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10.08.2017

"A Deadly Delusion: Were Syria’s Rebels Ever Going to Defeat the Jihadists?"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/08/a-deadly-delusion-were-syrias-rebels-ever-going-to-defeat-the-jihadists
/

Nach der Einstellung der CIA-Unterstützung für syrische Rebellen fragt Sam Heller, ob die Vorstellung, dass diese "moderaten" Gruppen den Dschihadisten vor Ort entgegen treten können, jemals realistisch gewesen sei. "The fact of rebel cooperation with jihadists was consistently excused away as a tactical necessity, or as a function of insufficient U.S. support. But there were only so many times U.S.-backed rebels could function as jihadists’ battlefield auxiliaries, sit and watch as jihadists liquidated other rebel factions, or prove generally unmotivated to fight jihadists before it became impossible to take them seriously as a counter-terrorism force. (...) The factional dysfunction and personal entanglements of the rebels meant that jihadists were more central and powerful within the armed opposition than Washington and other rebel backers appreciated or acknowledged. In the end, that not only meant that rebels were useless for counter-terrorism, but also that they couldn’t serve as a viable tool of pressure on the Assad regime or represent a realistic alternative to Assad’s rule."

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09.08.2017

"What Thucydides Teaches Us About War, Politics, and the Human Condition"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/08/what-thucydides-teaches-us-about-war-politics-and-the-human-condition/

Eric W. Robinson von der Indiana University erklärt, warum man vom antiken griechischen Historiker Thukydides auch heute noch viel über sicherheitspolitische Fragen lernen könne. Allerdings gebe es dabei auch viel Raum für Missverständnisse und falsche Analogien. "What can we truly learn from Thucydides, a writer who lived over two millennia ago, about power relations today? Quite a bit, in my view, but not necessarily in the way people like to. (...) Years of working with Thucydides in the classroom and as a scholar tell me that what his book teaches most of all is what we might call historical mindfulness. By this I mean a generalized understanding about the workings of history: what kinds of forces tend to inspire people, drive politics, create crises and bring (or prevent) resolution, with what consequences for human communities? Thucydides was not a prophet nor a political scientist, but a keen observer and explicator of the human condition in collective conflict. And we can gain much wisdom by studying his work with this in mind."

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21.07.2017

"The Future of Military Robotics Looks Like a Nature Documentary"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/07/the-future-of-military-robotics-looks-like-a-nature-documentary/

Gregory C. Allen fühlt sich durch die aktuellen Visionen von der Zukunft des militärischen Einsatzes von Robotern und intelligenten Kampfsystemen weniger an den Hollywood-Film Terminator als an die Naturdokumentationen der BBC erinnert. "Leading roboticists have long been attempting to copy nature’s A+ homework. MIT, UC Berkeley, and dozens of other universities boast biology-inspired robotics laboratories. The Department of Defense, especially DARPA, has been instrumental in funding much of this research. DARPA-funded programs have produced robotic hummingbirds, cheetahs, and pack mules that – while not yet battlefield-ready – clearly illustrate how biology-inspired robotics will be an integral part of future warfare."

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18.07.2017

"Cyber-Attacks: Who’s Keeping Score?"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/07/cyber-attacks-whos-keeping-score/

Sean McBride vom IT-Unternehmen FireEye schreibt, dass Hacker-Angriffe staatlicher Akteure international trotz vieler entsprechender Berichte keineswegs ein seuchenartiges Ausmaß erreicht hätten. Mit Hilfe einer Scorekarte gibt er einen Überblick über die bekannten Vorfälle der letzten Jahre. "To my team and me, an attack is not an intrusion. It’s not a compromised machine. It’s not stolen intellectual property, embarrassing leaks, or credit card numbers. To us, an attack is delivering the blow. It’s an effort to destroy, degrade or deny access to a computer system or to manipulate the physical, real-world processes – like electricity transmission or distribution – that computers control. Intrusion or exploitation of a computer system often precede an attack, but serve a different objective – to gather information. (...) Relying on this definition and open-source reporting, our team identified 17 occasions on which state-nexus perpetrators attacked organizations in other countries. Four countries conducted the attacks, and seven have been attacked."

