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"Coronavirus: Israel turns surveillance tools on itself"


Der israelische Inlandsgeheimdienst Shin Bet hat in der Coronakrise Tom Bateman zufolge die Aufgabe erhalten, seine IT-Methoden zur Überwachung verdächtiger Personen auf die Bevölkerung auszuweiten. "The Middle East's cyber-superpower has made extensive use of surveillance technology to try tackle Covid-19, as countries around the world grapple with the trade-off between privacy and monitoring infection. The Shin Bet can access the location data of millions of mobile phone users to trace those who have been in proximity to confirmed patients. Israel credits the system, among other measures, with reducing the rate of infection. (…) But the unprecedented expansion of the Shin Bet's powers has been the subject of controversy, including a Supreme Court challenge, questions over its accuracy, and accusations from doctors that it creates a distraction from testing for the coronavirus. The agency, now acting as a tool of public health enforcement, is usually tasked with preventing attacks against Israelis and routinely monitors Palestinians in the occupied territories."

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"Africa's Sahel becomes latest al-Qaeda-IS battleground"


In der westafrikanischen Sahelzone kämpfen dschihadistische Terrorgruppen nicht nur gegen Regierungen und Zivilisten, sondern Mina Al-Lami zufolge auch gegeneinander. "West Africa's Sahel region has become the latest scene of jihadist in-fighting, after Islamic State group (IS) revealed it is engaged in fierce clashes with al-Qaeda militants in Mali and Burkina Faso. IS made the revelation on 7 May in a detailed report in its weekly newspaper al-Naba. It blamed al-Qaeda's Sahel affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), for starting the fight and mobilising large forces to attack IS positions in the two countries. The scenario is familiar. IS and al-Qaeda affiliates have already locked horns in other jihadists hotspots, such as Yemen, Somali and Syria, competing for influence, recruits and resources. The IS article contradicts mainstream reports from earlier this year that suggested the two groups were collaborating in the region."

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"Cameroon's deadly mix of war and coronavirus"


In Kamerun sei ein von sezessionistischen Rebellen wegen der Coronakrise ausgerufener Waffenstillstand bereits wieder gescheitert, berichtet Ngala Killian Chimtom. Für die Bevölkerung bildeten die internen Konflikte und die Epidemie einen "tödlichen Mix". "Cameroon has so far recorded more than 2,200 cases and 100 coronavirus-related deaths since March, the highest in central Africa. However, few of them have been in the North-West and South-West, either because of little testing or because conflict has heavily restricted movement, effectively putting many urban and rural areas on lockdown long before the outbreak of coronavirus. Like most civilians, soldiers are now seen wearing mass-produced protective masks, and using hand sanitizer, as they patrol cities and towns in the North-West and South-West. However, there is little indication that the armed militias have taken any protective measures against coronavirus, or that they are medically equipped to deal with infections in their forest hideouts - where they sometimes hold abducted government officials."

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"Wagner, shadowy Russian military group, 'fighting in Libya'"


Einem unveröffentlichten UN-Bericht zufolge kämpfen bis zu 1.000 Söldner der russischen Wagner-Group an der Seite von General Haftar in Libyen. "The report was compiled by independent monitors for the UN's Libya sanctions committee. It has not been made public yet but it has been seen by news agencies. It is the first time the UN has confirmed reports of Wagner's involvement in Libya, putting the number of operatives at between 800 and 1,000. The 57-page report says Wagner operatives have been in Libya since October 2018, 'providing technical support for the repair of military vehicles and participating in combat operations'. Its members have been acting as artillery and air observers, as well as 'providing electronic countermeasures expertise and deploying as sniper teams'. The personnel were mainly Russian, but there were also nationals of Belarus, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine, the report said. Early this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said any nationals in Libya did not represent Moscow, nor were they paid by the state. The UN report also says that Syrian mercenaries are fighting alongside Gen Haftar."

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"North and South Korea in gunfire exchange after Kim Jong-un reappears"


Am Sonntag ist es an der Grenze zwischen Nord- und Südkorea zu einem Schusswechsel gekommen. Laura-Bicker, BBC-Korrespondentin in Seoul, ordnet den Vorfall folgendermaßen ein: "There's a 'low possibility' that the shots fired by North Korea were intentional, according to the South Korean military. But at this stage is unclear how they've made that assessment. Even if it was an accident or a miscalculation, it shows just how important it is for troops to keep level heads in the heavily fortified DMZ to ensure the situation isn't made much worse. If it was a more tactical decision by North Korea then that's a very different matter. The timing is interesting. It's just 24 hours since the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un re-appeared after a 21-day absence. There have also been a large number of military drills in the North in recent months to improve readiness to fight an 'actual war', according to state media. Pyongyang has sometimes used the tactic of escalate to de-escalate, using its military posturing as leverage in later negotiations. But any sign of direct fire will be a disappointment to many in South Korea."

