US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Observer


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"Gaddafi’s prophecy comes true as foreign powers battle for Libya’s oil"

Der 2011 getötete libysche Diktator Muammar Gaddafi habe die Ausrichtung des aktuellen Bürgerkriegs in bemerkenswerter Weise vorhergesagt, schreibt Bethan McKernan. "In August 2011, as Libya’s rebels and Nato jets began an assault on Tripoli, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi delivered a speech calling on his supporters to defend the country from foreign invaders. 'There is a conspiracy to control Libyan oil and to control Libyan land, to colonise Libya once again. This is impossible, impossible. We will fight until the last man and last woman to defend Libya from east to west, north to south,' he said in a message broadcast by a pro-regime television station. Two months later, the dictator was dragged bleeding and confused from a storm drain in his hometown of Sirte, before being killed. Nine years on, after the outbreak of a second civil war, Gaddafi’s proclamation is not far from the truth – but as the US has retreated from the role it played in his downfall, a constellation of emboldened regional powers has descended on Libya instead. As the battle moves to Sirte, gateway to the country’s oil crescent, a potential showdown over control of Libya’s oil wealth is looming."

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"Pressure from Trump led to 5G ban, Britain tells Huawei"

Die britische Entscheidung zum Ausschluss Huaweis vom Ausbau der britischen 5G-Netze ist offenbar unter direktem Druck des Weißen Hauses zustande gekommen, berichtet Toby Helm. London habe in einer vertraulichen Erklärung gegenüber dem chinesischen IT-Unternehmen anklingen lassen, dass diese Entscheidung im Fall einer Niederlage Donald Trumps bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen im November zurückgenommen werden könnte. "As part of the high-level behind-the-scenes contacts, Huawei was told that geopolitics had played a part, and was given the impression that it was possible the decision could be revisited in future, perhaps if Trump failed to win a second term and the anti-China stance in Washington eased. Senior Huawei executives have gone public since Tuesday’s decision saying that they hope the British government will rethink, apparently encouraged by the results of back-channel contacts. The government’s private admissions are out of kilter with public statements last week by ministers, who said Huawei had been banned because of new security concerns raised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ."

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"Inch by inch: how Angola is clearing its killing fields"

Rachel Cooke berichtet in dieser Reportage anlässlich des Besuchs des britischen Prinzen Harry in Angola über die seit Jahren andauernden Bemühungen des Landes zur Beseitigung von Landminen. "How many mines are there in Angola? It’s impossible to say. The various factions left no maps. Halo, which has 381 staff here working in 28 operational teams, has so far cleared 100,000 landmines (75 different kinds of devices, manufactured in 22 different countries). In Cuito Cuanavale alone – the site, between August 1987 and March 1988, of the biggest battle in Africa since the second world war – it has cleared 35,000 mines. Across Angola, 1,100 known minefields remain, in which there may be up to 500,000 devices. Could the country, a signatory of the 1997 Ottawa treaty, the convention banning landmines, meet its commitment to being mine-free by 2025? Only if the work, whose estimated cost is £214m, is fully funded by international donors such as the US and British governments. More money is needed. Alex Vines, the head of the Africa programme at Chatham House, has said that at the current rate of funding, Angola will not be mine-free until 2046."

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"Money from arms sales dwarfs aid for Yemen"

Emma Graham-Harrison weist darauf hin, dass die Summe der humanitären Hilfslieferungen Großbritanniens an Jemen vom Umfang der britischen Waffenlieferungen an die von Saudi-Arabien angeführte Militärkoalition einer neuen Oxfam-Studie zufolge um ein Vielfaches übertroffen wird. "Britain has earned eight times more from arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other members of the coalition fighting in Yemen than it has spent on aid to help civilians caught up in the conflict, a report has found. Campaigners have criticised the approach as 'completely incoherent'. (...) Britain has given £770m in food, medicines and other assistance to civilians in Yemen over the past half decade, the report by Oxfam found, making the country the sixth largest recipient of British aid. But over the same period it has made £6.2bn of arms sales to members of the coalition fighting there, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates."

