Foreign Fighters and Regional Security in Central Asia

Authors: Gregory Gleason and Roger Kangas - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 17 - Published: April 2017

sipaper15Political insurgents seek to overthrow nation-states in the Middle East with the goal of creating a supra-national empire. With the aim of expanding territorial control, these political extremists have used violence, brutality, and coercion unseen in the modern world. The use of such unprecedented and unexpected barbaric methods of expansion initially met with little organized resistance. In June 2014, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi proclaimed the establishment of an “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” which came to be known by its acronym Da’esh. As the world became aware of the true nature of this cruel and sadistic political movement, Middle Eastern states and foreign partners organized to repel and destroy the insurgents. Resistance to Da’esh is not yet well coordinated and focused but it is determined.

Da’esh fighters will lose battles and territory in Syria and Iraq. This does not mean, however, the war will necessarily terminate with an unconditional surrender of the insurgency. Da’esh’s defeat can be expected to result in death, fragmentation, and destruction of the main forces yet may also result in the dispersion of thousands of battle-hardened extremists who escape capture or destruction.

Some of these fighters may seek to join other forces still operating in other parts of Syria, Libya, Afghanistan or elsewhere. The fragmentation of Da’esh may also result in the return of fighters and ideological zealots to their countries of origin, including the countries of Central Asia. In “Foreign Fighters and Regional Security in Central Asia,” Gregory Gleason and Roger Kangas examine the factors behind the dynamics of the insurgency and offer perspectives on international cooperation to address these issues. Gleason and Kangas analyze tactical issues combatting the immediate threats as well as long-term strategic issues involved in promoting a just and resilient post-ISIL normalization.

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Hybrid Threats and Strengthening Resilience on Europe’s Eastern Flank

Authors: Pál Dunay and Ralf Roloff - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 16 - Published: March 2017

sipaper16Between 23-27 January 2017, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, brought together sixty civilian and military mid- to senior level security policy practitioners and experts from 26 countries in order to collaborate on the second European Security Seminar-East (ESS-E). The group’s task was to explore how to address the hybrid threats and contribute to making the West, as redefined since the end of the East-West conflict, more resilient against them. However, the definition of the prospects had to be based on an accurate and realistic assessment of the security situation and the concerns that are associated with the security challenges emerging in Europe’s east.

The meeting was held at a turbulent and somewhat unpredictable time, during the week after the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, a few months after the Brexit referendum and a week before the renewed intensification of hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine between the Ukrainian armed forces, the separatists and those that back the latter. As the seminar addressed potential responses to hybrid threats, including building resilience to counter them, it faced the challenge of working with ill-defined categories and overcoming disagreements as far as their meaning and interpretation.

 

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Foreign Terrorist Fighters: German Islamists in Syria and Iraq and What Can be Done about Them

Author: Daniel H. Heinke - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 15 - Published: September 2016

sipaper15Though the numbers of European Foreign Terrorist Fighters in Syria (and, to a lesser extent, in Iraq) appear to be declining, there is still a constant influx of new recruits for Jihadist factions in this cross-border civil war, most notably the so-called Islamic State (IS). Islamists have tried to recruit German-speaking Muslims in the past, but in recent years their efforts have increased in both quantity and quality. While there had been some individuals involved in conflicts in the Muslim world earlier–including support of the Taliban in Afghanistan, participation in the post-Yugoslav civil war in Bosnia,and, to a lesser extent, in Chechnya, Yemen, and Somalia – the war in Syria provided a whole new theater of conflict that has attracted radicalized Muslims from Germany ona previously unseen scale. The official current estimate is that more than 850 persons left Germany for Syria or Iraq because of Islamist motivations, although it is not possible to verify that all of these individuals did indeed reach the region. About one-third of those who departed to join IS is known to beor assumed to be back in Germany. More than seventy of those have experienced armed combat with the Islamic State or at least undergone some sort of military training.

