Sunday, August 30, 2015

Comeback of South Stream?

grafik In my article Turkish, Greek And Tesla Streams Re-routing Energy Supply In Eastern Europe how new Turk(ish) Stream pipeline is re-routing the energy supply in whole Eastern Europe with Greek and Tesla [Balkan] Stream gas pipelines. South Stream, was cancelled last December (2014) after Bulgaria (influenced by the EU acting on behalf of the US) made it impossible to construct the pipeline through its territory. South Stream project was replaced with ‘Turkish Stream’, the Russian pipeline to Turkey's Eastern Thrace region and from there with ‘Greek’, ‘Tesla’ (or ‘Balkan’) Streams intended to South Stream's Serbian, Hungarian, and Austrian partners, but detouring through Greece and Macedonia to compensate for the exclusion of Bulgaria.

At the same time, several observers say that South Stream has a good chance of being revived. Since there's been no official cancellation of the South Stream cooperation from Moscow, Bulgaria assumes that the project can still be saved. Speculation about a revival appears to have come from a source in Moscow. Russia needs the pipelines as a tool to assert political pressure. And Bulgaria could play a role in these plans. (Source: DW ).

European nations could buy gas from a terminal at the Greco-Turkish border, in what was interpreted as a vague hint that such purchases could either be LNG or possibly even the start of a brand new pipeline. Anyway with these plans Turk(ish) Stream and its follow-ups are according EU regulations. The obstacle of South Stream was the EU’s Third Energy Package (TEP). Under these rules, a single company cannot own the pipeline through which it also supplies gas.

Comeback of South Stream
Now though, according Deutsche Welle there's a different tone between Moscow and Sofia. Earlier this week, Putin acknowledged that Bulgaria's NATO membership is a done deal. "We have to respect the choice of the Bulgarian people and continue to work with Bulgaria, independently of all the difficult questions in connection with different projects, including South Stream," he said. Putin added that Russia and Bulgaria have historically enjoyed close ties. In Bulgaria, his words have been taken as a "clear signal of reconciliation" and "a completely new tone in bilateral relations."
According Natural Gas Europe Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has announced new efforts to push forward with South Stream, recently telling local media the project still remains a major goal for the country. She also said that the country's has never walked out of the South Stream project. Kiril Domuschiev, head of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, noted that pipework for South Stream could also be used for Turkish Stream or any other project involving both Bulgaria and Gazprom. He added that no one would stop Bulgaria from doing business with Russia.

No other country lying on the proposed route of the pipeline from Russia to central Europe is better prepared than Bulgaria in technical and organizational terms to start the construction works immediately, said Bulgaria’s former Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev who is deputy chairman of opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).  Another big advantage for Bulgaria is the availability of an agreed funding mechanism for the project which doesn’t involve budget spending and only needs to be activated, Stoynev said in comments after Putin’s earlier statement that Moscow will work closely with Bulgaria on the implementation of joint projects including those in the energy sector such as the South Stream gas pipeline. (Source: Novinite.com )

Energy expert Professor Atanas Tasev said in an interview for FOCUS News Agency , that "Both countries [Bulgaria, Russia] seem to have the intention. It remains Brussels to come out with a stance on the matter. Perhaps we will witness favourable processes in resolving the conflict in Ukraine," “Many steps should follow from now on," he added and stressed that the first official reaction from the Bulgaria came from Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, who said that our country is ready.
"A problem can be solved only in the environment where it was created. Since it was the Russian President who created the problem, it is he who can solve it," Prof Tasev, who has worked as a financial analyst for a number of deals in the Bulgarian energy sector, believes. He maintains that the route previously designated for South Stream is not "a result of some sentiments for the Bulgarian-Soviet fellowship" but is the most economically and technically viable solution. At the same time the professor notes that it is highly unlikely that South Stream is "reborn" with all of the four lines. He foresees that one of the pipes, with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas, might reach Europe via Turkey, while the others could be "redirected" to Bulgaria. (Source and more at Novinite.com )

Nine months after Russia loudly announced that it repeals the South Stream project, the Bulgarian government continues to carry out activities on construction of the pipeline. In addition the joint Bulgarian-Russian company South Stream Bulgaria, which had to build the pipeline on Bulgarian territory, continues to exist and accumulate costs. (Source: Radio Bulgaria )
turkish-stream-south-stream-karte
Nonetheless Greece, FYROM, Serbia, and Hungary are on the verge of signing a joint memorandum of cooperation on Turkish Stream and its Balkan route. Serbian media have already named part of the route as the "Tesla Pipeline" in an obvious attempt to “nationalize” the section that will pass through Serbia. Insiders suggest the Greek, Serbian, and Hungarian foreign ministers will meet in Belgrade in September to announce an agreement that will see the exact route formalized. It should be noted the foreign ministers, not energy ministers, have taken the lead on this file. (Source: Natural Gas Europe ) Latest developments with Tesla Stream wouldn't have been possible had Macedonia not beaten back the Color Revolution attempt that aimed to sabotage the entire thing. (More in Terrorism in Macedonia Wasn’t An Isolated Act! ).

Eastring?
For Eastern Europe there is also a project called Eastring will bring gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Cyprus and Russia and will provide reverse deliveries from the gas hubs in Western Europe. This is actually a step towards the creation of a vertical gas corridor which is particularly valuable to Bulgaria.

