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"How China brought the world to a standstill"

Nach Ansicht von Gordon Watts kann kaum ein Zweifel daran bestehen, dass China für die schnelle globale Ausbreitung von Covid-19 mitverantwortlich ist. Nun wolle Peking die Gelegenheit nutzen, die durch die Pandemie entstanden sei. "'Beijing’s late, inadequate and skewed information disclosures accelerated the virus’ global spread. China’s manipulation of information continues to hamper response efforts. Now, as the world wrestles with the pandemic, and its human, economic and social costs, Beijing is maneuvering to 'seize the opportunity' that the crisis presents,' a report by Horizon Advisory, a consultancy in Washington and New York which tracks Chinese government and economic activity, revealed. ''At present, the Covid-19 situation has been contained in China; most regions have resumed work and production … It is possible to turn the crisis into an opportunity – to increase the trust and the dependence of all countries around the world of [the] 'Made in China' [concept],'' Han Jian, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, wrote earlier this month, according to the Horizon study, compiled by co-founders Emily de La Bruyere and Nate Picarsic."

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"Turkey used buses, beatings to push migrant wave"

Die türkische Regierung steuere den Zustrom von Flüchtlingen und Migranten an die Grenze zu Griechenland, um die EU je nach Verhandlungslage gezielt unter Druck zu setzen, schreibt Ahmad Zaza. "Turkey’s refugee population, namely Syrians welcomed at the height of its support for the rebellion next door, are now seen as both a burden and a tool to be used in negotiations. For the past two weeks, Ankara has encouraged or coerced its migrant population to seek entry to Europe’s eastern flank, Greece. (…) Erdogan’s administration, which accuses Brussels of not holding up its end of the bargain, is looking to negotiate a better deal in the wake of renewed violence in Idlib. Turkey’s tactics of the past two weeks offer a window into what it could be willing to do to achieve that."

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"Putin may be compelled to hand Idlib to the Turks"

Anlässlich des Moskau-Besuchs von Präsident Erdogan hält Stephen Bryen es für möglich, dass es zu einem russisch-türkischen Deal kommen könnte, der Ankara faktisch die Kontrolle über die syrische Idlib-Provinz überträgt. Für die Assad-Regierung wäre dies "verhängnisvoll". "If the Russians let the fight continue there is little doubt that the Syrian army will be defeated in Idlib, a major blow to the Assad regime. It will also be a clear setback to the Iranians and Hezbollah, whose fighters are also under Turkish attack and have suffered an unknown number of casualties. But Russia has little choice. (…) Turkey has already shown its willingness to pour front line troops into the Idlib conflict. Therefore, it is not exactly a cease fire that is on the table in Moscow. Rather, what is on the table is a major concession giving control of Idlib to Turkey. No matter how the deal is packaged, if that is the outcome it could be fatal for Assad’s government. If Assad is incapable of defending his territory and has lost the practical support of Russia in defending his borders, his government could collapse as Assad’s supporters will start running for cover or deposing him to cut a deal with the opposition forces in the country."

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"How the coronavirus crisis destroyed the Xi 'myth'"

Die Coronavirus-Epidemie habe den sorgfältig aufgebauten "Mythos" um den chinesischen Präsidenten Xi Jinping wahrscheinlich nachhaltig zerstört, schreibt Gordon Watts. Die chinesischen Behörden gingen derzeit hart gegen Kritiker der Staatsführung vor und die Medienmaschine setze alles daran, Xi und den inneren Kreis der Kommunistischen Partei zu schützen. Der angerichtete Image-Schaden sei trotzdem unübersehbar. "A climate of 'fear' now exists as China’s central government closes down chatrooms of dissent. Moreover, every aspect of the coronavirus coverage on state-run media has Xi at the center of the message. Even so, that has failed to hide the damage which has been inflicted on the country’s political elite, especially after the death of 'People’s Martyr' and Wuhan whistleblower Li Wenliang. (…) academic Yuen Yuen Ang, of the University of Michigan, has peered into her crystal ball and concluded that 'Chinese politics and governance will not be the same' after the epidemic has finally been eradicated. 'Xi cannot avoid blame for the backlash against his restrictive domestic policies and assertive actions abroad, which had already begun to undercut support for him even before the epidemic. With the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor who was rebuked by state authorities for warning others about the virus, the failings of Xi’s top-down approach have been laid bare,' she said in a commentary for Project Syndicate. 'The myth that Xi and his supporters have sustained about the virtues of centralized control has been demolished.'"

