Posts Tagged ‘Naher Osten’

Israel: Dreams of Nakba (2.0)

Montag, Februar 25th, 2013

“Preparing for the fall of Jordan

Op-ed: Instead of trying to impose two-state solution, world should help establish stable Palestinian state east of Jordan River

By Yoel Meltzer

As the bloodshed in Syria continues with no end in sight, more and more eyes are beginning to focus on Syria’s formerly stable southern neighbor, Jordan. After nearly two years of low level protests, the last few months have witnessed not only an upsurge in the amount of protests but also a significant change in the makeup of the protesters themselves.

For starters, Jordan’s large Palestinian population, a group which comprises roughly 70% of Jordan’s total population, has finally entered the fray with many in this somewhat disenfranchised community openly calling for the king to be ousted. Equally significant, the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that traditionally has been treated well by the king, has also begun to take part in the escalating protest movement. However, unlike the Palestinians, the Muslim Brotherhood is not calling for the king to be toppled but rather for the regime to be reformed. Although they clearly understand that the king is slowly losing his grip on power, tactically it’s in their interest to gradually gain control via reforms instead of taking a chance with the all-out chaos that is likely to prevail should the king suddenly fall.

With the post-Mubarak Egypt already in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, coupled with the Hamas regime in Gaza and the Hezbollah domination of Lebanon, western and Israeli leaders are understandably concerned about the future in Jordan. The question is, what should they do?

While some will suggest that the king needs to be supported at all costs in order to maintain the relatively peaceful border with Israel, this approach seems short-sighted since it’s only a matter of time before the unstoppable events which have been sweeping the region for the last two years will finally bring down the king and end the Hashemite rule in Jordan.

Another option is to simply stand aside and do nothing. However, since the Muslim Brotherhood, thanks to its close association with the king, already has the inside track for gaining power in the post-Hashemite Jordan, and due to the fact that a similar course of action in Egypt backfired and brought Morsi to power, this approach also does not seem to be the most prudent.

Thus, the only logical option is to strengthen the large Palestinian population and to facilitate their rise to power in such a way as to prevent yet another needless civil war and bloodbath in the region. Moreover, by already forging contacts with various Palestinian leaders in Jordan, the seeds can be set for the development of the Arab world’s first true democracy. Finally, regarding the king, it’s a near certainty that if done peacefully he and his family will be granted asylum in a European capital, a fate infinitely better than that of either Mubarak or Gaddafi.

The question is, will the world sit idly by and allow yet another Arab country, one that is bordered by a warring Syria to the north and an unstable Iraq to the east, to either be taken over by Muslim fundamentalists or to deteriorate into civil war and bloodshed? Or will they spend a tiny fraction of the time and money that is invested in endlessly trying to force Israel to accept the ill-advised and impractical two-state solution to help develop a stable Palestinian state east of the Jordan River, one that can be developed to satisfy the national aspirations of the Palestinians and in doing so finally lay the groundwork for solving the supposedly unsolvable Arab-Israeli conflict?

Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. He can be contacted via


(Quelle: Ynetnews.)

Ägypten: Schlacht verloren

Dienstag, August 28th, 2012

“Egyptian Military Checkmated

Behind Morsi’s Momentous Decision


Ever since early April when he became an official candidate in the first post-revolution presidential election, Dr. Mohammad Morsi has been generally dismissed by most political observers as a weak and unimpressive politician. In fact, he was an accidental contender since he was the stand-in candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) first choice, senior leader Khairat Al-Shater. The MB fielded Morsi as its back-up candidate on the last day of filing because it predicted correctly that its original candidate would be disqualified by the pro-SCAF Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC).

As Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took the reigns of power in February 2011, many observers believed that a tacit understanding existed between the powerful Egyptian military and the MB, the most organized political and social group in Egypt. For the next eighteen months, this complicated and largely behind the scenes contentious relationship between these two powerful entities had its ups and downs.

When SCAF sided with millions of Egyptians in ousting Hosni Mubarak in early Feb. 2011, it was not to advance the objectives of the revolution but rather to sacrifice the president in order to save his regime. Throughout 2011, there were three centers of powers in the country: SCAF with its apparent military power, the MB with its enormous capacity for organization and mass mobilization, and the other revolutionary and grassroots groups (dominated by the youth but politically unorganized and inexperienced) taking to the streets throughout the year while paying a terrible price with dozens martyred, hundreds wounded, and thousands detained in military show trials.

When SCAF cracked down on the revolutionary groups, especially during the fall of 2011, the MB refrained from challenging the military as it was in the midst of its campaign for the parliamentary elections. By January 2012, it was clear that the Islamist groups led by the MB had won almost seventy five percent of the seats in both parliamentary chambers. As the MB flexed its muscle and asked to be allowed to form the next government, SCAF refused and threatened the group with the dissolution of parliament. Shortly after, the MB reversed its public promise not to field a contender and actually filed for two presidential candidates.

Within days the military revealed its preferred candidate, Gen. Ahmad Shafiq, the last prime minister of the Mubarak regime. Consequently the tension of the two groups came to the fore as SCAF and the Egyptian deep state (where the remnants of the Mubarak regime still occupied strategic positions and were in control of the state bureaucracy) did everything in their power during the first round of the presidential elections in late May to split the opposition and support their candidate in order to get him to the second round.

Despite their apprehension over the MB’s past broken promises, the revolutionary groups largely coalesced behind Morsi, the other winner of the first round, in the runoff elections, which he barely won with just over 51 percent of the vote. When it became clear on the last day of the runoff elections on June 17 that its candidate might lose, SCAF carried out a sweeping power grab as it dissolved the MB-dominated parliament, reclaimed all legislative powers to itself, issued a constitutional declaration that largely diminished the office of president, and assigned itself the right to appoint the constitution-writing committee if the current one was invalidated as expected by the SCC. In short, by the time Morsi took the oath of office on June 30, SCAF -which essentially ruled the country for the past 16 months- was effectively in control of the most important levers of power relegating the elected president to the position of a figurehead with diminished authority.

By the end of the first week of his presidency, Morsi issued a presidential proclamation, which re-instituted the parliament while calling for new parliamentary elections shortly after the constitution is approved by the people in a national referendum. Within 48 hours, the SCC swiftly overruled him and reversed his decision while affirming SCAF’s constitutional declaration. Morsi reluctantly accepted its decision averting an impending confrontation, which confirmed in the minds of his detractors his weakness and political naiveté.

Morsi’s tactical retreat of this early challenge to SCAF’s power emboldened the remnants of the Mubarak regime as a public campaign of belittling and undermining the newly elected Islamist president began in earnest. Barely a month into his presidency, his opponents, which included not only SCAF and Shafiq supporters, but also anti-Islamic liberal and secular groups, called for mass protests to oust him that were scheduled for August 24 under the theme “toppling the rule of the Brotherhood.”

