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"Al Qaeda's ruthless pragmatism makes it more dangerous than ISIS"

Nach Ansicht von Colin P. Clarke und Barak Mendelsohn kann kein Zweifel daran bestehen, dass die Al-Qaida für den Westen eine langfristig größere Bedrohung darstellt als der "Islamische Staat". Im Gegensatz zum IS gehe die Al-Qaida mit einem kalten Pragmatismus vor, der z.B. in Syrien dazu geführt habe, dass die Rebellenfraktion Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (früher Jabhat al-Nusra) im Westen mittlerweile als Teil des Rebellen-Mainstreams betrachtet werde. "If Jabhat Fateh al-Sham successfully embeds within the Syrian opposition, it could prolong the conflict in Syria. Even more worrisome, with a concerted political and military strategy, it could attain the long-term success that Hezbollah has achieved in neighboring Lebanon. With a highly capable, well-trained and well-armed franchise group on the periphery of Europe, al Qaeda would be even more dangerous than ISIS. Al Qaeda’s current strategy reveals a group determined to learn from its past mistakes. The group offers a strong political component, and no longer focuses solely on violence."

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"Obama: Liberation of Mosul could come quickly"

Präsident Obama zufolge könnten die irakischen Truppen den "Islamischen Staat" in naher Zukunft aus der Stadt Mosul vertreiben. "ISIS militants seized Mosul, Iraq’s cosmopolitan and religiously mixed second city, in June 2014 in a lightning offensive through the north and west of the country. The defeat exposed deep flaws in Iraq’s military, but since then a US-led coalition has sent military advisors and attack jets to bolster the government side. The United States alone now has 4,460 troops in the country, backed by hundreds more from Western allies, advising and assisting Iraqi and Kurdish forces. 'We feel confident that we will be in a position to move forward fairly rapidly,' Obama said, vowing to fight 'right at the heart of the ISIL operation in Mosul.' 'This is going to be a challenging battle, Mosul is a large city,' he warned. He said the operation must drive out the ISIS but also reassure the populace so that the 'extremist ideology born out of desperation will not return.'"

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"Merkel, refugees and the need for Arab cultural diplomacy"

Faisal J. Abbas, Chefredakteur von Al Arabiya English, lobt Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und widerspricht Kritikern der deutschen Flüchtlingspolitik, die vor der unkontrollierten Zuwanderung radikalisierter Migranten warnen. "My guess? They can’t be many! This is based on the fact that such practices are only implemented by a small minority of the 1.6 billion followers of the Muslim faith. (...) Germans may find comfort in being grateful that their nation is strong, wealthy and has the institutions to carry the burden. They only need to compare their situation to that of Lebanon; a country of 4 million, which is broke, has had a terrible recent history with the Assad regime, but is still offering refuge to more than a million refugees! To bring back the topic to cultural diplomacy, I think Syrian refugees would be doing themselves a great favor if they show more keenness to integrate and respect the culture of their new home countries. In addition, Arab countries could do more by expressing gratitude and support (be it verbal or material) to the righteous positions taken by the likes of Angela Merkel and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau."

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"ISIS in Libya 'could relocate' from Sirte"

Die militärischen Rückschläge des "Islamischen Staates" in Libyen könnten einem neuen UN-Bericht zufolge dazu führen, dass sich die Terrormiliz aus ihrer bisherigen Hochburg Sirte zurückziehen muss. "UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that ISIS fighters could set up new cells across Libya and north Africa as they are driven from their stronghold of Sirte. Ban on Monday outlined the threat from foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) in Libya in a confidential report to the Security Council, obtained by Agence France-Presse. 'The recent pressure against ISIL (ISIS) in Libya could lead its members, including FTFs, to relocate and regroup in smaller and geographically dispersed cells throughout Libya and in neighboring countries,' Ban said in the report. The defeat of ISIS fighters in Sirte 'appears to be a distinct possibility', leading many to flee south as well as west, to Tunisia. 'The future impact of scattered ISIL combatants on southern local armed groups may become an issue of concern,' he said."

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"Turkey and Russia reconciliation: A pipe dream or strained reality?"

