Posts Tagged ‘Aufstandsbekämpfung’

BRD: GÜZ geht’s los (AUFRUF)

Montag, Juni 25th, 2012

“Das Camp – war starts here

EINLADUNG ZUM INTERNATIONALEN DISKUSSIONS- UND AKTIONS-CAMP 12. – 17. SEPTEMBER 2012
GEGEN DAS GEFECHTSÜBUNGSZENTRUM (GÜZ) DER BUNDESWEHR.

Feind hinterm Fenster. Deckung, orientieren, Schuss. Blitzschnell informiert der Laser-Duellsimulator die Kämpfenden, wer getroffen hat und wer getroffen wurde, wer weiter übt und wer liegenbleibt in der Steppe Sachsen-Anhalts. Das deutsche Heer trainiert im Gefechtsübungszentrum (GÜZ) – Altmark, wie ein Dorf in Afghanistan, im Kosovo oder – einer Einschätzung der Nato über künftige Kriege folgend – eine beliebige Stadt der Erde überfallen und besetzt werden kann.

KOMMT ZUM INTERNATIONALEN ANTIMILITARISTISCHEN CAMP
GEGEN DAS GEFECHTSÜBUNGSZENTRUM DER BUNDESWEHR (GÜZ)!

Das GÜZ ist für Bundeswehr, NATO und EU ein zentraler Ort. Hier beginnt der Krieg, der weltweit geführt wird. Wir wollen das Camp zu einem zentralen Ort der Bündelung antimilitaristischer Kämpfe machen. Eingeladen sind alle, die der zunehmenden Militarisierung entgegentreten wollen. Wir werden unsere unterschiedlichen Analysen und Zugänge diskutieren und gemeinsam praktische Erfahrung im sabotieren des Krieges machen.

KRIEG BEGINNT HIER, WIR WOLLEN IHN HIER MARKIEREN, BLOCKIEREN, SABOTIEREN!

Das GÜZ Altmark bei Hillersleben/Magdeburg ist der modernste Truppenübungsplatz Europas. Von Kämpfen in Städten bis zum Gefecht von Panzergruppen werden hier militärische Interventionen von Luft- und Bodenmilitärtrupps simuliert. Der Betreiber „Rheinmetall Dienstleistungszentrum Altmark“ vermietet das Gelände an die Bundeswehr und andere europäische Armeen, ist Dienstleisterin der gesamten Technik und Logistik und leistet die Vorarbeit für die militärischen Analysen. Hier wird Krieg geübt, ausprobiert, vorbereitet.

KRIEG ÜBEN IST EIN TEIL VON KRIEG FÜHREN.

Alle Bundeswehr-Soldat_innen, die in einen Auslandseinsatz geschickt werden, müssen sich im GÜZ einem in der Regel zweiwöchigen Kampftraining unterziehen. Samt Ausrüstung werden sie zum GÜZ verfrachtet, hier üben sie mit Laserwaffen, Rauchbomben und Kunstblut Krieg. Inmitten der riesigen Heidelandschaft des GÜZ wird ab 2012 eine moderne Großstadt nachgebaut: Schnöggersburg hat eine U-Bahn, einen Flughafen, eine Innen- und Altstadt, Plattenbauten, Wohnhäuser, Industrie- und Elendsviertel. “Diese Stadt könnte überall auf der Welt stehen” (Oberst Michael Matz, Leiter des GÜZ)

ZIVIL- MILITÄRISCHE NORMALITÄT

Nicht erst seit der Aussetzung der Wehrpflicht versucht eine immense Rekrutierungs- und Werbeoffensive der Bundeswehr in Schulen, Unis und Jobcentern eine militärische Durchdringung des “Zivilen” und den gesellschaftlichen Rückhalt der “Heimatfront” abzusichern. Derzeit erleben wir, wie auf allen Ebenen daran gearbeitet wird, Krieg zum Alltag zu machen. Unterschiede zwischen Innen und Außen, militärisch und zivil, Polizei und Militär, Krieg und Frieden, verschwinden zunehmend. Immer mehr gesellschaftliche Bereiche werden durch die zivilmilitärische Zusammenarbeit (ZMZ) vereinnahmt: an der Uni durch die Drittmittelfinanzierung, bei der Post durch Übernahme von Logistikleistungen und bei der so genannten Entwicklungshilfe durch die Kooperation mit Militärs. Dem Konzept der Vernetzten Sicherheit folgend sollen alle Bereiche des gesellschaftlichen Lebens ihren Beitrag zur Schaffung und Aufrechterhaltung „öffentlicher Ordnung“ leisten. Polizeiliche Aufgaben werden zunehmend durch das Militär übernommen. In der EU werden Gesetze und Verfahren harmonisiert, aber noch sind sich die Staaten in Vielem nicht einig. Die Militarisierung ist noch nicht überall so fortgeschritten wie z.B. im italienischen Val di Susa, wo aus Afghanistan kommende Fallschirmjäger gegen Demos eingesetzt werden. Allerdings erzwang das Militär auch in Spanien schon den Abbruch eines Streiks. In Deutschland tun viele immer noch so, als wäre gar nicht “richtig” Krieg. Dabei sind es nicht zuletzt deutsche Kriegstreiber_innen, die die Umsetzung der “vernetzten” Kriegsführung international nach Kräften forcieren.

AUFSTANDSBEKÄMPFUNG – STÄDTE ALS KRIEGSGEBIET

Das Nato-Strategiepapier “Urban Operations in the Year 2020” konstatiert, dass weltweit mehr und mehr Menschen in Städten leben und dort verarmen. Daher sei es nötig, Defizite der Einsatzfähigkeiten der Militärs im urbanen Raum zu beheben. Unruhen werden schlicht als erwartbare Herausforderungen kalkuliert, die bekämpft werden müssen. Neben baulichen Besonderheiten stellt vor allem das Operieren in bewohntem Gebieten die Armee vor Probleme: Wo Kämpfer_innen von der Bevölkerung kaum zu unterscheiden sind, gibt es angesichts ziviler Opfer schnell Proteste. Deshalb will das Militär näher ran und rein in die Gesellschaft, mit wissenschaftlichen Sozialstudien, Spionen, Aufklärungskompetenzen, Medienregulierungen, Zersetzungsstrategien. Ob mit “robusten” oder „Crowd-Control“ Einheiten, ausgerüstet mit “weniger tödlichen” Waffen, ist nur eine Frage der Intensität der Auseinandersetzung . Die Aufrechterhaltung einer Wirtschaftsordnung, die für die meisten Menschen keinerlei Perspektive bereithält, erfordert ein dauerhaft militärisches Krisenmanagement. Dabei ist offene Repression bei Weitem nicht immer Mittel der Wahl. Im Vordergrund stehen stattdessen Prävention, Umstrukturierung von Stadtteilen, die Einschüchterung von Sympathisierenden, die Schaffung von Feindbildern, auf dass die Bevölkerung sich distanziert und selbst diszipliniert. Aufstandsbekämpfung, Counter-Insurgency im Nato-Sprech, will eine entpolitisierte passive Öffentlichkeit prägen und bleibt zugleich als Strategie des Machterhalts so tödlich und reaktionär wie die Kolonialkriege, in denen sie entwickelt wurde. Was üblicherweise als Synonym für „Riot-Control“ gilt, könnte ein weitreichenderes Konzept des Regierens sein, in dem es nicht um das Beilegen von Konflikten geht, sondern darum, einen einmal erreichten Ausnahmezustand langfristig beizubehalten. Die Destabilisierung einer Gesellschaft schafft auch die Legitimation für andauernde polizeilich-militärische Kontrolle ohne politisch verhandelbare Alternativen präsentieren zu müssen. Was im Irak oder in Afghanistan als Mangel an Plänen für eine Nachkriegsordnung oder als Unvermögen der Durchsetzung erscheint, könnte der Kern der Sache selbst sein: Aufstandsbekämpfung als ewiges Krisenmanagement. Denn solange die Krise andauert, lässt sich leichter Akzeptanz schaffen für Einschränkungen der Bewegungsfreiheit, für Bevormundung und Unterdrückung.

KRIEG – NATO – NEOKOLONIALISMUS

Die aktuellen Kriegseinsätze werden unter anderem mit der Verbreitung von Demokratie, Frauen- und Menschenrechten legitimiert. Diese Begründungen sind nicht nur als reiner Vorwand zu verstehen, um ökonomische Interessen durchzusetzen, sie sind auch immer Ausdruck einer postkolonialistischen Weltsicht, die die eigenen Werte für überlegen hält. Eine Gesellschaft, die zum Krieg bereit sein soll, muss darauf eingestimmt werden, dass die Anwendung von militärischer Gewalt nicht nur unvermeidbar, sondern sogar wünschenswert bzw. heldenhaft sei – sofern sie von „Sicherheitskräften“ ausgeübt wird. Zu ihrer Rechtfertigung ist es immer wieder nötig, abweichende Standpunkte, Lösungsansätze und Probleme auszublenden. Komplexe Strukturen müssen als einfache Widersprüche wahrgenommen werden, damit am Ende einer Überlegung nur eine Lösung möglich ist: Krieg. Es bedarf einer einfach gestrickten bipolaren Weltsicht, um militärische Gewalt als Mittel zur „Bewältigung“ sozialer Konflikte erscheinen zu lassen. Es gibt nur Frau oder Mann, Demokratie oder islamistische Diktatur, die Wilden oder der Westen, Zivilisation oder Barbarei, Ordnung oder Chaos. Sexualisierte Gewalt und Krieg gehen immer Hand in Hand. Dem Militär kommt durch die Legalisierung und Legitimierung von Gewalt als Form der Auseinandersetzung ein enormer Teil der Bildung und Aufrechterhaltung einer Gewalt ausübenden Männerrolle zu. Einerseits verstärkt Militarisierung eine patriarchale und bipolare Geschlechterordnung, andererseits wird diese auch angeführt um Kriege zu rechtfertigen. Militarisierte Aufstandsbekämpfung bildet da keine Ausnahme. Auch hier sind es bewaffnete Männerhorden, die kämpfen, um den Besitz- und Herrschaftsanspruch der jeweilig anderen Männer zu brechen. Weil dieser Besitzanspruch sowohl die Verfügungsgewalt als auch eine Schutzanmaßung über die „eigenen Frauen“ beinhaltet, sind sexualisierte Erniedrigungen und Vergewaltigungen von Zivilist_innen und Soldat_innen, aber auch sexualisierte Gewalt gegen männliche Gefangene in allen Kriegsgebieten an der Tagesordnung. Die der bipolaren Geschlechterordnung innewohnenden Gewaltverhältnisse und ihr direkter Bezug zum Militarismus lassen nur einen Schluss zu: Geschlechterrollen und Militär angreifen, aufweichen, auflösen! Sicher ist, wir bewegen uns auf widersprüchlichem Terrain – einerseits sind wir weltweit den gleichen kriegerischen Prinzipien unterworfen, andererseits bedeutet Krieg für viele Menschen Tod, Folter, Vergewaltigung und Erniedrigung. Jedoch ist bei allen Unterschiedlichkeiten der gesellschaftlichen Realitäten und der Betroffenheit von Gewalt den verschiedenen Facetten der Militarisierung eines gemein: Jegliche Perspektive auf Selbstbestimmung und Emanzipation wird verunmöglicht.

KRIEG BEGINNT HIER – STOPPEN WIR IHN HIER!

Wo alles Front werden soll, darf die Auflehnung gegen Militarisierung und Krieg nicht länger alleinige Zuständigkeit von Friedensbewegung und Antimilitarist_innen sein. Militarisierung, „vernetzte Sicherheit“, Aufstandsbekämpfung und letztlich Krieg sind immer auch ein Angriff auf alle sozialen, emanzipatorischen Bewegungen und somit gegen alle Menschen, die für eine befreite Gesellschaft kämpfen. Wir wünschen uns ein offenes und selbstorganisiertes Camp verschiedener emanzipatorischer Strömungen. Also vernetzen wir uns international, um zusammen Strategien und Konzepte zu entwickeln und zu diskutieren, Aktionen zu reißen und dem militärischen Treiben vielfältigen Widerstand entgegen zu setzen.

SCHMEIßEN WIR UNSERE FRAGEN UND DIE ERFAHRUNGEN
UNSERER KÄMPFE ZUSAMMEN!

Wir werden – in Anerkennung all unserer Unterschiede – ein gemeinsames internationales Camp gegen das Gefechtsübungszentrum Altmark aufbauen. In Diskussionen und Aktionen wollen wir von der Bandbreite unserer Kämpfe profitieren. Machen wir der militarisierten Zurichtung der Welt ein Ende! Um effektiven Widerstand aufzubauen, gilt es zunächst zu verstehen, womit wir es bei “neuen” Kriegen zu tun haben. Nicht in Form von Expertisen, die keiner liest, sondern als geteiltes Wissen. Was hat sich seit dem Kalten Krieg verändert? Wie positionieren wir uns in gegenwärtigen und zukünftigen Kriegen? Welche Unterschiede zwischen Piratenjagd und Intervention in sogenannte Schurkenstaaten sind bedeutsam oder ist beides nur Ausdruck eines permanenten Kriegszustandes? Finden wir es wichtig, ob dem Konzept der Aufstandsbekämpfung tatsächlich kommende Aufstände zu Grunde liegen? Wie kommt die Nato-Strategie der “Vernetzten Sicherheit”, der “Comprehensive Approach”, weltweit zum Tragen? Ebenso wollen wir praktisch vor Ort beweisen, dass wir den Krieg dort wo er beginnt auch aufhalten können. Uns sind in diesem Sinne alle Aktionsformen willkommen, die den laufenden Militärbetrieb markieren, blockieren, sabotieren! Manöver finden hier fast täglich statt, das Gelände ist nur teilweise eingezäunt und riesengroß. So bieten sich vielfältige Aktionsfelder: zum Beispiel Schienen, Straßen, Zäune, Gebäude, Wege, Lagerhallen, Überwachungsinfrastruktur, Fahrzeuge, Flugmaschinen, Kommunikationsnetze, Zulieferer, Rüstungsbetriebe …

MARKIEREN. BLOCKIEREN. SABOTIEREN.
WAR STARTS HERE – LET’S STOP IT HERE!
CAMP AGAINST THE GEFECHTSÜBUNGSZENTRUM (GÜZ)!
12. – 17 SEPTEMBER 2012

Mehr Information: http://warstartsherecamp.org/

 

(Quelle: War Resisters’ International.)