Meanwhile, Morsi had difficulties forming a government as he faced many obstacles since most political groups and prominent figures tried to impose unacceptable demands that restricted his presidential authority. By the end of July, he opted for a cabinet that was dominated by technocrats. Out of thirty-five cabinet positions, only ten ministers represented pro-revolution figures, five of which were from his own MB-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). However, these cabinet ministers occupied some of the strategic positions in government that he hoped would bring about long-term structural reforms including the ministries of Housing, Labor, Information, Education, and Youth. But perhaps the most significant appointment was that of Judge Ahmad Makki as the new justice minister. Makki was well known as one of the fiercest critics of Mubarak and is a long time champion of judicial independence. Upon assuming office he immediately took steps to institute new policies geared towards this goal.

But many other ministers were also carry-overs from previous cabinets including the relatively unknown minister of water resources, Dr. Hisham Qandil, 50, who was elevated to the position of prime minister. Although considered by many as a lightweight, the relatively young American-educated prime minister is well regarded for his efficiency and honesty. Morsi also retained SCAF’s head, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi as defense minister and the ministers of foreign affairs and finance, as well as the heads of intelligence and other senior military and security leaders. Most observers concluded that Tantawi, SCAF, and the security agencies had won this round and would be in effective control of the most important strategic positions in government.

For the first month of his presidency, Morsi treated the military institutions and SCAF leaders not only with extraordinary respect but even with reverence as he sought to earn their trust. Many assumed that he had accepted SCAF’s constitutional proclamation that relegated him to a secondary role. Many foreign dignitaries visiting Egypt, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made a point in meeting not only with Morsi but also with Tantawi. While in the country even her brief statements were awkward as she counseled the president and SCAF’s head to work together as though the country had two functioning heads of state.

But what everyone failed to see was that during this period Morsi was studying the power relationships within SCAF and the other security agencies. He was able during this brief period to identify those military and security leaders whose loyalty were to Tantawi and his chief-of-staff Gen. Sami Anan. In short, he was waiting for the right moment to make his move with minimal confrontation. Luckily for him that opportunity came soon enough.

On August 5, in the midst of the holy month of Ramadan, dozens of unidentified militants with unclear motives and without any provocation attacked a checkpoint in the Sinai at the Egypt-Gaza border as the unsuspecting soldiers were breaking their fast, killing sixteen guards and wounding seven. As a result, the nation was shocked and enraged. Many political analysts and commentators blamed the lack of security on the military that neglected its main duties in protecting and securing the borders while its leaders were fully engaged in politics and ruling the country despite electing a civilian president.

Morsi immediately seized the moment and visited the Sinai twice in a week declaring his resolve to restore security and punish the perpetrators. However, his critics also took advantage of the tragic attack calling him weak and ineffective. On August 7 Morsi cancelled his appearance to attend the funerals of the fallen soldiers as it came to his attention that he would physically be attacked by the remnants of the Mubarak regime. In fact, many public figures considered by the remnants to be Morsi’s supporters including Qandil, his prime minister, and former presidential candidate Dr. Abdelmoneim Aboul Fotouh, were attacked and insulted during the funeral procession, while SCAF’s leaders and other former Mubarak-regime figures were hailed.

The following day on Aug. 8, Morsi seized the opportunity and dismissed intelligence chief Murad Mowafi, who was Omar Suleiman’s replacement when Mubarak appointed the latter as his vice president in Jan. 2011, during the height of the popular protests. He also sacked two SCAF members (the heads of the military police and the Cairo security force) and replaced them with officials he trusted. Under intense public pressure Tantawi and SCAF could not object although such decisions were technically within their prerogatives as the June 17 constitutional proclamation barred the president from appointing or dismissing any military personnel or ranked officers.

On the morning of Aug. 12, Morsi quietly called the head of military intelligence Lt. Gen. Abdelfattah El-Sisi, 57, and the head of the third army Lt. Gen. Sedky Sobhi, 55, both current SCAF members who behind the scenes have been critical of Tantawi, 76, and Anan, 74, for neglecting the military and delving into politics. Morsi not only promoted them as generals but also offered them the positions of minister of defense and chief of staff, respectively. Upon accepting their new assignments, they were sworn in before the president, his prime minister, and other presidential advisors.

Morsi then called Tantawi and Anan for a meeting that afternoon. Calmly, he thanked them for their service and informed them that they have been dismissed and that their replacements have been sworn in. He also called the military general in charge of military budget Lt. Gen. Mohammad Nasr. After assuring him that he was not dismissed, Morsi ordered Gen. Nasr to report the details of the financial situation at the defense ministry as if to signal the start of a new era in front of Tantawi and Anan.

Morsi also soothed any ill-feeling by the generals as he sent an unmistakable signal to Egypt’s de facto military leaders during the transitional period that they would not be tried or humiliated as he informed them that he would be honoring them in public by presenting them the Collar of the Nile and the Republic, the highest medals in the country. He also appointed them as presidential advisors. Nevertheless, both were reportedly stunned. On his way out of the presidential palace, Tantawi was heard cursing in anger.

Immediately, Morsi’s spokesman, Yasir Ali announced in a nationally televised press conference that the president cancelled SCAF’s June 17 constitutional declaration that assigned many presidential and legislative powers to SCAF. He also announced a new constitutional declaration that transferred the same powers that SCAF allocated to itself in its previous declaration back to the president, including legislative powers in the absence of parliament and the appointment and dismissal of military officers.

During the press conference, Ali also announced the appointment of a new vice president, Judge Mahmoud Makki, the younger brother of the justice minister. The younger Makki also has an outstanding reputation as an exemplary, independent, and powerful jurist. His appointment was seen as a counterweight to any rumblings by the pro-SCAF Supreme Court’s senior justices who might challenge Morsi’s decisions.

Morsi’s spokesman then announced to the nation the dismissal of not only Tantawi and Anan but also the heads of the Navy, Air Force, and Air Defense, the most senior SCAF generals. Understanding the politics within SCAF, all three generals were also reassigned to senior civilian positions as heads of companies running the Suez Canal and military industry productions. State television then aired the images taken that morning of Morsi swearing-in the new defense minister and chief of staff.

Underestimated by his critics and dismissed by his opponents, Morsi has demonstrated coolness under pressure, toughness, and shrewdness uncharacteristic to Egyptian politicians. With the exceptions of Mubarak’s remnants his actions were overwhelmingly approved by Egyptians from diverse political, ideological, and pro-revolution groups.