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"Saudi Arabia ends executions for crimes committed by minors, says commission"


Saudi-Arabien will der BBC zufolge künftig auf gerichtlich angeordnete Auspeitschungen und die Verhängung der Todesstrafe gegen jugendliche Straftäter verzichten. "Saudi Arabia will no longer impose the death penalty on people who committed crimes while still minors, the country's Human Rights Commission says. The announcement, citing a royal decree by King Salman, comes two days after the country said it would ban flogging. (…) It was unclear when the decision - which was not immediately carried on state media - would come into effect. The kingdom's human rights record has remained under intense scrutiny, despite recent changes, following the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, while many civil rights and women's rights activists remain in prison. Earlier this week, the most prominent Saudi human rights campaigner died in jail after a stroke which fellow activists say was due to medical neglect by the authorities."

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"Yemen war: Separatists declare autonomous rule in south"


Die Separatisten in Südjemen haben ein im November vereinbartes Abkommen mit der Regierung gebrochen und die Autonomie der Region ausgerufen, berichtet die BBC. "Separatists in southern Yemen have declared self-rule, breaking a peace deal signed in November with the internationally recognised government. The Aden-based Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared a state of emergency, saying it would govern the port city and other southern provinces. The STC is supported by the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi-backed Yemeni government warned of 'dangerous and catastrophic consequences'."

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"Coronavirus: World risks 'biblical' famines due to pandemic – UN"


Die Corona-Pandemie und ihre Folgen könnten zu einer globalen Hungersnot "biblischen Ausmaßes" führen, so eine dramatische Warnung der UNO. "David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme (WFP), said urgent action was needed to avoid a catastrophe. A report estimates that the number suffering from hunger could go from 135 million to more than 250 million. Those most at risk are in 10 countries affected by conflict, economic crisis and climate change, the WFP says. The fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises highlights Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Nigeria and Haiti. In South Sudan, 61% of the population was affected by food crisis last year, the report says. Even before the pandemic hit, parts of East Africa and South Asia were already facing severe food shortages caused by drought and the worst locust infestations for decades."

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"Saudi Arabia executed record number of people in 2019 – Amnesty"


Die Zahl der staatlichen Hinrichtungen ist im vergangenen Jahr einem neuen Bericht von Amnesty International zufolge weltweit gesunken. Bemerkenswerte Ausnahmen dieses generellen Trends sind demnach Iran, Irak und Saudi-Arabien. "Saudi Arabia put to death 184 people in 2019 - a record number for the kingdom - despite a decline in executions worldwide, Amnesty International says. The number of executions also doubled in Iraq to 100 last year, while Iran remained the second most prolific executioner after China, with 251. However, global confirmed executions decreased for the fourth consecutive year to 657 - 5% less than in 2018. It was the lowest recorded figure of the past decade, according to Amnesty. The human rights group's tally does not include China, where the number of executions - believed to be in the thousands - remains a state secret."

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"France summit: Sahel crisis in danger of slipping out of control"


Louise Dewast berichtet anlässlich eines Treffens des französischen Präsidenten mit Amtskollegen aus Westafrika, dass die sicherheitspolitische Situation in der Sahel-Region dabei sei, außer Kontrolle zu geraten. "Attacks on army positions and civilians across the region are occurring with increasing regularity, despite the presence of thousands of troops from both the countries affected and France. Last year saw the highest annual death toll due to armed conflict in the region since 2012. Last week, 89 soldiers from Niger were killed in the latest attack to see dozens of deaths among regional armed forces. France has also suffered significant casualties, losing 13 soldiers in a helicopter crash in Mali in November. The Sahel region, a semi-arid stretch of land just south of the Sahara Desert, has been a frontline in the war against Islamist militancy for almost a decade. However, it is increasingly clear that the problem facing Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania (known as the G5 Sahel) is not just the presence of armed groups, and that more than military action is urgently needed to address a worsening humanitarian crisis, climate change and development challenges. The overarching worry is that the crisis could spread further across West Africa."

