US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Los Angeles Times


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31.08.2020

"An end to 'endless wars'? Don’t believe it"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-08-31/op-ed-bacevich-headline-tk

Andrew Bacevich misstraut den jüngsten Versprechen des US-Präsidenten und der Republikaner, die "Endlosen Kriege" der USA tatsächlich beenden zu wollen. Aktuelles Beispiel für die "irreführende" Argumentation sei der laufende US-Einsatz in Syrien. "(…) instead of a realistic policy defined by clear national interests, the United States drifts toward a confrontation with Russia in a place that virtually no American believes is worth dying for. The murky state of U.S. policy endows the Kremlin with a huge advantage, which it is actively exploiting. (…) Trump, who is obsessed with getting reelected, won’t be bothering with Syria between now and Nov. 3. If he wins a second term, the mindless strategic drift of the last four years will persist. The endless wars won’t end, in Syria or anywhere else. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, obsessed with ousting Trump, will find it politically advantageous to make a show of striking a get-tough posture on Russia on the stump. This may well have real consequences. Recall President Kennedy, Cuba and the Bay of Pigs: Tough talk on the campaign trail can foster reckless misjudgments once in office."

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31.01.2020

"International overreaction to the coronavirus is more dangerous than the virus itself"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-01-31/coronavirus-china-quarantine-world-health-organization

Die medizinische Anthropologin Katherine A. Mason warnt vor einer internationalen Überreaktion auf den Coronavirus und schreibt, dass sich die Situation in der chinesischen Millionenstadt Wuhan vor allem aufgrund von Panik und extremen Gegenmaßnahmen verschlechtert habe. "The coronavirus is scaring people because it is new and much is not known about it. But what we can tell so far is that this is no Ebola. Most people who contract it recover just fine. The fatality rate appears to be considerably lower than SARS and is probably much lower than it appears right now, since so many cases are very likely going unreported and mild versions of the disease are probably not being counted at all. Most fatalities are among the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. (…) Meanwhile, those with other diseases and urgent health needs are not able to get timely care as huge amounts of resources are redirected toward fighting the virus. How many people might be dying from heart attacks in China because hospitals are paying attention to nothing but the coronavirus? What is needed now is calm — both in China and throughout the global community."

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05.01.2020

"Opinion: Destroying cultural heritage sites is a war crime"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-01-05/iran-donald-trump-cultural-sites-war-crime

Sollte der Iran als Reaktion auf den Tod von General Suleimani mit einem militärischen Gegenschlag antworten, hat US-Präsident Trump massive Vergeltung und die Zerstörung iranischer Kulturstätten in Aussicht gestellt. Sara C. Bronin von der University of Connecticut School of Law erklärt, warum dies nach internationalem Recht ein klares Kriegsverbrechen wäre. "A part of the Hague Convention of 1907, signed over a century ago, says that 'all necessary steps must be taken' to spare 'buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected.' Similarly, the Geneva Convention Protocol I, signed in 1949 and amended in 1977, renders unlawful 'any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples.' Federal law in the United States says that violating these international conventions would constitute a war crime. Anyone who violates them could be imprisoned or, if death results from their actions, be sentenced to death. Members of the Trump administration should be on notice that they can be held liable under these provisions. Trump’s threatened actions would be morally reprehensible even outside the law, because they would destroy centuries-old places of profound importance not just to Iranians, but to all of human civilization."

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30.12.2019

"U.S. mass killings hit new high in 2019; most were shootings"

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-12-30/us-mass-killings-shootings-2019

Bei 41 Massenmorden, darunter 33 Schießereien, sind in den USA im vergangenen Jahr einer neuen Untersuchung zufolge mehr als 210 Menschen getötet worden. "A database compiled by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University in Boston shows that there were more mass killings in 2019 than any year dating back to at least the 1970s, punctuated by a chilling succession of deadly rampages during the summer. (…) Most of the mass killings barely became national news, failing to resonate among the general public because they didn’t spill into public places like massacres in El Paso and Odessa, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Jersey City, N.J. The majority of the killings involved people who knew each other — family disputes, drug or gang violence or people with beefs that directed their anger at co-workers or relatives. In many cases, what set off the perpetrator remains a mystery."

