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05.10.2019

"Algeria’s Standoff Between Protesters And The Regime"

https://lobelog.com/algerias-standoff-between-protesters-and-the-regime/

Auch in Algerien ständen sich Protestierende und Regierung weiterhin in Lauerstellung gegenüber, berichtet Gregory Aftandilian. Die weitere Entwicklung werde nicht zuletzt davon abhängen, ob die zugesagten Wahlen im Dezember tatsächlich frei sein werden. "American and European policymakers would do well to underscore to the Algerian authorities that the upcoming elections in December should be free and fair and that the military should return to the barracks so a genuine civilian government could be formed. These policymakers should not be swayed by the argument that the generals will likely claim, that they cannot let down their guard lest Islamist extremists exploit instability and try to seize power. (...) With youth unemployment hovering around 29 percent, the young protesters see no future if the regime stays in power. They view it as squandering the country’s substantial hydrocarbon revenues for a corrupt elite whose only interest is perpetuating the current system. What they fear is that the military establishment will merely rearrange the deck, picking one of their own or a close loyalist to be a presidential candidate and then rigging the election results to put that person in power."

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26.09.2019

"Who Are These 'Jihadists' Who Are Defeating The French Army In The Sahel?"

https://lobelog.com/who-are-these-jihadists-who-are-defeating-the-french-army-in-the-sahel/

Rémi Carayol zufolge sind seit dem Beginn der französischen Militärmission in Mali hunderte mutmaßliche Extremisten in Kämpfen oder gezielten Luftangriffen getötet worden. Die Einzelheiten dieser Operationen blieben in der Regel verborgen und es sei fraglich, ob es sich bei den Opfern tatsächlich immer um Dschihadisten handle. "The men and women in the ranks of the armed jihadist groups in the Sahel do not all fit the media caricature of religious fanatics, prepared to die in suicide bombings in order to impose the sharia on their fellow Muslims and seeing themselves as part of an unlikely 'global Jihad.' In the same way, some of these groups are more like local insurrections, fuelled by societal and socio-economic issues rather than outgrowths of a worldwide war of religion. Many studies carried out in recent years by NGOs, think tanks or international bodies like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have shown that most of these 'Jihadists' were in fact guided by very different convictions, were often prisoners of a hasty choice or an unfortunate encounter and that some of them had actually been forced to join the insurgents. (...) Such people can scarcely be considered terrorists to be fought and put to death. Actually, while some of them were arrested and gaoled in their country once they managed to get away, the judicial authorities quickly realised they were not dealing with people prepared to die for a cause. In Chad, several dozen 'returnees' were freed after spending a few months in gaol. In Niger, a process of social reintegration of 'reformed' individuals is under way. But the rhetoric of the French authorities contains not a trace of these niceties (...)."

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05.09.2019

"Why Iran’s Strategy Of Reversible Escalation Is Working"

https://lobelog.com/why-irans-strategy-of-reversible-escalation-is-working/

Eldar Mamedov hält die iranische Strategie der "kalkulierten Eskalation" im Streit um das Atomabkommen bisher für durchaus erfolgreich. "(...) Iran forced a number of key players to change their cost-benefit calculus. Europe has been unable, so far, to deliver economic dividends to Iran to keep it in the JCPOA. Yet Iran’s moves to lower its compliance with the JCPOA and seize a British tanker sounded alarm bells in Europe. They showed that Tehran was not bluffing when it threatened to reduce its nuclear commitments and prevent others from shipping oil through the Persian Gulf as long as it was prevented from doing the same. The fear of further destabilization of the region and associated costs for Europe was a major factor behind Macron’s proactive Iran diplomacy. At the same time, Iran’s escalation was limited and reversible. It did not involve major violations of the JCPOA, so as not to push Europe over to the U.S. position. (...) Iran’s strategy, adroitly executed by Zarif and his team of diplomats, is responsible for getting the country to the threshold of direct talks with the United States, and on relatively even terms at that. For talks to take place and succeed, it is now up to the U.S. side to play ball."

