US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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"A Top Adviser to the South Korean President Questions the U.S. Alliance"

Ein enger Berater des südkoreanischen Präsidenten hat Uri Friedman zufolge in einem Interview die Zukunft der Allianz Südkoreas mit den USA in Frage gestellt. "A top adviser to South Korea’s president says he would eventually like to see the U.S.–South Korea alliance end. In language that sounded almost Trump-like, Chung In Moon, a special adviser to President Moon Jae In for foreign affairs and national security, said in an interview that alliances in general are a 'very unnatural state of international relations' and said that, 'for me, the best thing is to really get rid of alliance.' In the meantime, he says, he 'strongly' supports 'the continued presence of American forces' in Korea, despite hoping for an arrangement that he thinks would better serve his nation’s interests. (...) Moon, who presented his ideas as his personal views, was discussing the future of the alliance as a theoretical question about Asia’s security architecture, not as a matter to be determined in nuclear talks. But his comments nevertheless suggested that if those talks succeed and overhaul geopolitics on the Korean peninsula, the alliance could come due for a reckoning."

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"In Photos: Chaos and Bloodshed in Gaza"

Alan Taylor mit einer Bilderserie über die gewaltsame Konfrontation zwischen palästinensischen Demonstranten und israelischen Soldaten an der Grenze zu Gaza. "Protests along the Gaza-Israel border were met with tear gas and live fire from Israeli forces, leaving dozens dead and hundreds wounded on Monday. The Palestinian demonstrations marked a confluence of events, including the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, (moved from Tel Aviv after President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel), and the upcoming 70th anniversary of what Palestinians call the nakba, or 'catastrophe,' the day thousands were driven from their homes in 1948."

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"Iran vs. Israel: Is a Major War Ahead?"

Avi Issacharoff glaubt nicht, dass die aktuelle Konfrontation zwischen Israel und Iran in Syrien zu einem offenen Krieg zwischen beiden Ländern führen wird. "Tehran has no intention of retreating from Syria with its tail between its legs. Israel, on the other hand, has made it clear that it will oppose Iranian entrenchment in Syria at all costs. This makes further rounds of clashes all but inevitable. For two reasons, however, such clashes are unlikely to escalate into all-out war. First, since Iran and Israel do not share a border, it is difficult to see how the present hostilities could spiral into a wide-ranging confrontation involving ground operations. On the other hand, if Iran chooses to involve its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, which does share a border with Israel, matters would look quite different, especially given Hezbollah’s exceptional rocket arsenal. This brings us to a second reason war is unlikely: No party regards a full-scale conflict between Israel and Iran as in its strategic interests — Israel and Iran themselves don’t, nor do the U.S. or Russia, or even Hezbollah and Syria."

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"Singapore: The Safe Choice for Trump's Meeting With Kim Jong Un"

Das Gipfeltreffen zwischen US-Präsident Trump und dem nordkoreanischen Staatschef Kim Jong Un soll am 12. Juni in Singapur stattfinden. Uri Friedman schreibt, dass mit diesem Verzicht auf Symbolik eine sichere Wahl getroffen worden sei. "Singapore has no special connection to the Korean conflict or the North Korean nuclear crisis. But it does have the distinction of maintaining relatively good relations with both the United States and North Korea, and thus serves as neutral territory. (...) Kim Jiyoon, a senior fellow at the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said that while a U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore could focus solely on North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program, a meeting in a place like Panmunjom or the North Korean capital of Pyongyang would suggest something different. It would draw attention not just to denuclearization but also to 'the peace process on the Korean peninsula and … America’s [military] presence in Northeast Asia.' The United States and North Korea may not be prepared to have the latter conversation yet."