USA: Geld für Somalias Geheimdienst ist da…

Donnerstag, Juli 14th, 2011

“The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia

By Jeremy Scahill

Nestled in a back corner of Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport is a sprawling walled compound run by the Central Intelligence Agency. Set on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the facility looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen buildings behind large protective walls and secured by guard towers at each of its four corners. Adjacent to the compound are eight large metal hangars, and the CIA has its own aircraft at the airport. The site, which airport officials and Somali intelligence sources say was completed four months ago, is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access. At the facility, the CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted “combat” operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.

As part of its expanding counterterrorism program in Somalia, the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shabab members or of having links to the group are held. Some of the prisoners have been snatched off the streets of Kenya and rendered by plane to Mogadishu. While the underground prison is officially run by the Somali NSA, US intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners. The existence of both facilities and the CIA role was uncovered by The Nation during an extensive on-the-ground investigation in Mogadishu. Among the sources who provided information for this story are senior Somali intelligence officials; senior members of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG); former prisoners held at the underground prison; and several well-connected Somali analysts and militia leaders, some of whom have worked with US agents, including those from the CIA. A US official, who confirmed the existence of both sites, told The Nation, “It makes complete sense to have a strong counterterrorism partnership” with the Somali government.

The CIA presence in Mogadishu is part of Washington’s intensifying counterterrorism focus on Somalia, which includes targeted strikes by US Special Operations forces, drone attacks and expanded surveillance operations. The US agents “are here full time,” a senior Somali intelligence official told me. At times, he said, there are as many as thirty of them in Mogadishu, but he stressed that those working with the Somali NSA do not conduct operations; rather, they advise and train Somali agents. “In this environment, it’s very tricky. They want to help us, but the situation is not allowing them to do [it] however they want. They are not in control of the politics, they are not in control of the security,” he adds. “They are not controlling the environment like Afghanistan and Iraq. In Somalia, the situation is fluid, the situation is changing, personalities changing.”

According to well-connected Somali sources, the CIA is reluctant to deal directly with Somali political leaders, who are regarded by US officials as corrupt and untrustworthy. Instead, the United States has Somali intelligence agents on its payroll. Somali sources with knowledge of the program described the agents as lining up to receive $200 monthly cash payments from Americans. “They support us in a big way financially,” says the senior Somali intelligence official. “They are the largest [funder] by far.”

According to former detainees, the underground prison, which is staffed by Somali guards, consists of a long corridor lined with filthy small cells infested with bedbugs and mosquitoes. One said that when he arrived in February, he saw two white men wearing military boots, combat trousers, gray tucked-in shirts and black sunglasses. The former prisoners described the cells as windowless and the air thick, moist and disgusting. Prisoners, they said, are not allowed outside. Many have developed rashes and scratch themselves incessantly. Some have been detained for a year or more. According to one former prisoner, inmates who had been there for long periods would pace around constantly, while others leaned against walls rocking.

A Somali who was arrested in Mogadishu and taken to the prison told The Nation that he was held in a windowless underground cell. Among the prisoners he met during his time there was a man who held a Western passport (he declined to identify the man’s nationality). Some of the prisoners told him they were picked up in Nairobi and rendered on small aircraft to Mogadishu, where they were handed over to Somali intelligence agents. Once in custody, according to the senior Somali intelligence official and former prisoners, some detainees are freely interrogated by US and French agents. “Our goal is to please our partners, so we get more [out] of them, like any relationship,” said the Somali intelligence official in describing the policy of allowing foreign agents, including from the CIA, to interrogate prisoners. The Americans, according to the Somali official, operate unilaterally in the country, while the French agents are embedded within the African Union force known as AMISOM.

Among the men believed to be held in the secret underground prison is Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, a 25- or 26-year-old Kenyan citizen who disappeared from the congested Somali slum of Eastleigh in Nairobi around July 2009. After he went missing, Hassan’s family retained Mbugua Mureithi, a well-known Kenyan human rights lawyer, who filed a habeas petition on his behalf. The Kenyan government responded that Hassan was not being held in Kenya and said it had no knowledge of his whereabouts. His fate remained a mystery until this spring, when another man who had been held in the Mogadishu prison contacted Clara Gutteridge, a veteran human rights investigator with the British legal organization Reprieve, and told her he had met Hassan in the prison. Hassan, he said, had told him how Kenyan police had knocked down his door, snatched him and taken him to a secret location in Nairobi. The next night, Hassan had said, he was rendered to Mogadishu.

According to the former fellow prisoner, Hassan told him that his captors took him to Wilson Airport: “‘They put a bag on my head, Guantánamo style. They tied my hands behind my back and put me on a plane. In the early hours we landed in Mogadishu. The way I realized I was in Mogadishu was because of the smell of the sea—the runway is just next to the seashore. The plane lands and touches the sea. They took me to this prison, where I have been up to now. I have been here for one year, seven months. I have been interrogated so many times. Interrogated by Somali men and white men. Every day. New faces show up. They have nothing on me. I have never seen a lawyer, never seen an outsider. Only other prisoners, interrogators, guards. Here there is no court or tribunal.’”

After meeting the man who had spoken with Hassan in the underground prison, Gutteridge began working with Hassan’s Kenyan lawyers to determine his whereabouts. She says he has never been charged or brought before a court. “Hassan’s abduction from Nairobi and rendition to a secret prison in Somalia bears all the hallmarks of a classic US rendition operation,” she says. The US official interviewed for this article denied the CIA had rendered Hassan but said, “The United States provided information which helped get Hassan—a dangerous terrorist—off the street.” Human Rights Watch and Reprieve have documented that Kenyan security and intelligence forces have facilitated scores of renditions for the US and other governments, including eighty-five people rendered to Somalia in 2007 alone. Gutteridge says the director of the Mogadishu prison told one of her sources that Hassan had been targeted in Nairobi because of intelligence suggesting he was the “right-hand man” of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, at the time a leader of Al Qaeda in East Africa. Nabhan, a Kenyan citizen of Yemeni descent, was among the top suspects sought for questioning by US authorities over his alleged role in the coordinated 2002 attacks on a tourist hotel and an Israeli aircraft in Mombasa, Kenya, and possible links to the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

An intelligence report leaked by the Kenyan Anti-Terrorist Police Unit in October 2010 alleged that Hassan, a “former personal assistant to Nabhan…was injured while fighting near the presidential palace in Mogadishu in 2009.” The authenticity of the report cannot be independently confirmed, though Hassan did have a leg amputated below the knee, according to his former fellow prisoner in Mogadishu.

Two months after Hassan was allegedly rendered to the secret Mogadishu prison, Nabhan, the man believed to be his Al Qaeda boss, was killed in the first known targeted killing operation in Somalia authorized by President Obama. On September 14, 2009, a team from the elite US counterterrorism force, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), took off by helicopters from a US Navy ship off Somalia’s coast and penetrated Somali airspace. In broad daylight, in an operation code-named Celestial Balance, they gunned down Nabhan’s convoy from the air. JSOC troops then landed and collected at least two of the bodies, including Nabhan’s.

Hassan’s lawyers are preparing to file a habeas petition on his behalf in US courts. “Hassan’s case suggests that the US may be involved in a decentralized, out-sourced Guantánamo Bay in central Mogadishu,” his legal team asserted in a statement to The Nation. “Mr. Hassan must be given the opportunity to challenge both his rendition and continued detention as a matter of urgency. The US must urgently confirm exactly what has been done to Mr. Hassan, why he is being held, and when he will be given a fair hearing.”

Gutteridge, who has worked extensively tracking the disappearances of terror suspects in Kenya, was deported from Kenya on May 11.

The underground prison where Hassan is allegedly being held is housed in the same building once occupied by Somalia’s infamous National Security Service (NSS) during the military regime of Siad Barre, who ruled from 1969 to 1991. The former prisoner who met Hassan there said he saw an old NSS sign outside. During Barre’s regime, the notorious basement prison and interrogation center, which sits behind the presidential palace in Mogadishu, was a staple of the state’s apparatus of repression. It was referred to as Godka, “The Hole.”

“The bunker is there, and that’s where the intelligence agency does interrogate people,” says Abdirahman “Aynte” Ali, a Somali analyst who has researched the Shabab and Somali security forces. “When CIA and other intelligence agencies—who actually are in Mogadishu—want to interrogate those people, they usually just do that.” Somali officials “start the interrogation, but then foreign intelligence agencies eventually do their own interrogation as well, the Americans and the French.” The US official said that US agents’ “debriefing” prisoners in the facility has “been done on only rare occasions” and always jointly with Somali agents.

Some prisoners, like Hassan, were allegedly rendered from Nairobi, while in other cases, according to Aynte, “the US and other intelligence agencies have notified the Somali intelligence agency that some people, some suspects, people who have been in contact with the leadership of Al Shabab, are on their way to Mogadishu on a [commercial] plane, and to essentially be at the airport for those people. Catch them, interrogate them.”

* * *

In the eighteen years since the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident in Mogadishu, US policy on Somalia has been marked by neglect, miscalculation and failed attempts to use warlords to build indigenous counterterrorism capacity, many of which have backfired dramatically. At times, largely because of abuses committed by Somali militias the CIA has supported, US policy has strengthened the hand of the very groups it purports to oppose and inadvertently aided the rise of militant groups, including the Shabab. Many Somalis viewed the Islamic movement known as the Islamic Courts Union, which defeated the CIA’s warlords in Mogadishu in 2006, as a stabilizing, albeit ruthless, force. The ICU was dismantled in a US-backed Ethiopian invasion in 2007. Over the years, a series of weak Somali administrations have been recognized by the United States and other powers as Somalia’s legitimate government. Ironically, its current president is a former leader of the ICU.

Today, Somali government forces control roughly thirty square miles of territory in Mogadishu thanks in large part to the US-funded and -armed 9,000-member AMISOM force. Much of the rest of the city is under the control of the Shabab or warlords. Outgunned, the Shabab has increasingly relied on the linchpins of asymmetric warfare—suicide bombings, roadside bombs and targeted assassinations. The militant group has repeatedly shown that it can strike deep in the heart of its enemies’ territory. On June 9, in one of its most spectacular suicide attacks to date, the Shabab assassinated the Somali government’s minister of interior affairs and national security, Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan Farah, who was attacked in his residence by his niece. The girl, whom the minister was putting through university, blew herself up and fatally wounded her uncle. He died hours later in the hospital. Farah was the fifth Somali minister killed by the Shabab in the past two years and the seventeenth official assassinated since 2006. Among the suicide bombers the Shabab has deployed were at least three US citizens of Somali descent; at least seven other Americans have died fighting alongside the Shabab, a fact that has not gone unnoticed in Washington or Mogadishu.

During his confirmation hearings in June to become the head of the US Special Operations Command, Vice Admiral William McRaven said, “From my standpoint as a former JSOC commander, I can tell you we were looking very hard” at Somalia. McRaven said that in order to expand successful “kinetic strikes” there, the United States will have to increase its use of drones as well as on-the-ground intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. “Any expansion of manpower is going to have to come with a commensurate expansion of the enablers,” McRaven declared. The expanding US counterterrorism program in Mogadishu appears to be part of that effort.

In an interview with The Nation in Mogadishu, Abdulkadir Moallin Noor, the minister of state for the presidency, confirmed that US agents “are working with our intelligence” and “giving them training.” Regarding the US counterterrorism effort, Noor said bluntly, “We need more; otherwise, the terrorists will take over the country.”

It is unclear how much control, if any, Somalia’s internationally recognized president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, has over this counterterrorism force or if he is even fully briefed on its operations. The CIA personnel and other US intelligence agents “do not bother to be in touch with the political leadership of the country. And that says a lot about the intentions,” says Aynte. “Essentially, the CIA seems to be operating, doing the foreign policy of the United States. You should have had State Department people doing foreign policy, but the CIA seems to be doing it across the country.”

While the Somali officials interviewed for this story said the CIA is the lead US agency on the Mogadishu counterterrorism program, they also indicated that US military intelligence agents are at times involved. When asked if they are from JSOC or the Defense Intelligence Agency, the senior Somali intelligence official responded, “We don’t know. They don’t tell us.”

In April Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali man the United States alleged had links to the Shabab, was captured by JSOC forces in the Gulf of Aden. He was held incommunicado on a US Navy vessel for more than two months; in July he was transferred to New York and indicted on terrorism charges. Warsame’s case ignited a legal debate over the Obama administration’s policies on capturing and detaining terror suspects, particularly in light of the widening counterterrorism campaigns in Somalia and Yemen.

On June 23 the United States reportedly carried out a drone strike against alleged Shabab members near Kismayo, 300 miles from the Somali capital. As with the Nabhan operation, a JSOC team swooped in on helicopters and reportedly snatched the bodies of those killed and wounded. The men were taken to an undisclosed location. On July 6 three more US strikes reportedly targeted Shabab training camps in the same area. Somali analysts warned that if the US bombings cause civilian deaths, as they have in the past, they could increase support for the Shabab. Asked in an interview with The Nation in Mogadishu if US drone strikes strengthen or weaken his government, President Sharif replied, “Both at the same time. For our sovereignty, it’s not good to attack a sovereign country. That’s the negative part. The positive part is you’re targeting individuals who are criminals.”

A week after the June 23 strike, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, described an emerging US strategy that would focus not on “deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.” Brennan singled out the Shabab, saying, “From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States,” adding, “We cannot and we will not let down our guard. We will continue to pummel Al Qaeda and its ilk.”