Menekse Tokyay hält ein Ende der diplomatischen Verstimmung zwischen der Türkei und Russland ohne eine türkische Entschuldigung für den Abschuss eines russischen Kampfflugzeuges zumindest kurzfristig für unwahrscheinlich. "For this reason, [Oktay Tanrisever, an expert on Russian politics from Ankara’s Middle East Technical University,] thinks that the sides will probably concentrate on the energy projects and economic ties rather than diplomatic ties. Opinions are divided on whether an eventual rapprochement between the Kremlin and Ankara would necessarily entail a softening of Turkey’s stance vis-à-vis Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ruling and Russia’s policy in Syria, which has enabled Assad to remain in power. According to [Kerim Has, an expert on Eurasian studies at Ankara-based think-tank USAK,] following the announcement of a joint ceasefire deal for Syria by Washington and Moscow in February, Turkey’s need to adjust its Syria policy to the realities on the ground has become a 'must' in that context."

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"What a Hillary Clinton nomination means for the Middle East"

Joyce Karam hält die Warnungen vor einer "neokonservativen" US-Präsidentin Hillary Clinton für übertrieben. Clintons Abstimmungsverhalten in Kriegsfragen entspreche weitgehend dem des aktuellen Außenministers Kerry, der keineswegs als "Falke" gelte. "Clinton’s approach of 'smart power' in conducting foreign policy predicts a centrist and pragmatic strategy abroad if she were to be elected President in November. Her long list of advisers, which includes top negotiator with Iran, Wendy Sherman, former Undersecretary at State, Nicholas Burns, her close aide Jake Sullivan and former State Department official and vocal voice on civil society and human rights in the region, Tamara Wittes, suggest a middle of the road approach that prioritizes engagement and visible US diplomatic presence. Those hoping for a return of the George W. Bush neoconservative wing in a Hillary Clinton Presidency or for a verbatim continuation of the Barack Obama policy, will likely be disappointed. Clinton’s approach to the Middle East will not bear resemblance to Bush’s freedom and democracy agenda, but will bring a more hands on and people-to-people relations than that of Obama."

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"Iraqi army storms to edge of ISIS-held Fallujah"

Der Versuch irakischer Truppen, den "Islamischen Staat" aus Falludscha zu vertreiben, könnte zu einer der größten Schlachten gegen die Terrormiliz werden, berichten Maher Nazeh und Saif Hameed. "The battle for Fallujah is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever fought against ISIS, in the city where US forces waged the heaviest battles of their 2003-2011 occupation against the militant group's precursors. Fallujah is ISIS's closest bastion to Baghdad, and believed to be the base from which the group has plotted an escalating campaign of suicide bombings against Shiite civilians and government targets inside the capital."

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"Wars displace record 40 million people globally"

Einer internationalen Studie zufolge haben bewaffnete Konflikte im vergangenen Jahr weltweit 40,8 Millionen Menschen zu Binnenflüchtlingen gemacht. "Some 8.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) linked to conflict were recorded in 2015, including 4.8 million in the Middle East and North Africa. 'Displacement... has snowballed since the Arab spring uprising in 2010 and the rise of the Islamic State,' said the report, with Yemen, Syria and Iraq accounting for more than half of the total. Outside the Middle East, the countries with the highest numbers of people fleeing were Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Ukraine."

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"Syria peace talks grind toward Assad question"

Staffan de Mistura, UN-Vermittler bei den Friedensverhandlungen in Genf, bestehe zum Unwillen der syrischen Regierungsvertreter darauf, auch die Frage einer politischen Übergangslösung in Syrien zu thematisieren, berichten Tom Miles und Suleiman Al-Khalidi aus Genf. "UN mediator Staffan de Mistura describes Syria’s political transition as 'the mother of all issues' and, emboldened by the Russian and US muscle that brought the participants to the negotiating table, he refuses to drop the subject. After a week of talks in Geneva, he praised the opposition for the depth of their ideas, but criticized the veteran diplomats on the government side for getting bogged down. 'The government is currently focusing very much on principles, which are necessary in any type of common ground on the transition,' he said. 'But I hope next week, and I have been saying so to them, that we will get their opinion, their details on how they see the political transition taking place.'"

