US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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"NATO meeting comes as cracks in alliance's armor – beyond Trump's criticisms – begin to show"

Im NATO-Bündnis seien Risse sichtbar geworden, die nicht nur auf US-Präsident Trump zurückgeführt werden können, schreibt Kim Hjelmgaard vor dem Treffen der Verbündeten in London. "Ben Friedman, a defense expert and policy analyst at Defense Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for a smaller U.S. military footprint around the world, said that part of NATO's problem is simply its size. 'The (open) secret has always been that NATO's kind of brain-dead. It's an alliance where powerful states can bring forces to bear collectively – for joint training and equipment and some doctrine – but at the end of the day it's not like a coherent country with a prime minister or a president and some ministers who call the shots,' he said. Friedman said that Turkey had some 'legitimate gripes' against NATO and its western allies connected to former President Barack Obama's decision to partner with Syrian Kurds – who Turkey considers terrorists – to play a leading role in the fight against the Islamic State group. But he said Ankara has also shown itself to be a 'pretty bad ally,' not least over its decision to purchase the S-400, a powerful Russia-made air defense system."

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"As the deep state attacks Trump to rave media reviews, don't forget its dark side"

James Bovard stellt überrascht fest, dass der "Tiefe Staat", der vor wenigen Monaten von vielen Leitmedien in den USA noch als Verschwörungstheorie abgetan worden sei, in denselben Blättern nun als patriotische Bastion gegen Präsident Trump gefeiert werde. Dabei werde die dunkle Seite dieses "Tiefen Staates" bereitwillig ignoriert. "A year ago, the deep state was routinely reviled as a figment of paranoid right-wingers’ imagination. But much of the news media are now conferring the same sainthood on the deep state that was previously bestowed on special counsel Robert Mueller. (…) Former CIA Director John Brennan (…) declared, 'The reason why Mr. Trump has this very contentious relationship with CIA and FBI and the deep state people ... is because they tell the truth.' Much of the news coverage of the Trump impeachment is following that storyline — even though it is astonishing as an overheated Trump tweet. (…) It is worse than naive to expect the deep state to provide an antidote to the venality of American politics. The agencies now being exalted have some of the longest records of deceit and crimes. The secrecy that has shrouded U.S. intelligence, surveillance and military operations has done nothing to make former Boy Scouts and church choir members ascend to key policymaking positions. The Trump-deep state clash is a showdown between a presidency that has become far too powerful versus federal agencies that have become fiefdoms that enjoy immunity for almost any and all abuses. Regardless of the outcome of the congressional impeachment investigation, can the political system pull in the reins on imperious agencies? It is unlikely."

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"Why are we headed for a blowup with Iran? It began when Trump scrapped the nuclear deal"

Aaron David Miller ist besorgt, dass US-Präsident Trump in der aktuellen Iran-Krise jenseits der Kampagne des "maximalen Drucks" offenbar keinen Plan verfolge, der die Beziehungen beider Länder wieder stabilisieren könnte. "At a minimum, the two sides are badly in need of a hotline or channel to deconflict their military forces in the region in order to preempt a serious escalation. During the Obama administration, the Iranian negotiators reportedly rejected such a proposal. And they may not agree now, seeing it as a sign of weakness when they want to keep the pressure on. The cruel reality is that it may well require more tension, perhaps even a U.S.-Iranian clash, to convince each side that the situation has become too dangerous to continue. But once direct conflict begins, it might be impossible to stop."

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"The Army asked, 'How has serving impacted you?' The responses were heartbreaking"

Die U.S. Army hat Soldaten anlässlich des Memorial Day über Twitter gefragt, wie der Militärdienst ihr Leben verändert habe. N'dea Yancey-Bragg berichtet, das viele Veteranen in ihren Reaktionen auch auf die negativen Folgen ihrer Kriegseinsätze aufmerksam gemacht hätten. "The call-out attracted nearly 10,000 replies, some of which echo Spencer's remarks expressing pride in his service. But many of the responses illuminate the issues faced by those who serve including post-traumatic stress disorder, veteran suicide and lifelong health problems. 'I am a Navy vet, I was a happy person before I served, now I am broke apart, cant even work a full 30 days due to anxiety and depression,' one tweet read. 'I am in constant pain everyday.' There are approximately 20 million veterans in the United States, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, but fewer than half receive VA benefits or services. About 30% of Vietnam veterans, 12% of Gulf War veterans and 11% to 20% of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans are living with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the VA. (...) Veterans are 1.5 times more likely than non-veterans to take their lives, according to a report released by the VA last year. More than 6,000 veterans have died by suicide each year from 2008 to 2016, the report found."