While the United States appears to be ratcheting up both its rhetoric and its drone strikes against the Shabab, it has thus far been able to strike only in rural areas outside Mogadishu. These operations have been isolated and infrequent, and Somali analysts say they have failed to disrupt the Shabab’s core leadership, particularly in Mogadishu.

In a series of interviews in Mogadishu, several of the country’s recognized leaders, including President Sharif, called on the US government to quickly and dramatically increase its assistance to the Somali military in the form of training, equipment and weapons. Moreover, they argue that without viable civilian institutions, Somalia will remain ripe for terrorist groups that can further destabilize not only Somalia but the region. “I believe that the US should help the Somalis to establish a government that protects civilians and its people,” Sharif said.

In the battle against the Shabab, the United States does not, in fact, appear to have cast its lot with the Somali government. The emerging US strategy on Somalia—borne out in stated policy, expanded covert presence and funding plans—is two-pronged: On the one hand, the CIA is training, paying and at times directing Somali intelligence agents who are not firmly under the control of the Somali government, while JSOC conducts unilateral strikes without the prior knowledge of the government; on the other, the Pentagon is increasing its support for and arming of the counterterrorism operations of non-Somali African military forces.

A draft of a defense spending bill approved in late June by the Senate Armed Services Committee would authorize more than $75 million in US counterterrorism assistance aimed at fighting the Shabab and Al Qaeda in Somalia. The bill, however, did not authorize additional funding for Somalia’s military, as the country’s leaders have repeatedly asked. Instead, the aid package would dramatically increase US arming and financing of AMISOM’s forces, particularly from Uganda and Burundi, as well as the militaries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia. The Somali military, the committee asserted, is unable to “exercise control of its territory.”

That makes it all the more ironic that perhaps the greatest tactical victory won in recent years in Somalia was delivered not by AMISOM, the CIA or JSOC but by members of a Somali militia fighting as part of the government’s chaotic local military. And it was a pure accident.

Late in the evening on June 7, a man whose South African passport identified him as Daniel Robinson was in the passenger seat of a Toyota SUV driving on the outskirts of Mogadishu when his driver, a Kenyan national, missed a turn and headed straight toward a checkpoint manned by Somali forces. A firefight broke out, and the two men inside the car were killed. The Somali forces promptly looted the laptops, cellphones, documents, weapons and $40,000 in cash they found in the car, according to the senior Somali intelligence official.

Upon discovering that the men were foreigners, the Somali NSA launched an investigation and recovered the items that had been looted. “There was a lot of English and Arabic stuff, papers,” recalls the Somali intelligence official, containing “very tactical stuff” that appeared to be linked to Al Qaeda, including “two senior people communicating.” The Somali agents “realized it was an important man” and informed the CIA in Mogadishu. The men’s bodies were taken to the NSA. The Americans took DNA samples and fingerprints and flew them to Nairobi for processing.

Within hours, the United States confirmed that Robinson was in fact Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a top leader of Al Qaeda in East Africa and its chief liaison with the Shabab. Fazul, a twenty-year veteran of Al Qaeda, had been indicted by the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings and was on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list. A JSOC attempt to kill him in a January 2007 airstrike resulted in the deaths of at least seventy nomads in rural Somalia, and he had been underground ever since. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Fazul’s death “a significant blow to Al Qaeda, its extremist allies and its operations in East Africa. It is a just end for a terrorist who brought so much death and pain to so many innocents.”

At its facilities in Mogadishu, the CIA and its Somali NSA agents continue to pore over the materials recovered from Fazul’s car, which served as a mobile headquarters. Some deleted and encrypted files were recovered and decoded by US agents. The senior Somali intelligence official said that the intelligence may prove more valuable on a tactical level than the cache found in Osama bin Laden’s house in Pakistan, especially in light of the increasing US focus on East Africa. The Americans, he said, were “unbelievably grateful”; he hopes it means they will take Somalia’s forces more seriously and provide more support.

But the United States continues to wage its campaign against the Shabab primarily by funding the AMISOM forces, which are not conducting their mission with anything resembling surgical precision. Instead, over the past several months the AMISOM forces in Mogadishu have waged a merciless campaign of indiscriminate shelling of Shabab areas, some of which are heavily populated by civilians. While AMISOM regularly puts out press releases boasting of gains against the Shabab and the retaking of territory, the reality paints a far more complicated picture.

Throughout the areas AMISOM has retaken is a honeycomb of underground tunnels once used by Shabab fighters to move from building to building. By some accounts, the tunnels stretch continuously for miles. Leftover food, blankets and ammo cartridges lay scattered near “pop-up” positions once used by Shabab snipers and guarded by sandbags—all that remain of guerrilla warfare positions. Not only have the Shabab fighters been cleared from the aboveground areas; the civilians that once resided there have been cleared too. On several occasions in late June, AMISOM forces fired artillery from their airport base at the Bakaara market, where whole neighborhoods are totally abandoned. Houses lie in ruins and animals wander aimlessly, chewing trash. In some areas, bodies have been hastily buried in trenches with dirt barely masking the remains. On the side of the road in one former Shabab neighborhood, a decapitated corpse lay just meters from a new government checkpoint.

In late June the Pentagon approved plans to send $45 million worth of military equipment to Uganda and Burundi, the two major forces in the AMISOM operation. Among the new items are four small Raven surveillance drones, night-vision and communications equipment and other surveillance gear, all of which augur a more targeted campaign. Combined with the attempt to build an indigenous counterterrorism force at the Somali NSA, a new US counterterrorism strategy is emerging.

But according to the senior Somali intelligence official, who works directly with the US agents, the CIA-led program in Mogadishu has brought few tangible gains. “So far what we have not seen is the results in terms of the capacity of the [Somali] agency,” says the official. He conceded that neither US nor Somali forces have been able to conduct a single successful targeted mission in the Shabab’s areas in the capital. In late 2010, according to the official, US-trained Somali agents conducted an operation in a Shabab area that failed terribly and resulted in several of them being killed. “There was an attempt, but it was a haphazard one,” he recalls. They have not tried another targeted operation in Shabab-controlled territory since.”

 

(Quelle: The Nation.)

Siehe auch:

UN torture official accuses US of rule violations

USA: Kultur als Waffensystem

Montag, Mai 30th, 2011

“Culture as a Weapon”

by Rochelle Davis

At the fourth Culture Summit of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) in April 2010, Maj. Gen. David Hogg, head of the Adviser Forces in Afghanistan, proposed that the US military think of “culture as a weapon system.” [1] The military, Hogg asserted, needs to learn the culture of the lands where it is deployed and use that knowledge to fight its enemies along with more conventional armaments. This conceptual and perhaps literal “weaponization of culture” continues a trend that began with the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. [2] Endorsed at the highest level by Gen. David Petraeus, head of Central Command, the Pentagon unit in charge of the greater Middle East, the idea of culture as a weapon grows out of the “‘gentler’ approach” to America’s post-September 11 wars adopted after the departure of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. [3] This approach is best articulated in the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, that Petraeus oversaw and that the Army released in December 2006.

In the Field Manual, this peculiarly military application of culture uses cultural anthropologists’ definitions of culture as the behaviors, beliefs, material goods and values of a group of people that are learned and shared. [4] The weaponization of culture posits that culture can be a crucial element of military intelligence, used to influence others, to attack their weak spots and, more benignly, to understand the others the military is trying to help. While scholars and military analysts have shown how “culture” was enlisted to play a role in the Vietnam war, [5] today’s wars are the first in which culture has been so clearly articulated. Maj. Gen. John Custer, commander of the Army’s Intelligence Center of Excellence, describes this shift as “a tectonic change in military operations.” [6]

Culture, in this understanding, is configured as yet another weapon in the arsenal of the most powerful military force in the world. The shift to “culture as a weapon system” allows the military to conceive of culture globally, a category that is not specific to one theater or one enemy. New military institutes are producing materials for cultural training, language study and thinking about what the term “culture” means. The Army TRADOC Culture Center, formally established in November 2005, is part of the Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning, also established in 2005, is focusing much of its effort on Marines deploying to Afghanistan. In 2006, the Air Force created a Culture and Language Center located at Air University, while the Navy established the Center for Language, Regional Expertise and Culture in 2007. While each of these centers hires experts and purveys knowledge, the Army TRADOC is far out in front, building a core curriculum encompassing social organization, political structure, cross-cultural communication, rapport building, cross-cultural negotiation, extremism and working with interpreters — as well as the foundational question of “what culture is.” These lessons, available to all members of the US military, start from what the Army has defined as “the four basic elements that define a culture: values, beliefs, behaviors and norms.” [7] As of early 2010, educational units are available for many of the countries covered by Central Command and the new Africa Command, from the Middle East and South Asia to the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Sahel. These specific culture trainings are provided to personnel based on rank, military occupational specialty and deployment location. Since 2009 the TRADOC Culture Center has produced Smart Books for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, as well as Culture Smart Cards for Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, with more of these products in the works for the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Somalia, Korea and China.

Smart Cards

When the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, “culture” was not part of the vocabulary of war. The US had established major military bases in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and, later, Kuwait following the 1990 Iraqi invasion of its neighbor to the south. Veterans of the subsequent Gulf war recall that certain units developed informational and training materials concerning Arab and Muslim societies, including a small pamphlet or “smart card.” But this effort was fleeting. There was no cultural training policy in either the Army or Marine Corps to prepare troops to serve in the Middle East or Central Asia in the post-September 11 era. Just as the US failed to plan seriously for what would take place in Iraq following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, so the military, under the direction of Rumsfeld, failed to prepare for its own role in the long-term occupation and rebuilding of the country. This role has required considerably more of US soldiers than combat readiness.

In 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority under the leadership of L. Paul Bremer canceled regional elections in Iraq, disbanded the Iraqi army and fired all Baath Party members from government. With Iraqis thus prevented from doing their jobs within a functioning state, American soldiers, military contractors and civilian employees were tasked with “rebuilding Iraq.” Though the Americans had dismantled the state, many still attributed the failures of the CPA and the lack of enthusiastic Iraqi participation in its efforts to Iraqi “culture.” These experiences (and some similar ones in Afghanistan) provided much of the impetus for what the US military has deemed the cultural imperative, changing the military’s culture to take the culture of others into consideration. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, declared that the military needs to “change the operational culture to connect with the people. I believe we must interact more closely with the population and focus on operations that bring stability, while shielding them from insurgent violence, corruption, and coercion.” [8]

In the period from 2003 to 2007, the vast majority of the military, both leaders and troops on the ground, saw culture as either irrelevant to the mission or possibly corrosive of military effectiveness. The military had a scattershot approach to cultural training — recycling old material and hiring contractors to churn out handbooks, compact discs and Power Point presentations about Iraq, Arabs and Islam. In 2006, the Army created the Human Terrain System, in which social scientists are trained for nine weeks on the language, culture, politics and geography of Iraq and Afghanistan and then sent to work with combat units to provide relevant cultural knowledge for day-to-day interactions and the collection of intelligence.

All of this early material described Iraqi culture with recourse to the national character studies that typified the culture research and cultural anthropology of the 1940s and 1950s. Anthropologists long ago abandoned this approach — which posited that peoples and cultures had a uniform character akin to a set of personality traits — as they found it did not adequately address cultural change over time and was frequently inaccurate. The US military’s adoption of national character studies allowed for an easy portrayal of what constitutes being “Iraqi” and “Arab.” In this paradigm, Iraqi-ness is timeless, uniquely determined by religion and family. It is never a product of history or political forces or government policies. Instead, the materials present all Iraqis as essentially the same, thereby lumping together 27 million people of varied educational backgrounds, residential locations, generations, ethnicities, religions and economic incomes, among other differences. These frameworks of national character further contend that Iraqi behavior will conform to inherent characteristics of the national group. The conception of culture as national character rests upon two important assumptions: first, that servicemen and women can learn “culture” as a list of character traits; and second, that Iraqis actually behave in these ways. The first is a pedagogical issue; the second is one of accuracy.

The Iraq Culture Smart Card is the best visual embodiment of the national character understanding of culture. The Smart Card is a 16-panel laminated folding pamphlet, compiled by the Army and Marines as well as the contractors Kwikpoint and SAIC, and sized for the pockets of servicemen and women in the field. Produced first in 2003, and reprinted and reformatted continuously ever since, as of 2006 over 1.8 million of them had been requested. According to Paul Nuti, who interviewed the creators of the Smart Card, it is not just “culture-at-a-glance” but rather “a byproduct of the country study, a rigorous multidisciplinary analysis of the cultural context of the country for which the Smart Card has been requested.” [9]

The Smart Card provides basic information that US servicemen and women who know nothing about Iraq or the Middle East would find useful. The five pillars of Islam are listed concisely and, for the most part, accurately (it would have been better if the Arabic word for “fasting” had been spelled sawm instead of sawn, which in Jordanian Bedouin colloquial means “donkey manure”). Panels on “what to expect” during religious celebrations, as well as cultural history and “Islamic” terms, are serviceable. More dubious are the panels on clothing and gestures, cultural groups and cultural customs, which purvey information that is not only inaccurate, but also could be downright harmful to Iraqis, US troops and US policy in Iraq.

