US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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09.11.2018

"Intel: Why the US thinks designating Houthis as terrorists could help peace in Yemen"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/11/intel-washington-houthi-yemen-terrorism-talks.html

Die US-Regierung erwägt einem Bericht der Washington Post zufolge, die Huthi-Rebellen in Jemen offiziell als "Terrororganisation" einzustufen. "Designating the Houthis as terrorists would make it illegal for US citizens to provide money or other material support to the group. It’s not clear, however, that a movement that originated in northern Yemen in the early 1990s enjoys many Western linkages. (...) 'I think it points to an overall viewpoint that if enough pressure is applied, the Houthis will start behaving the way the US, Saudis, and others want them to,' a former UN consultant told Al-Monitor. Strategic differences: Even as the United States debates designating the Houthis, it has long taken a different approach in Afghanistan, opting not to label the Taliban as a terror group in order to salvage peace talks. (...) Some experts thought the move signals a continued US willingness to go along with Saudi policy in Yemen. 'I think it’s just [a] reflexive anti-Houthi/Iran approach, or more accurately just a copy-paste of Saudi [talking points],' one former US official told Al-Monitor. 'It has huge humanitarian consequences if true.'"

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04.11.2018

"Saudi Arabia ignores Trump administration on Yemen"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/11/saudi-arabia-ignores-trump.html

Saudi-Arabien habe den amerikanischen Aufruf zu einem neuen Waffenstillstand in Jemen nicht nur ignoriert, sondern die Luftangriffe in den letzten Tagen sogar weiter verschärft, schreibt Bruce Riedel. "(...) the Saudis have escalated their airstrikes on Sanaa and Hodeidah instead. The capital and the main port have been heavily pounded by the Saudi coalition since Pompeo and Mattis spoke. (...) The crown prince is well aware that he is the potential fall guy if his war is perceived to be a failure. The crown prince is counting on the Trump administration to stick with him given the blank check it has provided for Saudi Arabia in the last two years. The Khashoggi affair will fade away, and the president will never take serious action regarding the war. So far he has been right."

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29.10.2018

"What's behind Russia’s 'wait and see' approach on Khashoggi killing?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/10/russia-khashoggi-ksa-turkey-us.html

Russlands Reaktion auf die Ermordung des Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi sei bisher auffällig zurückhaltend ausgefallen, schreibt Maxim A. Suchkov. Moskau wolle offenbar das gute Verhältnis zu den Saudis nicht unnötig belasten und sich nicht in einen Streit zwischen Regionalmächten einmischen. "Even if Moscow sees the Khashoggi case as a mixture of possible opportunities that may or may not be taken advantage of, the bottom line is the incident turned out to be a heavily politicized issue that regional heavyweights will be using for leverage with the United States and each other. Political relationships in the region can be easily broken and then mended in most unexpected ways — and the other way around. Hence the dominant logic is if your interest vis-a-vis the region is strong and long-term, such as that of Russia, you would be wise to stay clear of incidents where you gain more with all parties by not interfering."

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17.10.2018

"Can Russia make a positive change in Libya?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/10/russia-libya-haftar-peace-settlement.html

Der russische Politikwissenschaftler Grigory Lukyanov erläutert den Umfang des russischen Engagements in Libyen und besteht darauf, dass es für die angebliche Errichtung eines russischen Militärstützpunkts keine Belege gebe. "The rumors about the Russian military base in Libya have been circulating for two years and have not been factually proven. These rumors create conditions for journalists and experts to make far-fetched hypotheses about Russian military facilities appearing not only in Tobruk but also in Benghazi. Given the size of the city and the way information flows there, it is hard to keep events of such scale clandestine. Had Russia deployed troops there, locals would have noticed and reported it a long time ago. (...) Military presence does not fall under the scope of interests and principles of Russian policy in North Africa and particularly in Libya. (...) The Libyan resolution currently needs innovative, alternative approaches, and Russia can be helpful in this regard. As a country that has stayed outside the conflict during the last few years, it is thus able to become an appealing agent of change providing benefits for anyone interested in the actual reconciliation in Libya."

