US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

International Crisis Group


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"Time for International Re-engagement in Western Sahara"

Der seit langem schwelende Konflikt zwischen Marokko und der Unabhängigkeitsbewegung Polisario um das Gebiet der Westsahara flamme wieder auf, so die International Crisis Group. "A Polisario blockade of a key artery in the UN-monitored buffer zone triggered a Moroccan military response, after which the Front called off a ceasefire and resumed attacks. (…) There is a modest but palpable risk of a gradual military escalation, which could further destabilise North Africa and the Sahel. (…) To minimise this risk, Morocco's external allies - the U.S. and France - should push Rabat to accept without preconditions a new UN envoy tasked with negotiating a de-escalation that could yield talks about a truce."

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"Why the World's Newest Country Has Only Known Conflict"

Auch zehn Jahre nach Erlangung der Unabhängigkeit stünde der Südsudan noch immer vor zahlreichen Herausforderungen, erklärt Alan Boswell. "South Sudan still faces an insurgency in the south of the country and rampant localized violence elsewhere. Ethno-political tensions remain high and could be unleashed again by the next presidential election, which was originally scheduled for 2022 but is likely to be delayed. Moreover, amid the constant efforts to halt violence, avoid the further deterioration of a dire humanitarian situation and keep the sputtering peace deal on track, both external partners and many South Sudanese themselves seem to have lost sight of any vision for longer-term stability. (…) Ultimately, the country will need to revisit its political model to avoid remaining stuck in cyclical bouts of conflict."

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"A Last Chance to End Somalia's Dangerous Election Impasse"

Die Lage in Somalia spitze sich zu, warnt die International Crisis Group. Mehrere Menschen seien bei Auseinandersetzungen zwischen Sicherheitskräften und Oppositionsanhängern getötet worden. "The political crisis brewing in Somalia for the past year has tipped into deadly violence - and worse could be coming if parties cannot find a consensual path forward to elections. (…) The UN and African Union (…) should step in now to broker a deal over how to manage the election and break a stalemate that could well push Somalia back into clan-based violence if it persists. (…) With violence already unleashed, any further incidents could upend the progress Somalia has made over the past decade toward establishing peaceful transitions of power as a norm, with dire consequences for Somalia's people."

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"Biden Should Cap, Freeze and Roll Back Iran's Nuclear Program"

Die Regierungen in Teheran und Washington würden unter innenpolitischem Druck stehen, bei den Verhandlungen um die Wiederbelebung des Atomabkommens von 2015 eine härtere Position einzunehmen, so Ali Vaez. Einer Rückkehr zur Vereinbarung stehe dies im Weg. "The seemingly impossible dilemma has a solution, but only if Biden is willing to be bold and invest the necessary political capital in resuscitating the deal. This would need to take the form of a three-phase process that can be summed up in the non-proliferation shorthand of 'cap, freeze and roll back', and would requires closely synchronised steps between the two sides."

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"Breaking the Cycle of Violence in Mexico and Central America"

Die International Crisis Group prognostiziert: Die wirtschaftlichen Folgen der COVID-19-Pandemie werden in Mexiko, El Salvador, Guatemala und Honduras zu mehr Arbeitslosigkeit, Armut, sozialer Ausgrenzung sowie Korruption führen. Dies werde den Boden für die organisierte Kriminalität noch fruchtbarer machen. "To break the cycle of violence, national and local governments should pivot away from approaches geared toward mano dura (iron fist) policing. (…) Building on the existing Europe Latin America Technical Assistance Programme against Transnational Organized Crime, the EU should (…) identify and lend support to sub-national initiatives aimed at designing tailored local strategies".

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"Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2021"

Eine jährliche Umfrage der International Crisis Group identifiziert acht Situationen, in denen ein rechtzeitiges Eingreifen der Afrikanischen Union helfen könne, Konflikte zu lösen, zu mildern oder abzuwehren. "The continent is facing huge challenges, even more so due to COVID-19, which has diverted attention from some of its most pressing conflicts and disrupted funding cycles for development and security initiatives. With fewer resources likely to be available, both from member states and external partners, the AU's ability to address some of the (…) crises, particularly through political means, will be more crucial than ever."

