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03.11.2019

"Russia’s stance in Libya leans towards Haftar"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/russia’s-stance-libya-leans-towards-haftar

Michel Cousins schreibt, dass Russland offiziell keine Partei im Bürgerkrieg in Libyen ergreife. Allerdings gebe einige Hinweise für eine russische Unterstützung für General Haftar. Die Widersprüche der russischen Libyen-Politik könnten möglicherweise auf interne Unstimmigkeiten oder strategische Erwägungen zurückgeführt werden. "One is that the Russian government is divided — one side, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wanting to maintain links with Sarraj and his government, the other led by the Defence Ministry wanting full support for Haftar. Another is that Moscow is waiting to see who wins and a third is that the conflict in Libya serves Russia’s interests because it complicates US policy in the region and destabilises Europe, setting France against Italy."

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24.10.2019

"Trump cedes power in northern Syria to Turkey, Russia"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/trump-cedes-power-northern-syria-turkey-russia

Mit dem Truppenabzug aus Syrien und der nun erfolgten Aufhebung der US-Sanktionen gegen die Türkei habe Präsident Trump die Region praktisch Ankara und Moskau überlassen, schreibt Middle East Online. "His central message was clear: that the United States has no business in Syria and that there was never any question of trying to stop NATO member Turkey from carrying out its invasion. 'We have spent $8 trillion on wars in the Middle East, never really wanting to win those wars,' Trump said. However, the isolationist policy grates on many Republicans, whom he is depending upon to save him from a Democratic push to impeach and remove him from office over allegations that he abused his office. Immediately after the speech, powerful Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the United States had to stay engaged. The US air power must 'continue to control the skies over Syria' he said, adding that the military should 'have a small - but capable - military partnership' with the Kurds to prevent Islamic State from reemerging."

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15.10.2019

"Trump punishes Turkey with economic sanctions"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/trump-punishes-turkey-economic-sanctions

US-Präsident Trump will die Türkei in Nordsyrien durch harte Sanktionen zu einem Waffenstillstand zwingen. "Trump announced the measures as he came under intense pressure at home for appearing to at first give the green light to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is seeking to crush US-backed Kurdish fighters in war-ravaged Syria. 'I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey's economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,' Trump, who until recently spoken of his friendship with Erdogan, said in a statement. The president said he had issued an executive order to allow sanctions on sitting and former Turkish officials - although he has not yet imposed them - and was immediately ending talks on a US-Turkey trade deal he valued at $100 billion, a goal mentioned by Erdogan when he welcomed a US delegation last month. Trump also said he was reimposing tariffs of 50 percent on Turkish steel - one of a series of measures taken last year to win the release of a detained US pastor, and which contributed to a plunge in the value of the country's lira currency."

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21.09.2019

"Rare anti-Sisi protests in Egypt after online call for dissent"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/rare-anti-sisi-protests-egypt-after-online-call-dissent

In Ägypten ist es nach dem Online-Aufruf eines in Spanien lebenden Aktivisten zu überraschenden Protesten gegen Präsident Sisi gekommen. "Hundreds protested in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities late on Friday against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption, witnesses said. Protests have become very rare in Egypt following a broad crackdown on dissent under Sisi, who took power after the overthrow of the former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against his rule. (...) The country effectively banned protests under a 2013 law and a state of emergency is still in full effect. Under the rule of general-turned-president Sisi, authorities have launched a broad crackdown on dissidents, jailing thousands of Islamists as well as secular activists and popular bloggers. Mohamed Ali, a building contractor and actor turned political activist who lives in Spain, called in a series of viral videos for the protest after accusing Sisi and the military of corruption."

