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20.09.2016

"It is Time to Shine a Light on the Islamic State’s Hidden Executions"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/09/it-is-time-to-shine-a-light-on-the-islamic-states-hidden-executions/

Einer neuen UN-Untersuchung von Menschenrechtsverletzungen im Irak zufolge werden viele brutale Hinrichtungen unschuldiger Zivilisten vom "Islamischen Staat" nicht öffentlich propagiert. Patrick Burke vom Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST) meint, dass die US-Regierung dies in ihrer Online-Kampagne gegen den IS aufgreifen sollte. "(...) the number of people executed on social media makes up only 29 percent of the 6,019 people executed by ISIL in my dataset. So which executions didn’t make it to social media? Yazidi civilians make up the largest excluded group at 1,218 executions. Family members of (mainly Sunni Arab) Muslim tribes fighting ISIL come in second at 274. The final two groups are women and children at 135 and 14, respectively. (...) it is possible that highlighting the executions of families of Sunni Arab tribal fighters could damage ISIL’s brand. ISIL has publicly condemned the killing of Sunni Arabs. (...) there are in fact acts of brutality that even ISIL doesn’t want made public, and that highlighting these atrocities is the best way to chip away at the facade that brings in so many recruits."

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19.09.2016

"Germany Embraces Realpolitik Once More"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/09/germany-embraces-realpolitik-once-more/

John R. Deni lobt das neue Weißbuch zur Sicherheitspolitik und zur Zukunft der Bundeswehr als Rückkehr zu einer deutschen Realpolitik. "Although it has received limited attention in the Anglophone media, the Weissbuch marks a fundamental shift in several respects. Whether and how Germany follows through on the potential embodied in this historic document will determine the degree to which Europe is able to play a role in security and defense commensurate with its economic strength and its transatlantic responsibilities."

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12.09.2016

"Will Brexit unravel the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy?"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/09/will-brexit-unravel-the-european-unions-common-foreign-security-policy/

Joel Hillison erläutert, welche Konsequenzen der Brexit für die Gemeinsame Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik (GASP) der EU haben könnte. "The Brexit might make decision-making under CFSP easier, particularly since the United Kingdom tended to favor NATO over E.U. action. Brexit also clears some of the objections to greater use of common funding in support of CFSP missions. However, the European Union will certainly lose some of its diplomatic, intelligence, economic, and military capability without the United Kingdom."

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31.08.2016

"The Decay Of The Syrian Regime Is Much Worse Than You Think"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/08/the-decay-of-the-syrian-regime-is-much-worse-than-you-think/

Die US-amerikanische Syrienpolitik basiert auf dem Wunsch einer Balance zwischen der Formulierung humanitärer Bedenken und dem Wunsch, staatliche Institutionen zu erhalten, um ein Machtvakuum zu vermeiden, welches ein Abdriften des Landes in die totale Anarchie zur Folge haben könnte, schreibt Tobias Schneider auf War on the Rocks. "Over the past three years in particular, this line of argument has not only been a mainstay those supporting a carefully calibrated, limited U.S. Syria policy in line with the current administration but also by a number of commentators writing both implicitly and explicitly in defense of Damascus. In two revisionist articles published recently at War on the Rocks, an author writing under a pseudonym presents the Assad regime as ruthless, but at least secular, pluralistic and — most importantly — as the final basion of civic, central authority in a tumultuous Middle East. Whereas the indefatigable Emile Hokayem already formulated an eloquent response regarding sectarian dynamics in the Levant, there is an equally important question raised in the piece warrants answering: What’s really left of the Syrian central state?"

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24.08.2016

"Repairing the U.S.-Turkish Alliance"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/08/repairing-the-u-s-turkish-alliance/

Aaron Stein, Resident Senior Fellow am Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, warnt vor einer weiteren Verschlechterung der türkisch-amerikanischen Beziehungen infolge des gescheiterten Militärputsches in der Türkei. "This decades-old partnership, already wounded by building mistrust and animosity, was struck a major blow with the coup attempt and its aftermath. Can these two proud nations get back on track to a healthy alliance?"