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"Iran: The U.S. Brings Maximum Pressure to the UN"

Die US-Regierung hat ihre Iran-Strategie des "maximalen Drucks" durch die Forderung nach der Wiedereinsetzung der UN-Sanktionen nun auch in den UN-Sicherheitsrat getragen. Die Empfehlung der International Crisis Group an die anderen Ratsmitglieder ist recht deutlich: "The remaining parties to the deal should be united in resisting Washington’s efforts, as should other Security Council members. They should essentially disregard a U.S. 'snapback' – restoring sanctions – as ineffectual, obstruct attempts to implement it and discourage Iran from overreacting to what will end up being a symbolic U.S. move. (…) The Trump administration has made no secret of its ultimate goal, which is to bury the JCPOA once and for all. At this stage, there is one smart way to respond to its political antics: ignore them."

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"COVID-19 and Conflict: Seven Trends to Watch"


Die International Crisis Group macht in dieser Analyse auf sieben Bereiche der internationalen Sicherheitspolitik aufmerksam, die in der Coronakrise aufmerksam beobachtet werden sollten. "This briefing, the first in a series of Crisis Group publications on COVID-19 and its effects on the conflict landscape, draws primarily from the input of our analysts across the globe, and identifies seven trends to watch during the pandemic. I. The Vulnerability of Conflict-affected Populations (…) II. Damage to International Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution Mechanisms (…) III. Risks to Social Order (…) IV. Political Exploitation of the Crisis (…) V. A Turning Point in Major Power Relations? (…) VI. Opportunities to Be Seized. While the warning signs associated with COVID-19 are significant, there are also glimmers of hope. The scale of the outbreak creates room for humanitarian gestures between rivals. (…) VII. Potential Crisis Mitigation Measures (…) The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to be long and draining. It will make diplomacy, and especially crisis diplomacy, harder. But it is crucial to keep channels of communication – and a spirit of cooperation – intact in a period when the international system seems as ready as ever to fragment."

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"What Prospects for a Ceasefire in Libya?"

Die italienische Libyen-Expertin Claudia Gazzini erläutert in diesem Interview, warum die Verhandlungen der libyschen Konfliktparteien in Moskau gescheitert sind und welche Erfolgsaussichten der Friedensprozess im Zuge der Libyen-Konferenz in Berlin habe. "To an extent, the failure of Moscow does not necessarily affect the Berlin conference (…), since its success does not hinge on a pre-existing ceasefire. Its final conclusions have already been drafted and revised during five preparatory meetings over the past months. Although last minute edits might still come (partly due to the late addition of new participants), if all goes according to plan, representatives of the U.S., EU, UK, France, Russia, China, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE, Algeria and Congo-Brazzaville, as well as the UN, Arab League and African Union, will sign a 55-point declaration. Key items include support for a ceasefire, a commitment not to violate the UN arms embargo on Libya, and a pledge to support a UN 'operational' plan for political, security and economic consultations aimed at unifying the country. On the eve of the conference, diplomats inserted wording calling for 'credible steps' toward dismantling armed groups and militias following the demand Haftar made to this effect in Moscow. (…) In a best-case scenario, the Berlin conference could be a modest step forward in efforts to end the war and stabilise the country. Yet the risk remains that some participants will merely pay lip service to the diplomatic initiative, even as they continue to fuel a war from which they benefit."

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"Picking Up the Pieces after Mexico’s Criminal Siege"