About 140 Islamists from Germany are presumed to have been killed in the conflict. In order to both effectively counter future departures of foreign terrorist fighters and to develop a strategy on how to deal with the returnees, it is necessary to compile and analyze the available data on the individuals who have departed thus far, including known factors that influenced the radicalization process. The German security authorities, i.e. the police and domestic intelligence agencies of both the Länder (states) and on the federal level, collected and aggregated information about 677 individuals who had departed Germany to travel to Syria or Iraq before 30 June 2015. This analysis was jointly conducted by the Bundeskriminalamt (the Federal Criminal Police Agency), the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (the Federal Domestic Intelligence Service), and the Hessisches Informations- und Kompetenzzentrum gegen Extremismus (Hessian Center for Information and Expertise on Extremism). The analysis was released on 4 December 2015 by the Ständige Konferenz der Innenminister und -senatoren der Länder (Permanent Conference of Ministers of the Interior of the Länder).This edition of Security Insights highlights some of themost important findings in terms of data available, sheds some light on the factors involved in radicalization, andbriefly outlines the main approaches used to counter this threat in Germany.

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Euro-Atlantic Security: A Pre-Warsaw Assessment

Authors: Matthew Rhodes and Michal Kořan - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 14 - Published: June 2016

sipaper15The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Czech Republic, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, and the Prague Institute for International Relations co-organized an international conference, “Euro-Atlantic Security: A Pre-Warsaw Assessment,” at the MFA in Prague 29 February - 1 March 2016. Over sixty officials and scholars from the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, and the United States analyzed their nations’ shared security outlook in the lead up to NATO’s July summit in Warsaw.

This paper draws freely on discussions at the conference in an attempt to capture and extend their major points. The crises of the past two years have accelerated NATO’s political and military adaptation as a twenty-first century alliance. Still, in the face of a fraying international order, a united Euro-Atlantic community must seize the opportunity of Warsaw to transition from reactive coping to more proactive shaping of its security environment.

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Revisiting Convergence: Adapting Europe’s Security Strategy to Emerging Challenges

Authors: Jürgen Storbeck & Sebastian von Münchow - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 13 - Published: March 2016

sipaper13Europe is now facing security challenges that only a few security practitioners, researchers, academics, and politicians would have predicted a decade and a half ago when terrorist attacks convulsed the U.S. and Europe. Many of the European Union’s security policy concerns relate to instability found in countries in the region’s immediate vicinity. Civil wars have erupted in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, causing immense suffering for the general populace in these states. Asymmetrical conflicts as well as corrupt executive and judicial branches in these countries have led to fragile or failed states. The subsequent lack of functioning governmental structures has facilitated the convergence of organized crime and terror in the Middle East as well as in other countries of the African continent. There, terrorist groups have increasingly adjusted their operations and now use methods long associated with organized crime. That is the case of Al-Shaabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. The latter, with a reported budget of two billion U.S. dollars - including a $250 million surplus - and a comprehensive bureaucracy that allows for a wide range of revenue streams, stands out as a model of diversified and selffinancing business, built on a number of coopted revenue streams, including some that are drawn from illegal or criminal sources. Money, however, is also the Achilles’ heel of terrorist organizations, therefore countering the financing of terrorism should be at the core of any strategy in the fight against terrorism.

This paper sets out to explore to what extent and under what premises new forms of terrorism may converge with organized criminal structures and activities. Sources and dynamics of terrorism funding, where the phenomenon of convergence stands out, are specifically examined.

The discussion highlights the necessity of establishing an overarching European framework to counter terrorism. This framework should identify a set of priorities Europe has to address in order to combat transnational organized crime and international terrorism. Particular attention should be dedicated to developing specific measures to counter terrorist use of criminal activity as a source of revenue.

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The New Dynamic in the East: Conflicts, Vulnerability, and (Dis)Order

Authors: Graeme P. Herd & Ralf Roloff - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 12 - Published: January 2016

sipaper12Between 11-15 January 2016, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, a German-American partnership, brought together fifty-eight military and civilian mid- to senior level security policy practitioners and experts from twenty-eight countries in order to collaborate on our first European Security Seminar East (ESS-E). The group’s task was to explore how best to relate to the Russian Federation in the future. Participants were divided into five working groups that addressed: 1) instruments of national power; 2) protracted conflicts; 3) transnational organized crime, political corruption, and undermining political institutions; 4) economic integration and disintegration; and 5) energy security.

The working group sessions were designed to generate three outputs; in particular, we made explicit the assumptions that underpinned strategic choices. First, possible alternative Euro-Atlantic strategic postures towards Russia and shared neighbors were identified and evaluated. Second, we sought to highlight - through discussions with representatives of Russia’s neighbors - the range of strategic thinking (preferences, attitudes, ideas, and expectations) and to explore how to mitigate frictions between states with differing strategic postures and national security priorities. Third, we wished to inform international policies by generating timely and useful strategic analysis. This edition of Security Insights is the result of these deliberations.

