US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Independent


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"Mexico vigilantes 'El Machete' kidnap 21 and burn mountain town in Chiapas"

Die Selbstverteidigungsmiliz "El Machete" soll in der mexikanischen Region Chiapas eine Stadt überfallen haben, um nach Anhängerinnen und Anhängern der kriminellen Bande "Los Herreras" zu suchen, erläutert Justin Vallejo. "A couple of hundred armed men from 'El Machete', which was announced just days ago, abducted 21 people and burned down at least a dozen buildings, an anonymous official in the Chiapas state prosecutor's office told the Associated Press. (…) El Machete, an armed group of mostly indigenous Mexicans from Chiapas, announced its formation in July to defend against drug cartels and criminal groups like Los Herreras, according to Proseco."

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"UN says its food aid runs out this week in Ethiopia's Tigray"

Laut dem Leiter des Welternährungsprogramms der Vereinten Nationen reichten die Essensvorräte der Organisation in der äthiopischen Konfliktregion Tigray nur noch bis Freitag, meldet The Independent. "Some 170 trucks with food and other supplies are 'stuck' in the neighboring Afar region and 'must be allowed to move NOW,' David Beasley tweeted on Tuesday, noting that 100 such trucks are needed per day in Tigray. 'People are starving.' International pressure is again rising on Ethiopia's government to allow badly needed food and other supplies into Tigray, where aid hasn't reached some communities since the war started in November between Ethiopia's military and Tigray forces."

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"The dream that became a nightmare: How hopes for Egypt’s Arab Spring uprising were crushed"

Zehn Jahre nach Beginn des Arabischen Frühlings hat Bel Trew mit ägyptischen Aktivisten über Erinnerungen und enttäuschte Hoffnungen gesprochen. "For a brief moment it felt like a region of dominos and that a new youth-led order would take hold, challenging the world. (…) Ten years on, that spark of hope and change has been largely snuffed out. The revolutions in Syria, Yemen and Libya have crumbled into complex civil wars, while Egypt has witnessed some of the most intense levels of oppression in its history. The experiences of the activists, journalists and civil society leaders like Seif, Attalah and Bahgat at the heart of revolutions tell the difficult story of the so-called Arab Spring and the decade of shattered dreams that followed."

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"Israel is an apartheid regime, not a democracy, says prominent rights group"

Die israelische Menschenrechtsorganisation "B’Tselem" hat Israel vorgeworfen, die Palästinenser mit einem "Apartheid-Regime" zu unterdrücken. "In a new position paper B’Tselem concluded Israel was not a democracy and its actions met the bar of apartheid after considering 'the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to entrench its control over Palestinians'. However, Ohad Zemet, a spokesperson of the Israeli embassy in London, dismissed the paper as 'false claims' and 'nothing more than a propaganda tool'. B’Tselem is not the first Israeli rights group to conclude that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians amounts to apartheid and its Tuesday paper joins a growing chorus of groups and experts warning actions Israel is taking could amount to crimes against humanity."

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"US envoy warns new violence threatens Afghan peace process"

Der US-Sondergesandte in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, hat gewarnt, dass die neue Gewaltwelle im Land den Friedensprozess mit den Taliban gefährde. "The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan warned Monday that 'distressingly high' levels of violence threaten to derail ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Zalmay Khalilzad s comments come as renewed fighting for days has plagued Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, a longtime Taliban stronghold. The Taliban this Friday agreed to halt its attacks on condition of the U.S. stopping its airstrikes in the area."

