MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : IN TIMES OF THE LEFT WING  ANTI-RASSISM  ISLAM DEVELOPS TO BE A GENUINE HUMAN RACE !  

Britain’s Back-Door Blasphemy Law

by Soeren Kern –  June 8, 2019  – GATESTONE

  • The long-running dispute revolves — most recently — around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.
  • The proposed definition has been opposed by many Britons, including British Muslims, who warn that it would effectively shield Islam from scrutiny and valid criticism.

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Verurteilte Hochstaplerin Anna Sorokin – Die Lust am Spiel

Sich neu erfinden und nicht dem Schicksal fügen: Anna Sorokin hat in den USA vorgegeben, eine Millionärstochter zu sein, um sich ein Leben im Luxus zu ergaunern. Eine Verteidigung.

Von Magnus Klaue

Als der Schwindel enthüllt war, schlug die Stunde der Bedenkenträger, Kuwi-Schwafler und Moralhausmeister. Während sich die Kommentatoren in Leserforen von Welt und Focus angesichts der Tatsache, dass eine ­betrügerische Einwanderin »Deutsch­russin« statt »Russischstämmige« genannt wird, vor Empörung kaum einkriegen konnten, schalteten die Schreibautomaten linkerer Medien in den kulturkritischen Schongang und lamentierten davon, dass in uns allen eine Anna Sorokin stecke.

»Ich würde lügen, wenn ich sagen würde, dass mir irgendetwas leidtut.«

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE HEZBOLLAH BOMB FACTORY IN SADIGH KHANS LONDON

Here’s the write-up in tomorrow’s of how MI5 and Met uncovered a Hezbollah bomb factory in North West London.

MESOPOTAMIA  NEWS : AYN RAND WÄRE HEUTE DONALD TRUMP (Ayn Rand war eine russisch-amerikanische Bestseller-Autorin jüdischer Herkunft, die sich auch zu Themen der Ökonomie, politischen Philosophie und Ethik äußerte)

Schuld ist Hegel: Trump-Philosophen nehmen den administrativen Staat ins Visier – Marc Neumann, Washington – NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG  –  8.6.2019, –  Der grosse Disruptor? Manche konservative Intellektuelle begrüssen den Wirbel, den Donald Trumps im Staat verursacht.

 In den USA gibt es ein paar konservative Denker, die die jüngeren politischen Auseinandersetzungen auf einen tiefliegenden geistigen Grundkonflikt zurückführen: Staatsglauben contra Verfassungstreue. Ihr Held ist Donald Trump. Sie sehen im amerikanischen Präsidenten den Alleszertrümmerer des Staats im Staate.

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ALLE BISHERIGE GESCHICHTE IST NICHT DIE GESCHICHTE VON KLASSENKÄMPFEN, SONDERN DIE DES ISLAM (Qantara, Migrations-Ideologie Blatt der EU Kommission)

 MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : GLOBAL-ISLAM & HERRSCHAFT  

ALLES WAR IMMER SCHON ISLAM – BESONDERS IN EUROPA  

Portugals islamische Wurzeln  – 9 Juni 2019 – Wo Christen in Richtung Mekka beten

Seit rund 40 Jahren sichern Archäologen in Mértola im Südosten des Landes Spuren der islamischen Vergangenheit Portugals. Ihre Funde zeigen, dass der Islam in Europa kein Fremdkörper ist, —– . Von Marta Vidal  – Qantara Magazin

Katharina Raudonat Interessant wenn die derridaistischen postmoderne Ant-Essentialisten (das sind sie sonst in allen Dingen) bei Muslimen et.al. immer “Wurzeln erkennen, wie Blut und Boden.

Kay Bluhme Portugal hat keine islamischen Wurzeln – es hat eine Geschichte islamischer Besatzung.

 Mehr via www.mesop.de

Propaganda XXL – „Klimadiktatur“ aus Umweltbundesamt: Journalismus für die große Transformation

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : DIE DURCHSETZUNG VON GLOBAL GOVERNANCE MIT ALLEN PROPAGANDISTISCHEN MITTELN

Von Alexander Wallasch  –  Fr, 7. Juni 2019 tichys Einblick

Der Journalist nach dem Geschmack von Umweltbundesamt, also Regierung, also Kanzlerin hat die Aufgabe, Wirklichkeit mit Geschichten herzustellen: Claas Relotius, der Journalist von morgen.Die Süddeutsche Zeitung nannte das Umweltbundesamt „die größte und mächtigste Umweltbehörde Europas“. Für den Spiegel-Journalisten Jan Fleischhauer ist dieses Amt mit seinen über 1.500 Mitarbeitern allerdings noch etwas ganz anderes, nämlich eine „durch und durch politisierte Behörde“.