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"Fake allegiance? ISIS and Boko Haram may not be that close"

Die französische Nachrichtenagentur AFP berichtet, dass die Allianz zwischen der Terrorgruppe Boko Haram und der Terrormiliz "Islamischer Staat" schwächer als gedacht sein könnte. Die befürchtete Ankunft ausländischer Extremisten in Nigeria sei 12 Monate nach Verkündung der Allianz ausgeblieben, Boko Haram selbst erscheine zunehmend geschwächt. "Many analysts have long viewed the announced tie-up as propaganda for both sides. Boko Haram was at the time struggling against regional forces and ISIS suffering setbacks to its territorial ambitions. 'Nothing has changed in the Boko Haram camp since Shekau's declaration,' Nigerian security analyst Abdullahi Bawa Wase told AFP. 'It has failed to bring in ISIS fighters. It has not attracted ISIS weapons and cash, which many feared would happen. On the contrary, Boko Haram is weaker than it was before the declaration, which is evident from the drastic drop in deadly attacks. Even the rate of suicide bombings has slowed.' A Nigerian security source said ISIS was 'only a marketing label which Boko Haram wants to use to deceptively project itself as a formidable terrorist group'."

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"Most ISIS bombs 'made with civilian components'"

Der Organisation Conflict Armament Research zufolge stellt der "Islamische Staat" die meisten seiner Bomben aus frei erhältlichen zivilen Komponenten her. "ISIS relies on commercially available components for most of its bombs, with some parts coming from as far away as the United States and Japan, according to a report released Wednesday by a London-based arms research group. Conflict Armament Research says most components - such as chemicals and detonators come from companies in Turkey and Iraq, which may not know the parts are being bought by the extremists. Many components are also used for civilian purposes, such as mining, making them relatively easy to get."

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"Samples confirm ISIS used mustard gas in Iraq"

Eine Untersuchung der Organisation für das Verbot chemischer Waffen (OPCW) hat offenbar den Verdacht bestätigt, dass der "Islamische Staat" im vergangenen Jahr Senfgas gegen kurdische Kämpfer in Irak eingesetzt hat. "A source at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that laboratory tests had come back positive for the sulphur mustard, after around 35 Kurdish troops were sickened on the battlefield last August. The OPCW will not identify who used the chemical agent. But the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the findings have not yet been released, said the result confirmed that chemical weapons had been used by ISIS fighters."

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"Iraq’s military is still struggling despite U.S. training"

Trotz der Rückeroberung Ramadis im vergangenen Jahr haben viele US-Experten nach wie vor ernsthafte Zweifel an der Kampfkraft des irakischen Militärs. Der Sieg über den "Islamischen Staat" in Ramadi sei von einer Eliteeinheit angeführt worden, die eine deutlich härtere Ausbildung erhalten habe als gewöhnliche irakische Infanterieeinheiten. "While praising the victory in Ramadi, analysts also sounded notes of caution in the way the battle was waged. 'This was a tremendous success, but at best a partial success,' said Anthony Cordesman, a former adviser to the previous U.S.-led training effort in Iraq and currently a security analyst with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. The victories in Ramadi were 'dependent on a unit where it is not yet clear you can replicate more of them,' Cordesman said, referring to Iraq’s elite counterterrorism force that took the lead in the fight. The counterterrorism unit, or CTS, is the product of an older, dramatically different training program than the current effort. Iraq’s counterterrorism troops were chosen after a grueling series of exams and closely trained by U.S. Army Special Forces from 2003 to 2011."