The clothes and gestures section contains images of three men wearing headscarves (in Arabic, the kaffiyya, shimagh or hatta) in white, black and white, and red and white. The Smart Card tells the reader that the white headdress signifies the man “has not made the hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. The black and white is from a country with presidential rule (i.e., Libya or Egypt) and has made the hajj. And the red checkered is from a country with a monarch (i.e., Saudi Arabia or Jordan) and has made the hajj.” First, there is no item of clothing that designates someone who has completed the pilgrimage to Mecca. Second, it is not clear why the Iraq Culture Smart Card mentions the other Arab countries at all. Does this information mean that someone spotted in Baghdad wearing red and white is an infiltrator from Saudi Arabia? If so, should he be shot? And it is rare to see the headscarf worn this way in Egypt, except among Bedouins, who are a tiny percentage of the population. Third, by seeing Arabs’ dress as determined by the type of political rule under which they live, the Iraq Culture Smart Card authors suggest that Arabs do not have individual choices over what they wear; rather, they are subjected to the dictates of their “national culture,” which they follow obediently. Since Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq, such information would suggest that Iraqis wear the black-and-white headscarf. Does that mean that in 1958, when the Iraqi monarchy was dissolved, Iraqis threw off their red-and-white headscarves and donned black and white? In fact, clothing in Iraq, like clothing everywhere, is defined by things like seasons, fashion trends, disposable income and individual taste.

To be sure, this example of cultural knowledge (factually incorrect as it may be) says more about the US military and its conception of culture than it does about Iraqis or Arabs. For one thing, the strict order of meanings assigned to various types of headdress parallels the Uniform Explanation Chart of the Marine Corps, which determines who should wear what color uniform and when. Officers wear dark blue trousers or skirts to social events; enlisted personnel wear sky blue. Obviously, however, such rigid regulations about dress do not prevail within any culture outside controlled environments like barracks, factories and schools.

It is not that Arab male headdress does not have meaning; rather, the point is that the Iraq Culture Smart Card got the meanings wrong. Most of the time, a scarf on a man’s head is just a scarf on a man’s head, like a baseball cap is just a baseball cap. When a scarf on a man’s head is more than that, the meanings are specific to time and place. Among Palestinian political activists and militants from the 1970s through the 1990s, for example, black-and-white kaffiyyas were associated with the Fatah movement of Yasser Arafat, while red-and-white headdress signified allegiance to the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In the Gulf today, wearing a headscarf marks the wearer as a citizen, and thus is a marker of privilege in countries where the majority of residents are foreign workers. In Jordan, Syria and Palestine, wearing the headscarf today is generational — it is mostly worn by older men from villages and the desert. The cases in Iraq where headwear actually signifies someone’s rank, profession and status — Muslim and Christian clergy, most obviously — are not included on the card.

More to the point, these materials do a disservice to both Iraqis and US servicemen and women themselves. Pedagogically, the presentation fails to make clear why the factoids are important. Why does it matter if soldiers see a man in a white headdress? Should they not address him as hajji (as Iraqis are generically known to soldiers) because he has not been to Mecca? These questions could be asked of much of the material on the cards. Another section, titled “Islamic Flag Meanings,” features pictures of four flags with words on them — green (Islam), red (sacrifice), white (purity) and black (martyrdom). The accompanying text reads: “Muslims often fly colored flags to observe various holidays or dates of personal significance. Each color carries a specific meaning: Green is the color of Islam and is particularly meaningful to the Shia.” Aside from the fact that Iraqis might fly flags for a variety of reasons — to signify that someone in the family is on hajj or to display loyalty to sports teams, for example — why would green be especially important to the Shi‘a? Does that mean that all Shi‘i Muslims are more pious than Sunnis? And what is the particular necessity of knowing that white means purity? Most obviously, this information is imparted to servicemen and women so that they know that flags have meanings other than signals between insurgents. It may be salutary to admonish soldiers to stop reacting to flags as signals, but then will insurgents use them as signals? Paul Nuti asked Art Speyer, who in 2006 was cultural programs head at the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, about who vetted the Smart Card information. The answer: Smart Cards are assessed “by scholars and military personnel known as FAOs — Foreign Area Officers. As the principal cultural specialists within the military establishment, FAOs are well positioned to evaluate Smart Card content because they understand the customer (the 19-year old Marine from Iowa). The FAOs quality-control bottom line is guaranteeing that scholarly research is presented in data that Marines can use.” The cards do not seem very smart on this count.

Sense and Sensitivity

It is not surprising that the vast majority of the 50 soldiers and Marines interviewed for this article assessed their formal cultural training as “not useful” because “culture” was described as a fixed reaction or behavior, often a list of dos and don’ts that could be obeyed like orders, rather than a contextual understanding. [10] Of those 33 who received formal cultural training from either the Army or Marines, only five reported it to be useful. A 35-year old infantry company commander described his cultural training this way: “I mean, the things that they said were important. However, there was a lot of stuff you had to discover. But the things that we were told were in their own way, very useful. I mean it’s important not to show…the soles of your feet to an Iraqi. It can really make them uncomfortable.” This captain thought an advantage of such cultural training was that it helped the US military to avoid offending Iraqis. Many Iraqis, and other Arabs, will certainly agree with the proposition that it is rude to sit opposite someone showing them the bottoms of one’s feet. They will concur as well that one should not use one’s left hand to shake hands with a stranger. But behind their understanding is a lifetime of experience containing numerous subtleties. They know that if they are sitting with their grandmother or father-in-law, that they should not sit with feet pointed at their elder’s face, out of respect. Their young cousins and close friends will not necessarily take offense. Distilling culture into dos and don’ts does not capture the essence of why behaviors are meaningful. One Army officer recalled that “everybody was all freaked out about touching with the left hand and, you know, when you sit down, don’t show the bottom of your foot. That’s all true, but it’s all in context. If it’s a friend or someone you’ve known for a while, they are not going to give a shit.” Most personnel on the ground turn to sources other than formal channels — other troops and translators — to gain what they define as “useful information.”

A persistent conundrum for US soldiers was trying to figure out whether Iraqis were “bad guys” or “good guys” — when to have their guard up and when to deploy their cultural sensitivity. Specific rules and regulations also forbade certain kinds of social interactions that made US servicemen and women’s contacts with Iraqis more difficult. One Marine colonel described taking his Iraqi counterpart (a general in the Iraqi army) who was on base in his official capacity to the store for a soda. The general was refused entry because he was Iraqi. The American recalled how hurtful this experience was to the Iraqi, who felt he was being excluded from places on his own soil, and how awkward it was to be put in the position of enforcing the exclusion upon his colleague.

The US servicemen and women are presented with the paradox of a directive for cultural sensitivity during a military occupation. Presumably, the cultural training material is supposed to be used when interacting with Iraqis in non-combat situations. And yet, while the Marine colonel treated the Iraqi general as a colleague in the field, the standing orders on base reduced him to a “potential enemy.” The very nature of occupation means that the occupier has the power to restrict the movement of the occupied and exclude them from decision-making. In this paradox, US troops see Iraqis as both their enemies and victims of Saddam Hussein’s repressive regime, and Iraqis also see the US soldiers and Marines as both liberators and occupiers. How, when and with whom the US troops are to use cultural knowledge is not inherently obvious. The dilemma has been further complicated by some of the early discussions of cultural knowledge, infamous among Iraqis and worldwide because of the abuses in Abu Ghraib prison, where the “cultural relevance” of specific kinds of torture and humiliation — related to sex, for example, or dogs — was cited in the testimonies of the perpetrators and revealed in the photographs. Cultural knowledge is not just another arrow in a quiver, not just one “weapon system” to be chosen from among others. The US military cannot take culture into its arsenal without evoking associations with a past that often reflects poorly upon its sensitivity.

Deciding Who Iraqis Are

Even as these materials set out to inform Americans about Iraqis, the vision of Iraqi culture that they presented undermined the stated goals of the invasion. The First Infantry Division Soldier’s Handbook to Iraq, first published in late 2003, pledged to provide “the basic information on Iraq’s culture by offering you an overview of the country, its people and their language, as well as their lifestyle and beliefs.” The Handbook declares, among other things, that the Arab worldview contrasts “wish” with “reality.” For instance, Iraqis’ “desire for modernity is contradicted by a desire for tradition (especially Islamic tradition, since Islam is the one area free of Western identification and influence). Desiring democracy and modernization immediately is a good example of what a Westerner might view as an Arab’s ‘wish vs. reality.’” Wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations are characteristic of many polities, of course; Americans notoriously refuse to pay the taxes necessary to finance the high-quality public schools that they demand. But, its inaccuracy aside, this cultural lesson was surely counterproductive to the US mission, because by the time it was widely taught the White House had announced that the purpose of the war was to bring democracy to Iraq. Indeed, the soldiers who studied the Handbook deployed in Iraq just as (after much delay) Iraqis went to the polls in January 2005 to vote for a 275-member transitional assembly. What kind of message was the military communicating to the soldiers who it was asking to put their lives on the line so that Iraqis could dip their fingers in purple ink? It would seem to be that while Americans have freed them from Saddam, Iraqis are not ready to reap the benefits. Such ambiguity cannot have been good for US troops’ morale.

The military’s cultural education material also fed into the omnipresent image of a sectarian Iraq, well before sectarian fighting became sectarian. One panel of the Iraq Culture Smart Card from a 2004 edition presents what it titles as the “Cultural Groups in Iraq” — Sunni and Shi‘i Arabs, Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians and Turkmen. If a soldier read this material carefully, she would learn that: Arabs view Kurds as separatists, look down on Turkmen and view Iranian Persians negatively. Tension exists between Shi‘i and Sunni Arabs. Kurds are openly hostile to Iraqi Arabs and distrustful of Turkmen. They do nOt interact much with Christians. Assyrians experience persecution by Kurds and Arabs, Chaldeans distrust Kurds and Arab intentions, and Turkmen fear Kurds. The only positive relation is that Chaldeans have peaceful relations with Turkmen and Assyrians have much in common with Chaldeans.

Earlier, the Smart Card had portrayed Iraqis as having a unified national character, one that could be summarized in bullet points. But in this panel’s vision of a nation in existence for more than 80 years, there seem to be no Iraqis who are united by a sense of national interest, patriotism or love of country. It seems instead that ethnic and/or religious tensions trump all else. Put another way, soliders are instructed that the national character of Iraq is hopelessly riven by primordial ethnic and sectarian hatreds.

Such material, put in the hands of every single soldier and Marine serving in Iraq, all of whom patrol the country, dictating people’s movements and more, is not neutral information. This assertion does not excuse Iraqis for the violence they have done to each other. Rather it is to suggest that the US training material helped to crystallize divisions that might have remained inchoate, by allowing the common soldier to understand the US mission as protection of the Shi‘a from the Sunnis, as many did before the civil war became entrenched. During the civil strife, the Smart Cards encouraged soldiers to view inter-communal violence as something inherent to Iraq or the Muslim world and therefore beyond human control, rather than a struggle for power, money and influence in the scrum of war.

A number of scholars of Iraq have written about the post-2003 sectarianism in Iraq and how US policies encouraged it, either directly or indirectly. Bremer’s decision to allocate seats on his Iraqi Governing Council according to a sectarian-ethnic calculus, for example, was replicated by the Iraqis themselves when it came time to split up the ministries in the interim government of 2004. But individual American soldiers, armed with the facile delineations of the Smart Card, must also have helped to constitute the very sectarian mindset they were nominally in Iraq to police. It is necessary to consider the multiple levels at which the power of the US to constitute culture and define what it is to be Iraqi have played out.

The Cultural Imperative

In keeping with the new military imperative to foster cultural awareness in the US fighting force, two civilian psychologists working for the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Allison Abbe and Stanley Halpin, penned an article titled “The Cultural Imperative for Professional Military Education and Leader Development.” In this article they suggest ways to shift from what they describe as “cultural knowledge” to “cross-cultural competence.” They criticize the current cultural knowledge training as insufficient, because “region-specific training provides descriptive facts and figures about a locale,” but a “weakness of this type of training is that its effectiveness depends on the quality of the content, which can sometimes be inaccurate or outdated due to over-reliance on subject-matter experts lacking recent experience in the region.” [11] As should be clear at this point, the cultural knowledge material produced in the first five years of the occupation of Iraq exhibits major errors in content, as well as in shaping servicemen and women’s attitudes about Iraqis.

Cross-cultural competence, as proposed by Abbe and Halpin, contains three components: knowledge, affect and skills that

combine to provide capabilities required to work in a foreign culture. Knowledge begins with an awareness of one’s own culture and includes an understanding of culture and cultural differences, but has to progress toward an increasingly complex understanding of the sources, manifestations and consequences of a particular culture. Affect includes attitudes toward foreign cultures and the motivation to learn about and engage with them. Skills encompass the ability to regulate one’s own reactions in a cross-cultural setting, interpersonal skills and the flexibility to assume the perspective of someone from a different culture. [12]

But even if the military’s new vision of culture creates servicemen and women who have cross-cultural competence, a larger issue remains. The failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are not about culture, but about attitudes—individual attitudes and behaviors that are allowed and even promoted by the attitudes and policies of the US government and military.

The Iraqis interviewed for this article told tales that illustrate this point. First, most Iraqis complain about the ways that Americans have treated them as civilians, both in terms of danger and disrespect. Most have a direct relative who was unintentionally killed, injured or shot at by American troops while driving down the street or standing on his roof. They find that some servicemen and women are respectful, and others are not, and cite things such as using dogs for searches, male soldiers touching women and incidents of theft. But most importantly, when asked directly whether they thought culture was relevant to the role of the US military in Iraq, most replied that it was not. More important to them was ending the occupation and general respect, not in cultural terms but in terms of respect for their country and the capabilities of its people.

The issue of respect is pivotal in the experience of Iraqis with Americans after 2003. As one sergeant in the military police responded to the queries about the usefulness of formal cultural training: “I don’t need training to treat people with respect.” Indeed, respectful behavior may largely be a matter of personal integrity and emotional intelligence — qualities that many American soldiers no doubt have in abundance. Yet soldiers are agents of a policy, and the fact is that the invasion and occupation of Iraq were never based on knowledge of or respect for Iraqis or their accomplishments. Iraqis have been seen as subjects to be liberated, and later, what Timothy Mitchell might call “objects of development.” This attitude necessitated that Iraqis accept what was given to them and complain, if they had to, only in the prescribed forums. From the official US point of view, respect was neither desired nor necessary.

