-Syrian border is left without control, and that’s how ISIS keeps getting supplies of arms and manpower.
According to the New York Times, the entire bulk of the Islamic State’s illegal oil trade operation is also run through the Turkish border. This border hasn’t been controlled for several years now, despite the fact that the Turkish Armed Forces rank as the second largest military force in NATO, counting 900 thousand troops. This proves that the Turkish government simply does not wish to close off the border, although they have enough resources to do that.
And despite all this, the EU wants to step up the EU membership talks with Turkey. I believe this signifies the EU’s moral bankruptcy. The EU has lost its values. That’s why we cannot take the EU membership talks with Turkey seriously. By placing the responsibility for the future of refugees in the hands of a criminal - president Erdogan, the EU has forfeited its standing in these talks. Erdogan is the reason why we have a refugee crisis in the first place.
SSDoes this mean Europe is more worried about the refugee crisis than ISIS?
SD: It seems to be so. The EU has chosen to turn a blind to the issues of fighting ISIS and other terrorist organizations, such as Al-Qaeda branches and others. Erdogan is supporting these Islamists but keeps it under cover. Instead, he is telling stories about the supposedly moderate militant groups that are allegedly under attack of the Syrian Army and the Russian Air Force… while these same militants are in fact acting under the names of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra. Yet, the EU prefers not to see all that for the sake of the so-called protection from the refugees. One can say that with this, Europe has met its moral demise.
SS: Is the EU ready to start the process of Turkey’s accession to the Union – or will the promise just remain a promise and nothing more?
SD: According to the agreement signed by the EU and Turkey, the European Union has already pledged 3.5 billion euros to Turkey, and the lion’s share of that money will be paid by the German taxpayers, because some of the European countries are not willing to share such huge expenses while others, such as Greece, simply cannot pay that much. This way, they are going to just give Erdogan that money and keep stepping up the negotiation process, the way it had already happened before, despite the bloody Gezi Park crackdown in Istanbul  two years ago. 
Back then, the EU ignored the situation in Turkey because we didn’t want to weaken our economic cooperation with it. Germany traditionally invests and exports a lot into Turkey. Today, the refugee crisis is forcing Europe to ask Erdogan for help because the EU believes that Turkey is the key to the solution of this problem. But we can already see Turkey deporting Syrian refugees back to Syria, which violates international conventions!
By taking up Erdogan’s side the EU is betraying everything that was believed to represent European values.
SS: ISIS has been using bombs in Turkish cities, provoking conflicts and international pressure on Turkey – why would Ankara support these terrorists when they threaten and harm Turkey itself?
SD: Indeed, we have seen some major terrorist acts in Ankara and Istanbul, but no one associated with ISIS has so far claimed responsibility for the most recent bombings, so ISIS is not hurting Turkey. A friend of mine, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper was recently released from prison.
He was arrested after publishing a report last year about Turkish arms being supplied to terrorist groups under the supervision of the Turkish secret services. Turkey is actively pursuing an Islamisation policy not only inside the country, but also as part of its foreign policy. Erdogan’s government supports and supplies Uzbeks and Turkmens in Syria with arms. All this is done in order to contain Russia and Iran. Turkey wants to create its own Sunni sphere of influence in the region. This is why I believe we should not think of Turkey and ISIS as different players. They are in agreement, and the living proof of it is the 100-kilometer stretch of the borderline between Turkey and ISIS on Syrian territory that is used for illegal arms exchange and oil trade.
SS: Turkey wants to start a military intervention in Syria – if that happens, will Germany back Ankara?
SD: I am not in the government and therefore cannot say whether the Turkish campaign would receive support or not. I hope that the German government will see that military intervention will only cause an endless escalation of the conflict, which means that Germany will be dragged into this endless war as Turkey’s NATO ally, thus giving support to Turkey’s imperial designs.
I believe that Turkey’s military invasion of Syria would not only constitute a gross violation of the international law, but it would also increase tensions on the international arena by getting all NATO countries involved in this conflict even more. Turkey had already tried to drag NATO into this conflict – for instance, they lied about Syria bombing the Turkish military. NATO reports have since exposed these lies. Yet, NATO keeps sending in its troops to support Turkey.
SS: Chancellor Merkel has proposed a no-fly zone over the north of Syria – something Turkey talked about long ago. To me, a ‘no-fly zone’ evokes memories of Libya, where it led to an actual armed intervention and the toppling of the regime. Does the chancellor’s proposal mean that Berlin wants the same for Syria?
SD: The Turkish president has been demanding a no-fly zone over Syria for many years now, but so far the allies have refused to back him. And yes, recently Angela Merkel indeed made a statement that a no-fly zone should be established over the north of Syria, just like Erdogan wanted.