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19.11.2019

"Is Gordon Sondland credible enough to be a good impeachment witness for either side?"

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-11-19/questions-about-gordon-sondlands-credibility-make-him-p
roblematic-witness-for-both-sides

Jennifer Haberkorn schreibt, dass US-Diplomat Sondland der bisher gewichtigste Zeuge im Amtsenthebungsverfahren gegen Donald Trump sei, da er im Gegensatz zu bisherigen Zeugen direkten Kontakt mit dem US-Präsidenten gehabt habe. Allerdings sei Sondland in den Augen einiger Beobachter auch der bisher am wenigsten glaubwürdige Zeuge. "(…) Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, has already had to change the story he presented to impeachment investigators – the result of reading other witnesses’ opening statements that he said had 'refreshed [his] recollection.' That has made Sondland potentially not only one of the most important witnesses, but also one of the least credible - a perilous combination. His testimony could bolster the Democratic case or give Republicans an opening to undercut it. (…) if doubts linger around his truthfulness, Democrats will have a hard time resting their case upon his words."

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08.11.2019

"The Berlin Wall fell and the U.S. learned the wrong lessons. It got us Donald Trump"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-11-08/berlin-wall-30th-anniversary-cold-war-donald-trump

30 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall seien die falschen Lehren, die die USA aus dem Ende des Kalten Krieges gezogen hätten, immer noch spürbar, meint Andrew Bacevich. "In their preferred reading, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 had rendered a conclusive and irreversible verdict destined to shape the future, with the United States of America empowered to do the shaping. This led, once more, to politics decoupled from reason. We live today with the consequences of this decoupling: the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11, multiple wars that beg comparison with Vietnam in their folly, and, however obliquely, the bizarre presidency of Donald Trump. You won’t hear it from any of the candidates vying to succeed Trump, but we are still haunted by our false conception of the Cold War. On the stump, politicians get away with reciting comforting clichés about the imperative of American global leadership. Yet the time for believing such malarkey is long gone. An essential first step toward recoupling national security policy and reason is to see the Cold War for what it was: not a 'long, twilight struggle' ending in victory, but a vast and costly tragedy that inflicted needless suffering, brought humankind absurdly close to extinction, and from which U.S. policymakers have drawn all the wrong lessons. The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall offers an occasion not for celebration but for somber and long overdue reflection."

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16.08.2019

"Terrorist 'safe havens' are a myth — and no reason for continuing the war in Afghanistan"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-08-16/terrorist-safe-havens-war-afghanistan

Bei den laufenden Verhandlungen mit den Taliban bestehen die USA darauf, dass es nach einem Rückzug der US-Truppen aus Afghanistan keine "sicheren Häfen" für die Al-Qaida oder andere Terrorgruppen geben dürfe. John Glaser und John Mueller vom Cato Institute halten den Begriff für einen "Mythos", der einen Truppenabzug nicht verhindern dürfe. "To begin with, it is unlikely that a triumphal Taliban would invite back Al Qaeda. (...) The last thing the Taliban would want, should it take over Afghanistan, is an active terrorist group continually drawing fire from the outside. Moreover, unlike Al Qaeda, the Taliban has an extremely localized perspective and would be primarily concerned with governing Afghanistan. In addition, it is not at all clear that Al Qaeda would want to return to a ravaged, impoverished, insecure and factionalized Afghanistan even if it were invited. (...) There is also concern that the small branch of Islamic State in Afghanistan would rise if the Americans withdrew. However, Islamic State has suffered repeated tactical failures, has little to no support from the local population, and the Taliban has actively fought the group on the battlefield in Afghanistan for years, making a Taliban-sponsored safe haven for that group singularly unlikely. Most importantly, the notion that terrorists need a lot of space and privacy to hatch plots of substantial magnitude in the West has been repeatedly undermined by tragic terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, Paris in 2015, and Brussels and Istanbul in 2016."