Judging by the proposed content of the fresh “what is culture” material, servicemen and women are to develop attitudes toward others that are built on flexibility, acceptance and lack of judgment. It is ironic that this most anthropological of understandings about how to approach culture is becoming part of the military’s plan to make “culture a weapon system.” It remains to be seen, however, if such attitudinal change can take root among the troops. US attitudes toward the outside world have long been infused with a sense of American exceptionalism and superiority — a sense heightened by the grievance of the September 11 attacks and broadcast since then by most every politician near a microphone. It seems that the proposed shift in US troops’ attitudes toward the cultures and people they work with on the ground may end up being the gentler face of violent imperial policies that envision invasions and occupations as justified, sustainable and ethical.

Author’s Note: Research assistance was provided by Omar Shakir, Dena Takruri, Dahlia Elzein, Elizabeth Grasmeder, Rola Abimourched, Brian Seibeking and Jonathan Ouellette. Funding was provided by grants from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, the Oman Faculty Grant from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, the Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq.

Endnotes

[1] Sierra Vista Herald, April 19, 2010.
[2] See Hugh Gusterson, “The US Military’s Quest to Weaponize Culture,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (June 2008); Keith Brown, “‘All They Understand Is Force’: Debating Culture in Operation Iraqi Freedom,” American Anthropologist 110/4 (2008); and Hugh Gusterson, “The Cultural Turn in the War on Terror” in John Kelley, Beatrice Jauregui, Sean T. Mitchell and Jeremy Walton, eds., Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).
[3] Sheila Miyoshi Jager, On the Uses of Cultural Knowledge (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, November 2007), p. v.
[4] David Price argues that this use of anthropologists’ work on culture, down to borrowing whole sentences from a who’s who of cultural anthropology without attribution, is a patchwork of plagiarism. See “Pilfered Scholarship Devastates General Petraeus’ Counterinsurgency Manual,” Counterpunch, October 30, 2007.
[5] James Petras, “Procuring Academics for Empire: The Pentagon Minerva Research Initiative,” Dialectical Anthropology 33/1 (2009); Hugh Gusterson, “Project Minerva and the Militarization of Anthropology,” Radical Teacher 86 (2009); and Jeffrey Mervis, “DOD Funds New Views on Conflict With Its First Minerva Grants,” Science, January 30, 2009.
[6] Army Culture Education and Training Curriculum 2010, p. 3.
[7] Army Culture Education and Training Curriculum 2010, p. 10.
[8] Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Commander of NATO International Security Assistance Force Initial Assessment, 1–1, August 30, 2009. The document was obtained by the Washington Post and is accessible at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/21/AR200909….
[9] Paul Nuti, “Smart Card: Don’t Leave Military Base Without It,” Anthropology News (October 2006).
[10] Rochelle Davis (with Dahlia Elzein and Dena Takruri), “Iraqi Culture and the US Military: Understanding Training, Experiences and Attitudes” in Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency.
[11] Allison Abbe and Stanley Halpin, “The Cultural Imperative for Professional Military Education and Leader Development,” Parameters 39/4 (Winter 2009-1010), pp. 21-22.
[12] Ibid., pp. 24-25.

 

(Quelle: MERIP.)

Israel: Aufstandsbekämpfung in… Lateinamerika

Dienstag, Mai 10th, 2011

“WikiLeaks: U.S. saw Israeli firm’s rise in Latin America as a threat

By Tim Johnson

WASHINGTON — A security company led by the former head of operations for the Israeli military made such inroads into Latin America a few years ago that U.S. diplomats saw it as a security risk and moved to thwart the company’s expansion, U.S. diplomatic cables show.

The diplomats’ efforts were made easier when an interpreter for the Israeli firm, Global CST, was caught peddling classified Colombian Defense Ministry documents to Marxist guerrillas seeking to topple the state, one cable said.

Still, the ability of the Israeli security consultancy to obtain contracts in Colombia, Peru and Panama in rapid succession speaks to the prowess of retired Israeli military officers in peddling security know-how amid perceptions that they’d bring better results than official U.S. government assistance.

At one point, Panama’s intelligence chief threatened to rely more heavily on the Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials wouldn’t tap the phones of the president’s political enemies, according to then cables. U.S. officials countered that such an arrangement would threaten all security cooperation with Panama, and the Panamanians backed down.

Colombia was the first Latin nation to sign a contract with Global CST, doing so in late 2006, according to one cable, the same year its founder, Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, retired as head of the operations directorate of the Israel Defense Forces.

Ziv “was a personal acquaintance of then-Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos,” the cable said. Santos is now Colombia’s president.

Ziv’s consulting firm pledged “a strategic assessment” that would devise a plan to defeat “internal terrorist and criminal organizations by 2010,” the cable, sent in late 2009, said. The exercise was named “Strategic Leap.”

“Over a three-year period, Ziv worked his way into the confidence of former Defense Minister Santos by promising a cheaper version of USG (U.S. government) assistance without our strings attached,” the cable said.

Colombia began working with a variety of retired and active duty Israeli officers “with special operations and military intelligence backgrounds,” another cable said. By 2007, 38 percent of Colombia’s foreign defense purchases were going to Israel, it added.

With a foot firmly in the door in Colombia, Ziv roamed the region, going next to Peru, a coca-producing nation that also faced security challenges.

Ziv told Peruvian authorities that Global CST’s had played an advisory role in a spectacular jungle raid on a rebel camp in Colombia a year earlier that freed former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three U.S. military contractors and 11 Colombian police and soldiers. Colombia denies that Global CST played a role in the raid.

The Israeli firm signed a one-year contract worth $9 million to help Peru defeat the Maoist Sendero Luminoso insurgency “once and for all” in that nation’s remote Apurimac and Ene river valleys, according to another U.S. cable.

When Global CST approached Panama’s government about expanding on an initial contract, red flags went up at the U.S. Embassy there.

In early 2010, an Embassy cable to Washington said Panama had already paid Global CST for a small security study but the nation’s intelligence chief, Olmedo Alfaro, was threatening to rely more heavily on the Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials would not tap the phones of the president’s political enemies.

“Alfaro is increasingly open about his agenda to replace U.S. law enforcement and security support with Israelis and others,” the cable said, adding that the move “bodes ill” for quelling narcotics activity and crime in Panama.

U.S. officials told the Panamanians that they would limit security cooperation and intelligence sharing if private consultants from a third nation were involved.

“In a meeting with then-U.S. Ambassador to Panama Barbara Stephenson, Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela said that the government “would not let Israeli influence damage the U.S.-Panama relationship,” a cable said.

President Ricardo Martinelli “was similarly taken aback, and emphasized that he did not want to endanger relations with the USG, saying ‘We don’t want to change friends,'” the cable said.

Adding to the pressure on Panama was news that Colombia’s relations with Global CST had soured. In a meeting in late 2009 with the then-U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, national police chief Oscar Naranjo complained that the company had turned out to be a “disaster,” a cable said.

The same cable reported that then-Defense Minister Gabriel Silva overruled a planned Colombian army purchase of Israeli-made Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicles, in part because of the nation’s “mixed” experience with Global CST.

Silva is now Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. His office didn’t respond to several written and telephone messages for comment.

Colombia’s souring on the Israeli firm was partly because of U.S. rules that barred intelligence sharing, but also because Colombian police told them in February 2008 “that a Global CST interpreter, Argentine-born Israeli national Shai Killman, had made copies of classified Colombian Defense Ministry documents in an unsuccessful attempt to sell them to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) through contacts in Ecuador and Argentina,” the cable said.

The pilfered documents allegedly contained information about top criminals the Colombians were targeting, the cable said.

“Ziv denied this attempt and sent Killman back to Israel,” it added.

In early April, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reached Killman and reported that he said he “was being ‘slandered’ and no such incident ever took place.”

The cable went on to say that Ziv’s proposals for Colombia “seem designed more to support Israeli equipment and services sales than to meet in-country needs.” It added that Colombia realized that “their deals are not as good as advertised.”

It wasn’t just in Latin America where Ziv and his company pledged quick fix-its for acute security problems. The company, based in a city east of Tel Aviv, would also work in Togo, Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria, as well as in Eastern Europe. Last year, the Israeli government fined Global CST for negotiating to sell weapons and military training to Guinea’s military junta.

 

(Quelle: McClatchy Newspapers.)

Siehe auch:

The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in Reagan Era

Europa: Die schleichende Paramilitarisierung

Freitag, September 3rd, 2010

Lex paciferat – Das Gesetz wird Frieden bringen

Ein Blick auf die europäischen Gendarmeriekräfte

Von Tim Schumacher (in: AUSDRUCK, 4/2010, S. 18 – 23)

Der vermehrte Einsatz von Gendarmerien speziell bei Auslandseinsätzen ist das Resultat einer veränderten Bedrohungsanalyse und eines sich daraus ergebenden neuen Anforderungsprofils der Einsatzkräfte. Denn nicht der militärische Sieg über den Gegner, sondern vielmehr die Kontrolle der Bevölkerung durch einen permanenten Einsatz steht inzwischen im Vordergrund.

Das Ergebnis ist eine Paramilitarisierung der Einsatzkräfte, wie am Beispiel der länderübergreifenden “European Gendarmerie Force” (EGF / EUROGENDFOR) gezeigt werden kann. Durch den “dual-use”-Charakter der Einheit – sie kann unter militärischem sowie unter zivilem Kommando im Ausland wie im Inland agieren – und gemeinsame Trainings ist auch die Paramilitarisierung der Polizeikräfte, sowohl in Deutschland als auch in der EU und weltweit vorprogrammiert.

Auf dem Logo der EUROGENDFOR steht zu lesen: “LEX PACIFERAT” – “Das Gesetz wird Frieden bringen”. Ein Gesetz, das mit Schlagstöcken, Tränengas und Wasserwerfern, gegebenenfalls auch mit Schusswaffengewalt, durchgesetzt wird – ein Frieden, bei dem die Gewährleistung der wirtschaftlichen Funktionsfähigkeit im Vordergrund steht.

Neudefinitionen – Bevölkerungskontrolle

Was als Bedrohung wahrgenommen wird und was nicht, hängt davon ab, wer seine Ansichten durchsetzten kann, wer also eine gewisse diskursive Hegemonie besitzt. Die hegemoniale Bedrohungsanalyse unterlag seit den neunziger Jahren bis heute, genau wie die daraus resultierende Sicherheitsstrategie, einem tiefgreifenden Wandel. Mit dem Wegfall der eindeutigen Frontlinien des Kalten Krieges fehlt ein klar umrissenes Feindbild in Form konkreter Staaten wie der Sowjetunion. Die neuen Problemfelder auf der Welt sind laut Koalitionsvertrag von CDU-CSU-FDP “Internationaler Terrorismus, organisierte Kriminalität und Piraterie, Klimawandel, [fehlende] Nahrungsmittel und Ressourcensicherheit sowie Seuchen und Krankheiten”, also unscharfe, verschwommene, asymmetrische Bedrohungen.[1] Die neuen Feinde können scheinbar immer und überall zuschlagen, sind nur schwer von der zivilen Bevölkerung zu unterscheiden oder sind identisch mit ihr. Von der Bevölkerung geht also ein ständiges Risiko aus, das kontrolliert werden muss. “Die politische und soziale Kontrolle der Bevölkerung” rückt als neues Ziel ins Zentrum der Einsatzplanung.[2]

Wie aus einer Studie der die Bundesregierung beratenden “Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik” (SWP) hervorgeht, “sind Post-Konflikt-Gesellschaften gewaltbereit und militarisiert. Daher ist der Beginn ziviler Aufbau- und Reformmaßnahmen häufig von Plünderungen, Rachemorden oder größeren Unruhen in der Bevölkerung überschattet. Das entstehende Netz organisierter Kriminalität und dessen Nexus zu politisch motivierter Gewalt überfordern zivile Polizeieinheiten.”[3] Aus der Neudefinition des Gegners ergeben sich neue Anforderungen für Einsatzkräfte. Da die Kontrolle der Bevölkerung während und nach einer militärischen Intervention gewährleistet sein muss, gewinnt die Mischform aus Polizei und Militär, so genannte Gendarmerien, an Bedeutung.

Auch in dem Bericht “Shoulder to Shoulder”, der von den acht der wichtigsten US und EU Think Tanks verfasst wurde, spielt der Einsatz von Gendarmerien eine große Rolle. Wegen der Bedenken, dass die westliche Vorherrschaft in Zukunft nicht unangetastet bleiben könnte, fordert der Bericht den Schulterschluss von USA, EU und NATO: “Mit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges und dem Aufstieg neuer Mächte haben manche geglaubt, dass die Zeit der transatlantischen Partnerschaft der Vergangenheit angehört. Wir sind anderer Meinung. […] Die Welt, die die transatlantische Partnerschaft hervorgebracht hat, verschwindet schnell. Die USA und Europa müssen sich dringend neu positionieren und ihre Beziehung zu einer effektiveren und strategischen Partnerschaft umformen. Jetzt ist der Moment, die Chance zu ergreifen – to use or to lose.”[4]

Den Luxus interner Streitigkeiten könne man sich jetzt nicht mehr leisten. Zur Aufrechterhaltung der westlichen Dominanz müssten USA, EU und NATO jetzt aufs engste zusammenarbeiten und die Kooperation ausgebaut und intensiviert werden. Die NATO selbst verfügt als reines Militärbündnis nicht über eigene “zivile” Krisenmanagementwerkzeuge. Die Idee ist, diese seitens der EU bereitzustellen und hierüber die gemeinsame Zusammenarbeit institutionalisiert auf ein neues Level zu heben. Ein geeignetes Bindeglied scheinen die Gendarmerien der EGF zu sein. Sie sind für multinationale Einsätze ausgerichtet und könnten die Lücke füllen, die zwischen reinen Militäreinsätzen und Aufgaben der zivilen Bevölkerungskontrolle mit nicht-tödlichen Mitteln klafft. Da weder USA noch NATO über ein Instrument wie die EGF verfügen, kann die Stärkung der Gendarmerietruppe das europäische Mittel sein, um in der NATO deutlich an Einfluss zu gewinnen und die Zusammenarbeit zu intensivieren. Der Vorschlag des Berichtes “Shoulder to Shoulder” ist es deshalb, die robusten europäischen Gendarmerien von Anfang an in die militärische Planung der USA und der NATO mit einzubeziehen.
Hybride Einheiten

Gendarmerien haben die meiste Zeit denselben Status wie Polizeieinheiten und können auch im Ausland bei Polizeimissionen eingesetzt werden. Sie sind jedoch militärisch in Verbänden organisiert, verfügen über die gleiche Bewaffnung wie leichte Infanteriesoldaten und können ebenso unter militärisches Kommando gestellt und zum Auslandseinsatz verpflichtet werden. Somit handelt es sich bei Gendarmerien um eine paramilitärische Mischform[5] zwischen Polizei und Militär. Sie unterstehen dem Verteidigungsministerium und/oder dem Innenministerium eines Landes. Der Vorteil des Einsatzes von Gendarmerien ist folgender: In der Anfangsphase einer militärischen Intervention können sie zusammen mit regulären SoldatInnen unter militärischem Kommando ins Einsatzgebiet entsendet werden und vermeintliche Gegner ausschalten. Fast zeitgleich können sie mit dem Aufbau neuer polizeilicher Repressionsorgane beginnen. Wenn es Proteste gegen das Vorgehen gibt, sind sie in der Lage, diese unter Kontrolle zu halten oder aufzulösen (siehe Kasten “Auf Distanz halten – Kontrollieren – Auflösen”).