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17.10.2018

"Is Erdogan aiming to end Turkey’s dream of EU membership?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/10/turkey-is-erdogan-aiming-to-end-eu-membership-bid.html

Semih Idiz hält es für möglich, dass Präsident Erdogan ein Referendum durchführen lassen könnte, um einem türkischen EU-Beitritt eine endgültige Absage zu erteilen. "This has in fact been a hobby horse for Erdogan for some time now. He even called on Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013 to help Turkey join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization so that Ankara could end its bid to join the EU. Although Erdogan has called for an EU referendum in the past, he has not acted on this to date, leading many to assume that he is only engaging in political rhetoric. Given the right alignment of factors in Turkey and Europe, though, Erdogan’s repeated calls for a referendum could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially since he has been courting nationalist quarters as much as religious ones to shore up his domestic support base."

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09.10.2018

"Disappearance of Saudi journalist puts Erdogan in difficult situation"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/10/turkey-saudi-arabia-khashoggi-erdogan-difficult-situat
ion.html

Semih Idiz erläutert, warum die Beziehungen zwischen der Türkei und Saudi-Arabien in der Vergangenheit bestenfalls als kühl und pragmatisch eingeschätzt werden konnten. Das Verschwinden des saudi-arabischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul könnte nun zu einer offenen diplomatischen Krise zwischen beiden Ländern führen. "Ankara is clearly angry that the Saudi regime selected Turkey to carry out an operation such as this, fully aware that this was bound to leave Turkey in a difficult position domestically and internationally. (...) Diplomatic observers expect Turkey to recall its ambassador in Riyadh and expel the Saudi Consul General in Istanbul in the coming days, depending on how this affair pans out. The potential for this to turn into a full-blown crisis between the two countries also remains on the cards. Meanwhile, Khashoggi's Turkish friends seem determined to see that this matter is not swept under the carpet for the sake of diplomatic expediency."

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01.10.2018

"Erdogan in Germany: A controversial but successful visit"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/turkey-erdogan-germany-visit-has-been-achievement.html

Präsident Erdogan kann nach Ansicht des türkischen Kolumnisten Cengiz Candar ein positives Fazit seiner "kontroversen" Staatsvisite in Deutschland ziehen. Erdogan habe erkannt und geschickt genutzt, dass die Bundesregierung in ihrer Türkei-Politik eine realpolitische Strategie verfolge. "Erdogan was aware of this overriding principle of German realpolitik. With that awareness, he insisted for a red carpet welcome with military honors and the opportunity to open a mosque in Cologne; this allowed him to parade as the leader of the Muslim world, something he was denied in Germany a year ago. He returned to Turkey without committing himself to improve the human rights and democracy record of his country. In the light of all this, was he successful at the end of his controversial visit? In a word, yes."

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28.09.2018

"As Gaza despairs, Hamas has one option left: intifada"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/israel-plestinians-egypt-hamas-fatah-mahmoud-abbas-gaz
a-idf.html

Shlomi Eldar schreibt, dass der Versöhnungskurs zwischen Hamas und Fatah gescheitert sei. Der Vermittler Ägypten werde dies bald offiziell bestätigen. Insider befürchteten nun, dass die Hamas nun erneut eine Konfrontation mit Israel suchen und eine entsprechende Reaktion herausfordern könnte. "'We have returned to the exact same spot we were in three months ago, but this time there is no plan in the offing that provides a bit of hope for an arrangement,' an Israeli security source noted on condition of anonymity. 'Now we are reaching the moment of truth.' It seems likely that this time, Israel will be forced to make a historic decision after years of delay: Either resign itself to counting round after round of war games planned by Hamas to save its regime, or take action to bring it down."