Take a look at Libya to see how a no-fly zone worked out for it. Is this what they want now for Syria? Those who want the war to end in Syria cannot be advocating a no-fly zone. ISIS has no air force, that’s why the West and the Gulf states, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, want to support the terrorists with a no-fly zone regime. Talks about a no-fly zone mean that someone wants to protect both ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Fortunately, Washington said that it’s against the no-fly zone, understanding that it will increase tensions, including those in relations with Russia. That’s why German government’s proposal to introduce a no-fly zone is mere nonsense and I believe they will see in the end that it should not be enforced in Syria at this stage.
SS: Gerhardt Schindler, head of German intelligence, has warned about the rising threat of ISIS militants coming into EU posing as refugees. You’ve talked about the looming threat of terror attacks in Germany – is this threat connected to refugees?
SD: I don’t think that the growing terrorist threat is connected with the growing numbers of refuges. The main reason why the terrorist threat is growing is the bombings of Libya and Iraq and Afghanistan, which has been being bombed for the past 15 years. All these bombings are carried out under the slogans of fighting terrorism, but instead they only produce more terrorism. This makes the terror threat spread to Europe.
Refugees have nothing to do with this. I don’t think that ISIS terrorists will get on a boat to sail across the Mediterranean to get into Europe. Terrorists will fly business class because they have connections and money. They will also find other ways. The way to fight terrorism is not by bombing countries; it is by giving up the policy of enforcing regime change, the way governments in the Middle East have been overthrown by secret services or illegal terrorist groups, as was attempted in Syria. I believe that the people in this region have a right to solve their problems on their own, without any foreign intervention into their domestic affairs.
SS: Europe wants Turkey to control the flow of refugees into the EU – is Turkey even capable of that, does it have enough resources to catch refugee boats in the Aegean sea?
SD: First of all, you cannot just round up refugees and send them back. If a NATO warship takes refugees aboard in the Aegean Sea, they have the right to submit a political asylum request. It’s against international law, you can’t just send them back.
The problem is that the governments that support Islamist murderers in Syria, like Erdogan does, for example, are the real reason why people are fleeing the region. I was in the refugee camps in Lebanon. People there told me that they are fleeing those violent gangs in Syria and Iraq. It’s absurd to think that the only reason for refugees is the government in Damascus or the terrorists.
Turkey is now responsible for more than 2,000 Kurds fleeing the region. Just recently, a boat with Kurds was intercepted in the Aegean Sea for the first time. This is evidence that Erdogan unilaterally broke the ceasefire and launched a war against Kurds. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds will eventually have to leave their country. I think we need to tackle the root cause of the refugee problem. You can’t just fight against refugees.
SS:Germany’s Minister of Development has proposed that Europe adopts something similar to the Marshall Plan for Iraq, Syria and Libya - which will cost 10bn dollars. Do you feel that European states might agree to such measures? 
SD: I don’t think 10 billion are going to help. We need a bigger sacrifice. We need to get ready for a long recovery… To help Syria, for example, we need to make sure that the EU and all the Western states, as well as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, stop their support for terrorist groups — al-Nusra and ISIS and all the other groups. They need to stop their support for them.
We need to launch the peace process without any preconditions for the Syrian government. Kurds need to be part of the talks – this is how we can get a grip on this war and make sure that people live freely in their home countries.
SS: Wikileaks has recently published a secret EU report about its operation against human traffickers. It says that whatever measures the EU forces take, human smugglers will find ways around them. Do you agree with that? Has the policy to defend Europe’s borders failed?
SD: It has failed! First of all, in the past several years Germany has been acting like a European policeman, imposing its arbitrary rules on countries like Greece and Spain. It was this policy by Germany that pushed Greece and other countries to the state of collapse. These are the countries that are now hosting refugees. They are not able to handle the flow.
It’s wrong to fight against refugees when they are fleeing. We need to tackle the reasons behind their flight. We need to stop the policy of regime change. This is the major reason and this is the only way to resolve the migrant issue.
While in Lebanon, I was told that even if the border is sealed by Turkey and other countries, even if NATO patrol ships start rounding up refugees, they would still find ways to get to where they want to go. People are fleeing hunger, devastation and torture. They will just have to look for more difficult routes but they will find them anyway. Fences, walls or border patrol won’t stop them because they are fleeing death itself. It’s wrong to try and stop them. Right now refugees are going to Northern and Central Europe. It’s inhumane to introduce migrant quotas or limit their flow otherwise. People from Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq are fleeing countries which became the victims of Western interventions, from places where Western weapons are being exported. People are running from devastation and war to the countries where the devastation and war came from.
SS: Will the whole ‘Schengen’ zone eventually fall apart? Will shutting borders help stop the flow of refugees?
