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22.05.2016

"A drive through Eastern Europe’s twilight zone"

http://www.politico.eu/article/a-drive-through-eastern-europes-twilight-zone-ukraine-romania-schengen-roa
d-trip-transylvania-terror-war/

Vijai Maheshwari schreibt nach einer Reise durch die Westukraine, dass der Eiserne Vorhang des Kalten Krieges vielerorts immer noch spürbar sei. "Ukraine’s 2014 revolution was as much about opening the country’s borders to Europe as it was about fighting a corrupt oligopoly. Visa-free travel to Europe would have been the holy grail of a successful uprising. But more than two years since Russia invaded part of the country, Ukraine’s citizens are still locked out of Europe. Though the country has fulfilled the conditions for visa-free travel, the proposal to allow Ukrainian citizens to enter the Schengen zone without a visa has yet to be approved by national governments and the European Parliament. Ukraine borders four EU countries — Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania — but an iron curtain still separates it from its neighbors to the West."

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05.05.2016

"Turkey power shift upends EU refugee deal"

http://www.politico.eu/article/turkey-power-shift-hurts-eu-refugee-deal-migration-ahmet-davutoglu-recep-t
ayyip-erdogan/

Der frühere türkische Diplomat Sinan Ülgen erwartet, dass das Flüchtlingsabkommen zwischen der Türkei und der EU nach dem Rücktritt von Premierminister Davutoglu zusammenbrechen wird. "Ankara stated clearly that it would suspend the Turkey-EU Readmission Agreement unless it receives visa freedom from Europe, potentially leading to the collapse of the whole refugee deal. So instead of a happy ending, the prospect of which had been briefly ushered in by the Commission recommendation, the more likely scenario now is one of a bitter divorce. The consequences will be significant not only for Ankara’s relations with Europe but also for many European countries that will start to face growing number of illegal migrants on their shores."

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02.05.2016

"The Giant Al Qaeda Defeat That No One’s Talking About"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/05/us-middle-east-victory-al-qaeda-213864

Die von Saudi-Arabien angeführte arabische Militärkoalition habe der Al-Qaida in Jemen von der Öffentlichkeit fast unbemerkt einen schweren Schlag versetzt, berichtet Michael Morell. "On the weekend of April 23-24, the Emirati military, with the support of the Yemeni military and local Yemeni tribes, seized from AQAP the strategically important city of Mukalla and the surrounding area. Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth-largest city, hosts the country’s second largest port — from which AQAP was earning substantial revenues by taxing the shipment of goods there. The city was to be the center of AQAP’s Islamic emirate in Yemen. Its loss is a major blow to AQAP. It is the equivalent of the Islamic State losing Mosul or Raqqa."

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01.05.2016

"How the 'Green Zone' Helped Destroy Iraq"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/05/how-americas-green-zone-helped-destroy-iraq-213863

Die zwischenzeitliche Besetzung des irakischen Parlaments durch Anhänger des schiitischen Predigers Muqtada al-Sadr in der sogenannten "Green Zone" in Bagdad sollte als Warnung interpretiert werden, empfiehlt Emma Sky. "The sad reality is that Iraq has become ungovernable, more a state of militias than a state of institutions. As long as that state of affairs continues, even a weakened Islamic State, which has been losing territory and support, will find a home in Iraq, drawing on Sunni fears of corruption and incompetence by the Shia-dominated government. The greatest threat to Iraq thus comes not from the Islamic State but from broken politics, catastrophic corruption, and mismanagement. Indeed there is a symbiotic relationship between terrorists and corrupt politicians: They feed off each other and justify each other’s existence."

