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Reuters vom 23.09.2018

"Explainer: Why nuclear disclosure is key first step in North Korea's denuclearization"

Hyonhee Shin und David Brunnstrom erklären, warum eine offizielle Offenlegung des nordkoreanischen Atomprogramms von vielen Experten als zentrale Voraussetzung für einen Erfolg der Verhandlungen zwischen den USA und Nordkorea betrachtet wird. "Estimates on how many nuclear weapons North Korea vary. U.S. intelligence officials have put it at between 30 and 60 warheads, while South Korea’s intelligence agency said last month the North may have as many as 100 warheads. 38 North, which estimates North Korea has 50-60 nuclear warheads, said last year the operational Yongbyon reactor is capable of producing around 6 kg of plutonium every year, enough to make about two bombs. The suspected continuation of production makes it an urgent task to get Pyongyang to first freeze nuclear and missile production, as well as convince it to declare all related facilities for verification, experts say. 'How far the North would go to disclose its facilities would be key,' said Kim Dae-young, a military analyst at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy in Seoul. 'Though it may be implausible to rid them completely of nuclear capabilities, it’s crucial to make it impossible for them to build the bombs again, including through regular inspections.'"

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Middle East Online vom 23.09.2018

"Wary Pro-Turkey Syria rebels accept Idlib deal"

Die von der Türkei unterstützten Rebellengruppen in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz haben dem zwischen Ankara und Moskau ausgehandelten Kompromiss "vorsichtig" zugestimmt, berichtet Middle East Online. "Late Saturday, the National Liberation Front (NLF) rebel alliance in a statement accepted the deal reached on Monday for Idlib, but said they remained on their guard. They announced 'our full cooperation with our Turkish ally in helping to make a success their efforts to spare civilians from the afflictions of war'. (...) Under the deal, all factions in the planned demilitarised zone must hand over their heavy weapons by October 10, and radical groups must withdraw by October 15. Both the extremist Hurras al-Deen and NLF rebels are present inside this planned buffer area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. But the dominant HTS alliance is also widely present, according to the Britain-based monitor. The jihadist-led group -- which controls more than half of the Idlib region -- has not officially responded to the agreement."

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The American Conservative vom 20.09.2018

"America Prime No Longer: In Syria, Regional Powers Step Up"

Daniel DePetris hält es für eine gute Nachricht, dass die USA nicht direkt an den jüngsten Verhandlungen über die Zukunft Syriens beteiligt waren. In Washington habe sich der falsche Konsens durchgesetzt, dass die USA auf jeden Konflikt in der Welt reagieren müssen, um die eigene globale Dominanz zu bestätigen. "Neoconservative Republicans and internationalist Democrats on Capitol Hill — of which there are many — simply can’t fathom that the United States shouldn’t respond in some way when bad things are happening around the world. If innocent people are being killed or American competitors stepping into voids with solutions, the U.S. can’t afford to sit on its hands and be complacent. To even suggest such a thing is labeled by this camp as unconscionable, bordering on traitorous — a direct challenge to the idea of America as the indispensable nation. American primacy has been etched into the psyche of Washington’s foreign policy establishment ever since the Berlin Wall was chiseled away by thousands of freedom-loving Germans. And it’s been with us ever since. Primacy is an addictive drug. The American people, after all, are ambitious: if there’s a problem that needs solving, they want to solve it. (...) If you dare to question their wisdom, you’re branded as an isolationist or an appeaser who hasn’t learned from Neville Chamberlain’s Munich experience. It is the primacists, however, who haven’t learned the lessons history has to offer. One of those lessons, even if we as Americans are uncomfortable admitting it, is that the United States doesn’t have all the answers."

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The Moscow Times vom 20.09.2018

"Why Putin Has Suddenly Turned Dovish on Syria"

Leonid Bershidsky führt Russlands Kompromissbereitschaft in Syrien vor allem auf US-Präsident Trump und dessen demonstrierte Bereitschaft zum Einsatz des US-Militärs gegen Präsident Assad zurück. "Unlike President Barack Obama, Trump has not hesitated to use force against the Assad regime. He has stepped up the U.S. military presence in Syria, and he reportedly agreed recently to keep troops there indefinitely. Erdogan’s warnings against attacking Idlib were backed up by some strong rhetoric from the U.S. The last thing Putin wants is for the U.S., flanked by Turkey and Israel, to attack the Assad regime. He’d be pitted against three major military powers with only Iran and the feckless Assad forces as his allies. (...) Now, to hold on to the gains Putin made jointly with Assad, he needs to exercise caution. On the one hand, he’s winning points by showing a willingness to compromise; on the other hand, though, he can’t be seen as showing weakness. This is perhaps the most difficult position for the Russian leader in Syria since 2015."

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Russia in Global Affairs vom 19.09.2018

"Where Is the West As Endgame in Syria Looms?"