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"The ISIS 'brand' is spreading worldwide, experts say"

Trotz der militärischen Rückschläge für den "Islamischen Staat" in Irak und Syrien breitet sich das "Markenzeichen" der Terrormiliz nach Ansicht einiger Experten international immer weiter aus. Terrorgruppen in Ländern wie Indonesien hätten keinen direkten Kontakt zur IS-Führung und handelten trotzdem in deren Namen. "'From the start, Islamic State (ISIS) has vowed to take its fight globally, but until recently it has been focused on managing its caliphate in Iraq and Syria,' said Michael Kugelman, of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. With the Iraqi army re-taking some of the territory the group had taken, ISIS 'has re-dedicated attention to focusing on a more global approach', he said. (...) Kugelman, like all of the experts questioned by AFP, believes that ISIS is for now content to take credit for the attacks, using the 'brand recognition' of its name that has spread across the world, partly through social media, without necessarily dedicating resources or manpower to these groups. 'What you have here are disillusioned, alienated militants, who have been fighting with a different organization, who are interested in identifying themselves with a more dynamic cause. And they see ISIS as a very dynamic cause - they are in the media all the time and commit spectacularly brutal attacks,' he said further."

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"As Iraq fights ISIS, violence rises in Shiite south"

Abseits des Kampfes gegen den "Islamischen Staat" im Norden Iraks gebe es zunehmende Kriminalität und Gewalt im schiitisch dominierten Süden des Landes, berichtet die Associated Press aus Bagdad. "Basra and Iraq’s southern Shiite heartland were spared from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, which seized much of northern and western Iraq in 2014. But as Iraq has struggled to combat the group, security forces have increasingly been redeployed from the south, leaving a security vacuum that has been filled by unruly militias and criminal gangs. Local officials blame the lack of police for soaring theft, armed robberies, kidnappings for ransom, bloody tribal disputes and an uptick in drug trafficking. Residents complain that infighting over government posts and the growing influence of Shiite militias have exacerbated the situation."

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"Iraq, Syria and Libya no longer exist"

Ausgehend vom üblichen Verständnis des Staatsbegriffs kommt der Sicherheitsexperte Azeem Ibrahim zu dem Schluss, dass die Staaten in Irak, Libyen und Syrien faktisch nicht länger existieren. Angesichts der historischen Umstände ihrer Entstehung sei diese Entwicklung keine große Überraschung. Der Westen sollte deshalb nicht versuchen, die bisherigen Grenzen mit aller Macht aufrecht zu erhalten. "The people that live in these lands have no one, shared country, and have divided state-political loyalties. What they are fighting for, in all cases, is to prevent a rival people, a rival tribe, a rival religious group, to assert dominion over them through the political and military apparatuses of their respective states. And for as long as they do this they will continue to be in a perpetual civil war, whether this civil war is a hot war, or, as it has tended to be for most of their history since these countries were artificially invented at the end of the colonial era, a cold war. The artificial straight lines in the sand we drew when we 'granted independence' to these states serve only to perpetuate these civil wars. We cannot fight to enforce these borders. They must be allowed to change, and new countries made up of people who share some kind of spirit of community with one another must be allowed to emerge."

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"German diplomat to take over Libya peace efforts"

Der erfahrene deutsche Diplomat Martin Kobler wird neuer Sondervermittler der Vereinten Nationen für das Bürgerkriegsland Libyen. "Kobler will succeed Bernardino Leon as special envoy for Libya just as efforts to end years of turmoil in the North African country have run into hurdles over the formation of a unity government. Libya’s internationally-recognized parliament and the Islamist-backed assembly have rejected the latest U.N. proposals for power-sharing. A former German ambassador to Iraq and Egypt, Kobler has led MONUSCO, the U.N.’s largest peacekeeping mission, for the past two years."

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"Nations back French bid to limit U.N. veto use"

Der französische Vorschlag einer Einschränkung der Vetomacht der Mitglieder des UN-Sicherheitsrates ist in der Generalversammlung auf großen Zuspruch gestoßen. "Dozens of nations signed on to a French proposal on Wednesday that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council refrain from exercising their veto in cases of mass atrocities and genocide. Some 75 countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia backed the proposal, and French officials say they expect more nations to join. There are 193 U.N. member nations. 'We hope there will be more commitments to ensure that these situations, like in Syria, where there are mass atrocities and the U.N. Security Council is paralyzed by a veto, disappear,' French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters."