Eastring would connect infrastructure in Slovakia to Romania and Bulgaria. Slovakia has taken the lead on the project and even suggested connecting to Turk Stream. Bratislava wants to be part of Gazprom’s plans to diversify transit options away from Ukraine because Slovakia is the critical link between pipelines in Ukraine and central Europe. The Slovakian company Eustream's gas pipeline, expected to deliver gas to countries in the Balkans, and Gazprom's Turkish Stream will be complementary projects, Eustream's international development and public affairs head told RIA Novosti [on Feb. 2015]. Eustream's Eastring pipeline will run from Bulgaria to Romania and then, via Hungary or Ukraine, to Slovakia. Its planned capacity will be from 20 billion to 40 billion cubic meters per year and project partners are Eustream, Transgaz and Bulgartransgaz.

Wider picture
Aside from production, the transportation of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products is of paramount concern for oil-producing nations. For energy consumers, transit routes are necessary lifelines. A huge amount of the world's energy is transited through pipelines, across the Eurasian landmass in particular. Natural gas has limited and expensive transport options. As a result, natural gas pipelines are constantly used as tool of the political pressure and bargaining. One of the most notable battlefields is the European continent, where Russia has exerted its influence through an intricate network of pipelines.

There is a strategic cooperation in the energy sector between EU and Russia as Russia is still the primary supplier of the EU’s hydrocarbon resources, providing 42% of its imported gas and 33% of its imported oil (2013). In addition due global warming the EU want to increase the share of renewable resources and natural gas in their consumption patterns. Russia’s bad relations with the West and Ukraine have created the need to Russia to rearrange its energy policy. From the Russia’s point of view Turkey, as a regional power with its independent policies, e.g. when deciding not to partake in the Western sanctions against Russia due to the Ukraine Crisis, is a more reliable partner than other alternatives. Cooperation between these two regional powers on issues related to Caucasia and Central Asia would generate mutual benefits so indeed the Ukraine Crisis may have paved the way for a new form of cooperation in Russian-Turkish relations.

The Continent has also taken steps to build a regulatory environment conducive to the new energy market it envisions. The Third Energy Package has played a key role in coordinating the European energy market and eroding monopolistic tendencies plaguing the natural gas networks. Among other things, the package's regulations prevent pipeline operators from supplying natural gas and prevent suppliers from operating the pipelines. These rules have blocked Gazprom from owning or heavily investing in any European pipelines, with a few notable exceptions, such as the Ostsee-Pipeline-Anbindungsleitung pipeline. Europe has applied equal scrutiny to deals involving non-Russian companies, including Azerbaijani national oil company SOCAR's proposed purchase of Greek pipeline operator DESFA.
Interactive: Veins of Influence
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"Interactive: Veins of Influence is republished with permission of Stratfor."


Turk Stream update
The Gapzrom-led Turk(ish) Stream pipeline project has stalled as negotiations between Russia and Turkey on gas pricing have broken down. On July 2015 the Russian Energy Ministry sent to Ankara two versions of an intergovernmental agreement on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, proposing to construct either one or all four planned strings.

The technical director of South Stream Transport B.V. Andrey Fick has been appointed as general director of the company in charge of construction of the Russia-owned Turkish Stream gas pipeline, Russian energy giant Gazprom announced in its statement, April 2015.

Related to The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Project benefits from the data available from the extensive surveying and approved EIA, and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in accordance with international financing standards, conducted for the South Stream Offshore Pipeline project. The EIA and permitting process for the Turkish portion of the offshore pipeline is divided into two parts. South Stream Transport is conducting an EIA for the portion of the pipeline from the border of the Turkish and Bulgarian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the Turkish coastline, with a length of approximately 275 km. For the remainder of the offshore route, the EIA was already approved in 2014 in the context of the South Stream Offshore Project.
map_route_turkey
Bottom line
Gazprom has asserted several times that it will cut off gas transits through Ukraine by the end of the decade. The current alternative routes (Nord Stream + Belarus), however, only present a capacity of 86.5 bcm per year. To maintain the current level of Russia’s exports (119 bcm in 2014) at least 35 bcm of additional pipeline capacity would be needed.

Turk Stream as well South Stream, would enhance the Continent's energy security because it would enable natural gas flows to Europe to continue uninterrupted in the event of a fallout between Ukraine and Russia. The pipeline project would also incentivize European Union-based companies to invest in infrastructure in Southeastern Europe, integrating countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, into the more mature natural gas markets in Central Europe. New infrastructure for Turk Stream could also eventually carry Iranian or Central Asian natural gas to Europe. Due political reasons USA and EU probably are not very pleased nor active with Turk Stream, they maybe are tolerating the project so long as Russia adheres to the Third Energy Package and finalized Energy Union Package rules restricting Russian control over the Turk Stream project.
turkishstream (2)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal

 
“This agreement is no longer just rumors or blabber, but will be signed any minute,” (Walid Awadh, a member of the political office of the Palestinian People’s Party in Gaza)

Israel-Palestine roadmap to peaceAccording to the Times of Israel, Hamas and Israel have essentially agreed on a long-term cease-fire. Hamas is about to sign a “comprehensive” agreement with Israel for the lifting of an eight-year blockade placed on the Gaza Strip in return for a long-term ceasefire The gist of the deal is that Israel will end the blockade and allow thousands of Palestinian day laborers to enter Israel. Gaza will import items through a Cyprus port overseen by NATO representatives (until a floating offshore port can be developed) and cease all rocket fire and tunneling for eight years. A prisoner swap may be in the works too.  Hamas-Israel Deal could pave way for the 'Cold Peace Solution'

