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"Coronavirus provides opportunity for terrorists, says UN chief"

UN-Generalsekretär Antonio Guterres hat gewarnt, dass die Corona-Pandemie Terroristen, Rechtsextremisten und anderen "Hass-Gruppen" neuen Aufschwung verschaffen könnte. "Antonio Guterres said it was too early to fully assess the implications of the pandemic on terrorism, but all these groups sought to exploit divisions, local conflicts, failures in governing, and other grievances to advance their aims. Mr Guterres told the launch of United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week that ISIS, which once controlled vast territories in Syria and Iraq, was trying to reassert itself in both countries, 'while thousands of foreign terrorist fighters battle in the region'. 'The pandemic has also highlighted vulnerabilities to new and emerging forms of terrorism, such as misuse of digital technology, cyber attacks and bio-terrorism,' he said. (…) Former American diplomat Richard Haas, who heads the Council on Foreign Relations, said he believed Covid-19 'will add to the challenges of counter-terrorism'. 'It will perhaps create an environment where more countries become weak or fail,' he said. Recruitment for terrorist organisations, he said, would quite possibly go up."

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"The US and EU are competing to play peacemaker in the Balkans"

Der kürzlich abgesagte Serbien-Kosovo-Gipfel im Weißen Haus bestätige, dass die US-Regierung eigene strategische Ziele auf dem Balkan verfolge und die EU dabei demonstrativ an den Rand dränge, schreibt Rashmee Roshan Lall. "Opinions are divided about the Trump administration’s motivation in pushing dialogue in a divided corner of Europe. Some say that Mr Trump wanted to appear statesmanlike before the November 3 US presidential election. Having failed to secure any worthwhile foreign policy successes on North Korea and Iran, a photo opportunity as the Balkans’ peacemaker-in-chief would have been handy for his re-election. But there is also the possibility of a more strategic calculus. US re-engagement would go some way towards pushing back China and Russia’s own efforts to expand their influence in the Balkans. The EU has less sway than it might want. Despite years of trying, the bloc has had little success in shepherding Serbia and Kosovo towards the gradual 'normalisation' of their relationship. (…) Two years ago, both Mr Thaci and Mr Vucic had mooted a land swap as a way to finally end decades of wrangling. The Trump administration expressed openness to exploring the idea. However, some European leaders, led by German chancellor Angela Merkel, opposed it. The argument goes that such a redrawing of borders would normalise ethnic divisions. Europe also fears that any land swap could become a destabilising template for the region."

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"How the coronavirus could force Benny Gantz to shake Benjamin Netanyahu's hand"

In Israel könnte der Coronavirus zur Bildung einer Regierung der nationalen Einheit führen, berichtet Jonathan Cook. "(…) the coronavirus crisis appears to be coming to Mr Netanyahu’s rescue. Last week he ordered a raft of emergency measures, including the effective closing of the country’s borders, and the shutting of schools and colleges, and large parts of the economy. Tens of thousands of Israelis have been required to quarantine themselves at home, and gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. Given Israel’s self-proclaimed status as a sanctuary for Jews, following the trauma of the Holocaust, these precautions have been readily accepted by the public. But they are also playing to Mr Netanyahu’s talent for manipulating a crisis. (…) What does Mr Gantz fear most: Mr Netanyahu exploiting the coronavirus crisis to evade justice and stay in power, or damaging his own public image by seeking temporary assistance from the Joint List? The next few days should provide the answer."