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17.04.2016

"Angela Merkel’s Sultanic bargain"

http://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-sultanic-bargain-jan-bohmermann-recept-tayyip-erdogan/

Die Kontroverse um das Schmähgedicht des ZDF-Satirikers Jan Böhmermann verdeutlicht nach Ansicht von James Kirchick, dass Bundeskanzlerin Merkel bei ihrer Reaktion auf die Flüchtlingskrise einen "Pakt mit dem Teufel" eingegangen sei. "Like the character of German legend who made a pact with the devil, Merkel’s shameful decision comes as the result of a corrupt bargain with her Turkish counterpart. Earlier this year, in exchange for Ankara’s stanching the flow of migrants into Europe, the European Union agreed to fork over up to €6 billion in aid, as well as accelerate the Mediterranean country’s visa waiver process and membership application to the 28-nation bloc. That was far more than the Turks deserved for doing what they ought to have been doing anyway: stopping illegal immigration. Demanding the head of a German comedian is Erdoğan’s way of sticking an embittered finger in the eye of Europe, which he sees as disrespecting his Sultanate. (...) Erdoğan will now be able to use this foreign policy victory for domestic political purposes, demonstrating to his people — and, in particular, his battered and beleaguered opposition — the extent of his growing power."

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29.03.2016

"Europe’s Muslims hate the West"

http://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-attacks-terrorism-europe-muslims-brussels-attacks-airport-metro/

Der niederländische Schriftsteller Leon de Winter lehnt es nach den Anschlägen von Brüssel dagegen ab, die Verantwortung beim belgischen Staat bzw. den sozioökonomischen Lebensumständen der Täter zu suchen. Viele Muslime seien für ihre Situation selbst verantwortlich, da sie die Integration in die säkularen Systeme ihrer europäischen Heimatländer beharrlich ablehnten. "A large segment of the migrant population is doing just fine, but a significant number — some say as many as 50 percent — have not rid themselves of the mental and cultural conditions that have kept their home country in its 'developing country' status. The denial of equal rights to women, the lack of separation of state and church, bad education, excessive religiosity, patriarchal machismo — these are all on display in areas with a high percentage of migrants, including Molenbeek. (...) Young men like the perpetrators of the Brussels attacks have refused to embrace the social codes of Belgian life. They were raised on the idea that their religious ethics trump the ethics of the infidels (close to non-existent, in their eyes, in any case). Their second-rate socioeconomic status was therefore a humiliating affront, an indignity to be destroyed. Muslim integration into Europe societies is successful when Muslims are willing to give up the mental confinement of their home countries — countries, let’s not forget, which they left in search of a better life. For as long as they refuse to adapt to a European state of mind, they will perpetuate resentment and a culture of violence."

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22.03.2016

"Why do they hate us so much?"

http://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-terrorist-attacks-why-do-they-hate-us-so-much/

Matthew Karnitschnig ist sicher, dass die erneute Serie von Terroranschlägen in einer europäischen Hauptstadt schwerwiegende politische Folgen haben wird. "Even before the smoke clears at the Brussels airport and over the EU quarter, this much is certain: the second major terror attack on Europe in just four months will upend the politics of everything from refugee policy to security to Brexit. (...) The question now is whether the EU’s 28 members respond to the threat — after the initial expressions of shock and promises of solidarity — as allies with a common sense of purpose or by retreating along national lines. The answer will go a long way toward determining the Union’s future or if it even has one."

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22.03.2016

"Brussels attacks: Everything we know so far"

http://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-attacks-everything-we-know-so-far/

Auch Politico.eu hat neben einem Live-Blog eine regelmäßig aktualisierte Seite eingerichtet, auf der die bekannten und bestätigten Fakten der Terroranschläge in Brüssel kompakt zusammengestellt werden. "A roundup of events as Brussels reels from multiple attacks."

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20.03.2016

"Obama's Cuban revolution"

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/obamas-cuban-renaissance-220999

Edward-Isaac Dovere erläutert die politischen Hintergründe der neuen Kuba-Politik von US-Präsident Obama. "With his decision to move toward normalized relations with the Castro regime, Obama forced a geopolitical transformation, a rare instance when a president can start and nearly finish so complete a change in foreign policy within his term in office. And he did it less with a pen and a phone than with a series of prods and the force of his personality. The Cuba reopening is a snapshot of Obama’s approach the past seven years: an analytic rethinking of America’s interests and a pragmatism about how to achieve them, pursued despite political resistance and without much cooperation from Congress."