Die meisten Gendarmerien orientieren sich am Modell der französischen “Gendarmerie National”. Diese Gendarmerieeinheit entstand in der Zeit der französischen Revolution und setzte sich hauptsächlich aus militärischem Personal zusammen. Ihre Hauptaufgabe bestand jedoch darin “Recht und Ordnung” im Inneren herzustellen, vor allem in abgelegeneren Gegenden, in denen es kaum eine staatliche Kontrolle gab. So eigneten sich Gendarmerien besonders dafür, Unruhen in den ehemaligen Kolonien zu begrenzen und die Kontrolle des Zentralstaats aufrechtzuerhalten.

Das steigende Interesse am Aufbau solcher hybriden Einheiten zeigt sich während der militärischen Intervention in Bosnien Herzegowina. Im Jahr 1998 wurde im Rahmen des NATO-Einsatzes SFOR eine Einheit aufgebaut, die die Lücke zwischen Militär und Polizei füllen sollte. In diesen “Multinational Specialized Units” (MSUs) waren Polizeikräfte mit militärischem Status in relativ kleinen, flexiblen Einheiten organisiert. Diese konnten exekutive Aufgaben wahrnehmen, also aktiv in Konflikte eingreifen, indem sie über Kompetenzen wie Verhaftungen und Schusswaffengebrauch verfügen konnten, die gewöhnlich nur der lokalen Polizei zustanden. Sie sollten sowohl die militärischen Einheiten als auch die lokalen Polizeikräfte speziell im Umgang und in der Kontrolle von Unruhen in der Bevölkerung unterstützen.[6] Die von italienischen Carabinieri geführte MSU konnte schon Mitte des Jahres 1998 mit 600 Gendarmeriekräften ihre Arbeit beginnen. Der Schwerpunkt des Einsatzes lag darin, “aufgebrachte Zivilisten unter Kontrolle zu bringen” und Proteste zu verhindern.[7]

Nachdem der Einsatz der MSU in Bosnien als erfolgreich bewertet wurde, konnte eine ähnliche Einheit unter KFOR-Kommando im August 1999 in den Kosovo entsendet werden. Um genau wie in Bosnien zur Bevölkerungskontrolle eingesetzt zu werden, ist auch die MSU im Kosovo mit geeigneten “präventiven und repressiven Ressourcen” zur Bekämpfung von Aufständen ausgestattet.[8] Federführend waren wiederum die italienischen Carabinieri beteiligt, diesmal unterstützt von der französischen Gendarmerie Nationale.

Auch auf dem Gipfeltreffen im Jahr 2000 in Santa Maria da Feira war der Aufbau von hybriden Einheiten ein wichtiges Thema. Es wurde von den EU-Staaten beschlossen, das “nicht-militärische Krisenmanagement” um eine ca. 5.800 Mann starke Police Rapid Reaction Force, bestehend aus Polizei- und Gendarmeriekräften, zu erweitern. Die Truppe, die sich an der MSU orientiert, wurde von 27 EU-Ländern 2004 aufgestellt. Doch zu den Defiziten bei der Planung von Einsätzen und der Reaktionszeit der robusten Einheiten kam die reservierte Haltung einiger EU-Länder, wie beispielsweise Deutschlands, dem der Weg zu grenzüberschreitenden Gendarmerieeinsätzen durch rechtliche Probleme bisher noch versperrt bleibt.[9] Es bestand also weiterhin Handlungsbedarf.

Paramilitärische “European Gendarmerie Force”

Die Aufstellung einer länderübergreifenden Gendarmerieeinheit, der so genannten “European Gendarmerie Force”, wurde erstmals von der französischen Verteidigungsministerin Michelle Alliot-Marie im September 2003 vorgeschlagen. Daraufhin wurde im Januar 2006 das Hauptquartier mit 30 Personen dauerhaft in der Chinotto-Kaserne der Carabinieri im norditalienischen Vicenza eingerichtet. Damit verfügt die EGF über eine permanent arbeitende Einheit, was die Effektivität bei der Planung und Entsendung der Truppe im Vergleich zu spontan zusammengestellten Missionen enorm erhöht. Das Hauptquartier kann innerhalb von 30 Tagen einen Operationsplan für eine Mission ausarbeiten und diese leiten. Dafür stehen zunächst bis zu 800 Gendarmen zur Verfügung, die später bis zu einer Gesamtstärke von 2300 aufgestockt werden können. Mitte 2006 wurde die EGF als voll einsatzfähig erklärt, obwohl erst über ein Jahr später am 18. Oktober 2007 der Vertrag, der die Aufgaben und Befugnisse regelt, von den Regierungen von Frankreich, Italien, Spanien, Portugal und den Niederlanden unterschrieben wurde. Eine solche Praxis ist für den Entstehungsprozess der European Gendarmerie Force symptomatisch: Erst Fakten schaffen, dann vertraglich absichern.

Seit dem 01. Januar 2010 hat Italien die Jahrespräsidentschaft des CIMIN (interministerielles Komitee) inne – des Organs, das die EGF politisch-militärisch koordiniert. Es ist aus RepräsentantInnen der Außen- und Verteidigungsministerien der Mitgliedstaaten zusammengesetzt und entscheidet über die Aufnahme anderer Länder und mögliche EGF-Einsätze.[10] Als Vollmitglied ist inzwischen auch Rumänien beteiligt, Polen und auch Litauen wurden 2007 und 2009 zu Partnerländern. Der Status eines Vollmitgliedes oder eines Partnerlandes steht nur für Staaten offen, die sowohl Mitglied der Europäischen Union sind, als auch über Einheiten verfügen, die unter polizeiliches und militärisches Kommando gestellt werden können. Daher hat die Türkei, trotz großem Interesse an der EGF, nur den Status des Beobachters.

Nach Artikel 5 des Abkommens zur EGF können die europäischen Gendarmen sowohl unter der Flagge der EU wie auch der UN, der OSZE, der NATO und ad-hoc Bündnissen zusammen mit militärischen Kräften oder als Teil einer Polizeimission eingesetzt werden. Die europäischen Gendarmen können entweder selbst exekutive Aufgaben erfüllen oder sie bilden Repressionsorgane aus. Mit dem unscheinbaren Verweis in Artikel 4 auf “öffentliche Ordnungs-Missionen”[11] werden die ausgeprägten Fähigkeiten der EGF zur Bevölkerungskontrolle umschrieben. Zu den polizeilichen und militärischen Fähigkeiten kommen die im gleichen Artikel aufgeführten geheimdienstlichen Tätigkeiten der EGF. Was genau darunter zu verstehen ist, wird, ganz in der Manier des für die EGF symptomatischen Informationsdefizits, nicht genauer erläutert. Außerdem fand die Gründung der EGF als eigenständig finanziertes Projekt der Einzelstaaten außerhalb des EU-Rechtsrahmens statt. Damit hat das Europäische Parlament keinerlei Einfluss die Truppe, zudem können juristische und ethische Bedenken anderer EU-Staaten umgangen werden.

EGF in Aktion: Vom Balkan über Afghanistan in die Karibik

Die EGF erlebte ihre operative Taufe im November 2007 in Bosnien. Dort wurde sie im Rahmen der EU-Operation Althea eingesetzt und übernahm die Führung über das Hauptquartier der bestehenden Integrated Police Units (IPUs). Bei diesen Einheiten handelt es sich um die Nachfolger der MSU aus dem SFOR-Mandat. Auch die IPUs bestehen aus Polizeisoldaten, die zur Bekämpfung von Aufständen ausgebildet und eingesetzt werden.[12] Sie sollen den Aufbau von Staats- und Repressionsorganen nach westlichem Vorbild gegen Unzufriedenheit und Unruhen in der Bevölkerung absichern.

Das zweite Einsatzszenario der EGF zeigt, wie eine engere Zusammenarbeit zwischen USA, NATO und EU aussehen kann. Im April 2009 wurde auf dem NATO-Gipfel beschlossen, innerhalb der von der NATO geführten ISAF-Mission eine “NATO Trainings Mission – Afghanistan”, kurz NTM-A, einzurichten. In enger, aber keineswegs reibungsloser, Abstimmung mit der “zivilen” EU Polizeimission EUPOL wird dabei der afghanische Polizeiapparat aufgebaut. Der leitende Polizeiberater in Kabul, Detlef Karioth, stellt sich darunter “eine Polizei [vor], die in der Lage wäre, sich gegen die bewaffneten Kräfte im Land zu verteidigen. Wir bilden hier ja nicht nur Straßenpolizisten aus.”[13] Es handelt sich also um eine Polizei, die einen paramilitärischen Charakter hat. Für eine solche Ausbildung bietet sich am besten die paramilitärische EGF an. Seit dem 8. Dezember 2009 ist die EGF deshalb in Afghanistan mit dem massiven Aufbau afghanischer Repressionsorgane beschäftigt. Ursprünglich sollten in Afghanistan 62.000 Polizisten ausgebildet werden, nun werden bis zu 160.000 anvisiert. Auch das Militär wird enorm aufgestockt. Die afghanischen Einheiten sollen die ausländischen Truppen unterstützen und entlasten.[14]

Neustes Einsatzszenario der EGF-Truppen ist Haiti: Im Januar 2010 wurde das Land von dem schwersten Erdbeben seiner Geschichte getroffen. Obwohl in Haiti 80% der Menschen keine Arbeit haben und drei Viertel der Bevölkerung von weniger als 2 $ am Tag leben müssen, dominiert das Thema Sicherheit die Berichterstattung. Dementsprechend bestand das Hilfspaket, das von der EU geschnürt wurde, zu wichtigen Teilen aus sicherheitspolitischen Maßnahmen. 300 Gendarmen, alle angehörige der EGF, wurden in Marsch gesetzt und sollen vor Ort für “Ruhe und Ordnung” sorgen. Zusätzlich zu der finanziellen Hilfe von ca. 100 Mio. Euro der Europäischen Kommission und der einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten wurden weitere 300 Mio. in Aussicht gestellt – ein Großteil des Geldes war ohnehin für den Aufbau des haitianischen Sicherheitssektors bestimmt.[15]

In einer Antwort auf eine kleine Anfrage der Partei “Die Linke” heißt es zu dem Einsatz der Gendarmen: “Es handelt sich bei der Entsendung von Polizisten durch Mitgliedstaaten, die auch an der Europäischen Gendarmerietruppe (EGF) teilnehmen, zur Unterstützung von MINUSTAH nach Haiti nicht um einen Einsatz der EGF als solcher. Die VN hatte in ihrem Ersuchen ausdrücklich die Entsendung von Gendarmeriekräften erbeten.”[16] Hier wird ein weiterer hybrider Charakter der EGF deutlich: Entweder können sie als länderübergreifende EGF agieren, oder als Truppen im Namen der Europäischen Union entsendet werden.

In Haiti wird der paranoide Ruf nach Sicherheit hauptsächlich zu einer weiteren Militarisierung der Gesellschaft führen, möglicherweise sogar zur Reorganisierung des 1994 aufgelösten haitianischen Militärs. Die Lebenssituation der verarmten Bevölkerung wird sich dadurch nicht verbessern. Im Gegenteil können im Zukunft durchaus legitime Proteste im “Armenhaus Lateinamerikas” besser im Keim erstickt werden.

Paramilitärs für alle

Die EGF befindet sich aktuell noch im Aufbau und ist bisher eine relativ kleine Einheit. Bei den derzeitigen Kriterien verfügt nur Bulgarien über militärisch organisierte Einheiten mit entsprechendem polizeimilitärischem Charakter, um beitreten zu können. Bei einer eventuellen EU-Erweiterung könnten jedoch auch Serbien, Albanien, Georgien, Ukraine und die Türkei als Vollmitglieder aufgenommen werden.

In einem Bericht des vom niederländischen Verteidigungsministerium unterstützten “Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael” wird an mehreren Stellen darauf hingewiesen, dass es für die Truppe zudem praktisch sein könnte, die Kriterien zur Aufnahme anderer, auch nicht-gendarmerieförmigen Einheiten zu lockern. “Es würde mehr Ressourcen für gemeinsame Ziele bringen, es würden sich neue Kapazitäten ergeben, wenn diese einzigartige Organisation eingesetzt wird, gleichzeitig können Polizei- und Gendarmeriekräfte in Europa professionalisiert werden und die europäische Integration im Sicherheitsbereich vorangebracht werden.”[17]

Durch eine solche Lockerung könnte die EGF also wachsen und dadurch einen größeren Einfluss auf die europäische Sichereitslandschaft ausüben. Sie legt jetzt schon die gemeinsamen Trainingstandards der nationalen Gendarmerien fest,[18] und trägt durch die Ausrichtung multinationaler Trainings dazu bei, dass die EU weiter zusammen rückt, wenn es um grenzüberschreitende Repression geht.