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02.08.2016

"The End of Globalization? The International Security Implications"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/08/the-end-of-globalization-the-international-security-implications/

Das mögliche Ende der wirtschaftlichen Globalisierung könnte in den USA weitreichende sicherheitspolitische Folgen habe, erläutert T.X. Hammes von der U. S. National Defense University. "(...) if globalization no longer has major economic benefits for the United States, then employing U.S. power in an effort to maintain global security will be seen purely as a cost. This will create a very different domestic environment for the practice of U.S. foreign policy. Deglobalization will reduce the American people’s interest in propping up global stability at exactly the time the widespread dissemination of smart, cheap weapons will significantly increase the costs of doing so. Faced with growing social and infrastructure needs, Americans may no longer be willing to underwrite international security with their tax dollars. Under these conditions, the United States public may demand a return to a limited strategic concept of defending the hemisphere and assuring access to the global commons. The U.S. military’s primary mission may revert to the punishment of bad behavior (gunboat diplomacy) rather than engagement to stabilize a region."

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27.07.2016

"What if a U.S.-Russian Deal in Syria Goes Exactly as Planned?"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/07/what-if-a-u-s-russian-deal-in-syria-goes-exactly-as-planned/

Faysal Itani vom Atlantic Council kritisiert die mögliche russisch-amerikanische Kooperation bei der Bekämpfung der radikalislamischen Al-Nusra-Front in Syrien, da die Schwächung dieser mächtigen Rebellenfraktion dem Assad-Regime in die Hände spielen würde. Die USA sollten deshalb zugleich andere Rebellen im Kampf gegen die Assad-Truppen stärken. "Al-Nusra should be destroyed of course, but the JIG [Joint Implementation Group] as currently conceived would very likely sabotage broader U.S. counterterrorism and strategic interests in Syria. An anti-Nusra effort should instead be paired with direct and proxy military pressure on the regime to prevent its capitalizing on a post-Nusra opposition’s weakness. This could include increased qualitative military support to vetted insurgents and a U.S. commitment to punishing any regime targeting of civilians. There are other means, but the aim is to make the military option unpalatable to the regime. Al-Nusra should not be targeted at the price of condemning Syria to endless war and terrorism. If unaccompanied by robust U.S. measures to protect a weakening insurgency and contain an emboldened regime, the JIG will probably destroy the Syrian opposition, rule out any negotiated settlement, and replace one set of radicals with another."

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13.07.2016

"Determined By History: Why Sweden and Finland Will Not Be More than NATO Partners"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/07/determined-by-history-why-sweden-and-finland-will-not-be-more-than-nato-
partners/

Carl Bergqvist erklärt in diesem informativen Rückblick auf die sicherheitspolitische Geschichte Skandinaviens, warum Schweden und Finnland ihre militärische Kooperation untereinander und mit der NATO angesichts ihrer schwierigen Beziehungen zu Russland fortsetzen werden, ein Beitritt beider Länder zum Militärbündnis aber unwahrscheinlich bleibt. "Finland’s position just next to Russia and the latter’s geostrategic nuclear second-strike capability may be too much to stomach for some of NATO’s member states who fear provoking Moscow. Russia’s concern for its sphere of interest is nothing new, but in the case of the Nordic countries, the stakes are somewhat higher. Finland directly borders the Kola Peninsula, which holds the majority of Russia’s nuclear second-strike capability in the form of nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Sweden and Finland will continue their policies of close partnerships with NATO without applying for membership. (...) By doing so, Sweden and Finland can strengthen their security while avoiding aggravating Moscow too much. Moscow will always have to take into account that if it pursues its ambitions too forcefully, the two countries may finally seek a full membership in NATO."