Für Fleischhauer ist dieses aufgeblasene Amt so etwas, wie ein grün-ideologischer Hort der Faktenverdreher, wenn er weiter schreibt, das Umweltbundesamt versuche die „Öffentlichkeit mit Scheingenauigkeiten zu erschrecken“. Und der Redakteur erinnert daran, dass es diese Behörde war, die im Stile von antidemokratischen Ländern wie Aserbaidschan mit der Pressefreiheit umgehe, wenn Journalisten mit abweichender Meinung als Lügner gebrandmarkt werden („Leute, denen man nicht glauben darf“).

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MESOP NEWS SPECIAL BY BELLINGCAT INTEL: Torching And Extortion: OSINT Analysis Of Burning Agriculture In Iraq

June 3, 2019 – By Wim Zwijnenburg

In early May 2019, it was reported that agricultural areas of central and northern Iraq were being set ablaze — allegedly by remaining pockets of fighters from the so-called Islamic State.

The motive was said to have been punishment of farmers who refused to pay protection money to the terrorist organization. There is evidence that in the no-man’s land between Kurdish positions near Makhmour and federally-controlled Hamrin, ISIS members have been torching crops to force farmers to pay them taxes:

In Diyala governorate, similar tactics were used against Kurdish-populated villages. According to Kurdish farmers, this is also an attempt to drive them off their lands, as there have been a number of attacks targeting Kurdish farms in disputed areas near Taz Khurmatu in Salahadin governorate, and near Khanaqin, Diyala province — these came without warning or demand for ransom. Similar incidents have also been reported south of the Mosul lake in Ninewa governorate.

Eventually, the Iraqi government was forced to respond. It provided different statements, initially denying the link between ISIS and the crop fires, saying it’s a practice by farmers to fertilize the soil, only to state the next day that they will investigate the fires and prosecute those responsible:

In late May, the al-Naba newsletter, produced by ISIS, published an article on this tactic. The article began with: “Roll up your sleeves and begin the harvest: God bless your harvest. Soldiers of the Caliphate burn the farms of the apostates in Iraq and al-Sham, IS warns of a ‘hot summer’.” It provided a number of claims of attacks on farms and farmlands in Iraq and Syria, providing names of towns in Diyala, Ninewa, Salahadin, Kirkuk, and also in Deir ez Zor and Hasakah.

Header of the first al-Naba newsletter article on the crop fires, published by ISIS. May 23, 2019

 

On May 30, the newsletter put out a new article: “Burn the land of the Apostates and avoid the properties of Muslims.”

This second article claimed attacks on farmers and croplands in various towns and cities in Salahadin, including Shirqat and Haditha, as well as smaller villages in the Abbassi district in Hawija, south of Kirkuk, and a number of orchards and crop fields in Diyala. It also claimed responsibility for attacks on firefighters, which resulted in the killing and wounding of a number of them. Attacks on electricity generators and tractors were also claimed.

al-Naba newsletter, published by ISIS. May 30, 2019

Scorched-Earth Tactics

Burning down crop fields is not a new phenomenon as far as ISIS is concerned, as even in their pre-2014 insurgency phase, they often deployed this tactic of destroying the livelihood of Iraqi farmers. This was a tactic also used by Shia militias to take revenge on Sunni families. The scorched-earth method has and does still pose major problems for Iraqi food security, employment, socio-economic opportunities, and environment.

The recent uptick of attacks indicates ISIS will continue to resort to crop destruction as a way of extorting money to fund their operations, or as a revenge tactic against Iraqi communities.

In my Burning Borderlands article, I previously looked at how wildfires in Kurdistan caused by military activity created severe problems, ranging from displaced communities to firefighters being killed while on duty.

This article will briefly explore the trail of agricultural destruction in central Iraq, using open source methods and remote sensing to underscore the importance of this overlooked consequence of conflict and will provide a brief background on the importance of agriculture in Iraq.

