US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Daily Beast


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"ISIS Has Made a Terrifying Comeback in COVID-Plagued Iraq"

Im Irak sei derzeit ein "erschreckendes Comeback" des "Islamischen Staates" zu beobachten, schreibt Jeremy Hodge. Die Rückkehr der Terrormiliz hänge eng mit den Verwerfungen der Coronakrise, dem Abzug von US-Soldaten, der politischen Ungewissheit und dem kompletten Kollaps der irakischen Wirtschaft zusammen. Auch der Iran profitiere vom resultierenden Chaos. "As Iraq’s economy crumbles, ISIS launches new strikes, and the U.S. watches from afar, the party best positioned to benefit from this sorry state of affairs is Iran. Whether Iraq’s leaders decide to make cuts to state salaries and other expenditures or allow the value of Iraq’s currency to crash, they will naturally look outside their borders to secure supplemental income or acquire new partners to boost their influence vis a vis their domestic rivals. And because Iran’s role in Iraq is so prominent, it tends to discourage support from the Gulf and the West, thus pushing Iraqis to rely even more heavily on it."

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"Trump’s 'Maximum Pressure' Is Helping COVID-19 Ravage Iran"

Die iranische Bevölkerung leide aufgrund der US-Sanktionen besonders hart unter der Corona-Pandemie, schreibt Spencer Ackerman. "The Trump administration’s policy of crippling Iran economically through 'Maximum Pressure' is exacerbating the novel coronavirus outbreak in one of the epicenters of the global pandemic, according to sanctions experts. With Iran experiencing at least 1,284 deaths and over 18,000 reported cases as of Wednesday, Tehran’s public health infrastructure is under its own kind of maximum pressure. Iran has identified urgent needs for face masks, ventilators, test kits, x-ray machines, and other supplies. While U.S. sanctions formally exempt humanitarian supplies, sanctions-watchers say the reality is more complex. The breadth of the Maximum Pressure sanctions is extensive enough to dissuade firms, foreign governments, and banks from participating in the transfer of life-saving medical supplies, for fear of incurring secondary or third-degree sanctions from Washington."

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"Central America’s Wars of the ’80s Still Haunt the U.S."

The Daily Beast präsentiert eine Serie mit Beiträgen des Reporters Bill Gentile, der in den 1980er Jahren über die Konflikte in Zentralamerika berichtete. Im ersten Teil beschäftigt sich Gentile mit der Revolution gegen das Somoza-Regime in Nikaragua 1979. Christopher Dickey schreibt in seiner Einleitung: "Today, Central American refugees are indeed coming to the U.S. border in numbers the Trump administration claims are overwhelming. The reasons they flee their homes can be traced to this basic fact: neither the revolutions nor Reagan’s counter-revolutions delivered on their promises, while vast numbers of Central Americans continue to live in poverty and fear. Bill Gentile was a young freelance reporter and photographer in Central America in the 1980s. This series, beginning today, takes us into the crucible of the region’s uprisings, which still haunt the conscience of the United States."

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"U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran"

In einer vertraulichen Kongressanhörung haben Vertreter der US-Geheimdienste keine Beweise für den Vorwurf der US-Regierung vorlegen können, dass der Iran mit Al-Qaida zusammenarbeitet. Dieses Eingeständnis könnte rechtliche Argumente des Weißen Hauses für einen Krieg gegen Teheran ohne parlamentarische Zustimmung untergraben, so Betsy Woodruff. "The significance of the admission is likely to divide lawmakers. Democrats who worry about the prospect of war between the U.S. and Iran will likely say that the lack of intelligence means the Trump administration cannot use Congress’s 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight al Qaeda as a legal basis to start a war with the regional power. Republicans, in contrast, are likely to view it as a non sequitur, arguing that the administration isn’t trying to start a war but rather to act in defense of U.S. interests and forces in the Gulf region. Over the last decade, presidents from both parties have circumvented Congress when it comes to waging military campaigns. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have all used the 2001 AUMF to justify a wide range of military activity (...). Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly connected Iran and al Qaeda, calling the ties 'very real.'"

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"Trump Admin Inflated Iran Intel, U.S. Officials Say"

John Bolton und andere Mitglieder der US-Regierung haben vor kurzem vor drohenden iranischen Angriffen auf US-Truppen im Irak gewarnt und sich dabei auf Geheimdienstinformationen berufen. Betsy Woodruff und Adam Rawnsley haben mit Regierungsinsidern gesprochen, denen zufolge die akute Bedrohung übertrieben dargestellt worden sei. "(...) multiple sources close to the situation told The Daily Beast that the administration blew it out of proportion, characterizing the threat as more significant than it actually was. 'It’s not that the administration is mischaracterizing the intelligence, so much as overreacting to it,' said one U.S. government official briefed on it. Another source familiar with the situation agreed that the Trump administration’s response was an 'overreaction' but didn’t dispute that a threat exists. (...) the aggressive messaging, meant to dissuade Iran from unleashing its proxies on the U.S., could end up backfiring, the aide told The Daily Beast. 'Even if you view it as non-escalatory or in the ‘escalate to de-escalate' school (where a tough message is essential to walk things back) it’s taking place in an environment of increased pressure, including the IRGC designation. That context matters.”

