US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Long War Journal


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"Analysis: The Islamic State’s allegiance videos"

Ein neues Video des "Islamischen Staates" zeigt die mutmaßlichen Attentäter von Sri Lanka bei einem Treueschwur auf den IS-Anführer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Thomas Joscelyn analysiert die Bilder im Kontext früherer Bekennervideos des IS und schreibt: "The footage is undoubtedly intended to underscore the connection between the perpetrators and the Islamic State mother organization. The strength of those ties needs to be evaluated using multiple sources of evidence and intelligence, not just the videos. Such an evaluation is currently underway with respect to the terrorists in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, the videos demonstrate that the terrorists have at least a digital tie to the Islamic State’s global network. The jihadists seen in the footage from Sri Lanka rehearse a familiar script, declaring Baghdadi to be 'Emir ul-Mu’minin,' or the 'Emir of the Faithful,' in front of the group’s typical banner. This ritual is not limited to videos released after successful terrorist attacks, but even, in some cases, after the terrorists’ plots fizzled."

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"US-backed forces declare end to Islamic State’s physical caliphate"

Die letzte Bastion des "Islamischen Staates" in Syrien ist einer Meldung der arabisch-kurdischen SDF-Miliz nach langen Kämpfen endlich gefallen. "The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared today that the Islamic State’s caliphate has been defeated. In a statement posted online, the SDF announced the 'destruction of the so-called Islamic State Organization and the end of its ground control in its last pocket in [Baghouz] region.' The SDF had battled the jihadists for control of Baghouz since early this year. The first part of the SDF’s announcement is an exaggeration. The Islamic State’s organization has not been entirely destroyed. The group has lost its territory, meaning it can longer claim to rule over a physical caliphate. This has undoubtedly damaged the organization’s stature, making it less appealing to would-be recruits than at the zenith of its power in 2014 and 2015. However, the group’s media machine shifted its messaging many months ago. Whereas the Islamic State once told followers that it was 'remaining and expanding,' the jihadists now preach a message of resiliency and determination, claiming that their setbacks are a divine test."

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"UN: Al Qaeda continues to view Afghanistan as a 'safe haven'"

Der UN-Sicherheitsrat stellt in einem neuen Bericht fest, dass die Beziehungen der Al-Qaida zu den Taliban nach wie vor gut seien und die Terrororganisation Afghanistan immer noch als "sicheren Hafen" betrachte. "The new assessment was authored in January and released online in early February. It is consistent with a previous analysis written last summer. In that report, dated July 2018, the UN said al Qaeda’s 'alliance with the Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan remains firm,' and the two are still 'closely allied.' (...) The US is currently negotiating with the Taliban. Zalmay Khalilzad, who leads the American delegation, has already stated that he is satisfied with the Taliban’s commitment to prevent Afghanistan 'from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals.' However, as the UN’s two reports and other evidence show, international terrorist organizations are already operating throughout Afghanistan, including in areas controlled by the Taliban. Khalilzad has not explained why he trusts the Taliban now, given that the Taliban’s representatives have repeatedly lied about their relationship with al Qaeda since the 1990s and the two groups remain in the same trench to this day."

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"Jihadist group consolidates control in northwestern Syria"

Die radikalislamische Rebellenfraktion Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) habe ihre Vorherrschaft im Nordwesten Syriens durch Kämpfe gegen rivalisierende Gruppen in den vergangenen Wochen weiter ausgebaut, berichtet Thomas Joscelyn. "The jihadis still have not declared an Islamic state in Idlib, but HTS’s recent moves have extended their control throughout the region, allowing their nascent government to increase its footprint. In a report released last year, the US State Department referred to HTS as an 'al Qaeda-linked' group, saying its 'proselytization sessions' include games for children that are based 'on al Qaeda’s religious beliefs.' While HTS has gained more ground at the expense of other insurgents, significant challenges lie ahead. Namely, Bashar al Assad’s loyalists and their allies have been eyeing Idlib province for a possible invasion for months. Turkey intervened on Idlib’s behalf last year, forging a deal with the Russians that staved off a possible attack. But it is not clear if the Assad-Iran-Russia axis will continue to hold off, or if they will push into Idlib in the coming weeks and months."