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"Jared Diamond: So how do states recover from crises? Same way as people do"

Andrew Anthony hat mit dem renommierten Historiker Jared Diamond über dessen neues Buch "Upheaval. How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change" gesprochen, in dem Diamond anhand einiger Fallbeispiele erläutert, wie Länder auf tiefgreifende politische Krisen reagieren. "The book is made up of a number of case studies looking at how different nations have dealt with crises. Diamond examines Finland after its war with the Soviet Union, Chile and the legacy of General Pinochet’s rule, Japan’s response to foreign superiority in the 19th century, Indonesia after the Suharto massacres, Germany’s postwar rebuilding and Australia’s search for a postcolonial identity. (...) In Upheaval, Diamond compares national crises with the kinds of personal crises that most of us undergo – divorce, death of a loved one, loss of employment – at some stage. The way we deal with a crisis is by changing ourselves in some respects. Recovery is a balance between retaining those aspects of our outlook that have proved helpful and then forging new ways of dealing with the changed circumstances."

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"The collapse of Isis will inflame the regional power struggle"

Der Berichten zufolge bevorstehende Sieg über die letzten Reste des IS-Kalifats wird eine neue Runde des regionalen Machtkampfes zwischen Syrien, der Türkei, dem Iran, Irak und Russland auslösen, ist Simon Tisdall überzeugt. "The collapse of the Isis caliphate’s last stronghold in Syria is sending shockwaves across the region, changing the calculations of the major powers as they jockey for advantage. Triumphalism in Washington, Moscow and Damascus risks obscuring the human cost of a 'victory' that may quickly prove transitory. (...) Assad, supported by Russia, wants, in contrast, to reassert sovereign control over all Syrian territory, including that vacated by Isis. But Erdoğan cares little. The main reason he has not already acted is Donald Trump. Against the advice of his generals and Nato allies, Trump has ordered US forces in Syria to leave by the spring. When they quit, Erdoğan will make his next move."

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"'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism"

John Naughton hat mit Shoshana Zuboff über deren neues Buch "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" gesprochen, in dem sich die Professorin von der Harvard Business School mit dem Geschäftsmodell beschäftigt hat, das die Entwicklung des heutigen "Überwachungskapitalismus" vorantreibt. "Surveillance capitalism is a human creation. It lives in history, not in technological inevitability. It was pioneered and elaborated through trial and error at Google in much the same way that the Ford Motor Company discovered the new economics of mass production or General Motors discovered the logic of managerial capitalism. Surveillance capitalism was invented around 2001 as the solution to financial emergency in the teeth of the dotcom bust when the fledgling company faced the loss of investor confidence. (...) Surveillance capitalism is a human-made phenomenon and it is in the realm of politics that it must be confronted. The resources of our democratic institutions must be mobilised, including our elected officials. GDPR [a recent EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU] is a good start, and time will tell if we can build on that sufficiently to help found and enforce a new paradigm of information capitalism."

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"Man accused of shooting down UN chief: 'Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to…'"

Emma Graham-Harrison, Andreas Rocksen und Mads Brügger berichten über neue Informationen zu einem Flugzeugabsturz im Jahr 1961 im heutigen Sambia, bei dem der damalige UN-Generalsekretär Dag Hammarskjöld und 15 weitere Menschen getötet wurden. "Exclusive research reveals that a British-trained Belgian mercenary admitted the killing of Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961".