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"Coronavirus solidifies US-China decoupling"

Der Ausbruch des Coronavirus habe das Tempo der geopolitischen "Entkopplung" zwischen West und dem Ost beschleunigt, schreibt Christina Lin. "In November 2019, Henry Kissinger was in Beijing for the Bloomberg Next Economy Forum, warning that the US and China are in the 'foothills of a Cold War', saying that conflict could be worse than World War I if left to run unconstrained. These comments came in the context of escalating tensions in recent years over trade, increasing rhetoric of military conflict over Taiwan and the South China, Sea, accusations of espionage and influence campaigns, and an all-out competition to define the norms and values underpinning the international order. One month later in December, there was an outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, which resulted in worldwide panic and the de facto quarantine of the Chinese economy via city lockdowns, business shutdowns, and travel bans from the international community. (…) In recent years, China watchers have been growing alarmed at the rapid deterioration of US-China relations. Nowadays, it is common to hear arguments warning of a split of the global economy into mutually exclusive American and Chinese spheres of influence. The former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has warned that if indeed we arrive at a fully ‘decoupled world’, it would herald the return of an 'iron curtain' between the East and the West, and 'the beginning of a new conventional and nuclear arms race with all its attendant strategic instability and risk.'"

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"Virus threatens to wipe out millions of businesses"

In China könnte der Ausbruch des Coronavirus Gordon Watts zufolge schwerwiegende wirtschaftliche Folgen haben. "Millions of small businesses in China could be destroyed by the coronavirus outbreak, which has swept across the country, threatening 'social stability.' Painting a picture of industrial chaos, Huang Qifan, the vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, warned that the impact of the newly-named Covid-19 disease was 'scarier than the epidemic itself.' (…) Beijing has already started to roll out a substantial stimulus package. But this will only kick-in once the country gets back to work, which is the elusive one-trillion-dollar question."

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"On Trump’s demand that Japan pay more for security"

Nicht nur Südkorea, auch Japan soll nach dem Willen des US-Präsidenten künftig sehr viel mehr für die Stationierung von US-Truppen auf eigenem Territorium bezahlen. Scott Foster betrachtet die Forderung vor dem Hintergrund der Bemühungen der japanischen Regierung, die eigenen Militärausgaben deutlich zu erhöhen. Er warnt davor, das Bündnis leichtfertig aufs Spiel zu setzen. "Would we really want Japan to go it alone, perhaps fueled by resentment at being abandoned by the country it has relied upon and looked up to since 1945, considering that Japan’s trade with China is greater than its trade with the US, that Japan and Russia are a natural economic fit and have a shared interest in offsetting China and that Japan has no interest in America’s fight with Iran? Would America be happy to retreat to Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast, abandoning an alliance with the world’s third largest and second most sophisticated economy? How would China, Southeast Asia and Australia react to this? Japan is America’s front line in the Western Pacific, America has Japan’s back, and together they are far more powerful than China. How valuable is that?"

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"Timeline charts rising toll of coronavirus"

Die Asia Time verlinkt zu einer Karte des Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, auf der die weltweite Ausbreitung des Coronavirus und die Zahl registrierter Ansteckungen und Todesfälle live verfolgt werden können. "After the single-biggest daily increase in deaths – 57 – the 362 fatalities from the new coronavirus passes the 349 mainland deaths from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis in 2002-2003. But with 19,856 confirmed infections, the mortality rate for the new coronavirus is far lower at around 2.1%, compared with 9.6% for SARS."