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"Yemen 'faces nightmare' as first coronavirus case confirmed"


In Jemen ist der erste Corona-Fall bestätigt worden. Experten warnen nun vor einem "Albtraum-Szenario": "Yemen is suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis and millions are reliant on food aid. Diseases including cholera, dengue and malaria are rife and only half of hospitals are fully functional. News of the first Covid-19 case came a day after the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen began a ceasefire, saying it wanted to help stop coronavirus spread and support UN peace efforts. (…) UN humanitarian co-ordinator Lise Grande said the effect of the virus in Yemen would be 'catastrophic' if it spread. 'For weeks we have feared this, and now it’s happened. After five years of war, people across the country have some of the lowest levels of immunity and highest levels of acute vulnerability in the world,' she said."

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"Nicolás Maduro: US charges Venezuelan president with 'narco-terrorism'"


Venezuelas Präsident Maduro ist in den USA formell wegen "Narco-Terrorismus" angeklagt worden. "The US has charged Venezuela's President, Nicolás Maduro, and other senior officials in the country with 'narco-terrorism'. It accused them of flooding the US with cocaine and using drugs as a weapon to undermine the health of Americans. The charges were announced by Attorney General William Barr. A $15m (£12.5m) reward is being offered for information leading to Mr Maduro's arrest. The US move will further escalate tensions between the two nations. (…) At a news conference announcing the indictment on Thursday, Mr Barr accused Mr Maduro of conspiring with a faction of the Colombian Farc rebel group 'to flood the United States with cocaine' and 'devastate American communities'."

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"How Europe deals with terror offenders when they are freed from jail"


In der britischen Debatte über Dschihadisten, die nach ihrer Freilassung aus der Haft erneut Anschläge begehen, berichtet Joshua Nevett über den Umgang anderer europäischer Länder mit dem Problem. "Hundreds will be released from European prisons within the next few years, figures suggest. Europol, the EU's law enforcement arm, gives an idea of the numbers. From 2016 to 2018, Spain had the most court cases for terror offences (343) in the EU, followed by the UK (329), France (327) and Belgium (301). (…) Terror offenders do not stay behind bars forever - a point underlined by Globsec, a think tank. Of 199 individuals arrested for terror offences in 2015, 57% would be released by 2023, it said. Their offences range from planning attacks and membership of a terrorist group to financing terrorism. In France alone, around 45 of the more than 500 terror offenders in jail are expected to be released this year. (…) Rehabilitation programmes: a model for success? No-one knows for sure. The results of these programmes are not well understood for two main reasons. First it is difficult to evaluate their success scientifically because legal, ethical and security concerns place restrictions on doing so. But also many of these programmes are in their infancy, so no proper case studies or data exist and there is no consensus on what constitutes best practice."

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"How Russia's Putin became the go-to man on Syria"


Der jüngste Moskau-Besuch von Präsident Erdoğan bestätige, dass Russland heute der dominante externe Akteur im Nahen Osten sei, schreibt Jonathan Marcus. "President Recep Tayip Erdogan of Turkey needs to extricate himself from a difficult situation in Syria so he heads for the one capital that matters, not Washington but Moscow. How times have changed. Not so long ago it was the Americans who were the dominant external player in the region. No longer. President Trump's disdain for strategy and his desire to simply extricate Washington from a turbulent part of the world has left US power in limbo. (…) Will any arrangement last? Probably not. But Turkey, which controls other enclaves in Syria, knows that if it backs down in Idlib, other bits of key Syrian real estate (at least viewed from Ankara) could similarly come under regime attack."

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"Afghan conflict: Clashes shatter partial truce after US deal"


Die Taliban haben einen begrenzten Waffenstillstand aufgekündigt und die Kämpfe gegen afghanische Regierungstruppen wieder aufgenommen. "Fighting has resumed in Afghanistan after the Taliban ended a partial truce with government troops, casting doubt on peace talks scheduled for next week. Dozens of incidents in more than 16 provinces left eight militants and six civilians dead, officials said. Eight security personnel were also killed. Meanwhile Donald Trump says he had a 'very good talk' with a Taliban leader. Their phone call follows the peace deal signed between the US and the Taliban at the weekend. A Taliban spokesman said the call between the US president and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar lasted more than half an hour, and both expressed a desire to bring peace to Afghanistan."