Israel Prime Minister's Office gave following statement on 18th Aug. 2015: "Israel would like to officially clarify that it is not holding any meetings with Hamas, neither directly, nor via other countries, nor via intermediaries.” However – in addition to rumours described in my April 2015 article  Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander

hamas-agreement-1 (2) – the original sources of last developments have been a Turkish official, few days earlier, it was a "knowledgeable source" in the Israeli defense establishment and before that, it was a U.S. State Department official. All confirmed that Israel and Hamas are discussing a long-term cease-fire deal. Already in April it was estimated that official representatives of the Israeli government and defense establishment have been holding a real dialogue even months with the Islamic terrorist group – Hamas – in a bid to reach a long-term calm on the Gaza border. These secret talks have been “partly direct” and partly through Qatari and European mediators. This information was based on an YNet article.
In April 2015 it was claimed that from the Israeli side the person pushing for talks with Hamas is the coordinator of the government’s activities in the territories (COGAT), in cooperation with new IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot , with assistance from the political leadership. The official Israel continues to conceal the dialogue with Hamas: It would have disrupted the elections, it’s not good for the image of a right-wing government, and it gets in the way of continuing to define Hamas as a terror organization in the world. (Source and more in Ynet)

The Hamas-Israel Deal

In an interview- according The Times of Israel - with Hamas daily al-Resalah, Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, said that Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashaal came to Ankara last week to update the Turkish leadership on the details of an agreement reached with Israel. According Israel Hayom [18th Aug. 2015] Hamas officials told Arab media outlets that significant progress had been made in recent talks in Qatar between Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and former Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair about the possibility of a long-term truce deal. Reports also cited a Turkish official as saying progress had been made toward such a deal between Israel and Hamas. According to the official, the deal would include the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. According to the reports, Gaza will be allowed to import merchandise through a “floating port” located 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) off the coast. An intermediary port will be established in Cyprus, where all Gaza-bound merchandise will be scrutinized by NATO representatives.
300px-gaza_strip_map2-svgMeanwhile, progress has been made in reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey yet differences remain on several issues, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Tuesday. The report quoted a Turkish Foreign Ministry official as saying that Israel had agreed to significantly ease the blockade on Gaza -- which has been one of Turkey's demands in the reconciliation talks.

According to Hamas daily al-Resalah, Israel would like to see a larger package deal that would include the exchange of “live and dead Israeli prisoners” held by Hamas — likely a reference to Ethiopian-Israeli citizen Avraham Abere Mengistu and a Bedouin man who both entered the Gaza Strip voluntarily, as well as the remains of Israeli soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge last summer — in return for Hamas prisoners jailed by Israel.

Israeli Arabic-language website al-Masdar reported on 16th Aug. 2015 that Hamas’s leadership held a meeting in Gaza on 14th Aug. 2015, specifying the deal’s details. According to al-Masdar’s unnamed Hamas source, Israel has also agreed to allow in thousands of Gazan day laborers through the Erez crossing in return for Hamas’s agreement to stop launching rockets into Israel and digging subterranean attack tunnels underneath the border for a period of at least eight years. Hamas’s Shura Council, the movement’s highest deliberative body, endorsed the agreement following a three-hour debate.

Fatah/PLO against

The reported agreement is opposed by the PLO because it wasn’t consulted, and because it would “eventually detach Gaza completely from the West Bank and Jerusalem,” said one Fatah figure. Hamas officials, headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, have been dispatched to Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey to discuss the deal. But the agreement is facing domestic opposition from without, as Palestinian factions consider it a potential danger to the political unity of Gaza and the West Bank as stipulated by the Oslo Accords.
no_solutionWalid Awadh, a member of the political office of the Palestinian People’s Party in Gaza, said that his party, like all other PLO factions, is opposed in principle to the deal reached between Hamas and Israel. The agreement, carried out unilaterally by Hamas without consulting the PA, strengthens the political divide with Fatah and will eventually detach Gaza completely from the West Bank and Jerusalem, he argued. “Gaza faces an unknown future,” he said. “This agreement leads us from political divide to [Gaza’s] secession, making it impossible for Gaza to be part of the future Palestinian state.”Awadh said the agreement is being finalized “far from the Gaza Strip” by Hamas’s overseas leadership in coordination with Qatar and Turkey. Notifying the PLO organizations in Gaza was only done in order to market the agreement and portray it as a result of local consensus. Most factions in Gaza support a ceasefire with Israel, Awadh stressed, but insist that it be the result of “unified Palestinian representation, tying the future of Gaza to that of the West Bank.”

Awadh’s dismay with Hamas was expressed even more bluntly by Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmi over the weekend. “Why insist on a naval passageway to the entire world but the West Bank?” Qawasmi wondered in a press statement published on Fatah’s official website. “Why has the land corridor with the West Bank, known as the ‘safe passage,’ not been proposed before anything else, given that the PLO delegation raised the issue forcefully? Is Gaza a humanitarian issue [only] or is it part of the Palestinian homeland?”

Two Palestine?

The eight-year split between Fatah and Hamas aka the Islamic Resistance Movement has cut off Gaza and its 1.7 million people from the West Bank and e.g from negotiating efforts; instead Hamas has implemented few military campaigns against Israel and Gaza still suffers from the last conflict Summer 2014.

According Jerusalem Post Hamas in April 2015 was negotiating with Israel on Palestinian state in Gaza. The Palestinian officials have claimed that Hamas was negotiating with Israel about its plan to turn the Gaza Strip into a separate Palestinian entity. From point of view of Fatah/PLO Israel wants to divide the Palestinian people and turn the Palestinian territories into separate entities and cantons. The idea of establishing a Palestinian state only in the Gaza Strip was first raised by late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1988; it is also claimed that the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposed the idea about 10 years ago, when he decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is consolidating its grip over the Gaza Strip and making plans to turn it into a separate state. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah consider the purported plan a “severe blow” to the two-state solution and unity among Palestinians. As the U.S. Administration and the international community continue to push for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas seems to be working toward establishing an independent state of its own in the Gaza Strip.
14374044578404767 (2)It might be that the international community must define their two-state solution with new content including two Palestinian state – one Islamist emirate in the Gaza Strip and an other Fatah-controlled wannabe state in the West Bank.