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Baltic and Central European Security After the Ukraine Crisis

Authors: Dr. Matthew Rhodes and Ms. Ruta Buneviciute - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 11 - Published: April 2015

sipaper11The Seimas (parliament) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies co-organized an international conference on “Baltic and Central European Security” in Vilnius, Lithuania 19-20 November 2014. Over sixty officials and scholars from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the United States analyzed the impact of the Ukraine crisis and renewed tension with Russia on regional and Euroatlantic security.

This paper draws freely on discussions at the Vilnius conference in an attempt to capture and extend their major points. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has profoundly challenged international order. The Euroatlantic community retains a significant edge in both present power and future prospects relative to Russia, but it will need to remain united in implementing agreed policy responses as well as develop effective means of countering Russian hybrid warfare. While Germany and the United States must continue to offer leadership in these tasks, geography gives Baltic, Central European, and Nordic countries a particular stake and role in their achievement.

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International Marketing: An Imperative for Southeast Europe

Authors: Michael Czinkota & Valbona Zeneli - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 10 - Published: January 2014

sipaper10International marketing consists of the activity, institutions, and processes across national borders that create, communicate, deliver, and exchange offerings that have value for stakeholders and society. International marketing has forms ranging from export-import trade to licensing, joint ventures, wholly owned subsidiaries, turnkey operations, and management contracts.

The focus is on stakeholders and society, whose present positions are to be improved.

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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: A Historic Deal?

Author: Valbona Zeneli - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 9 - Published: August 2013

sipaper15The daily news about America’s strategic shift towards Asia and the political narrative on the deep economic crisis of the euro zone has misleadingly suggested that Europe is becoming less and less important in the eyes of the U.S. and that transatlantic ties are weakening. Many scholars and policy analysts argue about the real challenges Europe will be facing in light of these changing transatlantic relations. It seems that conventional wisdom is being guided only by press headlines. A couple of important points have been missed here.

During the June 2013 G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland, the United States and European Union (EU) announced plans to open negotiations on a long sought deal to create a unique market between the world’s two strongest economic regions. This joint endeavor, which leaders on both sides of the Atlantic hope will conclude in a final agreement by the end of 2014, is part of the development agenda for creating growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic by boosting trade and investment.

Despite continuing economic turbulence on both sides of the Atlantic and new rising global powers, the transatlantic relationship is already the world’s largest, accounting for half of the global economic output. The visionary deal would deepen the U.S.-EU bilateral relationship, assert trade policy leadership, and advance a rules-based system for global economic governance.

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Democracy and the Transatlantic Community: The Role of Central Europe

Authors: Matthew Rhodes and Michal Baranowski - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 8 - Published: August 2013

sipaper8The Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC), and the Transatlantic Academy (TA) jointly organized an international conference on “Democracy and the Future of the Transatlantic Community” in Warsaw, Poland on 21 May 2013. The event’s timing and location reflected a new wave of concern with democracy’s health (as articulated in TA’s in-depth research report, “The Democratic Disconnect,” released earlier the same month), reflection by the GMF and GCMC on the title topics prompted by milestone anniversaries of their foundings (forty and twenty years, respectively), and the intensified activism in this area by Poland and other countries in Central Europe (as exemplified by the establishment of the new European Endowment for Democracy).

This paper draws freely on discussions at the Warsaw conference in an attempt to capture and extend their major points. The scale of present problems does not doom democracy’s future. Though there are no quick fixes, well-focused efforts can yet revitalize the transatlantic community’s internal politics as well as its external support for democratic development.

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The Global Shift of Power and Its Impact on Europe

Author: Sven Bernhard Gareis - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 7 - Published: November 2012

sipaper7President Barack Obama announced in November 2011 that U.S. security interests would shift to the Asia-Pacific region, bringing to an end the short period of a unipolar world order united under American patronage, if such a thing indeed ever existed. Emerging powers such as China and India have become more determined in the pursuit of their political and economic interests and more self-assertive in claiming a dominant role in the international system. The United States, one the other hand, as the incumbent world power, has had to pool its strengths to maintain its status and has increasingly had to rely on regional partners and alliances to live up to its role. Weakened by two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that it could never win and groaning under an enormous debt burden, the U.S. now must set strategic priorities. “America’s Pacifi c Century,” a term used in recent speeches and articles by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other U.S. officials, is actually not an expression of strength and self-confidence, but rather a term that makes clear that the U.S recognizes that is no longer able to exert its political infl uence to the same degree in all regions of the world.

