US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Washington Post


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"'Immediate responses' are needed to save lives in Yemen, U.N. and aid groups say"

Die UNO und internationale Hilfsorganisationen haben ihre Warnungen vor einer humanitären Katastrophe in Jemen erneut bekräftigt. "In a new analysis, a consortium of U.N. agencies, aid groups and experts said that a total of 16 million people, or more than half the population, was now considered 'food insecure,' even when factoring in the substantial food aid being provided across Yemen. Of those, 11 million were categorized as bring in phase 3 of a five-stage scale for hunger. Another 5 million were considered to be in phase 4, an 'emergency' situation, while about 65,000 were in 'catastrophe' conditions or phase 5, according to the report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which assesses food crises worldwide."

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"Trump administration prepares to add Venezuela to list of state sponsors of terrorism"

Die US-Regierung erwägt offenbar, Venezuela auf die Liste internationaler Terror-Unterstützer zu setzen. John Hudson und Lena H. Sun zufolge wäre dies eine "dramatische Eskalation" der ohnehin angespannten Beziehungen zur sozialistischen Maduro-Regierung. "The list is reserved for governments accused of repeatedly providing 'support for acts of international terrorism' and includes only Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Republican lawmakers led by Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) have pushed for the designation, citing Venezuela’s alleged ties to Lebanese Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and other groups. Republicans have long accused Venezuela of having ties to terrorist organizations. But experts have played down the threat and strength of those connections. They warn that a designation that does not offer concrete evidence could weaken the legitimacy of the U.S. list, which critics say already is applied inconsistently. (...) The move could limit U.S. assistance to Venezuela and prohibit financial transactions as the country reels from hyperinflation and extreme food and medicine shortages that have sent millions fleeing to neighboring countries. Many Venezuelans blame Maduro for rampant corruption across the government and mishandling of the economy."

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"Trump administration denies reaching conclusion on Khashoggi"

Präsident Trump und das Außenministerium haben betont, dass die Einschätzung der CIA zum Hergang der Ermordung des saudi-arabischen Journalisten Khashoggi nicht als offizielle Position der US-Regierung angesehen werden sollte. "Trump told reporters before he left the White House for California that, when it came to the crown prince, 'as of this moment we were told that he did not play a role. We’re going to have to find out what they have to say.' In his remarks, the president spoke of Saudi Arabia as 'a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development.' 'I have to take a lot of things into consideration' when deciding what measures to take against the kingdom, he said. The State Department statement noted the administration’s recent actions against a number of Saudis, but also cited the need to maintain 'the important strategic relationship' between the two allies."

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"Macron’s pyrrhic victory over Trump"

Ishaan Tharoor schreibt, dass der Anspruch des französischen Präsidenten auf eine globale Führungsrolle bereits jetzt durch die politischen Realitäten in Frankreich und Europa in Frage gestellt werde. "Macron’s approval ratings slumped to record lows in recent months. A poll last week placed Macron’s centrist ruling party behind the French far-right ahead of next year’s elections for the European Parliament. (...) 'Europeans are too deeply divided among themselves — and on the fundamentals,' Dominique Moïsi, a foreign policy analyst at the Institut Montaigne in Paris and former Macron campaign adviser, told my colleague James McAuley. 'He’s weakened by the fact that he’s orphaned by Merkel and he’s weakened inside by the spectacular fall of his popularity.' These divides — and his own domestic travails — hobble Macron’s attempts at global leadership, analysts suggest."

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"A year after the Ritz-Carlton roundup, Saudi elites remain jailed by the crown prince"

Viele politische Rivalen des saudi-arabischen Kronprinzen Mohammed bin Salman sind ein Jahr nach ihrer Verhaftung offenbar immer noch in einem Luxushotel interniert, berichten Kevin Sullivan und Kareem Fahim. "Early this year, the Saudi attorney general said 56 men remained locked up, some the subject of criminal investigations, with more than $106 billion in cash, real estate, businesses, securities and other assets recovered in the Ritz operation. Mohammed said in an interview last month with Bloomberg News that only eight men were still being detained. He offered no other details except to say, 'They’re with their lawyers and facing the system that we have in Saudi Arabia.' But other people familiar with the detentions said the number is much higher, with 45 Ritz detainees still locked up. (...) Human rights activists and other analysts said Mohammed may be preparing to release more of the detainees to help cool the international furor over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Oct. 2."