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"The Three Crises Sparked by Trump's Withdrawal From the Iran Deal"

US-Präsident Donald Trump werde es schwer fallen die Folgen zu ignorieren, die sich aus seiner Entscheidung, das Atomabkommen mit dem Iran aufzukündigen ergeben werden, konstatiert David Frum in The Atlantic. "The first will be a crisis with allies and other partners. Will they agree to reimpose their sanctions on Iran? It’s not just nato countries that will have to be cajoled or coerced. Complying with UN-voted sanctions, India reduced its dependence on Iranian crude oil from 13 percent of its imports in 2009–2010 to 5 percent in 2014–2015. Iran, the second-largest oil supplier to the world’s third-biggest oil importer before the sanctions hit, is rapidly recovering its market share—and India plans to double its imports in the coming year. What’s the plan for getting India back on board?"

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"Iran Hawks Are the New Iraq Hawks"

Peter Beinart fühlt sich durch die Präsentation vom Geheiminformationen über das iranische Atomwaffenprogramm durch den israelischen Ministerpräsidenten Bejamin Netanjahu an eine Szene vor 15 Jahren erinnert, als der damalige US-Außenminister Colin Powell vor der UNO über angebliche Massenvernichtungswaffen des Iraks berichtet hatte. "I had a flashback. It was to February 5, 2003, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell unveiled secret information that supposedly proved that Iraq was deceiving the world about its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. Like Netanyahu’s, Powell’s presentation was dramatic. He informed the United Nations Security Council that some of the material he was about to present came from 'people who have risked their lives to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.' He went on to play a secretly recorded conversation of two Iraqi officials supposedly plotting to mislead weapons inspectors. He later presented a photo of bunkers that allegedly held 'active chemical munitions' but were 'clean when the inspectors get there.' Saddam, Powell insisted, wants 'to give those [of] us on this Council the false impression that the inspection process was working.' Powell’s presentation was designed to prove that it was not."

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"Turkey's Dangerous Game of 'Hostage Diplomacy'"

Der türkische Präsident Erdogan betreibt seine in Deutschland scharf kritisierte "Geisel-Diplomatie" offenbar auch gegenüber den USA. Diego Cupolo berichtet, dass der amerikanische Pastor Andrew Brunson im Oktober 2016 in Izmir wegen angeblicher Spionage und Terrorverbindungen festgenommen worden sei. Brunsons Prozess hat demnach erst eineinhalb Jahre später am 16. April begonnen, ihm drohen 35 Jahre Haft. "For Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, Brunson’s case offered a chance to engage in a sort of hostage diplomacy. In a speech last fall, Erdogan appeared to link Brunson’s release to his demands for the extradition of Gulen by the Trump administration. (U.S. officials claim they have yet to receive adequate evidence to fulfill the request.) ''Give us the pastor back', they say. You have one pastor as well. Give him to us,' Erdogan said, referring to Gulen. 'Then we will try him [Brunson] and give him to you.'"

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"What Netanyahu Did and Didn't Say About Iran's Nuclear Program"

Krishnadev Calamur analysiert die von Premierminister Netanjahu präsentierten Vorwürfe gegen den Iran im Detail und weist darauf hin, dass die angeblichen Beweise für ein iranisches Atomwaffenprogramm vor allem den Zeitraum zwischen 1999 und 2003 beträfen. Hinweise auf eine iranische Verletzung des aktuellen Atomabkommens habe Netanjahu nicht vorgelegt. "Although Netanyahu said Iran had lied about possessing a nuclear-weapons program, and had hidden its plans for one in the hopes of picking it up at a later date, he did not say the Islamic Republic wasn’t living up to its international commitments. In that, he reflected the consensus of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which must regularly certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, as well as the other countries that signed the deal — including the U.S."