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08.07.2019

"Iraq launches battle against IS for Syria border desert"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/iraq-launches-battle-against-syria-border-desert

Das irakische Militär hat eine neue Offensive gegen immer noch aktive IS-Kämpfer in der westlichen Grenzprovinz Salahaddin begonnen. "'There are pockets of Daesh fighters in the northwestern, western, and southwestern parts of Salahaddin province,' a media official from the province's military command said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. 'Daesh is still present in these areas, and the operations will continue until they are cleared.' Iraq formally declared victory against IS in late 2017, a few months after ousting the jihadists from their seat of power Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province. The group lost their last sliver of territory in Syria -- a small desert hamlet near the Iraqi border -- in March. But IS sleeper cells have kept up hit-and-run attacks in isolated parts of Iraq, targeting government checkpoints, public infrastructure and local officials. Security analyst Hisham al-Hashemi said 'Will of Victory' was aimed at depriving IS of the resources it uses to carry out those raids."

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20.05.2019

"Proxy war in Libya on the horizon?"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/proxy-war-libya-horizon

Der stetige illegale Fluss von Waffen nach Libyen lasse befürchten, dass dem Land ein langjähriger "Abnutzungskrieg" bevorstehe, schreibt Middle East Online. "Despite a UN embargo, weapons are still flowing into Libya where an assault on the capital by strongman Khalifa Haftar threatens to escalate into a proxy war between regional powers. (...) Both sides have called in reinforcements as fresh weaponry arrives despite a UN arms embargo officially still in place since a 2011 revolt that toppled Libya's longtime leader Moamer Gathafi. The GNA boasted on Saturday of new 'armour, ammunition and... weapons' for its fighters. It did not specify the source but posted photographs on its Facebook page of dozens of Turkish BMC Kirpi armoured vehicles at Tripoli port. (...) Arnaud Delalande, a defence consultant and specialist on Libya, interpreted the delivery as an apparent open show of support for the GNA. In a swift response, pro-Haftar websites on Sunday posted photos and videos of Jordanian-built armoured cars they said were being supplied to the LNA. Such deliveries 'show that neither party plans to give in and that it is headed more towards a war of attrition', said Delalande."

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15.05.2019

"US pressures Iraq over Iran-backed militias"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/us-pressures-iraq-over-iran-backed-militias

US-Außenminister Pompeo hat die irakische Regierung bei seinem Blitzbesuch in Bagdad aufgefordert, die dem Iran nahestehenden schiitischen Milizen unter Kontrolle zu halten. "He told Iraq's top brass to keep the militias, which are expanding their power in Iraq and now form part of its security apparatus, in check, the sources said. If not, the US would respond with force. As tensions between Washington and Tehran increase, Iraq finds itself caught between neighbouring Iran, whose regional influence has grown in recent years, and the United States. (...) [The second Iraqi security source] said the Iraqis were told that any threat from the groups 'would be dealt with directly by the Americans with force.' Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Tuesday told reporters that the Iraqi side had not observed 'movements that constitute a threat to any side. We clarified that to the Americans - the government is doing its duty to protect all parties.'"

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27.01.2019

"Syria offers Turkey security pact if troops pulled out"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/syria-offers-turkey-security-pact-if-troops-pulled-out

Die syrische Regierung hat der Türkei angeboten, ein 1998 beschlossenes Sicherheitsabkommen neu aufzugreifen, das Damaskus verpflichtete, kurdische PKK-Stellungen im syrischen Grenzgebiet zu beseitigen. "'Syria remains committed to this accord and all the agreements relating to fighting terror in all its forms by the two countries,' said a foreign ministry statement released on state media. Damascus, however, said reviving the Adana deal, which Russian President Vladimir Putin raised during his summit meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan last week, depended on Ankara ending its backing of rebels seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad and pulling its troops out of northwestern Syria."