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26.09.2018

"Turkey, Germany try to turn new page in name of mutual interests"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/turkey-germany-move-to-let-bygones-be-bygones.html

Semih Idiz schreibt, dass die Entwicklung in Syrien die erneute Annäherung zwischen Deutschland und der Türkei vorantreibe. Dies werde auch beim Deutschlandbesuch des türkischen Präsidenten Erdogan deutlich werden. "Dogacan Basaran from the Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies maintains that the current spate of high-level Turkish-German contacts should be seen in this context. 'The international situation is speeding up the Turkish-German reconciliation. Developments in Idlib in particular and the prospect of a new flood of refugees are also forcing Ankara and Berlin together,' he wrote in an article for the pro-government daily Yeni Safak. (...) Not surprisingly, Syria is one of the topics Erdogan is expected to concentrate on in his talks with Steinmeier and Merkel, and he is also likely to push for German support for the reconstruction of Syria. Turkey says it is vital for stabilizing the Idlib region in particular, so that a safe environment can be secured not just for the 3.5 million Syrians already there, but also for those who are in Turkey or Europe."

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19.09.2018

"Russia gives Turkey one last month for solution in Syria"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/turkey-syria-russia-allows-one-last-month-for-idlib.ht
ml

Mit der jüngsten Einigung zur Einrichtung einer Pufferzone in Idlib habe Russland der Türkei praktisch einen Monat Zeit gegeben, um die radikalen Gruppen in der syrischen Provinz davon zu überzeugen, den Bedingungen der demilitarisierten Zone zuzustimmen und ihre schweren Waffen abzugeben, schreibt Metin Gurcan. Nach dieser Frist könnte demnach eine von Ankara unterstützte russische Kampagne zur Bekämpfung der Gruppen beginnen, die sich diesen Bedingungen widersetzen. "It will be interesting to see how Ankara tries to persuade Idlib radical groups — above all, HTS — to get on board with the Putin-Erdogan agreement. It appears Ankara has offered these options: - If they want to remain in Idlib they will give up their guns and demobilize. - If they don’t want to give up their guns, they will have to leave Idlib. - Those who refuse to give up their guns but still want to remain will then be expected to join the National Liberation Front, fully supported by Turkey in the Jarablus/al-Rai/al-Bab triangle. If there are groups that reject all options, Ankara will then be expected to provide Russia with intelligence and logistics to conduct targeted operations against them. It's now understood that the Idlib operation, instead of being a high-paced, short-term operation, will drag on for eight to 10 months at a low tempo with occasional targeted attacks while negotiations continue."

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18.09.2018

"What Putin-Erdogan deal means for Idlib"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/russia-turkey-idlib-deal-sochi.html

Maxim A. Suchkov berichtet über Einzelheiten und mögliche Konsequenzen der Einigung zwischen Präsident Putin und Präsident Erdogan über die Einrichtung einer Pufferzone in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz. "The deal, however, if it indeed can be branded as such, is a significant but just initial serious step in settling the complex matter Idlib has grown into over the last few years. The juice is definitely worth the squeeze here but multiple challenges — military and diplomatic alike — remain. Most important is the question as to how long Moscow can be successful in continuing to restrain President Assad’s attempt to extend his government's control over the territory and whether Ankara delivers on its own commitments that are many, fine and security-sensitive. Finally, there are questions over how politically and militarily 'surgical' both will get trying to separate the 'moderate wheat' from the 'radical chaff' without endangering Syria’s security in the long run, by trying to assimilate the latter into the former, but also without hurting the civilians in the immediate term."

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11.09.2018

"Iran eyes major role in post-war Syria via reconstruction"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/iran-syria-reconstruction-russia-china-belt-road-initi
ative.html

Iran will seinen Einfluss in Syrien durch eine führende Rolle beim Wiederaufbau des Landes sichern, schreibt Hamidreza Azizi. Dabei verfolge Teheran mit dem Rekonstruktionsprojekt konkrete wirtschaftliche, geopolitische und militärische Ziele. "Economically, it's closely linked to Iran’s plans to overcome the negative effects of the US sanctions that were re-imposed after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. (...) Syria’s reconstruction could provide the Iranian private sector and particularly SMEs with an opportunity not only to get involved in profitable business activity abroad, but also to make new connections with other international firms that may take part in that process. (...) On the geopolitical level, Iran seems to be trying to build upon its influence in Iraq and Syria and its close ties with China to introduce itself as a key component of China’s BRI, providing an alternative route for Beijing to establish a land corridor connecting Asia to the Mediterranean and further to western Europe. (...) As for the military aspect of Iran’s reconstruction plans for Syria, Iran seeks to preserve its military influence without perpetuating its direct military presence in the country, as doing so would prompt a backlash not only from the United States and Israel, but probably also from Iran’s close wartime ally Russia."