Nach Ansicht von Mary Dejevsky sollten sich die USA und Großbritannien von ihrem Ziel eines Sturzes von Präsident Assad endgültig verabschieden und im Interesse der syrischen Zivilisten aktiv am diplomatischen Prozess zur Beendigung des Krieges mitwirken. "Even as the calls go out to Russia to restrain its Syrian ally and spare the three million or so civilians in Idlib, there is no visible Western presence at any negotiating table. It is not quite true that there have been no Western engagement at all. France has been quietly bringing together a group of EU and Middle Eastern countries, and the UN is involved through its special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura. (...) If the Idlib buffer zone is established, and holds, the dilemma will be for the West. The US and the UK will have to decide at what point to abandon their proxies (if they have not already done so) and if and when to try to enter any peace process. Their leverage, however, will be less than it would have been if they had accepted defeat sooner. It is high time that the US, and especially the UK, accepted that their war in Syria has been lost – or at least that their original objective, the removal of Bashar al-Assad has not been achieved. Are they prepared to pursue the fight now at the expense of Idlib’s civilians?"

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Al-Monitor vom 19.09.2018

"Russia gives Turkey one last month for solution in Syria"

Mit der jüngsten Einigung zur Einrichtung einer Pufferzone in Idlib habe Russland der Türkei praktisch einen Monat Zeit gegeben, um die radikalen Gruppen in der syrischen Provinz davon zu überzeugen, den Bedingungen der demilitarisierten Zone zuzustimmen und ihre schweren Waffen abzugeben, schreibt Metin Gurcan. Nach dieser Frist könnte demnach eine von Ankara unterstützte russische Kampagne zur Bekämpfung der Gruppen beginnen, die sich diesen Bedingungen widersetzen. "It will be interesting to see how Ankara tries to persuade Idlib radical groups — above all, HTS — to get on board with the Putin-Erdogan agreement. It appears Ankara has offered these options: - If they want to remain in Idlib they will give up their guns and demobilize. - If they don’t want to give up their guns, they will have to leave Idlib. - Those who refuse to give up their guns but still want to remain will then be expected to join the National Liberation Front, fully supported by Turkey in the Jarablus/al-Rai/al-Bab triangle. If there are groups that reject all options, Ankara will then be expected to provide Russia with intelligence and logistics to conduct targeted operations against them. It's now understood that the Idlib operation, instead of being a high-paced, short-term operation, will drag on for eight to 10 months at a low tempo with occasional targeted attacks while negotiations continue."

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New York Times vom 19.09.2018

"North Korea’s New Nuclear Promises Fall Short of U.S. Demands"

Choe Sang-Hun und David E. Sanger machen dagegen darauf aufmerksam, dass das jüngste Angebot Nordkoreas nur den Abbau einer Atomanlage und nicht die von den USA geforderte Denuklearisierung umfasse. Viele Experten blieben deshalb skeptisch. "The offers Mr. Kim made on Wednesday — as well as actions he has already taken, such as a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests and the destruction of the North’s underground nuclear test site — indicated that he was willing to partly curtail his ability to produce more nuclear warheads and ICBMs. But the offers say little about his existing arsenal. Mr. Kim’s ultimate goal, analysts say, is to make the Trump administration complacent enough to ease sanctions in return for a freeze — not dismantlement — of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. 'No matter how hard I look, I can find no real progress in denuclearization in today’s announcements,' said Cheon Seong-whun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul."

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The Atlantic vom 19.09.2018

"South Korea May Have Just Helped Break a Nuclear Impasse"

Der südkoreanische Präsident habe dem stockenden Verhandlungsprozess zwischen Nordkorea und den USA durch sein Gipfeltreffen mit Kim Jong-un einen wichtigen Impuls gegeben, schreibt Uri Friedman. "As the arms-control expert Tom Collina has observed, we’ve reached the point in nuclear negotiations where it’s as if North Korea has offered to sell the United States a house, but critical details like the price and the closing date — and even the extent to which North Korea is still upgrading the home — remain unclear. In Pyongyang this week, Moon Jae In attempted to reaffirm that a house is indeed coming on the market and to ferret out more information on its dimensions and the process for making a down payment — to make as clear as possible, in other words, that the house is something more than a dream."

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NBC News vom 19.09.2018

"North Korea's Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if U.S. takes steps too"

Nordkoreas Staatschef Kim Jong-un hat beim Gipfeltreffen mit Südkoreas Präsident Moon Jae-in einen Abbau der landesweit größten Atomanlage in Aussicht gestellt. Voraussetzung wären demnach entsprechende und nicht näher genannte Zugeständnisse der USA. "According to a joint statement issued by the two leaders, Kim also accepted international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and a vowed to work with South Korea to host the Summer Olympics in 2032. Declaring they had made a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, the two leaders were side by side as they announced the to a group of North and South Korean reporters after a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning."

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Slate vom 18.09.2018

"Why Russia Can’t Do Anything About Other Countries Killing Its Troops in Syria"

Der angeblich durch Israel herbeigeführte Abschuss eines russischen Militärflugzeugs in Syrien ist Joshua Keating zufolge nur das jüngste Beispiel einer Serie von Vorfällen, bei denen russische Soldaten von anderen Akteuren ohne weiterreichende diplomatische Konsequenzen getötet wurden. "Russia is in a very strange position in Syria. It’s arguably the key outside actor in the conflict and, more impressively, has decent relationships, or at least working relationships, with most of the other key players, many of whom are in open conflict with each other: the Assad regime, the Saudis and the Gulf states, Iran, Israel, Turkey, the Kurds, the United States. (That last one’s a little more complicated.) Because of these delicate relationships, Russia does not appear to be in a position to respond or even voice major objections when one of those actors kills its troops, accidentally or in some cases deliberately. This can’t be an encouraging message for the troops and 'volunteers' in Syria who Putin is putting in harm’s way."