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"How the CIA Helped Prevent the Next 9/11 - And Why You Can’t Bring Liquids Onto Planes"

Marlow Stern stellt die aktuelle Netflix-Dokumentation "Terrorism Close Calls" vor, der zufolge es US-Behörden in den Jahren nach dem 11. September 2001 gelungen ist, mehrere massive Terroranschläge zu verhindern. "The new docuseries Terrorism Close Calls, now streaming on Netflix, chronicles some of the biggest attempted terrorist attacks that were foiled just under the wire. Its fifth episode is dedicated to the Transatlantic Liquid Bomb Plot, wherein two dozen terrorists planned to smuggle plastic bottles filled with liquid explosives (and other devices) onto seven commercial airliners departing from London’s Heathrow Airport and traveling to North America, assemble the bombs onboard, and detonate them over the Atlantic Ocean. 'The British cell was planning to smuggle those liquid bombs onto planes and blow up seven airliners heading to North America, with at least 1,500 people onboard. That would have made it the biggest loss of life since 9/11,' Mark Kelton, former CIA chief of European operations, tells The Daily Beast. 'And if the bombs had gone off over a populated area, the casualties would have gone up exponentially.'"

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"The Pentagon Has Prepared a Cyberattack Against Russia"

Das Pentagon habe Vorbereitungen für einen Cyberangriff gegen Russland getroffen, um auf eine mögliche russische Beeinflussung der anstehenden Kongresswahlen reagieren zu können, berichtet Zachary Fryer-Biggs vom Center for Public Integrity. "The U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have quietly agreed on the outlines of an offensive cyberattack that the United States would unleash if Russia electronically interferes with the 2018 midterm election on Nov. 6, according to current and former senior U.S. officials who are familiar with the plan. In preparation for its potential use, U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cybersystems that they feel is needed to let the plan unfold quickly, the officials said. The effort constitutes one of the first major cyberbattle plans organized under a new government policy enabling potential offensive operations to proceed more quickly once the parameters have been worked out in advance and agreed among key agencies."

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"The U.S.-Backed Military Slaughters Women and Children in Cameroon"

Ein Video der Erschießung von zwei Frauen und zwei Kindern durch mutmaßliche Regierungssoldaten in Kamerun hat Philip Obaji Jr. zufolge verdeutlicht, mit welchen Mitteln der Kampf gegen die Terrorgruppe Boko Haram, aber auch gegen Separatisten im Westen des Landes geführt wird. "(...) this hideous incident caught on video is just one of a growing number of cases of Cameroonian soldiers brutally targeting women and children. This is happening in the far north, where Boko Haram fighters have in the last four years mounted suicide attacks and kidnappings, but also in northwestern and southwestern Cameroon, where government forces have been battling English-speaking separatists who are clamoring for independence from the mostly French-speaking nation. (...) 'The soldiers are targeting wives and children of men they suspect belong to the separatist movement,' Bernard Nyong, who fled the conflict in Akwaya community in southwest Cameroon to the Nigerian border town of Ikom in Cross River state, told The Daily Beast. 'Killing a member of your family is the punishment you get for asking for independence from Cameroon.'"

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"Trump’s Pentagon Opens Up Guantanamo Bay to New Prisoners"

Im US-Gefangenenlager Guantanamo werden Spencer Ackerman zufolge Vorbereitungen für die Aufnahme neuer Häftlinge getroffen. Dies habe das Pentagon am Mittwoch bestätigt. "In what amounts to a fulfilled campaign promise for Donald Trump, who had pledged to refill Guantanamo with 'some bad dudes,' Defense Secretary Jim Mattis delivered a long-expected detentions policy to the White House, a day after the deadline set by Trump’s January executive order paving the way for new Guantanamo detainees. (...) Much remains unclear about the new policy, which neither the Pentagon nor the White House released. The criteria for determining the threshold for a detainee’s 'continuing, significant threat' was not defined, nor was who within the chain of command will be empowered to recommend that decision. National Security Council representatives did not immediately respond to questions."