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10.09.2018

"Why did Putin disregard his Turkish partner?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/turkey-putin-disregarded-his-turkish-partner.html

Der Türkei ist es bei den Gesprächen mit Russland und Iran in Teheran nicht gelungen, die erwartete Offensive gegen die Rebellenhochburg Idlib in Syrien zu verhindern. Nach Ansicht von Cengiz Candar bestätigt dies den Eindruck der derzeitigen internationalen Isolation des Landes. Nun müsse sich Ankara auf eine neue Flüchtlingswelle und eine Konfrontation mit der dschihadistischen Rebellengruppe Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) einstellen. "The best Putin could do for Erdogan after the Tehran summit was to direct the offensive to Idlib in stages, so his Turkish partner could gain a little more time. However, even for that, the difficulty lies in the area where Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is concentrated. The jihadi organization, with its 10,000 or more fighters, holds ground adjacent to the Turkish border from Jisr al-Shughour to the Bab al-Hawa crossing point between Syria and Turkey. It extends for 35 kilometers (21 miles) and controls the passage of humanitarian aid crossing Turkey and reaching into Idlib. As long as the Syrian regime and its main Russian and Iranian allies are adamant about removing the jihadi element from Idlib, there are the following hard realities: Russia and Iran will impose the Assad regime's control on borders, including Idlib's border with Turkey. This cannot be realized unless Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is removed from Idlib. Refugees will flee toward Turkey, and so will jihadis; a humanitarian disaster would be almost impossible to prevent."

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13.08.2018

"Iran readjusts its Syria strategy amid Russia’s changing role"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/08/iran-syria-golan-heights-russia-israel-shiite-groups-u
s.html

Hamidreza Azizi von der Shahid Beheshti University in Teheran erläutert die Hintergründe der veränderten Strategie Irans in Syrien. Ein wichtiger Teil der Neuausrichtung sei der Rückzug pro-iranischer Milizen aus dem Süden des Landes. "(...) it seems that Iran itself is in a process of redefining its role in Syria, which has mostly been derived from the impression that the end of the war is close and now is a time to focus on safeguarding Iran's interests through political and diplomatic measures. In this vein, Iran is shifting its strategy from playing an active military role toward more actively participating in the diplomatic frameworks regarding Syria. (...) All in all, it could be said that the recent withdrawal of Iranian and pro-Iran forces from southern Syria has more to do with Iran updating its Syria strategy and adapting it to be in line with the new political and military developments, rather than a decision to leave Syria due to Russian or Israeli pressures."

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12.08.2018

"Saudi Arabia’s diplomacy has costs"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/08/saudi-arabia-diplomacy-costs.html

Saudi-Arabien hat seit der Thronbesteigung von Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud und dem Aufstieg von Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman eine ganze Reihe von außenpolitischen Entscheidungen getroffen, die dem Königreich nach Ansicht von Bruce Riedel geschadet haben. "With rare exceptions the Saudis have lurched from one poor decision to the next; the Canada caper is the latest. The erratic diplomacy is hurting the kingdom. The first tough decision of the new leadership is still their worst, to intervene in the Yemeni civil war. (...) The blockade of Qatar was also intended to produce a quick Saudi victory. The Qatari emir was excommunicated from Wahhabi Islam and was then to be deposed. As in Yemen, the Saudi leadership had no concept of how to implement its decision; Riyadh and its allies had a goal but no serious scheme to achieve it. (...) The Saudi decision to expel the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh, freeze trade ties and withdraw 15,000 Saudis from Canadian schools and hospitals in response to the Canadian foreign minister protesting the detention of female critics is another poor call by the Saudi leadership."