SD: Fences and walls are not going to stop refugees. The previous policy, when they tried to curb the migrant flow – that was wrong. As long as there’s a war going on, people will continue to run from it and come here – what else are they supposed to do? Do you think they should face death and say: ‘I’m a mother of six children, please, shoot me’? No, as a mother, I must make sure that my children live freely, in peace, and if it’s not possible here, then I would take my children to Europe where there are no bombs. Any parent would do it. Nothing will stop people from fleeing this misery.
In this case, Europe is showing the world what kind of laws do we have – are they barbaric or humane. Germany has so much capital, so much wealth that it can afford to keep its borders open.
We need to have a close look at this problem and tackle its causes. We see hostilities, killings, in Syria and in other places – we need to cut support for ISIS and other Islamist gangs, we need to make sure people can get medication and food again. We need to lift the oil embargo against Syria, we need to lift it right now, you can’t let ordinary people suffer from sanctions. That’s why I welcome the cessation of hostilities that has taken place in Syria.
SS:Head of Bavaria, Horst Seehoffer, recently said that Germany won’t be able to deal with another million refugees this year. Will Berlin have to introduce quotas to limit those entering the country?
SD: We should not introduce any quotas for refugees. We currently have some in place, allowing just 1,000 refugees a day. But when a refugee number 1001 comes to the border and says “I need political asylum, I’m fleeing the persecution in my home country”, what should Germany do? It must let that person file his application. But currently it’s does not work like this. Currently Germany will say that the quota has been exhausted, come tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
It’s absurd, it’s not feasible, it’s an illusion. Is this the way to resolve the migrant crisis? We need a reality check — are we humane? Or are we callous people, oblivious to their suffering, forgetting that it’s us and our foreign policy that are the cause of their hardships.
SS: Does Germany have enough resources to accept all of the refugees? 
SD: Sure, Germany can accept all those refugees. Germany is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet. Certainly, it’s the wealthiest people in Germany that need to assume responsibility for that, as well as the military industry which enjoys immense revenues from arms exports. It can also provide the resources to host refugees.
As I said, when I was in Lebanon, I saw that 25 percent of Lebanon’s population are refugees from Syria. Every fourth person is a refugee. Germany has a population of 82 million people and just one million refugees – it’s a completely different proportion in Europe’s most economically powerful country.
SS:Germany has registered more than a thousand crimes against migrants over the past year, anti-migrant parties are staging rallies, etc. Is the huge flow of refugees provoking the growth of xenophobic, right-wing sentiment in Germany?
SD: We see that every day about 3 refugee centers are set on fire. Radical right wing and xenophobic groups are on the rise in Germany. I think Germany can do more for refugees, it needs to strengthen its social policy. In the past couple of years, there was a trend to cut social expenditure – that was a wrong policy and because of it the poor have become even poorer.
They said it was not possible to increase pensions or minimum benefits – the budget all of a sudden ran out of money. It turned out that there’s no money to increase the numbers of police or school personnel. A stronger social policy could improve the state of the German society, ultimately benefitting refugees, too.
SS: The mayor of Molenbeek, which is a borough in Brussels where there are a lot of migrant families, told me in an interview that governments in the EU are struggling to integrate refugees. That they feel alien in European cities, even those born and raised there. Do you agree with that? You, as a politician with Turkish roots, have you experienced something like that?
SD: All the mistakes that were made in relation to migrants in the past should never be made again. I am a daughter of a Turkish worker who came to Germany as a foreign labourer in 1973. I believe that these migrant workers should not be exploited like some cheap labour. There should be no racism or discrimination. I used to feel it. No one offered anything to us, they only demanded things from us. That’s why I believe we should not repeat the mistakes of the past. How can you go with bad social and economic policy and then wonder why aren’t people in Parisian suburbs or in Belgium or elsewhere integrated?
Why do we have ghettos or ‘parallel societies’? We must create opportunities for migrants to learn the language, get education, and study in universities. This should be done not just for migrants and refugees. We need to invest in all people. Current policies only create more poverty, pushing people out of their jobs. If we really want to resolve this issue, including the migrant issue, the community must stand united in solidarity. Otherwise, our German hospitality will soon disappear.
SS:Elections in Germany aren’t too far away – can an unsolved refugee question cost Angela Merkel her position as Chancellor – seeing that even some of her influential allies in the country have been critical of her refugee policy?
SD: I don’t think there’s any threat to Angela Merkel personally. There’s no alternative to her either in the Christian Democratic Union or in the Christian Social Union.
Indeed, her position has weakened, there’s more internal resistance, but I think it’s only temporary - the number of ministers from the CDU is expected to increase after the March elections, changing the balance of forces.

