The latter are said to consist of troops from the USA, Canada and Norway

The latter are said to consist of troops from the USA, Canada and Norway

The navy has not yet revealed which nations will be represented in the new headquarters in Rostock. "We have expressions of interest, but I don’t want to talk about that yet, because the nations have to position themselves first", explains Admiral Brinkmann. "There is quite a lot of interest, but the smaller navies from the Baltic Sea region in particular will first have to check whether they can permanently assign personnel to such a headquarters."

The new command center fulfills several tasks: A staff controls the German fleet. Another staff is also to be staffed with foreign officers and could then conduct multinational missions on behalf of NATO from 2023 in the event of a crisis. EU missions could also be controlled from here. The new building in Rostock will replace the old headquarters in Glücksburg near Flensburg, which dates back to 1980.

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The defense expert major considers the international cooperation in Rostock to be sensible. "This is important because it is absolutely clear that no state can achieve anything in the region on its own", she says. "Despite the various memberships in the EU and NATO, the Baltic Sea is a single area of ​​operation – everyone has to work together."

"Informal leadership" for Germany

Brinkmann sees the new command center as a signal that Germany is ready to take the lead. "We are a navy that plays a special role in the north flank area", he says. "We are still considered a strong Navy within the nine nations. We have an informal leadership role, whether we want it or not." With the new headquarters, Germany joins a group of other countries such as Great Britain, France and Spain, which made such facilities available to NATO. This has not yet happened on the Baltic Sea.

But who will ultimately lead a mission will be decided by NATO’s highest naval command in Northwood, England. "It doesn’t have to be Germany just because it is geographically close"says the admiral. Of course, there is a certain probability.

A German submarine in a Polish port: the design is adapted to the area of ​​operation. (Source: Dominik Werner / Reuters)

As a small and shallow marginal sea with many ports and factories on the coasts, the Baltic Sea poses very special challenges for warfare anyway. Germany traditionally builds smaller submarines than other nations. "It is a challenging playground"As Brinkmann puts it. The narrowness of space requires much greater dynamism, a faster flow of information and faster reactions than on the high seas, for example in the Atlantic, where the distances are simply greater.thesis statement about helping the community

With water depths of only 20 meters in the western and 80 meters in the eastern part and many narrows, mines were also much easier to lay than in other areas on the high seas. "Mine changes geography"says the admiral. The weapon therefore has a very special meaning for all Baltic Sea residents. "Russian ports and sea areas could be blocked by mines. Mines can also prevent the Baltic states from being particularly vulnerable at sea."

NATO is more likely to expect hybrid war

Despite all the military preparation, many experts consider it questionable whether NATO could defend the Baltic states against a Russian military attack. "The answer would be no in a traditional military scenario"says security expert Claudia Major. There are still major problems in strengthening the Western combat units there quickly enough in the event of a crisis.

NATO is now tackling the misery; at its summit in July, the Alliance decided on an initiative to massively increase the operational capability of its troops. "One has to prepare for a military attack, but the question is: is this really the attack we should expect? In my opinion, Russia’s goal is not to take the Baltic States. Moscow’s goal is rather to show NATO and the EU as incapable of action"says Major.

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According to experts, Russia would probably resort to hybrid warfare for this purpose: State hackers could paralyze an electricity plant in one of the Baltic states or instigate an uprising by the Russian minority in one of the countries. "It’s much more difficult when you have such a gray scenario – no more peace and not yet war, just like in Ukraine"warns Major. A cyber attack is very difficult to assign to a perpetrator and, like civil unrest, is initially a case for the police and national security forces.

How does NATO react?

The question is how the alliance reacts when the line between war and non-war is fluid, when there is no case of defense in the classic sense, but a NATO country is apparently being destabilized from within. This is very difficult to determine for a military alliance, says Major. Especially since the alliance case is not an automatic one, but a political decision that all allies make by consensus. "If NATO does not intervene, Russia’s goal has been achieved: it has been proven that NATO does not stick together, that the alliance Riga is not worth as much as Chicago."

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Brinkmann expresses himself similarly. "I wouldn’t necessarily expect the big argument like this"the admiral explains. "On the other hand, I can certainly imagine limited provocations to test the cohesion and determination of the alliance. For example, certain infrastructure can be the target of aggression." In the worst case, this could lead to regional conflicts, but not global disputes. "This then requires a decisive reaction, and it has to be organized. We are currently in the process of positioning ourselves in the interests of national and alliance defense."

Is Russia Risking The Conflict?

Even very tangible interests could speak against Russia seeking a major conflict in the Baltic Sea. Because the country might have more to lose than to gain: the urgently needed income from the Nord Stream gas pipeline, for example, which runs through the Baltic Sea to Germany and could be affected by a dispute. In addition, some of the most important Russian naval shipyards and some of the few ice-free ports in the country are located on the Baltic Sea. All of this would be jeopardized by a major conflict on NATO’s wet flank.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: The US President’s concessions shocked many observers. (Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

On the other hand, there could also be red lines that would allow Russia to take these risks. For example, if the leadership in Moscow sees Kaliningrad or the balance of power in the region at risk. The derogatory behavior of US President Donald Trump towards NATO and his threat to leave the alliance could possibly encourage the leadership in Moscow to initiate certain provocations.