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"Turkey says millions of migrants may head to EU"


Der türkische Präsident Erdogan hat in Aussicht gestellt, dass bald "Millionen" Flüchtlinge und Migranten aus der Türkei nach Europa strömen könnten. "Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking after announcing Turkey could no longer enforce a 2016 deal with the EU to prevent migrants entering Europe. Greek police have used tear gas to stop thousands of migrants entering and the country has asked the EU border agency Frontex for urgent help. Mr Erdogan said Turkey could not cope with a new wave of Syrian refugees. (…) In a televised speech, Mr Erdogan said the EU had provided no help for resettling Syrian refugees in 'safe zones' inside Syria. After Turkey opened its doors for migrants to leave its territory for Europe last week, he said, 'hundreds of thousands have crossed, soon it will reach millions'. The Turkish leader gave no evidence for his figures while Greece said about 1,000 migrants had reached its eastern Aegean islands from Turkey since Sunday morning."

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"Greece suspends asylum applications as migrants seek to leave Turkey"


Die Türkei hat am Freitag Präsident Erdogan zufolge "die Tore geöffnet" und tausende Flüchtlinge und Migranten an die Grenzen Griechenlands geleitet. Hintergrund der Entscheidung ist der Vorwurf Ankaras, dass die EU ihre Zusagen des Flüchtlingsabkommens von 2016 nicht einhalte. "Greek officials earlier said they had stopped nearly 10,000 migrants crossing the land border with Turkey. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece had increased 'the level of deterrence at our borders to the maximum.' Turkey says it cannot deal with the amount of people fleeing Syria's war. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was allowing migrants to try to get into neighbouring EU member states Greece and Bulgaria as of Friday."

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"US-Taliban talks: A prelude to all-encompassing Afghan deal?"


Am Rand der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz hat es BBC-Korrespondent Jonathan Marcus zufolge neue Hinweise auf eine bevorstehende umfassende Vereinbarung zwischen den USA und den Taliban gegeben. "All the signs emerging from the annual Security Conference in Munich are that the US and the Taliban are perhaps just days away from announcing an agreement that could pave the way for peace talks between the Afghan parties themselves and the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Washington's longest ever war could be coming to an end, and President Donald Trump - in a crucial re-election battle - may be able to make good on his promise to bring US troops home. (…) In the margins of the Munich conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Subsequently, a senior US official set out some of the deal. A seven-day truce agreement between the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan will come into effect very soon and could lead to withdrawals of American troops. The official said the initial agreement on a reduction in violence would be followed by all-Afghan peace talks within 10 days and would cover the whole country."

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"Sharp rise in brain injuries from Iran raid on US base"


Bei dem iranischen Raketenangriff auf einen irakischen Militärstützpunkt am 8. Januar sind dem Pentagon zufolge entgegen ursprünglicher Angaben mehr als hundert US-Soldaten verletzt worden. "The number of US troops suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) after an Iranian attack on a US base in Iraq in January has risen to 109, according to US officials. The figure is a significant increase from the 64 injured service members previously reported by the Pentagon. President Donald Trump initially said no Americans were injured in the raid. The attack on 8 January came amid tensions over the US killing of an Iranian general. Nearly 70% of the injured service members have returned to their duties, the Pentagon added in its statement."

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"Huawei set for limited role in UK 5G networks"


Die britische Regierung hat trotz verstärkten Drucks aus Washington entschieden, das chinesische IT-Unternehmen Huawei mit einigen Restriktionen am Aufbau des britischen 5G-Netzes zu beteiligen. "The Chinese company will be banned from supplying equipment to 'sensitive parts' of the network, known as the core. In addition, it will only be allowed to account for 35% of the kit in a network's periphery, which includes radio masts. And it will be excluded from areas near military bases and nuclear sites. (…) The Prime Minister had faced pressure from the US and some Conservative MPs to block the Chinese tech giant on the grounds of national security. But Beijing had warned the UK there could be 'substantial' repercussions to other trade and investment plans had the company been banned outright. The decision has been described as the biggest test of Mr Johnson's post-Brexit strategy to date. (…) The Trump administration's cyber-security chiefs, along with their Australian counterparts, contend that over time the 'edge' - the name given to the boundary between the core and periphery - will disappear, as more and more sensitive operations are carried out closer to users. As a result, they claim it will no longer be possible to keep Huawei, and by extension the Chinese state, out of the network's most sensitive areas."

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"Iraq after Soleimani: What is the future for US troops?"