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06.08.2018

"US hopes new sanctions fuel Iran protests"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/08/us-hopes-iran-sanctions-fuel-protests.html

Die US-Regierung hofft Laura Rozen zufolge, dass die neuen Sanktionen gegen den Iran die Proteste gegen das Regime weiter anfachen werden. Das Gesprächsangebot der USA erscheine unter diesen Umständen für einige Experten allerdings unglaubwürdig. "Iranian American analyst Amir Handjani also questioned whether the Trump administration would actually be willing to make a new deal with the Iranian regime it is trying to destabilize. 'There is an inherent contradiction in saying we want to sit down with the Iranians and cut a better deal with them, while at the same time encouraging more unrest and havoc inside Iran,' Handjani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a member of the board of directors of RAK Petroleum, told Al-Monitor by email. 'Either it's poorly thought out diplomatic strategy at best or a disingenuous attempt for rapprochement with Tehran at worst,' Handjani said. 'It's doubtful that Rouhani will sit down with Trump unless the administration clarifies its position and then backs its rhetoric with concrete, tangible steps.'"

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31.07.2018

"Why is Europe underplaying its hand on Iran?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/iran-jcpoa-nuclear-sanctions-us-europe-eu-swift-board.
html

Die Bemühungen der EU, europäische Unternehmen davon zu überzeugen, trotz drohender US-Sanktionen weiter Geschäfte mit dem Iran zu machen, haben Axel Hellman zufolge bisher kaum Erfolg. Dies liege zum einen an der Machtposition der USA, zum andern aber auch an der zögerlichen Haltung der europäischen Regierungen. "Take, for instance, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the messaging system that facilitates global cross-border financial transactions. (...) Come Nov. 4, the US Treasury will require the network to once again disengage Iranian banks. This would deal a severe blow to European attempts to salvage the nuclear deal. (...) Yet Europe has much more leverage to protect SWIFT than European officials appear to acknowledge. To begin with, SWIFT — which is located in Belgium — falls under European jurisdiction and, as its management has made clear, answers to European laws. (...) According to one key EU diplomat who spoke with Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, what is striking about the looming US sanctions is that they do not even need to be enforced — the mere possibility of getting caught in the crosshairs of the US Treasury seems to be enough for businesses to stand back. Businesses, in this sense, often act on a general perception of risk, leading to over-compliance. To credibly respond to such premature moves by the private sector, European governments and the EU need a firmer posture and signaling. On this, SWIFT is case in point."

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30.07.2018

"Syria's Idlib emerges as Achilles heel in Russia-Turkey partnership"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/turkey-russia-syria-astana-on-verge-of-collapse-due-to
-idlib.html

Die von vielen Beobachtern erwartete Offensive syrischer Regierungstruppen gegen die letzte verbliebene Rebellenprovinz Idlib würde die Allianz zwischen Russland und der Türkei ernsthaft auf die Probe stellen, schreibt Fehim Taştekin. "Another important factor is that all the anti-Russia Northern Caucasus fighters have assembled in Idlib. Russia was hoping from the outset to settle its accounts with these homegrown enemies away from home territory. (...) Turkey’s claim of sponsorship of armed groups in Idlib is forcing Ankara to choose between bad and worse options. Turkey's sponsorship aspirations in Idlib are also proving difficult to achieve due to the clandestine efforts of the Islamic State to find openings for its affiliates in Idlib; the growing strength of al-Qaeda-associated groups; and escalating clashes between all these factions. (...) The current rulers of Idlib are among the most irreconcilable and fanatic factions of the war, making the likelihood of an operation a strong possibility."

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24.07.2018

"Russia zeroes in on returning Christians to Syrian homes"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/russia-christians-syria.html

Russland will den Westen Anton Mardasov zufolge durch einen verstärkten Fokus auf die Rückkehr christlicher Flüchtlinge zur Kooperation beim Wiederaufbau Syriens bewegen. "Russia and the West are already coordinating their efforts to return refugees home and even to start the reconstruction process. For instance, the Russian Orthodox Church and Roman Catholics are restoring Christian churches and monasteries across the country. (...) Up to a point, Moscow has touted the idea of protecting Christians for domestic consumption. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; as much as 75% of the population identify as Christian, mainly Russian Orthodox. Yet once it became clear that the course of the war had tilted toward the Assad regime, Russia began actively voicing the importance of protecting Christians in its foreign relations. (...) Damascus, which publicly guarantees the rights of Christians and other religious minorities, is likely to start relying on the refugee factor more intensively. As for the countries hosting Syrian refugees, Assad will probably push for their participation in the reconstruction. However, it's still not clear whether Syrian Christians actually want to return to their war-torn homeland."