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22.01.2019

“Debate over US troops heating up in Iraq“

https://middle-east-online.com/en/debate-over-us-troops-heating-iraq

Im Irak haben pro-iranische Fraktionen ihre Forderung nach einem beschleunigten Abzug der US-Truppen verstärkt, berichtet Middle East Online. "The political wrangling is another indication of Iraq's precarious position as it tries to balance ties between two key allies - the United States and the Islamic republic of Iran. Calls for a US pullout have intensified since President Donald Trump's shock decision last month to pull troops from neighbouring Syria, while keeping American forces in Iraq. In recent weeks, pro-Iran parties have organised protests to demand an accelerated US troop withdrawal while affiliated media outlets published footage of alleged US reinforcements in Iraq's restive west and north. The debate is heating up in parliament as well."

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17.10.2018

"US-backed forces’ defeat of IS in east Syria to take longer"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/us-backed-forces’-defeat-east-syria-take-longer

Die Vertreibung des "Islamischen Staates" aus den Wüstengebieten im Osten Syriens könnte nach Angaben der mit den USA verbündeten Syrischen Demokratischen Kräfte (SDF) länger als erwartet dauern. "The reassessment came as the United Nations warned that the fight for Hajin in Syria's eastern province of Deir Ezzor was having a 'devastating' effect on thousands of civilians. The Syrian Democratic Forces has been locked in clashes for just over a month with IS holdouts in Hajin and surrounding villages, but they have been slowed down by harsh weather conditions and a ferocious jihadist fightback 'The military operations in Hajin will take much longer than expected,' said Redur Khalil, a top SDF commander. 'Daesh is benefiting a lot from weather factors, including sandstorms. They've helped it take cover from reconnaissance aircraft and other monitoring mechanisms,' he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS. Khalil said the landscape around Hajin was vast and arid, 'larger than just a pocket'. The SDF estimates some 3,000 jihadists are defending the area."

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16.10.2018

"Australia PM changes stance on Jerusalem status"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/australia-pm-changes-stance-jerusalem-status

Australien könnte möglicherweise bald dem Beispiel der USA folgen und seine Botschaft in Israel von Tel Aviv nach Jerusalem verlegen. "Such a move, which would follow U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial decision in December to do just that, would reverse decades of foreign policy and inflame tension with some of Australia's Asian neighbours. Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, and Australia are due to sign a trade deal this year. Indonesia's trade minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, denied Australian media reports on Tuesday that Jakarta was considering putting the pact on hold over the possibility of Canberra changing its stance on Israel. Morrison's openness to recognising Jerusalem and moving Australia's embassy there comes four days before a by-election in Sydney where his centre-right coalition faces the risk of losing its tenuous hold on power."

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14.10.2018

"Jihadists yet to leave Syria buffer zone on eve of deadline"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/jihadists-yet-leave-syria-buffer-zone-eve-deadline

Berichten zufolge haben dschihadistische Rebellengruppen die zwischen der Türkei und Russland vereinbarte demilitarisierte Zone in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz bisher nicht verlassen. "Under the deal the horseshoe-shaped area was to be free of heavy arms by October 10 with 'radical fighters' pulling out by Monday. While the deadline for withdrawing heavy weapons was met on time, there has been no indication that the second condition is being implemented. 'We have not monitored any withdrawals by jihadist fighters at all from areas falling in the planned buffer zone,' said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. A correspondent in Idlib also said no hardline factions had moved any of their units in recent days. Idlib and surrounding rebel zones are held by a complex array of factions. Less than half is controlled by the Ankara-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), the main rebel conglomerate there. But the lion's share is held by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by former Al-Qaeda members, as well as more hardline jihadists like Hurras al-Deen and Ansar al-Islam. Those fighters also control more than two-thirds of the planned buffer zone and are supposed to leave it by Monday."