The new generals Morsi choose to lead the Egyptian military, Sisi and Sobhi, embody a new brand of officers. In their mid-fifties, they represent a new generation distinguished from the Mubarak-era generation in their late seventies. The new defense minister is considered not only a critic of Mubarak and his regime but also of the former senior SCAF leaders. He is also distinguished as a religious person in one of the most secular institutions in the country. This characteristic no doubt has endeared him to the Islamist president. Gen. Sisi is also on record advocating the return of the military to its professional duties and staying away from any engagement in domestic politics. Unlike his predecessors, Gen. Sisi had also publicly criticized NATO’s recent involvement in Libya, and has called for the assertion of Egypt’s sovereignty and independence.

Furthermore, on Aug. 16 the New York Times revealed that the new chief-of-staff, Gen. Sobhi, wrote a paper for the Naval War College seven year ago that was highly critical of American foreign policy in the Middle East, especially with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Extraordinarily, he wrote that, “the permanent withdrawal of United States military forces from the Middle East and the Gulf should be a goal of U.S. strategy in the region.”

Taking advantage of the deterioration of security in the Sinai, Morsi and his new military cadres sent hundreds of tanks, helicopters, other military equipment, and thousands of soldiers to the peninsula in order to fight the militant groups in a direct violation of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which called for severe restrictions on the number of Egyptian soldiers and military equipment to be deployed in the Sinai. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported on Aug. 16 that the Israeli government bitterly complained to the U.S. about the lack of consultation by the Egyptians and their disregard in seeking their approval as stipulated in the treaty.

On Aug. 21, Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv wrote that what mostly disturbed the Israeli government was not the deployment of forces and equipment which it would have temporarily approved, but the fact that Egyptian officials are openly challenging the restrictions in the treaty, accusing the Israelis themselves of violating it many times before when they attacked Gaza. Other Egyptian politicians and senior MB leaders have also publicly vowed to re-assert complete sovereignty over the Sinai regardless of the treaty stipulations.

On the day of the military shake-up in Cairo, the U.S. government initially declared that it was surprised by Morsi’s decisions. The following day State Department spokesperson Victoria Noland said that the U.S. was aware of the pending shuffle but was surprised by its timing. In response, Ali, Morsi’s spokesman denied that anyone, let alone the Americans, knew or was informed of the sweeping decisions. So it is unlikely that anyone knew beforehand since clearly when both Secretary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently visited Cairo, they met with Morsi and Tantawi in an attempt to mediate between the parties.

While the U.S. has publicly called for reinstating civilian rule and the restoration of presidential powers, the administration is very much concerned about the independent path asserted by Morsi. For many decades, Mubarak’s Egypt was a U.S. client state ready to support any dictate of U.S. foreign policy in the region. In addition, the U.S. gave the military an annual subsidy of $1.3 billion in order to maintain its leverage over this critical institution. Now, U.S. policymakers – to the detriment of Israel and its American supporters- have to be much more sensitive to Egyptian public opinion and its leaders’ insistence to assert their national sovereignty and independence.

But the first test of this new but complicated relationship has come soon enough. For years the U.S. government has meticulously tried to isolate Iran in the region. It recently called on Egypt not to restore its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic but to join a tacit regional alliance against it. American allies in the Arab world led by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have surreptitiously conditioned their economic aid to Egypt on maintaining a hostile or cold attitude towards Iran. Despite all these pressures, President Morsi recently extended an extremely warm welcome to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when the two met last week during the Islamic Conference in Saudi Arabia. He subsequently announced a visit to China and Iran at the end of August despite the U.S. public displeasure over the visit.

Subsequently Morsi also announced that the only sensible way to address the crisis in Syria was not through the U.N. or NATO involvement, but through negotiations overseen by Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, a bold move that combined the most important players in the region while ignoring all outsiders. On Aug. 23, theNew York Times reported that the U.S. and Israel were extremely concerned about such overtures between Tehran and Cairo and that such concerns will be at the top of the agenda when Morsi visits Washington at the end of September.

Since he became president many pro-Mubarak remnants and hardcore Shafiq supporters started a campaign of attacks and insults against President Morsi and the MB in an attempt to depose him and destabilize his nascent government. This campaign was manifested through many private media outlets that they controlled, including daily newspapers, magazines, and satellite channels. In one particular instance Islam Afifi, the editor-in-chief of the daily Al-Dostoor initiated a vicious campaign of lies, fabrications, and slander that were directed not only against Morsi but also his family. In Egypt, any citizen can file a criminal complaint to the state prosecutor who must investigate and decide on whether or not to prosecute. In this case the state prosecutor – who acts independently of the president- decided to prosecute.

Moreover, the law in Egypt also empowers judges to jail defendants prior to their conviction if there is a prima facie case against them. Once the trial commenced on Aug. 23 the judge ordered the immediate arrest of Afifi pending his trial. Within hours, President Morsi used his legislative powers and issued a law that banned the imprisonment of journalists because of their opinion not only pre-conviction but also post-conviction. The penalty in the new libel law is no longer criminal but civil. But if convicted, the defendant would have to pay a hefty fine. Because of the new law the editor was freed immediately, thanks only to the person that he has been deceitfully slandering for weeks.

While it took decades to curtail the influence of the army in running the country in countries like Turkey and Spain, Morsi was able to overcome it in a matter of weeks. But one should be under no illusion that the influence of the military in Egypt has disappeared. The Egyptian military is still a major player not only in foreign affairs but also in Egypt’s economy, possibly controlling as much as twenty to thirty percent of its GDP. The disengagement of the military from politics could prove to be much easier and smoother than extricating its economic interests so it can focus on its main mission in protecting the country. But Egypt’s modern military is a sixty year-old professional institution. And it is to the great credit of this institution that such dramatic changes took place without much rift or rupture within it.

By quietly reining in SCAF’s rule, Morsi was able to overcome his greatest challenge to date. Meanwhile, the pro-Mubarak remnants and their anti-Muslim Brotherhood allies trying to undermine his rule have mobilized in order to depose him on Aug. 24, while most revolutionary and nationalist groups have declined to join and condemned their rhetoric of insults and divisiveness. Although the movement to depose him will fizzle out, there is no doubt that Egyptian society is still divided over the role of Islam in public life. But this question will soon be answered as the Egyptian people will go to the polls again within the next six months in order to elect their representatives after they approve in a national referendum the new constitution that is currently being written.

But perhaps the foremost challenge facing the Egyptian president is how to assert real national sovereignty and independence in the face of tremendous pressures coming from all directions, foreign and domestic, in order to pull Egypt back to the U.S.-Israel orbit regardless of the will of the Egyptian people. That is clearly a challenge that cannot be overcome through issuing a presidential proclamation or ordering a reshuffle.