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03.07.2017

"A Cultural Failure: U.S. Special Operations in the Philippines and the Rise of the Islamic State"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/07/a-cultural-failure-u-s-special-operations-in-the-philippines-and-the-ri
se-of-the-islamic-state/

Die Bemühungen des "Islamischen Staates", in den Philippinen Fuß zu fassen, seien den philippinischen und amerikanischen Sicherheitskräften bereits seit 2014 bekannt gewesen, schreibt Cole Livieratos. US-Spezialeinheiten hätten versucht, die Kooperation des IS mit lokalen islamistischen Gruppen zu verhindern. Diese Strategie sei offensichtlich gescheitert, meint Livieratos, der an diesen Operationen selbst teilgenommen hat. "For the time being, Special Forces, SEALs, and MARSOC will train and advise Philippine Security Forces in tactical missions as they attempt to recapture Marawi and physically push the Islamic State out of the city. It is likely that the aforementioned forces will succeed in its tactical missions and will probably mount successful operations to counter the Islamic State in the short-term. But with its current priorities and organization, Special Operations Command is not positioned to defeat the Islamic State because it does not prioritize operations to limit the Islamic State’s global appeal."

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29.06.2017

"Germans Should Accept What a Military is For, or Get Used to Disappointment"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/06/germans-should-accept-what-a-military-is-for-or-get-used-to-disappointm
ent/

Mario Schulz vom Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, der selbst in der Bundeswehr gedient hat, sieht den Bundeswehr-Skandal der vergangenen Monate als Folge der Distanz zwischen der deutschen Gesellschaft und dem deutschen Militär. Das fehlende Verständnis der Öffentlichkeit für den militärischen Beruf habe die Tür für rechte Ideologen geöffnet, die militärische Werte und Tugenden exklusiv für sich beanspruchen. "Where extremism and excessive violence occur, the Bundeswehr regularly turns a blind eye to misconduct within its own ranks, expecting blanket condemnation of their profession if failures come to light. Germans need to understand what sets the military apart: the readiness to serve, kill, and die for society. Otherwise, the Bundeswehr will retain the painful sense of rejection that lies behind the cowardly failures of its leadership to prevent and prosecute criminal acts and breaches of honor."

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27.06.2017

"Don’t Believe the Hype About European Defense"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/06/dont-believe-the-hype-about-european-defense/

Luis Simon ist nicht überrascht, dass viele Brüsseler Verteidigungsexperten den Brexit und die Präsidentschaft Donald Trumps als Gelegenheit für eine Vertiefung der europäischen Sicherheitspolitik nutzen wollen. Bisher sei allerdings fast jede Krise als "Weckruf für Europa" behandelt worden, ohne dass dies weitreichende Folgen gehabt habe. Dies werde auch diesmal so ein, so die Erwartung Simons. Ein Grund seien die unterschiedlichen Militärphilosophien Deutschlands und Frankreichs. "France looks at military force not just through the lens of defense and deterrence, but also as a means of advancing its foreign policy and economic interests. And it makes a proactive use of it. Germany rejects that vision. It sees the military as a last resort defensive instrument. These are deeply ingrained differences of strategic culture. And any serious effort on the part of Germany to overcome its cautious and defensive attitude towards military power is likely to cause discomfort amongst some of its European partners, France included. In many ways, when it comes to defense spending and its attitude towards the use of force, Germany is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t."