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26.09.2018

"Berlin, Riyadh agree to enter new phase in ties"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/berlin-riyadh-agree-enter-new-phase-ties

Deutschland und Saudi-Arabien wollen ihre diplomatischen Differenzen der jüngeren Zeit überwinden und in den Beziehungen ein neues Kapitel aufschlagen, so das Fazit des Treffens zwischen Außenminister Maas und seinem saudi-arabischen Kollegen Adel al-Jubeir bei der UNO in New York. "'In recent months, our relations have witnessed a misunderstanding which stand in sharp contrast to our otherwise strong and strategic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we sincerely regret this,' German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said alongside his Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, at the United Nations, where leaders are gathered for the annual General Assembly. 'We should have been clearer in our communication and engagement in order to avoid such misunderstandings between Germany and the kingdom,' he said. Jubeir said he welcomed Maas' statement and invited him to the kingdom to intensify their ties. Earlier this month, Germany approved a delivery of weapons to Saudi Arabia, a government document showed, after saying it would halt arms sales to countries involved in the war in Yemen."

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23.09.2018

"Wary Pro-Turkey Syria rebels accept Idlib deal"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/wary-pro-turkey-syria-rebels-accept-idlib-deal

Die von der Türkei unterstützten Rebellengruppen in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz haben dem zwischen Ankara und Moskau ausgehandelten Kompromiss "vorsichtig" zugestimmt, berichtet Middle East Online. "Late Saturday, the National Liberation Front (NLF) rebel alliance in a statement accepted the deal reached on Monday for Idlib, but said they remained on their guard. They announced 'our full cooperation with our Turkish ally in helping to make a success their efforts to spare civilians from the afflictions of war'. (...) Under the deal, all factions in the planned demilitarised zone must hand over their heavy weapons by October 10, and radical groups must withdraw by October 15. Both the extremist Hurras al-Deen and NLF rebels are present inside this planned buffer area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. But the dominant HTS alliance is also widely present, according to the Britain-based monitor. The jihadist-led group -- which controls more than half of the Idlib region -- has not officially responded to the agreement."

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17.09.2018

"Ethiopia, Eritrea sign deal to bolster truce"

https://middle-east-online.com/en/ethiopia-eritrea-sign-deal-bolster-truce

Äthiopien und Eritrea haben ihren vor kurzem eingeleiteten Annäherungskurs mit der Unterzeichnung eines Abkommens in Saudi-Arabien bekräftigt. "Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement Sunday at a summit in Saudi Arabia, bolstering a historic peace accord between the two former Horn of Africa enemies, officials said. Authorities did not reveal exact details of the new deal signed in Jeddah, but sources close to the Saudi government said it would help strengthen the truce and enhance security in the wider region. (...) The two nations have been at loggerheads for decades over a long-standing border dispute. 'There is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa,' [UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres] said. Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates are helping broker peace in the region, in a sign of the growing importance the Gulf nations put on east Africa as they battle Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen."

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02.09.2018

"Drought puts Iraq at risk of jihadist resurgence"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/drought-puts-iraq-risk-jihadist-resurgence

Ein neuer Bericht der Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks warnt, dass die anhaltende Dürre in Irak die Voraussetzungen für einen erneuten Aufstieg des IS oder ähnlicher dschihadistischer Gruppen schaffen könnte. "Iraq risks a jihadist resurgence if it fails to tackle a critical drought and other climate-related security issues, according to a study presented to the UN Security Council and made public Saturday. 'The combination of its hydrological limitations, increasing temperatures and extreme weather events puts pressure on basic resources and undermines livelihood security for Iraq's population,' the Expert Working Group on Climate-Related Security Risks warned in its report. 'Failure to monitor and manage these climate-related risks will increase the risk of ISIS and post-ISIS terrorist groups gaining support and regaining strength within resource-constrained communities,' it said. (...) The water study, presented to the Security Council in July, draws a clear link between climate change and security. Iraq is in the midst of a devastating drought and water levels are at their lowest since 1931."

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21.08.2018

"Trump: There will be 'no concessions' with Turkey"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/trump-there-will-be-no-concessions-turkey

US-Präsident Trump hat in einem Interview bekräftigt, dass er im Streit mit der Türkei trotz drohender Konsequenzen für die internationale Wirtschaft keine Zugeständnisse machen wird. "Trump said he thought he had a deal with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan when he helped persuade Israel to free a detained Turkish citizen. He had thought Erdogan would then release pastor Andrew Brunson, who denies Turkey's allegations that he was involved in a plot against Erdogan two years ago. 'I think it's very sad what Turkey is doing. I think they're making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions,' he said."