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08.07.2016

"False Alert: Is Russia Beefing Up Forces on NATO’s Border?"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/07/false-alert-is-russia-beefing-up-forces-on-natos-border/

Ulrich Kühn vom Institut für Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik an der Universität Hamburg widerspricht "alarmistischen" Meldungen, denen zufolge Russland zusätzliche Truppen an der Grenze zu den baltischen Ländern zusammenziehe. "Stick with the facts: Russia is engaged in large-scale military exercises with alarming scenarios, its military behaves extremely irresponsible since two years (not to speak of its politicians), and almost all parts of its military are being modernized. But Russia has not (yet) increased its conventional forces close to the Baltics. While this is good news for the three countries, the restructuring of forces close to Ukraine is a problem for Kiev. NATO’s reassurance measures pale in comparison to what Russia could bring to bear, but Russia’s return to the division level is no additional justification for the Warsaw Summit decisions and possible post-Warsaw calls for even more NATO troops."

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28.06.2016

"Russia is in Charge in Syria: How Moscow Took Control of the Battlefield and Negotiating Table"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/06/russia-is-in-charge-in-syria-how-moscow-took-control-of-the-battlefield-
and-negotiating-table/

Sam Heller schreibt, dass Russland heute ohne Zweifel die mächtigste Kriegspartei in Syrien sei. Die USA sollten dies anerkennen und zugleich darauf drängen, dass Russland die entsprechende Verantwortung übernimmt und das Assad-Regime zu Zugeständnissen bewegt. "Diplomatic sources have told me that Russia has been convinced that Assad is basically indispensable — that the decapitation of the regime would result in the collapse of the Syrian state institutions Russia wants to preserve. Assad seems to have recognized this and used it as a sort of reverse leverage on Russia. As one Western diplomat put it, 'I don’t think the regime is an easy ally.' (...) But if negotiations are doomed, military victory is unachievable, and Russia’s preferred mix of military coercion and politics is impossible to properly calibrate, then it is unclear what sort of endgame Russia can realistically pursue in Syria."

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28.06.2016

"Russia’s 'China Dreams' are Less of a Fantasy Than You Think"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/06/russias-china-dreams-are-less-of-a-fantasy-than-you-think/

Im Westen würden die Demonstrationen der neuen Allianz zwischen Russland und China in der Regel mit einer Mischung aus Skepsis und Spott kommentiert, schreibt Alexander Gabuev vom Carnegie Moscow Center. Gabuev selbst charakterisiert das neue Bündnis als "asymmetrische Interdependenz": "China is reaping the lion’s share of the benefits and Russia acting like the needier, more pliable partner. However, the partnership is not driven by mutual trust or by a desire to undermine the West. (...) the growing partnership is spurred not only by growing anti-Americanism, but more importantly by Russia’s quest for external economic support to keep the regime afloat in the wake of Western sanctions. Chinese leaders are carefully camouflaging the growing lopsidedness of the relationship through skillful shows of respect. Given the Kremlin’s lack of viable alternatives to China’s embrace, Beijing is now poised to acquire the kind of assets it needs to energize its quest for global influence."

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02.06.2016

"Don’t Kill the Caliph! The Islamic State and the Pitfalls of Leadership Decapitation"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/06/dont-kill-the-caliph-the-islamic-state-and-the-pitfalls-of-leadership-de
capitation/

Haroro J. Ingram und Craig Whiteside sind davon überzeugt, dass der Islamische Staat besser bekämpft werden könnte, wenn der IS-Anführer Abu Bakr al Baghdadi nicht im Zuge der bisher üblichen Enthauptungsstrategie getötet werden würde. "On the surface it would seem that eliminating terrorist leaders, especially charismatic figures whose symbolic power alone is able to attract followers to a movement’s cause, is a no-brainer. Yet charismatic leadership is an inherently volatile and ephemeral form of leadership. Killing a charismatic leader may inspire a potent posthumous charismatic appeal (...), or cause splintering that results in otherwise 'suppressed' extreme factions rising in prominence thanks to the ensuing vacuum (arguably what occurred with the death of Osama bin Laden and the rise of ISIL). Alternatively, decapitation could result in the removal of a leader that was a volatile and destabilizing force in an organization under strain being replaced by a brilliant individual who helps lay the foundations for the group’s future."