For Europe, this shift of U.S. interests towards the Pacific does not come as a surprise, but it does have an enormous impact. For a long time, the “old continent” had been in the comfortable position of a consumer of security that was essentially guaranteed by the United States. Europe had been able to enjoy a substantial peace dividend when its armed forces were reduced drastically after the end of the East-West conflict. Today, however, the challenge for Europe will be to take on much more responsibility and become the primary guarantor of its own security. For Europe, as a global commercial and trading power, the Asia-Pacific region is of greatest importance, however thus far Europe’s political role in the area has been a minor one. If Europe does not wish to become a mere spectator in a world dominated by the U.S. and China, it will have to underpin its economic interests with stronger political engagement.

In view of these facts, this paper will attempt to present a European view of the global power shifts and the resulting “rebalancing” of U.S. security interests, and then address the challenges that Europe will face in the context of changing transatlantic relations. The focus of the following remarks will be on the rise of China as well as the reactions of the United States. For a stringent analysis of these current developments, it seems appropriate to first make some brief comments on the defi ning concepts of power in the globalized world.

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2012 - A Make or Break Year for Serbia and Kosovo?

Authors: Dr. Matthew Rhodes and Dr. Valbona Zeneli - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 6 - Published: May 2012

sipaper6Instead of the hoped for turn to normalization, 2011 saw escalated tensions over Kosovo. Agreement on Kosovo’s participation in regional fora and Serbia’s formal advance to EU candidacy in early 2012 have revived a cautious sense of optimism, but unresolved underlying issues and approaching political contests leave the prospects for further progress uncertain. Warnings of precipices and powder kegs are overdone in the Balkans, but 2012 is shaping up as a potentially decisive year for international policy in the region.

Despite the Euro-Atlantic community’s current internal challenges, integration into that community’s formal structures remains the best path for Balkan security and development. It is also a prerequisite for realizing the vision of a stable, democratic, and prosperous united Europe. The United States, European Union, and the countries involved in this process must use the coming months to avoid long-term setbacks to those goals.

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Afghanistan’s Neighbors and Post-Conflict Stabilization

Authors: Gregory Gleason and Timothy A. Krambs - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 5 - Published: March 2012

sipaper5Successful war strategies conclude with successful peace strategies. Afghanistan’s transition from armed conflict to a stable, secure, and developing society depends on its capacity to overcome a fundamental conundrum: economic development cannot take place in the absence of a secure environment; at the same time, a secure environment cannot long be sustained without progress in economic development. Overcoming this fundamental challenge will define Afghanistan’s success in the years ahead. The drawdown of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) is a phased aspect of the transition to national authority and the stabilization of Afghanistan. International coalition troops are scheduled to be reduced in number at the same time as Afghan security forces assume responsibility for the country’s security.

During the transitional period, Afghanistan will continue to be heavily dependent upon foreign partners. Although the relationship with Pakistan will likely continue to be troubled for the foreseeable future, Afghanistan must endeavor to build and maintain stable and secure relations with as many of its neighboring countries as possible. Afghanistan also will need continued international assistance to protect itself from foreign threats and also from insurgents acting within its borders and from abroad. Afghanistan’s relations with its neighbors will continue to be a high priority. The modern world requires secure borders, but it does not require closed borders. In the 21st century, international trade, international investment, and the cross-border movement of ideas, people, goods, and services are necessary components of both economic and political development in any country. In landlocked Afghanistan, relations with neighboring countries define in many respects the interactions with the outside world as a whole.

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NATO Enlargement – Approaching a Standstill

Author: Dr. Raphael Biermann - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 4 - Published: December 2009

sipaper4Zbigniew Brzezinski coined the term “double enlargement” in the 1990s, i.e. the expansion of mission and membership, to capture the new raison d’être of the North Atlantic Alliance in the post-Cold War era. It envisaged Eastern enlargement as one of the two main purposes of NATO following the demise of the Warsaw Pact; the other was crisis response.

In recent years, cracks have appeared in both tracks, leading many critics on both sides of the Atlantic to doubt NATO’s continuing relevance as the premier Euro-Atlantic security institution. While the fissures in the mission track, such as the national caveats in Afghanistan, are widely debated, those in the enlargement track are just surfacing. The discord during the Bucharest Summit of April 2008 surrounding the future enlargement strategy, which centered on whether to grant a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine and whether to extend an invitation to Macedonia in the face of Greece’s veto, did not bode well for the debates to come. The divergent lessons of the Georgian war of August 2008 regarding future enlargement to the Caucasus have brought the issue to the fore. Wisely, it was removed from the table when the Heads of State and Government met in Kehl and Strasbourg last May.