My research visualizes the size and locations of burned vegetation and crop lands as seen on Sentinel-2 satellite imagery in central Iraq throughout the month of May. Such visualisation can be helpful in understanding the scale of the problem and should ideally spur a response to address issues in affected communities.

While it is often possible to link burned areas to specific attacks, this is not always the case and its important to make this disclaimer: Damaged crop fields or other burned areas can also be caused by residue burning done by farmers, accidents with cigarettes, sparks carried over from other fires, or even sheer coincidence — for example, pieces of glass magnifying sunlight and thus setting dry vegetation on fire. Yet one must also note that  controlled fires usually differ visually from arson attacks and accidents, as I will explain below.

Cradle Of Civilisation: Importance Of Agriculture In Iraq

Mesopotamia, the part of Iraq located in the Euphrates and Tigris valley, is often cited as the world’s first civilisation, where agriculture was key to this development of society.

Throughout the ages, agriculture has been crucial for rural economies — and it still is. Current data provided by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states that one third of Iraq’s population, roughly 12 million people, live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods and jobs.

Crop production constitutes 74% of the agricultural income in Iraq. Prior to the conflict with ISIS, there were already concerns expressed by the UN on environmental damage caused by climate change, deforestation, and mismanagement, all of which impacted food security, while the ICRC warned of the precarious status of Iraq’s agriculture.

With the rise of ISIS in 2014, the situation in the agricultural sector rapidly deteriorated due the influx of IDPs, destroyed irrigation equipment, looted materials, and abandonment of agricultural lands under threat of violence from the conflict, as per this 2016 FAO assessment of liberated areas.

Agricultural Systems in Iraq. Source: Regional Food Security Analysis Network (RFSAN)

In their 2017 report, FAO warned of how the conflict has seriously impacted Iraq’s agricultural sector. The report noted that, “Harvested wheat, barley and vegetables were lost due to population displacements, looting and the burning of grain bin.” It also pointed out that, “Severe damages to agricultural infrastructure were reported in liberated and ongoing conflict areas, including damage to food storage and crop processing infrastructure, as well as significant farm equipment losses.”

In another assessment of the impact of ISIS on the agricultural sector in Iraq by the Regional Food Security Analysis Network (RFSAN), the researchers found that, “Throughout its occupation, ISIS has looted harvests and agricultural equipment, sabotaged storage facilities, and poisoned land as a form of collective punishment. In the most extreme cases, agriculture itself has been militarized [emphasis mine] as irrigation pipes have been appropriated to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and agrochemicals and fertilizers have been used to make weapons and bombs.

According to the report by FAO, ISIS was responsible for a 40% decrease in agricultural production. Graphic source: FAO

These and other alarming observations were frequently reported by local and international news outlets. They strongly indicate how issues surrounding food security are exploited by ISIS.

At the same time, while ISIS faced less pressure during the relatively stable period in the areas that weren’t directly witnessing armed conflict, the group also profited from agricultural income, as this provided them a way to collect taxes and fund their war machine.

A GIS and remote sensing analysis of crop production in areas controlled by ISIS in the period 2014-2015 demonstrated the continuation and sometimes even improvement of crop growth.

This analysis was also supported by research of Lundt University, in which researchers Lina Eklund and others analysed cropland under ISIS rule. According to their remote sensing analysis, ISIS controlled 15% of all Iraq’s cropland at the peak of their power in June 2015. Their findings state that, “The emergence of the IS [ISIS] and the related violence have reshaped the agricultural landscape of Iraq and Syria in some areas, but that low-intensity agriculture has generally been maintained and even expanded in some places.”

There have also been reported cases wherein Afghan ISIS members grew poppies for opium production. It was claimed that over 16.000 square metres of poppy fields were burned in Sharqat, near Qayyarah, after being retaken from ISIS in October of 2016. No visual evidence via remote sensing in the area has been found to support this claim, though earlier reports, from 2008, noted an increase in opium production in Al-Qaida controlled areas such as Diyala in Iraq.

In areas about to be retaken by the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga, ISIS resorted to pillaging and destroying agricultural  infrastructure, or else laid waste to the lands as they retreated, or else destroyed irrigation systems and equipment. And in Sinjar, destruction of irrigation systems by ISIS severely impacted the livelihoods of people, as documented by Amnesty International in their 2018 report Dead Land.