Der Clingendael-Bericht beschreibt noch eine weitere Option für die EGF. Die Ausbildung von Gendarmerien oder gendarmerieähnlichen Kräften rund um den Globus bietet ein erschreckendes Potential. Allein in den EU-nahen Ländern existiert ein enormer Pool geeigneter paramilitärischer Einheiten mit mehr als 430 000 Einsatzkräften.[19] Weltweit gibt es sogar fast 2,5Millionen gendarmerieähnliche Kräfte, die sich von den europäischen Gendarmen ausbilden lassen könnten (praktischerweise ohne dass deren Regierung jemals als Vollmitglied in die EGF aufgenommen werden wird). Es ist jedoch keineswegs eine Kooperation mit allen Ländern gleichzeitig geplant. Mit einigen sind die Konflikte doch so tief greifend oder das Interesse so gering, dass sie in absehbarer Zeit nicht in den Genuss einer Ausbildung ihrer PolizeisoldatInnen durch die EGF kommen werden. Durch die Ausbildung und Zusammenarbeit gendarmerieähnlicher Spezialkräfte rund um den Globus kann die Relevanz der EGF weiter gesteigert und damit die Sicherstellung der Interessen der beteiligten Staaten gewährleistet werden – seien es offene Absatzmärkte oder der Zugriff aus Rohstoffe ohne Handelsbeschränkungen.

Mehrzweckwaffe

Die Einsätze der EGF machen theoretisch nicht vor den europäischen Grenzen halt. Militäreinsätze im EU-Inland waren bis zum 1. Dezember 2009 verboten. An diesem Datum trat der Vertrag von Lissabon in Kraft, mit dessen “Solidaritätsklausel” (Artikel 222) sich einiges geändert hat. In dem Vertrag heißt es: “Die Union mobilisiert alle ihr zur Verfügung stehenden Mittel, einschließlich der ihr von den Mitgliedstaaten bereitgestellten militärischen Mittel […] im Falle einer Naturkatastrophe oder einer vom Menschen verursachten Katastrophe einen Mitgliedstaat auf Ersuchen seiner politischen Organe innerhalb seines Hoheitsgebiets zu unterstützen.”[20] Nun ist es möglich, auch wenn es noch in einiger Ferne liegen mag, Einheiten wie die EGF auch im europäischen Inland einzusetzen – beispielweise zur Unterstützung einer wankenden Regierung gegen soziale Unruhen.

Damit wird ein weiterer Charakterzug der “dual-use”-Einheit EGF klar. Sie kann eine Bevölkerung nicht nur als Polizei, Militär und Geheimdienst kontrollieren, sondern kann auch nahezu überall eingesetzt werden – im Rahmen der EU oder außerhalb. Dabei steht einem Einsatz denkbar wenig demokratische Kontrolle durch Parlamente im Weg. Das EU-Parlament ist außen vor, da die EGF kein EU-Organ ist. Gleichzeitig ist der Einfluss der nationalen Parlamente ausgehebelt, da es sich um Polizeieinheiten handelt, deren Einsatz nicht von der Regierung abgesegnet werden muss.

Paramilitarisierung Deutschlands

Der Einsatz von Gendarmerien wird international enorm an Bedeutung gewinnen und dementsprechend den Einfluss der Länder, die sich seit Jahren um einen Ausbau bemühen, deutlich erhöhen. Was der deutschen Beteiligung am Kräftemessen um robuste, flexible Einheiten bislang im Weg steht, ist ein Erbe der Vergangenheit. Um eine erneute Zentralisierung der Macht zu verhindern, wurde als Erfahrung aus dem nationalsozialistischen Staatsterror ein Trennungsgebot zwischen Polizei und Militär im Grundgesetz verankert. Aufgrund dieses verfassungsrechtlichen Trennungsgebotes gibt es in Deutschland keine Gendarmerie – und damit auch keine Mitgliedschaft in der EGF. Um trotzdem nicht um die Stellung in der NATO fürchten zu müssen, ist die einzige Option für Deutschlands also, nach Meinung der AutorInnen der Studie der “Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik”, “eine spezialisierte Einheit von einigen hundert Gendarmen ausschließlich für den Auslandseinsatz aufzubauen”, die entweder der Bundespolizei untersteht oder aus einem polizeilich weitergebildeten Kontingent der Feldjäger besteht.[21]

Daran wird bereits gearbeitet: Was die Bundespolizei betrifft, befindet sich bis Ende 2010 eine so genannte Internationale Einsatzeinheit (IEE) im Aufbau. Diese Auslandseinheit soll aus zwei Hundertschaften bestehen und am Hauptstandort der Bundespolizei in Sankt Augustin stationiert werden. Die EU-Polizeimission EULEX im Kosovo könnte ein mögliches Einsatzszenario sein.[22] Gerade EULEX zeigt die Schwerpunktsetzung der Gendarmen. In deren Rahmen finden mindestens monatlich Übungen zum so genannten “Cowd and Riot Control” – also Aufstandsbekämpfung – statt (siehe Kasten “Auf Distanz halten – Kontrollieren – Auflösen”). Der “Arbeitskreis Schutzaufgaben in Krisengebieten” (ASSIK) ist eine weitere Einheit der Bundespolizei, die für Auslandseinsätze vorgesehen ist und die GSG 9 entlasten soll. Diese Eliteeinheit befindet sich seit 2009 im Einsatz in Afghanistan.[23] Obwohl es für die Teilnahme an der EGF noch keine passende Schnittstelle gibt, trainiert die Bundespolizei schon seit mehreren Jahren mit den europäischen Gendarmeriekräften. Durch das Training können die Einheiten der Bundespolizei ihre Kenntnisse im Bereich der Gendarmeriefähigkeiten vertiefen, sie entwickeln sich also weg von einer reinen Polizei hin zu einer paramilitärischen Gendarmerie.

Doch einige Hürden zur Teilnahme an der EGF bleiben: Da Einheiten der Bundespolizei nicht zum Militär gehören und nur im Inland Kombattantenstatus bekommen können, gelten sie im Falle eines Kampfes im Ausland als irreguläre Kräfte und besitzen nach dem humanitären Völkerrecht keinen Schutz und keinen Anspruch auf eine Behandlung nach der Genfer Konvention. Zudem können deutsche BundespolizistInnen bisher noch nicht zum Auslandseinsatz verpflichtet werden – die Teilnahme an einer Entsendung ist freiwillig. Außerdem, so beklagen sich die Gewerkschaften der Polizei, würden Einsätze im Ausland den Haushalt der Polizeien zusätzlich belasten, weshalb sie sich vorerst gegen eine verpflichtende Teilnahme aussprechen.[24] Wenn jedoch die vom Innenministerium geplante neue Auslandseinheit geschaffen wird, die natürlich gesondert finanziert wird, könnte die Entscheidung der Gewerkschaften wieder kippen.[25]

Derzeit ist zwar noch keine deutsche Einheit für eine Vollmitgliedschaft in der EGF geeignet – wenn aber die europäischen Gendarmen sich als Angelpunkt für eine intensivere Zusammenarbeit von USA-NATO-EU herauszustellen vermögen, wird auch das deutsche Interesse an der Teilhabe an einer solchen Einheit weiter steigen. Mit dem Aufbau einer reinen Auslandseinheit mit Option auf eine Teilnahme an der EGF würde zwar der Charakter als “Mehrzweckwaffe” für den Inlandseinsatz zumindest in Deutschland wegfallen. Die paramilitärischen “Erkenntnisse” einer solchen Truppe könnten dennoch mit den KollegInnen in Deutschland geteilt werden. Damit dürfte eine solche Einheit die schleichende Militarisierung weiter vorantreiben.

Kein Ende in Sicht

Der französische Innenminister Brice Hortefeux beschrieb auf einer Zeremonie für die Ausbildung afghanischer Spezialeinheiten durch die EGF die Art des Einsatzes in Afghanistan: “Der Kampf gegen den Terrorismus ist ein permanenter Kampf”.[26] Das Training sei sehr erfolgreich und mache die Ausgebildeten bereit, eine Führungsrolle in den Konflikten einzunehmen. Das Management einer Risikobevölkerung, die kontrolliert werden muss, rückt in den Vordergrund – und damit die Fähigkeiten von Gendarmerien. Hybride Einheiten scheinen damit eine “geeignete” Antwort auf die veränderte Sicherheitsstrategie hin zum Krisenmanagement zu sein. Die Schwelle, sowohl der Truppenentsendung als auch das Niveau der Gewaltanwendung,[27] liegen niedriger, finden dafür aber tendenziell in Permanenz statt. Als relativ kleine und flexible Eingreiftruppen könnten sie die Kriegsszenarien der Zukunft mitbestimmen. Wie vo mike Davis prognostiziert, könnten sich solche Szenarien vermehrt in den Slums und Armenviertel auf der ganzen Welt abspielen, die aufgrund der kapitalistischen Logik unaufhaltsam und rasant anwachsen.[28]

In dem neuesten Strategiereport “Freedom, Security and Privacy – the area of European Home Affairs” fällt der Vorschlag, die EGF in den Rang einer offiziellen EU-Einrichtung zu erheben.[29] Möglicherweise, so geht aus dem Bericht hervor, könnte die EGF als “Integrated Police Unit” in die “Gemeinsame Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik” (GSVP) der EU integriert werden. Dieser Schritt würde höchstwahrscheinlich neue finanzielle Mittel für die EGF ermöglichen. Länder wie Deutschland könnten diesen Schritt befürworten, da sie so ihre Einflussmöglichkeiten auf die Truppe erhöhen können. Die Nachteile aus der Sicht der Gründungsmitglieder, nämlich die damit verbundene Formalisierung und die einhergehende minimale Mitsprache des Europäischen Parlaments, dürfte diesen aber dazu veranlassen, das Oberkommando über die EGF nicht aus den Händen zu geben.

Der nächste Schritt für die EUROGENDFOR wird ihre Umwandlung in eine kasernierte Einheit sein. Es gibt bereits eine entsprechende Gesetzesinitiative, der zu ihrer Umsetzung nur noch die Ratifizierung des EGF-Vertrags durch Frankreich als letztes Gründungsmitglied vorausgehen muss.[30] Eins steht fest: Wenn die Entwicklung der EGF so weiter geht, wird Deutschland höchstwahrscheinlich weiterhin Klimmzüge unternehmen, um an dem möglicherweise prestigeträchtigen Projekt baldmöglichst teilnehmen zu können.
[1] Koalitionsvertrag zwischen CDU, CSU und FDP, 26.10.2009, Zeile 5250-5252.

[2] Zelik, Raul: Aufstandsbekämpfung und Besatzungskrieg, in: Peripherie, Nr. 116/2009, S. 425-447, S. 428.

[3] Ebd.

[4] Hamilton, Daniel; Burwell, S.; Frances, G. (lead authors): Shoulder to Shoulder: Forging a Strategic U.S.-EU Partnership (Atlantic Council of the United States/ Center for European Policy Studies/ Center for Strategic and International Studies/ Center for Transatlantic Relations/ Fundacion Alternativas/ Prague Security Studies Institute/Real Instituto Elcano/ Swedish Institute of International Affairs), Dezember 2009.

[5] “Der Begriff Paramilitär (griechisch παρά [para] “neben” und lat. miles “Kämpfer” oder “Soldat”), […] dient zur Bezeichnung verschiedenartiger, teils selbstständig agierender und mit militärischer Gewalt ausgestatteter Gruppen oder Einheiten, die aber zumeist nicht in die Organisation des regulären Militärs eingebunden sind. Beispiele hierfür sind die in vielen Ländern anzutreffenden, oft den Innenministerien unterstellten quasi-militärischen Verbände, die neben dem klassischen Militär existieren und tendenziell eher im Inneren eingesetzt werden. Außerdem findet der Begriff Anwendung auf mit militärischer Gewalt ausgestattete Gruppen, die einer kriminellen oder mafiösen Organisation, einer Selbstschutzorganisation oder Partei zugeordnet sind oder von dieser befehligt werden. Häufig agieren solche Paramilitärs halblegal oder vollständig außerhalb der Legalität, operieren aber faktisch im Auftrag oder im Interesse einer offiziellen Institution oder der Regierung […] .” (Aus: wikipedia.org) Der Begriff wird im Text mit der ersten beschriebenen Bedeutung verwendet.

[6] Factsheet: Multinational Specialized Unit. Aus www.nato.int/sfor, August 2004.

[7] Kempin, Ronja; Kreuder-Sonnen, Christian, März 2010, Seite 13.

[8] Multinational Specialized Unit. Aus: www.nato.int/kfor

[9] Hazda, Peter: Die Europäischen Gendarmerie Force. Aus: Europäische Sicherheit 07/2008.

[10] TREATY Between the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Italian Republic, the Kingdom of The Netherlands and the Portuguese Republic, establishing the European Gendarmerie Force. Aus: www.eurogendfor.eu

[11] Ebd.

[12] Integrated Police Unit. Aus: www.euforbih.org

[13] Bickel, Markus: Wir bilden aus fürs Überleben. Aus: FAZ, 13.03.2009.