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10.05.2016

"How Al Qaeda is Winning in Syria"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/05/how-al-qaeda-is-winning-in-syria/

Für Yasir Abbas wird immer offensichtlicher, dass nicht der "Islamische Staat", sondern die der Al-Qaida nahe stehende Nusra-Front der große Gewinner des Bürgerkriegs in Syrien werden könnte. Der radikalislamischen Rebellenfraktion sei es im Gegensatz zum IS gelungen, durch eine graduelle Strategie echte Unterstützung für ihre langfristigen politischen Ziele zu gewinnen. "Gaining the acceptance of the Syrian people is the heart of al-Nusra’s Syria strategy. It relies on a persuasive approach to expand its influence, ideology, and, eventually, control. Al-Nusra uses this gradual approach to pursue a social reform agenda, using soft tactics to gain local support and buy-in to their long-term vision for Syria. (...) al-Nusra’s gradual and very steady expansion of influence is not declining in any major way. Its well-trained fighters continue to win battles and play an important role in combating the Syrian regime and its allies, which remains the main priority to many pro-opposition Syrians. (...) Barring a major change, such as a shift in the U.S.-led coalition policy towards attacking al-Qaeda in Syria or a change in Ahrar al-Sham’s current position towards al-Nusra, it is possible that we will see al-Qaeda ruling parts of the country in the foreseeable future — and end all hopes for a democratic Syria."

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27.04.2016

"The Tangled Web of the Syrian Jihad"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/04/the-tangled-web-of-the-syrian-jihad/

Sam Heller stellt das Buch "The Syrian Jihad: Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency" von Charles Lister vor, der sich eingehend mit den radikalislamischen Fraktionen der syrischen Rebellen beschäftigt hat. "The focus of Charles Lister’s The Syrian Jihad is there in the book’s title. Lister zeroes in on the evolution of the jihadist trend within the Syrian insurgency, principally Jabhat al-Nusrah and the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but also the revisionist-jihadist Ahrar al-Sham and an assortment of smaller jihadist splinters. Yet he also makes clear that jihadists are not the whole of Syria’s armed opposition, and he attempts to define the relationship between the jihadists and the rebel mainstream. These hardline groups, Lister argues, are often best understood in terms of the different ways they have allied with or tried to overtake the revolutionary insurgency."

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21.04.2016

"Outnumbered, Outranged, and Outgunned: How Russia Defeats NATO"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/04/outnumbered-outranged-and-outgunned-how-russia-defeats-nato/

David A. Shlapak und Michael W. Johnson von der RAND Corporation schreiben, dass die NATO Russland in Europa militärisch in vieler Hinsicht klar unterlegen sei. "Nearly two years of extensive wargaming and analysis shows that if Russia were to conduct a short-warning attack against the Baltic States, Moscow’s forces could roll to the outskirts of the Estonian capital of Tallinn and the Latvian capital of Riga in 36 to 60 hours. In such a scenario, the United States and its allies would not only be outranged and outgunned, but also outnumbered. (...) It seems unlikely that Vladimir Putin intends to turn his guns on NATO any time soon. However, the consequences should he decide to do so are severe. Probably the best outcome — if the phrase has any meaning in this context — would be something like a new Cold War, with all the implications that bears."

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15.04.2016

"Does Europe Need a New Warsaw Pact?"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/04/does-europe-need-a-new-warsaw-pact/

Christopher Preble und Marian Tupy vom Cato Institute meinen, dass die Länder Osteuropas sich nicht nur auf den militärischen Schutz durch die NATO verlassen sollten. Die Gründung eines zusätzlichen europäischen Militärbündnisses könne möglicherweise viel zur Sicherheit in Europa beitragen. "First, the good news. On paper, the member states of the proposed pact are, collectively, comparable to Russia in isolation. (...) Now, the bad news. Trump has a point when he criticizes the meager military spending of America’s NATO allies. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that Russia spent 5.4 percent of its GDP on its military in 2015. The new pact states spent 1.62 percent, on average, well below the NATO mandate of 2 percent. (...) Moreover, the problems afflicting the NATO alliance would not go away altogether in a new, smaller pact. But it would be easier to sort out the member states’ true intentions, gauge the strength of their commitments to mutual defense, and resolve questions pertaining to military inter-operability and response time, in a ten-member alliance than NATO in its present form. Plus, the New Warsaw Pact would have a single clear goal: checking Russia. NATO does not have as clear a raison d’être."

