US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Al Monitor




"Looming dilemma for the US: Disarm the YPG or not?"

In der Diskussion über die Einrichtung einer "Safe Zone" im Norden Syriens steht die US-Regierung Metin Gurcan zufolge vor der schwierigen Entscheidung, ob es die kurdische YPG-Miliz wie von der Türkei gewünscht entwaffnen sollte. Die Kurden seien in den vergangenen Jahren im Kampf gegen den "Islamischen Staat" u.a. mit schweren Waffen und Fahrzeugen ausgerüstet worden. Ein Ende dieser Unterstützung könnte eine Rückkehr des IS oder einen Vormarsch der syrischen Regierungstruppen begünstigen, so die Sorge in Washington. "Thanks to cooperation with the US military, the YPG is making the shift from rural guerrilla-style warfare to more conventional military strategies, such as territorial control and area denial through the use of armored warfare; siege warfare; indirect fire support; large-scale logistics movements; the conventionalization of existing military capabilities; acquisition of new capabilities in command, control and communication (C3); and information warfare. The United States will have to make serious decisions as US-Turkish military efforts shift southward. Ankara is not likely to back down from its objections to the YPG’s enhanced military capacities. Most delighted with this development will be the Russia-backed Syrian government forces on standby in the Deir ez-Zor area as well as the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Units currently in charge of border security on the Iraqi side."

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"Why does Erdogan want nuclear weapons?"

Mit seinen Äußerungen vom 4. September hat der türkische Präsident Erdogan Spekulationen darüber ausgelöst, ob die Türkei tatsächlich plant, den Atomwaffensperrvertrag zu missachten und ein eigenes Atomwaffenprogramm ins Leben zu rufen. Kadri Gursel erläutert die sicherheitspolitischen Erwägungen, die zur überraschenden Drohung Erdogans geführt haben könnten. "As he wrapped up the topic, Erdogan made a crucial remark. 'We are currently working on it,' he assured the audience, suggesting that Turkey is engaged in activities to acquire a nuclear capability. If that is indeed the case, open sources are, of course, unavailable on what those activities entail and how much they have progressed. (...) What is his purpose in declaring his inclination so prematurely, given that Turkey is not even a nuclear-threshold country at this point? The answers might lie in the geopolitical bottleneck in which Turkey currently finds itself. Turkey’s security issues have only grown more complicated with Erdogan’s acquisition of the S-400 air defense systems from Russia (...). Because of the S-400 purchase, Turkey is now deprived of the F-35 warplanes it had paid for in addition to having been expelled from the F-35 co-production program and facing the threat of further US sanctions. Meanwhile, the United States is backing Israel and Greece in their drive to build energy corridors in the eastern Mediterranean, shutting Turkey out, and the risk of confrontation in the region growing. (...) Faced with these predicaments, Erdogan is brandishing his nonexistent 'nuclear card' to warn the forces he views as threatening him that he will move to create more instability and disorder unless they ease the pressure on him."

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"Turkey fails to win green light for safe zone at Syria summit"

Der Türkei ist es bei den Syrien-Gesprächen mit Russland und dem Iran in Sotschi Ayla Jean Yackley zufolge nicht gelungen, das gewünschte "Grüne Licht" für eine Sicherheitszone im Norden Syriens zu bekommen. "Turkey is also at odds with Iran and Russia over the fate of Idlib, the last anti-Assad opposition stronghold. Turkey wants to avoid an all-out attack on the province, fearful it could unleash a humanitarian disaster and force another influx of refugees into Turkey, where almost 3.6 million Syrians are already sheltering. Erdogan convinced Putin to agree to a cease-fire for Idlib in September, promising to rid the province of hard-line jihadists through its influence over more moderate militants. But an al-Qaeda-linked force has since consolidated its control, effectively wrecking the cease-fire. Putin’s patience seems to be running out, and he called for the “complete elimination of this hotbed of terrorists” at the summit. Later, his spokesman appeared to walk back the comments, saying the three leaders had not agreed to a military operation in Idlib."