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17.03.2016

"EU summit: live blog"

http://www.politico.eu/article/migration-summit-liveblog-euco-turkey-refugees/

Politico.eu verfolgt das Treffen der EU-Staats- und Regierungschefs zum Flüchtlingsabkommen mit der Türkei in einem Live-Blog. "Last week, they agreed in principle that Turkey would take back all migrants crossing illegally from Turkey to Greece. In exchange, Ankara wants an extra €3 billion in EU aid, help establishing safe zones in Syria, and progress on visa liberalization and Turkey’s EU membership aspirations — but a draft statement indicates some of these could be rejected. On Thursday, EU leaders will discuss jobs and growth as well as migration. On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will join the discussion to settle on the EU-Turkey migrant proposal."

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16.03.2016

"6 countries that could derail the EU-Turkey migration deal"

http://www.politico.eu/article/six-countries-could-shoot-down-controversial-eu-turkey-deal/

Das Flüchtlingsabkommen mit der Türkei könnte durch seine Gegner in der EU noch zum Scheitern gebracht werden, berichten Hans von der Burchard und Jacopo Barigazzi. "The list of complaints is long: German Chancellor Angela Merkel sprung the plan on countries at the last minute; Ankara ambushed the process with more and more demands in exchange for stopping migrants crossing to Greece; and Turkey can’t be trusted to respect human rights of refugees returned there. (...) Here are six countries that could derail the deal when EU leaders meet again Thursday."

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08.03.2016

"How Turkey held the EU for ransom"

http://www.politico.eu/article/turkey-eu-closes-in-on-migration-refugees-crisis-deal-but-at-a-heavy-price
/

Matthew Karnitschnig meint, dass die EU mit ihrer wahrscheinlichen Zusage zur türkischen "Lösegeldforderung" beim Flüchtlingsgipfel in Brüssel möglicherweise einen gefährlichen Präzedenzfall schaffen würde. "Turkey’s message to Europe was clear: You need us more than we need you. That Europe is not just considering the Turkish proposal, but is likely to end up accepting most, if not all of it, is testament to the desperation of the Union and its largest member, Germany, to secure a deal to limit the flow of refugees and end a crisis that is testing EU solidarity like nothing in its history. (...) What worried some in the room is that accepting the Turkish terms would set a dangerous precedent, signaling that the bloc’s core democratic principles are up for sale. Giving Ankara what it wants, just as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been tightening his grip on power, turning Turkey into what many consider a dictatorship, could do irreparable harm to the EU’s credibility, critics argue."

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02.03.2016

"GOP hawks declare war on Trump"

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/trump-clinton-neoconservatives-220151#ixzz41pqV5Ne4

Einflussreiche "Falken" der Republikaner halten Donald Trump für ein potentielles "Desaster" für die amerikanische Außenpolitik und erwägen deshalb offenbar, im kommenden Wahlkampf zur Not selbst Hillary Clinton zu unterstützen. "'Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin,' said Eliot Cohen, a former top State Department official under George W. Bush and a strategic theorist who argues for a muscular U.S. role abroad. Trump's election would be 'an unmitigated disaster for American foreign policy,' Cohen said, adding that 'he has already damaged it considerably.' Cohen, an Iraq war backer who is often called a neoconservative but said he does not identify himself that way, said he would 'strongly prefer a third party candidate' to Trump, but added: 'Probably if absolutely no alternative: Hillary.'"

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23.02.2016

"Why Moscow Holds the Cards in Syria"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/02/aleppos-syria-moscow-213671

Julien Barnes-Dacy und Jeremy Shapiro glauben, dass es in der Syrienkrise an der Zeit sei, Illusionen über Flugverbotszonen oder eine Intervention von US-Truppen aufzugeben und die Realitäten vor Ort anzuerkennen. Für die Rebellen bedeute dies, dass die russischen Bedingungen einer Konfliktlösung akzeptiert werden sollten, um ein neues Blutvergießen in Aleppo zu verhindern. "It’s long past time to set aside the meaningless question of Bashar Assad’s future and to stop trying to micromanage a fictional Syrian transition. This may be succumbing to the strategy of Assad and the Russians, but civilian protection, humanitarian access and freezing the conflict before it reaches new heights of dangerous escalation must now be prioritized, nowhere more so than in Aleppo. Instead it’s time to push the Syrian opposition to accept Russian cease-fire terms around Aleppo as the better long-term strategy. In the north of the country this means effectively pushing the opposition and its regional backers to accept that we cannot work with groups that cooperate with Nusra and that the presence of those groups in Aleppo will prevent any local cease-fire from taking hold. De-escalation on Russian terms is still better than no de-escalation at all."