The practice of targeting agriculture is as ancient as warfare itself, as food security is key to survival for communities and cities. Taking away the means for survival impacts both civilians and the military. This is something that farmers, in many countries the cornerstone to society, have all but too often felt when being targeted in conflicts and insurgencies.

A similar scenario has now unfolded again in Iraq and this is my attempt to visualize the scale and intensity of these tactics.

Collecting The Data: A Short Guide

I made use of various remote sensing tools that provide imagery from NASA’s Landsat 8 and ESA’s Sentinel-2 to link stories found in local, national, and international reports with satellite imagery of those locations. This helped to understand the location and scale of the burning.

Where possible, I aimed to support the imagery with reports from various news sources that provide an indication as to what the cause of the burning could have been, but this was not always possible to pinpoint. This effectively means that other non-conflict related triggers could have been the source of fires.

Therefore, I mainly included areas of burned land that can be directly linked with media reports, or where the probability of such a link is quite high, as the fires occurred in known military activity hotspots.

Other practices, such as burning of residue crops or burning of top layers of vegetation to make the soil more fertile for future use, must also be noted as frequently occurring. However, these practices can be spotted more easily as the boundaries of those fires are often similar to the boundaries of the square crop fields, while uncontrolled wildfires stretch over different patches of land in an irregular shape.

Also, harvested land that is subsequently burned is also distinguishable from land that isn’t harvested by using the vegetation colour as indicator, as the harvested land has different colours that areas that have not been harvested.  Lastly, due to many reports on the attacks, it is possible to link the areas where the attacks have taken place with burn scars appearing on satellite imagery, making causation obvious.

Burned areas are relatively easy to spot with low-resolution imagery, such as that via Sentinel-2, which has a 10-meter resolution, as well as Landsat 8, with a 30-meter resolution.

Various visual bands such as colour-infrared can be used in programs like Sinergise Sentinel Hub’s EO Browser to help spot the colour difference between healthy vegetation and areas affected by the fire, and to measure the size of the burned areas. For this article I made use of the Color Infrared (Vegetation) index, which makes it easy to spot burned land, which is black in colour, versus vegetation, coloured in shades of red.

There are also custom-made scripts by experts like Pierre Marcuse who combine different bands to spot fires, which I also made use of in my research. Meanwhile, open access to satellite imagery from NASA and ESA has been made easier through platforms like Sentinel Hub, EOS Landviewer and USGS Landsat Look, which can be incorporated in free GIS programs like QGIS to easily map burned areas.

Another tool that is helpful in spotting fires is the Active Fire Data set collected by NASA’s MODUS and VIIRS satellites. These satellites pick up heat signatures from all kind of sources, be it the oil industry’s flaring gases to the heat of wildfires. When you filter out the data from known sources, such as oil installations, the remaining data can be very useful to identify potential fire outbreaks. The datasets are made available through their portal and can be downloaded into your GIS program, but are also made available online through the website fires.ru, making life even easier. See below an example of what that website is showing for Hawija, south of Kirkuk in central Iraq:

Overview of heat signature spotted with satellites, made available through fires.ru — note that most orange spots are flares from the oil industry

Another note to make is that due to the increase of rainfall in late 2018/early 2019, there has also been an increase in vegetation growth. The current heatwave in Iraq has also resulted in rapid withering of the vegetation, making it more vulnerable to fires.

ISIS: A History Of Arson Attacks

In mid-2014, ISIS went on a swift offensive throughout Iraq, combining their forces coming in from Syria with local insurgent groups to take over large parts of the country’s north. ISIS took the wheat harvest from farmers to sell it on the Kurdish or Iraqi markets, making millions of dollars which would flow back into the group’s revenue stream.

In Diyala, in northeast Iraq, the group started to target farmlands in July of 2014 as the fighting heated up and they were pushed back. According to a local news source, the insurgents deliberately fired mortars into the wheat fields they lost control of. This article from 2017 has a local official referring to an attack in May of 2014:

“The largest [fire] was on May 8th, 2014 when wheat farms in the town of Qarah Tabbah [also known as Qara Tapa] that stretch over 500 dunams, were torched by ISIS elements.”