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"Kim Makes Stunning Nuclear Concessions to 'Crazy Guy' Trump"

Gordon G. Chang schreibt, dass US-Präsident Trump den diplomatischen Durchbruch auf der koreanischen Halbinsel mit seinem "verrückten" Auftreten eingeleitet habe. Der "Schock" habe eine deutliche Korrektur der nordkoreanischen und chinesischen Strategie bewirkt. Wenn Trump den so angestoßenen Prozess erfolgreich weiterführen wolle, müsse er allerdings auch andere Qualitäten zeigen. "Trump, having convinced Asians he was capable of unleashing violence, will now have to show he is also capable of foresight, patience, and cunning. The leader America needs will have to exhibit the best qualities of Trump’s predecessors, say, the strategic vision of a Reagan and the coalition-building skills of an Obama."

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"McMaster Rushes to Save the Iran Deal That Trump Promised to Kill"

Am Freitag muss US-Präsident Trump entscheiden, ob er eine Reihe von Sanktionen des US-Kongresses gegen den Iran weiter aussetzen und damit eine Voraussetzung zum Überleben des Atomvertrags schaffen wird. Betsy Woodruff und Spencer Ackerman berichten, dass der Nationale Sicherheitsberater H.R. McMaster hinter den Kulissen mit Senatoren zusammenarbeite, um den Bestand des Vertrags zu sichern. "According to multiple sources, H.R. McMaster is reprising the role he played last fall: removing a legislative irritant from Trump so that the president can quietly remain in the deal. This time around, sources told The Daily Beast, McMaster is searching for an agreement, even one just in principle, with the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to convince Trump that the president’s decision to 'de-certify' Iran’s compliance last fall pressured Congress to modify its terms. (...) multiple sources said McMaster considers that an agreement with Sens. Bob Corker and Ben Cardin that took away the congressional deadlines on Iran that Trump hates would be a face-saving way for the White House to accept the deal."

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"Strong Evidence that U.S. Special Operations Forces Massacred Civilians in Somalia"

Christina Goldbaum präsentiert in diesem Exklusivbericht Belege, die darauf hindeuten, dass Mitglieder einer US-Spezialeinheit in Somalia im August zehn Zivilisten getötet haben. "The details that emerged paint a damning picture of at least one U.S. ground operation in the African nation. This includes U.S. Special Operators firing upon unarmed civilians, using human intelligence from sources widely considered untrustworthy to Somalis in the region as well as government officials, and instructing their Somali counterparts to collect weapons that were being stored inside a home — not displaced on the field in the course of the firefight — and placing them beside the bodies of those killed prior to photographing them. (...) in addition to foolhardy planning of the hold-terrain operation, the Americans also appeared to be woefully unaware that in this vast and forest-rich region, Al Shabaab isn’t the only factor contributing to instability. Further complicating the security landscape is the ongoing conflict among Somali clans, primarily the Habar Gidr and Biyomal."

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"Senators Stunned to Discover We Have 1,000 Troops in Niger"

Nach dem Tod von vier US-Soldaten in Niger haben führende US-Senatoren Betsy Woodruff zufolge eingestanden, dass sie bis zur entsprechenden Meldung nichts über das Ausmaß des dortigen Einsatzes gewusst hätten. Bisher stelle allerdings nur eine Minderheit der Senatoren die bisherige Praxis in Frage, bei der Auslandseinsätze im Antiterrorkampf ohne explizite Zustimmung des Kongresses durchgeführt werden können. "Though a bipartisan group of Senators have introduced an updated AUMF [Authorization of Use of Military Force] for counter-terror operations, congressional leaders have declined to act on it. The Obama administration had called for an updated AUMF as well. And, recently, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) called for a 'sober national conversation about Congress’ constitutional role in authorizing the use of military force.' (...) If members of Congress have to vote on such a matter, many expect to face political blowback. And the consequences aren’t hypothetical; there’s wide agreement that Hillary Clinton’s 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq War played a key role in her defeat in the 2008 Democrat presidential primary."

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"Germany’s Not Such a Great Candidate to Lead the Free World Either"

Angesichts des internationalen Rückzugs der USA unter Präsident Trump hoffen viele, dass Deutschland eine neue Führungsrolle in der westlichen Welt übernehmen wird. James Kirchick glaubt allerdings nicht, dass die Bundesrepublik für diese Rolle qualifiziert wäre. "The liberal world order that Washington constructed with its allies in the wake of the World War II is ultimately undergirded by America’s enormous and unmatched military power and reach. Seven decades after that devastating conflict, Germany remains a nation wedded to pacifism. (...) Proclaiming Germany the new leader of the free world feeds into a particularly noxious German trait: self-righteousness. (...) America’s geography, sheer size, military prowess, and unique history as a propositional nation of immigrants with universal values make it the only country capable of leading the community of democratic nations against the free world’s many and determined enemies. This is why Trump’s abdication of America’s traditional leadership role is so dangerous and so grave: there is no one, not even a well-meaning German Chancellor, prepared to replace it."