Der Mexiko-Experte Falko Ernst von der International Crisis Group berichtet, dass das peinliche Nachgeben der mexikanischen Sicherheitskräfte angesichts einer bewaffneten Übermacht des Sinaloa-Kartells am 17. Oktober die gesamte sicherheitspolitische Strategie der Regierung in Frage gestellt habe. "In reaction to this state of affairs, and amid widespread frustration with the militarisation of public security that brought it about, López Obrador adopted the stance that 'fire cannot be fought with fire'. He ruled out the use of military force to fight crime. Yet the paradoxes of his new approach are becoming conspicuous: López Obrador continues to rely on the armed forces to provide public safety, arguing that the police are too corrupt to do the job. At the same time, the fragmented criminal groups are exploiting the government’s renunciation of military force to test how much farther they can extend their sway. (…) In effect, militarised security policy is both dead and alive: López Obrador has renounced it but its vestiges remain. Meanwhile, there is no new, comprehensive security strategy to take the place of the old drug war axioms. (…) Addressing socio-economic factors is a necessary part of the solution to Mexico’s problems. But without short-term security measures geared toward protecting civilians and deterring criminal aggression – measures that very likely need to feature a credible threat to use force – the long-term strategy may not matter much."

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"Interpreting the U.S. Talks with the Taliban"

Laurel Miller, Borhan Osman und Graeme Smith von der International Crisis Group erläutern in diesem FAQ, welche Folgen der gemeldete Durchbruch bei den Friedensverhandlungen zwischen Vertretern der USA und der Taliban in Doha haben könnte. Zwei wesentliche Punkte bleiben demnach immer noch ungeklärt. "A major unanswered question is how to structure an intra-Afghan dialogue. How do you get all sides sitting around a table, after decades of war? Also unclear is what the Taliban is willing to accept on timing and sequencing of such dialogue – that is, do they see dialogue launching before a foreign troop withdrawal commences, or only later, after a troop withdrawal that diminishes Afghan government and U.S. leverage is underway? (...) A comprehensive ceasefire is, unfortunately, more unlikely than not at this early stage of negotiations. (...) the Taliban seem poised to continue fighting. The group is configured to draw strength from its performance on the battlefield, not from politics. As a Taliban fighter told Crisis Group recently: 'The reason everyone is talking about us is our military power and fighting ability; otherwise, nobody would have been talking about peace and reconciliation.'"

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"'Nobody Wants Us': The Alienated Civilians of Eastern Ukraine"

Die International Crisis Group macht in einem neuen Bericht aus dem Osten der Ukraine auf den andauernden Konflikt und die davon betroffenen Zivilisten aufmerksam, die sich sowohl von Moskau als auch von Kiew verlassen fühlten. "(...) Ukrainians on both sides of the Donbas front lines face a humanitarian crisis and a growing sense of abandonment by both Kyiv and Moscow. Much if not most of the responsibility for the conflict lies with the Kremlin, over which Kyiv and its international partners have limited leverage. Yet Kyiv should nonetheless push to reverse conflict-affected citizens’ alienation from their own government: it needs a strategy to address their needs that distinguishes clearly between civilians and the violent, anti-democratic leadership of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Some argue that such calls upon Kyiv blame the victim; others say it is not feasible to help Donbas residents until Russia withdraws. But proactive outreach to conflict-affected citizens is in Ukraine’s interest. By showing these people that it prioritises their safety and prosperity, Kyiv can lay the groundwork for peacefully restoring its territorial integrity."

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"Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East"

Die International Crisis Group empfiehlt den USA und Russland, Verhandlungen zwischen den syrischen Kurden, der Assad-Regierung und der Türkei zu unterstützen, um eine Destabilisierung des Nordostens Syriens zu verhindern. "A precipitous U.S. pullout from north-eastern Syria could unleash competing forces as they scramble for advantage. These include the U.S.-supported People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish group, the regime of Bashar al-Assad, backed by its allies, and Turkey. Without a prior negotiated agreement, the risk of escalating conflict could rise. (...) The best chance at averting chaos in north-eastern Syria is through decentralisation negotiated among the YPG, Damascus and Ankara, backed by Washington and Moscow. Washington should neither withdraw precipitously nor wed its presence to countering Iran. It should instead provide the YPG the time, space and leverage needed for negotiations."