Landsat 8 doesn’t show any burned areas in May of that year, but it does show large burned areas in July 2014, which could indicate that the official remembered wrong, or that another attack took place around those dates.

Qara Tapa, June 27, 2014, Landsat 8 False Color. Burned areas are black

Another report, this one by the Institute For the Study of War, stated that the group “burned thousands of acres of crop” near Samarra in May, 2014. I only found one location northeast of Samarra which indicates that cropland in May was burned, but am currently unable to verify if this was the location as indicated in the report.

Burned land visible on satellite imagery May 23, 2014, via Landsat 8

There are burned crop circles visible in late May 2014 and early June, yet most of those seem to have been done post-harvest — as these are likely controlled burning of crop residues, based on the burn patterns.

Border areas between Salahadin and Diyala, central Iraq. June 18, 2014

The use of crop torching as an extortion tool came into greater focus in 2015, as a report on ISIS activities indicated that the group was stepping up this practice in Kirkuk as they lost access to the oil field in the Hamrin mountains. When Iraqi and Kurdish forces made progress in pushing ISIS back, the group started to destroy the areas they had to give up. One such area was Dibis forest, Iraq’s second largest remaining lowland forest, located in the mountainous area east of Kirkuk.

Timelapse showing the burned down forest at Dibis, Kirkuk governorate. Landsat 8, April-July 2015

As described by a farmer to environmental journalist Peter Schwarzstein for his 2016 article on ISIS scorched-earth policies throughout northern Iraq: “Never before, though, had people deliberately torched our fields. Never had they tried to completely wreck our livelihoods. Never have we encountered such animals.”  

These practices continued even after ISIS lost control over its territory. On May 17, 2017, they claimed an attack in Diyala that burned down 350 dunams, i.e. roughly 90 acres, of wheat. Satellite imagery shows burned areas north of the city of Adaim (also known as al-Azim) that appeared between May 12 and May 22.

In 2018, a handful of incidents around burned croplands linked to ISIS attacks were reported on, most of them in Hawija and around Kirkuk, such as this burned crop area in Qara Tapa on May 24:

Timelapse of the burned crop fields at Qara Tapa, Kirkuk, May 2014. Via Sentinel-2

After they lost control over territory in Iraq, the group continued their operations in Hawija.

Local media reported that in June of 2018, ISIS insurgents burned down wheat and barley crops in Hawija as means to pressure local communities to provide support to the group. A number of burn scars are visible in the period reported, though it’s unclear which ones are caused by attacks and which ones are the result of burning crop residue. At the same time, in Sunni areas around Mukhdadya in Diyala, Shia militias were blamed for fires used as a means to displace farmers, which underscores that these appear to be methods used by various armed groups in Iraq.

2019: Stepping Up The Tactics Of Burning

In May of this year, multiple reports of wildfires in the provinces of Kirkuk, Salahadin and Diyala were were coming in via social media and news media. Large fires destroyed orchards,  wheat, and barley crops fields — and have threatened to encircle military installations and critical infrastructure such as oil fields.

A significant portion of these attacks have been linked to ISIS insurgents, as their own press agency, Al Amaq,  soon claimed responsibility for the fires, in particular in the area around Makhmour, Hawijah, and in Diyala (around the city of Khanaqin in particular) and Salahadin, where ISIS cells are active.

The outbreak of fires increased after May 17, and at the time of publication of this article, I have counted roughly 150 large, medium and smaller sites with burn scars using Sentinel-2 imagery. A quick and dirty measurement with Sentinel’s Hub EO Browser tool showed that the total size of the burned areas at those 150 sites is at least 1000 square kilometres combined.

Overview of burned areas focussed on Kirkuk, Salahadin and Diyala governorate. Made with Sentinel-2 and QGIS

Not only did the fires result in the destruction of agricultural land, there were also fires near critical infrastructure such as power plants, oil fields and refineries around Hamrin and Baiji, which were caused by insurgent attacks, IEDs, and arson.

Firefighters putting out flames outside a powerstation near the Baji oil refinery, May 2019. Source: Twitter

Satellite images taken by Planet Labs show burns scars near the Baiji oil refinery

Fires at the oil fields in the Hamrin mountain range. Sentinel-2 Agriculture band. May 24, 2019

220 square kilometres of burning vegetation and crop land south of Tuz Khurmato, May 26, 2019. Via Sentinel-2

Other causes of these fires could be a combination of an ongoing heatwave in Iraq with airstrikes by the Iraqi Air Force against ISIS insurgents — for example in the Hamrin mountains.