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"Islamic State expanded operations in Somalia in 2018"

Der Islamische Staat hat seine Operationen in Somalia im vergangenen Jahr deutlich ausgeweitet, berichtet Caleb Weiss. "According to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal, the jihadist group [Islamic State in Somalia (ISS)] has claimed 106 attacks in Somalia since April 2016. In 2018 alone, ISS claimed 66 operations. While this tally is less consequential than other areas in which the Islamic State operates, this number is more than the total number of claimed operations in Somalia in 2016 and 2017 combined. These claims were collected from Islamic State propaganda channels, such as Nashir and Amaq News, on Telegram. (...) as ISS continues to encroach on Shabaab territory, it is likely more inter-jihadi conflict between the two organizations will be seen. This has already played out to some degree, but Shabaab’s declaration of open conflict is a bad omen for the fledgling jihadist group. Additionally, while the Islamic State has not yet showed any signs of decelerating attack claims from Somalia, a renewed Shabaab campaign against it, however, will likely have a drastic effect on its operations."

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"Analysis: The Islamic State hasn’t been defeated"

Präsident Trump hat den angekündigten Abzug der US-Truppen aus Syrien mit der Niederlage des "Islamischen Staates" begründet. Thomas Joscelyn hält diese Siegesmeldung für verfrüht. "(...) has the Islamic State (ISIS) been 'defeated' in Syria? The short answer is no. An unknown number of the group’s top leaders, including presumably Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and middle managers remain alive. It is highly likely that thousands of fighters remain in both Syria and Iraq. They continue to fight as insurgents, biding their time for opportunities to surge. And the Islamic State’s media machine, which is assumed to be headquartered in the region, remains prolific, pumping out messages in multiple languages on a daily basis. It is true that the Islamic State has lost nearly all of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders seemed to refine the president’s claim in a followup statement, saying the US has 'has defeated the territorial caliphate.' If that were the end of the story, then so be it. But as FDD’s Long War Journal and a number of others have repeatedly pointed out, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men returned to their insurgent roots some months ago."

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"Taliban commander admits thousands of foreign fighters are embedded within group"

Ein hochrangiger Taliban-Kommandeur hat in einem NBC-Interview überraschend eingeräumt, dass sich in den Reihen der Gotteskrieger tausende ausländische Kämpfer befinden. Bill Roggio hält diese freimütige Aussage für "erstaunlich", da es sich bei den Kämpfern mit hoher Sicherheit um Al-Qaida-Mitglieder handele. "FDD’s Long War Journal has maintained for the last eight years that US military and intelligence estimates of between 50 to 100 al Qaeda in Afghanistan (later modified to 200) have been woefully low. (...) It is unclear why the Taliban leader felt the urge to admit that thousands of foreign fighters are fighting alongside his group (most these are without a doubt al Qaeda, note how the Taliban commander refers to them as 'foreign militants'). Perhaps he is emboldened by the US government’s desperation to negotiate with the Taliban, and is unconcerned that his comments will make US officials reconsider the Taliban’s relationship with al Qaeda. Regardless of the reason, the admission further validates eight years of research by FDD’s Long War Journal, which has rejected the absurd notions that al Qaeda was defeated in Afghanistan and the Taliban has distanced itself the group."