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"Why Afghanistan? Why Now?"

Roy Scranton fragt angesichts der Entsendung von 4.000 US-Truppen nach Afghanistan, welchen Sinn dieser 16 Jahre lang dauernde Krieg heute noch habe. "Are we there to bring democracy to the Afghans? Are we there to hunt terrorists? Are we there for women’s rights? Are we trying to 'win,' or just trying to get out? We’ve 'turned a corner' so many times we don’t even know which way we’re going. (...) American foreign policy stopped making sense 16 years ago, when we turned the hunt for a group of criminals into a global war without end, and it grew even more absurd when we launched an aggressive war against a sovereign nation on a pretext of lies. The chaos of American foreign policy today under Donald Trump is no more than the consequence and continuation of the last 16 years".

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"Mosul Has Become History’s Greatest Hostage Crisis"

Florian Neuhof beschreibt die andauernden Kämpfe zur Vertreibung des "Islamischen Staates" aus der irakischen Stadt Mossul als das größte "Geiseldrama" der Geschichte. "ISIS’s hold on Mosul has gradually been reduced in five months of fierce fighting. The militants still control the city’s historic core and the northwestern suburbs, and, if such a thing is conceivable, are increasingly brutal in their efforts to slow the Iraqi advance. Civilians are forced to move farther into the city as the jihadists retreat, flooding an ever shrinking area with people. The houses and buildings that the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS uses to fire at the military often shelter several families, human shields to deter the use of coalition air power. Anyone trying to cross the front lines is shot at, and civilians frequently are killed as they attempt to flee."

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"Obama Was Right to Abandon 'Red Line' on Syria’s Chemical Weapons"

US-Präsident Trump hat seinen Amtsvorgänger Obama für den Tod von über 70 Zivilisten durch chemische Kampfstoffe in Syrien mitverantwortlich gemacht, da Obama im Jahr 2013 die von ihm gesetzte "rote Linie" missachtet und die Assad-Regierung nicht für einen Chemiewaffeneinsatz in der Nähe von Damaskus bestraft habe. Christopher Dickey schreibt, dass sich über den Hergang der damaligen Ereignisse ein Narrativ durchgesetzt habe, das nicht der Realität entspreche. "In the years since, I have grown weary of the taken-for-granted truism that Obama failed on the chemical-weapons front in Syria. It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the impact such nerve agents can have. I covered the effects of chemical war in Iraq in the 1980s and early 1990s, and I know that as horrific as the scenes in Syria have been, they pale by comparison to what Saddam Hussein was doing back then in tacit alliance with the United States and its Gulf Arab allies. (...) As bad as it was, the Obama-Putin deal in 2013 prevented Assad from stampeding his opposition in that way. And it’s clear Assad wished he still had such resources, which is why he has improvised many chemical attacks with the much cruder and less effective industrial chlorine gas."

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"Trump’s Jekyll and Hyde Administration Has Europe Spooked"

Das widersprüchliche Auftreten des Weißen Hauses und der US-Regierung wirke auf europäische Politiker wie ein "Horrorfilm", schreibt Christopher Dickey. "European politicians and policy makers have begun to feel they’re watching a horror movie: the tale of an American administration with a split personality as sinister as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — the first perfectly reasonable and sociable, the other monstrous, unable, and unwilling to control its impulses. (...) At the Munich conference, when Pence made his appearance, he struck many in the audience as 'somebody attempting to and succeeding in projecting the image of someone who is mainstream,' said one participant. The vice president spoke in the dulcet tones he learned working as a radio and TV talk show host. And, as the same observer put it, the sentences Pence spoke 'had a subject and a verb—we are not used to this anymore.' 'I had the impression he was positioning himself as Gerry Ford,' said this participant, alluding to the man who became vice president and then president as the government of Richard Nixon collapsed in 1974. As Heisbourg put it, Pence gave the impression that 'if stuff happens, there will be an adult around.'"

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"How Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s Death Will Empower the Ayatollah"

Der Tod des früheren iranischen Präsidenten Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani könnte die Position der konservativen Kräfte in Iran stärken, schreibt Reza Haghighat Nejad. Dem Moderator Rafsanjani sei es lange gelungen, eine Balance zwischen Hardlinern und Reformern aufrecht zu erhalten, sein Tod könnte ein politisches Vakuum entstehen lassen. "President Hassan Rouhani’s reformist government will be the first to suffer from the fallout. With presidential elections later this year - just like the difficult days after the nuclear agreement was signed, which saw hardliners condemn the deal - Rouhani will need political support for his reelection. But with Rafsanjani gone, and no other reformist benefactor of his stature, Rouhani will be forced to fight hordes of hardliners and principlists on his own."

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