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12.08.2018

"Syrian rebel army being assembled with Turkish help"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/syrian-rebel-army-being-assembled-turkish-help

Die syrischen Rebellen wollen sich in ihrer letzten verbliebenen Hochburg in Idlib mit türkischer Hilfe zu einer "Nationalen Armee" zusammenschließen, berichtet Middle East Online. "The effort is at the heart of plans by the Turkish-backed opposition to secure and govern a strip of territory that forms part of the last big rebel stronghold in Syria. The presence of Turkish forces on the ground has helped to shield it from government attack. Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, has vowed to recover 'every inch' of Syria, and though he has now won back most of the country, the Turkish presence will complicate any government offensive in the northwest. (...) The National Army compromises some 35,000 fighters from some of the biggest factions in the war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced some 11 million people from their homes over the last seven years. Many previous efforts to unite the rebels have failed, obstructed by local rivalries and at times by the competing agendas of foreign states that once backed many of the rebels in the Syrian war. The National Army could be different because of Turkey's presence on the ground."

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09.08.2018

"Oil supplies out of Saudi-Canada dispute"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/oil-supplies-out-saudi-canada-dispute

Der saudi-arabische Energieminister hat versichert, dass die Öllieferungen an Kanada vom Streit zwischen den beiden Ländern nicht betroffen sein werden. "The world's largest oil exporter has a 'firm and long-standing policy' that petroleum supplies are not influenced by political considerations, Khalid al-Falih said in a statement. 'The current diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and Canada will not, in any way, impact Saudi Aramco's relations with its customers in Canada.'"

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08.07.2018

"Christian populations dwindling in Middle East"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/christian-populations-dwindling-middle-east

Der Bevölkerungsanteil der christlichen Minderheiten im Nahen Osten ist Kardinal Kurt Koch zufolge mittlerweile auf vier Prozent gesunken. "Christians have been rooted in the Middle East as minority communities since the birth of the religion, but their numbers are dwindling amid conflict and jihadist attacks. Today they make up only four percent of the region's population, down from 20 percent before the First World War, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said this month. Pope Francis on Saturday voiced concern that Christians will eventually disappear from the region amid 'murderous indifference' to their plight. Here is a breakdown of the main Christian presence in the Middle East."

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02.07.2018

"Syria regime reclaims more ground in south"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/syria-regime-reclaims-more-ground-south

Die syrischen Regierungstruppen kommen bei ihrem Vormarsch im Süden des Landes offenbar schnell voran. Mehrere Dörfer und eine Stadt seien unter russischer Vermittlung von Rebellengruppen kampflos aufgegeben worden. "Talks involving rebels, local officials and regime ally Russia saw agreements struck for four villages and a strategic town near the border with Jordan, extending government control to some 60 percent of the southern Daraa province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (...) So far 132 civilians, including 25 children, have been killed in the latest surge in fighting in Daraa, according to the Observatory. Damascus and Moscow are pushing for a deal that would see regime forces take over the Nasib border crossing with Jordan and deploy along the frontier with the Golan Heights, monitor head Abdel Rahman said. Russia is seeking the rebel handover of heavy and medium-sized weapons, and the deployment of Russian military police and Syrian police into towns retaken by government forces, he said."