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16.07.2019

"Trump administration diverts Central America aid to U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela"

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-07-16/usaid-diverting-humanitarian-aid-to-political-oppositio
n-in-venezuela

US-Präsident Trump plant Informationen der Los Angeles Times zufolge, humanitäre Finanzhilfen für zentralamerikanische Länder in Höhe von über 40 Millionen US-Dollar an die Opposition in Venezuela umzuleiten. "The Trump administration plans to divert more than $40 million in humanitarian aid from Central America to the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela, according to an internal memo and interviews. (...) All of the money being diverted will go to Guaido and his faction, the memo said, to pay for their salaries, airfare, 'good governance' training, propaganda, technical assistance for holding elections and other 'democracy-building' projects. The $41.9 million had been destined for Guatemala and Honduras, two of three countries in Central America’s so-called Northern Triangle, an impoverished and violence-ridden region that accounts for the majority of migrants now fleeing to the United States."

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30.06.2019

"Trump’s reluctance to bomb foreign countries is a strength, not a sign of weakness"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-bacevich-trump-iran-strike-cancellation-20190630-story.html

Mit seiner kurzfristigen Absage eines Militärschlags gegen den Iran vor zwei Wochen habe US-Präsident Trump nicht etwa Schwäche, sondern Weitsicht demonstriert, meint Andrew Bacevich. Die Kritik, dass Trump die amerikanische "Glaubwürdigkeit" untergraben habe, sei nicht überzeugend. "It turns out in practice that credibility is less a function of using force than of demonstrating prudence. Yet somewhere between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, those charged with formulating U.S. policy decided that the dictates of prudence need not apply to the actions of the world’s one-and-only indispensable nation. In recent decades, the abiding feature of American statecraft has been grandiosity, with military activism camouflaging a loss of strategic realism. In short, fecklessness in the use of force has undermined U.S. credibility. (...) Whether Trump possesses the tenacity or the attention span to initiate a resolute and courageous liquidation of America’s unsound position in the Persian Gulf will seem unlikely to many. Yet should he do so, Americans may yet owe this commander-in-chief a measure of gratitude. And by ignoring those who call for yet more war, he just might begin the process of repairing the damage done of late to this nation’s credibility."

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19.05.2019

"There’s no compelling reason for the U.S. to go to war with Iran — yet"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-miller-sokolsky-iran-trump-war-attack-military-forces-2019051
9-story.html

Aaron David Miller und Richard Sokolsky betonen, dass es für die USA bisher keinen überzeugenden Grund für einen Krieg gegen den Iran gebe. Es sei kaum zu erkennen, welche handfesten Ziele in einem militärischen Konflikt erreicht werden könnten. "Surgical strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities would only temporarily set back its nuclear program, and they would have to be preceded by large-scale attacks on Iran’s conventional air, naval and missile assets, which would cause civilian casualties and widespread destruction. It is fanciful to believe that attacks on Iranian territory would provoke a popular uprising that would topple the regime — and even if it did, the new government would likely be more militantly anti-American than the current one. If the U.S. goal is regime change, it would require a ground invasion and U.S. occupation. We’ve seen how well that worked out in Iraq and Afghanistan — and Iran has a much larger population, much more territory and more ways to hurt the U.S. than both those countries. (...) A mix of deterrence, transactional negotiations, renewed dialogue and, yes, military force if Iran acts against America’s vital interests, is the most effective way to manage that competition. As Winston Churchill is believed to have said, 'meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.'"

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14.05.2019

"It’s John Bolton’s world. Trump is just living in it"

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kahl-wolfsthal-john-bolton-trump-north-korea-iran-venezuela-2
0190514-story.html

John Bolton, Nationaler Sicherheitsberater im Weißen Haus, hat nach Ansicht von Colin H. Kahl und Jon B. Wolfsthal die Federführung in der Außenpolitik des Präsidenten übernommen. Dies habe sich im Februar in der kompromisslosen Haltung Trumps während des Gipfeltreffens mit Kim Jong Un gezeigt und setze sich heute in der Venezuela-Krise und der Konfrontation mit dem Iran fort. "While these may seem like disconnected responses to pressing global events, they are not. Rather, they reflect Bolton’s longstanding grudges against North Korea, Iran and Cuba (Maduro’s patron), and his deeply held beliefs regarding the futility of diplomacy, the benefits of regime change, and the wisdom of military action. Bolton — an unrepentant champion of the disastrous Iraq war — has never met a rogue state he didn’t want to isolate, topple and attack — and North Korea has long been at the top of his hit list. (...) on North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, it appears Bolton’s preferences, not Trump’s, are winning out. In March 2018, when Trump decided to hire Bolton, he reportedly joked with McMaster that Bolton was 'going to get us into a war.' In recent days, he has repeated that warning. But Trump is wrong. If Bolton achieves his longstanding ambitions, he won’t get us into a war — it will be 'wars,' plural."