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16.06.2017

"Trump, NATO, and Establishment Hysteria"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/06/trump-nato-and-establishment-hysteria/

Benjamin H. Friedman und Joshua Shifrinson glauben nicht, dass US-Präsident Trump bei seiner jüngsten Europa-Reise die europäischen Verbündeten wirklich aufgegeben habe. Trump habe die Alliierten mit seiner Unhöflichkeit zwar vor den Kopf gestoßen, greifbare politische Änderungen in der Beziehung seien bislang jedoch nicht zu beobachten. "With all of the wailing and rending of garments among the Washington foreign policy establishment, it is easy to miss that neither the United States nor its NATO allies have made big defense policy changes since Trump took office. Merkel’s electorally-driven comment essentially repeated what she said in January in response to Trump’s election and the Brexit. She seemed to endorse further integration of common E.U. defense policies — an old objective. If there’s new policy here, it’s more support for an E.U. defense procurement fund and something called 'Permanent Structured Cooperation,' which vaguely promises to coordinate security cooperation among groups of E.U. states — significant but hardly revolutionary developments in Europe’s fitful path towards a common defense. U.S. military policy in Europe has changed even less. (...) Even if it turns out Trump has set off a process leading to unprecedented European military independence, the United States will not have jettisoned a holy and continuous postwar goal. U.S. leaders did not craft a postwar order with the idea of forever serving as its center."

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19.05.2017

"Abandon the 2 Percent Obsession: A New Rating for Pulling Your Weight in NATO"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/05/abandon-the-2-percent-obsession-a-new-rating-for-pulling-your-weight-in
-nato/

Die Beurteilung der Lastenverteilung in der NATO sollte nach Ansicht von Garrett Martin und Balazs Martonffy nicht nur von der nominellen Höhe der Militärausgaben der Mitgliedstaaten abhängig gemacht werden. Das viel diskutierte Zwei-Prozent-Ziel der Nato für Verteidigungsausgaben sei zwar leicht vermittelbar und deshalb politisch attraktiv: "But for all its political appeal, the 2 percent figure is fatally flawed and does not accurately capture a state’s contributions to all of NATO’s core tasks. First, 2 percent is a rather arbitrary number. (...) Second, there is a clear lack of a universal definition of what should be included in 'defense spending.' (...) Third, (...) comparing American defense spending with that of other NATO allies is misleading. (...) Fourth, the 2 percent figure only focuses on inputs and not outputs. (...) That the 2 percent guideline endures indicates a lack so far of a viable alternative rather than any strong inherent value. Officials and experts are, however, starting to propose different metrics that could either complement or replace the 2 percent guideline."

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26.04.2017

"In His Own Words: Vladimir Putin’s Foreign Policy Analyzed"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/04/in-his-own-words-vladimir-putins-foreign-policy-analyzed/

Stephen Benedict Dyson und Matthew J. Parent haben die außenpolitischen Äußerungen des russischen Präsidenten mit einer Technik analysiert, die von der US-Regierung bereits nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges genutzt wurde. "What we found was surprising: On most issues of foreign policy, Putin scores as a fairly mainstream world leader. (...) We established that great power leaders talk about international politics differently than rogue state leaders, and found that Putin spoke (and by implication, thought) more like the standard great power leader than the rogue leader. Except for one thing: his obsession with control. Putin talks about his own and Russia’s control over events to an extent rarely seen, scoring consistently above the normal levels of other political leaders. All politicians want to stay in charge, and all states-people like to think of their country as shaping international affairs, but Putin represents an extreme case."

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24.04.2017

"Evacuation is America’s Moral and Strategic Imperative in Idlib"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/04/evacuation-is-americas-moral-and-strategic-imperative-in-idlib/

Sam Heller ist der Überzeugung, dass der Westen kein Recht und kein Interesse daran habe, sich im Kampf zwischen den syrischen Regierungstruppen und den von Dschihadisten dominierten Rebellengruppen in der Idlib-Provinz auf eine Seite zu stellen. Stattdessen sollte der Schutz der dort festsitzenden geschätzten 2,3 Millionen Zivilisten im Vordergrund stehen. "Threatening the regime with a section of Syria’s insurgency spearheaded by al-Qaeda-style jihadists will not somehow convince the regime to negotiate a compromise. And Idlib’s rebellion is distinct from smaller enclaves in east Aleppo or north of the Jordanian border, areas whose rebels are more attractive to the West but, for various reasons, incapable of making a run at Damascus. As monstrous as the Assad regime is, the West does not and should not want to see Idlib’s rebels overrun the regime and win the country. (...) For rebels, the northwest may be their defiant last stand. But for millions of civilians, it’s a cage. (...) I am not arguing that the United States and its allies should force the displacement of the northwest’s residents, which would amount to a war crime. But if a cataclysm is coming — and I’m convinced one is — the West needs to ensure these civilians are able to flee to safety."