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Al Arabiya

Die französische Luftwaffe hat ihren ersten Angriff gegen die Terrormiliz "Islamischer Staat" in Syrien durchgeführt. "The operation to 'fight the terrorist threat' of ISIS was coordinated with regional partners, a statement said. 'We will strike any time our national security is at stake,' it said. In an announcement earlier this month, France cited self-defence as its rationale for planning the strikes, while ruling out ground operations. French planes are already involved in air strikes against the jihadists in neighboring Iraq."

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"Interactive: History of unrest at Al-Aqsa Mosque"

Anlässlich der erneuten Spannungen auf dem Tempelberg hat Al Arabiya eine interaktive Zeitleiste der bisherigen Konfrontationen zwischen Palästinensern und Israelis vor dem Heiligtum in Jerusalem ins Netz gestellt.

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"Australia carries out first strikes on ISIS"

Das australische Militär hat zum ersten Mal einen Luftangriff gegen Kämpfer des "Islamischen Staats" in Syrien durchgeführt. "A Royal Australian Air Force Hornet fighter destroyed an ISIS armored personnel carrier with a precision-guided missile two days ago, [Defense Minister Kevin Andrews] said. The United States, Canada, Turkey and Gulf states have already been involved in strikes on ISIS militants in Syria. Australia joined the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq last year but last week extended air operations into Syria, saying the legal basis was the collective self-defense of Iraq against the jihadist group which does not respect borders."

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"Turkish poll shows ruling party short of votes"

Erste Umfragen deuten darauf hin, dass die Erdogan-Partei AKP nach den im November geplanten Neuwahlen in der Türkei erneut keine Alleinregierung bilden könnte. Der Stimmenanteil der prokurdischen Partei HDP könnte demnach leicht steigen. "Turkey's ruling AK Party is seen falling short of the votes needed to form a single-party government in a snap election on Nov. 1 with 41.7 percent of votes, up from 40.9 percent in the June election, pollster Metropoll found in its latest survey. (...) According to the Metropoll survey, backing for the secular main opposition CHP was at 25.5 percent, the nationalist MHP at 15.7 percent and the pro-Kurdish HDP at 14.7 percent - a rise in its support from 13.1 percent in June. 'It seems like the snap elections will not generate a different political situation from the election on June 7,' Ozer Sencar, the chairman of Metropoll, wrote in the survey report."

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"Saudi views shifting on Islamic extremism"

In Saudi-Arabien mehren sich Shounaz Meky zufolge Stimmen, die den islamischen Extremismus als gefährlich ablehnen. "Waheed Hamzah Hashem, associate professor of political science at King Abdulaziz University, told Al Arabiya News more Saudis from different educational and career backgrounds are voicing the rejection of extremism. 'More [Saudis] are becoming strongly opposed to any form of violence,' he said. 'People increasingly hate any group that threatens the country’s stability.' Hashem said the report’s findings correlate with surveys he had conducted with his students. He said the results of his recent surveys showed an increase in negative perceptions of terrorism and calls for the government to eradicate it."

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"ISIS controls half of Syrian territory, monitor says"

Mit der Einnahme Palmyras kontrolliere der Islamische Staat über 50% des syrischen Staatsgebiets, berichtet Al Arabiya. "The capture of Palmyra is the first time ISIS has taken control of a city directly from the Syrian army and allied forces, which have already lost ground in the northwest and south to other insurgent groups in recent weeks. (...) The areas ISIS holds are mostly sparsely inhabited. Syria’s main cities, including the capital Damascus, are located on its western flank along the border with Lebanon and the coastline and have been the priority for the Syrian military."

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"Egypt sentences former President Mursi to death"

Der durch einen Militärputsch gestürzte frühere ägyptische Präsident Mohammed Mursi ist von einem Gericht in Kairo wegen der Organisation eines Gefängnisausbruchs, angeblichem Landesverrat und Spionage zum Tode verurteilt worden. Das Urteil muss noch von der obersten religiösen Autorität des Landes, dem Mufti, bestätigt werden. "Following the announcement, Amnesty International called the court's decision 'a charade based on null and void procedures' and demanded his release or retrial in a civilian court. From his part, the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticized Egypt over the court decision and accused the West of hypocrisy, the state-run Anatolian news agency reported. 'While the West is abolishing the death penalty, they are just watching the continuation of death sentences in Egypt. They don't do anything about it,' Erdogan was quoted as saying."