Esam Al-Amin can be contacted at


(Quelle: Counterpunch.)

Israel / Palästina: Gute Fragen

Freitag, Juli 20th, 2012

“Where’s the Netanyahu Scandal in the New York Times?

Does It Matter What Israelis Do?


Western leaders met in Paris last week to discuss possible intervention in Syria where almost 10,000 people have died over the last year of internal conflict. The West has never even considered holding such a meeting on Israel’s murderous behavior, however, despite a July 5 UN report that claimed that over the last five years Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,300 Palestinians and injured 7,700 in Gaza (statement from UNOCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.)

The UN agency said that 27 percent of the fatalities in Gaza were women and children in a report highlighting the effects of Israel’s blockade.

Six years ago Israel imposed its sea and air blockade of Gaza. Under the blockade, Gaza exports have dropped to less than 3 percent of 2006 levels.

UNOCHA said, “The continued ban on the transfer of goods from Gaza to its traditional markets in the West Bank and Israel, along with the severe restrictions on access to agricultural land and fishing waters, prevents sustainable growth and perpetuates the high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency.”

Israel’s naval blockade has also undermined the livelihood of 35,000 fishermen, and Gaza farmers have lost around 75,000 tons of produce each year due to Israeli restrictions along Gaza’s land border, the UNOCHA report said.

Half of Gaza’s youth is unemployed and 44 percent of its people are food insecure.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday that because Gaza’s ruling party Hamas is a “terrorist organization, the blockade was necessary.”

“All cargo going into Gaza must be checked because Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization,” Regev told Reuters in response to a petition by 50 aid groups, including six UN agencies, calling on Israel to lift the blockade.

The West abhors the Syrian – disobedient – government, allied to Iran, and adores Israel, no matter what it does to the Palestinians. The media does little to dramatize the obvious double standard criteria used to measure the worthiness of the two neighboring governments. Iran, the West’s post Cold War bad guy, found a friend in Syria and that alone has condemned the Syrian government. The fact that Saudi Arabia has armed and financed rebels entering Syria in the name of “democracy” should cause at least some news absorbers to feel a bit skeptical over the anti-Syria campaign.

It doesn’t seem to matter what Israelis do. For example, Arutz Sheva, the nationalist Israeli press, reported that “declassified FBI documents from a 1985-2002 investigation implicate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an initiative to illegally purchase United States nuclear technology for Israel’s nuclear program.

“Netanyahu was allegedly helped by Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer with ties to Israeli prime ministers and U.S. presidents.”

Grant Smith at had reported that “Netanyahu worked inside a nuclear smuggling ring.” Here’s an example of what is found in the report:

“On June 27, 2012, the FBI partially declassified and released seven additional pages from a 1985–2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry of Defense illegally smuggled nuclear triggers out of the U.S. The newly released FBI files detail how Richard Kelly Smyth – who was convicted of running a U.S. front company – met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel during the smuggling operation. At that time, Netanyahu worked at the Israeli node of the smuggling network, Heli Trading Company. Netanyahu, who currently serves as Israel’s prime minister, recently issued a gag order that the smuggling network’s unindicted ringleader refrain from discussing ‘Project Pinto’.”

The Hebrew paper Ma’ariv continued the report on this incident.

“According to FBI documents released by the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was involved in smuggling in the 70s from the U.S. components of Israeli nuclear program, and assisted by the businessman Arnon Milchan, who according to previous publications was a former Mossad agent.

“The documents describe the findings of the investigation… performed between the years 1985 to 2002 on about how a network of front companies a U.S. security firm illegally smuggled equipment used for weapons seeds out of the U.S.”

We live in the Golden Age of Empire Judaism, said Prof. Marc Ellis. “Greater Israel” means Jewish settler expansion in a denial of Palestinians and their rights. It also means perpetual conflict, maybe war, in the region. Is this why our Congress pledges eternal love to Israel? Is this why the Israeli lobby pays and threatens our Congress?

When will Western powers meet to decide what to do about Israel so as to lessen the damage she causes to Palestinians, her neighbors and the region? Israel has baffled the U.S. political apparatus. It gets away with imposing apartheid against Palestinians, stealing their land and stirring up war against its neighbors. One negative word from a U.S. pol on Israel brings heavy pressure, intimidation and money for opposing candidates – along with charges of anti-semitism.

How pathetic that a small group of right-wing Jews allied to right-wing Israeli parties, has buffaloed U.S. politicians and media. One former Congressman described the Israeli lobby as the equivalent of a pit bull that bites the Congressman’s leg in the morning and holds on during lunch and the afternoon. The Congressman sleeps with the bull’s teeth in his leg and wakes with it the next morning. No wonder Members don’t want to antagonize this angry dog!

I don’t suggest Palestinians form an equivalent lobby, but rather that the media develop a little courage and report accurately on events in Israel and Palestine. Just spread reviews of the new film “5 Broken Camera,” in which a Palestinian West Bank farmer documents the encroachment by army-backed settlers that bulldozed his village’s olive trees to make room for Israeli apartment houses. Israel’s treatment of West Bank Palestinians is no better than its behavior toward residents of Gaza.

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP screens at Washington DC’s Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Ave 8 pm, august 14 and at the San Jose Peace an Justice Center on Aug 3, 7 PM 48 South 7th St., San Jose CA.


(Quelle: Counterpunch.)

Syrien: Warten auf den Großen Krieg?

Montag, Juni 25th, 2012


Von Erhard Crome

(…) Der für die Umsetzung des Annan-Planes für Syrien Zuständige der UNO, Hervé Ladsous, ist seit Anfang September 2011 in seinem Amt als Untergeneralsekretär. Die UNO-Beamten gelten zwar der Weltorganisation verpflichtet und sonst nur dem Herrgott. Aber dass in der Zeit der arabischen Umbrüche und noch während des Libyen-Krieges ein französischer Diplomat an diese Stelle kommt, wird kaum Zufall sein. Der französische Präsident Sarkozy war der Haupteinpeitscher des Libyen-Krieges, und sein Nachfolger Hollande – links hin oder her – ist eifriger Vertreter der Idee des Syrien-Krieges. Der Annan-Plan zielte auf die Beruhigung der Lage in Syrien, die Einstellung aller Kampfhandlungen, nicht nur von Seiten der Assad-Regierung, auch von Seiten der Aufständischen. Der Westen wollte diese Lösung von Anfang an nicht, stimmte unwirsch zu und sabotierte die Implementierung. Ladsous erklärte nun, die Gewalt in Syrien habe dermaßen zugenommen, dass sich die Natur der Kämpfe verändert habe. Damit gilt die Annan-Lösung als nicht mehr erreichbar – was auch die Position der US-Regierung ist.