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"Turkey frustrated over Western inaction in Khashoggi murder case"

Die Türkei fühlt sich bei den Bemühungen zur Klärung des Mordes am saudi-arabischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi von westlichen und anderen arabischen Staaten im Stich gelassen, schreibt Semih Idiz. "Ankara’s apparent determination to force Saudi Arabia to account for the slaying of Khashoggi also appears set to widen the existing gap between Turkey and the established Arab regimes in the Middle East. Most of these regimes have lined up behind Riyadh for economic and political reasons, or merely out of a sense of Arab solidarity in the face of what they see as Turkish meddling in Arab affairs. Many statements out of Western capitals condemning this murder and demanding accountability, as well as moves in the US Congress to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia, have failed to make any significant difference so far. Turkish officials are concerned that Western governments are refraining from pressuring Riyadh because of the economic and strategic importance of Saudi Arabia to their interests."

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"Why Europe's payment channel may be too little to keep Iran in JCPOA"

Der neue Zahlungsmechanismus der EU für europäische Unternehmen mit geschäftlichen Beziehungen zum Iran wird nach Ansicht von Saeid Jafari nicht ausreichen, um Teheran im Atomabkommen zu halten. "The US departure from the JCPOA has in the past year triggered an exodus of large European companies from Iran. In other words, Europe has not provided Iran with the benefits that the Islamic Republic hoped to gain from the agreement. This has now brought to the fore a serious debate in Tehran over whether to remain committed to a deal which is not benefiting it. It has also exposed the Rouhani administration to cutthroat criticism and pressure from the country's hard-liners. (...) While (...) the Europeans are stressing the necessity of sticking to the deal, they also are demonstrating little willingness to undertake serious practical measures that would allow Iran to enjoy the promised dividends in exchange for the commitments it has lived up to under the agreement. This European approach is, therefore, pushing Iran toward considering — more seriously than ever — a departure from the JCPOA as its only option."

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"Netanyahu forsakes multilateralism in favor of bilateral alliances"

Israels Premierminister Netanjahu folge offensichtlich dem Beispiel Donald Trumps und setze in seiner Außenpolitik zunehmend auf bilaterale Vereinbarungen, schreibt Rina Bassist. "(...) it seems that Trump’s dislike of international forums has become contagious, planting deep roots in Netanyahu’s office as well. In fact, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a foreign affairs worldview that goes even further. In August last year, Netanyahu said that 'Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels.' One month later, he accused UNESCO of an anti-Semitic approach, citing that agency’s 'persistent and egregious bias against Israel,' and the list goes on. The UN, its agencies, the European Union and other international groups are all against Israel and its prime minister, he believes. This is why Israeli diplomacy must focus on establishing and deepening ties with 'individual' countries, preferably countries that are ostracized by the international community the way Israel perhaps is. This way, the government can continue with its present policy of occupation while avoiding international isolation."

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"Intel: How Trump's tweet is sparking debate over a new Syrian 'safe zone'"

US-Präsident Trump hat in einem seiner Tweets der letzten Tage eine "Safe Zone" für die syrischen Kurden gefordert. Al-Monitor erläutert, was dies vor dem Hintergrund des US-Truppenabzugs in der Praxis bedeuten könnte. "Since the United States and Turkey are still hashing out the details, [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] said, the 'precise methodology' on next steps is still in the works. The top US diplomat indicated that the Trump team hasn’t decided whether it will be a 'safe zone' or a 'buffer zone.' (...) The emerging 'safe zone' plan could see the Turks gain more control on the border with Syria, potentially allaying Ankara's fears of US military support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG. Experts tell Al-Monitor such a zone could keep Turkish forces away from areas liberated from the Islamic State in the Euphrates Valley. (...) With 2,200 US troops set to withdraw from Syria, experts tell Al-Monitor that the Trump administration may be debating how to bring a residual CIA presence into the fight to monitor the defeat of the Islamic States, keep Iran out of the country and deter Turkey from striking the Kurds."