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"Taliban confirms meeting with US in the UAE"

Die Taliban haben bestätigt, dass sie sich am Montag in den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten zu Gesprächen mit Regierungsvertretern der USA, Saudi-Arabiens und Pakistans getroffen haben. "Notably absent from the Taliban’s statement is any mention of the Afghan government. The jihadists have publicly rejected any talks with President Ghani’s government, repeatedly describing it as an illegitimate 'puppet' of the US. According to Voice of America (VOA), the encounter in the UAE was brokered by Pakistan, after President Donald Trump requested Pakistan’s assistance in jumpstarting the talks. Citing Pakistani officials, VOA added that previous talks in Qatar stalled because the Taliban insisted on 'a date or timeframe' for the US and NATO withdrawal before participating in any sort of peace process with its Afghan foes. Such a timetable would be a major concession just to initiate negotiations. (...) It remains to be seen if Zalmay Khalilzad, who leads the American delegation, can actually get the Taliban and the Afghan government to sit down at the same table — or if the US will proceed without such talks. At least one American official claims they aren’t even really negotiating with the Taliban. 'We are not engaged in peace talks with the Taliban,' John R. Bass, the US Ambassador in Afghanistan, said earlier this month, according to TOLOnews. 'We are not negotiating on behalf of the Afghan people, we are not negotiating on behalf of the Afghan government, we are not in negotiating period.'"

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"Afghan government’s negotiating position completely at odds with Taliban’s"

Bill Roggio erwartet, dass die afghanische Regierung in den Verhandlungen zur Beendigung des Krieges an den Rand gedrängt werden wird. Die Verhandlungsposition Kabuls spiegle nicht die militärische Realität wider. Die Regierung selbst werde von den Taliban als "Marionette des Westens" abgelehnt. "The Taliban has refused to directly negotiate with the Afghan government, which it again views as a puppet of the West. Instead, the Taliban has insisted on directly negotiating with the US, which it views as the real power broker, and insists that the US withdraw its troops from the country. Only then can the Taliban make 'peace.' The US and international community, in its haste to negotiate a settlement with the Taliban at any cost, has delegitimized the Afghan government and weakened its potential negotiating position, assuming the Taliban will even negotiate with it. It is difficult to see how the Afghan government can remain a party to the so-called peace process given those conditions."

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"Analysis: US military grossly underestimates Taliban, al Qaeda force levels in Afghanistan"

Bill Roggio wirft dem US-Militär in einem weiteren Beitrag vor, die Zahl der Taliban-Kämpfer in Afghanistan systematisch zu unterschätzen bzw. herunterzuspielen. "Once again, the US military has grossly underestimated the size and scope of the Taliban, despite battling the group head-on for the last 17 years. In its latest quarterly report, US Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) approximated the Taliban’s strength as between 28,000 and 40,000 fighters. That number should be doubled, at the minimum, because the USFOR-A estimate is wildly unrealistic given the level and intensity of fighting in Afghanistan, as well as the number of Taliban casualties claimed by Afghan security forces. (...) the Taliban’s strength is likely to number well over 100,000 fighters. US military and intelligence officials who track the Taliban agree. One official told LWJ that the Taliban likely has more than 70,000 fighters and tens of thousands of support personnel and supporters. Another said that the Taliban “could not possibly do what it has done with merely 40,000 fighters; double or more realistically triple that number, and you are closer to the truth.”

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"Teaching Hate and Violence: Problematic Passages from Saudi State Textbooks for the 2018–19 School Year"

Eine Untersuchung der US-Organisation Anti-Defamation League hat festgestellt, dass in saudi-arabischen Schulbüchern immer noch Textstellen enthalten sind, die gegen Nicht-Muslime und andere Religionen hetzen. Im Jahr 2008 habe sich Riad eigentlich bereit erklärt, derartige Passagen zu entfernen. "A decade has passed since that deadline expired, and today ADL is disappointed to report that intolerant language of all kinds still abounds in Saudi Arabia’s government-published textbooks for schoolchildren. The incitement is particularly egregious at the high school level. (...) This report demonstrates that the new Saudi state textbooks for the 2018–19 academic year still contain passages that encourage bigotry or violence against numerous categories of people, including Jews, Christians, Shiite or Sufi Muslims, women, people who engage in anal sex, and anyone who mocks or converts away from Islam. Derogatory language against 'infidels' — which is used in this context to refer to non-Muslims such as Christians and Jews — remains especially pervasive."