Seymour Hersh: "US was planning to remove Assad and install Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in office in Damascus"

29.12. 2015
Seymour Hersh drops ‘bombshell’ on Obama: American writer

American writer and political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch has called US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s latest article “a bombshell.” 
Hersh revealed in a lengthy article, published Sunday in the London Review of Books, that the US military defied Barack Obama on the ouster of the Syrian president, which, if true, would be a truly unprecedented revelation.
The article says the US was planning to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power and install the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in office in Damascus.

Such a move would have resulted in a confrontation with Russia, but the then US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, defied Obama and prevented such a war, according to Hersh.
Comment in to Press TV on Tuesday, Welch said, “Seymour Hersh has been dropping bombshell after bombshell for years…The one caveat that people seem to have on this is that he relies heavily on one source, this Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn, or whoever he is."
"But certainly the main point that the US knew that they were arming and the CIA knew that they were arming ISIS [ISIL] and other groups is non-story, that part is a no-brainer, a case of the right hand knowing what the right hand is doing,” he added.
“The other part about the upper echelons of the military actually defying him [Obama] and going behind his back is quite the bombshell, and that is an amazing story,” he continued.   
“He has been right on everything else. So I trust his judgment. But of course this is treasonous to actually actively defy a commander-in-chief, but it’s a kind of treason history likes, you know like the Soviet sub commander who countermanded a launch code in the Cuban missile crisis to probably save the world from nuclear annihilation,” he stated.
Now, sometimes people have to think, and Obama does not think. He is not a thinking president. He has given over his entire presidency to the neocons – really sociopathic leadership, either that or he is in cahoots with them--it doesn’t really matter. He is the laziest, most cowardly person ever to sit in that chair. It’s a travesty, it’s a really sad historical fact, and it will be seen that way historically,” the analyst noted.
He went on to say that Obama "has a no vision, no spine, and no ability to stand up to these horrific forces that are arming head choppers -- I mean, we've been following this story for thirty years. It's nothing new: the CIA and the Pakistani ISI and Mossad and the Saudis and the Qataris -- all joining in cahoots to fund and train and arm globalized, militarized [Takfiri terrorism]. Which is not a thing. It is only a thing in the imagination and the machinations of the Western elite."
"There is no way this could exist without massive funding from outside, starting with Carter and Brezhinski in Afghanistan in the 80s, right up to today. And of course all the other death squads that Israel and the US have contrived to start, as the US has done throughout Central America, and Africa with the assassination of Lumumba -- this list goes on and on and on," he observed. 
Welch said that “it is a bombshell from Seymour Hersh, and a welcome one. I hope he is right.”
You know, the military  -- within -- like Seven Days in May, the old movie – this is a fantastic story – that the military said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute! This is insane to keep doing this to insist on this Cold War crap that Assad must go, and leave another hellhole, death filled chasm in another failed state in the Middle East like what they did in Libya; and someone, people finally are standing up within the circles of government, and that is a very welcome sign,” he observed.
“I don’t know how far this will go, but the rest of us are chomping at the bit, and waiting for somebody somewhere in power to wake up,” the political pundit concluded.