Reported incidents — for example, the work done by Tomasz Rolbiecki and by LiveUAMap — can provide an insightful overlay to see if burned areas are likely to be linked with claimed ISIS attacks or military operations.

An overlay of claims of attacks by ISIS with burned areas mapped in QGIS

With what is yet another disturbing tactic that must be noted, ISIS members prevent the extinguishing of the fires by reportedly puttings IEDs in the fields to hinder firefighters. This is something that they did at the Qayyarah oil fields in 2016 as well, to prevent access to the burning wells.

Other major fires have occurred around the Speicher Air base near Tikrit, though these are alleged to be caused by flares from helicopters:

On Twitter, photos of various devices that were allegedly used to start the fires have appeared, though these images cannot independently verified:

Another image of a device reportedly found near Baiji, Iraq. Source: Twitter

Conclusion

Based on open source reporting and available satellite imagery, the fires in May alone have already burned over 1000 square kilometres of land in central Iraq at least 50 sites, with a considerable amount being agricultural lands and orchards. This increased fire activity has combined causes, ranging from attempts by ISIS to displace farmers and extort money and as a scorched-earth tactic, to local gangs using it for extortion. Other causes include IEDs, counter-ISIS air strikes and, often, just plain accidents.

Considering that these events occurred on a much lesser scale in previous years, (based on a quick and dirty review of satellite imagery of the affected areas during harvest season in the period 2016-2018), and that quite a few started at night,  ISIS insurgents are likely responsible for the bulk of the fires — as these can create maximal result with minimal effort.

This is another worrisome development of the weaponization of the environment, in this case croplands and other vegetation, to displace people and ruin their socio-economic opportunities by literally burning down their livelihoods.

In a call by FAO at the 2018 donor conference, it was urged that, “Restoring the crucial agriculture sector that has been severely damaged by ISIL’s [ISIS’] takeover of vast areas of Iraq is critical to the country’s recovery from years of conflict and to its long-term prosperity.” This issue remains pertinent today.

The current scorched-earth tactics applied by ISIS is putting an extra recovery dimension for post-conflict reconstruction programs carried out by the Iraqi government. Destroyed harvests and farms will require additional funding for recovery for local communities to rebuild their lives. Moreover, because this tactic is used as a tool for displacing farmers from minority groups in disputed areas, affected communities consequently require more local peace-building and reconciliation work.

Current open source mapping with the use of  rapidly developing easy remote sensing tools can help in estimating the scale and intensity of the situation on the ground.

Weaponization of the environment in all forms and methods is on the rise, and we urgently need to hold those responsible accountable for their actions, as well as to better prepare our response to the environmental impact of conflicts on human lives and livelihoods.

I Would like to thank Nathan Ruser @nrg800, Harel Dan @Hareldan, Tomasz Rolbiecki @tomaszrolbieci for all their GIS and data support, Maha Yassin @mahaalghareeb for translation,  Ali Sahib @Ali73181 for additional sources and information and Peter Schwarzstein @pschwarzstein for background information

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Besuchen Sie Europa, solange es noch geht! – Von Wolfgang Röhl

 MESOPOTAMIA NEWS „contradictio“  : DER NATIONALISMUS GILT ALS OVER&OUT / ABER ALLE MASSENMENSCHEN SOLLEN BALD WIEDER NUR AUF ANGESTAMMTEN FESTEN TERRITORIEN EXISTIEREN 

Frühsommers, wenn wir mindestens mental auf gepackten Koffern sitzen, vollzieht sich ein erstaunlicher Wandel. Nicht länger plagt uns der Gewissenswurm ob der tausende von Kilometern, die wir mit der treuen Dieselkutsche auf der Fahrt gen Nordkapp oder an die Algarve abreißen werden. Wir halten das Smartphone mit dem Mobile Boarding Pass, der uns den Zugang zum Flieger nach San Francisco öffnet, ohne Wimperzucken ans Lesegerät. Und das Klimagequengel des Nachwuchses verstummt ruckartig, sobald wir die Zauberformel sprechen: „Wer hier noch einmal Fridays for Future sagt, bleibt zuhause bei Oma und Opa.“

Alles wird ganz wunderbar, wie in Cliff Richards Urlaubshit „Summer Holiday“ aus fernen, unschuldigen Tagen. Oder, um mit Wilhelm Busch zu sprechen: Froh schlägt das Herz im Reisekittel / vorausgesetzt man hat die Mittel.