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11.01.2019

"Trump’s demand that South Korea pay more for U.S. troops leads to impasse"

https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pol-trump-korea-troops-20190111-story.html

Die US-Regierung erwartet von Südkorea eine deutliche Erhöhung der Zahlungen für den Betrieb der US-Militärstützpunkte im Land, berichten David S. Cloud und Victoria Kim. "U.S. negotiators have sought a 50% increase in Seoul’s annual payment, which last year was approximately $830 million, or about half of the estimated cost of hosting 28,500 U.S. troops, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the discussions. The hard-line U.S. stance reflects Trump’s view that U.S. allies have taken advantage of American military protection for decades — a view bitterly resented by many South Korean officials, who say they already pay more to the U.S. than almost every other American ally except Japan. (...) South Korea, which initially called for adjusting annual payments only to account for inflation, is expected to make a counteroffer this month, but it is unlikely to satisfy the White House, U.S. officials said."

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10.04.2018

"As Trump considers military action on Syria, Pentagon worries it could put Russian soldiers in the crosshairs"

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pol-trump-syria-russia-20180410-story.html

Die Vorbereitung eines möglichen Militärschlags gegen Syrien gehe beim Pentagon mit der Sorge einher, dass russische Soldaten vor Ort getroffen werden könnten, berichtet David S. Cloud. "The chances of a potential clash would increase if President Trump opts for a heavy bombardment, employing not only Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from Navy ships offshore — as he did last year after a previous chemical attack — but also manned bombers and other warplanes to strike multiple targets in Syria, current and former officials say. (...) Clearly neither Moscow nor Washington wants a direct conflict in Syria. The U.S. has about 2,000 troops deployed chiefly in the country's north, where they support Kurdish troops fighting Islamic State. The Pentagon uses a so-called deconfliction hotline from its air base in Qatar to make sure U.S. and Russian aircraft avoid each other in Syrian airspace. (...) But Trump has raised the possibility that Moscow could face some sort of retaliation as well, warning Tuesday that Russia or any other nation found to share responsibility with Syria for the suspected gas attack would 'pay a price.' Pentagon officials are probably urging Trump to target factories where Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces are preparing chlorine and other chemical agents used against rebels and civilians, assuming those are known."

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07.03.2018

"Outflanked by China, Tillerson arrives in Africa with a narrow mission — counter-terrorism"

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-africa-us-tillerson-20180307-story.html

Die Rundreise von US-Außenminister Tillerson durch fünf afrikanische Staaten zeige, dass die Afrika-Strategie der USA sich unter Präsident Trump auf die Sicherheits- und Antiterrorpolitik beschränke, schreibt Robyn Dixon. "Previous U.S. administrations have tended to woo African nations that have good records on governance, rights and democracy. But with China edging out Western interests, dealing with dictators and democrats alike, the Trump administration appears to be adopting a more pragmatic approach, homing in on what matters most to Washington: containing the threat of terrorism in East Africa and the Sahel region."

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25.02.2018

"North Korean envoy, in a rare visit to the South, opens door to U.S. talks"

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-north-korea-talks-20180225-story.html

Nach der vorsichtigen Annäherung zwischen Nord- und Südkorea während der Olympischen Winterspiele erscheinen auch direkte Gespräche der Nordkoreaner mit den USA nicht mehr völlig ausgeschlossen, schreibt Matt Stiles. Die diplomatischen Hürden für ein solches Treffen seien allerdings nach wie vor beträchtlich. "It's unclear whether the Trump administration — or the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un — might ultimately decide on terms to proceed with talks. Both sides, in theory, have shown a willingness to talk in recent years as the North's nuclear program and missiles advanced into a realistic threat to the American mainland. Both have also shown a willingness to set terms that prevented any dialogue. The White House issued a statement Sunday that seemed to set denuclearization as a precondition of talks. 'The maximum pressure campaign must continue until North Korea denuclearizes,' the statement said. 'We will see if Pyongyang's message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end.' Observers have said North Korea is unlikely to commit to denuclearization, especially as a precondition to any dialogue."