Nach dem Attentat auf General Soleimani und dem darauffolgenden iranischen Raketenangriff auf einen irakischen Militärstützpunkt mit US-Truppen beschreibt Nafiseh Kohnavard in dieser Reportage das aktuelle Ausmaß und die mögliche Zukunft der US-Stützpunkte im Irak. "When I was last here, both the US and Iraqi officers were keen to show the media how their relationship was deepening on a professional and personal level. Both sides were keen to appear on camera to talk about their mutual goal of defeating IS. Now, coalition commanders are hesitant to go on the record. Recent developments have cast a long shadow over what was once 'a great friendship'. (…) Angry with moves that had nothing to do with the US mission in Iraq to 'defeat IS', pro-Iran paramilitary groups and politicians want US troops to leave Iraq immediately. But coalition forces hope to start what they say will be the final stages of operations against IS with their Iraqi allies soon. It is this uncertainty that makes commanders on both sides reluctant to talk to the media about it, especially when politicians might contradict them the next day."

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"Iran protests: Who are the opposition in the country?"


Die BBC mit einem informativen Überblicksartikel zu den aktuellen Protesten im Iran. "The crowds taking to the streets in recent days have been concentrated in Tehran and other cities such as Isfahan, and comprise mainly university students and others from the middle classes, angered by the deaths of those on the plane. They have condemned the authorities for not initially telling the truth. But slogans have also been heard against the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and the Islamic regime. 'Lots of them will have known people on that plane as they are students who can afford to travel abroad,' says the BBC's Rana Rahimpour. There is also little sign of these protests concentrating around a particular personality. 'It's hard to say there's a single figurehead right now that people can unite around,' says Fatemeh Shams, an Iranian professor at the University of Pennsylvania."

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"Iran nuclear deal: European powers trigger dispute mechanism"


Die europäischen Unterzeichnerstaaten des Atomabkommens mit dem Iran haben aufgrund iranischer Vertragsverstöße einen offiziellen Streitschlichtungsmechanismus in Gang gesetzt. Nach Ansicht von Jonathan Marcus ist damit das Ende des Abkommens auch formell eingeläutet worden. "The Europeans (…) insist that they will stand by it for as long as it exists and that they want a better deal - one that the US can support. But it is very hard to see Iran accepting a more restrictive agreement that will include constraints on its missile programmes and maybe also its regional behaviour. And it is equally hard to see President Trump lifting the sanctions - not least when he believes - with protests against the regime underway - that his maximum pressure campaign is working. The European decision to invoke the dispute process may be a final bowing to the inevitable. The nuclear agreement is in a critical condition and slowly slipping away."

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France summit: Macron and Sahel partners step up jihadist fight


Frankreich und fünf afrikanische Staaten haben auf einer Konferenz im südfranzösischen Pau eine stärkere Kooperation im Kampf gegen dschihadistische Terrorgruppen in der Sahelzone vereinbart. "Forces will be placed under one umbrella and efforts focused on tackling the Islamic State group, they said after a summit in Pau in France. They also urged the US to maintain its support amid reports it might lessen its military presence in Africa. Jihadist attacks on civilians and troops have been on the increase. This is despite the presence of thousands of troops from both the countries affected and France."

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"Iran plane downing: Five reasons why the US-Iran crisis is not over"


Auch BBC-Korrespondent Jonathan Marcus besteht darauf, dass die zwischenzeitliche Verhinderung eines offenen Konflikts zwischen den USA und dem Iran nicht als Entspannung der Krise interpretiert werden sollte. "Here's why this crisis is far from over. 1) De-escalation is only temporary. What some analysts see as de-escalation is nothing of the kind. Iran's leaders - shocked to their very core by the killing of Soleimani - did what they could to strike back. (…) 2) US policy is not changing. (…) at the same time as President Donald Trump is threatening devastation against Iran, he is also signalling that he still wants out of the Middle East. (…) 3) Iran's strategic goals remain the same. Iran's economy may be creaking and many of its citizens may be increasingly unhappy, but this is a 'revolutionary regime'. It is not suddenly going to abandon power. Groups like Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are far too strong. Their response has been to clamp down at home and to push back against US pressure. That will continue. (…) 4) There are contradictions in Iraq's position. The sign pointing to the exit for US troops in Iraq is now looking bolder and brighter than ever. (…) 5) The nuclear deal is in real trouble. The roots of this latest crisis go back to May 2018 when the Trump Administration abandoned the Iran nuclear deal. (…) The deal matters. Prior to the agreement, there was a very real risk of war - with Israel (or perhaps the US and Israel in tandem) likely to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure."