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09.07.2018

"Israel prepares for Assad’s return to the border"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/israel-syria-iran-lebanon-hezbollah-bashar-al-assad-id
f.html

Der Vormarsch der Assad-Verbündeten im Südwesten Syriens könnte Ben Caspit zufolge dazu führen, dass die syrische Seite der Golanhöhen bald wieder von Regierungstruppen besetzt werden wird. Sollte der Iran dabei außen vor bleiben, sähe man dies in Israel nicht nur als schlechte Nachricht: "As of this moment, while Israel is not sure if this is really good news, at least it is not bad news either. More and more voices in the security system are saying that Assad even heralds a form of hope for the return of the old order and some kind of stability, along the lines of 'Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.'"

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29.06.2018

"US pushes for Plan B in Syria"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/06/us-push-plan-b-syria-trump-iran-troops.html

Jack Detsch schreibt, dass es in der US-Regierung eine Debatte über die künftige Syrienstrategie gebe. "Plan B" könnte demnach dazu führen, dass die USA Präsident Assad die Einnahme des Südens Syriens erlauben, wenn die Russen sicherstellen, dass der Iran dort keine permanenten Stützpunkte errichtet. "(...) even as diplomats insisted the United States planned to uphold the cease-fire, CNN reported on June 28 that Trump appears willing to cut a new deal with Putin on the de-escalation zone that would allow 2,200 US troops to get out of Syria promptly. The news highlights splits within the administration on how to provide a meaningful counterweight against Iran. 'There’s an element from the American side, a signal to the [Syrian] regime that if it’s not about Iran, it doesn’t matter so much,' said Hassan Hassan, a fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. 'What they’re trying to do is create a wedge between the Iranians and the Russians.' Two sources with knowledge of the administration’s talks said the State Department’s Middle East team has signaled interest in a phased departure from the de-escalation policy that would allow Assad to retake rebel-held areas, while Russia denies sanctuary to Iran."

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25.06.2018

"Erdogan still faces uphill battle despite electoral victory"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/06/turkey-erdogan-still-faces-uphill-battle-despite-victo
ry.html

Trotz seines Siegs habe Präsident Erdogan sein Wunschresultat bei den Wahlen am 24. Juni verpasst, stellt Semih Idiz fest. Er sei nun auf eine Allianz mit der rechtsextremen MHP angewiesen. "The MHP is vehemently anti-Western by orientation, which fits in with the leanings of Erdogan and the AKP. This, many believe, will make improvement in Turkey’s strained ties with West more difficult. Ankara's already stalled EU accession process is unlikely to make any headway under these circumstances, given the deep antipathy felt for Erdogan in Europe. Meanwhile, it is expected that Ankara will continue to consolidate ties with Moscow and other anti-Western countries. (...) Erdogan is now allied with the far right, whose own star shined bright in the elections. Bahceli’s post-election remarks indicate that the MHP might not be as pliant as Erdogan would like. The MHP is highly unlikely to use its newfound power in favor of the liberal democratic policies the West wants Turkey to introduce."

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18.06.2018

"Iran may become third wheel in Saudi-Russian relationship"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/06/iran-third-wheel-russia-saudi-arabia-relationship-worl
d-cup.html

Das Eröffnungsspiel der Fußball-WM zwischen Russland und Saudi-Arabien wurde von Präsident Putin und Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman gemeinsam im Stadion verfolgt. Yury Barmin schreibt, dass die energiepolitischen Beziehungen beider Länder enger geworden sind, obwohl sicherheitspolitische Differenzen auf anderen Gebieten nach wie vor bestehen. "Russian-Saudi relations appear to have been effectively compartmentalized. The two countries parade issues they easily agree on, but don’t mention problems that are toxic for their partnership. The elephant in the room has traditionally been Iran, but Tehran hasn’t been featured in any official readouts from Russian-Saudi meetings of recent months. However, it’s hard to imagine that Riyadh would avoid discussing what it has labeled as the main threat to Mideast stability."