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"Analysis: Israel torn between Saudi Arabia, Turkey on Khashoggi affair"

Ben Caspit stellt fest, dass Israel zurückhaltend auf den Tod des saudi-arabischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi reagiert hat. Dies sei auf Israels Rivalität mit der Türkei und die stille Allianz mit Saudi-Arabien zurückzuführen. "On the one hand, it is an ally of Saudi Arabia, and on the other, its bitter rivalry with Turkey is legendary. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen in Israel as an almost liberal reformer, who is leading his country toward a new era, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is regarded as a benighted dictator, who jails journalists and suppresses democracy. And now that’s all turned upside down. In the Khashoggi incident, the Saudis are the villains, while Erdogan is having his turn as a mature and enlightened leader who shows responsibility and defends democracy. It is the exact opposite of how things usually are — at least from an Israeli perspective. (...) Behind the scenes, Israel continues to side with Saudi Arabia. As such, it has no choice but 'overlook' the Khashoggi incident. 'The fight against Iran stunts everything else,' one senior Israeli minister told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity."

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"UN Syria envoy: Jabhat al-Nusra holding Aleppo 'hostage'"

Der UNO-Sondergesandte Staffan de Mistura hat der radikalislamischen Rebellenfraktion Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (früher Jabhat al-Nusra) in der vergangenen Woche vorgeworfen, die Stadt Aleppo als Geisel genommen zu haben. "De Mistura offered to physically accompany the terrorists out of the city in order to alleviate the suffering of Aleppo’s besieged citizens, while calling on the Syrian and Russian governments to end the siege of the city 'for the sake of eliminating 1,000 al-Nusra fighters.' (...) Jabhat al-Nusra’s role in Aleppo has been overshadowed, or left out, in most mainstream press accounts of the brutality of the Russian and Syrian siege of the city."

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"Qatar spends big to counter charges of lax stance on terror"

Julian Pecquet berichtet über verstärkte Bemühungen des Emirats Katar, Einfluss auf US-Entscheider zu nehmen, um der schlechten Publicity, im Zusammenhang mit der Rolle des Emirats bei der Unterstützung radikaler Islamisten im Nahen Osten zu begegnen. "Qatar’s investment appears to have paid off. Congress and the Treasury Department have largely silenced their past criticism, while the State Department's most recent terrorism report released in early June gives the country credit for a slate of recent legislation on charities and cybercrime prevention, while nevertheless bemoaning Qatari citizens' continued support for al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate. 'Despite these efforts, entities and individuals within Qatar continue to serve as a source of financial support for terrorist and violent extremist groups, particularly regional al-Qa’ida affiliates such as the Nusrah Front,' the report concludes. 'Qatar has made efforts to prosecute significant terrorist financiers.'"

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"Why Russian warplanes might return to Iran"

Ali Omidi diskutiert verschiedene mögliche Ursachen für den Abzug der russischen Luftwaffe vom iranischen Luftwaffenstützpunkt in Hamedan. "Shared tactical objectives in Syria are likely to continue to drive Russian-Iranian cooperation despite the quick end to Moscow's use of the Hamedan air base."

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"Turkey is in its own post-9/11 fury"

Auch wenn sich US-Vizepräsident Joe Biden in seiner Heimat Vorwürfe gefallen lassen müsse, die Opfer der Anschläge des 11. Septembers für politische Ziele zu missbrauchen, habe er im Kern mit seiner Aussage, die Türkei habe mit dem gescheiterten Putschversuch, ihr eigenes 9/11 erlebt, eine korrekte Analogie geschaffen, schreibt Mustafa Akyol auf Al Monitor. "The death toll in these attacks, admittedly, were unequal: There were 10 times more victims on 9/11 than during Turkey's coup. Still, just like 9/11, the coup attempt was the greatest attack the Turkish nation has faced in decades. Moreover, just like after 9/11, the Turkish state now has a right to defend itself and eliminate an immediate threat. Yet, again just like after 9/11, there is a serious risk of overreaction."

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