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"Iran plane crash: Protesters condemn 'lies' on downed jet"


Nach dem iranischen Schuldeingeständnis im Fall des abgeschossenen ukrainischen Flugzeugs ist es in Teheran zu Protesten gegen die "Lügen" der iranischen Regierung gekommen. "Students gathered outside at least two universities, Sharif and Amir Kabir, reports said, initially to pay respect to the victims. Protests turned angry in the evening. The semi-official Fars news agency carried a rare report of the unrest, saying up to 1,000 people had chanted slogans against leaders and tore up pictures of Soleimani. The students called for those responsible for the downing the plane, and those they said had covered up the action, to be prosecuted. Chants included 'commander-in-chief resign', referring to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and 'death to liars'."

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"Qasem Soleimani: Why his killing is good news for IS jihadists"


Der Tod des iranischen Generals Soleimani ist vom "Islamischen Staat" begrüßt worden, berichtet Jeremy Bowen. "In a statement, it described the general's demise as an act of divine intervention that benefitted jihadists. However, it made no mention at all of the US, which carried out the deadly drone strike against Soleimani in Baghdad on 3 January. President Donald Trump's decision to assassinate Gen Soleimani set off a chain of consequences - one of the first was on the unfinished war against jihadists. Almost immediately the US-led coalition fighting IS suspended operations in Iraq. The US and its allies announced that their main job was now defending themselves. From a military point of view, they probably had no choice. Iran and the militias it sponsors here in Iraq have sworn vengeance for the killings caused by the missile fired by a US drone at Soleimani's vehicle as it left Baghdad airport on Friday. That puts US forces in Iraq, and those from Western allies working alongside them, squarely in the firing line. It is also very good for IS, and will speed up its recovery from the blows it took when its 'caliphate' was smashed."

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"Trump threatens Iraq with sanctions if US troops are expelled"


Nach der Forderung des irakischen Parlaments nach einem Abzug der US-Truppen hat Präsident Trump Sanktionen angekündigt und die Rückzahlung amerikanischer Milliardeninvestitionen gefordert. "'We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that's there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We're not leaving unless they pay us back for it,' he told reporters. (…) Speaking from the presidential plane, Mr Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to depart on an unfriendly basis, 'we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before, ever. It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.' Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group."

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"Isis in Iraq: Militants 'getting stronger again'"


Kurdische und westliche Geheimdienstler warnen davor, dass der "Islamische Staat" im Irak zwei Jahre nach seiner Zerschlagung dabei sei, sich nach dem Vorbild der Al-Qaida neu zu organisieren. "The militants are now more skilled and more dangerous than al-Qaeda, according to Lahur Talabany, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official. 'They have better techniques, better tactics and a lot more money at their disposal,' he said. 'They are able to buy vehicles, weapons, food supplies and equipment. Technologically they're more savvy. It's more difficult to flush them out. So, they are like al-Qaeda on steroids.' (…) 'We see the activities are increasing now, and we think the rebuilding phase is over,' said Mr Talabany, who heads the Zanyari Agency, one of two intelligence agencies in Iraqi Kurdistan. A different kind of IS has emerged, he says, which no longer wants to control any territory to avoid being a target. Instead - like their predecessors in al-Qaeda before them - the extremists have gone underground, in Iraq's Hamrin Mountains. (…) Kurdish intelligence officials estimate that IS is 10,000 strong in Iraq with between 4,000 and 5,000 fighters, and a similar number of sleeper cells and sympathisers. The international community should be worried, according to Lahur Talabany. 'The more comfortable they get here,' he says, 'there more they will think about operations outside of Iraq and Syria.'"

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"Space Force: Trump officially launches new US military service"


Präsident Trump hat die neuen eigenständigen Weltraumstreitkräfte des US-Militärs nun auch offiziell ins Leben gerufen. "President Donald Trump has officially funded a Pentagon force focused on warfare in space - the US Space Force. The new military service, the first in more than 70 years, falls under the US Air Force. At an army base near Washington, Mr Trump described space as 'the world's newest war-fighting domain'. 'Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital,' he said. 'We're leading, but we're not leading by enough, but very shortly we'll be leading by a lot.' 'The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground,' he added."

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