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18.03.2016

"There is No Russian Withdrawal from Syria"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/03/there-is-no-russian-withdrawal-from-syria/

Angesichts des in Syrien verbleibenden russischen Militärs möchten Dmitry Gorenburg und Michael Kofman lieber nicht von einem Rückzug Russlands sprechen. Putins entsprechende Ankündigung habe vor allem politische Zwecke gehabt, tatsächlich gehe der russische Militäreinsatz immer noch weiter. "It seems likely the number of aircraft present will be reduced by half, close to the original numbers Russia fielded in Syria in October 2015. The remaining aircraft will continue to operate over Syria, and in fact have conducted strikes in recent days in support of Syrian army efforts to retake Palmyra from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This means that, according to the Pentagon, they’re focusing on ISIL for the first time. (...) In other words, what is happening on the ground is a drawdown of forces that were surged to Syria in the aftermath of the shootdown of a Russian Su-24 by Turkey in November 2015 and the intensified fighting over the winter. Furthermore, since Russia is keeping control of the Hmeymim airbase and continuing work to expand the Tartus naval base, nothing changes from an infrastructure point of view."

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16.02.2016

"The Russian Quagmire in Syria and Other Washington Fairy Tales"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/02/the-russian-quagmire-in-syria-and-other-washington-fairy-tales/

Michael Kofman wirft der US-Regierung vor, den russischen Militäreinsatz in Syrien von Beginn an unterschätzt und Russland damit die Initiative überlassen zu haben. Moskau sei dabei, die militärischen Fortschritte politisch zu nutzen, um die diplomatischen Verhandlungen über die Zukunft Syriens im eigenen Interesse zu lenken. Ein Erfolg Russlands könnte längerfristige geopolitische Folgen haben, so Kofman. "If Moscow shows that it can get the job done in Syria, and secure Assad’s fortune from what appeared to be certain defeat, then other dictators may see Russia as a potential alternative guarantor of their rule. Few in the region were happy with the U.S. policy during the Arab Spring. If there was another power capable of providing security and acting independently, but one that prized stability over democracy (the way the United States used to), it would be welcome in the Middle East. This is why U.S. success against ISIL is even more paramount from a geopolitical perspective. America no longer has a monopoly on being the only viable actor in the Middle East."

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15.02.2016

"Germany and Russia: Berlin’s Deadly Self-delusions"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/02/germany-and-russia-berlins-deadly-self-delusions/

Dustin Dehez, geschäftsführender Gesellschafter beim Unternehmen Manatee Global Advisors, kritisiert die Russland-Politik der Bundesregierung mit dem deutschen Begriff der "Lebenslüge", da Berlin immer noch den Dialog mit dem "autoritären Regime" in Moskau suche. Deutschland verhindere damit ein entschiedeneres Auftreten Europas gegenüber der russischen "Aggression" in Osteuropa. "Germany is not the first or only country to maintain self-delusions in its foreign policymaking, but its geopolitical position renders its self-delusions particularly important matters for two reasons. First, Germany is chairing the OSCE at a critical juncture. Though no one can say for certain what Russia’s endgame in Ukraine is, the Kremlin is definitely hoping to undercut not only Ukrainian sovereignty, but the European security architecture as a whole. (...) That leads to the second reason why Germany’s self-delusions matter. Its constant display of goodwill toward Russia is often combined with lip service to NATO’s promise of common defense and the idea of deterrence. There is little reflection, however, on what deterrence would entail. (...) When military aggression that challenges the foundation of Europe’s security is not met proportionally, why should the Kremlin ever believe that Berlin will keep its vague promise of deterrence? This is why Germany’s actual allies suspect that should little green men ever show up in the Baltics, Berlin will set up another Normandy-like format rather than mobilize troops."