Ban Ki Moon, der als der UNO-Generalsekretär der vergangenen Jahrzehnte gilt, der den „Wünschen“ der USA am nächsten steht, hat sich jetzt einen Sonderberater erwählt. Der heißt Jeffrey Feltman und ist gelernter US-Diplomat. Als junger Mann konnte er in der US-Botschaft in Budapest Ende der neunzehnhundertachtziger/ Anfang der neunzehnhundertneunziger Jahre besichtigen, wie man die Ernte eines historischen Großumbruchs einfährt. Dann sattelte er um auf Nahost, studierte in Amman Arabisch und wurde Botschafter in Libanon, ab 2009 – also unter Außenministerin Clinton – war er der für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten zuständige Abteilungsleiter im US-Außenministerium. Als dort alle gebannt auf den Sturz des wichtigen Verbündeten Mubarak und die zur Unzeit kommende Revolution starrten, befasste er sich mit den Gegenmitteln: Festigung des Bündnisses mit den reaktionären Feudalregimes am Golf, Umlenken des revolutionären Potentials auf den Sturz der säkularen Regime in Arabien, Sturz von Gaddafi in Libyen und Saleh in Jemen, Reaktivierung der Zusammenarbeit mit den Muslimbrüdern zum Zwecke neuer Verbündeter in der Region – der Ausgang der Wahlen in Tunesien und Ägypten zeigt genau dies. Und jetzt also ist dieser Feltman der Nahost-Berater des UNO-Generalsekretärs. (…)”



(Quelle: Das Blättchen.)

Global: Leere Kassen?

Montag, Juni 11th, 2012

“Die Unkosten des Krieges

Billionen vom Staat für Blei, Stahl, Sprengstoff und Elektronik

Von Laurent Joachim 10.06.2012

1. 735. 000. 000. 000 Dollar, also 1,735 Billion US Dollar, soviel haben die Staaten der Erde für Waffenkäufe und Verteidigungs- bzw. Kriegsausgaben im vergangenen Jahr laut einem vor kurzem publizierten Zwischenbericht des Stockholmer Internationales Friedensforschungsinstituts SIPRI[1] ausgegeben

Das erste Mal seit 13 Jahren stagnieren zwar die weltweiten Militärausgaben aber die Höhe des derzeitigen Niveaus ergibt trotzdem eine horrende, fast unvorstellbare Summe. Was bedeuten diese Zahlen unter dem Strich?

Die wirklich Bösen sind wieder mal die üblichen Verdächtigten

Die 15 Länder[2] mit den meisten Militärausgaben(1) machen 82 Prozent der weltweiten Ausgaben aus.

Trotz eines leichten Rückgangs in Höhe von 1,2% sind die USA mit gesamten Militärausgaben in Höhe von 711 Milliarden Dollar weiterhin unangefochten an der Spitze der SIPRI-Liste und zwar nicht nur deswegen, weil das Land seit Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges einen grundsätzlich aufgeblähten Militärapparat unterhält, sondern vor allem, weil die USA in der letzten Dekade zwei größere Kriege (in Afghanistan und dem Irak) geführt haben bzw. noch führen.

Nicht überraschend waren die Verteidigungsausgaben der USA im vergangenen Jahr deshalb um 59% höher als 2002. Insgesamt machen die Verteidigungsausgaben der USA ca. 41 % der weltweiten Militärausgaben aus, wobei die Bevölkerung der USA bezeichnenderweise nur 4,5 % der Weltbevölkerung ausmacht.

Auf Platz zwei der SIPRI-Liste, mit Militärausgaben in Höhe von geschätzten(2) 143 Milliarden Dollar, (ca. 8,2% der weltweiten Ausgaben) befindet sich China, ein Land mit 1,35 Milliarden Einwohnern, also ca. 19,3% der Weltbevölkerung. Chinas Hauptherausforderer Indien, mit 1,24 Milliarden Einwohnern – ca. 17,7% der Weltbevölkerung -, rangiert mit einem Militärbudget von 46,8 Milliarden Dollar (ca. 2,7% der Weltausgaben) auf Platz acht dieser Liste.

Besonders bemerkenswert ist jedoch, dass im Zeitraum 2002 bis 2011 beide Länder ihre Ausgaben fürs Militär stark angekurbelt haben: Indien steigerte seine Ausgaben um 59% und China gar um 170%. Diese Änderungen spiegeln eine langsame, aktuell stattfindende Verschiebung der geopolitischen Reibungsflächen wider, die in den nächsten Jahren von allgemeiner Bedeutung sein dürfte.

Krisenzustände und prophylaktische Waffenkäufe sind unzertrennlich

Deutliche Hinweise auf den schon vorhersehbaren Krisenherden dieser Welt in der unmittelbaren Zukunft liefern die Höhe des Verteidigungs- und Waffenbeschaffungsbudgets von Saudi-Arabien (Platz sieben auf der SIPRI-Liste), Süd-Korea (Platz zwölf) und auch Algerien.

Die militärischen Ausgaben Süd-Koreas sind im Zeitraum 2002-2011 um ganze 45% gestiegen, so dass das Land im vergangenen Jahr 30,8 Milliarden Dollar für seine Verteidigung ausgab. Dies bedeutet, gemessen an der Wirtschaftskraft des Landes, eine etwas höhere Anstrengung als Frankreich oder Großbritannien.

Mit einer Erhöhung von 90% zwischen 2002 und 2011 und Ausgaben in Höhe von 48,5 Milliarden Dollar im Jahr 2011 ist jedoch Saudi-Arabien Spitzenreiter in Sachen Aufrüstung (Wobei diese Zahl auch gewisse Ausgaben für den Zivilschutz mit einschließt). Das Land mit ca. 28,4 Millionen Einwohnern verzeichnet nämlich Militärausgaben, die eine Rekordzuweisung von ganzen 8,7% des Bruttoinlandsprodukts bedeuten und gibt spürbar mehr Geld fürs Militär aus, als etwa Indien mit einer 44-Mal größerer Bevölkerung.

Exemplarisch dafür ist der Ende Dezember 2011 durch die US-Regierung bewilligte Verkauf von 84 neuen Jagdbombern vom Typ Boeing-McDonnell Douglas F-15SA und den Upgrades von 70 weiteren F-15S samt Bewaffnung und Ersatzteilen im Rahmen eines 29,4 Milliarden-Vertrages[3]. Unübersehbar ist, dass dieser Verkauf zu einem Zeitpunkt erfolgte, als die Spannungen mit dem Iran eine Drohkulisse in der ganzen Region aufgebaut haben.