This article argues that enlargement no longer runs on its own steam. Instead, the Alliance is approaching a standstill in both geographic dimensions of enlargement, the East (Georgia, Ukraine) and the South East (Balkans). NATO will either opt for a de facto suspension of enlargement for an indefinite time to come, or it will face divisive internal debates over the quality of the next candidates and the timing of pre-accession steps. This imminent fork in the road calls for a serious review of the fundamentals of NATO enlargement and for innovative proposals to manage the time ahead. The crafting of the new Strategic Concept presents an opportune moment to address these challenges. The goal should be to design a future pre-accession strategy that is consensual within the Alliance, while reassuring to our partners and friends. In the end, devising different categories of associate membership, similar to that of the Western European Union, though leaving open the option of moving from one category to another, might be the least costly way out.

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Uzbekistan Charts a New "Uzbek Path"

Author: Gregory Gleason - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 3 - Published: November 2008

sipaper15The announcement the Uzbek government has withdrawn from participation in the Eurasian Economic Community exemplifies the reliance upon what has come to be known as the “Uzbek Path”. Uzbekistan has a long tradition of independence in policy and orientation, having pursued economic and foreign policies often at odds with its Central Asian neighbors and with Russia. But the withdrawal from participation in the foremost economic cooperation organization in the former Soviet region, the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC), is important because it represents a significant fissure in the solidarity among the former Soviet states so energetically promoted by the Russian government.

The EAEC Secretariat in Moscow was informed in mid-October 2008 by a diplomatic note from the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs of its decision to “suspend” participation in the EAEC. The Uzbek decision was not publicly discussed until the EAEC Secretariat acknowledged the diplomatic note on November 12, 2008. At the same time, a letter from Uzbek President Islam Karimov was sent to all the heads of state of the other EAEC countries—Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan—informing them of Uzbekistan’s decision. Russian foreign officials were slow to acknowledge this unwelcome Uzbek decision. Russia in the years following the initiation of the EAEC agreement in October 2000, had invested a great deal of effort into sponsoring economic integration among the EAEC states. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a November 17, 2008 press interview acknowledged the Uzbek move, noting that Russia would respect Uzbekistan’s right to make independent judgments but felt that the decision was not in Russia’s best interests.

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Kosovo: Adjusting to a New Reality

Author: Dragan Lozancic - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 2 - Published: July 2008

sipaper2The “last episode” of the former Yugoslavia’s dissolution is how United Nations (UN) Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari described his proposal of “supervised independence” for Kosovo, adding it would finally set the region on a new path to peace, stability and prosperity. Kosovo has been administered by a civilian UN mission (UNMIK) under Security Council Resolution 1244 following NATO intervention in 1999 to halt Belgrade’s brutal repression of ethnic Albanians. International involvement transformed Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo to a vaguely nominal title.

Russia’s opposition to Ahtisaari’s comprehensive proposal and the consequent failure to reach an agreement in a final round of talks under a United States (US)-European Union (EU)-Russia “Troika” format led Kosovo’s predominantly Albanian government to declare independence, after protracted consultations, in February and adopt a new constitution in June 2008, both rejected by Belgrade and most Kosovo Serbs. Yet, taken together, these events have set Kosovo on an irrevocable path and represent a new, decisive moment in Kosovo’s conflict-riddled history, perhaps just as difficult and no less uncertain than ever before.

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The Assault on Aid Workers: A New Pattern in Terrorism

Author: Christopher C. Harmon - MC Series: Security Insights, Number 1 - Published: January 2008

sipaper1As 2008 opened, it appears that terrorism confirmed a favorite pattern of recent years: attacks on aid workers and humanitarian professionals.

John Granville, who with his Sudanese driver was shot dead on January first in Khartoum, worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The London Times and the BBC note this happened amidst increasing concerns about the United Nations’ assuming control of peace operations in Darfur. The shooting also happened near the United Nations compound—and observers recall Al Qaeda threats of attacks against U.N. forces in the Sudan. For A.I.D. officials, moreover, there would have been immediate memories of October 2002 when their colleague Lawrence Foley was shot to death in Jordan by two Al Qaeda men.

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