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"Peace with the Taliban will not be peaceful"

Bill Roggio hat keine große Hoffnung, dass die Taliban in Friedensverhandlungen zu wesentlichen Zugeständnissen bereit sein werden. Jüngste Verlautbarungen ließen kaum Zweifel daran, dass eine Einigung mit den USA für die Taliban nur zu eigenen Bedingungen in Frage komme. "Just last week, the Taliban attended a conference in Moscow hosted by Russia. While the US and Afghan governments did not send official delegations, representatives did attend. At the conference, the Taliban laid out its demands for 'peace' in Afghanistan. Before talks could begin, the Taliban insisted its leaders must be removed from the United Nations Sanctions list, its members freed from prisons, its political office be formally recognised, and the end of ‘poisonous propaganda against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.' The last demand is telling. In its official statement at the Moscow conference, the Taliban referred to itself as the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan' — a staggering 61 times. This is the name of the Taliban’s government prior to the US invasion in 2001 after al Qaeda’s attack on 11 September. (...) While some may dismiss the Taliban’s demands as merely its hard line initial position that can be whittled down in negotiations, it has held firm on these demands for well over a decade. (...) it is difficult to see how the Taliban can walk back demands that it has held firmly to for over a decade, such as the withdrawal of US forces or its refusal to enter into the Afghan government, while they also still hold increasing leverage in the battle. There has been little reason to concede ground."

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"Afghan forces cede Faryab district to the Taliban"

Bill Roggio berichtet, dass die afghanische Regierung offenbar eine weitere Provinz an die Taliban abgetreten habe. "Afghan security forces ceded control of the district of Ghormach in Faryab province after being besieged by the Taliban. The Afghan military’s weak grip on remote areas of the country forced the government to punt again on another district. Ghormach 'completely fell into the hands of Taliban insurgents on Monday after security forces exited the town,' Pajhwok Afghan News reported, based on comments by anonymous Afghan officials. The Taliban ambushed Afghan forces as they left the district and killed three soldiers, according to ATN News. Afghan military officials claimed that 50 Taliban fighters, including two commanders, were killed in retaliatory airstrikes."

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"In Afghan north, another district falls to the Taliban"

Der Vormarsch der Taliban im Norden Afghanistans geht offenbar weiter, berichtet Bill Roggio. "The Taliban overran the district of Bilchiragh in the northern province of Faryab after besieging it for more than a week. More than 100 Afghan security personnel are reportedly missing. This latest fall of another northern district is part of a disturbing pattern of Afghan forces being surrounded by the Taliban and then either overwhelmed or forced to surrender. (...) The Taliban has been able to mass its forces in Faryab and elsewhere and overwhelm what should be numerically superior Afghan forces. Afghan soldiers and police have repeatedly complained that they call higher command for reinforcements and a resupply of food and ammunition, but their calls go unanswered."

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"Taliban overruns another base in north as it withdraws from Ghazni City"

Bill Roggio berichtet über die harten Kämpfe zwischen afghanischen Regierungstruppen und den Taliban im Norden des Landes. Die Taliban haben sich demnach aus der kurzzeitig eroberten Provinzhauptstadt Ghazni zurückgezogen, zugleich aber einen weiteren Armeestützpunkt eingenommen. "The Taliban stormed the 'Allahuddin military base in Baghlan-e Markazi district' during a late night assault and killed '36 soldiers and nine Afghan Local Policemen,' ATN News confirmed. 'Taliban has also seized all equipment which were available,' and its fighters are said to still be occupying the base, the Afghan news agency reported. The assault in Baghlan occurred just one day after the Taliban overran a base in Faryab after besieging it for three days. At least 43 soldiers were killed and 17 more were captured, and the remaining 40 troops stationed there surrendered to the Taliban. Attacks on military bases such as the ones in Faryab and Baghlan have become all too common. Reporting from Afghanistan indicates that the Taliban has been overrunning bases and checkpoints on an almost daily basis over the past two months."