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Brain scans show social exclusion creates jihadists, say researchers

Eine neue Studie hat Mark Townsend zufolge ergeben, dass junge Muslime vor allem durch ihre soziale Ausgrenzung zur Radikalisierung getrieben werden. Faktoren wie Armut, religiöser Konservatismus oder psychische Störungen seien nach Ansicht der Forscher für den Radikalisierungsprozess weniger wichtig. "University College London (UCL) researchers were part of an international team that used neuroimaging techniques to map how the brains of radicalised individuals respond to being socially marginalised. The findings, they claim, confirm that exclusion is a leading factor in creating violent jihadists. The research challenges the prevailing belief among western policymakers that other variables, such as poverty, religious conservatism and even psychosis, are dominant drivers of jihadism. 'This finally dispels such wrongheaded ideas,' said the study’s co-lead author, Nafees Hamid of UCL. 'The first ever neuroimaging study on a radicalised population shows extreme pro-group behaviour seems to intensify after social exclusion.'"

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"Syria: Trump may bluster but James Mattis is calling the shots"

Der begrenzte Umfang und die konkreten Ziele des Militärschlags in Syrien lassen Simon Tisdall zu dem Schluss kommen, dass US-Verteidigungsminister Mattis bei der Planung der Operation federführend gewesen sei. "When push came to shove over Syria last week, it was Mattis – not the state department or Congress – who stood up to a Donald Trump baying for blood. Mattis told Trump, in effect, that the third world war was not going to start on his watch. Speaking as the airstrikes got under way early on Saturday, Mattis sounded more presidential than the president. (...) Mattis also had a more reassuring message for Moscow. 'I want to emphasise that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime … We have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties.' In other words, Russian troops and assets on the ground were not a target. Plus the strikes were a 'one-off', he added. No more would follow."

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"Why is the world at war?"

Jason Burke wirft einen vergleichenden Blick auf die Kriege in Syrien, Jemen, Kongo, Afghanistan und in der Ukraine und stellt fest, dass diese Konflikte weniger von staatlichen als von Clan- und Kastengrenzen geprägt seien. "They lie along frontiers between ethnic or sectarian communities, even those dividing, for example, pastoralists from herders or the landed from the landless, from those who speak one dialect or language from neighbours who speak another. These frontlines are not difficult to trace, on the map or on the ground. In fact, if we look around the world at all its many conflicts, and if we define these wars more broadly, then we see frontlines everywhere, each with its own no man’s land strewn with casualties. In Mexico, Brazil, South Africa or the Philippines, there is huge violence associated with criminality and the efforts (by states) to stamp it out. There is violence perpetrated against women by those who fear progress in the struggle for a more equitable distribution of power, status and wealth. (...) Our world may not be racked by conventional conflicts between nation states of previous ages, but it is still a very violent place. The harsh reality may be that we should not be wondering why wars seem so intractable today, but why our time on this planet creates such intractable wars."

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"Catalonia’s nationalist leaders are well aware their project is fragile"

Der spanische Journalist Miguel-Anxo Murado meint, dass Premierminister Rajoy mit seiner Ankündigung von Neuwahlen in Katalonien einen durchaus geschickten, aber auch riskanten Schachzug unternommen habe: "Rajoy’s is a well-played hand, but perhaps also a bluff that could end in a flop. The nationalists may finally decide not to stand in the election and, if turnout is low, the new parliament’s legitimacy will look precarious. And if the nationalists pick up the gauntlet and present a united list, they could turn the election into an undeclared plebiscite on independence. This they may win, even if their platform for a sovereign republic will look somewhat redundant and contradictory. Making the election happen at all may prove as difficult as winning it. With just over 50 days to go and neither side in full control, accidents can happen. Violence – hitherto almost completely absent – is unlikely, but not impossible. One good sign is that the Catalan government seems to have decided to leave the Catalan regional police out of the fray, but tensions are inevitable, and they can spiral out of control even if both sides intend to exercise restraint."