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"Taliban expands influence in Afghanistan as US troops withdraw"

Die Taliban nutzen den Rückzug der US-Truppen aus Afghanistan für eine Ausweitung ihres Einflusses, berichten Susannah George und Aziz Tassal. "Months after the Americans withdrew from this province in southeast Afghanistan, what little they left behind still lies scattered across the small military base: rations packaging for chicken pesto pasta, rice krispies cereal boxes, instant chocolate milk packets. Inside trailers, the floors are littered with Christmas decorations and letters from schoolchildren addressed 'Dear soldier.' (…) But outside the base, Afghan officials say, the US withdrawal has had an outsized impact. Targeted killings are on the rise, school attendance is down, and Taliban fighters are expanding their areas of influence, according to residents and officials. What has happened in Paktia province, just a few hours' drive from Kabul, in the months since the departure of US forces in March provides a glimpse into what might await other parts of the country as the Trump administration looks to pull out thousands more troops in the coming weeks - and possibly to withdraw completely by Christmas."

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"The next Gaza Strip? Daily battle of survival for those left in Idlib"

Patrick Cockburn berichtet über den "täglichen Überlebenskampf" der verbleibenden Bewohner der Idlib-Provinz, der von Islamisten beherrschten letzten Rebellenhochburg in Syrien. "The breaking point for the 2.6 million Syrians hostile to the president, Bashar al-Assad, who had taken refuge in Idlib, came this summer. The US introduced devastating economic sanctions on Syria which combined with the onset of the coronavirus epidemic to turn a crisis into a calamity. Together, the sanctions and the disease hit a population already short of food, shelter and medical care. All Syria is suffering badly, but Huda says that 'Idlib is the most miserable part of the country' and is suffering the worst. (…) The Syrian government wants to keep up the bombing to make sure that the cities and towns of Idlib remain largely uninhabited and do not become a viable opposition hub. Its offensives since 2017 have reduced the pocket to a third of its original size or 3,000 square kilometres. Yet even this small area is unevenly inhabited with 2 million in the camp strung along the Syrian side of the Turkish border which is outside artillery range and is little bombed."

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"The Assange extradition case is an unprecedented attack on press freedom – so why’s the media largely ignoring it?"

Patrick Cockburn fragt, warum westliche Medien das laufende Auslieferungsverfahren gegen den WikiLeaks-Gründer Julian Assange weitgehend ignorieren. "The outcome of the Assange extradition hearing is a crucial tipping point which will tell if Britain and the US go further down the same path towards 'illiberal democracy' as Turkey, Hungary, Brazil, India and the Philippines. What Assange and WikiLeaks did – obtaining important information about the deeds and misdeeds of the US government and giving that information to the public – is exactly what all journalists ought to do. (…) Astonishingly, British and American commentators are in a state of denial when it comes to seeing that what happens to Assange could happen to them. They argue bizarrely that he is not a journalist, though the Trump administration implicitly accepts that he is one, since it is pursuing him for journalistic activities."

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"UK makes first move in sanctions against Belarus"

Großbritannien will die Pattsituation in der EU umgehen und als erstes europäisches Land Sanktionen gegen Weißrussland verhängen. "The United Kingdom has announced it will move alone in imposing sanctions against Belarusian officials — thus bypassing an EU deadlock caused by Cyprus’s refusal to sign off on new restrictions. In a parliamentary statement on Thursday, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said he would now work with Canada and the United States to 'urgently' prepare a sanctions regime against the country’s unrecognised ruler Alexander Lukashenko and his enablers."

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"The making of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Belarus’s leader in waiting"

Oliver Carroll hat mit Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gesprochen, die sich in den letzten Wochen in einer "dramatischen Transformation" von einem "Protest-Symbol" zu einer harten Politikerin und Herausforderin des weißrussischen Präsidenten Lukaschenko gewandelt habe. "The now battle-weary opposition leader suggests the time for gentle diplomacy is ending. Circumstances have forced her to straighten her own spine, she says. The title of her new Instagram channel that premiered this week – prezident.sveta – demonstrates that resolve. 'I was always a soft person, but the situation could not fail to have an impact on me,' she says. She has become 'harder, more self-aware, and more confident.' 'Yes, my confidence is growing – and it’s growing entirely in sync with my rage about what is happening in Belarus.'"

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"What does each side hope to gain from Israel’s ‘peace deals' with UAE and Bahrain?"