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20.06.2018

"Positive signals between Ethiopia, Eritrea"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/positive-signals-between-ethiopia-eritrea

Eritreas Präsident Isaias Afwerki habe auf das Angebot Äthiopiens, sich an das Waffenstillstandsabkommen aus dem Jahr 2000 halten zu wollen, nach einigem Zögern positiv reagiert, berichtet Middle East Online. "Speaking at a Martyrs' Day event in the capital, Asmara, 72-year-old Isaias said he was sending a delegation to Addis Ababa to understand the position of new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and 'chart out a plan'. It was the first response from Eritrea, one of Africa's most closed and authoritarian states, to Abiy's shock pledge this month to honour all the terms of a peace deal that ended a 1998-2000 war between the Horn of Africa neighbours. The conflict drew comparisons to the First World War, with waves of soldiers forced to march through minefields towards Eritrean trenches where they were cut down by machinegun fire. As many as 80,000 are believed to have been killed in total."

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31.05.2018

"Belgium mourns victims of Liege 'terror' attack"

https://www.middle-east-online.com/en/belgium-mourns-victims-liege-‘terror’-attack

Die belgischen Behörden haben bestätigt, dass sie die Ermordung von zwei Polizistinnen und eines Studenten am Dienstag in Lüttich als radikalislamischen Terroranschlag eines IS-Anhängers betrachten. "Prosecutors confirmed they were treating Tuesday's bloodshed as an act of terrorism, saying the shooter Benjamin Herman was also suspected of another murder the night before. The Islamic State group claimed one of its 'soldiers' was behind the attack, the jihadists' Amaq propaganda agency said later Wednesday. (...) Investigators are trying to understand how Herman, a drifter who spent a decade in and out of prison for violence and drug offences, came to carry out such a bloody attack. 'The facts are qualified as terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder,' prosecutors' spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news briefing in Brussels. He pointed to the fact that 'the perpetrator shouted several times 'Allahu akbar'... and information from state security according to which the perpetrator was in touch with radicalised persons.'"

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06.05.2018

"Iraqi warplanes raid IS in Syria"

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=88436

Irakische Kampfflugzeuge haben am Sonntag Luftangriffe gegen Kämpfer des "Islamischen Staates" in Syrien durchgeführt. "Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the 'painful strike' which targeted 'a meeting of IS commanders south of Al-Dushashiya in Syrian territory', a statement said. F-16 fighter jets were used in the early morning strike and the raid was 'successful', the spokesman of Iraq's security media centre, General Yehya Rassoul, said. (...) Iraq declared victory in December against IS, which launched a sweeping offensive in 2014 and at one point controlled a third of the country. The jihadists still control pockets of desert along the border with Syria."

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01.05.2018

"Ahead of polls, apathy, disillusionment in Tunisia"

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=88361

Vor den Wahlen in Tunesien am kommenden Sonntag überwiege in weiten Teilen der Bevölkerung Enttäuschung und Apathie, berichtet Middle East Online. "Such is the disillusionment here that some even pine for the days of Ben Ali. Seven years after the dictator fell, and in the only country where the so-called Arab Spring has brought a degree of democratic reform, little seems to have changed in this part of the country. Unemployment in Kasserine and its wider governorate of the same name is 26.2 percent, around 50 percent higher than the national average, according to Tunisian NGO the Forum for Economic and Social Rights. The per capita representation of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Tunis is more than 15 times higher than in Kasserine, which has a population of around 90,000. Alleged government neglect has also made it a breeding ground for Islamic extremism, with insurgents tempting some young men to their mountain hideouts in the governorate."

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28.03.2018

"Syria regime threatens to resume Ghouta blitz unless rebels leave"

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=87854

Die syrische Regierung habe mittlerweile über 90% Ost-Ghoutas eingenommen, berichtet Middle East Online. Ein Großteil der Rebellen und Zivilisten sei nach Verhandlungen in den Nordwesten Syriens abgezogen, den verbleibenden Milizen drohe nun eine letzte Offensive. "Russia and the Syrian regime it supports reportedly threatened to resume their blistering bombardment if the last holdout pocket that includes the main Ghouta town of Douma does not agree to a similar deal. Jaish al-Islam, the powerful Islamist faction that holds Douma, had hoped talks with Moscow would result in their staying in the town, instead of being bussed out like other rebels. But negotiations have stalled and Russia is reverting to its initial 'leave or die' approach, two opposition sources close to the negotiations said."