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"ISIS Tactics Have Spread to Other Violent Actors"

Die Amokfahrt von Toronto hat offenbar keinen terroristischen Hintergrund. Graeme Wood meint allerdings, dass der Täter nicht nur seine Taktik vom "Islamischen Staat" übernommen habe. "In fact the alleged driver turns out to be a Canadian of likely Armenian descent, and sympathetic not to ISIS but, according to a Facebook post the company confirmed to be from the suspect’s since-deleted account, to 'incels,' short for 'involuntarily celibate.' Incels, mostly male, want to have sex but find no willing partners. (...) Sexually undesirable losers have long taken out their frustration on others — mostly individual women; but now, after four years of Islamic State R&D, the menu of mayhem is greatly expanded. (...) ISIS grew, as I have shown, out of a number of other movements that before about 2011 were atomized, separated from each other and pursuing different, if compatible, goals. Syria served as a place for condensation, where like-minded strangers could come together and build a kingdom of God on earth. It was a jihadist flash mob. (...) Once the incels griped to themselves, occasionally victimizing others, and sometimes getting over their pathology or finding a partner. Now they can come together online and find others to validate their grievances and encourage them to action. Dating is harder when you spend a lot of time being bitter online. Murder is easier when someone is whispering at you every few minutes, telling you the rest of the world deserves what it gets."

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"Trump and Macron See the World Very Differently"

Trotz ihrer öffentlich demonstrierten Nähe hätten Präsident Macron und Präsident Trump in zentralen politischen Fragen grundsätzlich unterschiedliche Ansichten, schreibt Uri Friedman. "Macron is currently engaged in no less than a campaign to convince Trump that when it comes to solving the world’s knottiest problems, the American president essentially has it backwards. (...) Macron is trying to chart 'a third way between the nationalist temptation' that Trump finds alluring and 'the globalist creed' that Trump rails against, Paul Zajac and Benjamin Haddad observe in Foreign Policy. He and Trump are both attuned to the populist backlash against globalization at home, they write. But Macron proposes 'a different set of answers' than Trump — arguing that it’s possible to be patriotic without being parochial, to be both a strong actor in the world and a liberal multilateralist, to be simultaneously independent and interdependent."

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"How the 'French Obama' Became the 'Trump Whisperer'"

Mit seinem Besuch in Washington habe Frankreichs Präsident Macron seinen Ruf untermauert, einer der engsten internationalen Freunde Donald Trumps zu sein, schreibt Yasmeen Serhan. "Despite their political differences over the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, the two seem to share a mutual respect, perhaps best demonstrated by Trump’s reluctance to criticize Macron publicly. 'No I like him, he’s a friend of mine,' Trump told British TV presenter Piers Morgan during an interview in January, in which Morgan asked Trump whether Macron ('who’s been all over you, trying to be your new best friend') should be perceived as a threat to Britain’s ambitions for a U.K.-U.S. trade deal. 'Emmanuel,' Trump repeated, emphasizing each syllable with a smile. 'He’s a great guy.'"

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"Trump's Syria Strategy Actually Makes Sense"

Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen Beobachtern hält Kori Schake vom International Institute for Strategic Studies die Syrienstrategie von US-Präsident Trump angesichts der Umstände durchaus für überzeugend. Im Gegensatz zu Amtsvorgänger Obama verfolge Trump keine "grandiosen Ziele", die ohnehin zum Scheitern verurteilt wären. "His strategy is to limit American involvement, to push responsibility for outcomes in the region back onto states in the region, and to let power determine outcomes. He has no particular affinity for states in the region, and professes to be a devoted friend to each without committing to enduring obligations to any. He is indifferent to government type, and just as likely to be a benefactor to authoritarians as to democrats. It is an approach international relations theorists call 'realism,' of the variant called 'offshore balancing,' as he seeks to withdraw U.S. forces from the region. The one twist from standard realism is the president’s susceptibility to images of suffering. He indulges an occasional sentimentality to Do Something when randomly confronted by video of victims of chemical weapons attacks. (...) he is willing to act punitively and in a limited way to penalize chemical weapons use. This he has done without letting it upend his strategy: It is not a commitment to change the horrible and predictable outcome of the Syrian civil war; it is narrowly constrained to avoid involving Iran or Russia. (...) Obama was self-deterred, whereas Trump — or at least his administration — runs limited risks. Obama generated false hope among reformers and victims; Trump generates no hope. But he does have a strategy, and it does carefully assess and manage risk to achieve its aims."

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"What Is America Going to Do About Syria Now?"