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"Syrians enlist in Libya war day after Berlin talks"

Einen Tag nach der Berliner Libyen-Konferenz könne im Norden Syriens immer noch beobachtet werden, wie Rekruten sich registrieren lassen, um in Libyen für die Türkei und die Regierung in Tripolis zu kämpfen, berichtet Ahmad Zaza. "'The registration of fighters to go to Libya is continuing until this moment,' an Asia Times correspondent in Syria reported Monday afternoon, after visiting one of three recruitment centers in the Turkish-dominated northern countryside of Aleppo. Approximately 800 Syrian men are currently preparing to go to Libya, an official with Syria’s opposition Ministry of Defense told Asia Times on condition of anonymity. (…) 'Every man who wants to go fight in Libya gets a monthly salary of $2,000. His family will receive $50,000 if he is killed in battle there, and he will be awarded $35,000 in case of permanent injury,' the source said. At least 2,000 fighters are currently undergoing training in Turkey or have already been flown to Libya and deployed to frontline positions, according to a January 15 report in the UK newspaper The Guardian."

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"Beijing needs to listen to HK’s 'silent majority'"

Das Ergebnis der Kommunalwahlen in Hongkong hat gezeigt, dass sich die chinesische Regierung angesichts der andauernden Proteste keineswegs auf eine stille prochinesische Mehrheit stützen kann. Es sei völlig offen, wie Peking auf die unerwartete öffentliche Unterstützung der Protestbewegung reagieren wird, schreibt Stephen Vines. "It is clear that the so-called ‘silent majority’ has spoken not only securing 86% of the 452 seats up for election but also knocking out some of the biggest names in the pro-China camp. The tsunami of votes for the Democrats even dislodged incumbents in Hong Kong’s ‘red’ districts, supposedly unflinchingly loyal to Beijing. (…) The pro-China camp has been quick to moan about the unfairness of the election, saying that the atmosphere of violence put them at a disadvantage. But the facts of the matter are that a peaceful poll was carried out with the participation of almost 73% of the electorate. This is almost double the turnout figure for the last district elections four years ago. (…) The Chinese Communist Party has no history of backing down in the face of protests and has little experience of responding to independent elections. It is quite possible that it will instruct its ciphers in Hong Kong to simply ignore the result. However, even members of the pro-China camp are now urging their bosses to get rid of Lam and to think of ways to reduce tension by going some way to meet the protestor’s demands."

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"Vandalism is a necessary tactic, say HK vanguard"

Einige Aktivisten in Hongkong hätten Vandalismus als "notwendige Taktik" ihrer Proteste verteidigt, berichtet Jeff Pao. "Vandalizing shops and blocking roads may make life unpleasant for Hong Kong’s residents, but it is the only effective way to put pressure on the government, according to protesters interviewed by Asia Times in Central on Wednesday. Sam, a 25-year-old teacher, said he disapproved of violence but acknowledged that it was the only way protesters could advance their cause. (…) He said that through the disruption of Hong Kong business activities and property damage, the business sector may eventually feel compelled to help the protesters by pressuring the government to agree to a compromise. He said he would never assault people but added that it was acceptable to vandalize shops and banks as properties can be repaired."

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"5G policy 'biggest strategic disaster in US history'"

Ein Berater des US-Präsidenten hat David P. Goldman zufolge davor gewarnt, dass die USA bei der Weichenstellung für die kommenden 5G-Netzwerke vor dem "größten strategischen Desaster der US-Geschichte" stehen könnten. Der US-Regierung sei es nicht gelungen, China eine prominente Rolle beim globalen 5G-Ausbau zu verwehren. Hinzu kämen eigene Versäumnisse wie eine inkompetente Regulierung und Fehler von US-Unternehmen. "The adviser has urged President Trump to make a radical policy shift to ensure that the United States isn’t late to roll out 5G. The US president hasn’t yet made a decision, the adviser said. The US military controls most of the spectrum that civilian 5G broadband would use, and the major US telecom providers are holding back from a full commitment to 5G, the adviser added. (…) If President Trump backs away from the global campaign against Huawei championed by US intelligence agencies and focuses instead on accelerating America’s own 5G rollout, prospects for an early end to the US-China trade war will improve markedly. China doesn’t like American pressure to reduce the bilateral trade deficit but is willing to buy more US agricultural products and energy to placate a protectionist president. American attempts to stifle Huawei, though, are viewed by China as an existential issue: If the United States can’t accept the fact that China has taken leadership in an important field of technology, the Chinese believe, it means that America wants to stifle China’s development. In that case, China would hunker down for a long-term trade war."