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03.09.2019

"Burkina Faso: Islamic State And Al-Qaeda’s New Sanctuary"

https://lobelog.com/burkina-faso-islamic-state-and-al-qaedas-new-sanctuary/

Nach Mali und Niger habe sich Burkina Faso als nächster Rückzugsort für Anhänger radikalislamischer Gruppen in Westafrika etabliert, berichten Giorgio Cafiero und Daniel Wagner. "Burkina Faso — a steadfast US ally in the 'War on Terror' — managed to avoid the scourge of the Sahel’s extremists until somewhat recently. Since 2015, however, Burkina Faso has been suffering from the violent Salafist-jihadist forces that it had previously managed to keep at bay. Throughout the past four years, lethal attacks have become frequent in northern Burkina Faso, mainly in Soum Province, where tens of thousands of locals have had to flee because of violent extremists. (...) So, what led to Burkina Faso to become a new sanctuary for violent extremists? The reasons are mainly twofold. First, the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP)’s dismantlement resulted in the weakening of Burkina Faso’s security forces after former president Blaise Compaore resigned in 2014. (...) Second, given that the Mali/Burkina Faso/Niger border triangle is porous, Mali’s ongoing security crisis has taken a major toll on Burkina Faso, which has not been able to defend itself. Additionally, with IS having lost its strongholds in Iraq, Syria, and Libya following years of conflict with their local, regional, and international enemies, the so-called Caliphate has naturally been seeking refuge in other regions beyond the Levant and Maghreb, including West Africa."

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20.07.2019

"Saudi Arabia May Be On Its Own In Yemen"

https://lobelog.com/saudi-arabia-may-be-on-its-own-in-yemen/

Imad K. Harb vom Arab Center Washington DC. erläutert, welche Konsequenzen ein Rückzug der Truppen der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate aus Jemen für Saudi-Arabien haben könnte. "On July 8, the UAE announced that it is moving to a diplomatic stance from a 'military first' strategy in Yemen and is redeploying and reducing troops there. (...) Considering the serious Houthi challenge on the border with Saudi Arabia, the UAE action cannot be a positive development for Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudi officials are reported to have been disappointed and had 'intervened with the Emirati leaders to try to dissuade them from the drawdown.' (...) One thing is sure after the UAE’s decision: Saudi Arabia is in a bind. It cannot pursue an endless engagement in Yemen without reliable partners with military means like the UAE, and it cannot simply pack up and leave because that would amount to a strategic defeat that ensconces the Houthis in northern Yemen and in complete, unchallenged control. (...) Saudi Arabia’s leaders would do well to step back from the headlong policies of the past regarding interfering in Yemen’s affairs, even if these represent a serious national security concern. While the Houthis should not be allowed to take more than their share of political and economic power in a fair federal system, they should not be ignored as an essential element of Yemen’s politics and society."

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12.05.2019

"60 Days To Save The JCPOA"

https://lobelog.com/60-days-to-save-the-jcpoa/

Ellie Geranmayeh vom European Council on Foreign Relations analysiert die Hintergründe und möglichen Konsequenzen des iranischen Ultimatums im Atomstreit mit Europa. Beide Seiten seien grundsätzlich am Bestand des Atomabkommens interessiert, auf beiden Seiten gebe es allerdings das Risiko einer Fehlkalkulation. "The prevailing view in Europe has been that Iran would comply with the JCPOA until the U.S. 2020 election outcome was clear. This assessment seems to be the only rational path from a European perspective, but it has failed to fully appreciate the domestic politics of Iran. This includes the concept of maintaining dignity that underpins Iran’s foreign policy interactions, and the heavy economic pressure the country faces. Iran, on the other hand, needs to have more realistic expectations from Europe and accept its shortcomings in the face of U.S. secondary sanctions. Europe is a very different polity to the one that negotiated with Iran to strike the JCPOA in 2015. The E3 governments today are far more distracted by their own domestic politics."

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05.05.2019

"Playing 20 Questions To Figure Out The 'Deal Of The Century'"

https://lobelog.com/playing-20-questions-to-figure-out-the-deal-of-the-century/

James J. Zogby fühlt sich durch die mittlerweile zwei Jahre dauernde Diskussion über den geheimen US-Friedensplan für Nahost an eine Maxime des früheren Außenministers Kissinger erinnert. "I believe that it was Henry Kissinger who described his approach to running Arab-Israeli negotiations as creating the illusion of momentum to compensate for the lack of momentum. The goal wasn’t the outcome. It was to keep everyone involved in the process. Adhering to this maxim, successive generations of U.S. diplomats have 'led' a peace process more for its own sake than for establishing a just and lasting peace. For decades, we had, what the Palestinians would say was 'all process, no peace.' The Trump administration has, it appears, now taken this approach one step further. Instead of wasting time trying to create the fiction of negotiations between an ideologically intransigent Israeli government and a weakened and dysfunctional Palestinian Authority, the Trump team promised to do the work themselves by putting together 'the deal of the century.' (...) I have come to see this 'have faith' as nothing more than a cynical ploy to buy time. As a result, I am led to ask, 'What if there is no deal of the century?' What if this entire enterprise is, as I suggested, merely 'creating an illusion of a deal' in order: to keep the Palestinians quiet; hold the Arab world at bay; and the rest of us guessing?"