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12.06.2018

"Erdogan's not doing Turks in Europe any favors"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/06/turkey-supporting-erdogan-makes-life-difficult-for-exp
ats.html

Der türkische Präsident Erdogan habe sich bei bisherigen Wahlen immer auf die Unterstützung der türkischen Diaspora in Europa verlassen können, schreibt Semih Idiz. Die Situation der türkischen Minderheiten in Europa sei dadurch nicht leichter worden, wie z.B. der Streit um die deutschen Fußballnationalspieler Özil und Gündogan zeige. "Politicians in Germany, Holland and Austria — the three countries with the largest Turkish communities — continue to view Erdogan as a major obstacle to integrating their Turkish minorities. Osman Koruturk, a retired Turkish ambassador who also served in Berlin in 2000-2003, said the question of integration features prominently in the minds of German politicians. 'The fear is that Turks in that country will be organized by Ankara and interfere in German politics,' Koruturk told Al-Monitor. 'Erdogan’s approach has increased this concern.' (...) Ayhan Kara, a professor of political science at Istanbul Bilgi University, maintains that many Turks in Europe from disadvantaged backgrounds consider Erdogan to be a paternal figure unafraid to challenge European leaders. (...) The upshot is that Erdogan’s Turkish supporters in Europe have served him well, but as long as Ankara's tone remains bellicose and vitriolic, it is unclear what benefit they stand to receive in return to improve their lot where they live."

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08.06.2018

"Fate of Syrian refugees hot election topic in Turkey"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/06/turkey-elections-fate-syrian-refugees-hot-topic.html

Der Umstand eines Aufenthalts von über 3,5 Millionen syrischen Flüchtlingen in der Türkei spiele im politischen Vorfeld der türkischen Wahlen am 24. Juni eine zentrale Rolle, berichtet Mehmet Cetingulec. "Opposition leaders call for the Syrians to go home as soon as the conditions in Syria allow, while the government maintains its welcoming attitude and even advocates Turkish citizenship for the refugees. (...) CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has also voiced harsh objections to naturalization. Referring to Turkey’s military campaign in northern Syria, he grumbled in a May interview that young Turks were 'falling martyrs for Syria in al-Bab,' while Syrian youths 'pace the streets with jaunty swagger' in Turkey. 'Is this something that reason can accept? I am not an adversary of Syrians, but I am against the naturalization of Syrians while 6.5 million people are jobless in this country,' he said. 'The civil war in Syria should come to an end as soon as possible, and our Syrian brothers should return home.'"

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28.05.2018

"Iran-Israel restraint may hinge on nuclear deal"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/iran-israel-syria-confrontation-jcpoa-nuclear-europe-r
ole.html

Ein offener Konflikt zwischen Israel und dem Iran an der syrisch-israelischen Grenze sei bisher durch die relative Zurückhaltung beider Parteien vermieden worden, schreibt der iranische Journalist Saeid Jafari. Der drohende Kollaps des internationalen Atomabkommens könnte dazu führen, dass der Iran israelische Angriffe in Syrien künftig mit Gegenschlägen beantwortet. "If Iran has so far refrained from responding to Israel’s provocations in Syria, it is perhaps because of the nuclear deal as well as Rouhani still having the upper hand in domestic Iranian politics. It is evident that the potential collapse of the JCPOA will eliminate both inhibiting factors from Iran's regional policy and pave the way for potential future clashes with Israel. (...) With the escalating war of words between Israel and Iran, even a small spark could ignite an inferno in the Middle East, the ripple effects of which will surely reach Europe. Only Europe can prevent such a crisis first and foremost by endeavoring to keep the JCPOA alive. If it fails to do so, the prospect of full-scale war in the region will no doubt significantly increase."