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22.02.2016

"Obama's incredibly shrinking chance to close Gitmo"

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/obama-cuba-closing-guantanamo-219650

Austin Wright und Jeremy Herb schreiben, dass US-Präsident Obama die Gelegenheit zur Schließung des umstrittenen Gefangenenlagers in Guantanamo möglicherweise endgültig verpasst habe. "High-ranking members of the Obama administration have all but ruled out the swiftest path to shuttering Guantanamo: unilateral action. Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged in November that current law bars the detainees from being moved to the United States. And the president's top military generals vowed last month not to 'take any action contrary to those restrictions.' This means that closing the prison would almost certainly require the cooperation of a Republican-controlled Congress, whose leaders don't share Obama's condemnation of Guantanamo as a propaganda tool for terrorists. (...) In short, the Guantanamo Bay prison is likely to outlive the Obama administration."

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31.01.2016

"Dear Americans, What Are You Thinking?"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/election-2016-americans-what-are-you-thinking-213580

Bei den europäischen Verbündeten der USA werde der politische Aufstieg Donald Trumps mit zunehmender Sorge verfolgt, schreibt Alex Massie. Tatsächlich fürchteten auch die europäischen Eliten die Herausforderung durch rechtspopulistische Konkurrenten, die im Sog der Flüchtlingskrise überall an Einfluss gewännen. "Trumpism, in this sense, is simply an American variant on a theme Europeans know only too well. Europeans enjoy mocking the simple patriotic pieties of American discourse. (All that 'God bless America' stuff is frightfully earnest, you know.) But Trump is echoing the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim nationalistic rhetoric of his European counterparts. When Trump says, as he is wont to, that refugees fleeing Syria’s charnel house 'may be the great Trojan horse of all time,' many Europeans are inclined to agree with him. When he adds that 'Europe is being absolutely swamped and destroyed' by migrants, plenty of European citizens are prepared to concede that the Donald has a point. (...) Maybe Trump will fade, and this won’t be the craziest American election in recent memory. But if Europe is any indication, I wouldn’t count on it."

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30.01.2016

"Moldova’s pro-Western façade"

http://www.politico.eu/article/moldovas-pro-western-facade-protest-chisinau-russia-ukraine/

Natalia Otel Belan und Marc Schleifer werfen der EU vor, die vermeintlich europafreundliche Führungselite in Moldawien trotz ihrer offensichtlichen Korruption zu unterstützen. Die Proteste gegen die Regierung würden in Brüssel dagegen als "prorussischer" Widerstand gegen die europäische Integration abgetan. "While Russia certainly has an interest in keeping Moldova unstable and out of the European orbit, Moscow is not orchestrating these protests — and the country’s current government is hardly living up to its 'pro-EU' billing. Moldovan activists are bewildered at how the story is being portrayed in the West. 'It was extremely surprising to find that the European press reported on 'anti-European protests following the appointment of a pro-EU Government,'' said Dumitru Alaiba, a prominent blogger and activist. 'Then similar declarations from EU officials and institutions followed. I felt insulted. Many of us felt like that.'"

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10.01.2016

"How Obama Created a Mideast Vacuum"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/obama-mideast-vacuum-213513?paginate=false

Dennis Ross, ein früherer Nahost-Berater Barack Obamas, wirft dem US-Präsidenten vor, die Lehren des Irak-Krieges in der Syrienfrage in übertriebenem Maße angewendet zu haben. Das Ergebnis sei ein gefährliches Machtvakuum im Nahen Osten und der Aufstieg des "Islamischen Staates". "Given the painful legacy of the Iraq War, it was not surprising that he did so. In his eyes, Iraq was a colossal mistake. He had run against it. He had been elected to get us out of Middle East wars not into them. But was Syria really Iraq? (...) This was not an American invasion of a country but an internal uprising against an authoritarian leader. Assad consciously made it a sectarian conflict, believing he could survive only if the Alawites, and other minorities, saw their survival depending on his. Soon, thereafter, it was transformed into a proxy war largely pitting Saudi Arabia and Turkey against Iran. A vacuum was created not by our replacing the Assad regime but by our hesitancy to do more than offer pronouncements—by overlearning the lessons of Iraq, in effect. And, that vacuum was filled by others: Iran, Hezbollah and Iran’s other Shia militia proxies; Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar; Russia; and ISIL."