US-Präsident Trump hat angekündigt, den mutmaßlichen Giftgaseinsatz in Syrien "entschieden" zu beantworten. Uri Friedman schreibt, dass der US-Regierung vier Optionen offen ständen: "(1) Massive Military Engagement (...) (2) Limited Military Engagement (...) Rather than aiming to deter Assad from using chemical weapons , a more realistic goal for limited U.S. strikes is to sanction those who commit atrocities and degrade the Syrian military’s ability to harm its own people, [Tobias Schneider, a research fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin,] reasoned. 'There is no shortage of targets: facilities associated with chemical-weapons programs, airbases used for their delivery, and [the] headquarters of the notorious air force intelligence service, which [is believed to have] coordinated the most recent attacks. ... A broader assault could include munitions factories [and] maintenance and supply bases that keep the teetering loyalist forces afloat.' (...) (3) Diplomatic and Humanitarian Engagement (...) (4) Military Withdrawal. James Dobbins, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Obama administration, told me that in the near term a 'punitive' U.S. strike 'may be necessary to sustain U.S. credibility' regarding the chemical-weapons taboo. But afterwards, he proposed, the United States should offer to remove its troops from Syria and 'normalize relations' with the Assad government once the U.S-allied Kurds are granted autonomy within their enclave of Syria and all foreign militias, particularly those associated with Iran, are withdrawn from the country."

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"Sisi's Control of Egypt Is Absolute"

Nach dem klaren Sieg von Abdel Fattah al-Sisi bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen in Ägypten erwartet H.A. Hellyer, dass der Staatschef seine unangefochtene Machtposition nutzen könnte, um sich mit Hilfe einer Verfassungsänderung eine dritte Amtszeit zu verschaffen. Eine echte Opposition gebe es nicht mehr, nur die relativ niedrige Wahlbeteiligung könnte für Sisi ein Problem sein. "As things stand now, Sisi would seem to have sufficient support from Egypt’s business elite, along with a substantial proportion of the networks of former President Hosni Mubarak. The opposition to Sisi beyond the state apparatus is also too weak to oppose such a move. Opposition from different actors such as disaffected former supporters, pro-revolutionary activists and political groups, and pro-Muslim Brotherhood stalwarts, does exist. But it is an open question as to whether they can muster enough support to thwart any move to change the constitution. Yet, Sisi shouldn’t be too comfortable. The low voter turnout, despite his vigorous attempts to mobilize voters, suggested a significant level of public apathy. That should concern Cairo. In the medium to long term, such apathy can disrupt a healthy political system."

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"A New Plan to Create an 'Islam of France'"

Frankreichs Präsident Macron hat Karina Piser zufolge angekündigt, einen neuen Anlauf zur Etablierung eines Islams französischer Prägung zu unternehmen. Einige Experten beurteilten den Plan skeptisch: "(...) many Muslims consider a top-down approach to manage Islam domesticating or patronizing, particularly in light of France’s unresolved colonial legacy in the Arab-Muslim world — a way to assimilate Islam to the point of invisibility. There’s another reason why observers may look upon state-run efforts with skepticism. The primary objective — rarely stated explicitly and often folded into rhetorical platitudes about social cohesion — is clear: fighting radicalization. 'It’s always implied that a French Islam is a moderate one, opposed to terrorism,' said Olivier Roy, a scholar on Islam and professor at the European University Institute in Florence. 'But what does it mean for a religion to be moderate?'"

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"The Return of the Iraq War Argument"