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"Rebuilding Syria – without Syria’s oil"

Pepe Escobar betrachtet das erste Treffen des neuen Verfassungskomitees für Syrien in Genf als hoffnungsvolles Zeichen. Der Erfolg der Verhandlungen hänge allerdings auch von den Entwicklungen vor Ort ab. Aktuell sei dies z.B. ein türkischer Vorstoß gegen die Stadt Tal Tamr, die sich mit 50km Entfernung zur Grenze deutlich außerhalb der von Ankara beanspruchten Sicherheitszone befinde. "Then there’s the nagging issue that simply won’t go away: the American drive to 'secure the oil' (Trump) and 'protect' Syrian oilfields (the Pentagon), for all practical purposes from Syria. (…) All across the Global South, especially among countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, this is being interpreted, stripped to the bone, for what it is: the United States government illegally taking possession of natural resources of a third country via a military occupation. (…) Under international law, the whole 'securing the oil' scam is a euphemism for pillaging, pure and simple. Every single takfiri or jihadi outfit operating across the 'Greater Middle East' will converge, perversely, to the same conclusion: US 'efforts' across the lands of Islam are all about the oil. Now compare that with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution and normalization of Syria – not to mention, behind the scenes, China, which quietly donates rice and aims for widespread investment in a pacified Syria positioned as a key Eastern Mediterranean node of the New Silk Roads."

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"Vladimir Putin, Syria’s pacifier-in-chief"

Nach Ansicht von Pepe Escobar spielen die Pipeline-Pläne Irans, Iraks und Syriens im Hintergrund der aktuellen Ereignisse in Nordsyrien immer noch eine entscheidende Rolle. "As I have argued for years, Syria to a large extent has been a key 'Pipelineistan' war – not only in terms of pipelines inside Syria, and the US preventing Damascus from commercializing its own natural resources, but most of all around the fate of the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline which was agreed in a memorandum of understanding signed in 2012. This pipeline has, over the years, always been a red line, not only for Washington but also for Doha, Riyadh and Ankara. The situation should dramatically change when the $200 billion-worth of reconstruction in Syria finally takes off after a comprehensive peace deal is in place. It will be fascinating to watch the European Union – after NATO plotted for an 'Assad must go' regime change operation for years – wooing Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus with financial offers for their gas. NATO explicitly supported the Turkish offensive 'Operation Peace Spring.' And we haven’t even seen the ultimate geoeconomic irony yet: NATO member, Turkey, purged of its neo-Ottoman dreams, merrily embracing the Gazprom-supported Iran-Iraq-Syria 'Pipelineistan' road map."

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"Lebanese army prepares to step in as nation revolts"

Alison Tahmizian Meuse zufolge gibt es Anzeichen, die darauf hindeuten, dass die libanesische Armee eine gewaltsame Eskalation der Massenproteste gegen die Regierung verhindern möchte. "The leadership of the Lebanese armed forces was carefully gaging a nationwide protest movement on Tuesday — as ruling political factions scrambled to contain a massive eruption of discontent. A video showing Lebanese soldiers forcefully stopping dozens of motorcyclists – purported supporters of the Shiite party Hezbollah and its ally Amal – from attacking protesters in central Beirut late Monday night, went viral on social media, spreading from mobile phones to the airwaves. (...) The composition of, and support for the Lebanese army, cuts across sectarian lines, and it is seen as a clean institution in comparison to the corrupt political class. It also enjoys the backing of the United States. 'There is little doubt that the [army] may be called upon to act in favor of civil peace again, and decisively,' said Nerguizian. The army is already deeply involved in managing and monitoring the situation, with 'all operational units currently involved in internal stability operations.'"