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"Arab states fear Khashoggi case could trigger regional instability"

Karen DeYoung und Souad Mekhennet zufolge fürchtet die arabische Welt die sicherheitspolitischen Folgen des Khashoggi-Skandals in der Region. "(...) what worries the Arabs most, regional officials and experts say, is what they see as the danger to their own stability and security should Saudi Arabia’s status — and its close ties with the United States — be seriously undermined. 'The situation is a dilemma for the region because of the uncertainty of how it will affect the relationship with the U.S. long-term,' said a senior official from a Persian Gulf country, one of several who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the sensitive issue. (...) If the administration decides — or is pressured by Congress and public opinion — to seriously step back from its alliance with Riyadh, 'our security is at risk,' the gulf official said. 'Iran might see another opportunity to destabilize.'"

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"How a right-wing terrorist anticipated the ultranationalist wave"

Sieben Jahre nach dem Terroranschlag von Oslo und auf der Insel Utøya in Norwegen erscheine der Massenmörder Anders Behring Breivik nicht länger als ideologisch isolierter Täter, schreibt Ishaan Tharoor anlässlich der Veröffentlichung des neuen Films "22 July" des Regisseurs Paul Greengrass. "Across Scandinavia, Europe and even the United States, far-right, anti-immigrant politics are ascendant. Speaking to Today’s WorldView, Greengrass said Breivik’s 'intellectual worldview has migrated' closer to the political center. 'We can test the extent we should be disturbed by the extent to which you can see Breivik’s manifesto come into the mainstream,' Greengrass said in an interview last week while visiting Washington. With President Trump and others railing against 'globalists,' immigrants and liberals, the suggestion is that we should be very disturbed, indeed."

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"After journalist vanishes, focus shifts to young prince’s 'dark' and bullying side"

Hat Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman die Ermordung des Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul angeordnet? Karen DeYoung und Kareem Fahim berichten, dass Kenner des saudi-arabischen Thronfolgers geschockt, aber nicht überrascht wären, wenn sich diese Anschuldigung als wahr herausstellen würde. "They describe a dark and bullying side of a young man in a hurry, one who has absolute power and does not tolerate dissent. (...) Mohammed and people who know him assert that his Western admirers have always misunderstood his intentions, projecting their own hopes for the transformation of Saudi Arabia onto a prince who is the antithesis of the cautious, elderly leadership that has ruled the kingdom for decades, and seemed brash enough to push through his modernization plans. (...) If Khashoggi’s disappearance shocked Westerners, they were simply not paying close attention to events in the kingdom, and the lengths to which the crown prince has been willing to go to quash dissent, say seasoned Saudi human rights advocates."

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"Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show"

Überwachungsaufnahmen von US-Geheimdiensten lassen diesem Bericht zufolge vermuten, dass Saudi-Arabien die Verhaftung des regimekritischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi bereits früher geplant hat. "The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan. The intelligence, described by U.S. officials familiar with it, is another piece of evidence implicating the Saudi regime in Khashoggi’s disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (...) The intelligence about Saudi Arabia’s earlier plans to detain Khashoggi have raised questions about whether the Trump administration should have warned the journalist that he might be in danger."

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"After months of deadlock, Iraqis name new president and prime minister"

Monate nach den Parlamentswahlen haben sich die irakischen Parteien auf die Ernennung eines neuen Premierministers und eines Präsidenten geeinigt. Mustafa Salim und Tamer El-Ghobashy berichten, dass die gewohnten schiitischen, sunnitischen und kurdischen Konfliktlinien im langen Verhandlungsprozess zugunsten pragmatischer Koalitionen in den Hintergrund gerückt sind. "Within an hour of Iraq’s parliament electing veteran Kurdish politician Barham Salih as president, he announced that he had asked former oil minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to form the next government. The selection of the men showed how the sectarian loyalties in Iraq’s Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab communities that have prevailed since the U.S. invasion in 2003 are breaking down, giving way to more-pragmatic coalitions that cut across sectarian lines. (...) the vote left no clear winner in the ongoing tussle between Iran and the United States to place their allies in Iraq’s key political posts as Washington seeks to isolate Tehran economically and politically."