Hardliner in Washington benutzten bei ihren Überlegungen über einen möglichen Präventivkrieg gegen Nordkorea die gleichen Argumentationsmuster wie vor der Irak-Invasion vor 15 Jahren, schreibt Uri Friedman. Interessanterweise habe Präsident Bush die Bedrohung durch Nordkorea damals heruntergespielt. "Fifteen years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, hardliners are applying one of the arguments for attacking Saddam Hussein to Kim Jong Un: that war now, when a rogue leader is on the verge of possessing weapons of mass destruction, is preferable to a much worse war later, when that leader or his vicious allies would be in a position to use those weapons. Conflict is characterized as a calling on behalf of future generations, rather than a choice by the present ones. (...) Even as the Bush administration warned of mushroom clouds stemming from Iraq, which had no nuclear-weapons program, it downplayed the threat from North Korea, which had just disclosed a secret nuclear-weapons program. The Kim regime could be contained and deterred through diplomacy and economic pressure, officials argued. (...) if the Trump administration were to launch a preventive war against the Kim regime, it would be based on an assessment of its adversary that is fundamentally at odds with the conclusion the Bush administration reached 15 years ago. Bush, too, confronted the specter of a North Korea armed with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. And in that case, he did not choose war."

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"The Rise of Right-Wing Foreign Policy in America"

Mit Rex Tillerson sei der letzte Vertreter einer moderaten republikanischen Außenpolitik aus der Trump-Regierung ausgeschieden, schreibt Peter Beinart. Condoleezza Rice und Robert Gates hätten Trump 2017 zur Ernennung Tillersons gedrängt, da sie gehofft hätten, dass der Ex-Manager ihre eigene Weltsicht in der Trump-Regierung vertreten würde. Dieser Versuch sei nun gescheitert. "Like Rice and Gates, Tillerson was — in Walter Russell Mead’s terminology — a 'Hamiltonian.' He believed in prudently managing America’s empire so that American business, and by extension the American people, could prosper. He was not a crusader, a risk-taker, or a moralist. And he didn’t see America’s relationships with other powerful nations as zero-sum. In Tillerson, Rice and Gates saw a chance to smuggle into the Trump administration the moderate Republican foreign-policy establishment that they had served for much of their lives. (...) In Pompeo, Trump is turning to a new Republican foreign-policy elite: one whose ideological lineage dates not to Eisenhower but to McCarthy, not to Nixon and Kissinger but to Goldwater, not to George H.W Bush but to Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. The conservative movement, long hostile to its party’s moderate foreign policy establishment, is creating a new foreign policy establishment of its own."

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"What If Trump's North Korea Bluster Actually Worked?"

Die diplomatische Offensive Nordkoreas wirft Krishnadev Calamur zufolge die Frage auf, ob die aggressive Nordkorea-Rhetorik des US-Präsidenten tatsächlich die gewünschte Wirkung gezeigt habe. Einige Experten seien der Ansicht, dass die Fortschritte der nordkoreanischen Waffenprogramme eine wichtigere Rolle spielen: "Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, said she’d be 'very cautious' in giving the administration too much credit. 'If you look at what the North Koreans have been saying, they have made it clear that they were willing to come to the table when they felt they were able to deter an attack from the United States,' she said. 'Well, now they feel that they can do that.' This, she suggested, was less about what’s happening in Washington than what’s been happening in North Korea. DiMaggio, who has visited North Korea several times, pointed out that the North Koreans said earlier this year that they have, in Kim’s words, perfected 'the national nuclear forces.' 'So if [talks with the U.S.] were to move forward, they would be coming to the table as a country that possesses nuclear weapons,' she said. 'That’s a major difference. And I think that maybe that's given the confidence to initiate a return to talks now.'"

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"Saudi Crown Prince: Iran's Supreme Leader 'Makes Hitler Look Good'"

Jeffrey Goldberg hat ein ausführliches Interview mit dem saudi-arabischen Kronprinzen geführt, in dem sich Mohammed bin Salman u.a. zum Iran und zu Israel äußert. "He was jovial to the point of ebullience when I met him at his brother’s compound outside Washington (his brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, is the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.). Prince Mohammed (who is known widely by his initials, MbS) seemed eager to download his heterodoxical, contentious views on a number of subjects — on women’s rights (he appears doubtful about the laws that force Saudi women to travel with male relatives); on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who is, in the prince’s mind, worse than Hitler; and on Israel. He told me he recognizes the right of the Jewish people to have a nation-state of their own next to a Palestinian state; no Arab leader has ever acknowledged such a right."