Earlier on April 2015 in my article Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander I estimated that this possible deal between Hamas and Israel has a risk that internal disagreements between Hamas’ political and military wings could endanger it. Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades might take advantage of instability within the Hamas to carry out attacks on the border with Israel without getting a green light from Hamas’ political leaders. Struggle inside Hamas is not the only battlefield in Gaza. A group calling itself Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem has continued to challenge the Gaza-ruling Palestinian entity Hamas.

Hamas-Israel Deal pave the way for Cold Peace Solution

23boundar_map-popup (2)I still consider a two-state solution be possible. The final status agreement has been very close at least since Beilin-Abu Mazen understandings / agreement / plan (1995) where nearly all issues were agreed. The Olmert proposal (2008) was probably the last serious try (both plans can be found from my document library ) If however it can’t be negotiated so there is possibilities to make regional solution; I for example have long propagated the idea of the “Three-State-(return) Option” ( e.g. in ”The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict” ). Also – if two-state solution is de facto cul-de-sac and if there is no readiness to regional solution so a unilateral 'Cold Peace solution' from my perspective is the best option especially if Hamas-Israel Deal will come true.

Israel could independently implement a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations,  to ensure its character as a Jewish and democratic state, by fixing a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the West Bank unilaterally. Creating a reality of two states for two peoples by separation into two nation states would be based on voluntary Israeli concession of territories outside of the large with Israel on the route of a permanent border on the basis of agreed-upon land swaps or independently in case negotiations does not take place. In the event that negotiations are not renewed, the temporary border will become permanent. As long as there is no agreement, the IDF and Israel would retain control of the outer borders and surrounding areas of the territories to be evacuated by Israelis who would be resettled within the state’s temporary borders. This kind of unilateral “cold peace” solution – that Israel annexes all Judea and Samaria (West-Bank) inside security fence and draws all outposts inside fence and Palestinians can do whatever they want in remaining territory - in my opinion might - in the course of years - develop to permanent state of affairs and thus end Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  An example could be the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel signed in 1979 which most Egyptians view as a cold peace;  retrospectively not so bad deal anyway.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Israel Military Strategy

idflogoThe Israel Defense Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot published on 13th August 2015 a document outlining IDF strategy, including the threats facing Israel and plans to combat them. This is first time- in 60 years - since 1950s when Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion accepted military defense strategy of Israel.

In the introduction of the 33-page document, Eizenkot states the broad mission of the IDF – Securing the existence of the State of Israel, ensuring it is a democratic and Jewish home for the Jewish people, safeguarding a robust economy and society, and boosting Israel’s status throughout the world. Eizenkot says “The approach as consolidated in this document … will be the compass for deploying and developing force.”

The document details what can be expected from the IDF during three types of situations: Routine time, emergency situations and wartime. Based on this division, conflicts like Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense are considered confrontations limited in their scope and are therefore define as "emergency," rather than "war." This means these confrontations were meant to bring Israel "back to a situation of calm, without striving for an immediate strategic change," so the IDF cannot be expected to bring down the Hamas regime in Gaza in such a military campaign, unless the political leadership tells it otherwise.
IDF_infographic_-_mainThe definition of the "enemy" has also been altered. As the threat of an all-out war against another state or several other states is on the decline, the document redefines the main threat as coming from military organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah or terror organizations that are not affiliated with any one country, like global jihad and the Islamic State. The Iranian nuclear threat, which is presented by the political leadership as the biggest existential threat Israel is facing, is not mentioned - possibly because the army's strategy on that issue is too classified to appear in a public document, or because the agreement signed between Iran and world powers is seen as mitigating the threat.

Other changes which the document recommends are an improvement in the effectiveness of ground manoeuvres, diversifying operational capabilities in order to tackle specific operations rather than all-out war or conflict and the need to maintain intelligence, aerial and naval superiority in the region. Because of that, the IDF will favor fighting with smaller forces that can maneuver quickly and easily between different fronts, over large and stationary forces.

"The basic assumption is that the enemy cannot be defeated with defensive fighting, so an offense is required to achieve clear military results," the document states.

Another important tier of the new strategy, put on paper officially for the first time, is the need to "reduce civilian, border-adjacent vulnerabilities," in a manner that would see the IDF evacuate communities that would be placed under imminent danger by the fighting. It is believed the latter was one of the conclusions drawn from 2014's Operation Protective Edge, during which there was no organized evacuation of the communities adjacent to the Israel-Gaza Strip border.

Setting clear priorities: Eizenkot's document included a lengthy review of the military's need and intent to diversify operational capabilities in the "campaign between the wars," a concept describing the IDF and the intelligence community's efforts to monitor and undermine the force-building capabilities of Israel's enemies. CBW represents a series of clandestine military operations, both defensive and offensive, routinely carried out by the military. The document further details some of the military's strategy when dealing with non-bordering nations, presumably including Iran. Dealing with such nations "is largely based on CBW ... to the point of offensive efforts meant to undermine the enemy's strength, limit its scope of operations and thwart its intentions and abilities."

The last chapter of Eizenkot's document focuses on human capital:
"The IDF has always drawn its strength from the quality of its personnel and the deep [public] understanding that the military guarantees Israel's national existence. The IDF will spare no effort to defend and protect Israel under any circumstances, while exhausting the core characteristics of its commanders and soldiers: a fighting spirit, initiative and quality operation, and the uncompromising desire to achieve our objectives."
Sources: BICOM, Israel Hayom ja Ynet

Read the full document here (in Hebrew)
IDF Mission
To defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the
state of Israel. To protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms
of terrorism which threaten the daily life.