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08.04.2019

"IRGC Designation: More From The War-With-Iran Playbook"

https://lobelog.com/irgc-designation-more-from-the-war-with-iran-playbook/

Daniel R. DePetris und Richard Sokolsky sind sicher, dass die Entscheidung des US-Präsidenten, die Iranische Revolutionsgarde zur "Terrororganisation" zu erklären, auf Drängen von Außenminister Pompeo und Sicherheitsberater Bolton zustande gekommen sei, die einen militärische Konflikt und einen Regimewechsel in Teheran herbeiführen wollen. "Their success will depend on whether they can manipulate a distracted, ill-informed, impulsive, and erratic president into acting against his own instincts to avoid another regime-change campaign in the Middle East that could drag the United States into a messy and open-ended conflict. They have been able to get the president to dance to their tune on other issues, but can they do it again on an issue with much higher stakes for the country? (...) The intent of Pompeo and Bolton is clear: provoke Iran into bolting from the JCPOA, re-starting its nuclear program, and escalating its regional behavior, thereby providing the United States or its regional partners with a pretext to use military force against the regime. They understand that the clock on the Trump administration is ticking and that their chance of overthrowing the Iranian regime will slip away in 18 months if the president isn’t re-elected."

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19.03.2019

"Venezuela: A Path Under International Law?"

https://lobelog.com/venezuela-a-path-under-international-law/

Der frühere US-Diplomat Richard Sindelar würde eine militärische Intervention zum Sturz der Maduro-Regierung in Venezuela unter bestimmten Bedingungen für völkerrechtlich legitimiert halten. Grundlage wäre demnach die internationale Norm der Schutzverantwortung (Responsibility to Protect - R2P). "If Maduro is to be persuaded to leave power, and his military to support Guaidó, the rationale will have to come from the universal principles of R2P, but carried out by a coalition of like-minded nations. It won’t come from the UN, where a veto is certain, or the OAS, which has never adventured that far in the face of the rule of sovereignty. (...) If nations don’t find a way to apply these new humanitarian international standards, Venezuela may slide into a civil war. Better if the OAS, the world’s oldest regional organization, could somehow find the political will to pursue this newer R2P intervention process and force Maduro to resign rather than risk much greater violence in future. If the OAS itself will not police its region, then a coalition of nations should act under the R2P doctrine."

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08.03.2019

"Understanding The Algerian Protests"

https://lobelog.com/understanding-the-algerian-protests/

Trotz der Parallelen zu den Protesten während des Arabischen Frühlings erwartet Giorgio Cafiero nicht, dass die algerischen Demonstrationen gegen Präsident Bouteflika zum Sturz des Regimes führen werden. "(...) there’s a difference between the Arab Spring revolts and the potential for an 'Arab Spring 2.0' in Algeria. Tens of thousands of citizens protesting in public is an extremely significant situation for Algeria, and the past three weeks of demonstrations highlight the extent to which the government faces a major challenge. Yet such protests are not necessarily a signal that the government is on the verge of falling from power like other Arab Spring states. The ruling clique around Bouteflika still maintains the Algerian military’s loyalty. It can also still count on allies abroad, particularly in the West, and Russia too. (...) Perhaps the government will put forward another presidential candidate while also pledging to make specific reforms that address the sources of anger among Algeria’s younger citizens. (...) The government might also decide to crack down on peaceful demonstrators in an effort to intimidate citizens into returning home and stop calling for Bouteflika’s resignation. In this scenario, a key factor would be the reaction of Algeria’s opposition figures and the country’s Islamists, whether they would side with the younger citizens on the street."