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"In a blow to the West, most Macedonians sit out vote to unlock NATO and E.U. membership"

Michael Birnbaum beurteilt das Scheitern des Referendums über einen neuen Landesnamen in Mazedonien als Niederlage für den Westen. "The hotly contested campaign was closely watched by the Kremlin and Western leaders, who saw the vote as a signal for the geopolitical direction of the Balkans at a time when Russia and NATO nations are competing fiercely for influence in Europe. (...) Western leaders had poured into Skopje in recent weeks to push for a 'yes' vote, in a measure of the stakes of the referendum. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were among the heavyweights who passed through. Many of them described the deal as a once-in-a-generation chance for Macedonia to join the West."

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"Bolton: U.S. forces will stay in Syria until Iran and its proxies depart"

Der Nationale Sicherheitsberater John Bolton hat den Abzug der US-Truppen aus Syrien von einem Rückzug Irans und der von Teheran unterstützten Milizen abhängig gemacht. "White House national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that the United States wouldn’t be leaving Syria so long as Iranian forces continued to operate there, suggesting the Trump administration had embraced an expanded mission in the embattled country beyond the defeat of the Islamic State. Bolton made the comments to reporters in New York ahead of President Trump’s planned speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, directly linking any future withdrawal of American troops from Syria to the departure of Iranian forces from the nation. Iran has joined Russia and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to back Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in a war in its eighth year. 'We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,' Bolton said, according to the Associated Press."

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"Japan’s Abe finds himself on sidelines amid outreach with North Korea"

In den Staatsmedien Nordkoreas habe Japan die USA als Feindbild derzeit abgelöst, berichtet Simon Denyer. Japan sei im internationalen Verhandlungsprozess an den Rand gedrängt worden. So habe sich Premierminister Abe bisher umsonst um ein eigenes Gipfeltreffen mit Kim Jong-un bemüht. "North Korea’s propaganda machine has gone easy on the United States this year. But it has stepped up its vilification of Japan, sparing no opportunity to remind its citizens of Korea’s suffering under Japanese colonial rule in the decades before World War II. Japan, North Korean state media argues, is nothing less than 'heinous war criminal state,' populated by 'island barbarians' and led by a 'kingpin of corruption' who has done only evil deeds since taking power. The question is whether all that bluster matters. After all, the North had blasted the United States with a similar propaganda barrage for decades. But the fast-moving events this year have highlighted Japan’s outlier status as possible deals are cut and new relationships are formed. 'There is a real danger that Abe’s Japan is going to get left behind,' said Koichi Nakano, a political-science professor at Tokyo’s Sophia University."

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"Terrorism is down worldwide, but State Department says Iran maintains ‘near-global reach’"

Das US-Außenministerium wirft dem Iran in einem neuen Bericht vor, ein terroristisches Netzwerk auf nahezu globaler Ebene zu betreiben und dabei auch die USA ins Visier zu nehmen. "The annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2017 said Iran and the proxy groups it finances were responsible for attacks or attempted attacks in the Middle East, Europe, South America and Africa. 'It brings to its terrorist activities the resources of a state,' Nathan Sales, the coordinator for counterterrorism, said in a call with reporters. 'Iran uses terrorism as a tool of its statecraft,' he added. 'It has no reservations about using that tool on any continent.' (...) Iran has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984. It is one of four countries on the list, along with North Korea, Syria and Sudan. As evidence that Iran intended to potentially launch an attack in the United States, the report cited the arrest last summer of two men in Michigan and New York suspected of being undercover operatives for Hezbollah. Iran provides financial support to the Lebanese militant group."

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"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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"U.S.-backed forces launch what could be the last major battle against ISIS in Syria"

Die kurdische SDF-Miliz hat im Osten Syriens eine Offensive mit amerikanischer Luftunterstützung gegen die letzte syrische Bastion des "Islamischen Staates" begonnen. "Ground forces with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces began the offensive Monday night, advancing toward the town of Hajin aided by U.S. airstrikes, U.S. and SDF officials said. Hajin is the largest town in an approximately 95-square-mile stretch of mostly desert terrain along the Euphrates River’s east bank. The conquest of this territory would mark an effective end to the Islamic State’s 'caliphate,' which at its peak in 2014-2015 spanned vast areas of Syria and Iraq. The battle, however, won’t spell an end to the threat posed by the militants, who are already regrouping in pockets of territory in Iraq and also maintain cells scattered across the vast desert area to the west of the Euphrates, which is under Syrian government control."

