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Defence & Arms Last Updated: Sep 25, 2019 - 11:25:22 AM


Crisis Prevention
By German Foreign Policy, 09/20/2019
Sep 24, 2019 - 2:53:04 PM

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The German government seeks to expand civilian-military interventions abroad, to obtain a more favorable position in the global struggle for spheres of influence. To meet the challenge in the context of the "great-power rivalry between the United States, Russia and China," the EU military missions must be combined with "civilian assistance," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) declared recently. This "networked approach" should become "a hub" for EU-policy and lead to the creation of a "crisis prevention center" in Berlin. The plan is particularly to train police officers and other "rule-of-law experts" to be deployed in countries, where "German interests" appear threatened by "outside influence." "Legitimate partners," such as the governments of Mali or Afghanistan or opposition forces, as in Syria, could be "strengthened," explains the German Foreign Ministry.

 

Networked Approach

As German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) recently explained in the Bundestag debate on his ministry's budget, Germany and the EU need to adopt a clear "stance" in the context of the "great-power rivalry between the United States, Russia and China." Because "the inability of the international community to act" can "quickly lead to a loss of control at national levels," Germany "must become more resilient to outside influence" in all countries, where it pursues its economic and political interests, according to Maas. The creation of a "crisis prevention center" in Berlin would serve this purpose.[1] The plan is to train police officers and other "rule-of-law experts" to flank the deployment of troops abroad.[2] The "networked approach" of German "foreign and security policy" interlinking diplomatic, military, police and development policy measures, must finally be achieved at EU level, Maas said. "With funding earmarked for that center in this budget, we are at the forefront of these efforts."[3]

Section S

Just a few days after the minister's speech, the foreign ministry issued an analogue statement. Since nearly every crisis will sooner or later "also be felt in Germany," "German interests" call for "sustainably stabilizing crisis countries." This is why, back in 2015, the "themes: crisis prevention, stabilization, post-conflict maintenance and humanitarian aid" were consolidated into "Section S," to develop "custom-made crisis strategies from a single source," the ministry declared. In Mali, for example, diplomatic engagement, Bundeswehr military presence, within the framework of the UN, and EU missions, along with the development aid efforts, fulfill a comprehensive political strategy.[4]

Peacekeeper

In his June 6 "Peacekeeper's Day" speech, this year, Foreign Minister Maas also made no distinction between soldiers and the supposedly civilian helpers. "You are making peace in very different ways, you do so on behalf of the United Nations, the EU, the OSCE or NATO. You work as civilian experts, police officers or soldiers. You serve in Mali, the Niger, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti, Lebanon, Ukraine, Albania or Kosovo.[5] During the associated festivities, Maas honored the managing director of the government-financed Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) Almut Wieland-Karimi. The specialist on the Middle East and oriental studies is on the advisory committee of the German Armed Forces Staff College and the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS). She is also the voluntary managing director of the association "Mediothek Afghanistan." The "Mediothek" made headlines in 2007, when it became known that it was closely cooperating with the units of the German occupation forces at the Hindu Kush engaged in psychological warfare. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[6])

Border Management

Also honored at the "Peacekeepers Day" festivities was the jurist Kerstin Bartsch, who, according to press reports, has been in the Nigerien city of Agadez, since October 2017, teaching the local forces of repression how to handle so-called irregular migrants. She herself has admitted in an interview that in this context "border management," which she favors, is synonymous with warding off refugees and combating those helping them to flee: "Human trafficking is a criminal act violating the sovereignty of a nation. People without authorization, are today being brought across borders by paid smugglers on a large scale."[7]

Artificial Intelligence

Alongside the deployment of "skilled civilian assistants" the foreign ministry admits that it is also using modern instruments for "crisis prevention" analysis. To "be able to observe and evaluate disconcerting developments in countries and regions," the ministry uses "situation profiles" compiled "round-the-clock" by the more than 200 German diplomatic missions. On the other hand, with access to the "data tool" PREVIEW ("Prediction, Visualization, Early Warning"), software is now available which, using "information graphics" and the corresponding maps, can not only make "conflict situations" visible, but even provide possible "trend analyses" on the potential course of political and social developments. "PREVIEW" is no crystal ball, but with methods of mechanical learning - also known as "artificial intelligence" (AI) - the computer helps to recognize patterns of conflicts and crises in the huge mounds of data."[8] However, according to the foreign ministry, the "reaction possibilities" based on this information, can vary, in accordance with political expediency. Thus, "legitimate partners," such as the Iraqi, Malian, or Afghan governments are "strengthened," while in Syria, the "moderate opposition" is being supported, "to avoid a political vacuum."[9]

Lack of Personnel

At the same time, the German government is confronted with a blatant "lack of suitable skilled personnel" for its foreign interventions. This was made clear in this year's June 24, session of the Bundestag's subcommittee on "Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Management and Integrated Action." The participants criticized the fact that it had still not become possible to "make a foreign mission appear as an attractive stepping stone for a career," and through the "strong focus on border protection and defense against illegal migration" it has become a "competition between various government agencies for specialized personnel."[10] It is doubtful that the announced creation of a "crisis prevention center" in Berlin will help solve this problem. Given the "networked approach" in the German "foreign and security policy," these "civilian experts" on mission in foreign regions of intervention, are considered appendages of the military and thereby, combatants, meaning they are in constant mortal danger. Foreign Minister Maas' promises of "armored vehicles" and "bullet-proof vests" for the "peacekeepers" cannot change that fact.[11]

 

[1] Rede von Außenminister Heiko Maas anlässlich der Debatte im Deutschen Bundestag über den Haushalt 2020 des Auswärtigen Amts. auswaertiges-amt.de 11.09.2019.

[2] Personal für internationale Friedenseinsätze schwer zu finden. bundestag.de 08.07.2019.

[3] Rede von Außenminister Heiko Maas anlässlich der Debatte im Deutschen Bundestag über den Haushalt 2020 des Auswärtigen Amts. auswaertiges-amt.de 11.09.2019.

[4] Leitlinien der Bundesregierung: Krisen verhindern, Konflikte bewältigen, Frieden fördern. auswaertiges-amt.de 17.09.2019.

[5] Rede von Außenminister Heiko Maas anlässlich des Tags des Peacekeepers. auswaertiges-amt.de 06.06.2019.

[6] See also Stimme der Freiheit.

[7] Hohe Ehre für Kerstin Bartsch. nw.de 06.06.2019.

[8] Krisenfrüherkennung, Konfliktanalyse und Strategische Vorausschau. auswaertiges-amt.de 08.08.2019.

[9] Grundlagen der Krisenprävention. auswaertiges-amt.de 29.07.2019.

[10] Personal für internationale Friedenseinsätze schwer zu finden. bundestag.de 08.07.2019.

[11] Rede von Außenminister Heiko Maas anlässlich des Tags des Peacekeepers. auswaertiges-amt.de 06.06.2019.


Source:Ocnus.net 2019

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