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28.01.2019

"Searching For A Progressive Foreign Policy"

https://lobelog.com/searching-for-a-progressive-foreign-policy/

Die Präsidentschaft Donald Trumps hat James A. Russell zufolge dazu beigetragen, dass sich bei den Demokraten in der Innenpolitik zunehmend "progressive" Konzepte durchsetzen. In der Außenpolitik sei dies bisher nicht zu beobachten. Bei der Suche nach neuen Ideen sollten seiner Ansicht nach auch einige Forderungen Trumps nicht von vornherein verworfen werden. "As hard as it is to admit it, a good starting point is President Trump’s calls for America to stop policing the Middle East, reduce commitments in America’s longest running war in Afghanistan, and re-examine and redefine the transatlantic partnership that called on the United States to defend Europe via NATO. (...) The search for a progressive foreign policy is still in its nascent stages as a new generation of political leaders search for a coherent set of ideas to present to their constituents. President Trump’s call to examine these heretofore sacrosanct foreign policy priorities — the forever war, America’s military involvement in the Middle East, transatlantic military subsidies — is an opportunity to broaden thinking on what a new foreign policy can look like."

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30.10.2018

"MbS: The New Saddam Of Arabia?"

https://lobelog.com/mbs-the-new-saddam-of-arabia/

Emile Nakhleh erinnert das innen- und außenpolitische Auftreten des saudi-arabischen Kronprinzen Mohammed bin Salman an den früheren irakischen Diktator Saddam Hussein. "As Iraq’s Saddam Hussein did in the 1980s, MbS is cementing his power domestically and regionally through fear and economic largesse under the guise of fighting Iran, Islamic radicalism, and terrorism. Much like the tyrant of Baghdad did in Iraq, MbS has crushed his domestic and regional opponents. Both of them have enlisted the support of foreign powers, especially the United States and Britain, to buttress their hold on power in their territories and expand their reach internationally. They both spoke the language of “reform,” which appeals to Western audiences, and both demonized Iran as a promoter of regional instability and a source of evil internationally. (...) Saddam’s arrogance of power and obsession with regional leadership led him to pursue military adventurism in the neighborhood, which brought disaster to him and his country. In pursuing similar policies, will MbS face the same fate?"

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30.07.2018

"Unrealism Risks Landing Iran In War With America"

https://lobelog.com/unrealism-risks-landing-iran-in-war-with-america/

Die trotzige Reaktion von Qassem Soleimani, Generalleutnant der iranischen Revolutionsgarden, auf die jüngsten Twitter-Drohungen des US-Präsidenten verrät nach Ansicht von Shireen T. Hunter ein erhebliches Maß an unrealistischer Selbstüberschätzung. Diese Haltung der Revolutionsgarden könne einen Krieg zwischen beiden Ländern wahrscheinlicher machen, so ihre Warnung. "All in all, Soleimani’s speech betrayed an unrealistic mindset and an inaccurate appraisal of Iran’s powers and America’s vulnerabilities. A streak of unrealism has existed in Iran’s foreign policy for the past 200 years. However, it has reached excessive levels under the Islamic Republic, particularly in its confrontation with America, its pretension to end the US presence in the Middle East, and its declared intention to liberate Palestine. (...) Will the IRGC sacrifice Iran for the sake of its unrealistic and unrealizable goals just to inflict some damage on America and thus satisfy hurt pride? Or will it finally embark on a more realistic, non-emotional, and mature approach to relations with the outside world?"

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24.07.2018

"China Adds Security Component To Belt And Road Initiative"

https://lobelog.com/china-adds-security-component-to-belt-and-road-initiative/

China will sein globales Investitionsprojekt der Neuen Seidenstraße James Dorsey zufolge künftig mit einer sicherheitspolitischen Strategie ergänzen. "The emergence of a security component is not only highlighted by the establishment last year of China’s first foreign military base in Djibouti, but also in its stepped-up security cooperation with Afghanistan and other Central Asian nations that border on its north-western province of Xinjiang. (...) Greater emphasis on the Belt and Road’s security component would also be in line with Xi’s assertion last month that China was ready to 'lead in the reform of global governance.' China scholar Elizabeth Economy said Xi’s 'ambition is most evident close to home.' Economy was referring to policy in the South China Sea, Hong Kong and with regard to Taiwan. It is becoming equally evident in China’s other near abroad: Afghanistan and Central Asia."