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"Trump administration met with, but rebuffed, Venezuelan officers who said they were plotting a coup, officials say"

Karen DeYoung und Greg Jaffe berichten, dass Vertreter der US-Regierung im vergangenen Jahr mehrfach mit rebellierenden venezolanischen Offizieren Putschpläne gegen Präsident Maduro diskutiert hätten. Die Bitte um Unterstützung sei von den US-Offiziellen allerdings abgelehnt worden. "The Trump administration met several times last year and early this year with Venezuelan military officers purporting to be dissidents plotting a coup against President Nicolás Maduro, but ultimately rebuffed their requests for assistance, according to U.S. officials. The operation was small and closely held, according to one senior official, who described the meetings as 'all listening. We listen to anyone who wants to talk to us.' (... ) Maduro has frequently accused the United States of plotting with his opponents, and of economic and actual warfare against him. The outreach by the officers 'highlighted the level of desperation' in Venezuela, and the Trump administration was eager to understand what was going on inside the armed forces, according to another person familiar with meetings."

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"Syrian rebels in Idlib target those who might surrender as government assault looms"

Radikalislamische Rebellen wollen in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz eine verhandelte Kapitulation wie in anderen Provinzen um jeden Preis verhindern, berichten Louisa Loveluck und Ghalia Al Alwani. In der Stadt Harem seien zur Abschreckung öffentliche Hinrichtungsstätten für "Verräter" errichtet worden. "As a possible showdown approaches, the rebels have arrested and tortured people they accuse of conceding defeat, sowing fear in the local population. A doctor was recently pulled from his home at night, witnesses said. A pistachio peddler was arrested as masked men patrolled the street. (...) Monitoring groups and local residents put most of the blame on HTS, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, but say the Turkish-backed fighters have also arrested dozens of people."

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"Trump, McCain and the waning of the 'liberal order'"

Die Nachrufe auf John McCain sind Ishaan Tharoor zufolge zum Teil auch Nachrufe auf die Weltsicht des verstorbenen US-Senators. McCain sei zuletzt als Verteidiger der "liberalen Weltordnung" aufgetreten und habe US-Präsident Trumps neuen Kurs besonders scharf kritisiert. "As the Washington establishment mourned McCain’s passing, it became clear that it was mourning not just a man’s death, but the waning of the world he seemed to represent. The global vision championed by McCain seems to be in profound retreat. (...) In McCain’s case, his embrace of the 'liberal order' ultimately hinged on a belief in American exceptionalism and, by extension, hegemony. His support for bloody, ill-fated wars — most notably the 2003 invasion of Iraq — and his cheerleading for further interventions in the Middle East may be remembered long after we forget his advocacy for human rights."

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"End U.S. support for this misbegotten and unwinnable war"

Die Washington Post fordert in diesem Leitartikel, dass die amerikanische Unterstützung der von Saudi-Arabien angeführten Militärkoalition in Jemen eingestellt werden sollte. "Like the Obama administration before it, the Trump administration has tried to keep its distance from the Saudi campaign while simultaneously supporting it through the sales of bombs, targeting intelligence and refueling for planes. Meanwhile, a promised cakewalk — the Saudis and their United Arab Emirates allies promised to quickly defeat Houthi rebels who had driven a Saudi-backed government out of the capital — has turned into a quagmire. The tangible result has been tens of thousands of deaths and what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 8 million people on the brink of famine and more than 1 million infected with cholera. It is long past time to end U.S. support for this misbegotten and unwinnable war."