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"Munich Security Conference could present new hope for Libya"

Die Diskussionen während der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz lassen Damien McElroy etwas hoffnungsvoller in die Zukunft Libyens blicken. "The task of engineering a new start for Libya has been an important discussion point this weekend at the Munich Security Conference, the premier European forum for international security. Delegates agree that Libya is at an 'incredibly sensitive' moment. Niels Annen, a German foreign minister who has led the Berlin mediation process on Libya, has been at pains to point out the Libyan conflict’s African context. (…) a well-resourced Islamist-run state in Libya is a risk that many in the European security establishment are not prepared to countenance. But on the sidelines of the Munich gathering, there was no uniformity on the question of how to avoid this. Italy continues to seek its own agenda gains, while British policies have not really shed their Arab uprising alignments. Germany’s diplomats, on the other hand, have done more than most to provide a much-needed boost for what had been a flagging role for diplomacy. Nonetheless, holding the line against Libya succumbing to the control of ideologues remains an important strategic goal for everyone. The prize – a unified, stable Libyan state – will not happen merely by devolving control to whoever happens to occupy Tripoli. Fighting in Libya is an open sore. At the Munich Security Conference, there are signs that it may yet heal."

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"Burkina Faso is playing with fire by arming its civilians"

Die Regierung in Burkina Faso hat sich entschlossen, im Kampf gegen dschihadistische Terrorgruppen auf bewaffnete Bürgerwehren zu setzen. Stephen Rakowski hält diesen verzweifelt wirkenden Schritt für gefährlich. "Burkina Faso’s descent into militant violence is hard to overstate. According to available data, the landlocked country has faced an eye-popping 7,000 per cent increase in terrorist attacks over the past few years. At the same time, its neighbours Mali and Niger have grappled with 300 and 500 per cent increases, respectively. (…) For its part, the Burkinabe military has proven woefully incapable of addressing the rising tide of brutality. The army is seriously under-funded, suffering from rock-bottom morale and overstretched as it tries to secure increasingly large amounts of its territory from militants. (…) The arming of poorly trained civilians will almost certainly lead to more human rights breaches, such as settling scores between rival ethnic groups. It could also spark friendly-fire incidents, as separating civilian vigilantes and militants during the fog of conflict will be difficult. The consequences will be dire, contributing to further deterioration of the country’s social fabric. Militants seeking to exploit fissures with a view to recruiting disaffected youths to their cause will look upon the situation with glee."

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"Iraq will use 'new level of force to destroy' anti-government protests"

Die irakische Regierung will diesem Bericht zufolge noch härter gegen die Massenproteste im Land vorgehen. "Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has taken the decision to use a new level of force against mass rallies opposing his rule and 'completely destroy the protesters,' according to an Iraqi intelligence official. The country has been gripped by protests since the beginning of October that called for the removal of a political class seen as corrupt and beholden to foreign interests, above all Iran. 'Baghdad are really going to crack down on the protesters, they have made a decision,' the official said. 'It looks like the prime minister has made a decision that he’s going to use force. He’s going to completely destroy the protesters.' The official said that the Iraqi leader will give 'free rein' to the security services to 'dismantle the protesters and clear them from the buildings and the bridges', which they have been occupying to rail against corruption and economic hardship."

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"Is the US facing a growing terror threat – from Canada?"

Während sich die Debatte über Grenzsicherheit in den USA vor allem auf den Süden konzentriert, macht Stephen Starr darauf aufmerksam, dass US-Behörden in der ersten Hälfte des vergangenen Jahres 48 Terrorverdächtige an der Grenze zu Kanada gestoppt hätten. An der Grenze zu Mexiko seien im gleichen Zeitraum nur sechs Verdächtige registriert worden. "While much has been made of the apparent security threat emanating from beyond America’s southern border by the White House and elsewhere, recent events show that it may actually be Canada that presents a greater terror concern to US soil. (...) while the terrorist threat may not be a significant concern for some, the broader picture shows that the number people detained while trying to illegally enter the US from Quebec has almost trebled in the last four years."