Da wird es Zeit für ein alternatives Ständchen aus dem Fahrtenbuch eines Grantelhubers:

Der abendländische Tourismus ist eine der großen nihilistischen Bewegungen, eine der großen westlichen Seuchen, die an bösartiger Wirksamkeit kaum hinter den Epidemien der Mitte und des Ostens zurückbleiben, sie aber an lautloser Heimtücke übertreffen. Die Schwärme dieser Riesenbakterien, Reisende genannt, überziehen die verschiedensten Substanzen mit dem gleichförmig schillernden Thomas-Cook-Schleim, so dass man schließlich zwischen Kairo und Honolulu, zwischen Taormina und Colombo nicht mehr recht unterscheiden kann.

Starker Tobak, nicht wahr. Nachschlag gefällig?

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “JETZT JUTE STATT PLASTIK!” / RAUS AUS DEN HOCHUMWELT-TOXISCHEN-FUNKTIONS-KLAMOTTEN ! (MIKROPLASTIK!)

 0utdoor-Funktionskleidung, diese oft übelriechenden Mikroplastikmüll verursachenden Erdölprodukte, sind nicht nur unschön anzusehen, wenn die Endverbraucher wieder einmal gefährliche Expeditionen durch die Fußgängerzone bis zum nächsten Alnatura unternehmen. Gemäß seinem Firmenslogan „Never stop exploring” reizte ein Anbieter, den wir hier jetzt absichtlich nicht nennen, die guten Sitten dessen aus, was man sich im Internet erlauben kann.  

Wer auf eine Reise geht, der macht vor Fahrtantritt gerne eine Bildersuche auf Google, so dachten sich der Ausstatter und seine Werbeagentur, und ziemlich oft werden als Erstes Bilder aus der Wikipedia angezeigt. Hübsche Bilder von Naturparks zum Beispiel, die auch deshalb entstehen, weil Wikipedia regelmäßig Fotowettbewerbe veranstaltet. Dort müssten unsere Bilder sein — das war den Werbemenschen sofort klar, ganz oben bei Google!

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS COMMENTARY : ORDER FROM CHAOS

At Brookings, Gen. Joseph Dunford comments on threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and beyond –  Adam Twardowski –  BROOKINGS –  Tuesday, June 4, 2019

During his distinguished tenure as 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the nation’s highest-ranking military officer—General Joseph Dunford has been a key force at the center of America’s defense policy. He has helped redirect U.S. strategic attention to the challenges posed by great power competition, while also remaining vigilant against threats from the Korean Peninsula to the Persian Gulf and broader Middle East, and addressing rapidly evolving military technologies as well as other challenges.

On May 29, the Brookings Institution hosted General Dunford for a sweeping conversation on U.S. defense policy with Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, beginning with an introduction by O’Hanlon.  O’Hanlon opened by asking General Dunford to assess the international security environment, and how it has evolved since he assumed his current position in 2015. Dunford said that since 2015, Russia has intensified its operations in the Donbas, intervened in the Syrian conflict, conducted an attempted assassination operation in the United Kingdom, and then interfered in the U.S. elections while modernizing its nuclear enterprise. China has become more aggressive in the South China Sea on top of the current economic friction, while North Korea remains as uncertain as ever.

O’Hanlon turned to Russia, where Dunford has an established dialogue with General Valery Gerasimov—chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces—to deconflict operations and reduce the risk of miscommunication that could lead to unintended exchanges between U.S. and Russian forces. O’Hanlon argued that despite recent Russian disinformation and aggression, military deterrence of Russia is more stable in part because of the role Dunford and others have successfully played in building up the European Defense Initiative, while NATO has become more focused on the task of deterring Russia in the east. Dunford responded: “When I think about military-to-military relationships, I think about it in terms of mitigating a risk and miscalculation, and then managing a crisis,” noting that he and his Russian counterpart have been committed to separating politics from their ongoing professional dialogue.