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"Catalan separatists prepare for war of attrition against Madrid"

Die Fronten im Konflikt zwischen der katalanischen Regionalregierung und der Führung in Madrid seien verhärtet, schreibt Giles Tremlett. Auf beiden Seiten wachse aufgrund des empfundenen Unvermögens des Gegners, den eigenen Stolz zu überwinden und Zugeständnisse anzubieten, die Wut. "Politics having failed, civil disobedience is pitted against the law of Madrid. Separatist leaders think they will win the confrontation because each clash between popular power and the state creates converts to their cause – which polls show had only 41% backing before a chaotic referendum and police violence on 1 October. (...) Key to the separatist narrative that has been so successfully built over the past half dozen years is the idea that Catalonia, and Catalans, are victims. That was boosted on 1 October and separatists will hope that direct rule – which polls show two-thirds of Catalans oppose – increases that feeling. Either way, they are now plotting to turn direct rule into an unworkable disaster."

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"Moroccan Isis terrorists 'pose a threat on Europe’s doorstep'"

Sicherheitsbehörden warnen nach den Terroranschlägen von Spanien, dass bis zu 1.000 IS-Kämpfer nach Marokko und Tunesien zurückgekehrt seien. Nordafrika wird demnach zunehmend als "Sprungbrett" für weitere Anschläge in Europa betrachtet. Martin Chulov hat mit einem früheren IS-Mitglied gesprochen, der sich u.a. zur Motivation der Extremisten äußert: "A former leading member of the extremist group’s external operations arm said the exodus of Isis fighters included militants who had fled disenfranchisement and lives of petty crime and felt aggrieved by their status in Europe – particularly France. With the land controlled by Isis shrinking by the week, he believes that some of them will take their grievances back to their countries of birth and use the proximity of Spain to launch attacks, or infiltrate further into the continent. (...) The former Isis leader, who abandoned his role in late 2015, said he had mentored six Moroccans who had left disadvantaged backgrounds in France and sought a sense of purpose under Isis rule. He also worked with others who had travelled directly from the north African country, all of whom were radicalised before they arrived. 'The homegrown ones had a severe approach,' he said in an interview. 'The ones from France were upset at their lives. One told me he used to sell drugs, another was a thief.' 'They were looking for something. And they deeply believed that they were not at home in France.'"

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"The west condemned Russia’s bombs – now coalition attacks are killing civilians in Mosul"

Nach mutmaßlichen Luftangriffen, denen Berichten zufolge über 150 Zivilisten zum Opfer gefallen sind, hat das irakische Militär seine Offensive zur Vertreibung des "Islamischen Staates" aus dem Westteil Mossuls vorerst eingestellt. Simon Tisdall erinnert daran, dass ähnliche Luftangriffe russischer Truppen in Aleppo im Westen scharf kritisiert worden seien. "The Americans say they were targeting Islamic State fighters. The Russians said much the same about Aleppo – that they were attacking jihadi terrorists. Many people, not least the relatives of the Mosul dead, will struggle to see the difference. (...) the high death toll places the Mosul carnage, if confirmed, among the worst such incidents since the US invasion in 2003. It also serves to highlight a new pattern of behaviour by US forces since Donald Trump took office in January. Since then, the monthly total of recorded civilian deaths from coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria has more than doubled, according to independent monitors."

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"Pence’s speech on Nato leaves European leaders troubled over alliance’s future"

Trotz des Bekenntnisses von US-Vizepräsident Mike Pence zum Nato-Bündnis sei die Stimmung während der diesjährigen Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz "frostig" und von "Fassungslosigkeit" geprägt gewesen, berichtet Ewen MacAskill aus München. "The US vice-president Mike Pence, making his first visit to Europe since taking office, failed to quell those anxieties in a speech on Saturday at the Munich security conference. Instead, he left some of his European allies confused and alarmed, angry at being chastised for failing to pull their weight in the defence alliance, and concerned that too little attention is being paid to the future of the European Union. (...) Pence’s mission to Munich – he was accompanied by Mattis and US homeland security secretary John Kelly – served only to confirm a widening gulf between the US and core European countries, the UK excepted, and left allies as uncertain as before about Trump’s commitment to Nato."

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