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The Times of Israel vom 18.09.2018

"In rare move, IDF admits Syria strike, expresses sorrow over Russian plane"

Die potentielle Krise zwischen Israel und Russland nach dem Abschuss eines russischen Militärflugzeugs durch die syrische Luftabwehr ist offenbar wieder entschärft. Während Israel den Luftangriff bestätigt und den Abschuss bedauert hat, hat Präsident Putin den Vorfall als "Verkettung tragischer Umstände" bezeichnet. "The Israeli and Russian militaries maintain what they call a 'deconfliction mechanism,' which is meant to coordinate their activities in Syria in order to avoid incidents like this one. Until Monday night, these efforts had largely succeeded in preventing direct or indirect clashes since Russia became more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war three years ago. The Israeli military said it had coordinated with Russia ahead of the attack, though it did not address Moscow’s specific claims about the amount of time between the notification and the airstrike itself."

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Reuters vom 18.09.2018

"Fate of jihadists will make or break Idlib peace plan"

Das Gelingen der russisch-türkischen Einigung im Streit um das Vorgehen in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz wird vor allem vom Verhalten der dort vorherrschenden Dschihadisten abhängen, schreiben Tulay Karadeniz und Dominic Evans. "For the foreign jihadists, Idlib is the last haven in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad, backed by his allies Russia and Iran, reversed years of rebel gains and drove his opponents from remaining pockets in southern and western parts of the country. 'The main problem is the foreign fighters, they have nowhere to go,' said Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat and analyst with Carnegie Europe. (...) An insurgent source in Idlib said there were different views emerging within Tahrir al-Sham over whether to cooperate. The group’s stance is crucial because once its decision-making Shura Council rules on the issue, Tahrir al-Sham wields enough power to impose its will on other jihadist fighters in Idlib, including foreigners, the source said. 'If there is an agreement between Tahrir al-Sham and Turkey, the matter will proceed easily,' the source said."

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The Washington Post vom 18.09.2018

"Russia-Turkey deal may delay, but not prevent, a battle for Syria’s Idlib province"

Die russisch-türkische Vereinbarung zur Einrichtung einer Pufferzone in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz wird eine Offensive syrischer Regierungstruppen nach Ansicht einiger Experten nur verschieben. "'We definitely should not think that the Idlib deal is the ultimate deal. What we are seeing is only a measure for the time being. It is not the endgame for Idlib,' she said. 'At best, this deal postpones a potential confrontation in Idlib rather than completely eliminates the possibility of an offensive.' Unusually for Syria, however, the deal was welcomed by all sides as an opportunity to avert, at least for now, the immense suffering that a battle would inflict on the more than 3 million civilians in the northwestern province."

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Al-Monitor vom 18.09.2018

"What Putin-Erdogan deal means for Idlib"

Maxim A. Suchkov berichtet über Einzelheiten und mögliche Konsequenzen der Einigung zwischen Präsident Putin und Präsident Erdogan über die Einrichtung einer Pufferzone in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz. "The deal, however, if it indeed can be branded as such, is a significant but just initial serious step in settling the complex matter Idlib has grown into over the last few years. The juice is definitely worth the squeeze here but multiple challenges — military and diplomatic alike — remain. Most important is the question as to how long Moscow can be successful in continuing to restrain President Assad’s attempt to extend his government's control over the territory and whether Ankara delivers on its own commitments that are many, fine and security-sensitive. Finally, there are questions over how politically and militarily 'surgical' both will get trying to separate the 'moderate wheat' from the 'radical chaff' without endangering Syria’s security in the long run, by trying to assimilate the latter into the former, but also without hurting the civilians in the immediate term."

Mehr lesen vom 18.09.2018

"Here's What to Expect From the Third Summit Between Korean Leaders Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In"

Eli Meixler berichtet über das mittlerweile dritte Gipfeltreffen zwischen Kim Jong Un und Moon Jae In in Pjöngjang. "The three-day summit, the third between the Korean leaders, comes as U.S.-North Korean negotiations have reached an impasse since the landmark summit between President Donald Trump and Kim in June. Moon and Kim hailed 'a new era of peace' when they first met at the Panmunjom 'truce village' between the two Koreas in April. Kim also became the first North Korean leader to enter South Korea since the Korean War was halted by an armistice in 1953. Their second inter-Korea meeting came in May, in the lead-up to the summit with Trump. The talks this week also come in the wake of North Korea’s 70th national anniversary celebrations and a military parade that drew praise from Trump for playing down North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. Moon will also likely propose further inter-Korean economic engagement, which has so far been obstructed by sanctions, to encourage reduced hostilities along the Koreas’ shared 155-mile border."

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