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"Iraq’s Paramilitary Groups: The Challenge of Rebuilding a Functioning State"

Die International Crisis Group macht in dieser Studie darauf aufmerksam, dass es im Irak bisher keinen Plan gebe, die paramilitärischen Gruppen, die sich im Kampf gegen den IS ausgezeichnet hätten und heute nahezu autonom agierten, unter staatliche Kontrolle zu bringen. "If Hashd fighters are not effectively demobilised and integrated into formal security structures or given civilian jobs, the destructive pattern established under Prime Minister Maliki could easily continue. His sectarian politics and concentration of power, as well as the Sunni Arab insurgent response and the weakness of the army and other security forces, helped ISIS return to Iraq from Syria and rampage through the north. Stepping into the void, the Hashd became instant heroes. But, with the worst of the fight over, will they stand down or stay on, benefiting from the state’s enduring weakness while further undermining it?"

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"Russia Should Go Beyond Humanitarian Corridors in Syria"

Sam Heller kritisiert das russische Angebot der Einrichtung "humanitärer Korridore" für Zivilisten, die aus Ost-Ghouta fliehen möchten, als unzureichend. Wenn Russland seinen Status als Vermittler in Syrien stärken will, sollte es sich im UN-Sicherheitsrat für eine Verhandlungslösung im Streit um die Rebellenhochburg und für den freien Zugang von Hilfsorganisationen zum Flüchtlingslager in Rukban an der Grenze zu Jordanien einsetzen, so sein Vorschlag. "Humanitarian corridors as proposed by Russia do not offer solutions for either Eastern Ghouta or Rukban. Yet both areas present opportunities for Russia to work toward something genuinely stabilising and life-saving, if Russia is willing to sway its ally in Damascus. Pushing for a full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2401, which could provide an opening for a negotiated resolution in Eastern Ghouta, and securing humanitarian access to Rukban would greatly enhance Russia’s credibility as a mediator in Syria and, critically, spare more bloodshed."

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"Averting Disaster in Syria’s Idlib Province"

Die absehbare Verschärfung der Kämpfe zwischen syrischen Regierungstruppen und Rebellen um die Idlib-Provinz könnte in einer humanitären Katastrophe münden, warnt die International Crisis Group. Bei ihren Empfehlungen richten sich die Experten vor allem an die Türkei: "A regime offensive into the heart of Idlib may be imminent. It would likely involve aerial bombardment and a battle against thousands of militants in densely populated areas, creating another humanitarian catastrophe and prompting an exodus toward the Turkish border, further straining Turkey’s ability to cope with large numbers of Syria refugees. (...) Turkey should deploy along the front line in cooperation with Russia, which should press the Syrian regime to delay, or even desist from, its assault. This would buy time for renewed Turkish efforts to curtail transnational jihadist influence within HTS in favour of militants more open to de-escalation and compromise."

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"The Iran Nuclear Deal at Two: A Status Report"

Zwei Jahre nach der Unterzeichnung des internationalen Atomabkommens mit dem Iran zieht die International Crisis Group ein ausführliches Zwischenfazit. "The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is working, but is at risk from longstanding U.S.-Iran rivalry, Trump administration policies and Tehran’s upsurge of activism in the Middle East. The deal’s other signatories should encourage the U.S. not to withdraw and consider ways to sustain the deal, regardless of U.S. actions and as long as Iran remains committed to it."

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"10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018"

Robert Malley nennt zehn Konflikte und drei generelle Trends, die in der internationalen Politik des neuen Jahres seiner Ansicht nach eine wichtige Rolle spielen werden. "The first trend — U.S. retrenchment — has been in the making for years, hastened by the 2003 Iraq War that, intended to showcase American power, did more to demonstrate its limitations. (...) The second trend, the growing militarization of foreign policy, also represents continuity as much as departure. (...) The third trend is the erosion of multilateralism. (...) On matters of international peace and security in particular, multilateralism has been manhandled for years. Animosity between Russia and Western powers has rendered the United Nations Security Council impotent on major conflicts since at least the 2011 Libya intervention; that animosity now infects debates on most crises on the council’s agenda. Trump is not the only leader emphasizing bilateral arrangements and ad hoc alliances above multilateral diplomacy and intergovernmental institutions."