Beware of Bears and Dragons in Their Own Backyards by BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

Beware of Bears and Dragons in Their Own Backyards
 03.03.2016 | WORLD

At the UN General Assembly in September last year President Obama declared without a trace of irony that «History is littered with the failure of false prophets and fallen empires, who believed that might always makes right, and that will continue to be the case. You can count on that».
A week later the US-NATO military alliance approved a plan to double the size of its expeditionary force to 40,000 and decided to create «two more NATO force integration units... in Hungary and Slovakia, in addition to the headquarters already set up in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania» surrounding Russia. This is a regrettable case of believing that «might always makes right» as these actions are intended for no other purpose than to menace Russia, which Washington considers to be essential for growth of its domestic weapons’ industry and the «military-industrial complex» in general.
(President Dwight D Eisenhower’s Address to the nation in 1961, in which he coined the evocative and damning phrase ‘military-industrial complex’, is rightly regarded as one of the most predictive and far-sighted speeches in US history.)
US Defence Secretary Carter is proud of the fact that the US armed forces have «more than 450,000 men and women serving abroad, in every domain, in the air, ashore and afloat» – which is more than the total number of troops deployed outside national borders by every other country in the world.
Two weeks after US-NATO announced the most recent of its confrontational threats against Russia, the US Navy destroyer USS Lassen was ordered to conduct a «Freedom of Navigation Operation» in the South China Sea, by sailing close to the territory claimed and occupied by China. This needlessly provocative exploit succeeded only in making it clear to China that it was being challenged militarily in its own backyard by a country that has no territorial rights or interests in the region.
According to Reuters «a senior Obama administration official» said, the aim of the South China Sea confrontation operation was to «advance our strategic objectives in the Pacific region, including on maritime issues».
Modern-day American international perceptions resemble more and more those of the Cold War era, when President Reagan, for example, had an election advertisement showing a predatory bear roaming the woods with the commentary that: «There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it’s vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who’s right, isn’t it smart to be as strong as the bear?»
It was obvious that the bear was Russia. The dangerously bellicose General Breedlove, military leader of the US-NATO group, «said that for too long, the United States has ‘hugged the bear’ of Russia. But now, he said, it’s time to get tough. This toughness should come in the form of more US troops to Europe, he said, and more ‘high end’ training to prepare American forces for a potential battle against the former cold war foe».
Naturally he ignores the fact that Russia wants to forge mutually beneficial trade ties with its neighbours, and especially with European Union countries, and it would be pointless to try to destroy such economic links.
The bear wants to trade and prosper. But if the bear is prevented from doing so and continues to be maliciously provoked, there might be problems ahead for the «indispensable nation» .
* * *
When contemplating the future, it is advisable to reflect on Napoleon’s reply when asked during his final exile what he considered might be the greatest concern to the world in centuries to come. It is said he declared that this would be «when the Dragon wakes».
Now the Dragon has woken and is being challenged for doing so.
The South China Sea has nine littoral states of which most have sovereignty claims within the Sea, and some are more reasonable than others. The United States has a vast fleet and military bases throughout the western Pacific, surrounding China, just as it menaces Russia in Europe. («450,000 men and women serving abroad, in every domain, in the air, ashore and afloat» as proudly declared by Defence Secretary Carter, who, Forbes states, was «a consultant to defence contractors and when he went back to the Pentagon in 2009, had to get a special waiver because of his work for companies like MITRE Corp, and Global Technology Partners, a defence consulting firm».)
None of the islets in the South China Sea was taken over by imperialists in the days of colonial expansion, but more recently there has been considerable interest in the region. Naturally this is based on economic imperatives, although estimates of the amounts of oil, gas and rare minerals under the waves vary greatly.
No matter what nationalistic advantage may be sought, there is the problem of legally apportioning spots of rock to any one country. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS; ratified by China – but not by the United States) says sensibly that «Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no Exclusive Economic Zone or continental shelf». But if a subaqueous oil gusher spouts a few kilometres away from your tiny lump of rock, you’re going to build a platform on it and grow vegetables and then declare that your rocky paradise is inhabited and self-sufficient. It therefore has an Exclusive Economic Zone extending for 200 nautical miles all round. The US objects to this.
So over the years the US has stepped up its military might in the region – and has now 70 warships, over 300 aircraft and 40,000 Marines to confront China in its own backyard. Washington’s Pentagon chief claims that it does this in the interests of «freedom of navigation» – ignoring the fact that not one single commercial vessel of any nation has been or ever will be prevented by China from traversing the South China Sea. Indeed, it would be commercial suicide for Beijing to even attempt to interfere with such shipping, which carries such vast quantities of China’s exports and imports.
The US is confronting China, and the fact that conflict is looming closer is hardly the fault of the Chinese whose position, in the words of Xinhua, is that «the tree craves calm but the wind keeps blowing». There is one thing certain, however: the Chinese tree will whip back if the Washington wind increases its intensity. China and Russia are aware that the world in general craves calm, but have been forced to realise that the out-of-control US military machine, in an expansionist wave of unprecedented energy, is hell-bent on global domination.
President Obama boasts that the US is «the one indispensable nation in world affairs» but he would be well-advised to exercise care in his policy of aggressive confrontation.
Washington’s war-lovers should bear in mind what Napoleon said two centuries ago, and realise that the Chinese Dragon has woken. And when Dragons wake it’s not altogether clever to threaten them. They had better beware of Bears, too.