Die neuen Friedensabkommen Israels mit den VAE und Bahrain werden es den Vertragspartnern ermöglichen, eine koordinierte Front gegenüber Iran zu eröffnen, schreibt Bel Trew. "It is no secret that both the UAE and Bahrain have been creeping towards normalisation with Israel over the last few years, as the axis of power and influence in the region has shifted. Rather than the 70-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the main concern for many Gulf nations centres on the regional role played by Iran, which is also Israel’s number one enemy. For the UAE, still embroiled in a ruinous five-year war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, intelligence sharing and military cooperation with Israel would be strategic. Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have long accused its Shia majority population engaged in years of anti-government protests as being stirred up and even led by Iran. Another long-term foe of Israel is the Hamas militant group that runs Gaza, and is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the main enemies of the UAE."

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"West weighs action on Russia as tests show novichok was used to poison Alexei Navalny"

Die Bundesregierung hält es für "zweifelsfrei" erwiesen, dass der russische Oppositionelle Alexei Navalny mit dem chemischen Nervenkampfstoff "Nowitschok" vergiftet worden ist. Kim Sengupta berichtet, dass es nun zu gemeinsamen westlichen Strafmaßnahmen gegen Russland kommen könnte. "Western diplomats say there is a strong argument for punitive measures, and the need for a re-evaluation of relations with Moscow, after toxicology results from a military laboratory gave 'unequivocal proof' that the Russian leader was targeted with a nerve agent. (…) Mr Navalny is a Russian citizen and his alleged poisoning took place in Siberia. The Russian government, western officials acknowledge, cannot be forced to carry out an investigation into what happened to him. One route under consideration is referring the matter to the inter-governmental Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). However, it is far from clear whether the OPCW is in a position to carry out such an investigation."

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"There is a historic change taking place in the Middle East – the decline in power of the oil states"

Nach Ansicht des Nahost-Korrespondenten des britischen Independent, Patrick Cockburn, findet im Nahen Osten derzeit ein "historischer Wandel" statt. Die Bedeutung des Friedensvertrags zwischen Israel und den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten (VAE) werde in diesem Kontext überbewertet, viel wichtiger sei der Machtverlust der ölproduzierenden Staaten in der Region. "Saudi Arabia and UAE still have big financial reserves, though these are not inexhaustible. Elsewhere the money is running out. The determining factor is that between 2012 and 2020 the oil revenues of the Arab producers fell from $1 trillion to $300bn, down by over two-thirds. (…) It is this fifty-year-old system that is now faltering. As populations rise and young people flood into the labour market, more and more money is required to keep society running as before, but such resources are no longer there. This change has revolutionary implications as the unspoken social contract between rulers and ruled breaks down. Nothing much can be done to preserve it because the oil industry blights all other forms of economic activity. Little is produced locally and then only with massive state subsidies. (…) Beset by wars and dysfunctional social and economic systems, the Middle East is too fragile to cope with the coming earthquake."

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"Europe’s last dictator faces a fight for power like never before"

Alexander Lukashenko, der "letzte Diktator Europas", stehe bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen in einer Woche in Weißrussland vor der größten Herausforderung seiner 26-jährigen Amtszeit, schreibt Oliver Carroll. "On Thursday, the capital Minsk witnessed the largest opposition protest since the fall of the Soviet Union. Perhaps 70,000 people turned out against their authoritarian leader to offer support for unity opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a stay-at-home mother who only emerged a few weeks ago after the arrest of key candidates including her husband. (…) Tikhanovskaya’s unexpectedly strong challenge has brought forward a fundamental conflict at the heart of Belarus: between the Soviet generation that Lukashenko represents and a more outward-looking, globalised younger population. In entirely fair circumstances, it would be a fascinating fight, with the latter likely having every chance of winning. But this is Belarus, and despite the energy of the opposition campaign, no one has cancelled the security state. When overwhelming victory is declared on 9 August, as it no doubt will be, it seems likely equally energetic protests will likely follow. It is hard to see them ending well."

