GEOPOLITIK: African Continental Free Trade Area – AfCFTA

Die EU und Deutschland brauchen schleunigst eine kohärente, politische und wirtschaftliche Strategie für Afrika. Und zwar bevor es aufgrund der massiven Aktivitäten von China zu spät ist.

Quanticon Maschinenraum der Politik Michael Kraess Afrika Strategie

Diese Infografik wurde von www.visualcapitalist.com erstellt und publiziert. Sie basiert auf Daten der JIC Holding, Africa News und dem World Economic Forum. Klicken Sie auf diesen Link oder das Bild, um zu dem Originalartikel zu gelangen.

MdP – STATE-OF-THE-ART POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING: Action Taken after Seeing a Political TV Ad

Michael’s remark: The ways and means of political campaigns are changing dramatically. And the management of election campaigns is developing rapidly also. MdP will report state-of-the-art ideas and innovations to enable political professionals to be inspired and for the interested public to understand developments that might be surprising.

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Source: GFK Voting Funnel Research
Infographic by: campaignsandelections.com

MdP – ISRAEL: OUT OF CONCERN FOR A BELOVED COUNTRY – The Threat of Hamas Rockets

Michael’s opinion: In today’s politically correct world a pro-Israeli post my arise some negative response. But as a German, I feel the responsibility and proximity for this great state. I have been there a lot of times and I admire the people and the liberal way of life. Something uncommon in this part of the world. MdP starts a serial of posts with the title: Israel – Out of concern for a beloved country. Please follow us if you support this opinion. 

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MdP SERIAL – NEW FRONTIERS: The Arctic: Oil and Gas Reserves

Michael’s opinion: There are New Frontiers mankind will tackle geographically in the decades to come. This includes the Arctic, the Antarctica, the Oceans, and Space. Fascinating endeavors that we will make or at least witness in our lifetime. MdP will cover these challenges the human species will definitely accept and presumably master. As mankind always did so far. 

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click this link to get to the poster version of the infographic
© McGraw-Hill Education/Mike Wirth

This area, located at the northern-most part of the world and borders Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland, is said to contain between 20 and 30% of the world’s untapped oil and gas reserves. Some consider this venture to be a great opportunity and promise while others fear it will cause great devastation. 

Positive Impacts

  • Less Dependence on Foreign Oil Securing our oil interests in places like the Middle East has long been a cause for military involvement. Creating our own supply could reduce future conflicts and ultimately drive down high costs of gasoline.
  • More jobs Revenue from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, constructed in the 1970s, revenue from the currently produces about one-fifth of our country’s oil supports much of the residents of Alaska, who pay no state income tax and receive government subsidies supplied by the big oil companies. Drilling in the Arctic could create an estimated 250,000 to 735,000 jobs.
  • Minimal Disruption to Wildlife According to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), only 8% of the 19 million acre refuge is being considered for exploration and that wildlife and oil development have been coexisting in Alaska without incident.

Negative Impacts

  • Environmental Concerns Ironically, it is melting ice in the Arctic caused by climate change that is making it possible for oil companies to be able to drill in the first place. But the mining process will also further accelerate climate change. Heavy oils must be heated in order to extract them from the ground, releasing carbon dioxide. The process also requires a large amount of water and ultimately causes a high amount of pollution. Drilling also threatens certain wildlife, the bowhead whale in particular, which natives depend on for one of their main sources of food and livelihoods.
  • Threat of an oil spill The 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico (owned by oil company, BP) released an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the ocean. It is considered the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Experts believe that drilling in the Arctic cannot yet be done safely and that a disaster is inevitable. The National Oil Spill Commission published a report last year saying that there are currently “no proven methods for cleaning oil spilled in ice.” In addition, they found that the Coast Guard in that area is not adequately equipped to deal with a large-scale oil leak catastrophe.

Staking Claims

If the Arctic is indeed the “next great frontier,” the question remains: who owns it? Under “international law” all five countries that border the area–United States, Canada and Greenland, Russia and Norway – can lay claim to waters up to 200 nautical miles from its coastline. However, countries can apply to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to have their borders extended; four of the five countries have done this (the United States is not yet eligible to a claim). Russia has also announced that it will increase its military efforts in the area.

What is your Opinion?

Do some more research and pick a side of this debate. Take one point made above and further illustrate your argument with examples. In addition, do you think ownership of the Arctic region could lead to a full-scale military conflict? Why or why not.

Posted by  on Feb 4, 2014 in Geography: The Human and Physical WorldGlobal ConnectionsScience and TechnologyWorld

The Threats Facing Israel

Michael’s opinion: In today’s politically correct world a pro-Israeli post my arise some negative response. But as a German, I feel the responsibility and proximity for this great state. I have been there a lot of times and I admire the people and the liberal way of life. Something uncommon in this part of the world. This IDF post is from 2015, so the general topics are still the same today, even though there might be slight changes in the details. 

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The Egyptian Border: Quiet on the Southern Front

The Egyptian Sinai has witnessed a revival of terrorist activities since the beginning of 2010. The Ansar Bait al-Maqdis extremist militant group – which recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State – has been active in the area, leading many attacks against Egyptian Security Force outposts spread out across the Sinai Peninsula, killing many in the process. The threat of terrorist infiltrations by Islamic State and other related organizations is a threat that will need to be addressed moving forward.