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05.01.2016

"Turkey’s unwinnable war"

http://www.politico.eu/article/turkey-unwinnable-war-pkk-protests-media-erdogan-kurds-nato/

Asli Aydintasbas empfiehlt der Weltöffentlichkeit in seinem "Brief aus Istanbul", die Entwicklung in der Türkei näher zu verfolgen. Präsident Erdogan habe den seit Jahrzehnten andauernden Konflikt mit den Kurden in einer gefährlichen Weise militärisch eskaliert. Bilder aus den Kampfgebieten erinnerten an die Frühphase des Krieges im benachbarten Syrien. "To be fair, both sides are to blame for the current flare-up in the conflict and no government would allow an armed militia to control parts of its cities. This is what the PKK is trying to do through its belated 'Arab Spring' in Kurdish towns. The PKK needs to understand that its 'revolutionary' armed struggle is an outdated concept — and will only bring destruction to Kurds and Turks. (...) Ankara has to return to democracy, update its administrative structures, and re-invent itself as a Turkish-Kurdish nation. Administrative reform that allows more power to local governments — not just in Kurdish areas, but across Turkey — may not be such a bad idea after all. But more importantly, it needs to re-establish the state’s troubled relationship with 'the Kurd.' Kurds are not a threat — they are a prelude to building our democracy."

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29.11.2015

"Why ISIL will fail on its own"

http://www.politico.eu/article/why-isil-will-fail-terroism-us-propaganda/

Eli Berman und Jacob N. Shapiro glauben, dass der "Islamische Staat" dabei sei, die Kontrolle über seine staatsähnlichen Gebiete in Irak und Syrien zu verlieren. Aus strategischer Sicht sei es sinnvoll, den IS tatsächlich als schwächer werdenden "Staat" zu betrachten. Die aktuelle amerikanische Eindämmungsstrategie sei deshalb sinnvoll, auch wenn dies die Terrorgefahr für den Westen kurzfristig nicht verringern werde. "We’re fighting a failed state in the making, one that will implode if merely contained, and will collapse even faster under coordinated economic and military pressure from its neighbors. (...) In weighing whether to attack or contain the group, there’s one other consideration that hasn’t yet received enough attention: The ideological benefits of allowing it to collapse by itself. (...) If we allow it to fail, then it will be clearly a failure of ISIL as an idea. The same is not true of a military defeat at the hands of Western forces. Given its deep structural weaknesses and its symbolic value in the global war of ideas, our best strategy is almost surely one based on containment, allowing the group’s motivating ideology to destroy the group from the inside — and thus more rapidly find its proper place in the dustbin of history."

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27.11.2015

"Coal cutoff escalates Russia-Ukraine tensions"

http://www.politico.eu/article/coal-russia-ukraine-crimea-sanctions-putin-turkey/

In Reaktion auf die andauernde Unterbrechung der Stromversorgung für die Krim habe Russland Kohlelieferungen in die Ukraine eingestellt, berichtet Maxim Tucker. Die Regierung in Kiew könnte den Konflikt mit Russland mit ihrer riskanten Strategie eskalieren lassen. "The Ukrainian government appears to be trying to make Crimea an expensive burden for Moscow at a time when the Russian economy, still staggering under the weight of western sanctions, faces a new trade war with Ankara. (...) 'These actions taken by the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian society activists are measures that had to be taken 21 months ago when Russia first invaded,' said Oleksiy Melnyk, an international Security specialist at the Ukrainian Razumkov center, a think tank. 'Now the Ukrainian government should think about minimizing the consequences of its actions, to look for new sources of energy and prepare for possible Russian military retaliation to the Crimean blockade. The Russian toolbox has only one effective instrument left to use.'"