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"Terrorist attacks are quietly declining around the world"

Trotz aufsehenerregender Angriffe wie der jüngsten Autoattacke in London nehme die Zahl der Terroranschläge international seit 2015 stetig ab, berichtet Adam Taylor. "Right now, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths from terrorism appears to have peaked in 2014, when there were nearly 17,000 attacks and more than 45,000 victims. What explains the downward trend? In Western Europe, where the number of attacks increased slightly in 2017 — but the number of victims dropped by 65 percent — it may be matters of policing and counterintelligence. (...) On a global scale, however, the answer is clear. Though there was a surge in terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years, most attacks still occur in the Middle East and Africa, and those regions saw a big decline in 2017. (...) That can largely be attributed to the Islamic States' loss of territory and military defeats throughout 2017. Without a stable base, the number of attacks the jihadist group could stage in countries like Iraq and Syria dropped sharply, as did the damage it could inflict on civilian populations."

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"U.S. spy agencies: North Korea is working on new missiles"

Neue Satellitenaufnahmen deuten US-Geheimdiensten zufolge darauf hin, dass Nordkorea die Produktion von Interkontinentalraketen keineswegs eingestellt hat. "Newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicates that work is underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe classified intelligence. The findings are the latest to show ongoing activity inside North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities at a time when the country’s leaders are engaged in arms talks with the United States. The new intelligence does not suggest an expansion of North Korea’s capabilities but shows that work on advanced weapons is continuing weeks after President Trump declared in a Twitter posting that Pyongyang was 'no longer a Nuclear Threat.'"

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"North Korea has 2.6 million 'modern slaves,' new report estimates"

Dem von der Walk Free Foundation veröffentlichten Global Slavery Index zufolge muss jeder zehnte Nordkoreaner unter sklavenähnlichen Bedingungen arbeiten. "The report defines modern slavery as slavery itself, as well as human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale and exploitation of children. The findings come amid ongoing negotiations between North Korea and the United States, as well as concurrent inter-Korean talks with South Korea. These talks have focused on denuclearization and military issues rather than human rights issues such as slavery. 'There's a strong focus on bombs and missiles, but the North Korean tragedy is much more about lost freedom through the brutal suppression of human potential,' said Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation."

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"U.S. assessing cost of keeping troops in Germany as Trump battles with Europe"

Im Pentagon sind der Washington Post zufolge interne Berechnungen über die Kosten der Stationierung und eines möglichen Abzugs der etwa 35.000 US-Soldaten aus Deutschland angestellt worden. Es habe sich allerdings nur um das Ausloten möglicher Optionen gehandelt, ein tatsächlicher Abzug der Truppen sei in der Pentagon-Führung bisher kein Thema. "U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment on the unpublicized effort, emphasized that the exercise is limited to an internal exploration of options. The top military brass are not involved as yet, and the Pentagon has not been tasked with figuring out how to execute any option. (...) Several officials suggested that Pentagon policymakers may have moved ahead with the assessment to prove the worth of the current basing arrangement and dissuade Trump from carrying the thought of withdrawal any further. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon dismissed any suggestion of a full or partial withdrawal from Germany and described such analysis as routine."

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"Is Trump handing Putin a victory in Syria?"

David Ignatius zufolge deutet sich ein zwischen den USA, Russland und Israel ausgehandeltes diplomatisches "Endspiel" zur Beendigung des Syrienkonflikts an. Die US-Regierung würde sich dabei auf die Eindämmung Irans konzentrieren und die künftige Herrschaft der Assad-Regierung akzeptieren. "An intriguing aspect of the possible Syria deal is that it’s driven by close cooperation between Russia and Israel. The Israeli agenda, like Trump’s, is narrowly focused on blocking Iran — and Israelis seem to have concluded that Putin is a reliable regional partner. Israeli, European and U.S. experts outlined some likely elements of the framework. In exchange for U.S. withdrawal of its demands for a political transition in Syria, Russia will support various measures to contain Iranian power (...). Syrian opposition leaders are bitterly disappointed at the deal that’s taking shape, and one warned me that the American 'betrayal' will be an incubator for future jihadist movements."