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"A rising tide of anti-Syrian xenophobia is sweeping through Turkey's cities"

In türkischen Städten habe sich die öffentliche Stimmung deutlich gegen die syrischen Flüchtlinge gewandt, berichtet Kareem Shaheen. "For the most generous of Syria’s neighbours in terms of hosting refugees, patience is wearing thin – the result of politicians fuelling and exploiting flames of communal hatred and an economic downturn that has hit ordinary Turks hard. Turkey hosts the highest per capita number of refugees in the world. Very few experience the kind of destitution seen in Lebanon, where most refugees are forced to live in crowded tent settlements that flood every winter. Nevertheless, anti-Syrian xenophobia is growing. This sentiment is more dangerous than the kind of prejudice seen in the West, because its aim is the forced return of dispossessed civilians to a barbaric regime. (...) There are only two possible solutions. The first is for Europe, other western powers and Arab nations that do not border Syria to shoulder their responsibility for refugee resettlement. It is unconscionable that Turkey hosts four million Syrian refugees and tiny Lebanon a million, while the UK has taken in fewer than 14,000. Second, Turkey needs to be honest about its strategic objectives in Syria, and push for an inclusive peace settlement that creates genuinely safe conditions for refugees to return to."

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"United states of Europe could spell the end of the western alliance"

Con Coughlin vom konservativen britischen Daily Telegraph erwartet von der neuen EU-Führungsriege Initiativen zur Schaffung eines europäischen Bundestaats. Dies werde für neue Probleme im transatlantischen Bündnis sorgen, so seine Erwartung. "(...) many European politicians regard the creation of a European superstate as a welcome and necessary alternative to America’s long-standing global dominance. But if the new round of EU appointments will lend encouragement to those who seek closer European integration, they will do little to improve the effectiveness of the western alliance to deal with global security issues, particularly in the Middle East. (...) A renewed attempt by the EU to develop its own defence capabilities could also severely undermine the West’s ability to deal with threats from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. The most likely outcome from any such initiative would be to persuade Washington to withdraw from the Nato alliance, thereby ending an alliance that has for seven decades proved vital to keeping the peace in Europe and the world beyond."

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"US Afghan envoy Zalmay Khalilzad wants peace deal before July vote"

US-Unterhändler Zalmay Khalilzad strebt eine Einigung bei den Friedensverhandlungen mit den Taliban noch in diesem Jahr an. "The US envoy charged with negotiating a potential peace deal with the Taliban has said that he hopes to seal an agreement before Afghan voters go to the polls in July. Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan who has spoken extensively with the Taliban in recent weeks, also stressed that any US troop withdrawal would be dependent on conditions on the ground, and not on any particular timetable. In an honest account of his view about the prospects for peace, delivered to an audience at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, he cautioned he did not trust America's long-time adversary. 'We are in the early stage of a protracted process,' he said. 'We have a long way to go.'"

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"What happens in Idlib has become entirely a question of balancing the interests of great powers"

Nach Ansicht von Faisal Al Yafai wird der Ausgang des Konflikts in der syrischen Provinz Idlib vom Interessenausgleich zwischen den beteiligten ausländischen Mächten bestimmt werden. Im Fall der Türkei könne dies dazu führen, dass sich Ankara gegen die radikalislamische HTS-Miliz stellt, um verbündete Rebellen vor russischen Luftangriffen zu schützen. "That would certainly spark a war with extremist groups, targeting civilians inside Turkey, but Ankara might judge that to be a better outcome than another million refugees."

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"For the Syrian regime, Idlib is crucial to taking back control of the country – and even Ankara won't be able to stop it"

Faisal Al Yafai ist nahezu sicher, dass die syrische Regierung trotz türkischer Warnungen nicht auf die Eroberung der von Rebellen kontrollierten Provinz Idlib verzichten wird. "Idlib province stretches from the outskirts of Aleppo to the mountains of Latakia. The main Damascus to Aleppo highway passes for 100km through it. Re-opening that road was one of the major, tangible achievements of the Russia-led Astana process. To allow Idlib to remain outside the control of the regime would be to allow a Turkish hand – or, worse, that of a rebel or militant group – at the throat of the country's most vital highway. The same applies to Russia's military base of Khmeimim, nearby in Latakia province. Already, the Russians have complained of drone attacks on the base from Idlib. To allow Turkey so close to Khmeimim or to the Alawites in Latakia, the Assad regime's heartland, would be politically reckless. Both Mr Al Assad and Vladimir Putin know how quickly alliances can turn into a complicated battleground and neither is likely to countenance the risk. An assault on Idlib, then, is almost inevitable, whether it comes in the next few weeks or much later, and whether Turkey succeeds or not in rooting out ISIS."