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"Huawei’s removal from Britain’s 5G network was all but inevitable"

Die britische Regierung hat dem monatelangen Druck der US-Regierung nachgegeben und das chinesische IT-Unternehmen Huawei aus offiziell angeführten Sicherheitsgründen nun doch vom Ausbau der britischen 5G-Netze ausgeschlossen. Kim Sengupta halt die Entscheidung angesichts der US-Sanktionen für unausweichlich. "Boris Johnson’s government had little choice but to end Huawei’s involvement after sustained opposition from allies, in particular the US, an international geopolitical reset over China following the coronavirus pandemic and a growing rebellion among Tory MPs. But was this yet another volte-face that Boris Johnson’s government has become known for, using the sanctions report as an excuse? Or have the American measures made the presence of Huawei so risky that it simply had to go? And if there is now so much concern over national security, why is the company staying in the 5G network for another seven years and in the 3G and 4G ones even after that?"

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"Inside the murky world of Libya’s mercenaries"

Bel Trew und Rajaai Bourhan haben für ihre wochenlang recherchierte Reportage die Rolle internationaler Söldner im "Stellvertreterkrieg" in Libyen untersucht. "As one senior diplomat, involved in trying to enforce the UN’s arms embargo, put it: 'Libya is the new Syria' – but this time on Europe’s doorstep. A month-long investigation by The Independent into this murky mercenary underworld shows a labyrinth of recruitment stretching from Moscow to Damascus from Idlib to Istanbul. Interviews with western diplomats briefed on an ongoing UN probe into arms embargo violations, US military officials, Syrian and Libyan combatants, as well as over a dozen interviews with people across both countries, show the utilisation of the poorest Syrians at the heart of it. Hired to fight on both sides in Libya, Syrians are once again battling each other – but this time over someone else’s war-wrecked capital thousands of kilometres from home."

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"Coronavirus contact-tracing apps could pose major privacy risk, Amnesty warns"

Amnesty International hat sich die Corona-Apps verschiedener Länder näher angesehen und warnt, dass die Programme in einigen Fällen Bürgerrechte verletzen könnten. "Amnesty International reviewed software from 11 countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain’s 'BeAware Bahrain' and Kuwait’s 'Shlonik' included the most invasive features, with both apps collecting live or 'near-live' tracking data. (…) Other applications, such as those in Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland, use a decentralised model of Bluetooth contact tracing. Privacy advocates have contended that this is a better solution, as information is stored locally on the device, rather than sent to a separate database."

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"'It was easy to get swept up in it all': Two years after Singapore, how hopes faded for Trump’s approach to North Korea"

Zwei Jahre nach dem Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Kim Jong Un in Singapur sei die Hoffnung auf ein neues Kapitel in den Beziehungen der USA zu Nordkorea weitgehend verschwunden, stellt Adam Withnall fest. Für viele Experten bestätige sich damit, dass der Ansatz einer von Staatschefs angeführten Diplomatie gescheitert sei. "'Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns,' announced foreign minister Ri Son Gwon. He added that the hopes of 2018 had 'faded away into a dark nightmare'. It is a seemingly conclusive statement, one which caps a period where, even as the talks between their two countries have deteriorated, the two leaders have at least exchanged letters and phone calls on a semi-regular basis. Given Ri’s comments today, it now seems impossible for that to continue. (…) Most analysts agree that the biggest flaw in the Singapore talks was the lack of specific commitments by both sides. North Korea gave a 'firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula' – but over the months to come it became increasingly clear that the two sides differed drastically in their view of what this meant, and how it could be achieved. (…) Two years on from Singapore, North Korea is still 'nowhere near a strategic decision to denuclearise', says Easley, and the intervening period has served to show that 'leader-led diplomacy is woefully insufficient'."