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17.04.2017

"Russia is an Asian Power Too: Japan Understands, but Does the United States?"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/04/russia-is-an-asian-power-too-japan-understands-but-does-the-united-stat
es/

In ihrer geopolitischen Analyse der komplizierten Beziehungen zwischen Russland, China und Japan betonen Chris Miller und Joshua Walker, dass Russland heute auch als asiatische Großmacht auftrete. In der amerikanischen Außenpolitik werde dies bisher allerdings kaum berücksichtigt. "In the past, Washington has cautioned Japan against improving relations with Moscow lest it be seen as breaking the united front against Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Yet just as Japan must realize the value of unified positions on issues such as Ukraine and Syria, Washington should consider the long-term when looking at Tokyo’s efforts to mend ties with Moscow. On some issues of Asia-Pacific security, the United States and Russia might even find that they agree. Yet Washington too often only sees Russia through a European lens. Japan’s effort to rebuild its relations with Moscow just might help us see Russia and Asia in a new light."

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10.04.2017

"The Al-Shayrat Strikes and Escalation Control in Syria"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/04/the-al-shayrat-strikes-and-escalation-control-in-syria/

Noel Anderson macht darauf aufmerksam, dass die USA bei der Planung und Durchführung des Militärschlags in Syrien alles getan hätten, um eine direkte Konfrontation mit russischen Soldaten vor Ort auszuschließen. Zwei Entwicklungen könnten diese Strategie in Frage stellen: Die russische Aufkündigung der Vereinbarung zur Vermeidung von Zusammenstößen über Syrien und die Interpretation des Militärschlags als Beginn einer grundlegenden Richtungsänderung der USA. "By warning Russia in advance of the strikes, avoiding Russian personnel and infrastructure targets, and explicitly linking the target of the strikes with the chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, the United States demonstrated its unwillingness to tolerate the use of chemical weapons while at the same time providing the necessary space for Russia to save face and avoid a forceful counteraction. Analysts and policymakers should interpret Thursday’s strikes, and indeed the wider Syrian conflict, in this light: a delicate U.S.-Russian dance that seeks to secure competing national interests while avoiding dangerous and damaging escalation."

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03.04.2017

"Trump’s Middle East Policies Boorish and Belligerent, But Surprisingly Normal"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/04/trumps-middle-east-policies-boorish-and-belligerent-but-surprisingly-no
rmal/

Einige Monate nach dem Amtsantritt Donald Trumps stellt Marc Lynch fest, dass der US-Präsident eine "überraschend normale" Nahost-Politik verfolge. Am wichtigste sei dabei, dass Trump das vielkritisierte Atomabkommen mit dem Iran nicht aufgekündigt habe. Auch in der Israelpolitik und im Krieg gegen den IS weiche Trump nicht so stark wie von einigen Experten befürchtet vom bisherigen Kurs der USA ab. "The foreign affairs community may, understandably, be in a state of perpetual outrage over the Trump team’s amateurish gambits and penchant for shocking statements, and foreign diplomats understandably bemused by a president who appoints his son-in-law to top policy positions and tweets about Snoop Dogg. But thus far, Trump’s actual Middle East policy has been shockingly conventional. He talks a big game but has proven largely unable or unwilling to actually change all that much in America’s Middle East policy. Instead, he has mostly been managing Obama’s Middle East in a more boorish and belligerent way."