Auch Algerien ist ein gutes Beispiel dafür, dass eine sich verschlechternde Sicherheitslage den unmittelbaren Kauf von Waffen nach sich zieht. Das Land hat einen zwar durchaus bescheidenen Militäretat von 2,5 Milliarden Dollar angesichts einer, vom eigenen Office National des Statistiques geschätzten Bevölkerungstärke von ca. 37,1 Millionen Einwohnern, aber Algerien erhöhte 2011 seine Militärausgaben um ganze 44%. Laut SIPRI erfolgte die Erhöhung größtenteils aufgrund des Bürgerkriegs in Libyen und der einhergehenden Stabilitätsverschlechterung in der Region.

Westeuropa versucht sich in Mäßigung, während Russland konsequent aufrüstet

Nach Ende des kalten Krieges und mit der Überwindung des Zusammenbruchs der Sowjetunion setzt Russland (Platz drei nach den USA und China auf der SIPRI-Liste) die seit einigen Jahren angefangene Modernisierung seiner Streitkräfte weiterhin konsequent fort. Das Land hat 2011 geschätzte 71,9 Milliarden für seine Armee ausgegeben (9,3% mehr als im Vorjahr) und verzeichnet zwischen 2002 und 2011 eine Steigerung der Militärausgaben um 79%.

Entsprechend der ambitionierten verteidigungs- und außenpolitischen Ziele Großbritanniens und Frankreichs bleiben die Militärausgaben dieser Länder weiterhin auf dem hohen Niveau von respektive 62,7 bzw. 62,5 Milliarden Dollar. Damit landen diese Länder auf Platz vier und fünf der SIPRI-Liste.

Doch die Wirtschafts- und Finanzkrise hat einige Länder Europas, wie Italien, Irland, Spanien und Griechenland dazu gezwungen ihre Militärausgaben drastisch zu senken.

Italien zum Beispiel, verzeichnete zwischen 2002 und 2011 einen kontinuierlichen Rückgang seiner Militärausgaben um 21% und gab 2011 lediglich geschätzte 34,5 Milliarden Dollar fürs Militär aus (1,6% der Wirtschaftskraft des Landes).

Im Gegensatz zu Italien – und trotz einer weitaus ungünstigeren Wirtschaftslage – hat Griechenland seit Anfang des Jahrhunderts überdurchschnittlich hohe Militärausgaben. Im Jahr 2000 waren es 4,3% des Bruttoinlandsprodukts und immer noch zwischen 3,1% und 3,6% im Jahr 2009, also das Doppelte vom europäischen NATO-Durchschnitt 2009.


Zwischen 2005 und 2009, also kurz vor und gleich nach der Finanzkrise in Griechenland, waren die Griechen zum fünftgrößten Waffenimporteur der Welt aufgestiegen. Die Griechen kauften in diesem Zeitraum ihre Waffen vorwiegen aus den USA für 4,6 Milliarden Dollar, aus Deutschland für 2,1 Milliarden und aus Frankreich im kleineren Umfang(3).

Das irrwitzige Aufrüstungsbudget der Athener Regierung weckte natürlich Begehrlichkeiten, die heute noch ein finanzielles Nachspiel haben.

Laut Recherchen vom Nachrichtenmagazin Der Spiegel (19/2010) soll der Verkauf unter sehr dubiosen Umständen von 170  Leopard II Panzern an Griechenland im Jahr 2005 der Firma Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) einen Umsatz von 1,7 Milliarden Euro beschert haben. Aber auch im Fall des Verkaufs von vier deutschen U-Booten des Typs 214 im Wert von 2,85 Milliarden Euro an Athen durch das Konsortium(4) Ferrostaal-Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW)  im Jahre 2000 ist es nicht wirklich mit rechten Dingen zugegangen, denn 2011  wurden zwei ranghohe Manager von Ferrostaal des Bestechungsvorwurfs schuldig gesprochen und seit April dieses Jahres wurde der damals zuständige griechische Außenminister aufgrund dieser Bestechungsvorwürfe verhaftet.

Um diese beiden Affären überspitzt zusammenzufassen, könnte man sagen, dass die gestrigen Exportgewinne von KMF und HDW sozusagen nahtlos in das heutige Staatsdefizit Griechenlands übergangen sind, das vom deutschen Steuerzahler anteilsweise mitgetragen wird.

Die baltischen Staaten

Die baltischen Staaten Estland, Lettland und Litauen dagegen haben für eine ganz andere und ziemlich radikale Lösung optiert: sie verzichten seit dem NATO-Beitritt 2004 (zuerst bis 2018) auf eine eigene – wohl nicht finanzierbare – Luftwaffe um Geld zu sparen.

Stattdessen wird die Bewachung des baltischen Luftraums durch die Entsendung von Jagdflugzeugen und Unterstützungspersonal anderer NATO-Mitglieder sichergestellt. So beendeten Ende April 2012 sechs McDonell F4 Phantom II des Jagdgeschwaders 71 ‘Richthofen’ und ein 100-Mann Kontingent der Luftwaffe eine viermonatige Mission im Rahmen der NATO-Operation ‘Baltic Air Policing’. Seitdem sichert Polen den baltischen Luftraum für ein Vierteljahr.

Niedrige Ausgaben bei voller Einsatzfähigkeit – Ist das deutsche Modell besser?

Deutschland kommt 2011 auf Platz acht der SIPRI-Länderliste der militärischen Ausgaben und gab (trotz den erheblichen Kosten des Einsatzes in Afghanistan) im letzten Jahr 3,7% weniger für seine Verteidigung aus als noch 2002.

Aus dem Bundeshaushalt[4] für das Jahres 2011 geht hervor, dass dem Bundesministerium der Verteidigung 31,55 Milliarden Euro (ca. 40 Milliarden US Dollar) zustehen. Bemerkenswert ist dabei, dass ungefähr die Hälfte davon zur Deckung der Personalkosten aufgewendet wird und nur rund ein Drittel (10,43 Milliarden Euro) für Beschaffungen und Anlagen vorgesehen sind. Der Verteidigungsetat entspricht damit ca. 10 % des Gesamthaushaltes von 305,8 Milliarden Euro der Bundesrepublik.

Im Gegensatz zu Frankreich und Großbritannien liegen damit die Ausgaben der Bundesrepublik mit ca. 1,3% des Bruttoinlandsprodukts sehr deutlich unter der vereinbarten Direktive[5] der NATO-Staaten, welche vorschreibt, dass die Verteidigungsausgaben 2% des Bruttoinlandsprodukts nicht unterschreiben dürfen, damit die Effizienz des Bündnisses nach eigener Einschätzung gewährleistet werden kann.