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24.07.2018

"Entering A 1984 World, Trump-Style"

https://lobelog.com/entering-a-1984-world-trump-style/

Michael T. Klare erkennt in der Außenpolitik des US-Präsidenten eine deutliche Präferenz für eine Weltordnung, die von den drei Polen USA, China und Russland geprägt sein soll. "(...) an examination of his campaign speeches and his actions since entering the Oval Office — including his appearance with Putin — reflect his adherence to a core strategic concept: the urge to establish a tripolar world order, one that was, curiously enough, first envisioned by Russian and Chinese leaders in 1997 and one that they have relentlessly pursued ever since. Such a tripolar order — in which Russia, China, and the U.S. would each assume responsibility for maintaining stability within their own respective spheres of influence while cooperating to resolve disputes wherever those spheres overlap — breaks radically with the end-of-the-Cold-War paradigm. (...) One thing we can be reasonably sure of, however, regarding such a system is that smaller, weaker states, and minority peoples everywhere will be given even shorter shrift than at present when caught in any competitive jousting for influence among the three main competitors (and their proxies). This is the crucial lesson to be drawn from the grim fighting still ongoing in Syria and eastern Ukraine: you are only worth something as long as you do the bidding of your superpower patron."

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19.06.2018

"The UAE In Yemen: With A Lot Of Help From Its Mercs"

https://lobelog.com/the-uae-in-yemen-with-a-lot-of-help-from-its-mercs/

Die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate setzen im von Saudi-Arabien angeführten Krieg gegen die Huthi-Rebellen in Jemen auffällig viele Söldner ein, schreibt David Isenberg. "In 2011, the UAE hired Erik Prince to set up an operation to train foreign personnel, mainly from Latin America, ostensibly for internal defense purposes. But events have shown that the UAE’s dependence on foreign contractors, for military and intelligence purposes, is far greater than previously thought. (...) If the UAE had to depend solely on its own military forces it would not be fighting in Yemen. It is only fighting in Yemen because of the availability mercenaries and private military forces. Nor is Yemen the only country where the UAE is relying on contractors. The New York Times reported in 2012, that Yemen was bankrolling an effort to create a, highly trained fighting force that could defeat the pirates off the Somali coast."

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30.05.2018

"Tomorrow’s Terror Today"

https://lobelog.com/tomorrows-terror-today/

Nick Turse stellt die Resultate einer Kriegssimulation von Studenten amerikanischer Militärakademien aus dem Jahr 2016 vor, in der mögliche Szenarien für Terrorangriffe auf amerikanischem Boden durchgespielt worden sind. "An examination of the threats from international and domestic terror groups, as imagined in JLASS-SP, offers unique clues to the Pentagon’s fears for the future. 'Increasingly,' reads the war game’s summary, 'transnational organizations, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and violent extremist organizations challenge the traditional notions of boundaries and sovereignty.' (...) President Trump declared that we’re living in the 'age of terrorism.' His solution: wielding 'unmatched power,' loosening the rules of engagement, and establishing an unfettered ability to detain, question, and 'annihilate' terrorists. All of these tactics have, however, been part of the Pentagon’s playbook since 2001 and, according to the military’s best guess at the future, will lead to an increase in terror groups and terror attacks while terror networks and terrorist ideologies will grow in strength, resilience, and appeal. Almost two decades in, it seems we’re still only in the opening days of the 'age of terrorism' and, if the Pentagon’s war-gamers are to be believed, far worse is yet to come."

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09.02.2018

"Another Unnecessary War"

http://lobelog.com/another-unnecessary-war/

Idan Landau, Sprachwissenschaftler an der Ben-Gurion University, hält eine israelische Militäroperation zur Zerstörung von Raketenanlagen der Hisbollah in Libanon angesichts der Rhetorik einiger israelischer Politiker und Generäle in naher Zukunft für wahrscheinlich. Die vorgebrachten Gründe seien allerdings kaum überzeugend, es würde sich um einen "gewollten Krieg" handeln. "The following are the two scenarios that we face at the moment: 1. In the current scenario, Hezbollah already has around 130,000 missiles, of which only a few dozen are precision-guided. Israel’s relentless provocation (approximately 100 bombings over five years) has emboldened a bitter enemy across the border that is looking for an opportunity for revenge. When war breaks out, the IDF plans to launch a 'pre-emptive strike' on all known concentrations of missiles. Israel’s Air Force commander admits that 'it will not be over in three hours.' The defense minister mutters something about 'casualties.' Allow me to translate: for several hours, perhaps a few days, thousands of missiles will be launched into Israel. (...) 2. In the second scenario, which is completely imaginary, Israel comes down from its high horse and stops dictating which weapons its neighbors are and are not allowed to have — just as our neighbors do not stick their noses in Israel’s arsenals. As a result, every state and armed group in the region will know that as long as they refrain from violating the sovereignty of their neighbor, that neighbor will do the same. That is classical deterrence between rivals whose mutual destructive capacity is so hideous it does not even cross their minds to press the button."