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19.02.2018

"Laughing? Not so much. Most Russians just wish the election-tampering story would go away"

http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-russia-indictments-20180219-story.html

In der russischen Öffentlichkeit werde die amerikanische Anschuldigung, dass Russland die amerikanische Präsidentschaftswahl beeinflusst habe, überwiegend mit "Ermüdung" aufgenommen, berichtet Sabra Ayres aus Moskau. Viele bezweifelten, dass die russische Regierung tatsächlich mächtig genug sei, die amerikanische Demokratie derart zu erschüttern. "Many Russians have come to see the constant news stories about alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections as simply rumors based on a return to Cold War paranoia. 'What do I think about this? I can only say that it is the internal political affairs of America, and Trump himself must deal with his citizens and with his authority among the people who elected him,' said Olga Piskareva, 48, a teacher in Moscow. 'Trump creates PR around himself, but sanctions remain for us. It's just politics.' While many Russians would like the election-meddling topic to disappear, there is a vocal minority trying to bring attention to the corrosive nature of internet trolls and the effect of misinformation campaigns on the domestic audience as well."

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18.02.2018

"Russia's shadowy world of military contractors: independent mercenaries, or working for the Kremlin?"

http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-russia-mercenaries-20180218-story.html

Bei einem US-Luftangriff im Osten Syriens sind am 7. Februar Berichten zufolge dutzende russische Söldner getötet oder verletzt worden. Sabra Ayres schreibt, dass bisher nicht bekannt sei, warum die privaten Sicherheitsunternehmen in Syrien aktiv seien und welche Verbindungen sie zum Kreml hätten. Interviews mit Hinterbliebenen hätten ergeben, dass die Opfer Angestellte der Wagner-Gruppe gewesen seien. "The company is believed to be organized by Dmitry Utkin, a former Ukrainian citizen who fought in eastern Ukraine on the side of the separatist rebels and later formed the Wagner Group in 2014. The group is named after Utkin's nom de guerre. Like Utkin, many of the Wagner fighters fought first in eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed militias have been waging a separatist movement against Ukrainian forces since 2014. (...) The Ukrainian conflict has proven to be a steady source for Wagner's recruitment. According to Russian media, most of the Wagner fighters killed in the U.S. airstrike on Feb. 7 also served at one point with the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Because private military companies are illegal in Russia, the company is registered in Argentina. Most military analysts estimate there are 2,000 mercenaries in Syria working for Wagner. (...) Private military companies are not unique to Russia. Such companies provided services to the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan."

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07.01.2018

"In Palestinian territories — and in Israel — jitters over Trump's threat to cut aid to Palestinians"

http://beta.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-trump-palestinians-aid-20180107-story.html

US-Präsident Trump hat der Palästinenserführung im Fall einer Verweigerung von Friedensgesprächen mit Israel mit der Einstellung amerikanischer Finanzhilfen für die U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) gedroht. In Israel hätten daraufhin selbst einige Kritiker der UNRWA vor einem abrupten Stopp der Zahlungen gewarnt, berichtet die Los Angeles Times. "The U.S. is UNRWA's largest single donor, contributing about a third of the organization's budget, or more than $350 million annually. Some Israeli politicians have pressed Washington to curtail the funding, arguing that UNRWA's schools have been used by Hamas militants in Gaza to conceal tunnels and rockets intended for use in attacks on Israel. (...) Others, however, worry that without help from UNRWA, Palestinian refugees will become more susceptible to recruitment efforts by Hamas and other militant factions. 'While UNRWA is far from perfect, the Israeli defense establishment, and the Israeli government as a whole, have over the years come to the understanding that all the alternatives are worse,' Peter Lerner, a former spokesman for the Israeli military, wrote in an opinion piece in Haaretz newspaper."