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21.03.2018

"Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town"

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=87760

Die Kämpfer der Rebellengruppe Ahrar al Sham hätten offenbar zugestimmt, ihre Waffen niederzulegen und sich aus Ost-Ghouta in sicheres Gebiet zurückzuziehen. berichtet Middle East Online. "Fighters from the Ahrar al Sham rebel group in control of the besieged town of Harasta had agreed to lay down their arms in return for safe passage to insurgent-controlled areas and an offer to be pardoned under local reconciliation terms with the authorities for those who want to stay, the sources said. There was however no indication when the deal would be implemented and one source familiar with the talks said obstacles may delay it for a few days. The Syrian army and allied forces have recaptured 70 percent of the territory that was under insurgent control in the enclave and after weeks of bombardment residents are fleeing by the thousands."

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18.03.2018

"Syrian regime retakes two towns from Ghouta rebels"

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=87714

Syrische Regierungstruppen haben zwei weitere Städte in Ost-Ghouta östlich von Damaskus eingenommen und den Druck auf die Rebellen-Enklave damit weiter verstärkt. "Government forces seized Kafr Batna and Sabqa in the south of the enclave, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, as thousands of civilians fled into regime-held territory. Russia-backed regime forces have retaken more than 80 percent of the last opposition bastion outside the capital since launching a blistering air and ground offensive on February 18, the Observatory says. The assault has split opposition-held areas into three shrinking pockets each held by different rebels."

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12.03.2018

"While Russia is Making Inroads, Washington is Stuck in Gunboat Diplomacy Era"

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=87631

Die Versäumnisse der beiden US-Präsidenten Obama und Trump hätten dazu geführt, dass Russland im Nahen Osten heute die diplomatische Führung übernommen habe, schreibt Claude Salhani. Die "Kanonenboot-Diplomatie" der USA funktioniere seit einigen Jahren nicht mehr. Moskau habe dagegen erfolgreich einen anderen Weg beschritten. "Putin is re-establishing close links with former Soviet clients by offering new business incentives. Moscow’s penetration in the Middle East should be ringing every alarm bell from the White House to the State Department and across the river at the Pentagon. Part of the problem is that there is practically no one at the White House with enough knowledge of the Middle East to make any inroads and the alarms may well be ringing at the State Department, except that they are ringing in empty offices. Also empty — incredibly as it may seem — are the offices of the US ambassadors in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and, of course, Iran. (...) Putin has succeeded where the Soviets failed and has raised Russian prestige to previously unattained levels. Regretfully, Washington still doesn’t seem to get it. Politically, Trump is lost in the fog of the 1970s and ‘80s, wanting to devote incredible sums of money to build up US forces when emphasis should be given to diplomacy."

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06.03.2018

"Russia offers rebels safe passage out of Eastern Ghouta"

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=87538

Russland habe den Rebellen in Ost-Ghouta den freien Abzug über geschützte Fluchtrouten angeboten, berichtet Middle East Online. "The Russian defence ministry said rebels could leave with their families and personal weapons through a secure corridor out of Eastern Ghouta, where Moscow-backed government forces are making rapid gains in a fierce assault. The Russian proposal did not specify where the rebels would go, but the terms echo previous deals by which insurgents have ceded ground to Assad and been given safe passage to other opposition-held territory near the Turkish border. 'The Russian Reconciliation Centre guarantees the immunity of all rebel fighters who take the decision to leave Eastern Ghouta with personal weapons and together with their families,' said the defence ministry statement. Vehicles would 'be provided, and the entire route will be guarded', it added. The spokesman for one of the main rebel groups in Eastern Ghouta, Failaq al-Rahman, said Russia was 'insisting on military escalation and imposing forced displacement' on the people of Eastern Ghouta, where the United Nations has said some 400,000 are living."

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