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"Unesco chief alarmed by rise of 'cultural cleansing' by extremists in Middle East"

Extremisten im Nahen Osten seien dabei, das historische und kulturelle Erbe der Region in einer Welle "kultureller Säuberungen" zu zerstören, so eine eindringliche Warnung der Unesco-Chefin Audrey Azoulay. "The head of Unesco has warned that extremists cannot be allowed to carry out 'cultural cleansing' as part of attempts to drive religions and communities apart. Audrey Azoulay said the physical destruction of religious and historical buildings and attempts to 'erase' recent history alike harms and increasingly divided world. 'In recent years, we have seen, in this region as well, an increased attempt at cultural cleansing by those who wish to erase traces of our shared history,' she said. 'But culture is more than buildings, documents and traditions, it is how we see ourselves, how we see this world, how we learn about ourselves and about the others.'"

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"Brutally put, the Rohingya are pawns in a big power game"

Regierungen spielten die Rohingya-Krise in Myanmar in der Öffentlichkeit weitgehend herunter, konstatiert Alan Philps. Dies habe vor allem geopolitische Gründe: "A few years ago it seemed that Myanmar – the poorest country in Southeast Asia – was destined to become an economic colony of China, which was interested in its minerals and timber and its location as a land route giving access to the Indian Ocean, bypassing the maritime bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca. For the military, falling into the clutches of China was a damaging prospect. The generals decided to deploy Ms Suu Kyi and announce a free election, which had the miraculous effect of bringing western support including a visit by President Barack Obama. India no less than China has an interest in the future of Myanmar. For India and the West, Ms Suu Kyi is key to balancing Chinese influence. To condemn her might drive her into the arms of China. (...) Brutally put, the fate of the Rohingya is a compromise that Ms Suu Kyi must make to stay in power. Pawns in a big power game, no one apart from the UN seems to care about them."

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"What ISIL's rise in 2014 tells us about Al Qaeda's potential in Syria today"

Angesichts der Rückschläge für den "Islamischen Staat" in Syrien und Irak fragt Hassan Hassan, welche Bedrohung künftig durch die besonders in Syrien aktive Al-Qaida ausgehen könnte. "Inheriting an insurgency is not limited to winning recruits or to even being popular. It is also about being seen as the only viable force with the resolve to carry on the cause. (...) In Syria (...) the potential to inherit and absorb an insurgency exists, and Al Qaeda is better positioned than ISIL to do so. (...) With its rebranding, forceful acquisition and expansion, the group took a leaf out of the book of ISIL’s predecessor after 2005. Its current approach focuses on a combination of weakening and eliminating rivalry, steadily controlling local resources and presenting itself as the uncompromising force against the regime of Bashar Al Assad. The group’s chances of echoing ISIL’s successes in recent years will depend on whether policy makers grasp the fact that the conflict in Syria, and in Iraq before it, cannot be ended with mere military gains and rosy data."