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15.12.2017

"Islamic State’s self-styled capital is in ruins and its population scattered. Who will rebuild Raqqah?"

http://beta.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-rebuilding-raqqah-20171215-story.html

Fast zwei Monate nach der Vertreibung des "Islamischen Staates" aus Raqqa sei die einstige syrische IS-Hochburg eine "Geisterstadt", berichtet Alexandra Zavis in ihrer Reportage. Ein Großteil der Bevölkerung sei geflohen und 80% der Häuser und Geschäfte seien durch die Kämpfe zerstört. "Over the years, Raqqah has faced relentless airstrikes by Assad's government and a coalition formed by the U.S. to fight the militants. But it was the final assault, launched in early June, that utterly devastated the city. Residents described terrifying days spent hunkered down in their homes as coalition shells rained down. More than 20,000 munitions were deployed during the battle, killing an estimated 1,464 civilians, according to the monitoring group Airwars. (...) The euphoria captured in images of Kurdish fighters spinning doughnuts in their armored vehicles quickly dissipated as they grappled with the difficult tasks of securing the ravaged city, clearing rubble, restoring essential services and preventing attacks by Islamic State sleeper cells. 'The job we are doing now is much harder than liberating the city,' said a Kurdish commander who goes by the nom de guerre Klara Raqqah. 'We are so busy defusing mines, clearing streets, talking to civilians.'"

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10.12.2017

"The pundits were wrong about Assad and the Islamic State. As usual, they're not willing to admit it"

http://beta.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-abrahms-glaser-isis-assad-20171210-story.html

Max Abrahms, Politikwissenschaftler an der Northeastern University, und John Glaser vom Cato Institute schreiben, dass die Niederlage des "Islamischen Staates" in Syrien die These vieler US-Experten widerlegt habe, der zufolge der IS nicht ohne den Sturz der Assad-Regierung besiegt werden könne. "By now it should be obvious that the Syrian Arab Army has played a role in degrading Islamic State in Syria — not alone, of course, but with Russian and Iranian partners, not to mention the impressive U.S.-led coalition. (...) Equally contrary to analyst predictions, the group imploded right after external support for the 'moderate' rebels dried up. The weakening of the rebels was a major setback for Islamic State because Assad could finally focus his firepower on the group. (...) The now-defunct conventional wisdom was not only stubbornly anti-empirical, but unmoored from the political science literature. With few exceptions, international relations scholars seemed content to stand back and watch think tank pundits do the day-to-day Syria analysis while ignoring the red flags dotting the research landscape. Some of the best political science research over the past couple of decades finds that militants are less likely to emerge in response to political grievances than from propitious conditions for them to organize. (...) As in Iraq a decade earlier, regime change in Syria would have created the ultimate power vacuum for Islamic State to flourish."

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23.10.2017

"Areas freed from Islamic State will test U.S. policy on limiting overseas role"

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-us-isis-next-steps-20171023-story.html

Die amerikanische Rolle beim Wiederaufbau der im Krieg gegen den IS zerstörten Städte in Syrien und Irak werde von der unmissverständlich proklamierten Abkehr der US-Regierung vom "Nation-building" geprägt werden, erwartet Tracy Wilkinson. "(...) the desire to avoid getting enmeshed in rebuilding civilian institutions conflicts with the need to reconstruct towns that forces backed by the United States fought so hard to liberate and the hope of avoiding conditions that would allow Islamic militants to regain a foothold, as they have done before. Some of Trump’s advisors are arguing for a longer U.S. presence in Syria, according to a person familiar with the debate who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The goal would be to guarantee deliveries of humanitarian aid and oversee repatriation of the displaced, the start of rebuilding and the setting up of local governments. Others, however, want to hew more closely to the 'no more nation-building' doctrine. (...) The administration plan is for nations like Saudi Arabia to fill the void. But Saudi Arabia’s mission has not always been what Washington considers constructive."