Appendix:

Untitled-16Cyber defense is becoming increasingly important for the IDF’s Intelligence Corps. In order to prepare the next generation soldier for cyber warfare, the IDF has implemented programs to educate high school students in information technologies, computer science, and cyber defense. Cyber defense plays a very significant role in Israeli society today because of the amount of cyber attacks against Israel in recent years. The IDF, along with many other Israeli institutions such as banks and government offices, are required by law to protect themselves from any attacks. The cyber defense course takes it a step further than just defense by training IDF soldiers to actively assess every and all situation. The course’s most recent graduates built a model city where they conduct complex missions in preparation for a large-scale cyber campaign. Source: IDF

israel-hamas-cyberwar-477x600


Related materials

A previous outside analysis about Israeli military doctrine: Israel's Strategic Doctrine - RAND Corporation

IDF's public resume about peevious military doctrine: IDF Doctrine
A Slide show:
[slideshare id=26705376&doc=israaeliarmymsncorevalues-130930132123-phpapp01]


[Article first published in Conflicts By Ari Rusila and Ariel in Finnish]

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Instead of Gaza’s Reconstruction Donor Aid Finances Terrorism And Corruption

"Magen veLo Yera'e" [Motto of Shin Bet]
shin betIt was not a hallucination when Israelis living in Gaza border area were hearing some digging sounds. In July 2015 the Shin Bet [aka The Israel Security Agency/ISA aka Shabak] with Israeli Police arrested a Hamas operative Ibrahim Adel Shehadeh Shaer - a tunnel digger in the group's armed wing. According Israel Hayom the man was detained for questioning and he proceeded to provide interrogators with valuable information about the terrorist organization's extensive digging plans and the location of new tunnel access points. The Shin Bet said that Shaer provided significant details about Hamas' tunnels in the Rafah area, including the areas where digging was taking place, the location of entrance and exit points to tunnels, the identities of other tunnel diggers and the routes of the tunnels. Shaer also told interrogators that to sustain its military infrastructure, Hamas diverts resources and materials delivered to Gaza within the framework of rehabilitation efforts. According to Shaer, Hamas fighters store explosives in residential homes, in accordance with directives from the group's commanders, who are concerned that traditional military warehouses will be bombed. Tiimes-of-LondonThe Shin Bet said that beyond the routine issues pertaining to his main function as a tunnel digger, Shaer was also privy to the link between Iran and Hamas, in the form of military aid the Islamic republic transfers into Gaza to strengthen the terrorist organization. According to Shaer, Iran supports Hamas by transferring funds, advanced weapons systems and electronic equipment, such as devices for jamming radio waves, which are used in efforts to bring down Israeli drones flying over Gaza. In addition Shaer underwent combat and command training, learned how to operate advanced weapons systems and received demolition training. On July 31, an indictment was filed against Shaer in the Beersheba District Court for being a member of, and engaging in, activities with a banned organization, attempted murder, contact with a foreign enemy agent, illegal military training, and various firearms charges. Source: Israel Hayom Slow reconstruction activities in Gaza is nothing new nor the fact that donor aid for reconstruction is misused e.g. for tunnels. This aspect was very well highlighted by Dr. Ibrahim Abrashin – ex-minister representing political wing in Hamas – in his recent article (more in Palestinians: A Rare Voice of Sanity ) Today outrage spreads on social media due two documents leaked online detailing two attempts by Palestinian officials to misuse public funds, highlighting the corruption and mismanagement critics say remains rampant in the Palestinian Authority government. One document, by adviser to President Abbas, asks for $4 million for private building complex, another seeks funds for daughter's private school. The core of comments is rampant corruption, mismanagement and nepotism in PA. Source: Israel Hayom ) A wider picture about non-existent skills of Palestinian authority to deliver international donor aid to beneficiaries one can find from my article Palestine – Placebo effect for people and society with 20 bn bucks percap1   Some of my remarks related to news quoted above: 1) Shaer confirms suspicions made earlier that the donor aid for Gaza reconstruction activities is more or less used to dig [attack] tunnels. Western mainstream media has accused so far Israel and imaginary Gaza blockade about slow reconstruction process. 2) Hamas is still locating war materials in the middle of civilian buildings; if and when Israel during next Gaza conflict destroys these storages one can expect some civilian deaths and blaming only Israel for war crimes. 3) Despite of capasity building efforts for decades of Western international community to develop administration and facilities of dreamed Palestinian state is the outcome modest at best. In Western media many times Israel get the blame for this; a better address could be some inside aspects – such as corruption, misconduct and political elite making money at people’s expence – of Palestinian Authority. 4) As consequence tens of billions USD aid, which was intended to give good public services for people disappears on the way to beneficiaries. 5) The fact that Palestinian Authority can not make a negotiated peace deal with Israel might be caused by interests of the political elite of the PA and some donor agencies; chaotic situation has its benefits as the international aid flows with minimal transparency.