Re-Emerging Silk Road in Flux by August Soto

No Way Back for Re-Emerging Silk Road in Flux

No Way Back for Re-Emerging Silk Road in Flux

Xi Jinping’s recent visits to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran and his upcoming visit to the Czech Republic in March remind us of more challenges for the «One Belt, One Road» (OBOR) policy now than when it was announced in 2013.
At first glance, all countries on Xi’s most recent agenda are part of a grand business diplomacy approach. The first three are clearly under geopolitical tensions and security threats defined by several pundits as issues of main global concern for the year 2016. These real and unfathomable factors might affect the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (another reference for OBOR) in a crucial year for the project.
More clouds than last year
In recent months more doubts emerged about the initiative.
First, factors such as a rather pessimistic economic outlook (including the very doubt about EU’s cohesion), China’s economic adjustment (called «new normal» in China, and «slowdown» by influential analysts abroad), and perceptions of insecurity in China’s neighbouring Central Asia and South East Asia seem to be principle elements bound to affect the initial steps of OBOR.
Final communiqué of the G20 meeting in Shanghai released on February 27, declared that «downside risks and vulnerabilities have risen, against the backdrop of volatile capital flows, a large drop in commodity prices, escalated geopolitical tensions, the shock of a potential UK exit from the European Union and a large and increasing number of refugees in some regions».
Second. More than ever it is necessary to keep in mind the fact that most of the countries (developed or underdeveloped) seeking to participate in OBOR, unlike Beijing lack strategy and long-term planning. At most they plan for a period of one presidential term. Thus, for several states the task to interconnect with China in a responsible long-term way is relatively constrained.
Third. Furthermore, the Chinese initiative is not comparable to a Chinese Marshall Plan as it is wrongly and cyclically referred to. Post World War II Europe, with dozens of countries in shambles, was an obvious field for action and reconstruction (Cold War motivations aside), and so it was the reconstruction in Eurasia and in Asia itself. In addition, unlike the Marshall Plan, Chinese OBOR envisages multiple investors triggering subsequent new investments, Chinese and foreigner. Unlike the former, it is non-ideological, but in view of the number of actors (more than 60 states), more complex to oversee.
The fourth consideration is transnational corruption, which does not seem to diminish in the last year. Will OBOR mega-projects have a chance to develop free from wrongdoers? OBOR will need a special concerted international effort in which Interpol, Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s appropriate body and Europol could jointly contribute by monitoring the projects. We should bear in mind that when acting at national levels, corrupt individuals and criminal networks (in any country) have so far shown capacities of stealing astronomical sums of money. Even the countries and regions with low criminal rates (plus various international banks, companies and institutions) show an alarming number of such cases.
And yet OBOR has a special backing plus additional potential
Certainly there are powerful assets on China’s side.
First. It is true that, historically speaking, ancient China has excelled in mega-construction plans such as the Great Wall and the Grand Canal and that most recently the country is building unparalleled colossal infrastructure. A figure recently disclosed shows that in using cement (the core element of infrastructure projects) China used more of it between 2011 and 2013 than the US did during the entire 20th Century. The new superpower has unique experience and industrial capacity.
Second. OBOR’s initiative comes from the president Xi Jinping, who is the strongest Chinese president in decades and a world leader who is constantly involved in visiting every continent to explain OBOR and sign related agreements in transportation infrastructure building, investment and trade facilitation, financial cooperation and cultural exchange.