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09.02.2016

"Prospects for a Turkish Incursion into Syria"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/02/prospects-for-a-turkish-incursion-into-syria/

Die Türkei befürchtet Can Kasapoglu zufolge, dass sie an der Grenze zu Syrien bald drei feindlich gesinnten Gruppen gegenüberstehen könnte: der kurdischen YPG, dem "Islamischen Staat" und den Truppen von Präsident Assad. Eine militärische Intervention Ankaras wäre aufgrund der russischen Präsenz in Syrien sehr riskant. "Any Turkish ground incursion would require close air support from Turkish army aviation attack helicopters and air interdiction operations flown by the Turkish air force. Though air superiority would not be a prerequisite for operating Turkish rotary and fixed wing assets in Syrian territory, the Turkish air force would have to deny air superiority to the Russian air force, at the very least. The operational necessity of denying Russian air superiority could lead to direct Turkish–Russian air-to-air clashes. Problematically, the Russian air force detachment in Syria is now much stronger than it was in November 2015, when a Russian Su-24 was downed by the Turkish air force for violating Turkish airspace. (...) In the absence of air superiority, Turkish maneuver units would face significant challenges in an extremely hostile environment that could result in high casualties. If Turkey opts to reduce risk for its ground forces by denying Russian air superiority, the situation could escalate dangerously."

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02.02.2016

"Killing Jihadist Hackers Sets a Flawed Precedent"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/02/killing-jihadist-hackers-sets-a-flawed-precedent/

Das US-Militär hat kürzlich verkündet, zwei "Cyberexperten" des "Islamischen Staates" mit gezielten Luftschlägen getötet zu haben. Meg King und Grayson Clary halten diese neue Taktik der Tötung feindlicher Hacker aus mehreren Gründe für falsch. "This may be lawful, but it reflects a poor strategic playbook for future conflicts. More and more, state and pseudo-state actors will draw on digital irregulars: patriotic or jihadist hacktivists, civilians with spare time and a working knowledge of the Internet. The anti-Islamic State coalition is setting a model for those wars, whoever fights them. And under the standard set by recent strikes, oceans of amateurs would crowd kill lists. From the evidence available, lethal action seems to have been taken too quickly. (...) In the near term, this seems like a tactical error. For one, Sujan and Hussain may well be more valuable to their organization as martyred examples than as living, breathing assets. (...) What’s more, both likely would have been valuable to the coalition as targets for SIGINT collection. 'Now that he’s dead,' Col. Warren said in the Pentagon’s announcement, referring to Sujan, '[the Islamic State] has lost a key link between networks.' If that’s true, he could have been usefully left in place, his devices exploited, and his communications tapped."

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28.01.2016

"2016: The Year of the Great Middle East Cyberwar?"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/01/2016-the-year-of-the-great-middle-east-cyberwar/

Benjamin Runkle hält es für möglich, dass der schwelende Konflikt zwischen Saudi-Arabien und Iran in diesem Jahr zunächst als Cyberkrieg eskalieren könnte. "While fears of a 'cyber 9/11' may be exaggerated, and even the most damaging cyberwar in the Middle East is likely preferable to a shooting war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a cyber conflict between the two nations could still have significant repercussions for the United States. (...) Second, it is difficult to contain the effects of cyberweapons with any precision. The Stuxnet virus, for example, inadvertently spread to computers from Indonesia to India to the United States. (...) Finally, there is the possibility that a destructive cyberattack could trigger a kinetic retaliation. America reserves the right to use military force in response to a cyberattack that produces fatalities. Would Saudi Arabia similarly consider a cyberattack that crashed Riyadh’s electrical grid in the midst of a sweltering summer and caused heat-related deaths a casus belli for military action against Iran?"

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18.01.2016

"The Islamic State’s Plans for Turkey"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/01/the-islamic-states-plans-for-turkey/

Hilmi Demir und Selim Koru analysieren das Propagandavideo "Turkey and the Fire of Racism" des "Islamischen Staates", um herauszuarbeiten, welche Ziele die Terrormiliz in der Türkei verfolgt. "International observers who accuse the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) of aiding ISIL might be surprised that the video takes the longtime Islamist government into its crosshairs. The AK Party, according to the video, clothes itself in Islamist rhetoric while acting as the 'Crusaders’ hand of tyranny in the region.' Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is specifically labeled an apostate who perpetuates the secular agenda of Turkey’s foundation. ISIL outflanks the AK Party from the right, which is an awkward position for the Islamist behemoth of Turkish politics. The AK Party, after all, is descendant from a radical Islamist tradition that holds opinions very close to those of ISIL."