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"Standoff in Zimbabwe as Struggle to Succeed Mugabe Deepens"

Präsident Robert Mugabe habe die politische Krise in Simbabwe mit der Entlassung von Vizepräsident Emmerson Mnangagwa entscheidend verschärft, schreibt Piers Pigou in seiner kurz vor dem aktuellen Militäraufmarsch veröffentlichten Analyse des Konflikts um die Nachfolge des 93-jährigen Machthabers. "The powerful vice president had become a serious rival and threat to the physically weakened but still astute Mugabe. (...) Mnangagwa’s support within the security sector, which is crucial to ZANU-PF’s continued rule, supposedly made him too big to fall. Evidently, this was not the case. But his removal has lifted the lid on growing discontent."

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"The Social Roots of Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso’s North"

Die zunehmende radikalislamische Gewalt im westafrikanischen Burkina Faso habe nicht nur religiöse und sicherheitspolitische, sondern auch tiefsitzende lokale und soziale Ursachen, die bei der Konfliktlösung unbedingt beachtet werden sollten, mahnt die International Crisis Group in diesem ausführlichen Lagebericht. "Long spared by the Sahel’s armed groups, Burkina Faso now faces increasingly frequent and lethal attacks in its north. Although this insecurity in large part is an extension of the Malian conflict, the crisis has strong local dynamics. Ansarul Islam, the group behind much of the violence, which often is portrayed as tied to jihadists elsewhere in the Sahel, is first and foremost a movement challenging the prevailing social order in Soum province, in Burkina’s Sahel region. While military operations reasserted the state’s control in the spring of 2017, the crisis is far from over."

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"Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar"

Die International Crisis Group empfiehlt der Regierung in Myanmar, die Ursachen des öffentlichen Zuspruchs für radikale buddhistische Nationalisten ernst zu nehmen. "Since the start of the political liberalisation in 2011, Myanmar has been troubled by an upsurge in extreme Buddhist nationalism, anti-Muslim hate speech and deadly communal violence, not only in Rakhine state but across the country. (...) In Myanmar’s new, more democratic era, the debate over the proper place of Buddhism, and the role of political leadership in protecting it, is being recast. Given the deep, mutually legitimising historical relationship between the state and the clergy, this debate, which is unlikely to end soon, cannot be seen only in terms of politics and nationalism, divorced from moral and spiritual issues. The government should take control of the narrative by reframing, on its terms, the place of Buddhism in a more democratic context and setting out its own positive vision."

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"How Libya’s Fezzan Became Europe’s New Border"

Viele Migranten aus Subsahara-Afrika durchqueren bei ihrem Weg an die Mittelmeerküste die Provinz Fessan in Südwesten Libyens. Einige europäische Länder versuchen nun der International Crisis Group zufolge, die Region wirtschaftlich zu stabilisieren. "Several European countries, chiefly Italy, hope that stabilising the situation in the Fezzan and reviving its economy will help curb migrant flows. The idea has merit, but this will be no easy task and cannot succeed without also addressing the broader crises gripping the country. Any European effort to address governance, economic and security problems in the Fezzan should be coordinated with the internationally recognised government and linked to wider, nationwide initiatives to tackle issues that plague the country as a whole."

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"China’s Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan"

Die Entsendung eines chinesischen Kontingents von UN-Blauhelmen nach Südsudan sei Ausdruck einer vorsichtigen Abkehr von der bisherigen strikten Ablehnung jeglicher Interventionen in anderen Staaten, stellt ein neuer Bericht der International Crisis Group fest. "As Chinese overseas investment and business links grow in scope and depth, Beijing faces increasing threats to its citizens, economic interests and international reputation. That, in turn, has confronted China with the inherent limitations of its traditional hands-off foreign policy posture. (...) China might still oppose interference in others’ affairs, but its definition has become more elastic. (...) direct involvement can be justified when civil conflicts cross borders, threaten regional security and stability or create large humanitarian crises, and when regional and local authorities and the UN have granted their imprimatur. In such cases, China tends to support political dialogue without imposing outcomes, save when those directly relate to the safety of its citizens or investments."