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"Islamic State targets rival jihadists and Islamists in northern Syria"

In der Idlib-Provinz, dem letzten großen Rückzugsort der Rebellen in Syrien, geht der "Islamische Staat" Thomas Joscelyn zufolge seit einigen Wochen gezielt gegen die radikalislamische Gruppe Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) und andere rivalisierende Fraktionen vor. "The group has claimed a series of plots targeting its jihadist and Islamist rivals in recent weeks. The attacks are centered in Idlib province, including its capital city, but have spilled over into the countryside and neighboring provinces as well. (...) While the Islamic State campaign inside Idlib seems to be focused and intense, it is not new. Baghdadi’s representatives have repeatedly targeted HTS, as well as others in northern Syria. And HTS has failed to root out its rivals’ presence despite persistent efforts."

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"Jihadists try to rally opposition in southern Syria"

Thomas Joscelyn berichtet, dass dschihadistische Rebellengruppen zum Widerstand gegen die Offensive der syrischen Regierungstruppen in der südlichen Prinz Daraa aufgerufen hätten. "Jihadist organizations, including Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS) and the 'Guardians of Religion,' are calling on all insurgents to join forces against the onslaught. The jihadists’ insurgency has stalled over the last year or more, with leadership rivalries, infighting and doctrinal differences fracturing their formerly potent coalition. They likely hope to jumpstart the anti-Assad coalition, which has struggled to win any meaningful battles of late."

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"A misbegotten 'ceasefire' in Afghanistan"

Thomas Joscelyn und Bill Roggio bezweifeln, dass dem überraschenden dreitägigen Waffenstillstand mit den Taliban tatsächlich echte Fortschritte im Friedensprozess folgen werden. Diese von der Regierung in Kabul und von US-Generälen vor Ort geäußerte Hoffnung basiere auf der realitätsfernen Vorstellung, dass die Taliban des Kämpfens müde seien. "According to our estimates, approximately 60 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are either contested or controlled by the Taliban. The jihadists outright control at least 10 percent of the districts. But fully half of Afghanistan is contested terrain, with the two sides vying to claim the ground as their own. The United States and its Afghan allies have thus not beaten back the jihadists in the months since the Trump administration announced its new strategy last August. They have, at best, prevented them from conquering even more ground. Why would the Taliban, which is not close to being defeated, give up now?"

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"20 jihadists killed or captured in French raids in northern Mali"

Caleb Weiss berichtet, dass das französische Militär in Mali bei mehreren Einsätzen über 20 Dschihadisten getötet oder gefangen genommen habe. "French troops from Operation Barkhane, along with troops from Mauritania, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso (collectively known as the G5 Sahel force), have conducted numerous military operations across Mali since last year. Many of these have been focused near the borders of Burkina Faso, where violence emanating from another al Qaeda-linked organization, Ansaroul Islam, is common. French forces have been conducting raids and airstrikes in northern Mali since intervening in the country in 2013. However, despite the French operation, the G5 Sahel personnel, and a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali, al Qaeda’s forces have persisted in maintaining its insurgency which has expanded in recent years."

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"US Inspector General acknowledges Iran-backed militias obtained Abrams tanks"

Moderne Panzer, die von den USA an das irakische Militär geliefert wurden, haben einem Quartalsbericht des Pentagons zufolge ihren Weg zu schiitischen Milizen gefunden, die vom Iran unterstützt werden. "The report also noted that the US State Department has pressed the Iraqi government for the return of the tanks, but that has not happened. FDD’s Long War Journal has long tracked the appearances of US-made tanks in the hands of Iranian-backed militias. In Jan. 2015, the Hezbollah Brigades – a US-designated foreign terrorist organization – showed an Abrams flying the group’s flag. (...) The Badr Organization, another Iranian-backed Shiite militia, has also publicized photos showing its forces in possession of an Abrams tanks. (...) In Feb. 2016, Kata’ib Sayyid al Shuhada (KSS), which is closely linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – Qods Force and led by US-designated terrorist Mustafa al Sheibani, was seen using an M1 Abrams likely in Iraq’s Salahadin Province."