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13.03.2017

"Germany’s New Defense Pragmatism is Not Measured in Euros"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/03/germanys-new-defense-pragmatism-is-not-measured-in-euros/

Niklas Helwig meint, dass die weitreichenden Veränderungen der vergangenen Jahre in der Bundeswehr nicht nur auf die finanziellen Aspekte und die immer wieder diskutierten zwei Prozent des Bruttoinlandsprodukts reduziert werden sollten. Der neue militärpolitische Pragmatismus Deutschlands gehe über erhöhte Ausgaben hinaus und sei z.B. in vielen bilateralen Initiativen erkennbar. "While most observers focused on the attempts from both sides of the Atlantic to promote renewed trust in the NATO alliance, in recent weeks Germany has taken concrete action in bolstering European defense with its neighbors on the continent. (...) The new push for bilateral agreements and integration of military capabilities and structures is part of a larger pragmatism on defense integration in Europe. Many politicians in Europe carefully avoid any mention of the traditional 'European Army' buzzword that has captured the imagination of Europhile politicians for decades. (...) Instead of standing still, however, Europe started to integrate its military through a bottom-up approach. Rather than organizing Europe’s national forces from the E.U. level, defense ministries interwove their militaries through bilateral agreements."

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22.02.2017

"Counter-Terrorism from Bush to Obama to Trump"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/02/counter-terrorism-from-bush-to-obama-to-trump/

Ryan Evans unterhält sich mit Colin Kahl und Stephen Tankel über die Entwicklung der amerikanischen Antiterror-Politik seit 2001. "How has counter-terrorism changed from 9/11 to today over three presidencies? To answer that question, Ryan Evans sat down with two guests with deep perspective on counter-terrorism: Colin Kahl was the national security adviser to Vice President Biden and, earlier in the Obama administration, was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East. He is now associate professor in the Security Studies Program at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Stephen Tankel is an assistant professor in the School of International Service at American University, an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS, and a senior editor at War on the Rocks. He previously served as a senior adviser for Asian and Pacific security affairs at the Department of Defense. Stephen is the author of the forthcoming book, With Us and Against Us: America’s Partners in the War on Terror."

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16.02.2017

"A Comparative Guide to Russia’s Use of Force: Measure Twice, Invade Once"

https://warontherocks.com/2017/02/a-comparative-guide-to-russias-use-of-force-measure-twice-invade-once/

Michael Kofman schreibt in seiner Analyse der russischen Militärstrategie, dass Moskau seine Truppen, deren Modernisierung immer noch viel zu wünschen übrig lasse, geschickt einsetze, um ganz bestimmte politische Ziele zu erreichen. "Although Russian military power remains a blunt force instrument, the state wields it more like a rapier, demonstrating discretion and timing. (...) The Russian military itself has a long way to go in terms of modernization, but conversely, America’s political leadership needs to reexamine how great powers, with far fewer resources, use the so-called 'big stick' to get the job done. The unipolar world order appears to be rapidly melting, while great powers are back on the agenda. When it comes to use of force by peer rivals contesting America’s interests, it is only going to get harder from here on out. The United States may not wish to emulate Russian approaches, but American strategists should certainly study then."

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19.12.2016

"The Coming of the Russian Jihad, Part II"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/12/the-coming-of-the-russian-jihad-part-ii/

Leon Aron mit dem zweiten Teil seiner Analyse dschihadistischer Bewegungen in Russland. "By all indications, the Russian jihad continues to remain alive and dangerous. As outlined in the first installment, this development has multiple and deep roots. Changing demographics due to migration which have made Russia the largest ethnic Muslim country in Europe and Moscow a key international ISIL recruiting ground. Additionally, pan-European trends such as alienation, unemployment, discrimination, and prison radicalization play increasingly prominent roles in converting citizens of the Russian Federation. Perhaps the most troubling development has been a gradual shift of the locus of militant Islamism from the north Caucasus and into the Russian heartland of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. In this installment, I explore the domestic impact of Russia’s involvement in Syria’s civil war and the strategies deployed by the Russian authorities to contain these effects."