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22.05.2018

"How US hawks are boosting Iranian radicals"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/iran-jcpoa-pompeo-speech-hardliners-empowered-nuclear.
html

Der iranische Journalist Saeid Jafari erinnert an die innenpolitische Situation in Teheran vor über zehn Jahren, als der Kollaps des Verhandlungsprozesses mit dem Westen die Hardliner an die Macht gebracht habe. Die gegenwärtige Iran-Strategie der Trump-Regierung werde zum gleichen Resultat führen, so seine Warnung. "(...) history has proven that the current US strategy will only embolden Iran’s hard-liners and radicalize Iranian foreign policy. In this vein, hard-line media outlets and figures are already increasing their pressure on Rouhani, his administration and the Reformists — criticizing the government for its failure to give the United States a powerful response. (...) If [Iran’s hard-liners] are successful, it won’t be the first time. Ahmadinejad effectively used sanctions and foreign pressures as an excuse to move the government toward political closure and limited freedom of speech. Such a situation will be repeated unless the European signatories to the JCPOA manage to keep the nuclear deal alive. If they fail, one can expect radicals to once again seize power in Tehran and for serious clashes to emerge in the Middle East with the potential of turning into a global crisis."

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21.05.2018

"America’s hawkish turn on Iran threatens Gulf alliance"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/pompeo-iran-nuclear-deal-jcpoa-gulf-gcc.html

Die aggressive Iran-Strategie der US-Regierung könnte auch den Spalt in der Allianz der arabischen Golfstaaten vertiefen, schreibt Jack Detsch. "The effort could pit anti-Iran aligned Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain against Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, which favor a less confrontational approach to their powerful neighbor. (...) The Gulf alliance appeared to come undone last year, when only high-level Kuwaiti and Qatari diplomats showed up for a meeting in November. And efforts to hold a Camp David-style summit of the GCC stalled when Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a surprise tweet. Experts say Pompeo’s speech is a sign that the United States is moving ahead with a policy to hold Iran in check, whether the GCC can patch things up or not. 'The GCC doesn’t exist anymore,' said Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based consulting firm. 'That is not in the picture here. What is in the picture is that there are Gulf states divided amongst themselves.'"

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14.05.2018

"How Iran and Europe can save the nuclear deal"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/iran-e32-p41-economy-jcpoa-nuclear-deal-sanctions-euro
pe.html

Bijan Khajehpour vom Beratungsunternehmen Atieh International in Wien nennt einige konkrete Punkte, bei denen die Europäer dem Iran entgegenkommen müssten, um das internationale Atomabkommen doch noch zu retten. "Beyond symbolic expectations, Tehran will likely benchmark gains against the impact of the harshest sanctions years (2012-15). As such, it can be reasonably assumed that Iran will look for EU guarantees on the following topics: 1. Financial transactions (...) the main mechanism will be the involvement of European governments and potentially central banks in the financing of projects, both to facilitate and also protect companies. (...) The EU will additionally have to protect SWIFT against US sanctions, as the renewed blacklisting of the Islamic Republic from the payment messaging service would choke international banking relations with Iran. (...) 2. Continuation of petroleum sector exports (...) The E3+2 will have limited influence determining whether buyers such as Japan and South Korea will continue their imports. However, what may be feasible is for the E3+2 to guarantee that they will make up for losses that may emerge as a result of reimposed US sanctions. (...) 3. Technology transfer and foreign investment: One of the key motivations for Iran to work toward sanctions relief had been to attract European investment and technology. (...) the EU will have no choice but to stand up to US pressure not just via blocking regulations, but also counter-sanctions and potential action at the World Trade Organization. How far such initiatives will succeed remains to be seen, but Tehran will certainly request guarantees that the EU will facilitate the flow of investment and technology."

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09.05.2018

"Iranians may turn to 'military president' as nuclear deal collapses"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/iran-jcpoa-nuclear-deal-us-withdrawal-military-preside
nt.html

Ein Kollaps des internationalen Atomabkommens mit dem Iran könnte Rohollah Faghihi zufolge dazu führen, dass die nächsten Präsidentschaftswahlen in Teheran einen militärischen Kandidaten der Hardliner an die Macht bringen. "While Iranians are fully aware that Rouhani is not responsible for the collapse of the JCPOA, there is a strong argument that his approach has failed, and that it is thus time for a harsher and sterner strategy. In such a scenario, even pragmatic conservatives such as parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani have no chance of being elected, let alone a Reformist such as incumbent First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri. Given these potentially profound consequences of the collapse of the JCPOA, it is becoming apparent that the only side able to uphold the accord — namely Europe — can play a unique role in helping shape political winds in Iran."

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