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"CIA releases massive trove of Osama bin Laden’s files"

Die CIA hat hunderttausende Dokumente, Bilder und Computerdaten veröffentlicht, die während der US-Operation zur Tötung des Al-Qaida-Chefs Osama bin Laden am 2. Mai 2011 im pakistanischen Abbottabad erbeutet wurden. Thomas Joscelyn und Bill Roggio begrüßen die Veröffentlichung und fassen erste interessante Enthüllungen zusammen: "While the world has changed dramatically since the al Qaeda founder’s death more than six years ago, many of the files are still relevant today. Indeed, the CIA has withheld an unspecified number of documents for reasons related to protecting national security. We don’t doubt that some documents are still sensitive, but we hope that everything can be eventually released. The CIA provided FDD’s Long War Journal with an advance copy of many of the files. It will take years for experts and researchers to comb through this treasure trove of information. However, we offer some preliminary observations below."

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"Iraqi forces recapture contentious Kirkuk in overnight offensive"

Truppen der irakischen Regierung haben die Stadt Kirkuk im Norden des Landes offenbar weitgehend kampflos eingenommen. Bill Roggio und Alexandra Gutowski berichten, dass der Rückzug der Peschmerga die internen Konflikte unter den irakischen Kurden offengelegt habe. "The clashes in Kirkuk have exposed rifts between Iraqi Kurdistan’s rival political parties: the Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The PUK reportedly permitted Baghdad to advance into Kirkuk, despite KDP dissent. The PUK and the Talabani family receive support from Iran, raising suspicion about a potential backroom deal to hand over the city to Iranian-aligned forces and undermine the KDP."

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"Jihadists hit Mogadishu with car bombs, suicide assault"

Bei einem Selbstmordanschlag in der somalischen Hauptstadt Mogadischu sind letzten Angaben zufolge mindestens 300 Menschen getötet worden. Bill Roggio und Caleb Weiss berichten, dass die Gewalttat der bisherige Höhepunkt einer langen Anschlagsserie in diesem Jahr sei. "Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 36 car bombings in Mogadishu. These attacks have killed or wounded at least 771 people, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. The operations include remotely detonated vehicles, suicide car bombings, and suicide assaults. At least 11 of these attacks have been assassination attempts against Somali military, intelligence, and government personnel, as well as Somali journalists. Eight of the 36 instances occurred on Maka al Mukarama street in Mogadishu. Shabaab has claimed the vast majority of these attacks."

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"Lessons learned from 15 years in Afghanistan: SIGAR"

Der vom US-Kongress eingesetzte Generalinspekteur für den Wiederaufbau in Afghanistan (SIGAR) hat einen detaillierten Bericht über die aktuellen Herausforderungen der mittlerweile 15 Jahre dauernden Militärkampagne der USA im Land veröffentlicht. Phil Hegseth hat den Bericht gelesen und fasst zusammen: "The report, which is the first of its kind, concludes that the ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] is plagued by debilitating attrition, corruption, equipment shortages, incomplete training, a lack of security infrastructure and widespread illiteracy. (...) If the US and its coalition partners want to someday hand off all aspects of security to an Afghan force that can hold itself against a proven and devoted insurgency, longer term strategies are needed that are not bound by arbitrary or politically-driven timetables. To support those strategies, funding must be committed that is meticulously tracked to ensure it reaches the most effective hands. And to back it all up, a commitment to appropriate training paired with a robust buildup of security-sector infrastructure is vital."

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"LWJ Map Assessment: Taliban controls or contests 45% of Afghan districts"

Ihre Analyse vorliegender Berichte lässt Bill Roggio und Alexandra Gutowski zu dem Ergebnis kommen, dass die Taliban in fast der Hälfte aller Bezirke Afghanistans eine starke Präsenz zeigen. "FDD’s Long War Journal assessment aligns closely with those of both the US military and the Taliban itself. The Taliban claims to control or contest 50 percent of the country’s 407 districts. The US military puts the estimate at 40 percent (...). Although the NATO mission in Afghanistan downplays the significance of these rural districts, the Taliban considers them pivotal. For example, the Taliban heralded its capture of Sangin district center as a 'strategic victory' Although these districts may be nothing more than 'rubble and dirt' to Resolute Support, they represent the lifeblood of the insurgency for the Taliban. The Taliban utilizes rural areas to launch attacks against population centers, as well as to fundraise, resupply, recruit, and train fighters."