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"US military pivoting from Mideast"

Christina Lin macht darauf aufmerksam, dass das US-Militär seine Truppenpräsenz zuletzt nicht nur in Syrien, sondern auch in Katar reduziert habe. Sie interpretiert dies als Ausdruck eines Strategiewechsels der USA im Nahen Osten und meint, dass die EU in einer Art Arbeitsteilung die Rolle als neue Ordnungsmacht in der Region übernehmen könnte. "Trans-Atlantic relations would likely evolve into a new division of labor, with the EU assuming more responsibility for its eastern and southern neighborhood, while the US focuses on the Asia-Pacific rim. This is due to increasing divergent interests and a threat-perception gap, which was recently punctuated at the United Nations, where the US and Russia blocked an EU-drafted resolution on NATO member Turkey’s invasion of Syria. (...) And as the US continues to pivot away from the Mideast, one ponders if the stage is set for the EU army, perhaps more so than Iran, Russia or others, to rise up as the new security guarantor for the Euro-Mediterranean region."

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"Hong Kong’s failing revolution"

Der in Peking lebende italienische China-Experte Francesco Sisci erinnert angesichts der revolutionären Forderungen der Protestierenden in Hongkong daran, dass die meisten Revolutionen in der Geschichte gescheitert seien. Der chinesischen Regierung empfiehlt er deshalb Geduld. "From what we can see, the best policy for Beijing is not a crackdown but to let the movement eat itself from within, and thus show to the domestic Chinese public and the world the results of unrestrained 'democratic' demands and wanton violence. We could call it an evolution of the 'Qiao Shi' method. In the face of this 'revolutionary chaos,' Beijing conversely will show restraint and benevolence in not deploying tanks for a bloody crackdown, and yet firmness in not giving in to extremists. (...) Eventually everything could peter out in months or years. In time, this could all play out in favor of the authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing. And perhaps it is right to be so. In a revolution, the government needs only to hold out and keep its nerve; it is the protesters who have to think of ways to score a victory."

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"Erdogan base rejects refugees, pressuring EU pact"

Einer neuen Umfrage zufolge haben mittlerweile 80% aller Türken eine negative Einstellung gegenüber Flüchtlingen aus Syrien. "Once-welcoming attitudes in Turkey toward victims of the eight-year Syrian conflict are worsening daily, creating both a liability and – in the view of some – an opportunity for President Recip Tayyip Erdogan. (...) In Turkey, some 97% of the refugees live within the host population, according to Unicef figures. 'The neighbors gave us spare furniture for the house and helped us get connected to utilities and many other things,' he recalls. Initially, with the Islamist AKP highly supportive of the Syrian opposition and the expectation that victory would be quick and the refugees would return, the government was also welcoming. Yet, as the conflict dragged on and the numbers grew, the refugees became increasingly seen as a burden. 'Ankara says it has spent more than 40 billion Turkish Liras so far on the Syrians,' Berkay Mandiraci, an Ankara-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, told Asia Times. 'Overstretch in terms of public services has contributed to negative public reactions.'"

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"Israeli Iron Dome system needed for Saudi defense"

Stephen Bryen kann sich vorstellen, dass Saudi-Arabien beim künftigen Schutz seiner Ölanlagen gegen Raketenangriffe aus dem Ausland auf das israelische Raketenabwehrsystem "Iron Dome" zurückgreifen könnte. "The Israeli Iron Dome system is the best system for protecting Saudi assets from a similar attack. The US Army bought two Iron Dome batteries from Israel with delivery expected in 2020. Whether Israel could quickly deliver a system to meet the current urgent need is unclear. Right now the US lacks ideal systems to counter cruise missiles and drones. Iron Dome was developed by Rafael in Israel and Raytheon in the United States to deal with the threat of short-range missiles, primarily those being fired by Hamas in the Gaza strip. The system has performed brilliantly against these threats."