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"Why the North Korea crisis has serious implications for the Middle East"

Die Nordkoreakrise wird nach Überzeugung von David Rothkopf, CEO der Rothkopf Group, großen Einfluss auf den Umgang der USA mit dem iranischen Atomprogramm haben. "But, North Korea has had the effect of reawakening America to the palpable threat of nuclear war. At no time since the Cuban Missile Crisis has US media focused so much on the possibility of a nuclear strike against America by a rogue state. (...) The result is not just a heightened level of anxiety but a much greater public awareness of the dangers of nuclear proliferation. For better or for worse, this will work to Mr Trump’s advantage when he seeks to undo the Iran deal and apply more pressure on Tehran. He may be doing it out of a reflexive desire to erase Mr Obama’s legacies. But, ironically, in part because of Mr Trump’s intemperate reaction to the actions of Kim Jong-un, the US people are in the midst of a crash course in what happens if a hostile regime gains the ultimate destructive power of atomic weapons."

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"The profound ideological clash at the heart of the rift between the Gulf and Qatar"

Hussein Ibish vom Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington erläutert den ideologischen Hintergrund des Konflikts zwischen Katar und den Golfstaaten um Saudi-Arabien. "At issue is nothing less than the character, role and future of the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist groups across the region. (...) Qatar’s deep-pocketed soft power and media empire, featuring Al Jazeera, serves as the Brotherhood’s bankroll and megaphone. Hamas’s rule in Gaza is the Brotherhood’s last de facto government and primary territorial enclave. And Brotherhood affiliates in Libya remain potent fighting and political forces. But all three are now being simultaneously challenged by non-Islamist Arab powers. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, for example, are involved in pressuring both Qatar and Hamas, and combating radicals in Libya."

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"The crisis is only just beginning for Qatar"

Hussein Ibish vom Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington glaubt nicht, dass sich Katar dem Druck seiner Nachbarn und des amerikanischen Verbündeten lange widersetzen kann. Die Unterstützung durch die Türkei und Iran werde nicht ausreichen, um den wirtschaftlichen Schaden der arabischen Blockadepolitik monatelang auszugleichen. "Qatar may drag this out to share the pain, but it knows it is going to have to capitulate eventually. And just as it is openly working with Turkey and quietly with Iran to maximise its options and minimise the damage it sustains during the confrontation, it is simultaneously now taking steps to reach out and seek a resolution. Qatar also knows that it cannot end the crisis without agreeing to a series of measures the Arab bloc is demanding, especially insofar as they are also insisted on by Washington. Doha is therefore visibly moving towards negotiating the terms of its coming inevitable climb down, and limiting the price it must pay. Doha cannot endure current circumstances, let alone an additional significant escalation. Qatar has no choice."

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"Can European culture prevent ISIL recruitment?"

Rashmee Roshan Lall stellt fest, dass sowohl in Europa als auch in den USA neue Wege beschritten werden, um die Radikalisierung junger Muslime zu verhindern. "Fifteen years after the September 11 attacks, the mood is changing. Counterterrorism, a ponderous field generally given over to hardline paradigms and top-secret policies, is metamorphosing into a nuanced set of soft-focus measures. It’s all very different from the hang-them-flog-them approach of the past. Both de-radicalisation and preradicalisation are being actively addressed. The second of the two strategies, at least as pursued by the Italians, is unique. (...) It sounds like rather a crackpot scheme but there may be some merit in trying to build a generation-spanning cultural bridge from the past, through the present, to the future."

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"Southern Front rebels are at risk of disintegrating"

Hassan Hassan schreibt, dass sich im Süden Syriens in den letzten Jahren eine Rebellenkoalition gebildet habe, die im Gegensatz zu nördlichen Rebellengruppen relativ moderate und nationalistische Ziele verfolge. Diese Koalition drohe nun offenbar auseinanderzubrechen, was neuen Platz für extremistische Rebellen schaffen würde. "Another key factor that differentiates the north from the south in terms of extremist dominance is that backers of the southern coalition have sought to strengthen national forces over Islamist factions. In the north, Turkey’s unbridled support for Islamists created the reverse situation. The two fronts had different sets of foreign backers over the course of the conflict. Qatar and Turkey, for example, had almost uncontested spheres of influence in the northern parts. (...) Extremist forces have tried to establish a foothold for themselves in the area, but they often faced tribal, factional and social resistance. Steps have to be taken to prevent extremist forces in their current campaign to buy loyalty where they failed to sell their extremist views."