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"'An unnecessary, dangerous attempt': Trump vetoes resolution to end US support in Yemen"

US-Präsident Trump hat gegen den überparteilichen Kongressbeschluss zur Beendigung der amerikanischen Unterstützung Saudi-Arabiens im Jemen-Krieg wie erwartet sein Veto eingelegt. "The resolution served as a rebuke to Trump and Saudi leaders and highlighted a growing unease with America's role in the grisly conflict, which has left thousands of civilians dead and millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation. Currently, the U.S. provides billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. (...) Trump defended the U.S. role in the war, highlighting that no Americans were physically in Yemen fighting the conflict and U.S. citizens live in the surrounding countries that have been targeted by attacks from Yemen rebels. He wrote abandoning the conflict would allow an 'inexpensive way for Iran to cause trouble for the United States and for our ally, Saudi Arabia.'"

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"WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be punished for embarrassing the DC establishment"

In Washington habe der WikiLeaks-Gründer Julian Assange kaum Fürsprecher, da er das dortige politische Establishment mit seinen Veröffentlichungen immer wieder "blamiert" habe, schreibt Jonathan Turley. "'He is our property.' Those celebratory words of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., came on CNN soon after the news of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. It was a sentiment shared by virtually everyone in Washington from Congress to the intelligence services. Assange committed the unpardonable sins of embarrassing the establishment — from members of Congress to intelligence officials to the news media. And he will now be punished for our sins. (...) For years, the public has debated what Assange is: journalist, whistleblower, foreign agent, dupe. The problem is that Assange is first and foremost a publisher. Moreover, he was doing something that is usually heralded in the news media. WikiLeaks disclosed disclosed controversial intelligence and military operations. It later published emails that showed that the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton lied in various statements to the public, including the rigging of the primary for her nomination. No one has argued that any of these emails were false. They were embarrassing. Of course, there is not crime of embarrassing the establishment, but that is merely a technicality."

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"Military spending: 20 companies profiting the most from war"

Samuel Stebbins und Evan Comen listen zwanzig Unternehmen auf, die den Angaben des Stockholm International Peace Research Institute zufolge 2017 am stärksten von bewaffneten Konflikten profitiert haben. Auf den ersten drei Plätzen befinden sich die US-Unternehmen Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing und Raytheon. "24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to identify the companies profiting most from war. Companies were ranked based on arms sale revenue. Chinese companies were not considered due to lack of sufficient data. Total 2017 revenue and arms sales were provided by SIPRI. Profits and total sales came from fiscal year 2017 annual financial disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or published independently."

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"Turkey appears to snub US; no assurances on Syrian Kurds"

John Bolton, Nationaler Sicherheitsberater von Präsident Trump, hat bei seinem Besuch in der Türkei keine Sicherheitsgarantien für die syrischen Kurden erhalten. "Shortly after Bolton’s meetings and in an apparent snub to the U.S. diplomatic push, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara’s preparations for a new military offensive against terror groups in Syria are 'to a large extent' complete. 'We cannot make any concessions,' Erdogan said, and also slammed Bolton over comments suggesting the United States would prevent attacks on Kurds. Turkey insists its military actions are aimed at Kurdish fighters in Syria – the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, or YPG – whom it regards as terrorists, and not against the Kurdish people. That has been Ankara longtime position and Turkey rejected any role for Kurdish fighters in restoring peace to the war-torn region."