Appendix:

 
Palestinian Terrorism Industry: Salaries
The Palestinian Authority [PA] pays high salaries and good benefits to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons. Much of money to reward terrorists comes from Western tax dollars as the PA budget is heavily dependent on foreign aid. Donors gave roughly $30 billion in international aid to the PA between 1993 and 2012; $7 billion came from the U.S. alone and $7 billion came from the EU; $10 billion came from individual European countries, Japan, Australia, and Canada.
The salaries are usually far higher than the West Bank average wage of $533/month and sometimes higher than those of any other civil servants. The average monthly salary paid to terrorists was 3,129 shekels ($850) in 2012 while the average salary for civil servants was 2,882 shekels, ($783), and for Palestinian military personnel it was 2,704 shekels ( $734).
In 2011, The PA announced the following wages and stipulated that they would be linked to the cost of living index.
•All security prisoners get a base salary of 1400 shekels ($400) per month.
•Terrorists sentenced to 3-5 years get 2,000 shekels ($560) per month.
•Terrorists sentenced to 5-10 years get 4,000 shekels ($1,100) per month.
•Terrorists sentenced to 10-15 years get 6,000 shekels ($1,690) per month.
•Terrorists sentenced to 15-20 years get 7,000 shekels ($2,000) per month.
•Terrorists sentenced to 20-25 years get 8,000 shekels ($2,250) per month.
•Terrorists sentenced to 25-30 years get 10,000 shekels ($2,800) per month.
•The worst offenders, those who commit mass murder, get the top wage of 12,000 shekels ($3,400) per month—up to 10 times more than the average pay.
•Released prisoners receive the status of a deputy minister or the rank of major-general in the PA security forces – both worth a monthly stipend of NIS 14,000 ($4,000).
•In 2013, four thousand released Palestinian prisoners received monthly salaries although many of them were able-bodied men who could work.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Susya - Land-Grabbing By EU Backing

  emergencyssxfoiThe huge ongoing campaign against the demolition of buildings [mostly tents] constructed against a court order in Susya village has been successful backed now by some NGOs, US, EU and UN. From Western mainstream media one easily can get picture that Israel plans to destroy ancient Arab village in occupied territory and grabbing land owned by local villagers. The true picture is a bit different, even opposite.

The question is not only some tents in Susya, besides media war the campaign is part of wider plan – known as "Fayyad Plan", to occupy land for fictional Palestine state from Israel - land which is under direct Israeli control according the “Oslo Accords,” that incorporates within its terms UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), which set the basic terms for comprehensive peace in the area. The case also shows an excellent example about the hypocrisy of European Union which same time plans sanctions against Israel due illegal Israeli settlements while continuously financing illegal Arab settlements.

Susya vs. Fake Susya

European Union-American acceptance of the lie of "Arab Susiya" is both a result from a successful PR campaign and against the reality. The archaeological evidence clearly proves that Jews lived in Biblical and Talmudic times until as late as the 9th century in Susya, while academic researchers have categorically established that Arabs never lived there. Modern are aerial photographs decades ago show that not one Arab lived in Susiya, for centuries, only a few thousand Arabs populated the relatively vast southern Hebron Hills and other Arabs came from the Hebron area to stay in caves for two months during the season for planting and reaping wheat or to grave sheep and goats; other than that, Arabs were never to be seen because their homes were elsewhere. All of that changed soon after the early 1980s when the Jews returned after 1,500 years. The focus of the creation of this lie has been Susiya, the largest Jewish community in the area, although less than 200 families live there. It is located several hundred yards from the Talmudic city, which is protected as a natural park. The European Union – i.a. - have invested tens of thousands of dollars to bring Arabs to the narrow stretch of land separating modern and ancient Susiya. Local resident Karni Eldad describes this side of settlement activities in i24news as follows:
Everybody knows that the settlements beyond the Green Line receive extensive subsidies and incentives. For example, a small community south of Hebron receives wind turbines to produce free electricity, it gets free mobile homes, free air conditioners, free toilets, free water tanks, a free library, free agricultural sheds, a free mobile clinic and free health care, and even basic food items, completely for free. Oh yeah, and a free mosque. Why a mosque? Because this settlement is an illegal Palestinian outpost, established in Israeli territory (Area C according to the Oslo Accord’s territorial division), and is located near the Jewish settlement of Susya in the southern Hebron hills. Who finances it? The EU, of course.
Below short video about the real ancient history and origins of Susya: And below the Illegal Palestinian Settlement - fictional Arab village - of Susya: cc711ccf3f2ea47dd15feddae2ecdb533c0b7e69 Earlier about Susya case in Demolition of Susya Settlement as a Result Unsolved Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Susya as part of "Fayyad Plan"

After the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993, and especially since 2009, Palestinians began to establish outposts in Area C with massive European funding. These outposts are designed to interrupt the continuity of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. This program is called the "Fayyad Plan", named after Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian official who conceived it. The Europeans, for their part, are joining the initiative as they consider Judea and Samaria occupied territory and are working to establish a Palestinian state in the entire territory. The so-called “Fayyad Plan” entitled “Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State,” is breathlessly ambitious. Fayyad, a US-educated economist and former senior World Bank official, challenged the Palestinian policy of liberation through armed struggle by proposing peaceful, proactive development. The plan had and still has US and EU support and has got aid in the billions. Also Israel has backed Palestinian economic development and reform from bottom up to establish a demilitarised state. endoccThe Fayyad Plan includes 3 major pillars – 1. Structural reform of the central and local government administration. 2. Restoring and re-establishing the security system (Palestinian Police, courts, prisons, etc.). 3. Building the economic and physical infrastructure in all areas, (banks, public and educational facilities, electricity, water, sewage and roads etc.) whilst focusing on Area C. In her analysis about "Fayyad Plan", The Fayyad Plan: Implications for the State of Israel , Natalia Simanovsky describes the benefits of plan as follows:

In evaluating the successes of the Fayyad plan, addressing its obstacles and Israeli misapprehensions, this paper argues that the creation of an independent Palestinian state will work towards Israel’s advantage for the following reasons: First, it guarantees the two-state solution, ensuring that the State of Israel remains Jewish and democratic. Second, Israel’s responsibility towards the Palestinians will be dramatically reduced, for a Palestinian state would become responsible for its own citizens, territory and borders. Third, an independent Palestine will improve Israel’s serious legitimacy problem, for the relationship will be that of two sovereign states, as opposed to the current asymmetrical relationship between a state and a non-state. Fourth, a Palestinian state will strengthen the hand of the moderates, namely Fateh and Fayyad, while weakening the terrorist organization Hamas and other Islamic radicals. Finally, the environment for peace negotiations will improve, as Israel’s security needs will be met and the Palestinians, having achieved their decades-long desire for self-determination, will be negotiating from a place of pride and accomplishment, as opposed to the hopelessness and humiliation that engulfs them on a daily basis.