One should remember that in October 2013 Xi announced OBOR and a few months later, in March 2014 delivered a speech at UNESCO headquarters (for the first time visited by a Chinese president). In it, he stressed the importance of inter-civilizational exchange facilitated by historic Silk Road routes and contacts as the underlying foundations for modern understanding and cooperation.
Third. OBOR reverberates in Chinese society through the mass media and élite circles. Several cosmopolitan Chinese intellectuals are discussing OBOR’s ins and outs from different perspectives. The China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai has organized colloquia and specific speeches about the new Silk Road but so far not the impressive meetings the initiative deserves, something like First China Europe Pudong Forum dedicated to the concept of Eurasia that was held at the very CEIBS twelve years ago.
Fourth. Actually what is missing is a new communication level consisting of China’s most powerful entrepreneurs. Tycoons such as Wang Jianlin, Jack Ma, Huang Nubo, among others, could specifically highlight OBOR’s significance in the multiple fora and panels they attend abroad. In addition, Wang, from his multimedia conglomerate (including a Hollywood film studio) could make meaningful contributions by disseminating business opportunities and understanding with potential partners along the Silk Road.
As a matter of fact, China’s prestige is at stake and this is an extraordinary asset of OBOR. Thus, the price for retreating, not to mention the hypothetical withdrawing of OBOR policy is not an option. It is about both a mammoth task of self-imposed strategic patience test for a new superpower mixed up with the concept of «national face», a distinct trait of Chinese culture.
Security is likely to go one step forward
On the other side is the realm of geopolitical raw reality. The question right now is what do we mean exactly when we say that the biggest economic superpower in history is eager to develop infrastructure and promote connectivity in Eurasia including the Great Middle East and Eastern Africa in a geostrategic setting showing signs of unpredictability and fragmentation?
In this context there is a space where China, the EU and Russia could jointly cooperate with the constructive actors of the Middle East in a bold exercise of pragmatism with a dose of risk.
Europe seems vulnerable to terrorism originating both from highly organized groups like ISIS as well as «lone wolfs». It is important to consider the threat of hyper-terrorism, as recently explained by France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls. And also constantly reassess Beijing’s role and options in the Middle East, which amid increasing attacks on Chinese citizens abroad, is gaining importance for Europeans half-paralyzed by the refugee crisis mixed with the very threat of terrorism.
In fact, Beijing (over these years engaged in developing a common Eurasian defense architecture with Moscow and post-Soviet States) is showing an increasing willingness to cooperate with the EU on international security, which by definition entails some crucial geographic points of the planned grand infrastructure. And all this is happening before the great bulk of OBOR mammoth infrastructure is being set. The Silk Road is clearly in flux.

ARD verdreht Assad-Aussagen aus eigenem Interview

Für eiligere Zeitgenossen hier das Transcript:

Interessant dazu auch:

Die ARD hat ein interessantes Interview mit dem syrischen Präsidenten Assad geführt. Das ist lobenswert und ein Scoop. Doch leider entwertet der ARD-Reporter sein eigenes Interview, indem er in einer Interpretation für den Sender Assad eine Aussage in den Mund legt, die dieser nicht getätigt hat. Die dpa übernimmt den Spin und verbreitet ihn, als hätte Assad das wirklich gesagt.

Die ARD hat in einem ausführlichen Interview dem syrischen Präsidenten Baschar al-Assad die Gelegenheit gegeben, sich zur Lage in seinem Land zu äußern. Assad macht in dem Interview, das die
 ARD und die syrische Regierung im Wortlaut dokumentieren, klar, dass in seinem Land zahlreiche Söldner und Milizen aktiv sind, die von anderen Staaten ausgerüstet und finanziert werden.