"Deterrence works mostly psychologically. Through the stationing of troops, exercises and appropriate communication, NATO wants to deter potential opponents, i.e. to show that an attack is not worthwhile because the costs would be greater than the benefits. But that only works if the NATO states themselves, as well as potential opponents, believe that this is being taken seriously and that NATO really stands together in the event of a crisis"says the security expert Major. "Trump’s message at the NATO summit was fatal in terms of deterrence. Do you really believe such a divided bunch that they will stand up for each other when the going gets tough?"

So far, the West has been vigilant but not alarmed to Russia’s behavior. According to the latest figures, the leadership in Moscow only spends about a tenth of the amount on its military like the USA. A marine expert also points out that part of the Russian armament in the Baltic Sea is simply part of the long-term planned modernization of the fleet there: "What we have also seen since 2014 is an occasion to take a closer look. However, it does not exceed a critical threshold."

Sources used: Reuters

Berlin (AP) – Half a year after the death of the music producer Avicii, the British singer Rita Ora (27) is still depressed. "That was a real shock. It shows that behind closed doors it can be very dark and sad"said Ora to the German press agency.

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The Swede was found dead in a hotel in Oman in April at the age of 28. In a British TV documentary, the musician previously spoke of anxiety and stress.

"It is a scary time and we should do everything we can to help people open up and seek help"said Ora. "Its hard. Especially when you know someone. And still you don’t know what’s going on inside him. It is sad."

The pop singer ("Let you love me") was friends with Avicii and recorded the song with him in 2017 "Lonely Together" on. At a concert shortly after his death, Ora asked for a minute’s silence. Her new album will be released on November 23rd "Phoenix".

NATO is preparing a maneuver in Norway with more than 44,000 soldiers. It is a training for the attack of a fictional opponent. It is an open secret that this refers to Russia.

Is Russia Still a Threat? In the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question was answered in the negative by a number of NATO countries. In 2014 that changed dramatically. In the near future, training will begin again for emergencies – bigger than it has been for a long time.

The NATO maneuver starting in four weeks "Trident Juncture 2018" is to be the largest of the alliance since the end of the Cold War. According to the latest planning status, more than 44,000 soldiers will take part in the exercise in Norway, as military circles in Brussels confirmed to the German press agency. According to its own information, the Bundeswehr alone provides around 10,000.

In the event of an attack by a Member State

With the major maneuver in Norway, NATO wants to train for the so-called alliance case from October 25 to November 23. This could be declared if one or more of the 29 member states were attacked by an opponent. As a result, the other allies would then have to provide assistance.

In the event of an alliance, for a long time after the end of the Cold War there was less intensive practice. After Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, NATO changed its strategy. Above all, Poland and the Baltic allies Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia feel increasingly threatened by the current policies of their larger neighbors and are calling for armaments and more deterrence.

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Official statement: Training not because of Russia

The NATO headquarters in Brussels, meanwhile, emphasizes that "Trident Juncture" (Three-pronged connection point) is not specifically practiced for the scenario of a Russian attack. With the maneuver, the joint defense of a fictional opponent should be trained, said a spokeswoman for the dpa. "The scenario and exercise are not directed against any particular country."

At the same time, however, NATO diplomats secretly confirm that it is of course no coincidence that the exercise is being carried out in a country bordering Russia. You also point out that the heartland of the former Soviet Union recently trained intensively for large-scale conflicts. According to information from Moscow, almost 300,000 soldiers are said to have participated in the most recent major Russian maneuver in Vostok (East).

Two possible scenarios are practiced

In the first round of the upcoming NATO maneuver, according to the alliance, countries such as Germany, Italy and Great Britain will be trained "southern forces" an attack from "northern forces" fend off. The latter are said to consist of troops from the USA, Canada and Norway. In the second round, the scenario then sees a counterattack "southern forces" on the "northern forces" in front.

The last NATO maneuvers that were bigger than the upcoming edition of "Trident Juncture", took place before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, according to NATO diplomats. At that time there were still the "Reforger" Abbreviated series of maneuvers "Return of Forces to Germany" (Return of armed forces to Germany). Up to 125,000 soldiers were involved in it.

The exercise is considered to be the largest NATO maneuver to date since the end of the Cold War "Strong Resolve" in 2002. Around 40,000 soldiers were deployed here.

Bundeswehr to take over rapid NATO reaction force

As partner countries of NATO, "Trident Juncture 2018" Sweden and Finland included. In total, in addition to more than 44,000 soldiers, around 130 aircraft, 70 ships and more than 10,000 vehicles are currently expected. The fact that the Bundeswehr is so heavily involved is due to the fact that it is to take over the leadership of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) from the beginning of 2019. In addition to around 10,000 soldiers, Germany also provides more than 4,000 vehicles. Among them are about 100 tanks.

For hosts Norway, the exercise is associated with enormous logistical efforts. For example, the armed forces estimate that 1.8 million meals will have to be served and that 660 tons of dirty laundry will be produced.

Sources used: dpa

Stockholm (AP) – The Alternative Nobel Prize this year rewards the fight against corruption in Central America, totalitarianism in Saudi Arabia and the drought in Africa.

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