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13.01.2016

"Iran Gave Back the Sailors, but the Persian Gulf is Still a Powder Keg"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/01/iran-gave-back-the-sailors-but-the-persian-gulf-is-still-a-powder-keg/

Nach der kurzzeitigen Festnahme von zehn US-Seeleuten durch die iranische Marine ist Afshon Ostovar erleichtert, dass die Situation im "Pulverfass" des Persischen Golfs nicht dramatisch eskaliert ist. Dies sei ohne Zweifel auf die jüngste diplomatische Annäherung beiden Länder zurückzuführen, trotzdem bleibe das provokative Auftreten der Revolutionären Garden besorgniserregend. "The nuclear deal showed a side of the Iranian regime that many doubted existed. Iran could compromise, it could build trust, and it could move on from the belligerence of the days of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But the IRGC does not seem to want to move on. To the IRGC, the United States is an enemy. Despite a convergence of interest regarding the self-proclaimed Islamic State, and jihadism more broadly, the IRGC does not trust the United States nor does it have any interest in ceding its ambition of driving U.S. forces out of the region. Many pundits and policymakers hoped that the nuclear deal would be the beginning of Iran’s transformation from rabble-rouser to responsible regional power. It might still be. But for now, it appears that the IRGC is taking advantage of the decreased international pressure on Iran to reassert itself."

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13.01.2016

"The Islamic State vs. al-Qaeda: The War within the Jihadist Movement"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/01/the-islamic-state-vs-al-qaeda-the-war-within-the-jihadist-movement/

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Nathaniel Barr und Bridget Moreng analysieren die Rivalität zwischen dem "Islamischen Staat" und der Al-Qaida. Aus militärischer Perspektive träfen hier zwei unterschiedliche Modelle "revolutionärer Kriegführung" aufeinander, die auf Mao Tse-tung bzw. auf Ernesto 'Che' Guevara zurückgeführt werden könnten. "Al-Qaeda has come to favor covert expansion, unacknowledged affiliates, and a relatively quiet organizational strategy designed to carefully build a larger base of support before engaging in open warfare with its foes. By contrast, the Islamic State believes that the time for a broader military confrontation has already arrived, and has loudly disseminated its propaganda to rally as many soldiers as possible to its cause. The group combines shocking violence with an effective propaganda apparatus in an effort to quickly build its base of support. The Maoist and focoist schools of revolutionary thought provide a useful framework for understanding these groups’ differing strategies. Al-Qaeda exhibits a revolutionary strategy that is both implicitly and explicitly based on the works of Mao Tse-tung, while the Islamic State’s approach is more consonant with the focoist writings of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Régis Debray."

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04.01.2016

"Russia’s New National Security Strategy: Familiar Themes, Gaudy Rhetoric"

http://warontherocks.com/2016/01/russias-new-national-security-strategy-familiar-themes-gaudy-rhetoric/

Mark Galeotti wirft einen Blick auf die neue russische Sicherheitsstrategie, die im Vergleich zum bisher gültigen Dokument von 2009 "recht extrem" klinge. Abseits der aggressiven Rhetorik sei der Inhalt jedoch kaum furchteinflößend und durchaus vernünftig, so Galeotti. "The new document contains fiercer and more explicit criticism of the West. The key issue is what Moscow calls the West’s efforts to 'levers of tension in the Eurasian region' in order to undermine Russian national interests. (...) Overall, the 2009 document was much more aspirational about opportunities and plans for development, while its successor is much more focused on challenges, problems, and threats — and it is not afraid to point the finger at where they come from. However, beneath the gaudy patina, it is less fearsome and indeed more sensible a document than might otherwise appear."