An einer Stelle fragt der Reporter Thomas Aders:

„Herr Präsident, können Sie sagen, dass Syrien nach wie vor ein souveräner Staat ist, oder wird Ihre Politik bereits in Teheran bzw. im Kreml gemacht?“

Darauf antwortet Assad wörtlich:

„Der Begriff Souveränität ist relativ und verhältnismäßig. Vor der Krise hielt Israel unser Land besetzt, und wir betrachteten unsere Souveränität so lange nicht als vollständig, wie wir unser Land nicht zurückhatten. Und jetzt überschreiten während der Krise zahlreiche Terroristen unsere Grenze, und viele Flugzeuge der Amerikaner und ihrer Alliierten (was man dort als Allianz bezeichnet) verletzen unseren Luftraum. Auch hier kann man nicht von vollständiger Souveränität sprechen. Gleichzeitig ist man allerdings nach wie vor souverän, wenngleich nicht im vollen Umfang des Begriffs, wenn man eine Verfassung hat, wenn die Institutionen funktionieren und wenn der Staat mit seiner Arbeit ein Minimum für das syrische Volk leistet und wenn schließlich das syrische Volk sich keiner anderen Macht zu unterwerfen hat, was sicher das Wichtigste von allem ist.“

In einem kurzen Videobeitrag am Anfang des Artikels der Tagesschau befragt ein ARD-Moderator den Reporter nach seinem Eindruck von dem Interview. Darin schildert Thomas Aders Assad als schüchtern und zurückhaltend. Schließlich arbeitet der Reporter eine „News“ heraus, die das Interview seiner Meinung nach gebracht hat:

„Ihm geht es darum, dass das System überlebt, das System seines Regimes. Und er wird alles dafür tun, dass das so weitergeht. Er wird jeden Terroristen bekämpfen, das hat er ganz klipp und klar gesagt.

Und trotzdem hat er, und das fand ich sehr interessant, zugegeben, dass die Souveränität Syriens, mittlerweile nicht mehr vollständig sei, eben durch die Hilfe, durch die Waffenhilfe von Russland, vom Iran und von der libanesischen Hisbollah.“

Assad hat in dem Interview an keiner Stelle gesagt, dass er wolle, dass „das System seines Regimes“ überlebt. Er hat klipp und klar gesagt, dass er sich dem Willen des Volkes beugen werde: „Wenn das syrische Volk will, dass ich diesen Platz räume, dann habe ich das sofort und ohne Zögern zu tun.“

Doch noch viel gravierender ist die von Assads Aussage zur Souveränität abweichende Interpretation des Interviewers: Assad hat nie gesagt, dass die Souveränität Syriens wegen der „Waffenhilfe von Russland, dem Iran und der Hisbollah“ nicht mehr vollständig sei, sondern dass „viele Flugzeuge der Amerikaner und ihrer Alliierten (was man dort als Allianz bezeichnet)“ den syrischen Luftraum verletzen und Terroristen die Grenze überschreiten, und man deshalb „nicht von vollständiger Souveränität sprechen“ könne.

Das ARD-Team hat sich nach eigenen Angaben vier Jahre lang um das Interview bemüht. Es ist schade, dass im Fazit eine Frage mit einer Antwort vermischt wird. So wird ein „Spin“ erzeugt, der die journalistische Leistung entwertet und beim Zuseher einen äußerst schalen Beigeschmack hinterlässt.
unten klicken für sehr gutes , interessantes interviev mit assad !

Saudi-Arabien will Krieg auf Libanon ausweiten

 USA und EU helfen eifrigst mit! meint      AK
Geopolitik:  Eskalation:  Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten   
Saudi-Arabien will den Krieg im Nahen Osten auf den Libanon ausweiten. Die von den USA und Deutschland unterstützte, islamistische Monarchie hat die Hisbollah zur Terror-Organisation erklärt. Alle saudischen Staatsbürger wurden zum Verlassen des Landes aufgefordert. 
Im Machtkampf der Regionalmächte Saudi-Arabien und Iran hat die Regierung in Riad einen diplomatischen Erfolg erzielt. Der Golfkooperationsrat, ein Zusammenschluss der Golf-Monarchien um Saudi-Arabien, erklärte am Mittwoch die libanesische Hisbollah zu einer „Terrororganisation“.
Die Golf-Monarchien stellten sich damit zum ersten Mal kollektiv gegen die Hisbollah, die vom sunnitischen Saudi-Arabien als ein verlängerter Arm der schiitischen Führung im Iran angesehen wird.   -    „Die Staaten des Golfkooperationsrates haben beschlossen,....