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"If they needed to fend off war with Russia, U.S. military leaders worry they might not get there in time"

Das Pentagon beklagt Michael Birnbaum zufolge, dass US-Transporte auf ihren Routen durch Europa immer wieder durch Verkehrsprobleme und Grenzkontrollen aufgehalten werden. Im Fall eines Konflikts mit Russland könnte es demnach zu lange dauern, Truppen und Material schnell in den Osten zu verlagern. "Although many barriers would drop away if there were a declaration of war, the hazy period before a military engagement would present a major problem. NATO has just a skeleton force deployed to its member countries that share a border with Russia. Backup forces would need to traverse hundreds of miles. And the delays — a mixture of bureaucracy, bad planning and decaying infrastructure — could enable Russia to seize NATO territory in the Baltics while U.S. Army planners were still filling out the 17 forms needed to cross Germany and into Poland. During at least one White House exercise that gamed out a European war with Russia, the logistical stumbles contributed to a NATO loss."

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"The U.S. ambassador in Germany flies the Trumpist flag"

Der neue US-Botschafter in Deutschland, Richard Grenell, erweist sich Ishaan Tharoor zufolge immer mehr als idealer Vermittler der offensichtlichen Antipathie Donald Trumps gegenüber den europäischen Verbündeten. "Germany is the most populous nation in Europe, the continent's economic powerhouse and the biggest net contributor to the European Union. It has been a close American ally for decades, and the bonds between Washington and Berlin grew particularly strong in the latter years of the Obama administration, with Chancellor Angela Merkel supplanting her British counterparts to take up the mantle of the 'special relationship.' So it was always going to be interesting to see what happened when President Trump's ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, finally took up his post. (...) Grenell's nomination was held up for months over his combative past, and he was confirmed by the Senate only in late April. But it didn't take long for things to blow up once he reached Berlin."

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"North Korea reportedly wants a McDonald’s. That could be a pretty big deal."

Als eines der möglichen Zugeständnisse Nordkoreas in den Verhandlungen mit den USA ist die Eröffnung von McDonalds-Filialen im kommunistischen Land genannt worden. Caitlin Dewey meint, dass die Bedeutung dieses vermeintlich geringfügigen Schrittes nicht unterschätzt werden sollte. "McDonald’s has long been seen as a symbol of Western culture and capitalism — particularly in communist countries. And it’s expansion into China and Russia was seen as a landmark in the 1990s. 'This has happened with a number of different communist cultures,' said Jenny Town, a research analyst at the Stimson Center and the managing editor of 38 North, an academic news site about North Korea. 'Once they start to get different points of contact with the West, it changes their views — and it usually starts with McDonald’s or Coca-Cola.' From its earliest days, McDonald’s has been more than a fast-food restaurant. It is also a vector for American culture and a powerful symbol of globalization."

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"Syria’s army is on a path to victory after ousting rebels from Damascus"

Nach der Vertreibung der letzten Rebellen aus den Vororten von Damaskus scheine sich die syrische Armee endgültig auf dem Siegeszug zu befinden, schreibt Louisa Loveluck. "The armed opposition is now relegated to Idlib province in the north near the Turkish border and Daraa in the south near the Jordanian border. On Friday, Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets in the northern districts of Daraa, warning rebels to lay down their weapons or face an offensive there. (...) Many of the country’s traditional economic hubs are also back under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. The highway linking them is being rebuilt and will provide a secure route for government soldiers heading to the remaining front lines. 'The regime is not strong, but there can be no question that it is now going to take over remaining areas of Syria until it reaches the front line of zones controlled by others,' said Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut."

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"A terrorist attack turned Charlie Hebdo into a revered institution it never sought to be"

Mehr als drei Jahre nach dem Anschlag von Al-Qaida-Terroristen auf die Redaktion von Charlie Hebdo sei aus dem französischen Satire-Magazin eine kulturelle Institution geworden, schreibt James McAuley. "The current edition portrays 19-year-old Maryam Pougetoux, a student union leader who appeared on television earlier this month wearing a veil, as a monkey in a hijab. For Muslim readers and others angered by the magazine’s portrayals, however, the problem is that the national reverence for Charlie Hebdo undermines any counterarguments. (...) 'Since they were attacked, and the murders that happened at Charlie Hebdo, they have had a Republican shield,' [Marwan Muhammad, a Muslim community organizer,] said. 'Every time you want to criticize them, you’re told, 'They’ve paid the price of blood. Let them do as they please.'' In a sense, Muhammad said, such attitudes destroy the same ideal of free expression that Charlie Hebdo stands for."

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