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24.11.2015

"Is Turkey Really at the Table?"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/isil-strategy-turkey-213392

Immer mehr US-Beobachter stellen sich Steven A. Cook zufolge die Frage, ob die Türkei im Kampf gegen den "Islamischen Staat" tatsächlich auf der Seite der internationalen Anti-IS-Koalition stehe. "Over the past five years, American policymakers, Turkey watchers, terrorism experts and a slew of journalists have come to understand that while Ankara can play a constructive role in combating extremism and resolving the Syrian conflict, it has chosen not to. And as that conflict spreads and jumps borders, the Turks’ myopia on jihadism in Syria may very well come back to haunt them and their Western allies. (...) the choices that Erdogan and top Turkish officials have made contributed to the vortex of violence and extremism that is Syria’s reality. Erdogan has never paid a price for these choices either at home, where he has hollowed out Turkish political institutions to ensure his grip on power, or abroad, where Turkey’s NATO allies are forced to pretend, by dint of circumstance and geography, that Ankara shares their goals."

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23.11.2015

"Brussels lockdown – Live blog"

http://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-lockdown-live-blog/

Politico begleitet den aktuellen Ausnahmezustand in Belgien mit Hinweisen zu aktuellen Beiträgen und einem Live-Blog. "With Paris suspect still on the run, Brussels is on the highest possible alert for a terror attack."

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18.11.2015

"The Belgian intelligence gap"

http://www.politico.eu/article/two-paris-attackers-were-questioned-freed-this-year-isil-terrorism-attacks
/

Belgische Sicherheitsbehörden haben in den Monaten vor den Pariser Anschlägen offenbar zwei der späteren Attentäter befragt und wieder freigelassen, ohne ihre französischen Kollegen zu informieren. Maïa de La Baume und Giulia Paravicini erläutern die Hintergründe dieses offensichtlichen Versagens der belgischen Behörden. "Belgium’s unusual administrative and law enforcement systems complicate cooperation on counterterrorism with other countries. The country’s police is Balkanized along linguistic and regional lines. Its counterterrorism laws give authorites less latitude to investigate terrorism than in France. (...) By EU standards, Belgium’s civilian and military intelligence arms are small, even relative to its size. People familiar with these agencies also say they don’t have enough people who speak Arabic. (...) Belgian counterterrorism laws predate the rise of ISIL and the exodus of young Muslim men to Syria. The laws 'were never designed to prosecute people going abroad to fight — they were only designed to combat terrorism domestically,' said Kris Luyckx, a lawyer who defended one foreign fighter in a trial this year."

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14.11.2015

"ISIL: Who’s Calling the Shots?"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/isil-whos-calling-the-shots-213360

Graeme Wood vom Council on Foreign Relations berichtet über die These, dass die Pariser Anschläge von Anhängern des "Islamischen Staates" ohne direkte Anweisung durch die IS-Führung in Syrien durchgeführt worden sein könnten. Das Bekennerschreiben des IS wirke übereilt und könnte nach Ansicht einiger Experten durchaus eine Reaktion auf die Operation einer semiautonom agierenden Gruppe sein. "We may yet find that IS's leaders were simply fools, and that they ordered exactly this attack and were pleased with its results, even if their PR department wasn't quite ready to capitalize on it. But in the meantime the possibility remains that their ability to inspire got ahead of their ability to control the results of that inspiration. Along with its loud rejoicing over Paris, IS in Syria may also be quietly worrying about what comes next."

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02.11.2015

"How Putin Is Wooing America’s Closest Syrian Allies"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/putin-wooing-americas-closest-syrian-allies-213317#ixzz3qR
hMdput

US-Präsident Obamas jüngster Versuch, mehr Einfluss auf den Kriegsverlauf in Syrien zu nehmen, kommt nach Ansicht von Reese Erlich etwas zu spät. Dies zeige sich besonders im Hinblick auf die Kurden im Norden des Landes, die sich zuletzt verstärkt den Russen zugewandt hätten. "Kurdish leaders remain suspicious of U.S. aims because Washington so far has resisted recognizing the rebels as a legitimate political force. Particularly after the Russians expanded their military activity in Syria in late September, the Kurds have sought new allies. Russia, in its turn, is interested in the Kurds because of Putin’s apparent enduring ambition to stand up to U.S. and its superpower airs - and because Kurdish rebels now control a contiguous strip of land in northern Syria, broken up by one area near Jarabulus still held by the Islamic State."