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"Turkey's dislike of the Kurds will push the country into Assad's arms"

Ankara habe akzeptiert, dass Bashar al Assad in absehbare Zukunft nicht von der Macht lassen werde, schreibt Faisal al Yafai in The National. Der Grund dafür sei die Angst der türkischen Regierung, in Syriens Zukunft eine ähnliche Situation vorzufinden wie derzeit im Irak, in der das Land in ethnische Enklaven aufgesplittet sein werde, mit einer kurdisch kontrollierten Region direkt an der Grenze zur Türkei. "The real losers in this latest phase are likely to be the Kurds. Syria’s Kurds have played an at least ambiguous role in the uprising against Mr Al Assad. For many years, they were quiet, seeing no real benefit in joining other Syrian groups in the revolution. They were tacitly allowed more power and, looking to their fellow Kurds across the border in Iraq, began to consider carving out a separate Kurdish area along Syria’s northern border, connecting various Kurdish-majority enclaves. Amid the chaos of the Syrian civil war, this was the best the PYD, the Syrian Kurdish party, could hope for. If they could rule a strip along the northern border, they could carve out a de facto state and perhaps in time strike a deal with Damascus, keeping the border quiet while the regime focused on breaking the rebellion. If that seemed like a good plan for the Syrian Kurds, it is an impossible one for Turkey."

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"Who profits as the EU militarises its borders?"

Von der zunehmenden Militarisierung der europäischen Außengrenzen profitierten besonders Rüstungsunternehmen, Sicherheitsunternehmen und Überwachungsfirmen, schreibt Antony Loewenstein. "A recent report from NGOs Stop Wapenhandel, Transnational Institute and Border Wars, provides comprehensive evidence of Europe’s zeal to outsource its border security and explains the direct link between wars in the Middle East and profits from European policies. (...) Crucially, the report shows that 'far from being passive beneficiaries of EU largesse, these corporations are actively encouraging a growing securitisation of Europe's borders, and willing to provide ever more draconian technologies to do this'. The large defence players in Europe include Airbus, Finmeccanica, Thales, Safran and Indra."

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"Religious zealots waging a quiet revolution in Israel"

Jonathan Cook erwartet, dass der Einfluss religiös motivierter Eiferer in der israelischen Regierung mit dem erzwungenen Rücktritt des als moderat geltenden Verteidigungsministers Moshe Yaalon weiter zunehmen wird. "Mr Yaalon warned: 'Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel.' He was referring partly to his expected successor: Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose trademark outbursts have included demands to bomb Egypt and behead disloyal Palestinian citizens. (...) Less noticed has been the gradual and parallel takeover of Israel’s security institutions by those espousing the ideology of the settlers – known in Israel as the national-religious camp. None of this is accidental. For two decades the settlers have been targeting Israel’s key institutions. Under Mr Netanyahu’s seven-year watch as prime minister, the process has accelerated."

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"Is it possible that Al Nusra and ISIL will join forces?"

Die massiven Angriffe von US-Verbündeten gegen den "Islamischen Staat" und die radikale Nusra-Front in Syrien hätten dazu geführt, dass einige Sympathisanten eine Allianz der Extremisten ins Auge fassen, berichtet Hassan Hassan. Allerdings spreche einiges gegen ein solches Bündnis. "(...) assuming the two groups can overcome their ideological and operational differences in Syria, Yemen and Libya, each of the two is deeply convinced the other’s strategy is self-limiting. Even when ISIL conquered a large chunk of Iraq and Syria two years ago, Al Qaeda and its affiliates maintained that the strategy was not sustainable. (...) Similarly, ISIL believes that Al Qaeda’s fixation with 'hadhina al shaabiya', or gradually building a support base by winning hearts and minds, is a waste of time. (...) The gulf between the two groups is colossal. (...) Whether in Syria, Yemen or Libya, Al Qaeda will continue to move away from ISIL’s tactics, which will bring it closer to the local community and Islamist groups that could work with it. ISIL is unlikely to move closer to any of the militant groups operating in the field, or significantly moderate its tactics."