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"Saudis reject US threats over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warn oil could skyrocket"

Saudi-Arabien hat die Anschuldigung, den verschwundenen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi ermordet zu haben, entschieden zurückgewiesen und im Fall von Sanktionen entsprechende Gegenreaktionen angekündigt. "President Donald Trump said Saudi Arabia could face 'severe punishment' over Khashoggi, feared murdered after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Trump's warning dealt a gut punch to the Saudi stock market, which crashed 7 percent Sunday before recovering some of the losses to close down 3.5 percent. (...) Turki Aldakhil, who leads the Saudi-controlled Al Arabiya television news network, warned Sunday that U.S. sanctions could ignite an 'economic disaster that would rock the entire world.' 'If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure,' Aldakhil wrote in an opinion piece on the Al Arabiya website. He said the fallout could drive 'the entire Muslim world into the arms of Iran.'"

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"Donald Trump gives NATO new reason to be nervous: defending Montenegro"

US-Präsident Trump hat in einem Interview kritisiert, dass das aggressive Auftreten eines kleinen NATO-Landes wie Montenegro aufgrund der Beistandspflicht des Militärbündnisses einen Dritten Weltkrieg auslösen könnte. "NATO members already worried about President Donald Trump's commitment to the European defense alliance have a new reason to be nervous. (...) In an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, Trump again seemed to question the NATO commitment to mutual defense, and cited the alliance's newest member – Montenegro – as an example. When Carlson asked, 'why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack,' Trump responded: 'I understand what you're saying. I've asked the same question.' Trump went on to say that Montenegro, a small Balkan country on the Adriatic Sea, could somehow be the instigator of conflict, as opposed to, say, a country like Russia. Montenegro has 'very aggressive people,' Trump said. 'They may get aggressive and congratulations, you're in World War III. Now I understand that ... but that's the way it was set up.'"

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"Donald Trump's off-the-cuff summit with Kim Jong Un might succeed. Here's why."

Entgegen vieler überwiegend skeptischer Vorbetrachtungen zum anstehenden Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Kim Jong-un machen Aaron David Miller und Richard Sokolsky auf einige Punkte aufmerksam, die für einen Erfolg des Treffens sprächen. "With two mercurial leaders, there’s always a risk that even a getting-to-know-you meeting might bomb. And we need to distinguish between the staged event and the more difficult process of reaching follow-on agreements. Even so, Singapore is likely to sing and here’s why: Trump craves a good meeting. (...) And Kim wants one, too. (...) Trump has lowered expectations. (...) South Korea and China cheerleading for success. (...) What defines success. A successful summit is less important than what comes after. A one-off meeting would be an embarrassment and might well spark escalating tensions, even war. The real operational goal here isn’t the fantasy of zero nukes, but ending the prospect of war on the Korean Peninsula. This summit needs to produce a framework and a mandate for a negotiating process to achieve a comprehensive peace and security regime, including reciprocal and synchronous steps between Washington and Pyongyang on denuclearization and security guarantees."

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"Syrian army, police celebrate recapturing all of Damascus"

Die syrische Regierung hat nach eigenen Angaben die volle Kontrolle über alle Bezirke der Hauptstadt Damaskus wiedererlangt. "Syrian government forces raised their flag over the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus on Tuesday as state media promoted what it said was the 'liberation' of the last quarters of the capital from rebels and Islamic State group militants. (...) The battles for Yarmouk and Hajr al-Aswad left both neighborhoods catastrophically damaged. Yarmouk, once home to about 200,000 Palestinian refugees, was deserted by most of its inhabitants as the government laid siege to it and Islamic State militants moved in in 2015. In the last month, the government began bombing the neighborhood intensively. The advance put the capital out of range of insurgents’ mortar fire and shelling for the first time in nearly seven years."

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"State Department launches $40 million initiative to counter Russia election meddling"

Das US-Außenministerium will erwarteten russischen Versuchen zur Beeinflussung der Kongresswahlen in diesem Jahr mit einer eigenen Initiative entgegentreten. "The program will be run from the State Department's Global Engagement Center (GEC) and is starting with a new $1 million Information Access Fund that on Monday announced a request for proposals from groups and agencies across the country. The fund will eventually grow to $5 million. 'Under the Information Access Fund, civil society groups, media content providers, non-governmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies and academic institutions will be eligible to compete for grants from the GEC to advance their important work to counter propaganda and disinformation,' according to a statement released Monday morning. The Global Engagement Center will later launch a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense with additional defense funding."