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14.12.2016

"This Won’t Look Like Winning: A Sensible Path for Trump’s Syria Policy"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/12/this-wont-look-like-winning-a-sensible-path-for-trumps-syria-policy/

Nach der Einnahme Aleppos durch syrische Regierungstruppen hält Sam Heller einen militärischen Sieg der Aufständischen endgültig für ausgeschlossen. Die künftige US-Regierung sollte dies in ihrer neuen Syrien-Strategie berücksichtigen und einen "vernünftigen Pfad" zur Beendigung des Krieges einschlagen. "The idea that backing an anarchic armed opposition that was increasingly dominated by genocidal jihadists would make the regime more likely to negotiate was also mistaken. (...) If the United States is going to disengage from the Syrian opposition, it should not do so abruptly or for free. (...) It should negotiate away support for the opposition only in exchange for Russian buy-in for smaller, internationally guaranteed enclaves in the eastern Aleppo countryside, southern Syria, and the Kurdish northeast. These areas, secured in part through the continued presence of foreign troops, could provide long-term havens for internally displaced persons and serve as buffer zones against various bad actors, thus serving the security needs of America and allies Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And for areas the regime will likely recapture, America should coordinate with Turkey and Jordan to allow the safe exit of refugees who cannot survive under regime control."

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05.12.2016

"Drone Proliferation Matters, But Not For the Reasons You Think"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/12/drone-proliferation-matters-but-not-for-the-reasons-you-think/

Michael Horowitz, Sarah E. Kreps und Matthew Fuhrmann haben sich mit den möglichen sicherheitspolitischen Folgen der weltweiten Verbreitung der Drohnentechnologie beschäftigt. Viele Beobachter warnen demnach davor, dass andere Länder dem Beispiel der USA folgen und verstärkt eigene Drohnenschläge durchführen könnten. Andere hielten Drohnen dagegen nur für ein neues Werkzeug, das die militärische Entscheidungsfindung nicht beeinflussen werde. "In a newly-published article in International Security, we evaluate these two competing perspectives. It turns out, the reality is more context - specific than either side in the drone debate has acknowledged. We examine the consequences of current-generation drone proliferation in six different contexts — counterterrorism, interstate conflict, crisis onset and deterrence, coercive diplomacy, domestic control and repression, and use by non-state actors for the purposes of terrorism – to see how the increasing use of drones might change military outcomes, or even the global balance of power."

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21.11.2016

"The Syrian Civil War and Avoiding Trump’s First Big Mistake"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/11/the-syrian-civil-war-and-avoiding-trumps-first-big-mistake/

Michael Hanna meint dagegen, dass Donald Trump nicht ohne russische Zugeständnisse auf Präsident Putin zugehen sollte. Insbesondere in Syrien dürfe eine Rekalibrierung der bisherigen US-Strategie nicht einfach als "Seitenwechsel" umgesetzt werden. "Recalibration of policy should not simply entail the United States switching sides and ceasing covert support to all rebel groups. While there might be moments of convergence with the regime in terms of common enemies, outright cooperation with Assad would sully America’s reputation, produce much broader militant blowback and anti-Americanism, radicalize what remains of the non-jihadist opposition, link the United States with an ineffective military partner in the form of the Assad regime, damage relations with regional allies, and unnecessarily enmesh the United States in the metastasizing enmities consuming the Arab world. (...) Instead, the incoming Trump administration should revive the much-maligned diplomatic path forged by the Obama administration by negotiating the terms of its engagement in Syria and seeking Russian and Syrian concessions that could allow for a de-escalation of the central war between the regime and rebels."