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03.10.2015

"Cartoons and the 'jihadi veto'"

http://www.politico.eu/article/cartoons-and-the-jihadi-veto/

Zehn Jahre nach der Veröffentlichung der kontroversen Mohammed-Karikaturen in der dänischen Zeitung Jyllands-Posten dauere die Debatte um die vermeintlichen Grenzen der Meinungsfreiheit weiter an, schreibt Jacob Mchangama von der Denkfabrik Justitia in Kopenhagen. In vielen Berichten zum Jahrestag werde auf die Darstellung der Karikaturen verzichtet, die jeweiligen Begründungen seien dabei kaum überzeugend, so Mchangama. "Outside Denmark the sugar coating of the 'jihadist’s veto' has also taken hold. On October 1, PBS’s Newshour aired a piece on the anniversary of the cartoons (in which both Flemming Rose and I appeared). In an 'editor’s note' the news anchor explained that PBS has a 'policy of not showing images of the prophet Muhammad,' since they are 'offensive' to some viewers. Yet when in June PBS covered the fallout from Donald Trump’s derogatory comments on Mexicans, Newshour had no qualms about quoting verbatim from Trump’s comments, although they were clearly offensive to many Mexicans."

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28.09.2015

"Boycott the Hajj"

http://www.politico.eu/article/hajj-deaths-stampede-saudi-arabia-boycott-the-hajj/

Der Tod von über 700 Pilgern in Saudi-Arabien ist für Asra Q. Nomani nur einer von vielen Gründen für ihre Forderung, das Königreich für seine zahlreichen Vergehen endlich zur Verantwortung zu ziehen. "Frustration has been building up for years — fomented with the fact that so many of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi — but it snapped this year, with a number of events: barbaric images of ISIL fighters beheading hostages, raping sex slaves, burning Muslims and slaughtering Christians, as they practiced Saudi theology on steroids; the Saudi imprisonment of activists like Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to lashes and jail for 'apostasy,' and Mohammed al-Nimr, a young Saudi member of the minority Shia sect, sentenced to crucifixion for 'waging war on God'; the Saudi refusal — along with other Gulf countries — to accept Syrian refugees; and the reckless perishing of pilgrims in the stampede last week."

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25.09.2015

"It’s Time to Rethink Syria"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/09/its-time-to-rethink-syria-213184

Philip Gordon war von 2013 bis zum April 2015 für die Organisation der Nahost-Politik des Weißen Hauses zuständig. Jetzt rät er US-Präsident Obama zu einem Strategiewechsel in Syrien. Die Hoffnung, Präsident Assad zu Verhandlungen über den eigenen Rücktritt zu zwingen, sollte aufgegeben werden. "The essential problem with U.S. Syria policy since the start of the crisis has been the mismatch between objectives and means — the objective of displacing the Assad regime has proven unachievable with the means we have been willing or able to deploy to achieve it. To correct this mismatch, we have two options: increase the means, with whatever costs and consequences might accompany doing so, or modify the objectives. (...) Simply talking tough, or even a limited use of force, is unlikely to get Assad, Iran and Russia to back down. Those who threaten escalation need to be prepared to follow up and consider the consequences, both likely and unintended, of doing so."

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17.09.2015

"EU splits in Russian media war"

http://www.politico.eu/article/eu-russia-propaganda-kremlin-media/

Innerhalb der EU gebe es unterschiedliche Ansichten darüber, wie Europa auf den "Informationskrieg" Russlands reagieren sollte, berichtet James Panichi. "The divisions reflect deep-seated foreign policy differences within the 28-member bloc that came to surface after Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea last year and stirred up a violent conflict in eastern Ukraine. People involved with East Stratcom say the team has been told to stick to a narrow mandate so as not to upset the delicate balance on Russia. The media rapid-response unit is part of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s version of a foreign ministry. According to one East Stratcom member, the office culture is 'cautious' and the Russian-language experts are under orders to 'fly under the radar' to avoid antagonizing EU governments that are looking to tone down tensions with Russia."

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