Einerseits ist es äußerst erfreulich, dass Deutschland gemessen am Bruttoinlandsprodukt die niedrigsten Militärausgaben unter den 15 Spitzenländern der SIPRI-Liste hat, anderseits machen diese Zahlen auch deutlich, dass die wiederholten Klagen der Soldaten, die Streitkräfte seien seit Jahren strukturell unterfinanziert[6], nicht von der Hand zu weisen sind. Dabei dürfte das Problem dennoch vorwiegend daran liegen, dass der wirtschaftliche und politische Druck zur Senkung des Wehretats ständig zunimmt, während die Bundeswehr mit neuen Aufgaben betraut wird, was auf Dauer weder politisch sinnvoll noch einsatztechnisch zielführend sein kann.

Wer profitiert von den Verteidigungsmilliarden?

Zweifelsohne kommt der Handel mit militärischen Gütern den exportierenden Nationen zugute. Nicht nur wirtschaftlich, sondern auch, weil dadurch eine gewisse Abhängigkeit mit den Kaufländern geschaffen wird – zum Beispiel politisch, aber auch aufgrund der nötigen Ausbildung oder der Wartungsarbeiten an den Waffensystemen.

Im exportierenden Land sichern diese Geschäfte zudem Arbeitsplätze (geschätzte 80.000 in der Bundesrepublik) und Steuereinkommen für den Staat. Dass dabei ethische Prinzipien infrage gestellt werden, zeigt der von der Bundesregierung möglicherweise geplante Verkauf von Leopard II Panzern an Saudi Arabien[7] für etwa drei Milliarden Euro.

Die größten Waffenexporteure[8] waren 2010 laut SIPRI-Statistiken laut den SIPRI-Statistiken die USA (30%), Russland (23%), Deutschland (11%), Frankreich (7%) und Großbritannien (4%). Diese fünf Länder sind demnach für Dreiviertel aller Waffenexporte in der Welt verantwortlich.

Berechnet man aber die Stärke  der Waffenexporte an der Bevölkerungsstärke (Export per Kopf) eines Landes wird die Statistik deutlich von Schweden, dicht gefolgt von Israel, angeführt. Beide Länder exportieren pro Einwohner ungefähr fünfmal mehr Waffen als Deutschland, das auf dem 14. Platz dieser Statistik[9] landet.

Der Export von Waffen ist sowohl für die Hersteller als auch für die Herkunftsländer eine wichtige Wirtschaftssäule, denn er ermöglicht die Produktion größerer Stückzahlen eines bestimmten Produktes und senkt damit wiederum die Preise dieses Produktes auf dem heimischen Markt. Deshalb werden in Zukunft die westlichen Hersteller aufgrund der tendenziell schrumpfenden Wehretats verstärkt versuchen, Märkte im Ausland zu erobern.

Neben den Exportnationen sind die Hersteller die wirklichen Profiteure des legalen Waffenhandels, vor allem aufgrund einer stark oligarchisch organisierten Branche.

Laut einer kürzlich vorgestellte Publikation vom SIPRI haben die 100 größeren Waffenschmieden der Welt[10] im Jahr 2010 militärische Ausrüstungsgegenstände im Wert von 411,1 Milliarden Dollar produziert, dabei machten die zehn größten Firmen alleine 56% dieser Summe (also 230 Milliarden) aus. Unter den 10 größten Waffenschmieden sind sieben US-amerikanischer und drei europäischer Herkunft (BAE Systems, EADS, Finmeccanica).

Die amerikanische Firma Lockheed-Martin, welche mit ca. 132.000 Angestellten Flugzeuge, Elektronik und Fluggeräte produziert und die diese Liste anführt, erzielte 2010 einen Umsatz in Höhe von 35,73 Milliarden Dollar (nur für militärische Produkte) und die größte europäische Firma, EADS, erzielte auf Platz sieben der Liste immerhin einen Umsatz von 16,36 Milliarden Dollar (nur für militärische Produkte).

Der legale Handel mit Waffen ist also trotz Krise ein höchstlukratives Geschäft.

Was bedeuten 1,735 Billion US Dollar und kann soviel Geld gefährlich sein?

Versucht man den Gegenwert weltweiten Militärausgaben in zivile Werte umzurechnen, wird rasch deutlich was diese jährlichen Ausgaben bedeuten. Mit 1,735 Billionen US Dollar könnte man sich zum Beispiel ca. 81,5 Millionen Volkswagen Golf in der Grundausstattung (ca. 16.975 Euro) leisten. Der Gegenwert muss aber nicht unbedingt der des Deutschen Lieblingskinds sein; nehmen wir ein weiteres Beispiel: Laut des statistischen Bundesamts kostete eine stationäre Krankenhausbehandlung[11] 2010 in Deutschland pro Patient und pro Fall 3.854 Euro.

Mit 1,735 Billionen US Dollar könnte man 360,6 Millionen Krankheitsfälle in Krankenhäusern nach deutschem Standard behandeln lassen, jedes Jahr wohlgemerkt. Eine beträchtliche Anzahl, wenn man bedenkt, dass in dem Erhebungszeitraum deutschlandweit ‘nur’ 18 Millionen Fälle behandelt worden sind.

Es dürfte zwar unbestritten sein, dass Rechtsstaaten Streitkräfte zur Sicherung sowohl ihrer legitimen Interessen als auch für den allgemeinen Schutz ihrer Bevölkerung brauchen, aber bei den schwindelerregenden Summen, die zur Zeit ausgegeben werden, dürfte die Frage angebracht sein, ob nicht mehr Schaden als Vorteile für die Geldgeber aus diesen Investitionen resultieren.

Die USA beispielsweise forcieren schon seit längerer Zeit die Durchsetzung ihrer subjektiven Interessen mit einem so massiven, weltweit angelegten Einsatz ihrer Streitkräfte, dass  4,5% der Weltbevölkerung 41% der weltweiten Militärausgaben tätigen müssen, um ihren Machtanspruch bzw. ihren Lebensstil verteidigen zu können. Dieser Machtanspruch und dieser Lebensstil beinhalten jedoch wiederum, dass eben 4,5% der Weltbevölkerung ca. 20% der Weltwirtschaftskraft benötigt(5). Da aber nicht mal das ausreicht, betrug das Staatsdefizit der USA im Jahr 2011 ca. 1,3 Billionen Dollar oder  8,7% des Bruttoinlandsprodukts: Geld, das im Ausland geliehen werden muss. Das heißt im Prinzip, dass auch ein Teil des Verteidigungsetats der USA mit geliehenem Geld aus dem Ausland finanziert wird.