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18.11.2016

"The Trump Administration Will be Hawkish"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/11/the-trump-administration-will-be-hawkish/

Benjamin H. Friedman vom Cato Institute glaubt nicht, dass es dem gewählten US-Präsidenten Donald Trump gelingen wird, die im Wahlkampf versprochene Kehrtwende in der US-Außenpolitik herbeizuführen. "Three factors constrain presidents from ditching established foreign policy. The first is the continuous nature of policy. Policies outlast those that make them. So do the agencies that execute policies. (...) Appointees to foreign policy posts are a second constraint. With limited time and thousands of spots to fill, presidents naturally turn to the foreign policy establishment housed in think tanks, law firms, and consultancies. These experts, who are highly interventionist and pro- alliance, regardless of party, gain considerable sway, especially when the president is inexperienced and focused elsewhere. (...) Finally, there’s Congress, whose members naturally defend policies that they helped make."

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21.10.2016

"Political Airpower, Part I: Say No to the No-Fly Zone"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/10/political-airpower-part-i-say-no-to-the-no-fly-zone/

Die beiden US-Luftwaffenoffiziere Mike Benitez und Mike Pietrucha schreiben, dass Luftschläge und Flugverbotszonen kein Ersatz für eine umfassende Strategie sein könnten. Flugverbotszonen seien militärisch nur schwer durchzusetzen und politisch kaum attraktiv, insbesondere, wenn sie gegen Länder mit moderner Artillerie und Luftabwehrsystemen gerichtet seien. "Discounting the ground and political situation for the sake of analysis, Syria’s air defenses provide a case study in the obsolescence of the no-fly zone. By comparison to Kosovo’s 41 1960s-era SAMs, Syria’s robust air defenses total over 130 systems, most which are vastly more lethal than their older counterparts. As many as a dozen encompass the area surrounding Aleppo, the crucible of the civil war. Syria also has over 4,000 air defense artillery pieces and a few thousand portable infrared-guided missile systems. In the world we live in today, a single system can completely invert this relationship overnight. This was notably seen in the Russian deployment of an S-400 system to Syria."

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19.10.2016

"Why the Flying IED Threat Has Barely Started"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/10/why-the-flying-ied-threat-has-barely-started/

In einem weiteren War on the Rocks-Beitrag zur taktischen Bedeutung des Einsatzes von Kampfdrohnen durch irreguläre Truppen stellt Mark Jacobsen fest, dass der von T.X. Hammes erwartete "dramatische Wandel" in Konflikten zwischen staatlichen und nichtstaatlichen Akteuren bisher nicht eingetroffen sei. Der Grund: Bestimmte Schlüsseltechnologien seien einfach noch nicht so weit. "Only two sectors of the civilian drone market currently offer high reliability: a handful of consumer video drones and high-end commercial systems. The optimum systems for flying IED attacks lie in the space between. As key technologies mature and reliable systems fill this space, expect to see flying IED attacks increase dramatically."

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18.10.2016

"The Democratization of Airpower: The Insurgent and the Drone"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/10/the-democratization-of-airpower-the-insurgent-and-the-drone/

T.X. Hammes hält die Einschätzung von Ulrike Franke, dass der vermehrte Einsatz von Kampfdrohnen durch irreguläre Truppen kurzfristig kaum etwas am taktischen Umfeld bewaffneter Konflikte ändern werde, für "optimistisch". Hammes erwartet einen "dramatischen Wandel" des Charakters von Konflikten zwischen staatlichen und nichtstaatlichen Akteuren. "At the tactical level, these 'flying IEDs' will raise the cost of protecting forces in country by heightening the threat to bases and lines of communications. (...) To counter this threat, state military forces will have to harden some targets and provide air defense for critical elements that cannot be hardened. Command posts, ammo dumps, fuel farms, living spaces, and all other fixed soft targets will have to be hardened. The time tested method of digging in with overhead cover will be sufficient but expensive. Elements that cannot be hardened — including communication towers, satellite dishes, and large parked aircraft — will require a sophisticated 24/7 air defense system. This will be much more challenging. (...) drones are rapidly moving from cutting-edge to pedestrian. Sales in the United States alone are expected to reach 7 million annually by 2020. As they become pervasive, we can expect to see insurgents and terrorists use them very creatively. It is essential we make use of the very short time available to develop defenses against these systems."