However the “Fayyad Plan leaves a number of issues unresolved, such as Jerusalem, the right of return, borders, the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and, lastly, Gaza. The essence of the Fayyad plan was to build the apparatus of a Palestinian state within two years, regardless of progress in the stalled peace negotiations with Israel. Israeli officials reacted with consternation over what they saw as a unilateral action even Fayyad has rejected calls for a binational state and unilateral declaration of statehood. The core negative aspect of the plan is, in my opinion, that it Fayyad calls for massive Palestinian development in Area C – an area in which is under direct Israeli control - the Palestinian Authority exercises civil powers and responsibilities as well as functional jurisdiction under the umbrella of overall Israeli security and civil administration – the fate of which is intended by the Interim Agreement to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. See more at: Palestine Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State (Fayyad Plan)

Quiet annexation with help of EU hypocrisy

“Aid to the Bedouin” is a political program of the Palestinian Authority that was in conjunction with the previous PM Salam Fayyad, which intends to gradually take control over Area C, and to add it into the area of the Palestinian Authority (PA). In addition the EU is building hundreds of illegal structures in the West Bank, for example near Ma’aleh Adumim and its E1 area (great Jerusalem). Some of the structures are even being built on nature reserves, where construction is forbidden. All these buildings contravene the Oslo Accords, which give Israel full administrative responsibility and authority over Area C so the EU is participating in a violation of the Oslo II Agreement. Transarent-Logo-e1361793675969Israeli NGO Regavim has been very active with gathering data and conducting field surveys especially in Negev, Judea and Samaria. Regavim recently released a report revealing that the European Union has spent millions of dollars actively erecting some 500 unauthorized pre-fabricated buildings in strategic areas located in Area C in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in violation of the Oslo Accords. These reports are exposing very cleartThe hypocrisy of the European Union. Blaming Israel for taking unilateral steps, whilst simultaneously being directly, deeply and heavily involved in illegal and unilateral activity to the benefit of the Palestinian Authority. According Regavim in recent years, European support has moved from passive diplomatic and financial assistance to a situation of active cooperation in illegal building which the Palestinian Authority has been advancing unilaterally since 2009, as part of its strategic plan to create a Palestinian state de facto, while avoiding the need for negotiations with Israel. One of the central goals of this plan is the development of building initiatives specifically in Area C, (which is defined by the Oslo Accords as under full Israeli control) with the intent of chipping away at this area bit by bit, and thus creating a strip of territory between the area of Hebron, Samaria, and Jericho. This strip would endanger the security of the State of Israel and its ability to defend itself within defensible borders.

According Regavim reports in September 2012, the European Union announced the allocation of 100 million euros toward the advancement of projects for the Arab population across Area C, which is under full Israeli control (--- in addition to the 100 million euros transferred in 2011). The first paragraph in the document detailing the allocation of the funds indicates an earmarked transfer of 7 million euros (in 2012 alone) for “development of land and basic infrastructures in Area C, See an example of EU funding decision here . The September 2014 EU document indicates an additional – earmarked – funding allocation (apart from the regular annual aid), in the sum of 11 million euros, intended for establishing outposts (“shepherds’ communities”) in Area C. Nimetön (27)While unilateral measures of the PA are encouraged, promoted and funded by the European Union against Israeli law, the Oslo accords etc., its leaders criticize the State of Israel, accusing it of taking unilateral steps. For example the EU threatens sanctions against Israel, should Israel promote programs that constitute "measures to prevent the two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity". More in: Report of the Involvement of the European Union Il-Legal Building

Part of BDS

According DEBKAfile the new proposals published on 22nd July 2015 by the European Council for Foreign relations [ECFR, a pan-European think tank with offices in seven European capitals] go beyond labeling Israeli goods made in “settlements” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (for boycotting) – to include Israeli banks. Its boycott would cover bank loans and mortgages, qualifications earned in settlement institutions and the tax-exempt status of European charities that deal with Israeli settlements. Under European Commission guidelines from 2013, EU- and member-state-funded lending cannot be provided to Israeli businesses and individuals operating in the occupied territories. In addition the report questions whether Europe should accept qualifications from academic, medical and other Israeli institutions based in the West Bank. Likewise, there is a question mark over whether the EU should be dealing with Israeli institutions – such as the Ministry of Justice and the national police headquarters – which are based in East Jerusalem. Nimetön (26)The Israeli government has described Europe’s steps on labeling as discriminatory and wrong-headed, suggesting they are akin to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Israel regards as anti-Semitic. News of the report’s publication caused Tel Aviv Stock Exchange banking stocks to fall 2-2.5 pc. Earlier [on April 2015] 16 of the European Union’s (EU) 28 foreign ministers co-signed a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, urging her to advance the creation of guidelines to separately label goods produced in the West Bank as part of an economic offensive on Israel. The labeling plan was first mooted in 2012, but the 16 member states told EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini it was now time to press ahead as part of efforts to force Israel to divide in a “two state solution.” (More in Top Priority of EU Foreign Policy: A New ‘Jude’ Badge )

My conclusion

The only valid and legally binding framework that has governed, and continues to govern, the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians is still the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), with its related documents, commonly termed the “Oslo Accords,” that envelopes all the other agreements and arrangements between the two sides and incorporates within its terms UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), which set the basic terms for comprehensive peace in the area. Under the Oslo accords, the West Bank was divided into three zones, A, B and C, pending a permanent peace deal.