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"Islamist rebels claim capture of Syria army base"

Die Einnahme eines Armeestützpunkts in der syrischen Provinz Idlib durch eine islamistische Rebellenkoalition sei ein weiterer Rückschlag für das Assad-Regime, berichtet Reuters aus Amman. "Hardline Sunni Islamist rebels seized Idlib city, the provincial capital, last month after forming an alliance that includes Nusra, the Ahrar al-Sham movement and Jund al-Aqsa, but not the rival Islamic State group which controls large tracts of Syria and Iraq. On Saturday, the coalition captured the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour for the first time in the four-year-old conflict. The Islamist alliance calls itself the Army of Fatah, a reference to the conquests that spread Islam across the Middle East from the 7th century."

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"Egypt’s Mursi sentenced to 20 years in prison"

Ein ägyptisches Gericht hat den vom Militär gestürzten Präsidenten Mursi wegen dessen Verantwortung für die angebliche Verhaftung und Folter von Gefangenen zu 20 Jahren Haft verurteilt. Das Urteil in zwei weiteren Prozessen wird im Mai erwartet, Mursi könnte dort wegen Geheimnisverrats zum Tode verurteilt werden. "(...) the court acquitted Morsi - Egypt's first freely elected president - of murder charges that could have seen him sentenced to death over the killings of a journalist and two protesters during clashes outside a presidential palace in 2012. Mursi had been facing the prospect of a death penalty, which would have been a symbolic blow against his Muslim Brotherhood movement - target of a brutal government crackdown after then army chief and now president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew him on July 3, 2013."

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"How Saudi intervention in Yemen prevented a disaster"

Sigurd Neubauer glaubt, dass die saudi-arabische Intervention in Jemen eine Machtübernahme der schiitischen Huthi-Rebellen und damit ein "Desaster" verhindert habe. "Despite the Houthis' military gains, the group clearly overextended itself militarily as it has become unclear whether the movement and its leadership has full control of its militiamen. But what would have happened had a Saudi-led alliance not intervened to support legitimate Yemeni President Hadi? What would have happened if Houthis gained further control? A dangerous, but plausible scenario, is that the Houthis, like many revolutionaries before them, could implement a reign of terror as they find themselves unable to control their militiamen, let alone govern or provide basic government services for its population."

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"Iraqi airforce strikes ISIS targets in Tikrit"

Die irakische Armee hat ihre angekündigte März-Offensive gegen den Islamischen Staat begonnen, um die Stadt Tikrit zurückzuerobern. "The offensive will be supported by air strikes from the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, the Iraqi army said earlier. Residents of Tikrit were reportedly told to evacuate the area ahead of the military operation. Iraqi officials and militia commanders regard the recapture of Tikrit as an essential step toward the liberation of Mosul."

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"Egypt warplanes strike ISIS targets in Libya"

Nach der Veröffentlichung eines Videos, das offenbar die Ermordung von 21 ägyptischen Christen durch den Islamischen Staat in Libyen zeigt, hat die ägyptische Luftwaffe Angriffe gegen libysche IS-Stellungen durchgeführt. "On Sunday, ISIS released a video purportedly showing the beheading of 21 Egyptians captured in Libya. The 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, who had gone to Libya in search of jobs, were marched to a beach, forced to kneel and then beheaded, according to the video, broadcast via a website that supports Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). (...) Following the release of the video, Sisi had given a televised address, saying that Egypt and the world are facing 'ferocious threats' hailing from radical militants, who are 'devoid of any humane sense.' He said his country reserved the right to 'punish these murderers' as he called a meeting of security chiefs and declared seven days of mourning after the video was distributed by militants on social media."

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Wo gibt es Kriege und Gewaltkonflikte? Und wo herrscht am längsten Frieden? Welches Land gibt am meisten für Rüstung aus? liefert wichtige Daten und Fakten zu Krieg und Frieden.

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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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