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"Boko Haram kills 69 and razes village in northern Nigeria"

Die radikalislamische Terrorgruppe Boko Haram hat im Norden Nigerias Reuters-Informationen zufolge erneut ein Dorf zerstört und mindestens 69 Menschen getötet. "Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 69 people and razed a village to the ground in northern Nigeria's Borno state on Tuesday afternoon, three sources told Reuters. The men attacked the village of Faduma Koloram, in Gubio local government area of Borno state, starting about noon. They arrived in vehicles and on motorcycles, shooting with AK-47s, razing the village and stealing 1,200 cattle and camels. A resident, a Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) member and a soldier each confirmed the same account. They said the men attacked because they suspected residents of sharing information on Boko Haram's movements with security authorities."

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"Iraq will be hit harder by the oil price drop than by coronavirus or Isis"

Für den Irak stellen nicht die Coronakrise oder der "Islamische Staat", sondern die ins Bodenlose gefallenen Ölpreise die größte Bedrohung dar, schreibt Patrick Cockburn. "The problem for Iraq is simple but insoluble: it is running out of money as its oil revenues fall off a cliff, following the collapse in the oil price brought about by the cataclysmic economic impact of coronavirus. It derives 90 per cent of government revenues from the export of crude oil, but in April it earnt just $1.4bn when it needed $5bn to cover salaries, pensions and other state expenditure. It cannot pay the 4.5 million people on the government payroll and another four million receiving a pension. This may not seem like exciting news compared to an uptick in Isis killings or the potential ravages of Covid-19, but it may prove more profoundly destabilising than either."

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"Coronavirus: Live animal markets and wildlife trade continue in Asia amid growing calls for crackdown"

Trotz zahlreicher Warnungen sind in Asien viele Wildtiermärkte, die von Experten als Brennpunkte gefährlicher Virenübertragungen ausgemacht worden sind, wieder geöffnet worden. "In parts of China and regions of Southeast Asia, live animal markets and the wildlife trade continues despite growing international calls for tighter restrictions on 'wet' markets and the use of wildlife in traditional medicine. The novel coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China and spread to humans due to their close proximity with wild animals. (…) While meat markets in Beijing and financial hub Shanghai appear clean and orderly, 'wet markets' in outlying cities in the south and west of China more than 1,000 miles from the capital show little sign of having heeded the warning from epidemiologists about the dangers of disease transfer from animals. (…) 'They [China] stopped the wild animal trade in markets after Sars but it came back,' said [British epidemiologist Professor Ben Cowling, who works at the University of Hong Kong]. 'They’ve once again banned the sale of wild animals but there are so many vested interests and so much money involved that there are worries it could be difficult to keep it banned.' Astonishingly, a list of recommended treatments for Covid-19 issued by China’s National Health Commission included injections of a traditional medicine treatment which contains bear bile."

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"NSA's controversial $100 million phone surveillance programme led to zero arrests"

Eine Auswertung der zwischen 2015 und 2019 betriebenen NSA-Massenüberwachung von Telefongesprächen und Textnachrichten in den USA hat ergeben, dass das Programm hundert Millionen US-Dollar gekostet und zu keiner einzigen Verhaftung geführt habe. "In that same period it also only twice produced new information that the FBI did not already know, and 13 leads they already had, according to a new study by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), which briefed Congress this week. The low success rate and high cost support the NSA’s decision to shut off the programme in 2019. Politicians must now decide whether to allow the expiration of the legislation that makes the programme possible. The USA Freedom Act of 2015 expires on March 15. The Trump administration would like lawmakers to extend the life of the legislation, giving the NSA the option to turn the system back on again in the future."