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"Counter-terrorism Pitfalls: What the U.S. Fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda Should Avoid"

Ein neuer Bericht der International Crisis Group beschäftigt sich mit der Antiterror-Strategie von US-Präsident Trump. Die US-Regierung sollte darauf achten, bei der Bekämpfung des "Islamischen Staates" und Al-Qaida nicht die eigentlichen Ursachen der Entstehung der Terrorgruppen zu begünstigen, so die zentrale Empfehlung der Experten. "The risks include angering local populations whose support is critical, picking untimely or counter-productive fights and neglecting the vital role diplomacy and foreign aid must play in national security policy. Most importantly, aggressive counter-terrorism operations should not inadvertently fuel other conflicts and deepen the disorder that both ISIS and al-Qaeda exploit."

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"Hizbollah’s Syria Conundrum"

Die Hisbollah habe ihr zentrales Ziel im syrischen Bürgerkrieg erreicht und die Assad-Regierung vor dem Kollaps bewahrt, stellt die International Crisis Group in diesem Bericht fest. Allerdings fehle der Organisation bisher ein Konzept für Friedensverhandlungen zur Beendigung des Krieges. "Avoiding being sucked into a quagmire requires negotiating a settlement that has buy-in from key countries that back the opposition, as well as (with Russia) imposing the requisite compromises on Damascus. This report proposes preliminary steps Iran and Hizbollah could take in that direction, including recognising non-jihadist rebels; initiating talks with them on whatever common ground they can find; lowering sectarian rhetoric; and refraining from new offensives against opposition-held areas so as to preserve a non-jihadist foe capable of enforcing a deal, if and when one is reached."

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"Yemen’s al-Qaeda: Expanding the Base"

Die Al-Qaida in Jemen habe ihren Einfluss durch den andauernden Krieg der von Saudi-Arabien angeführten Koalition gegen die Huthi-Rebellen deutlich ausweiten können, schreibt die International Crisis Group in einem neuen Lagebericht. "As the country’s civil war has escalated and become regionalised, its local franchise, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy. Reversing this trend requires ending the conflict that set it in motion. This means securing an overarching political settlement that has buy-in from the country’s diverse constituencies, including Sunni Islamists."

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"In the Shadow of 'No': Peace after Colombia’s Plebiscite"

Die International Crisis Group analysiert die Erfolgsaussichten des Friedensabkommens zwischen den FARC-Rebellen und der Regierung in Kolumbien. Das größte Problem sei, dass es immer noch keine breite politische Unterstützung für das Abkommen gebe. Nach den Wahlen 2018 könne es deshalb erneut unter Druck geraten. "Peace with the guerrillas is again set to polarise parties and candidates in elections in 2018. A swift, effective start to implementation of the accord is needed to reverse public wariness and political resistance. Victory in those elections for opponents of the peace agreement would be the harbinger of major challenges to the deal’s sustainability. (...) Over the next year, successful implementation will be the best way to bolster popular and political support and make it politically costly for opponents to reverse the peace process."

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"Implementing the Iran Nuclear Deal: A Status Report"

Die International Crisis Group warnt sowohl die kommende US-Regierung als auch die Führung in Teheran in dieser Bestandsaufnahme zur Umsetzung des internationalen Atomabkommens mit dem Iran davor, sich vom Vertrag abzuwenden. Der Vertrag habe bisher sein unmittelbares Ziel erreicht und den Weg zu einem iranischen Atomwaffenprogramm versperrt. Andere erhoffte Effekte hätten sich dagegen noch nicht eingestellt. "Improving the JCPOA while enforcing it would require a quiet dialogue in which both sides recognised one another’s security concerns and core interests and communicated their nuclear and regional red lines. One outcome might be an addendum strengthening some JCPOA nuclear provisions or adding non-nuclear ones in return for rolling back the U.S. primary embargo. If that is not attainable, the U.S. might focus on non-Iran-specific arrangements, including regionalising or even universalising some of the JCPOA’s restrictions or transparency measures. On a practical level, Washington should keep communication channels with Tehran open and give its treasury department more resources to unwind sanctions. Iran should strictly adhere to the JCPOA and stop using nuclear or regional brinksmanship as leverage."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

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