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28.01.2018

"Europe, Don’t Go All wobbly on the JCPOA!"

http://lobelog.com/europe-dont-go-all-wobbly-on-the-jcpoa/

Der frühere britische Diplomat Peter Jenkins kritisiert den Versuch der EU, US-Präsident Trump im Streit um das internationale Atomabkommen mit dem Iran entgegenzukommen, als "Appeasement". "Hitler was susceptible to appeasement, albeit not for long. President Trump will be as dismissive of his allies’ efforts three months from now as he has been of their arguments for continued US participation in the JCPOA. He will say that they have failed to fix the 'flaws' or even to check Iran’s ballistic missile program. This is foreseeable because Iran has made clear that it will not offer further nuclear concessions, or negotiate restrictions to its sovereign right to develop and possess missiles for defensive purposes. All this is bad enough. Worse is the risk that European accommodation of President Trump will prompt Iran to pull out of the JCPOA in response to a US withdrawal. European solidarity with Iran, on the other hand, can convince Tehran to preserve the agreement."

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17.01.2018

"A Foreign Policy of Sticks and Stones"

http://lobelog.com/a-foreign-policy-of-sticks-and-stones/

In der amerikanischen Debatte über angeblich abfällige Bemerkungen des US-Präsidenten über andere Länder schreibt John Feffer, dass der eigentliche Skandal nicht in der Rhetorik, sondern in der jahrelangen Praxis der US-Außenpolitik gegenüber diesen Ländern liege. "Trump was only putting into words an underlying principle of U.S. foreign policy. For decades, the United States has treated countries like 'shitholes' even if policymakers haven’t called them such, at least not in public. (...) So, why is everyone more upset about Donald Trump’s frank utterances — saying what many of his equally racist Washington colleagues are thinking — than the far more brutal excesses of U.S. foreign policy? (...) the United States isn’t just in the business of identifying 'shitholes.' It’s also in the business of making them. After September 11, the United States adopted a more muscular foreign policy that produced one 'shithole' country after another."

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15.01.2018

"Counter-terrorism: Who will act on evidence in 2018?"

http://lobelog.com/counter-terrorism-who-will-act-on-evidence-in-2018/

Jordan Street und Murray Ackman hoffen, dass die international seit langem dominierende Strategie zur Bekämpfung von Terrorgruppen in diesem Jahr kritisch analysiert und als offensichtlich gescheitert erkannt werden wird. "The failure of current counter-terror strategies - in countries like Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria - is painfully obvious. Reducing the global threat of terrorism will not happen with a doubling down on past approaches, but instead requires a strategic focus on resolving conflict by addressing its causes. (...) Research shows that in almost every case, the prevalence of terror attacks is closely tied to an increase in political unrest and conflict, yet Western actors continue to embrace allies who are part of the problem. In 2016, the Global Terrorism Index shows that 99% of all deaths from violent attacks associated with terror and 96% of all attacks globally occurred in countries that were both involved in an armed conflict and had high levels of political terror. (...) If international leaders are genuinely interested in reducing the threat of terrorism around the world, their strategies should focus on resolving conflict by addressing its causes. Successful counter-terror strategies would focus on preventing abuses by security forces, challenging and improving weak or corrupt governance, supporting equitable access to services, protecting and empowering civil society, and investing in peace and reconstruction processes that accord conflict-affected people and societies the leading role. When counter-terrorism approaches are replaced by more comprehensive peace strategies, real results can be achieved."

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07.01.2018

"Taking Issues 'Off the Table' – First Jerusalem, Now Refugees"

http://lobelog.com/taking-issues-off-the-table-first-jerusalem-now-refugees/

Lara Friedman, Präsidentin der Foundation for Middle East Peace, ist davon überzeugt, dass der Angriff der US-Regierung auf die U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) nicht nur taktischer Natur ist. Präsident Trump wolle nach seiner Jerusalem-Entscheidung einen weiteren Pfeiler des Status-Quo im Nahostkonflikt gezielt unterminieren. "What it is really about is further shattering the terms of reference established by the Oslo Agreement and removing from the negotiating agenda another sensitive and explosive permanent status issue. In short, this attack is about taking Palestinian refugees, like Jerusalem, 'off the table' – consistent with the view articulated by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, writing in October 2016, when he referred to Palestinian 'so-called ‘refugees.'”