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"Saudi oil facility attacks may have come from Iraq"

Stephen Bryen zufolge deutet einiges darauf hin, dass der Angriff auf die beiden saudi-arabischen Ölanlagen durch Iran-treue schiitische Milizen im Irak durchgeführt worden sei. "The leading Iraqi analyst based in the United States is Entifadh Qanbar, President and Founder of the Future Foundation. He previously served as Iraq’s deputy military attaché and as the spokesman and adviser for Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister. He closely follows developments in his home country and has many associates feeding him information that has more than once proved to be accurate. His information about the attack coming from Iraq is backed by prior history and by Pompeo’s clear declaration. As Qanbar knows, this attack would not be the first time Iran has used Iraq to hit Saudi oil facilities. At least one major previous attack was launched by Iraqi militias and the Iranians from Iraqi territory. Last June the Wall Street Journal carried an important report, based on conclusions reached by US officials, that a May 14 drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry originated in southern Iraq."

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"US military in Asia, destroyed in hours: study"

Eine neue Studie des United States Study Center der University of Sydney in Australien ist zu dem Ergebnis gekommen, dass die USA nicht länger die vorherrschende Militärmacht in Asien sei. Das US-Militär wäre demnach im Kriegsfall nicht in der Lage, die regionalen Verbündeten gegen China zu verteidigen. "The report highlights areas where China’s military is making huge strides in comparison to the US and its Asian allies and partners. Chief among those is in missiles. 'China has deployed a formidable array of precision missiles and other counter-intervention systems to undercut America’s military primacy,' the report states. Those missiles number in the thousands, the report said. Almost all US military installations in the Western Pacific, as well as those of its key partners and allies, 'could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict,' according to the report."

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"Turkey to annex northern Syria with US blessing"

Mit der Vereinbarung über die Einrichtung einer "Sicherheitszone" im Norden Syriens hätten die USA der Türkei einen "Sieg" verschafft, um die befürchtete türkische Invasion des Kurdengebiets aufzuhalten, schreibt Alison Tahmizian Meuse. Angesichts vieler ungeklärter Punkte in der Vereinbarung bleibe allerdings fraglich, wie lange ein offener Konflikt aufgehalten werden könne. "The fate of the towns to be included in the Turkish 'peace corridor' will likely mirror that of other regions annexed by Turkey and its allies in the northern countryside of Aleppo. Those areas included the Kurdish-majority town of Afrin and its surrounding villages, seized more than a year ago. The takeover carved out a safe haven for tens of thousands of defeated rebels and their families, while displacing half the local population. Afrin this season shipped its most famed product, olive oil, from its vast orchards to Turkey, whose authorities insist they must prevent the profits from falling into the hands of the ousted PKK. Schools now enforce gender segregation, Turkish flags fly over public buildings and portraits of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hang in shops, according to residents interviewed by Asia Times. The battle for Afrin was relatively quick, as it was isolated from other Kurdish-held areas. But the proposed 'peace corridor' includes hundreds of kilometers of contiguous YPG-held territory."

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"Iran runs rings around Royal Navy"

Die jüngsten Ereignisse im Golf haben nach Ansicht von Alison Tahmizian Meuse bestätigt, dass Großbritannien schon lange nicht mehr in der Lage sei, nach Belieben seine Interessen auf den Weltmeeren zu vertreten. "The raid itself – videotaped and published by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – shows Balaclava-wearing commandos descending on the British tanker by helicopter. The seizure appeared designed to replicate Britain’s impounding of an Iranian tanker earlier this month. Asked on Monday what the United States would do to help retrieve the vessel of its ally, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to wash his hands of the incident. 'The responsibility in the first instance falls to the United Kingdom to care of their ships,' he told Fox and Friends. The UK – in the midst of messy talks to leave the European Union – said on Monday it was looking to its European allies to help secure Persian Gulf shipping. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional arch-foe, appeared to quickly absorb the severity of the situation, releasing an Iranian oil tanker on Saturday which Tehran for weeks had accused Riyadh of illegally detaining."