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08.09.2017

"Vast new intelligence haul fuels next phase of fight against Islamic State"

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-isis-intel-20170908-story.html

Die Erfolge im Kampf gegen den "Islamischen Staat" in den vergangenen Monaten seien auch auf den größten Fund von Dokumenten und Datenträgern des IS seit 2014 zurückzuführen, berichtet W.J. Hennigan. Tausende Namen potentieller IS-Terroristen seien bereits aufgedeckt und an internationale Behörden verteilt worden. "In the most dramatic gain, U.S. officials over the last two months have added thousands of names of known or suspected Islamic State operatives to an international watch list used at airports and other border crossings. The Interpol database now contains about 19,000 names. The intelligence haul — the largest since U.S. forces entered the war in mid-2014 — threatens to overwhelm already stretched counter-terrorism and law enforcement agencies in Europe, where Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks in Paris, London and Stockholm this year. (...) The material came from Mosul, the militants’ self-declared capital in Iraq, which was recaptured July 9 after an eight-month battle. Other intelligence was found in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar, which was retaken on Aug. 31, and from Raqqah, the group’s self-declared capital in Syria, where fighting is still underway."

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27.08.2017

"With the battle for Mosul finished, Islamic State families present a conundrum"

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-islamic-state-families-20170827-story.html

Nabih Bulos berichtet nach der Befreiung der irakischen Stadt Mossul vom "Islamischen Staat" über den schwierigen Umgang mit Familienangehörigen von IS-Mitgliedern. "The scale of the problem is unusual. Unlike other areas recovered from Islamic State, where the militants were allowed to exit as troops overran their positions, in Mosul, there was no escape. And as the group’s Iraqi capital, Mosul became home to Islamic State fighters who settled down with hundreds — perhaps thousands — of wives, children, parents and other relatives. This 'is the first time we see this with Islamic State. It’s really tough to deal with their families,' said Capt. Osama Fuad Saady, a doctor with the Iraqi army’s 9th Division tasked with giving first aid to residents streaming out of the Old City quarter. The presence of children makes an already difficult job even more challenging. The Islamic State families came from all over Iraq and from abroad, and many now miss one or both parents."

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08.08.2017

"China's ready for war ― against the U.S. if necessary"

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-allison-china-war-20170808-story.html

Eine direkte Konfrontation zwischen nordkoreanischen und amerikanischen Truppen auf der koreanischen Halbinsel könnte einen Krieg zwischen den USA und China auslösen, so die Befürchtung einiger Experten. Graham Allison schreibt, dass sich das chinesische Militär bereits auf diese Möglichkeit vorbereitet habe. "In recent months, China has moved additional military units to its border with North Korea. It has established new fortifications and 24-hour video surveillance using aerial drones. But PLA special forces and airborne troops have begun repeatedly drilling for missions that go far beyond closing the border or establishing a buffer zone: They appear to be preparing to push deep into North Korea in the event of crisis. (...) If Chinese and American forces once again meet in Korea ― perhaps in what Gen. Raymond Thomas has warned could become a 'vertical track meet' to secure the North’s nuclear weapons ― the PLA will not at all resemble the low-tech army of the past. (...) [President Xi Jinping] has made it his mission to ruthlessly rebuild and reorganize China’s armed forces on a scale that Russia’s foremost expert on the Chinese military, Andrei Kokoshin, calls 'unprecedented.'"

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07.08.2017

"'China has conquered Kenya': Inside Beijing's new strategy to win African hearts and minds"

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-china-africa-kenya-20170807-htmlstory.html

In seiner Reportage aus Kenia berichtet Jonathan Kaiman, dass China seine wirtschaftlichen Investitionen in Afrika mit einer geschickten politischen Strategie verbunden habe. "StarTimes signals a change in tack, one that highlights the depth and complexity of Beijing’s efforts to win hearts and minds — with much of that effort now being directed at Africa, one of the world’s great emerging media markets. As a digital infrastructure provider, StarTimes is helping African states transition from analog television — a technology akin to FM radio, rife with snow, static and dropped signals — to digital, which ensures high-quality image and sound. As a pay-TV company, it is stacking its networks with pro-China broadcasts. As both, it is materially improving the lives of countless Africans, then making China’s role in those improvements impossible to ignore."