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01.01.2018

"Protests in Iran Are an Extension of the Islamic Republic’s Founding Ethos"

http://lobelog.com/protests-in-iran-are-an-extension-of-the-islamic-republics-founding-ethos/

Shervin Malekzadeh empfiehlt westlichen Beobachtern dagegen, die Bedeutung der aktuellen Proteste in Iran nicht wie so oft zuvor zu überschätzen. "As usual bad faith analysts and pop-up 'experts' are eager to explain why the Islamic Republic is once again on its last legs and how the demise of the ayatollahs is imminent, all based on the single assumption that the regime is bad and the good people of Iran, young and mad as hell, are not going to take it anymore. It’s for real this time, the pundits assure us, just like it was the last time around. (...) What we do know, however, is that, for the past forty years, Iran has shown itself to be resistant to prediction, as well as cause and effect explanations. Its capacity to surprise, and embarrass experts remains undiminished. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either selling you a bill of goods, or a pitch for her next book. (...) focusing solely on the pathologies of the system misunderstands the pragmatic relationship many Iranians have with their government, and how their daily interactions with the state, contentious or otherwise, shape the existing political framework. Iran at the end of 2017 should not be seen as a rejection of 1979, but as its latter-day expression, made from below, objectionable to the state precisely because it is so familiar."

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19.11.2017

"Killing More Innocents Than We Admit"

http://lobelog.com/killing-more-innocents-than-we-admit/

Eine aufwändig recherchierte Untersuchung der New York Times hat Paul R. Pillar zufolge die Annahme gestützt, dass die Zahl der Zivilopfer amerikanischer Luftschläge in Irak möglicherweise um ein Vielfaches höher sei als vom US-Militär offiziell bestätigt. "Civilian casualties, and the importance of having an accurate sense of the extent of casualties that U.S. forces cause, need to be part of any debate about those decisions. But probably the lessons of the anti-IS air war apply at least as much to other states and regions where the United States has assumed the role of aerial gendarme, using either manned or unmanned means, against groups such as IS or al-Qaeda. One thinks in particular of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but in the absence of any geographically defined congressional authorization for such use of force, there is no limit to where the United States will bombard from the sky and where, given the intrinsic difficulties in assembling accurate targeting information against such shadowy adversaries, more innocent civilians will die. This is one of the continuing dark sides of a 'war on terror' that has been militarized to the extent that ill-chosen metaphor implies."

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01.11.2017

"Washington Does Have a Clear Middle East Policy — It’s Just the Wrong One"

http://lobelog.com/washington-does-have-a-clear-middle-east-policy-its-just-the-wrong-one/

Graham E. Fuller erläutert die wichtigsten strategischen Positionen der amerikanischen Nahostpolitik, die sich jenseits rhetorischer Besonderheiten auch unter Präsident Trump nicht verändert hätten. "Far from a 'lack of Middle East policy,' all this sounds to me like a very clear set of US policy positions. Washington has consistently followed them for long decades. They largely represent a solid 'Washington consensus' that varies only slightly as the think-tankers of one party or the other revolve in and out of government. Donald Trump has typically upset the apple cart somewhat on all of this — mostly in matters of style in his spontaneous policy lurchings of the moment. But official Washington is pretty good in keeping the range of foreign policy choices fairly narrowly focused within these parameters. Indeed, some might say that this policy mix is just about right. Yet these US aspirations have fairly consistently failed. The most prominent US policy failures are familiar and proceed from the goals."

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18.10.2017

"The EU on the JCPOA: Neither 'Fix' nor Nix"

http://lobelog.com/the-eu-on-the-jcpoa-neither-fix-nor-nix/

Eldar Mamedov, ehemaliger Mitarbeiter des Außenministeriums in Lettland, erläutert die politischen Hintergründe der "schnellen und eindeutigen" Reaktion der EU-Regierungen auf die Dezertifizierung des Atomabkommens mit dem Iran durch US-Präsident Trump. Die EU habe bekräftigt, dass sie eine Neuverhandlung des Abkommens ablehnt. Sie habe damit einen "Fix" des multilateralen Deals praktisch ausgeschlossen. "Unlike the current US administration, the EU does not see Iran as the single source of all the problems in the region. It recognizes that containing Iran can only be realistically achieved in a broader regional context, which would also address the problematic policies of other players, such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Qatar, and Turkey. (...) The EU also has diverging views on regional crises. For example, although the US sees Hezbollah as Tehran´s terrorist proxy, for the EU it’s a key player in Lebanon, with which Brussels needs to keep open its channels of communication. (...) Rather than pushing back against Iran, the EU is more likely to use its soft power and engagement to convince the Iranians to refrain from some reckless or provocative steps, such as new missile tests or harassment of American vessels in the Persian Gulf. In any case, the EU made it clear that these concerns lie outside the scope of the JCPOA."