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"Russia and America Aren't Morally Equivalent"

Thomas O. Melia von der US-Entwicklungshilfeorganisation USAID will nicht, dass russische Versuche zur Beeinflussung von Wahlen in den USA mit früheren verdeckten US-Interventionen in Ländern wie Iran oder Guatemala und heutigen amerikanischen Bestrebungen zur Unterstützung von Demokratien auf eine Stufe gestellt werden. "There are two important distinctions to clarify. First, and most important, is the difference between programs to strengthen democratic processes in another country (without regard to specific electoral outcomes), versus efforts to manipulate another country’s election in order to sow chaos, undermine public confidence in the political system, and diminish a country’s social stability. (...) Yet while the U.S. and like-minded governments implementing democracy support programs have evolved this new kind of international engagement that is benign and neighborly, the Russian government remains, one might say, un-evolved. (...) Avoiding half-baked comparisons and category errors may help clarify the present Russian intervention debate. Malign interference in American elections must be thwarted, and Americans deserve a clear and precise discussion about what to do about it. Meanwhile, supporting genuine democracy in other lands is and will remain an honorable and appropriate part of U.S. engagement in the world."

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"The U.S. Fights Terrorism — But Not School Shootings"

Nach dem erneuten Amoklauf eines Schützen in den USA kann Uri Friedman nicht verstehen, warum die US-Regierung diese Art der Gewalt im Gegensatz zur Terrorbedrohung scheinbar toleriere. "America has created or reshuffled more than 260 government organizations since the 9/11 attacks, including massive new entities such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into securing the homeland, from $1 million baggage-screening machines to a failed $1 billion camera-and-sensor network at the U.S.-Mexico border. It has invested vast sums in more intrusive surveillance activities and other means of intelligence gathering — precisely how vast, no one can say. (...) The U.S. government spends roughly $22 million a year on gun-violence research — a 'tiny fraction of what it spends on other major health threats,' according to NPR. It’s an even tinier fraction of what it spends on counterterrorism; we’re talking the equivalent of 22 baggage-screening machines. (...) These differences stem in large part from the disparate ways that terrorism and gun violence are perceived and experienced in the United States. While U.S. mass shootings took 117 lives in 2017 alone by one count, they haven’t caused the all-at-once devastation of 9/11, which killed nearly 3,000 people. (...) But when massacres like the one in Florida occur, that kind of justification raises a profoundly troubling question: Why has the government done so little to prevent a gun from going off in the nation’s schools?"

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"Russia Can Keep the Peace Between Israel and Iran"

Nach dem Abschuss einer iranischen Drohne und eines israelischen Kampfflugzeuges am vergangenen Wochenende meint Joost Hiltermann, dass Russland als dominante Macht in Syrien die Aufgabe übernehmen müsse, zwischen den beiden Rivalen zu vermitteln. "Moscow may be reluctant to assume a political role it has shown little capacity for playing. But as the dominant power in Syria that controls the skies, it has no choice. Unlike any other actor, moreover, it enjoys good relations with all the main actors: Israel, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Syrian regime. There is no reasonable alternative to Russia as balancing power and mediator. (...) Russian leaders will need to reckon with the reality that a major confrontation could occur on their watch in Syria, possibly triggering a larger conflict in the Middle East. It’s doubtful that this would be in their interest. Regardless of the latest incident’s precise nature, therefore, it is a wakeup call for Moscow to restore the mutual deterrence that, while not bringing a lasting peace, at least has kept things stable on Israel’s northern border for 12 years."

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"The Female Quran Experts Fighting Radical Islam in Morocco"

Bei den Bemühungen um das Zurückdrängen radikaler Koran-Interpretationen in Marokko spielen staatlich angestellte weibliche Koran-Experten eine wichtige Rolle, berichtet Dina Temple-Raston. In Rabat sei bereits vor elf Jahren eine Schule zur Ausbildung von Religionsgelehrten gegründet worden, die im Regierungsauftrag das Land bereisen, um sich radikalislamischen Ideen entgegenzustellen. "Making school visits and home visits, each woman — called a morchidat, or spiritual guide — talks to young Muslims and contests interpretations of the Quran that terrorist groups use for recruitment. For women to be employed by the government to do this kind of work within Morocco’s Islamic communities, where spiritual leadership is generally the domain of men, is unusual. Men are also trained at the Rabat school, but it’s the hundreds of female graduates who are having the most impact, according to the program director, Abdeslam El-Azaar."