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"Does the removal of top jihadists weaken ISIL?"

Hassan Hassan schreibt, dass die gezielten Tötungen von führenden Dschihadisten des "Islamischen Staates" in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten aus militärischer Sicht kaum signifikante Folgen haben werden. Die ideologische Ausrichtung des IS könnte sich allerdings ändern, da es sich oft um einflussreiche religiöse Persönlichkeiten gehandelt habe. "Operationally, organisations such as Al Qaeda and ISIL have adapted over the years to survive the targeting of their leaders. Most members and leaders are effectively expendable and the group can exist without them. So the high-level killings over the past month may not have a significant impact on the battlefield. They might, however, leave a dent on the changing ideological outlook, particularly because the targets included religious giants in this field."

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"Nostalgia for the Saddam era is thwarting a truly united Iraq"

In der irakischen Öffentlichkeit habe sich eine Nostalgie für das gestürzte Regime von Saddam Hussein ausgebreitet, berichtet Rasha Al Aqeedi. "Dina Al Azawi, a writer now living in the United States but who has a large Facebook following in Iraq, lost her brother and cousin in the violence that engulfed the country in 2004. 'Under Saddam, our foreign policy was balanced, and the world respected us,' she wrote. 'Iraq was not a proxy for a foreign agenda. Yes, we were independent and sovereign. It was a tyranny, but it was a state. Iraq does not even resemble a state today. It is not about who rules, it is about how we were ruled.' She is one of many Iraqi Sunnis who compare life before and after the 2003 fall of Saddam, often concluding that tyrannical rule is better than the chaos of today’s Iraq. (...) why is this nostalgia a pitfall for Sunnis in particular? The comparison between life during and after Saddam has the unintentional effect of putting justified grievances and frustration on a par with idolising tyrants. While Sunnis face hardships today compared to their privileged position in the past, life under Saddam was hardly a utopia for them."

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"Sudden retreats don’t mean that ISIL is defeated"

Mit Hasaka im Nordosten Syriens sei am vergangenen Freitag die zweite Provinz des Landes vollständig vom "Islamischen Staat" befreit worden, berichtet Hassan Hassan. Allerdings wäre es voreilig, jetzt eine baldige Niederlage des IS zu erwarten, da es sich um einen taktischen Rückzug der Terrormiliz handeln könnte. "ISIL might be seeking to increase fears in Turkey by concentrating its capabilities in areas it regards as priorities and allowing the Kurds to expand in Hasaka and near the Turkish borders in Raqqa. Nearly all the sudden defeats were inflicted by the Kurds. With ISIL’s defeat in Hasaka, the Kurdish areas in both Syria and Iraq are better linked than ever before. Notwithstanding the differences in ideology and interests between the Kurds on both sides of the border, the idea that Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan has become a visible reality will surely worry not only Turkey but also Iran, because the two countries fear a similar scenario at home."

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"Washington often forgets who its real allies are"

Entgegen vermehrter Forderungen nach einer Distanzierung der USA von Saudi-Arabien meint Hussein Ibish vom Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, dass die beiden Länder trotz kurzfristiger Differenzen immer noch aufeinander angewiesen seien. "The core reality that is frequently being obscured or overlooked is that the United States and Saudi Arabia still share many important strategic goals in the region, including the defeat of extremism and terrorism. The same cannot be said of the United States and Iran, which, apart from implementing the nuclear agreement, share almost no long-term goals. (...) The idea that Saudi Arabia isn’t, or shouldn’t be, an ally of the United States despite the strong agreement between the two countries on so many broad and long-term policy goals, is being increasingly expressed in American commentary. A recent article by Sarah Chayes and Alex De Waal – which appeared in The Atlantic – predicts the imminent downfall of the kingdom, largely based on bizarre analogies with South Sudan and Somalia. It accuses Saudi Arabia of being 'no state at all' but instead simply a 'criminal organisation.' This embarrassingly clumsy article is nonetheless a useful indication of how wild pronouncements against Saudi Arabia, at times even including comparisons with ISIL, are finding an increasing audience in Washington."