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"Isis and al-Qaeda join forces in West Africa"

In Westafrika haben sich Berichten zufolge extremistische Gruppen, die der Al-Qaida bzw. dem Islamischen Staat nahestehen, zusammengeschlossen, um die Kontrolle über weite Teile der Region zu übernehmen. "Fighters appear to be coordinating attacks and carving out mutually agreed-upon areas of influence in the Sahel, a strip of land south of the Sahara desert. The rural territory at risk is so large it could 'fit multiple Afghanistans and Iraqs,' said brigade general Dagvin Anderson, head of the US military’s Special Operations arm in Africa. 'What we’ve seen is not just random acts of violence under a terrorist banner but a deliberate campaign that is trying to bring these various groups under a common cause,' he said. 'That larger effort then poses a threat to the United States.' (…) The groups are not declaring 'caliphates,' so as to avoid scrutiny from the West, officials said, buying time to train, gather force and plot attacks that could ultimately reach major international targets. (…) While al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are enemies in Syria and Yemen, allegiances in West Africa tend to be more fluid, bolstered by tribal ties and practical concerns rather than ideology. The affiliates have common foes – the West and local governments from which they’re trying to wrest control, the military leaders said."

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"With WikiLeaks, Julian Assange did what all journalists should aspire to do"

Anlässlich der Eröffnung des Auslieferungsverfahrens gegen Julian Assange erklärt der Independent-Korrespondent Patrick Cockburn, warum die zwischen 2010 und 2016 veröffentlichten WikiLeaks-Berichte zu den größten journalistischen Enthüllungen der Geschichte gehören. "The WikiLeaks revelations in 2010 and in 2016 are the present-day equivalent of the release by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers, unmasking the true history of the US engagement in the Vietnam War. They are, in fact, of even greater significance because they are more wide-ranging and provide an entry point into the world as the US government really sees it. (…) Daniel Ellsberg is rightly treated as a hero who revealed the truth about Vietnam, but Assange, whose actions were very similar to Ellsberg’s, is held in Belmarsh high-security prison. He faces a hearing in London this week to decide whether he will be extradited from the UK to the US on spying charges. If extradited, he stands a good chance of being sentenced to 175 years in the US prison system under the Espionage Act of 1917. Ever since Assange orchestrated the release of documents through WikiLeaks, he has been the target of repeated official attempts to discredit him or, at the very least, to muddy the waters in a case that should be all about freedom of speech."

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"Secrets, lies and cyber warfare: What Jeff Bezos’ phone hack could tell us about Saudi attacks abroad"

Saudi-Arabien hat den Vorwurf, das Smartphone von Jeff Bezos gehackt zu haben, als "absurd" zurückgewiesen. Kim Sengupta erinnert allerdings daran, dass der Mord am regierungskritischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi zunächst ebenso vehement geleugnet worden sei. Die Saudis seien zudem keine Neulinge in der Cyberkriegsführung. "The Saudi government, like many others in the region and beyond, have extensive dealings with private security contractors from a variety of countries including the US, UK and Israel. Opponents of the Saudi government had complained about being subjected to regular cyber-attacks. (…) Saudi interaction with security companies is not restricted to cyber. Two-and-a-half years ago claims began to surface in the security world that highly placed Saudi officials, close to the royal family, were trying to take out contracts to assassinate enemies of the kingdom – with major general Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. (…) The hacking story is not going to go away. An investigation into whether the Saudi crown prince played a part in compromising the phone of Amazon’s CEO may find that the allegation was indeed 'absurd'. But it also may yield more extraordinary information from the dark world of secrets, lies and cyber warfare."

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"Why the resignation of Iraq's prime minister will not automatically stop the mass uprising on the horizon"

Patrick Cockburn bezweifelt, dass der angekündigte Rücktritt von Premierminister Adel Abdul-Mahdi die Protestbewegung im Irak zum Erliegen bringen wird. Zu viele Menschen seien durch Sicherheitskräfte getötet worden, wofür nicht zuletzt der Iran verantwortlich sei. Dies könnte nicht nur einen schiitischen Massenaufstand auslösen, sondern auch weitreichende regionale Folgen haben, so Cockburn. "The violence is seen as only affecting Iraqis, but it has the potential to reshape the politics of the Middle East. Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, one of the most powerful political and military forces in the region has been the increasing strength of Shia communities under Iranian leadership. Over the last 40 years, this coalition has outfought and outmanoeuvred enemies such as the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and, above all, in Iraq. (…) The outcome of the counterproductive and futile attempts by pro-Iranian forces in Iraq to crush the protests may be the beginnings of a sea change in the politics of the Middle East. The previously triumphant alliance of the Iranian and Iraqi Shia – a coalition that had seen off the US and its allies – may be irretrievably broken."