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"U.S. calls for new nuclear weapons as Russia develops nuclear-armed torpedo"

Der Bericht zur neuen Nuklearstrategie des Pentagons fordert Christal Hayes zufolge die Entwicklung neuer Atomwaffen mit relativ geringer Sprengkraft, um den taktischen Einsatz ähnlicher Sprengköpfe durch andere Großmächte abzuschrecken. Im Bericht werde zudem vor einer neuen "Doomsday"-Waffe Russlands gewarnt: "It sounds like the stuff from a Cold War novel: A Russian intercontinental nuclear-armed torpedo that can travel thousands of miles and strike U.S. coastal cities with minimal warning. But that weapon isn't just a work of fiction. It's actually being developed in Russia, according to a new Defense Department report that assesses the arms advancements being made in other countries. (...) Called the 'Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System,' the Russian torpedo is reported to be able to deliver a thermonuclear cobalt bomb of up to 100 megatons. The weapon could trigger a tsunami wave of radioactive water that would blanket a coastal city. Politicians have called the torpedo a 'doomsday' weapon."

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"America is on the brink of a historic break with Europe, thanks to Trump"

Nicholas Burns, früherer Staatssekretär im US-Außenministerium, warnt vor einem durch Präsident Trump herbeigeführten historischen Bruch der transatlantischen Beziehungen. "U.S. Foreign Service officers of my generation considered ourselves guardians of an alliance with Europe that was vital for our economy, security and values. All our presidents were wired for leadership with their European counterparts. We saw the alliance with Europe as one of the great American achievements of the past century. Yet Trump displays little interest in writing the next chapter of the West. Instead, we are left with clashing substance and symbols even in the once special relationship between Britain and America. (...) We’ll need to remember where to find that strength and leadership when we rebuild America’s strategic position in Europe, and its global reputation, after the Trump era comes mercifully to an end."

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"Trump is in for long war on ISIS"

Aaron David Miller vom Woodrow Wilson Center und Richard Sokolsky von der Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hoffen, dass US-Präsident Trump die Realität des Krieges gegen den "Islamischen Staat" bald erkennen werde. Der Kampf gegen die Terrormiliz könne nicht mit konventionellen Mittel und vor allem nicht schnell gewonnen werden. "Presidential Dos and Don'ts: In the face of these sobering realities, the president needs to reframe the way he relates to this problem. First, he should stop hyping the jihadi threat. It's serious but not existential, and exaggerating or misunderstanding it can lead to bold and disastrous responses. (See the second Iraq war.) Second, he needs to be honest and level with the American people that this fight will likely go on for years. Third, he has to stop stigmatizing and alienating the 3 million Americans of the Muslim faith who are a key ally in preempting and preventing radicalization at home. (...) Finally, the president needs to speak out against extremism, prejudice and hatred in all of its forms. Securing the homeland at the expense of permanently undermining the values we stand for is neither a necessary or an acceptable trade-off."

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"Military weighs expanded use of cyber, space weapons against ISIL"

Das US-Militär will im Kampf gegen den "Islamischen Staat" diesem Bericht zufolge verstärkt auf Cyber- und Weltraumwaffen setzen. Dem kommenden US-Präsidenten Trump sollen demnach entsprechende Optionen unterbreitet werden. "The discussion about ramping up the war against the Islamic State will likely go beyond cyber and space. During his campaign, Trump said he would give military commanders 30 days from taking office to come up with a plan for soundly defeating the Islamic State. (...) The current approach has been successful in pushing the Islamic State out of most of Iraq and it is making headway in Syria, where a collection of irregular forces are closing in on Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital. (...) But analysts said the current strategy is missing opportunities to target the Islamic State’s entire global organization and leadership."