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"A Dangerous Immigration Crackdown in West Africa"

Peter Tinti berichtet in seiner Reportage aus Agadez in Niger, dass die europäischen Bestrebungen zur Eindämmung der Migration aus Westafrika zur Destabilisierung der gesamten Region führen könnten. "In 2016, the United Nations Migration Agency detected over 333,000 migrants, including Nigeriens themselves, passing through northern Niger and onto Libya and Algeria. With each migrant paying smugglers between $100 and $500 and purchasing food and lodging on their journey through the Sahara, even the most conservative estimates suggested a smuggling economy in the tens of millions of dollars. (...) By the end of 2017, the flow of detected migrants had fallen by 80 percent from the previous year. (...) Northern Niger’s economic crisis could destabilize a region that has already suffered through two civil wars over the past 30 years. While the European Union promotes development aid and security assistance as a recipe for stability in Niger, and individual countries like France, Italy, and the United States do the same, locals here insist that EU efforts to curb migration, combined with an increased foreign military presence, threatens to break an already fragile state."

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"When the Islamic State Came to Libya"

Frederic Wehrey hat sich für seine Reportage über den "Islamischen Staat" in Libyen mit mittlerweile verhafteten Anhängern der Terrormiliz unterhalten. Die Ursachen für deren Radikalisierung sind demnach keineswegs verschwunden. "(...) the paths to violence are varied and personal, often forged from narrow communities and peer groups. Common threads bind them: political and economic upheaval, foreign wars, and, especially, repression, corruption, and the absence of rule of law. The latter afflictions bedevil Libya today, under the countless militias who rule with impunity across the country. With no effective Libyan government and no capable police or security services, the chiefs of these militias present themselves to outside powers as counter-terror partners, much in the same way they have done in countering migration to Europe. The real challenge, then, is dealing with extremism in a way that does not empower these men at the expense of an inclusive, civic state."

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"China's Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone"

Anna Mitchell und Larry Diamond machen auf die Entstehung der Infrastruktur eines umfassenden Überwachungsstaates in China aufmerksam. Das perfektionierte digitale Spionagenetzwerk sei bereits jetzt ein Werkzeug sozialer Kontrolle, das auch von anderen autoritären Ländern aufgegriffen werden könnte. "Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness. Your 'citizen score' follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access to faster internet service or a fast-tracked visa to Europe. If you make political posts online without a permit, or question or contradict the government’s official narrative on current events, however, your score decreases. To calculate the score, private companies working with your government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media and online shopping data. When you step outside your door, your actions in the physical world are also swept into the dragnet: The government gathers an enormous collection of information through the video cameras placed on your street and all over your city. If you commit a crime — or simply jaywalk — facial recognition algorithms will match video footage of your face to your photo in a national ID database. It won’t be long before the police show up at your door. This society may seem dystopian, but it isn’t farfetched: It may be China in a few years."

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"Is Trump Preparing for War With North Korea?"

Peter Beinart stellt fest, dass US-Präsident Trump in seiner ersten offiziellen Rede zur Lage der Nation die Bedrohung der USA durch Nordkorea besonders deutlich hervorgehoben habe. Dabei habe Trump die Möglichkeiten zur diplomatischen Lösung des Konflikts weitgehend ignoriert. "In his speech, Trump devoted a mere sentence to Russia and China. He devoted 23 words to Israel, 34 to Afghanistan, and 48 to Iran. Even the war against ISIS, which Trump cites as the main foreign-policy achievement of his first year in office, garnered only 302 words. North Korea received 475. Second, there are the things Trump didn’t say. The Olympics begin in South Korea in 10 days, and the South Korean government hopes participation by athletes from the North will ease hostility on the Peninsula. But Trump didn’t mention the games. In fact, he didn’t mention diplomacy at all. (...) Also notably absent was any clear sense of what North Korea would have to do to satisfy the United States. In his speech, Trump focused less on the regime’s nuclear weapons than on the nature of the regime itself. (...) Maybe Trump isn’t as serious about a 'bloody nose' military strike against Pyongyang as some reports suggest. But his State of the Union speech suggests, at the very least, that Congress should begin debating the risks of war."