Dass das Führen von Kriegen eine sehr direkte und äußerst negative Auswirkung auf die Staatsfinanzen hat, wird eindrucksvoll von Joseph E. Stiglitz, dem Nobelpreisträger für Wirtschaft 2001, in seinem 2008 erschienenen Buch[12] ‘The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict’ erläutert, deshalb sind hohe Militärausgaben so beunruhigend für die Zukunft, denn sie können wirtschaftlich zwar kurzzeitige Abhilfe schaffen, aber nicht die dauerhafte Überlebensfähigkeit eines Landes sicherstellen, wenn dieses Land auf politisch und wirtschaftlich wackeligen – ja gar fragwürdigen – Fundamenten steht. 

Abrüstung, Stagnierung, Hochrüstung – Wie wird es weitergehen?

Ob die vom SIPRI verzeichnete Stagnierung der Militärausgaben auf dem heutigen Niveau sich in Zukunft fortsetzt, bleibt abzuwarten. Vermutlich werden einige schon hochgerüstete Staaten im Westen, aus gesamtwirtschaftlichen Überlegungen heraus, versuchen ihre Budgets zu schonen und ihre Ausgaben zu reduzieren oder niedrig zu halten. Aber aufsteigende Staaten wie Brasilien, Indien oder China, werden in der Zukunft aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach ihre Streitkräfte modernisieren wollen, um ihrer neuen errungenen Wirtschaftsmacht zu entsprechen.

Die politische Bedeutungszunahme der großen Länder in Asien dürfte eine Auswirkung auf die Waffengeschäfte[13] haben. Laut SIPRI absorbieren Asien und Ozeanien 44% der weltweiten Waffenexporte,  Europa 19%, der Nahe Osten 17%, Nord- und Südamerika 11% und Afrika 9% . 

Indien ist Laut dem SIPRI zwischen 2007 und 2011 der weltgrößte Waffenimporteur mit ca. 10% der weltweiten Waffenimporte (darunter 80% kommen aus Russland), gefolgt von Südkorea mit  6%, von China und sowie Pakistan mit jeweils 5% und Singapur mit 4%. Allerdings ist China mittlerweile eine ernstzunehmende Exportnation, die unter anderem in Afrika zunehmenden politischen Einfluss mit solchen Lieferungen ausübt.

Weiterhin dürften sicherheitsrelevante politische oder wirtschaftliche Signale in manchen Regionen der Welt Regionalmächte dazu veranlassen, weiterhin hochzurüsten, um innen- sowie außenfeindliche Bedrohungsszenarien zu begegnen.

Aus diesen Gründen ist im weltweiten Maßstab vermutlich kein allumfassender und dauerhafter Rückgang der militärischen Ausgaben zu erwarten.

Am 4. Juni publiziert das SIPRI das neue ‘Yearbook’, das weltweit anerkannte Standard-Werk zum Thema



(1) Die 15 Länder mit den meisten Militärausgaben sind: die USA (1), China (2), Russland (3), Großbritannien (4), Frankreich (5), Japan (6), Saudi-Arabien (7), Indien (8), Deutschland (9), Brasilien (10), Italien (11), Südkorea (12), Australien (13), Kanada (14), die Türkei (15)

2) Diese Zahl ist nicht ganz unumstritten und einige Analysten gehen davon aus, dass die realen Verteidigungsausgaben Chinas um Einiges höher sein dürften.

3) Vgl. Greece : High military expenditures despite the financial krisis, Jan Grebe & Jerry Sommer, BICC, Focus 9, 2010

4) Ferrostaal war zu dem Zeitpunkt eine MAN Tochter und HDW ist Teil von ThyssenKrupp

5) Laut dem Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF) konnten die USA ein Bruttoinlandsprodukt (Kaufkraftsparität bereinigt) von 15.064.816 Millionen US Dollar im Jahr 2011 erwirtschaften.

Dabei betrug das Bruttoinlandsprodukt der Welt im gleichen Jahr 78.897.426 Millionen US Dollar. (Vgl. World Economic Outlook Database, April 2012, International Monetary Fund)
















(Quelle: Telepolis.)

Naher Osten: Jagd auf BloggerInnen

Freitag, Dezember 16th, 2011

“The war against the bloggers



December 4 the syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi was arrested by Syrian authorities at the border to Jordan when she wanted to leave the country to attend a conference in Amman. Razan lived in Cairo for some months, I met her there, according to what she told us she already left Syria because she was unter threat, why she finally decided to go back I don‘t know. Razan was one of the few bloggers who wrote under their real name, already before the protest in Syria started in march, she was blogging about feminist topics and homosexuality, later the revolution in Syria, the questions how to organize the protest, how to support the prisoners were here main topics. She worked quite closed with some western NGOs and attended several conferences (what she saw quite critical herself according to this articel (german). Her collegue and friend blogger Hussein Ghrer just got free december 1st after being detained for 37 days – the good news was the last post on her blog before she got arrested herself.

The campaign #freerazan started right after her arrest and spread fast – Razan was a prominent member of the trans-arabic young blogger szene, she was well connected to bloggers and human rights activists in several other countries. It didn‘t help her: After being in jail for 11 days she was charged on wednesday. The accusations were: 1.establishing organization that aims to change social & economical entity of the state; 2.weakening the national sentiment and 3.trying to ignite sectarian strife. if she would be charged this would mean 15 years in jail. According to her sister, the case is postponed to Saturday. For further info read the report of Reporters without borders with links to the campaign pages, one of the campaign pages and more tips how to support Razan.

The reactions from the blogger community ranged between shock and speechlessness. Not only because of the arrest of Razan – she is part of the war against the bloggers that is going on in several countries at the same time.
Alaa Abd El-Fattah, one of the most famous egyptian bloggers just got his detention renewed today. It’s seems the egyptian military is unwilling to let him free – and it seems that the charge of „insulting the army“ is more dangerous in Egypt at them moment than the charge of killing. While the public prosecutor let all the people free today who were arrested in the Maspiro events 9th of october, Alaa is still in Tora prison, because he is „facing different charges“.
Wednesday, the same day Alaa got another 15 days of detention, Maikel Nabil Sanad, already in jail since April, was judged by a military appeal court again to two years in prison, one year less than he got in April for writing a blog post analyzing the role of the egyptian army during the revolution. Sanad is in hunger-strike since august (short articel in taz, GPMagazin/Connection e.V.).
Today, Bahrein blogger and activist Zainab Alkhawaja got arrested when she staged a sit-in in a traffic circle (see the youtube video).

#freealaa #freezainab #freerazan #freemaikel

In a time where in countries like Egypt the offical press is again and in Syria still censored and under control of the government, free speech and critics in the internet seems to be the biggest threat for the ones who are ruling by brutality, aggression and lies…”


(Quelle: Egyptian Spring.)