Area C, where Israel maintains security and civil control, compromises more than 60% of West Bank territory. It includes the Jordan Valley where Israel has transformed the desert flats into lucrative agri-business settlements, west of the no-go military zone of border patrols and electronic fences on the frontier with Jordan. The Susya region lies in Zone C, the archaeological evidence clearly proves Jewish ancient ties to area in question while Arab ties are only recent and temporary; land-grabbing with international campaign tries to grab land from Jews to Arabs and not opposite .

The Susya case is not question about human rights, its is about politics to make solutions on the ground instead of negotiations. I_stand_with_Israel_by_ElNino1920

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Peace Index 2015:BRIC, Balkans and Eastwards



The Global Peace Index (GPI) is implemented by organization called Vision of Humanity, which groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace. As its mission Visions of Humanity brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century. Now on May Vision of Humanity published its new edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI). It has been expanded to rank 162 independent states and updated with the latest-available figures and information for 2013-14.

Indicators

The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors, such as violent crime, political stability and military expenditure, correlated against a number of social development indicators such as corruption, freedom of the press, respect for human rights and school enrolment rates and relations with neighbouring countries. These indicators were selected by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists and members of peace institutions.
Global%20Peace%20Index%20Results%20Map

Some reservations

  • Vision of humanity, its expert panel and GPI are representing mainly western methodology, approach and values
  • GPI is based to data available of different indicators and as such a compromise
  • The 2015 scores are based information collected mainly information for 2013-2014 so there is some delay
With these reservations I however find GPI both interesting and useful and anyway I haven’t seen any better global survey.


The Rank

To the table below I have collected the GPI rankings from the Balkans and Eastwards on countries analysed in 2015 report. In addition I have included to table also top-3 and worst-3 countries, the BRIC countries and USA. Besides 2015 ranking I show also rankings and score in 2010 [when available]  to see trend during last years as this may help to track when and how some countries become more or less peaceful. Countries most at peace are ranked first. My source – Vision of Humanity Org, GPI results, full list of 149 countries, methodology and other explanations and scores per country/indicator can be found from here! Besides my table one can also explore the data on the interactive Global Peace Index map.
 
Country 2015 2010
RankScoreRankScore
Iceland Iceland 11.14821.212
Denmark 21.150  
Austria 31.198  
Slovenia Slovenia 151.378111.358
Romania Romania 261.542451.749
Croatia Croatia 271.550411.707
Bulgaria Bulgaria 321.607501.785
Serbia Serbia 461.768902.071
Albania Albania 521.821651.925
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 531.839601.873
The image “http://europeandcis.undp.org/uploads/public1/images/Montenegro_Flag-RESIZE-s925-s450-fit.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Montenegro 571.854882.060
gr Greece 611.878  
Kosovo 691.938  
Moldova Moldova 701.942661.938
Republic of MacedoniaMacedonia (FYR) 711.944832.048
Georgia (country) Georgia 791.9731422.970
Armenia Armenia 912.028 113 2.266
United StatesUSA 942.038852.056
BrazilBrazil 1032.122832.048
People's Republic of China China 1242.267802.034
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan 1322.3251192.367
TurkeyTurkey 1352.3631262.420
IndiaIndia 1432.5041282.516
Ukraine Ukraine 1502.845972.115
Russia Russia 1522.9541433.013
AfghanistanAfghanistan 1603.4271473.252
Iraq Iraq 1613.4441493.406
Syria 1623.645  

Highlights

  • Since last year, 81 countries have become more peaceful, while 78 have deteriorated.
  • Many countries in Europe, the world’s most peaceful region, have reached historically high levels of peace. 15 of the 20 most peaceful countries are in Europe.
  • Also Balkans has bacome more peaceful as all countries of this region made better ranks between positions Slovenia - 15 to Macedonia (FYROM) -71.
  • All ranks of BIRC countries as well USA went down. 
  • In general the world is less peaceful today than it was in 2008. The indicators that have deteriorated the most are the number of refugees and IDPs, the number of deaths from internal conflict and the impact of terrorism. Last year alone it is estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago.
  • Due to an increase in civil unrest and terrorist activity, the Middle East and North Africa is now the world’s least peaceful region for the first time since the Index began.  The best in Mideast ranks was Jordan -71 following Saudi Arabia -95, Egypt -137, Iran -138, Lebanon -145, Israel -150 and on the bottom Iraq -161 and Syria -162.
  • The country that suffered the most severe deterioration in peace was Libya, which now ranks 149th of 162 countries. Ukraine suffered the second largest deterioration, from 97 to 150: following a revolution which brought down the administration of Viktor Yanukovych, Russia supported regions of East Ukraine agains Kiev regime, meaning it scored poorly on organised conflict indicators.
  • Globally the intensity of internal armed conflict has increased dramatically, with the number of people killed in conflicts rising over 3.5 times from 49,000 in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014.
  • The economic impact of violence reached a total of US$14.3 trillion or 13.4% of global GDP last year.
Economic%20impact%20of%20violence_1

 

Peace and global challenge

"The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded” (Ban Ki-moon )
Related to the economic impact of violence one esily can see that peace has also its monetary value in terms of business growth and economic development.  However also war has its monetary value and in short term business – especially inside military-industrial-complex – world the profits from war can be more attracting than those from peace. In my previous articles "Arms Trade: The Crux Of The MIC", "BTW MIC Still Rules" and   “Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?”.
Global challenges, such as climate change, decreasing biodiversity, lack of fresh water and overpopulation, call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without it the level of needed co-operation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges will not be achieved. The big challenge at global, regional and state level is to strengthen factors – or “drivers” of peace in social structures and attitudes.