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"Julian Assange 'could die in prison without urgent medical care', doctors warn"

60 Ärzte haben in einem Offenen Brief davor gewarnt, dass der Wikileaks-Gründer Julian Assange ohne angemessene Behandlung in britischer Haft sterben könnte. "The doctors are calling for Assange to be transferred to a university teaching hospital, where he can be assessed and treated by an expert medical team. (…) The letter, which has also been copied to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, says: 'From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr Assange's fitness to stand trial in February 2020.' 'Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health.'"

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"Why a minor troop pullback in eastern Ukraine marks the end of President Zelensky’s honeymoon"

Der Streit um den Abzug ukrainischer und prorussischer Truppen aus der Stadt Solote wird von Oliver Carroll als erster echter politischer Test des ukrainischen Präsidenten Selenskyj charakterisiert. Kritiker wie Amtsvorgänger Poroschenko hätten die von der OSZE überwachte "Entflechtung" im Krisengebiet als "Kapitulation" angegriffen, Paramilitärs des rechtsextremen Asow-Bataillons hätten versucht, die Durchführung vor Ort zu verhindern. "On Friday, Mr Zelensky felt compelled to travel to Zolote to confront the soldiers in person. Few pleasantries were exchanged. In one dramatic dialogue, recorded by local TV networks, the president said the soldiers were taking him for a fool. 'You can’t issue me ultimatums,' he said. 'I’m the president of this country. I am 42 years old. I’m no sucker. I came here to tell you to move your weapons away from the front line.' By Monday, it was reported that units of Ukraine’s national army had disarmed the Azov soldiers involved – a breakthrough that apparently opened the door to the start of the coordinated pullback. But Denis Yantar, the Azov soldier who was on the receiving end of Mr Zelensky’s angry words at the weekend, predicted the protest would go on."

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“Emerging from Isis genocide, Yazidis in Armenia open religion’s biggest ever temple”

Die Jesiden, die während der Herrschaft des "Islamischen Staates" in Irak Opfer eines Völkermords wurden, haben in Armenien ihren bisher größten Tempel eröffnet. Lemma Shehadi berichtet in ihrer Reportage über die von vielen erhoffte "Wiedergeburt" der Religionsgemeinschaft im Ausland. "Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking religious minority, whose main population is concentrated in northern Iraq. In 2014, Isis militants killed, kidnapped and displaced thousands from their community. Today, this ancient minority is extremely fragile and scattered across the globe. (…) 'This is an important and historic day for the Yazidi people,' says Barfa Tamoyan, an Armenian-born Yazidi now living in France. Despite the heat of the opening day, she wears a voluminous black ball gown and velvet heels to mark the special occasion. 'We have built a temple in a country that is not our homeland. I hope we’ll have temples in Europe in the future.'"

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"Return of Assad’s forces to Kurdish areas brings relief for now, but fear for future"

Die Kurden im Norden Syriens haben die Ankunft syrischer Regierungstruppen mit einer Mischung aus Erleichterung und Sorge aufgenommen, berichtet Richard Hall. "In the towns and villages that stand in the path of the planned Turkish operation, there is now a sense of relief that the Syrian government may be able to halt Turkey’s advance, but also fear that the last seven years of improving freedoms may disappear. 'It’s very concerning,' says Kawa, a resident of the city of Qamishli. 'A lot of humanitarian aid workers will be questioned. Young boys who are eligible for military service will be questioned. Many politicians who are opposed to the government too.' 'It will not be an easy situation. But at least children, the elderly and women will be safe.' (...) Since it was announced late on Sunday, SDF officials have insisted that the agreement is only a military deal, and that negotiations would continue over a political settlement. But some analysts see the deal as the first step in an eventual dismantling of the SDF’s autonomous project."

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