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"Sultan shines in the court of the Dragon King"

Mit dem Kauf russischer S-400-Raketenabwehrsysteme und der diplomatischen Reaktion auf den chinesischen Umgang mit den muslimischen Uiguren hat der türkische Präsident Erdogan nach Ansicht von Pepe Escobar klar gemacht, dass er die geopolitische Zukunft der Türkei in enger Partnerschaft mit Russland und China sieht. "Erdogan seems to have finally realized that the New Silk Roads are the 2.0 digital version of the Ancient Silk Roads whose caravans linked the Middle Kingdom, via trade, to multiple lands of Islam – from Indonesia to Turkey and from Iran to Pakistan. (...) The Russia-China strategic partnership – directly involved in linking Belt and Road with the Eurasia Economic Union and also the International North-South Transportation Corridor – considers Turkey and Iran as absolutely indispensable key hubs for the ongoing, multi-layered Eurasia integration process. (...) In conjunction with his success at the court of the Dragon King, Erdogan now feels emboldened enough to offer his services as mediator between Tehran and the Trump administration – picking up on a suggestion he made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20. Erdogan would not have made that offer if it had not been discussed previously with Russia and China – which, crucially, are member signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA)."

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"US-China tech war and the US intelligence community"

Die US-Geheimdienste fürchten eine chinesische Führungsrolle beim Aufbau der internationalen 5G-Netze nach Ansicht von Spengler vor allem, weil eine großflächige amerikanische Überwachung dieser Netze dann nicht mehr möglich wäre. Dies würde die aktuelle Machtposition der Dienste und nicht zuletzt eine wichtige Finanzierungsgrundlage gefährden. "The spooks’ ability to tap the conversations of prospective terrorists, foreign leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel and pretty well anyone it wants is a source of enormous power as well as justification for continued funding. All of that is about to come to an end and the spooks will have to find something else to do. (...) I continue to believe that the United States cannot effectively restrict the spread of a technology under Chinese leadership without offering a superior product of its own. The fact that the United States has attempted to suppress Huawei’s market leadership in the absence of any American competitor in this field is one of the oddest occurrences in the history of US foreign policy. If the US were to announce something like a Manhattan Project for 5G broadband and solicit the cooperation of its European and Asian allies, it probably would get an enthusiastic response. As matters stand, America’s efforts to stop Huawei have become an embarrassment."

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"Iranians under sanctions decry funds for allies"

Angesichts der spürbaren ökonomischen Folgen der US-Sanktionen wachse in der iranischen Bevölkerung das Unverständnis für die staatliche Unterstützung von ausländischen Gruppen und Regierungen, berichtet Kourosh Ziabari. "The Islamic Republic’s ideology-driven foreign policy does not merely prioritize advocacy for the Palestinian cause. Iran supports militant groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen in order to counter the influence of the US and its allies in those countries. Although the figure is not confirmed by Iran, the US Treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Sigal Mandelker asserts that Iran donates $700 million a year to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the United States. The Islamic Republic has also spent lavishly in Syria in an attempt to sustain the government of the embattled President Bashar al-Assad since civil war broke out in 2011. This is in addition to the military support Iran has been offering to the Syrian government. The former UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, reportedly revealed in 2015 that Iran had been spending $6 billion yearly to prop up the Assad government."

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"Why capturing Huawei is no victory in tech war"

Die Sanktionen gegen Huawei werden den USA keinen Erfolg im Tech-Krieg gegen China verschaffen, ist Pepe Escobar überzeugt. Peking betreibe seit längerem die strategische Kampagne "Made in China 2025", mit der die technologische Unabhängigkeit vom Westen und die globale Führerschaft in Tech-Bereichen wie der Künstlichen Intelligenz erreicht werden soll. In Asien werde China diese Führungsrolle nicht zu nehmen sein. "It’s always important to remember that a great majority of so-called US 'allies' – especially in Asia but also in vast swathes of Europe – now do more trade or investment with China than with the US. (...) Huawei, even under attack by the US government and spurned by Google, will have no problems finding other Chinese and Asian suppliers. In fact, count on Beijing to forcefully rally all China tech majors to develop all component technologies that China still lacks. (...) Beijing will tell China tech to reach the next level. Anyone who’s been to frantic tech-experiment-hub Shenzhen knows what this means. The US crackdown on Huawei will inevitably backfire. Huawei has now accelerated the commercial implementation of its own operating system, which will be thoroughly adapted for global markets. Their Plan B is now Plan A – with a vengeance. Never underestimate the power of unintended consequences; Huawei breaking Google’s de facto monopoly may be just around the (tech) corner."