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"US has launched 'more than 100 strikes against AQAP' so far this year"

Das US Central Command (CENTCOM) hat auf Anfrage mitgeteilt, dass das US-Militär in diesem Jahr bisher über hundert Luftangriffe gegen die Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Jemen durchgeführt hat. "In addition to the updated strike total for Yemen, the response is interesting as it notes that AQAP operatives are not the only target of the air campaign: the US military is also hitting the entirety of the network. This is important as AQAP is not merely a grouping of cells with a leadership that can easily be decapitated; it is a networked jihadist insurgency that seeks to overthrow the Yemeni state. This jihadist insurgency operates hand in hand with AQAP’s desire to attack the West."

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"Australia disrupts 'sophisticated' plot directed by the Islamic State"

Die australische Regierung hat Thomas Joscelyn zufolge neue Informationen über den "ausgeklügelten" Terrorplan von Anhängern des "Islamischen Staates" veröffentlicht, der im vergangenen Monat von Sicherheitsbehörden aufgedeckt wurde. "Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Australian Federal Police (AFP) deputy commissioner Mike Phelan explained that there were at least two planned attacks. First, the suspects built an IED that was intended to blow up an airliner. Second, they allegedly attempted to build a chemical dispersion weapon. The latter device was apparently only in the beginning stages of development. Importantly, Phelan emphasized that the accused men were receiving orders from the Islamic State (ISIL) and not acting solely on their own initiative."

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"Female suicide bomber attacks in West Africa on pace to quadruple in 2017"

In Nigeria und Kamerun haben dschihadistische Gruppen in diesem Jahr bereits 27 weibliche Selbstmordattentäter eingesetzt, berichtet Caleb Weiss. "UNICEF documented 27 young girls used in suicide attacks already in 2017, 30 in 2016, 56 in 2015, and just four in 2014. This largely confirms the trends compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. According to Long War Journal data, there were at least 80 female suicide bombers used in 2015. In 2014, there only 15 females, most of which were adult women. (...) Many of the women and girls used in these bombings are likely forced into committing the assaults after being kidnapped by the jihadists. Other women may be widows of killed fighters, like Russia’s 'Black Widows.' The ages of the bombers have ranged from just seven-years-old to middle-aged."

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"US military to actively target Shabaab in Somalia"

US-Präsident Trump hat dem US-Militär Bill Roggio zufolge offiziell erlaubt, die radikalislamische Al-Shabaab-Miliz in Somalia zur Unterstützung der African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) aktiv zu bekämpfen. "The Pentagon’s desire to actively target Shabaab reflects the growing concern that al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa is gaining strength despite the presence of both AMISOM and US forces. (...) During the Obama administration, the US military was conducting raids against training camps and other operations in Shabaab-held territory which were clearly offensive in nature. US Africa Command [AFRICOM] described such operations as 'self-defense strikes' in an effort to skirt restrictions on operations against Shabaab in areas outside of active hostilities."

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"Analysis: Al Qaeda groups reorganize in West Africa"

Thomas Joscelyn berichtet, dass sich vier Al-Qaida-Gruppen in der Sahelzone Anfang März zusammengeschlossen hätten. Er erläutert die Details und analysiert die Hintergründe dieser Neuorganisation der radikalislamischen Extremisten im Westen Afrikas. "The 'Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims' (Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin) brings together four existing al Qaeda organizations under one banner. Ansar Dine, Al Murabitoon and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) Sahara branch are all part of the new entity. The Macina Liberation Front, an arm of Ansar Dine, is as well. Iyad Ag Ghaly, the longtime leader of Ansar Dine, heads the new joint venture. Ghaly, a Malian Tuareg jihadist, explained why the merger was necessary in a video that is more than seven minutes long. And he emphasized that his group is part of al Qaeda’s international network."

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