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"If the two-state solution is dead, what comes next?"

In Washington scheine sich die Überzeugung durchzusetzen, dass die Zweitstaatenlösung im Nahostkonflikt tatsächlich begraben werden müsse, schreibt Alan Philps mit Verweis auf eine New York Times-Kolumne von Thomas Friedman. Damit gehe möglicherweise ein grundlegender Stimmungswandel gegenüber Israel einher. "Friedman’s mention of college campuses is a clear reference to the locus of the future struggle – the movement calling for South African-style sanctions against Israel. This is growing on university campuses in Europe and in the US under the banner of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement. There are many differences between Israel and apartheid South Africa but the absence of the prospect of a two-state solution means that there is no distant goal to distract attention from the fact that Israelis and Palestinians are now living in one political entity and will be for the foreseeable future. And in that entity, the Palestinians are deprived of political rights. The growing support for BDS, even among young Jewish people, is a concern for Israeli lobbyists. If college kids are happy to label Israel an apartheid state, will the next generation of US senators still vote unanimously for pro-Israel legislation?"

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"Rebel setbacks in Syria have far reaching consequences"

Hassan Hassan stellt fest, dass die internationale Unterstützung der Rebellenfraktionen in Syrien merklich nachgelassen habe. Die Türkei, Saudi-Arabien und Jordanien seien unwillig oder nicht in der Lage, ihre Verbündeten vor Ort ausschlaggebend zu stärken. "The fact that Jordan has been closely coordinating with the Russians, through a fledgling nerve centre recently established in the kingdom, has coincided with a noticeable decrease in the flow of aid into southern Syria. The seeming helplessness of countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has led many to conclude that the regime has finally turned the tables. (...) The rebels’ setbacks are undoubtedly among the worst in four years. But what make them particularly alarming is how the internal, regional and international attitudes seem to be turning against them."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

Vom Kosovo nach Kolumbien, von Somalia nach Süd-Thailand: Weltweit schwelen über 280 politische Konflikte. Und immer wieder droht die Lage gewaltsam zu eskalieren.

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Zahlen und Fakten


Kaum ein Thema wird so intensiv und kontrovers diskutiert wie die Globalisierung. "Zahlen und Fakten" liefert Grafiken, Texte und Tabellen zu einem der wichtigsten und vielschichtigsten Prozesse der Gegenwart.

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Publikationen zum Thema

Internationale Sicherheitspolitik Cover

Internationale Sicherheitspolitik

Seit Ende des Ost-West-Konflikts hat sich die internationale Sicherheitspolitik deutlich verändert....

Das Herz verlässt keinen Ort, an dem es hängt

Das Herz verlässt keinen Ort, an dem es hängt

16 Autor*innen aus Krisengebieten wünschen sich für ihre Zukunft weiterschreiben zu können. In di...

Sicherheitspolitik verstehen

Sicherheitspolitik verstehen

Wie sieht eine zeitgemäße Sicherheitspolitik angesichts einer zunehmend komplexer werdenden und st...

Am Hindukusch – und weiter?

Am Hindukusch – und weiter?

Ende 2014 zogen die letzten deutschen ISAF-Truppen aus Afghanistan ab. Dieser Band zieht Bilanz, fra...

Fluter Terror


Terrorismus bedroht die offene Gesellschaft und die kulturelle Vielfalt. Er ist uns fremd, aber er k...

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