On NATO, Dunford said: “We made a fundamental shift…to truly enhance deterrence as well as assurance. I would argue that the investments we have made as a nation in Europe…have in fact improved our posture in Europe from what it was four years ago, and have in fact improved deterrence.” Dunford lauded the Europeans’ growing cohesion by highlighting “the most recent commitment by Europe to have 30 battalions, 30 ships, and 30 squadrons available in 30 days, and in an unprecedented way, to expose those units to their validation of readiness by the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe—something that was never done in the past.”

O’Hanlon raised North Korea, and “just how much [U.S.-South Korea] readiness might have been degraded by the suspension of exercises” during President Trump’s recent diplomatic overtures to Kim Jong Un. Dunford replied: “I am very confident today that we have not compromised the readiness of the alliance to go to war should that be required.” He explained: “At the squadron and the battalion level there has been no change to training on the peninsula. And of course, that is the fundamental building block of the ability to integrate and combine arms to fight on the peninsula. There has been no change in that regard.”

Moving to China, O’Hanlon raised Beijing’s efforts to build up military capability in the South China Sea. From 2013 to 2015, there was significant reclaiming of the islands, followed by the positioning of military forces despite Xi Jinping’s promise to President Obama not to. Dunford underscored that China’s militarization—today, there are 10,000-foot runways, ammunition storage facilities, routine deployment of missile defense capabilities—is a concern, and that if the militarization of the islands has plateaued, as O’Hanlon noted, “it’s because the islands have now been developed to the point that they provide the military capability China required.” Dunford stressed that the South China “is in my judgment not a pile of rocks…and what is at stake [there] and elsewhere where there are territorial claims, is the rule of law, international laws, norms, and standards.” He concluded that those who violate norms “need to be held accountable so that future violations are deterred.”

Finally, O’Hanlon asked Dunford to assess the state of readiness of the U.S. military “as it tries to get on the comeback trail from a pretty rough first 20 years of this century.” Dunford recounted that in 2010, the military made two faulty assumptions: that operational commitments would reduce, and the fiscal environment would stabilize. While the decisions made in 2011 and onward were informed by those assumptions, by 2015 it became clear that the operational environment was not going to change, and the fiscal situation was not going to stabilize. At that point, the military started to achieve a better balance, and “in 2017, I would argue that we began to see adequate levels of funding to be able to address those issues.” With better planning and a more realistic sense of operational commitments informed by the National Defense Strategy, “we’re now what I hope to be four years into stable and adequate levels of funding, assuming that we get fiscal year [20]20 at or about what the president’s budget reflects. And that has made a quantifiable impact on the level of readiness that we have.”

On the broader dilemma of quality versus quantity in the U.S. military, Dunford explained that “if we’re going to grow capacity, you need to do it in a way where it is meaningful capability, balanced capability. And when you have to make a choice between capacity and capability, I would go with capability.”

Gen. Dunford: “When you have to make a choice between capacity and capability, I would go with capability.”

During the audience Q&A session, Dunford was asked how the threat posed by Iran to the United States and U.S. forces in the region changed over the last year. Dunford replied that the U.S. intelligence community began to observe multiple threat streams in Yemen, the Gulf, and Iraq that prompted the United States to send a clear message: Iran would be held “accountable should something take place in the region.” Because there were questions about the will and capability of the United States to respond, Dunford—together with General McKenzie of U.S. Central Command—made a number of specific recommendations to Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan to “address what I saw as a gap in perception…We wanted the Iranians to know that if they did anything, it would be attributable to them.” Dunford stressed: “This was all designed to enhance deterrence.”

Asked on President Trump’s decision to station troops on the southern border with Mexico, while Dunford refused to comment on the appropriateness of diverting funding from the Pentagon’s budget to that effort, he refuted the idea that it negatively impacted the military’s readiness in any way. In any task assigned to U.S. forces, “we make sure that we rotate the units routinely through different missions to give them experience and training and capability in the full spectrum of missions that we expect them to perform. So I don’t view the mission on the border differently with regard to readiness from any other mission that we’ve been assigned.”

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/06/04/at-brookings-gen-joseph-dunford-comments-on-threats-from-russia-china-north-korea-and-beyond/?preview_id=587252&fbclid=IwAR37BZn7S-zDQufWVizsB-r6MHbgYQrToznZvGqZFxaWx3Ns9t-voFt1ntQ

 

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