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09.10.2017

"Who Gets to Have a State?"

http://lobelog.com/who-gets-to-have-a-state/

Graham E. Fuller meint, dass die Beurteilung von Unabhängigkeitsbewegungen wie in Irak und Spanien aus historischer Perspektive keineswegs einfach sei. Er schlägt vor, die Unabhängigkeit ethnischer Minderheiten angesichts einer möglicherweise drohenden Gewalteskalation anzuerkennen und die Beziehungen zum Ursprungsstaat später auf Augenhöhe neu zu ordnen. "(...) these new relationships this time around might be more freely negotiated between parties, rather than established by force, historical diktat or accident. Sounds chaotic? Sure, but is not the present world with its constant wars and separatist movements already chaotic? At least such a laissez-faire approach might set out a procedural road map for how various peoples or regions might consider and negotiate their future relationships — far more sensible than simple acceptance of historical domination by force. In the end there will be no other way to block such aspirations except through better policies."

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03.10.2017

"Mattis: JCPOA Is in U.S. National Security Interest"

http://lobelog.com/mattis-iran-deal-jcpoa-is-in-u-s-national-security-interest/

US-Verteidigungsminister Mattis hat bei einer Anhörung vor dem US-Senat unmissverständlich klar gemacht, dass das von Präsident Trump immer wieder offen kritisierte Atomabkommen mit dem Iran seiner Ansicht nach dem nationalen Interesse der USA dient. "Mattis faced a direct question about the agreement during his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) asked Mattis, 'Do you believe it’s in our national security interest at the present time to remain in the JCPOA?' After a long pause, Mattis responded, 'Yes, Senator. I do.' That puts Mattis in direct conflict with the administration over its reasons for considering abandoning the deal."

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23.07.2017

"Trump Pulls the Plug in Syria"

http://lobelog.com/trump-pulls-the-plug-in-syria/

Graham E. Fuller hält die Einstellung des CIA-Hilfsprogramms für syrische Rebellen für eine der wenigen guten Entscheidungen von Präsident Trump. Die Annahme, dass moderate Rebellen die Assad-Regierung stürzen können, sei heute nicht mehr realistisch, so Fuller. Aus ethischer Sicht sei es deshalb falsch, einen Krieg "bis zum letzten Syrer" zu unterstützen. "More lives by far will be spared, and refugee flow diminished if Assad restores control and order over the country. For those who live in war zones almost any peace is better than almost any war. Yes, Russia will have a powerful voice in the future Syria. Guess what? They have had strong political influence and a naval base there going back to the late 1940s. (...) The US and Russia both want to see an end to ISIS and any jihadi allies that might emerge. Both the US and Russia want stability in the region. Continued chaos, war and anarchy are guaranteed recipes for more radicalism, more rage, more jihadism, more misery. Whatever we may think of them, Assad father and son have been confirmed secularists from day one and do not play the ethnic card."

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13.07.2017

"Fall of the Islamic State: A Landmark in Muslim History"

http://lobelog.com/fall-of-the-islamic-state-a-landmark-in-muslim-history/

Graham E. Fuller bezeichnet die Befreiung der irakischen Stadt Mossul als historischen Wendepunkt in der muslimischen Geschichte, da mit der absehbaren territorialen Zerschlagung des "Islamischen Staates" auch die Anziehungskraft der Idee eines muslimischen Kalifats schwer beschädigt werde. "Thus today, if some aspiring Muslim radical says 'I have a great historical vision, how about creating a Caliphate?' there will likely to be very few takers willing to resuscitate such conditions of violence. By now most Muslims have 'been there and done that.' The idea of a Caliphate as a shining new idea ready to attract angry, adventuristic, or idealistic youth has lost its gloss. (...) Parallels in the communist movement are instructive. The theoretical foundation of communism — a high degree of state socialism — will never die. But the experiment with communism in the Soviet Union created a fairly miserable society that even Russia’s admirers could no longer accept."

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