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"16 Years of Presidents Talking About the War in Afghanistan"

US-Präsident Trump hat sich in seiner Rede zur Lage der Nation auch zum Konflikt in Afghanistan geäußert. Krishnadev Calamur hat die entsprechenden Redepassagen der Amtsvorgänger Trumps zusammengetragen und schreibt: "Since 2002, Afghanistan has made appearances in each of the presidential speeches to Congress, corresponding to nearly every year the U.S. has been at war in the country. And while the rhetoric shifts, the story remains in some ways consistent - America keeps aiming to defeat the Taliban and help rebuild the country as one that won’t harbor terrorists, and it keeps coming up short while declaring progress. Obama went so far as to declare three years ago that 'our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.' His successor’s remarks on Tuesday show that that was not exactly true. Here’s how the previous two presidents have described the state of Afghanistan before Congress".

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"The Precarious Politics of the Joint Korean Hockey Team"

Aus politischer Sicht sei die Kooperation zwischen Nord- und Südkorea bei den kommenden Olympischen Winterspielen nicht völlig unproblematisch, so das Fazit von Max Kim nach Gesprächen mit einigen Experten. "In return for their peaceful participation, North Korea may demand something from South Korea in return — cash, or the resumption of profitable economic cooperation programs shut down in response to its missile tests. Such deal-making 'could give the impression that South Korea is deviating from its campaign of pressure and sanctions on North Korea,' Kim Sung Han, a former senior South Korean diplomat in the conservative Lee Myung Bak administration, told me. An atmosphere of reconciliation could undermine the U.S.-South Korea alliance by making Washington 'jealous,' which might then give North Korea greater leverage for its ultimate aim: formal recognition as a nuclear power. All in all, the joint team could put South Korea on precarious political footing. While sports can act as a diplomatic catalyst, 'they cannot alter the fundamental political calculus,' Kim Sung Han, the former senior South Korean diplomat, said. 'The best-case scenario would be this leading to high-level summit talks ... multilateral dialogue for the denuclearization of North Korea. But I’m pessimistic.'"

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"The Tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas"

Grant Rumley schreibt, dass der 82-jährige Palästinenserpräsident Mahmoud Abbas in den letzten Jahren seiner Amtszeit dabei sei, die Fehler des 2004 verstorbenen PLO-Chefs Yasser Arafat zu wiederholen. "Frustration, it seems, has led Abbas to reveal his true colors. In recent years, he’s accused Israeli rabbis of supporting the poisoning of Palestinian water wells, claimed Jews had 'fabricated' history, and insisted he would 'never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel.' This dalliance with anti-Semitism brings to mind his controversial PhD thesis, which downplayed the number of victims of the Holocaust and suggested a link between Zionism and Nazism. Though he later backtracked on the claims in his thesis, his recent diatribes call into question his sincerity. Abbas — the man who became president on the pledge to finally make a deal with the Israelis through public diplomacy and nonviolence — has morphed into Arafat, the very figure he pledged not to become. It’s a remarkable fall from grace for a leader who started with such potential."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

Vom Kosovo nach Kolumbien, von Somalia nach Süd-Thailand: Weltweit schwelen über 280 politische Konflikte. Und immer wieder droht die Lage gewaltsam zu eskalieren.

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Kaum ein Thema wird so intensiv und kontrovers diskutiert wie die Globalisierung. "Zahlen und Fakten" liefert Grafiken, Texte und Tabellen zu einem der wichtigsten und vielschichtigsten Prozesse der Gegenwart.

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