[14] Vollkommen unklar jedoch ist, woher die Gelder für den aufgepumpten Polizei- und Militärapparat kommen sollen. Laut Rory Steward, dem Direktor von “Carr Center on Human Right Policy”, belaufen sich diese Kosten auf zwei bis drei Mrd. Dollar im Jahr und damit ein Vielfaches des gesamten afghanischen Staatshaushaltes. Weiter sagt Steward: “Wir kritisieren Entwicklungsländer dafür, wenn sie 30% ihres Budgets für Rüstung ausgeben; wir drängen Afghanistan dazu 500% seines Haushalts hierfür aufzuwenden. […] Wir sollten kein Geburtshelfer eines autoritären Militärstaats sein. Die hieraus resultierenden Sicherheitsgewinne mögen unseren kurzfristigen Interessen dienen, aber nicht den langfristigen Interessen der Afghanen.”, vgl.: Steward, Rory: The Irresistible Illusion, London Review of Books, 07.07.2009.

[15] Dagdelen, Sevim: Europas “Schutztruppe”. Aus: Junge Welt, 06.02.2010.

[16] Bundestagsdrucksache Nr. 17/746 vom 17.02.2010.

[17] Ebd. Seite 46f

[18] Kempin, Ronja; Kreuder-Sonnen, Christian, März 2010.

[19] De Weger, Michiel: The Potential of the European Gendarmerie Force. Netherland Institute of International Relations Clingendael, März 2009, Annex C.

[20] Solidaritätsklausel. Aus: Vertrag von Lissabon, europa.eu/lisbon_treaty/

[21] Kempin, Ronja; Kreuder-Sonnen, Christian, März 2010, Seite 6.

[22] Baumann, Mechthild; Bretl, Carolin: EU-Polizeimissionen. Studie des Instituts für Migrations- und Sicherheitsstudien, März 2010, Seite 18-21.

[23] Ebd.

[24] NDR Info: Gewerkschaften kritisieren Verstärkung der Polizeiausbildung in Afghanistan durch deutsche Polizisten. Aus: www.ndr.de, 26.01.2010; vgl.: Haid, Michael: Showveranstaltung: Zur Londoner Afghanistan-Konferenz Aus: IMI-Standpunkt 2010/002 – in: AUSDRUCK (Februar 2010).

[25] Es sollte jedoch nicht unerwähnt bleiben, dass die Gewerkschaften der Polizei auch aus den Reihen der angestellten PolizistInnen einen nicht unerheblichen Druck bekommen, sich gegen Auslandseinsätze der Polizei auszusprechen.

[26] H.E. Brice Hortefeux, French Minister of Interior, Congratulates Afghan Elite police officers. Aus: www.ntm-a.com, 06.05.2010.

[27] vgl.: Schürkes, Jonna; Marischka, Christoph: Weniger tödliche Soldaten? Ausgabe W&F Dossier 62, 04.2009

[28] Davis, Mike (2007): Planet der Slums. Assoziation A.

[29] vgl.: Bunyan, Tony: The shape of things to come. Aus: www.statewatch.org

[30] Projet de Loi N° 2278 Aus: www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/projets/pl2278.asp; vgl.: de St. Leu, J.; Monroy, Matthias: Europäische Gendarmerietruppe wird zur kasernierten Einheit. Aus: www.heise.de/, 12.03.2010.

 

(Quelle: Linksnet.de.)

Afghanistan: Die US-Strategie ist gescheitert

Samstag, Juli 24th, 2010

“The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency

By Conn Hallinan

There are moments that define a war. Just such a one occurred on June 21, when Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry helicoptered into Marjah for a photo op with the locals. It was to be a capstone event, the fruit of a four-month counterinsurgency offensive by Marines, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, and the newly minted Afghan National Army (ANA) to drive the Taliban out of the area and bring in good government.

As the chopper swung around to land, the Taliban opened fire, sending journalists scrambling for cover and Marines into full combat mode. According to Matthew Green of the Financial Times, “The crackle of gunfire lasted about 20 minutes and continued in the background as a state department official gave a presentation to Mr. Holbrooke about U.S. and U.K. [United Kingdom] efforts to boost local government and promote agriculture in the town.”

The U.S. officials were then bundled into armored cars and whisked back to the helicopter. As the chopper took off, an enormous explosion shook the town’s bazaar.

When it was launched in March, the Marjah operation was billed as a “turning point” in the Afghan War, an acid test for the doctrine of counterinsurgency, or “COIN,” a carefully designed strategy to wrest a strategic area from insurgent forces, in this case the Taliban, and win the “hearts and minds” of the local people. In a sense Marjah has indeed defined COIN, just not quite in the way its advocates had hoped for.

The Missing Cornerstone

In his bible for counterinsurgency, Field Manual 3-24, General David Petraeus argues, “The cornerstone of any COIN effort is establishing security for the civilian populace.” As one village elder who attended the Holbrooke meeting — incognito for fear of being recognized by the Taliban — told Green, “There is no security in Marjah.”

Nor in much of the rest of the country. The latest United States assessment found only five out of 116 areas “secure,” and in 89 areas the government was “non-existent, dysfunctional or unproductive.”

That the war in Afghanistan is a failure will hardly come as news to most people. Our NATO allies are preparing to abandon the endeavor — the Dutch, Canadians and Poles have announced they are bailing — and the British, who have the second largest contingent in Afghanistan, are clamoring for peace talks. Opposition to the war in Britain is at 72 percent.

 But there is a tendency to blame the growing debacle on conditions peculiar to Afghanistan. There are certainly things about that country that have stymied foreign invaders: It is landlocked, filled with daunting terrain, and populated by people who don’t cotton to outsiders. But it would be a serious error to attribute the current crisis to Afghanistan’s well-earned reputation as the “graveyard of empires.”

A Failing Doctrine

The problem is not Afghanistan, but the entire concept of COIN, and the debate around it is hardly academic. Counterinsurgency has seized the high ground in the Pentagon and the halls of Washington, and there are other places in the world where it is being deployed, from the jungles of Columbia to the dry lands that border the Sahara. If the COIN doctrine is not challenged, people in the United States may well find themselves debating its merits in places like Somalia, Yemen, or Mauritania.  

“Counterinsurgency aims at reshaping a nation and its society over the long haul,” says military historian Frank Chadwick, and emphasizes “infrastructure improvements, ground-level security, and building a bond between the local population and the security forces.”

In theory, COIN sounds reasonable; in practice, it almost always fails. Where it has succeeded — the Philippines, Malaya, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, and the Boer War — the conditions were very special: island nations cut off from outside support (the Philippines and Sri Lanka), insurgencies that failed to develop a following (Bolivia) or were based in a minority ethnic community (Malaya, the Boer War).

COIN is always presented as politically neutral, a series of tactics aimed at winning hearts and minds. But in fact, COIN has always been part of a strategy of domination by a nation(s) and/or socioeconomic class.

The supposed threat of communism and its companion, domino theory, sent soldiers to countries from Grenada to Lebanon, and turned the Vietnamese civil war into a Cold War battleground. If we didn’t stop the communists in Vietnam, went the argument, eventually the Reds would storm the beaches at San Diego.

Replace communism with terrorism, and today’s rationales sound much the same. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described Afghanistan as “the fountainhead of terrorism.” And when asked to explain why Germany was sending troops to Afghanistan, then-German Defense Minister Peter Strock argued that Berlin’s security would be “defended in the Hindu Kush.” British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown routinely said that confronting “terrorism” in Afghanistan would protect the home-front.

But, as counterterrorism expert Richard Barrett points out, the Afghan Taliban have never been a threat to the West, and the idea that fighting the Taliban would reduce the threat of terrorism is “complete rubbish.” In any case, the al-Qaeda operatives who pulled off the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon got their training in Hamburg and south Florida, not Tora Bora.

Hearts, Minds, and Strategic Interests

The United States has strategic interests in Central Asia and the Middle East, and “terrorism” is a handy excuse to inject military power into these two energy-rich regions of the world. Whoever holds the energy high ground in the coming decades will exert enormous influence on world politics.

No, it is not all about oil and gas, but a lot of it is.

 Winning “hearts and minds” is just a tactic aimed at insuring our paramount interests and the interests of the “friendly” governments that we fight for. Be nice to the locals unless the locals decide that they don’t much like long-term occupation, don’t trust their government, and might have some ideas about how they should run their own affairs.

Then “hearts and minds” turns nasty. U.S. Special Operations Forces carry out as many as five “kill and capture” raids a day in Afghanistan, and have assassinated or jailed more than 500 Afghans who are alleged insurgents in the past few months. Thousands of others languish in prisons.

The core of COIN is coercion, whether it is carried out with a gun or truckloads of money. If the majority of people accept coercion — and the COIN supported government doesn’t highjack the trucks — then it may work.

Then again, maybe not. Tufts University recently researched the impact of COIN aid and found little evidence that such projects win locals over. According to Tufts professor Andrew Wilder, “Many of the Afghans interviewed for our study identified their corrupt and predatory government as the most important cause of insecurity, and perceived international aid security contracts as enriching a kleptocratic elite.”

This should hardly come as a surprise. Most regimes the United States ends up supporting against insurgents are composed of a narrow class of elites, who rule through military power and political monopoly. Our backing of the El Salvador and Guatemalan governments during the 1980s comes to mind. Both were essentially death squads with national anthems.

The United States doesn’t care if a government is authoritarian and corrupt, or democratic — if it did, would countries like Egypt and Honduras be recipients of U.S. aid, and would we be cuddling up with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait? The priority for the United States is whether the local elites will serve Washington’s interests by giving it bases, resources, or commercial access.

 Afghanistan is no different. The government of Hamid Karzai is a kleptocracy with little support or presence outside Kabul.

In many ways, COIN is the most destructive and self-defeating strategy a country can employ, and its toxicity is long-term. Take what didn’t get reported in the recent firing of former Afghan War commander General Stanley McChrystal.

COIN’s Long History

McChrystal cut his COIN teeth running Special Operations death squads in Iraq, similar to the Vietnam War’s Operation Phoenix, which killed upwards of 60,000 Viet Cong cadre and eventually led to the Mai Lai massacre. The success of Phoenix is best summed up by photos of desperate South Vietnamese soldiers clinging to U.S. helicopter skids as the Americans scrambled to get out before Saigon fell.

But COIN advocates read history selectively, and the loss in Vietnam was soon blamed on backstabbing journalists and pot-smoking hippies. The lessons were rewritten, the memories expunged, and the disasters reinterpreted.

So COIN is back. And it is working no better than it did in the 1960s. Take the counterterrorism portion of the doctrine.

Over the past several years, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has been carrying out a sort of long-distance Phoenix program, using armed drones to assassinate insurgent leaders in Pakistan. The program has purportedly snuffed out about 150 such “leaders.” But it has also killed more than 1,000 civilians and inflamed not only the relatives of those killed or wounded in the attacks, but Pakistanis in general. According to an International Republican Institute poll, 80 percent of Pakistanis are now anti-American, and the killer drones are a major reason.

 “Hearts and minds” soldiers like Petraeus don’t much like the drone attacks, because they alienate Pakistan and dry up intelligence sources in that country.

But McChrystal’s Phoenix program of killing Taliban “leaders” in Afghanistan is no better. As author and reporter Anne Jones notes, “Assassinating the ideological leaders, the true believers and organizers — those we call the ‘bad Taliban’ — actually leaves behind leaderless, undisciplined gangs of armed rent-a-guns who are more interested in living off the population we’re supposed to protect than being peeled off into abject Afghan poverty.”

The “hearts and minds” crew have their own problems. McChrystal and Petraeus have long stressed the counterproductive effect of using airpower and artillery against insurgents, because it inevitably produces civilian casualties. But this means that the war is now between two groups of infantry, one of which knows the terrain, speaks the local language, and can turn from a fighter to a farmer in a few minutes.

As the recent Rolling Stone article found, McChrystal was unpopular because his troops felt he put them in harm’s way. Firefights that used to be ended quickly by airstrikes go on for hours, and the Taliban are demonstrating that, given a level playing field, they are skilled fighters.

In his recent testimony before Congress, Petraeus said he would “bring all assets to bear” to ensure the safety of the troops and “re-examine” his ban on air power. But if he does, civilian casualties will rise, increasing local anger and recruits for the Taliban.

The Choice

The war in Afghanistan is first about U.S. interests in Central Asia. It is also about honing a military for future irregular wars and projecting NATO as a worldwide alliance. Once the United States endorsed Karzai’s fraudulent election late last year, the Afghans knew it wasn’t about democracy.

One of the key COIN ingredients is a reliable local army, but U.S. soldiers no longer trust the ANA because they correctly suspect it is a conduit to the Taliban. “American soldiers in Kandahar report that, for their own security, they don’t tell their ANA colleagues when and where they are going on patrol,” writes Jones. Somebody told those insurgents that Holbrooke and Eikenberry were coming to Marjah.

Afghanistan is ethnically divided, desperately poor, and finishing its fourth decade of war. Morale among U.S. troops is plummeting. A U.S. military intelligence officer told The Washington Times, “We are a battle-hardened force but eight years in Afghanistan has worn us down.” As one staff sergeant told Rolling Stone, “We’re losing this f—ing thing!”

The sergeant is right, though the Afghans are the big losers. But as bad as Afghanistan is, things will be considerably worse if the U.S. draws the conclusion that “special circumstances” in Afghanistan are to blame for failure, not the nature of COIN itself.

There was a time when the old imperial powers and the United States could wage war without having to bank their home-fires. No longer. The United States has spent over $300 billion on the Afghan War, and is currently shelling out about $7 billion a month. In the meantime, 31 states are sliding toward insolvency, and 15 million people have lost their jobs. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Huffington Post, “It just can’t be that we have a domestic agenda that is half the size of the defense budget.”

Empires can choose to step back with a certain grace, as the Dutch did in Southeast Asia. Or they can stubbornly hang on, casting about for the right military formula that will keep them on top. That fall is considerably harder.

The choice is ours.

Conn Hallinan is a Foreign Policy In Focus columnist. He also writes the blog, Distpatches from the Edge.

Recommended Citation:
Conn Hallinan, “The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency” (Washington, DC: Foreign Policy In Focus, July 22, 2010)

 

(Quelle: FPIF.)