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21.12.2015

"Time to Focus on the Wars Within the War Against the Islamic State"

http://warontherocks.com/2015/12/time-to-focus-on-the-wars-within-the-war-against-the-islamic-state/

Der internationale Krieg gegen den "Islamischen Staat" komme nicht voran, weil die lokalen Akteure unterschiedliche Interessen verfolgten, stellt Michael Knights vom Washington Institute for Near East Policy fest. "On one side is the 'Axis of Resistance' — actors like Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian proxies in Iraq like Badr, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis’ Kataib Hezbollah. Russia has seemingly bet on that camp. This axis is aligned against the Sunni world writ large and determined to exclude the U.S. military from the region. (...) In the other corner is a less cohesive but strengthening alliance that comprises Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the UAE. This group is focused on fighting the Shia Axis of Resistance first and foremost, and, in Turkey’s case, constraining the growth of Kurdish power in Syria and Turkey. (...) To have any hope of deterring, limiting, or winning the coming conflicts in the Middle East, the United States needs to widen its view beyond the Islamic State in the manner that regional states are already doing."

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14.12.2015

"Femme Fatale: The Rise of Female Suicide Bombers"

http://warontherocks.com/2015/12/femme-fatale-the-rise-of-female-suicide-bombers/

Kathleen Turner, Lieutenant Colonel der US Army, fragt nach den Ursachen des immer noch besonders schockierend wirkenden Einsatzes weiblicher Selbstmordattentäter durch Terrororganisationen. "Several leading researchers have identified likely factors to explain why groups resort to using women to conduct suicide attacks. These may include tactical advantages: an increased number of operatives, increased media attention, and psychological effect. A study of these factors may help better understand why organizations continue to use female suicide bombers to execute critical operations as part of their overall strategy. (...) The growing trend of female suicide bombers is a strategic issue. Reversing this trend is going to require a comprehensive approach to deter groups like ISIL and Boko Haram from going down this path. No matter how shocking they remain, we can’t afford to be surprised by terrorists’ attempts to recruit and deploy female suicide bombers."

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08.12.2015

"Does the Islamic State Want an Apocalyptic Showdown? Not So Fast"

http://warontherocks.com/2015/12/does-the-islamic-state-want-an-apocalyptic-showdown-not-so-fast/

Einem Bericht der New York Times zufolge will der "Islamische Staat" aufgrund prophetischer Texte einen apokalyptischen Bodenkrieg gegen westliche Truppen in Syrien und Irak herbeiführen. William McCants rät angesichts derartiger Analysen allerdings zur Vorsicht. In den gleichen Prophezeiungen sei z.B. auch davon die Rede, dass der Konflikt durch einen Waffenstillstand beendet werden könne. "As we contemplate a change of course in the fight against the Islamic State as a result of its recent escalation against the West, it is certainly worth thinking about what the Islamic State hopes to achieve. But our debate should be informed by accurate information about the group’s own internal deliberations, which we do not have (at least that is available to people without security clearances), and its past behavior, which we know a great deal about. Trying to divine the Islamic State’s intensions based on prophecy, false analogy, and selective reading of its strategic literature will only confuse rather than clarify our debate."

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08.12.2015

"Curbing the Enthusiasm: Why De-radicalization Programs Get Fanaticism Wrong"

http://warontherocks.com/2015/12/curbing-the-enthusiasm-why-de-radicalization-programs-get-fanaticism-wro
ng/

David Martin Jones und M.L.R. Smith glauben, dass westliche Regierungsprogramme zur Entradikalisierung junger Anhänger extremistischer Ideologien am eigentlichen Problem vorbeigehen. "De-radicalization reflects and reinforces a progressive secular rationalism that dismisses religious worldviews, rather than as coherent within their own politico-theological terms of reference. It persists in perceiving disaffected Muslims inclined to travel to Syria or diss the national anthem as 'clowns' and 'numbskulls,' rather than zealots that in some cases are willing to die and behead for the realization of the total vision. The result is that public policy in the West ignores fanatic agency and responds instead in self-consciously depoliticized ways. In effect, this criminological therapeutic model treats the converted zealot not as a danger to the wider society but as a victim pumped full of ideological steroids by unscrupulous online recruiters who, like predatory pedophiles, groom their otherwise innocent prey."

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