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"Reasonable doubt in Russian hack"

Richard Diamond hält die bisherigen Belege für die Behauptung, dass Russland hinter der Veröffentlichung der E-Mails von US-Demokraten durch WikiLeaks stecke, nicht für überzeugend. Er verweist stattdessen auf die überraschend naiven Sicherheitsvorkehrungen der Betroffenen. "Simply put, the Democrats who were breached had really dumb passwords. One of the disclosures from Podesta’s Gmail account was that he chose 'Runner4567' as his Apple iCloud password. As passwords go, that’s about as secure as a papier-mache padlock. The campaign chief compounds his error by emailing it around the office and using the same password across multiple websites. (...) Leaked DNC emails also reveal the passwords previously used for the DNC press account include 'Obama-Biden-2012' and 'obamain08.' Yes, it’s true that Putin could personally have ordered the hacks, but it is equally true that his top spies would be downright embarrassed at the triviality of breaching a system secured by the secret phrase 'obamain08.' Certainly, if they were involved, they would be able to cover their tracks and leave false clues that other states, perhaps the Chinese or North Koreans, were involved. The bits of malware lingering in the DNC system for over a year cited as proof of Russian involvement turns out to be based on an open source protocol. Anyone could have left such fingerprints behind."

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"Analysis: How the Colombian peace deal fell apart"

Bei der überraschenden Ablehnung des Friedensabkommens mit den FARC-Rebellen in einem Referendum in Kolumbien hätten auch die sozialen Medien eine wichtige Rolle gespielt, berichtet Alan Gomez. "With little organized campaigning ahead of the vote, social media ended up playing a big role in influencing voters. Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America said he saw a constant flurry of posts on Twitter and other social media sites spreading what he described as 'misinformation' about the peace deal. Some posts said the peace deal was a back door for Cuban-style communism to take over the Colombian government. Some said it would create a Venezuela-like state where narco-traffickers worked hand-in-hand with the government. Isacson said the amount of inaccuracies that floated through Colombia's cyber space reminded him of the Brexit vote, the June referendum that pulled the United Kingdom out of the European Union."

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"Belgian PM calls machete attack on cops a likely act of terrorism"

Der Angriff eines mit einer Machete bewaffneten Mannes auf zwei Polizistinnen im belgischen Charleroi ist von Premierminister Charles Michel als möglicher Terrorakt eingestuft worden. "The attacker was shot and killed by police after striking two female officers with the large knife while shouting 'Allahu Akhbar (God is great),' according to police spokesman David Quinaux, Belgian public broadcaster RTBF reported. One officer received deep cuts to the face, but both were out of danger, Charleroi police said on Twitter."

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"Obama did too much in Syria, not too little"

Seth Cantey widerspricht der in Washington verbreiteten Ansicht, dass US-Präsident Obama in Syrien zu spät eingegriffen und die Rebellen nicht ausreichend bewaffnet habe. "The main problem with U.S. policy toward Syria is not that the administration did too little early in the conflict. It is that the administration did too much. If the U.S. and its partners had not intervened, Assad would have stamped out the civil war before it began. A brutal dictator would have retained control of his country, but the death toll would be lower, Syria would be more stable, the refugee crisis might not have happened, and ISIL might never have taken its current form. When we look at Iraq and Libya, we see obvious examples of the unintended consequences of intervention. We should see that when we look at Syria, too."

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"Airstrike video shows ISIL prison being destroyed"

Am Wochenende sind zwei Videos von einem Angriff auf ein IS-Gefängnis im Irak aufgetaucht. Bei der Operation von Spezialeinheiten zur Befreiung von 70 irakischen Gefangenen der Terrormiliz sei ein US-Soldat getötet worden, berichtet Gregg Zoroya. "The raid occurred shortly after U.S. Special Forces troops and Kurdish commandos freed the captives early Thursday morning. U.S. Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, 39, was killed by small-arms fire during the raid, the first U.S. combat casualty in the war against the Islamic State. A second video surfacing over the weekend, apparently from the body camera of one of the troops involved in the raid, shows footage of the prisoners being freed and led single file from the prison as Kurdish and U.S. commandos forcibly enter the facility."

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"U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades"

Die Grundlagen der heutigen Überwachungsprogramme der NSA seien in den USA bereits lange vor den Anschlägen des 11. Septembers 2001 gelegt worden, berichtet Brad Heath. "For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America. (...) The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA's intelligence arm, was the government's first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched to identify terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks."

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