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13.10.2016

"Flying IEDs: The Next Big Threat?"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/10/flying-ieds-the-next-big-threat/

Nach Berichten über den Einsatz von mit Sprengsätzen ausgerüsteten Kampfdrohnen durch IS-Kämpfer in Irak analysiert Ulrike Franke, Doktorandin im Fach Internationale Beziehungen an der Universität Oxford, die möglichen Auswirkungen der neuen Taktik auf künftige Militäroperationen. "We are likely to see a series of action-reaction-counter-reactions as has been the case with the roadside IED: Counter-UAV technology and doctrines will be developed and fielded. Clever insurgents will find a way around them, and then the technology and doctrine will adapt once more. Flying IEDs will claim lives. In the short term they are unlikely to fundamentally change the fight. In the longer term, however, troops are likely to encounter more sophisticated systems that will be much harder to intercept. Autonomous drone swarms – a scenario the military places much hope in – are likely to eventually also be adapted by non-state actors."

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10.10.2016

"What’s Really At Stake in the Syria Debate"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/10/whats-really-at-stake-in-the-syria-debate/

Marc Lynch schreibt, dass die amerikanische Debatte über die Syrienstrategie der US-Regierung von moralischen und nicht von rationalen Argumenten geprägt sei. Es deute einiges darauf hin, dass die Nachfolger der Administration Barack Obamas einen Kurs einschlagen werden, der eine militärische Eskalation erzwingen würde. "The next administration, whoever it might be, will likely follow the first path, of limited intervention in some form, whether de facto no-fly zones or declared safe areas. Given the failure of diplomacy and the magnitude of the horrors, even a slim chance of changing the game – with allies and adversaries, even if not in Syria’s reality – will seem preferable to continuing along a terrible path. Allies and pundits will declare themselves thrilled, and the new president will be able to proudly declare that America is back. And then when the moves fail to resolve the war, and the conflict and suffering continue, the new president will face renewed pressure to do more to deliver on American promises. When faced with the decision sometime next year to pull back and thus tacitly admit defeat or to escalate despite the grim prospects for success, history does suggest which course will be chosen."

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23.09.2016

"The Coming of the Russian Jihad"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/09/the-coming-of-the-russian-jihad-part-i/

Leon Aron erwartet, dass russische Dschihadisten künftig international eine noch stärkere Rolle spielen werden. Bereits heute kämpften geschätzte 2.400 Russen für den IS in Syrien. "With an estimated 300 to 500 ISIL recruiters in the Russian capital, Moscow has become a key hub and a way station to Syria for fighters from Russia and the former Soviet Union. Between 80 to 90 percent of ISIL fighters from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan have been radicalized and recruited while in Russia as migrant workers. According to Russian sources, all of the 300 ethnic Uzbeks who are members of ISIL were recruited during work stints in Russia — as were 80 percent of the ethnic Tajik fighters, including their leader, Nusrat Nazarov. In response, in January of this year, Russia’s Migration Service issued a list of 333,391 Tajiks barred from entering the country. According to the National Security Council of Tajikistan, 700 Tajiks have left for Syria and 300 have been killed there. Nazarov has claimed that there were 2,000 Tajiks with ISIL."

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22.09.2016

"Charting Boko Haram’s Rapid Decline"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/09/charting-boko-harams-rapid-decline/

Nathaniel Allen untermauert die These, dass sich die radikalislamische Terrorgruppe Boko Haram im Niedergang befinde, mit einigen empirischen Befunden. "A close look at the data, drawn from Johns Hopkins University’s Nigeria Social Violence Research Project, reveals four key factors behind Boko Haram’s decline: a failure to spread much beyond Nigeria’s extreme northeast, a loss of popular support, poor strategic thinking by the insurgents, and improved counterinsurgency operations. Though these factors have led to a decisive shift in momentum against the group, the conflict is far from over. Winning the war will require better regional coordination, the re-integration of former militants, and a systematic plan to re-build the northeast, where thousands are currently on the brink of starvation."

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