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03.08.2017

"A grand bargain with China could remove North Korea's nuclear threat — but it would destroy America's global influence"

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-auslin-north-korea-china-grand-bargain-20170803-story.html

Michael Auslin hält nicht viel von der Idee, dass die USA einen "Grand Bargain" mit China eingehen sollten, um die Bedrohung durch Nordkorea zu beseitigen. "The idea is deceptively simple: China would intervene in North Korea, most likely by removing Kim Jong Un from power and installing a puppet in his place. In return, the U.S. would withdraw or significantly reduce our forces in South Korea and potentially forces farther afield in Asia. This may sound like an effective, realpolitik means of breaking a decades-long stalemate. After all, American presidents have been saying for years that China is the key to solving the North Korea puzzle. Such a pact would force Beijing into taking action rather than offering platitudes. It would also end the charade of American sanctions, which are regularly watered down or undercut by China and Russia. Most of all, it would rid the world of Kim — a brutal, dangerous despot — and end his family’s absolute rule. But in reality, a grand bargain with China is likely to destroy America’s global influence, making it impossible for Washington to maintain stability in strategic areas, particularly in Asia and Europe."

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25.07.2017

"Duck and cover 2.0: How North Korea is prompting new efforts to prepare for a nuclear attack"

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nuclear-attack-preparations-20170725-story.html

Berichte über nordkoreanische Interkontinentalraketen haben in Los Angeles und anderen US-Städten die Sorge vor einem möglichen Atomwaffenangriff geweckt. "As tension rises, the inevitable question is: How well prepared are Los Angeles and other U.S. cities for a nuclear strike? The answer is somewhat unexpected. After two decades of fighting terrorism, law enforcement agencies and the federal government today are better equipped and trained to handle the aftermath of a limited nuclear attack than they ever were during the Cold War. Yet generations of Americans have grown up without learning how to protect themselves in the aftermath of a detonation. Still, recent events have jolted emergency response agencies and prompted some to fine-tune their preparations."

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04.07.2017

"U.S. says North Korea's ICBM launch is 'a new escalation of the threat to the United States' and the world"

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-north-korea-intercontinental-ballistic-missile-20170704-story.html

Matt Stiles und Jonathan Kaiman erklären, warum Nordkorea mit dem jüngsten Test einer Langstreckenrakete in den Augen vieler Beobachter eine Grenze überschritten habe. "'It’s really, really significant from a technological and political standpoint,' said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California who studies North Korea’s missile program. (...) the new capability — a clear violation of Security Council resolutions — seems to have crossed a psychological threshold. It already has led to widespread alarm that other, shorter-range ballistic missile tests this year haven’t provoked. 'Politically, it’s a game changer,' said Go Myong-hyun, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul."

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11.06.2017

"Trump considers reversing historic Obama-era opening with Cuba"

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-trump-cuba-20170611-story.html

Zu den politischen Entscheidungen der Obama-Regierung, die von US-Präsident Trump in Frage gestellt werden, gehört Tracy Wilkinson zufolge auch der Annäherungskurs gegenüber Kuba. "President Trump is expected to roll back parts of the historic Obama-era opening with Cuba, siding with hawks who oppose detente and rejecting demands from U.S. businesses for whom the island is a ripe potential market. The decision follows an inter-agency administration review of one of President Obama’s signature initiatives and would represent a throwback to policies that date to the Cold War. The review is believed to have been completed some time ago, with White House officials waiting for the best time to release it. Trump could make the announcement as early as this week."

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05.05.2017

"The U.S. military is targeting Islamic State's virtual caliphate by hunting & killing its online operatives one-by-one"

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-isis-online-20170502-story.html

Das US-Militär führe den Kampf gegen die Internet-Propaganda des "Islamischen Staates" gegenwärtig vor allem mit einer Kampagne gezielter Tötungen von Online-Spezialisten der Terrormiliz, berichtet W.J. Hennigan. "U.S. efforts to counter extremist messaging has largely failed so far, said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. 'The U.S. government needs a systematic campaign to undermine the messaging,' he said. 'So far any effort to do that has flat out failed.' (...) Information gleaned from U.S. special operations raids, surveillance drones and informants has enabled analysts to piece together what they believe is Islamic State’s chain of command, including a secretive wing of external operations planners that is assigned to plot attacks in different regions of the world. A team of U.S. commandos, called the expeditionary targeting force, has killed more than a dozen suspected planners since last summer, according to U.S. officials."

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