The Egyptian Border

This resurgence of terrorist activity has forced the IDF to build a new security fence on the 200 km border between Israel and Egypt. The fence was completed in 2013,  and is monitored 24 hours a day by the IDF’s highly trained personnel.

In July 2015, two rockets launched from Sinai hit Israel. This was the first attack of its nature since Sinai militants pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Although it seems that the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis organization has chosen to primarily focus its efforts on Egyptian Security Forces, it may prove inevitable that they will intensify efforts to attack Israel and the IDF troops standing guard on the border.

THE GAZA STRIP: REBUILDING TERROR

Both Hamas, the terror organization in control of the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization in Gaza, have made significant efforts in the past year to rebuild their military capabilities destroyed by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge. Despite the lack of resources in the Gaza Strip, Hamas invests its funds, manpower, and equipment to restoring its weapons arsenal.

The military buildup is particularly shocking when considering the continued delays in the reconstruction of the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Recently, in July 2015, Hamas fighter and tunnel digger, Ibrahim Adal Shahada Sha’ar, was arrested by the Israel Security Agency (ISA). Sha’ar provided important information, describing planned attacks on Israel, battlefield strategy, and military cooperation with Iran. This clearly shows that Hamas’ main priority is the rehabilitation of its military and terrorist capabilities even at the expense of civilian needs.

Recruiting and training adolescents has also been one of Hamas’ top priorities.  In the summer of 2015, Hamas camps provided combat training to 25,000 Palestinians in Gaza. They received basic and advanced military training (including the abduction of IDF soldiers and exiting terror tunnels) as well as religious indoctrination.

While rebuilding military capabilities with international funding, terrorist organizations continue to fire rockets from Gaza. Since May 2015, rocket fire has become an almost monthly occurrence.

Accordingly, senior Hamas officials recently emphasized the need to open new fronts against Israel in the next round of fighting and has encouraged the surrounding Arab nations to join the fighting. Hamas spokesmen have stated that during Operation Protective Edge, terrorists from the organization’s military wing already launched rockets into northern Israel from Lebanese territory, and implicitly called for the expansion of coordinated attacks for the next confrontation.

JUDEA AND SAMARIA: A RENEWAL OF PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE

Since Operation Brother’s Keeper and the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, Hamas has tried to rebuild its terror network in the Judea and Samaria area. Security forces have arrested multiple terror cells for plotting attacks against Israeli civilians.

This summer, terrorists have perpetrated multiple attacks and a new cycle of violence has erupted. As recent as June 29, 2015, a drive-by shooting injured four Israelis driving along Route 60, near Shvut Rachel, located near Ramallah. One of the Israelis succumbed to his wounds a day later.

Another type of lethal threat that Israel has faced is car ramming attacks that took place in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. These attacks have been praised by Hamas and amongst the Palestinian population on social networks.

Firebombs and stone-hurling have also continued. On August 3, three people suffered injuries from a Molotov cocktail in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem.

THE SYRIAN BORDER: THE WAR NEXT DOOR

The UN’s peacekeeping force stationed in the Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border that was taken hostage by the al-Nusra Front in September 2014 is a recent example of the nearness of the Syrian Civil War and terrorist organizations to Israeli territory.

The fighting around the town of Al-Quneitra has caused the sporadic errant fire of rockets and explosives towards Israel. Sporadic fire in this area resulted in the injury of an IDF soldier in early September 2014. Since, there was also an attack on August 3, 2015, when two mortars hit territory in the Golan Heights, without any injuries. Weeks later, on August 20 four rockets were launched from the Syrian Golan Heights and landed in the Upper Galilee and Israeli Golan Heights.  No injuries were reported. Islamic Jihad executed the attack from Syrian government territory.

Quneitra as seen from Israel

THE LEBANESE BORDER: THE HEZBOLLAH THREAT

Though Hezbollah is also present in the Syrian Golan Heights as a part of its military involvement meant to aid Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the Syrian Civil war, Hezbollah’s stronghold remains southern Lebanon. The terrorist organization has repeatedly used its infrastructure located in the area for lethal purposes.

On January 28, two IDF soldiers were killed in a missile attack that targeted their patrol on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for this attack.

The attack revealed that despite UN Resolution 1701 – which stipulates that no armed forces other than the Lebanese Army should be present in southern Lebanon – Hezbollah has increased its military capabilities in the area. Additional intelligence has estimated that Hezbollah maintains approximately 30,000 fighters, and a stockpile of 100,000 rockets pointed at Israel. Those rockets can reach any point on the map of Israel, and Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, recently claimed that “Israel can’t even imagine the size of our arms stockpile.”

It is important to remember that a number of threats still endanger the civilians and soldiers of Israel. Imminent hazards from the Sinai Peninsula in the south, Judea and Samaria in the east, and Syria and Lebanon in the north surround Israelis on all sides. Despite this, the IDF stands ready on all fronts to defend the Israeli population and Jews worldwide.

by: IDF – Israeli Defence Forces