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"US jittery about Chinese subs in Arctic"

Das Pentagon fürchtet Frank Chen zufolge, dass China moderne Atom-U-Boote in die Arktis schicken und die geltende Abschreckungsstrategie der USA unterlaufen könnte. "Even though it does not border the world’s northernmost waters, China outlined plans in a white paper last year to develop new shipping shortcuts opened up by the melting of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and to collaborate with Russia to form a 'Polar Silk Road'. Beijing’s Arctic ambitions have understandably caused trepidation among nations in the region, as the melting of sea ice may also enable new locations to launch faster missile attacks to anywhere in the northern hemisphere. (...) The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] has launched six cutting-edge Jin-class submarines, aka Type 094, with four currently operational and two still under construction, and the force may need at least five such submarines to maintain a continuous nuclear deterrence at sea. The Type 094 is armed with 12 JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, each with an estimated range of 7,400 kilometers and it can also carry three to four nuclear warheads, giving the PLA its first credible sea-based nuclear strike capability. Analysts say a Type 094 patrolling in the Arctic Ocean would be able to strike the United States mainland."

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"Russia winning the push for peace in Kabul"

Die russische Regierung sei drei Jahrzehnte nach dem sowjetischen Rückzug aus Afghanistan mit pragmatischer Realpolitik erneut zu einem Schlüsselakteur im Land aufgestiegen, schreibt Alexander Kruglov nach der strategischen Grundsatzvereinbarung Russlands mit den USA und China. "After years of open anti-Talibanism, the Kremlin appears to be turning toward legitimization and engagement with the group. This opens up major possibilities for influence. 'Russia will be at the helm of almost every development in Afghanistan,' said Salman Rafi Sheikh, a Pakistani analyst, citing the long-delayed intra-Afghan dialogue that could, possibly, end 17 years of conflict. 'It not only underscores Russia’s influence in the country, but also speaks volumes about how Russia is helping shape peace among the Afghan.' (...) It seems unlikely that Moscow would topple a Kabul regime and put a proxy in power – it has none, bar some Uzbek warlords in the north. But it now appears that, even if the Taliban prevails, the Kremlin could probably work with the group, given the contacts they have obtained. All this suggests that Russia is, once more, a key player in Afghanistan."

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"After ISIS: Iraq has a drug problem"

Seit dem Sieg über den IS drängt sich im Irak Omar al-Jaffal zufolge ein anderes gesellschaftliches Problem in den Vordergrund: der Handel und Konsum illegaler Drogen. "In less than a decade, Iraq has been transformed from a transit country for illicit drugs into a consumer and manufacturer. The industry seems to be expanding as Iraqi courts handle about 30 drug-related cases daily. Prior to the April 2003 US invasion, illicit drug activity was limited in Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s regime imposed harsh penalties for both dealers and users, including the death penalty. The situation changed after the fall of the dictatorial regime. (...) After the invasion in 2003, the security apparatus collapsed, and Iraq’s borders in all directions became open for the trafficking of all kinds of drugs, to be transported to Gulf countries using different methods, some of them comical. (...) 'Drug dealing is expanding in Iraq to the extent that some drug dealers have relations to international drug trade mafias in South America and Eastern Europe. Iraq is on the verge of turning into a drug hub not only in the Middle East but in the world,' said Zamly, a leading member of the Sadr political movement, led by the Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr."

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Wo gibt es Kriege und Gewaltkonflikte? Und wo herrscht am längsten Frieden? Welches Land gibt am meisten für Rüstung aus? liefert wichtige Daten und Fakten zu Krieg und Frieden.

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

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