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19.02.2020

"Syrian army makes gains in Idlib, opposition blames Turkey"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/syrian-regime-offensive-turkey-army.html

Die Rebellen in Idlib machen die Türkei für die militärischen Erfolge der syrischen Regierungstruppen in der Provinz verantwortlich, berichtet Khaled al-Khateb. "The balance of power has been greatly tipped in favor of the Syrian regime in the latest battles, given its sophisticated weapons and air support. The opposition, on the other hand, lacks capabilities, arms and ammunition. Ankara condemned the attacks and threatened to retaliate but does not seem to have taken a clear decision to provide the opposition factions with substantial military support (…). Yahya Mayo, the media coordinator of the Syrian National Army (SNA) of the Free Syrian Army, told Al-Monitor, 'The poor reactions of the Turkish army toward the advance of the regime forces in Idlib encourage the latter to keep progressing, disregarding the Turkish posts, which were ineffective in stopping them. When we were being bombarded [within the de-escalation zones], the Turkish response was limited.'"

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14.02.2020

"Egypt builds a wall on border with Gaza"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/egypt-builds-new-barrier-to-boost-border-security-gaza
-strip.html

Die ägyptische Armee hat Berichten zufolge im Januar mit dem Bau einer Mauer zwischen der Sinai-Halbinsel und dem palästinensischen Gazastreifen begonnen. "The recent developments on the border coincided with US President Donald Trump announcing Jan. 28 his Mideast peace plan, which assigns to the Palestinians new lands adjacent to Sinai in Israel. Mohammed Abu Harbeed, an expert on security affairs at the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, told Al-Monitor, 'The construction of this barrier was highly coordinated with Hamas and the Gaza Interior Ministry. It is designed to bring about better security on [both] sides of the border.' He explained that all of the security measures Egyptian authorities made, including building the barrier, serve the interests of both sides. Ending contraband, including the smuggling of drugs from Sinai to the Gaza Strip, and preventing the infiltration of extremists from and into the Gaza Strip are what Hamas seeks as well, Abu Harbeed added."

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03.02.2020

"Israeli left paralyzed over Trump’s peace plan"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/israel-palestinians-us-barack-obama-labor-party-leftwi
ng.html

Die israelische Linke wirke nach der Präsentation des Nahost-Friedensplans der USA paralysiert, stellt die frühere Knesset-Abgeordnete Ksenia Svetlova fest. "In the days since the public presentation of Trump's plan, the left has made no effort to challenge it, to promote a real peace agenda, to offer new, alternative ideas or unfurl a peace-directed diplomatic vision while simultaneously rejecting the dangerous, hallucinatory ideas in the so-called deal of the century. Knesset members of the center-left have limited themselves to vague generalities that mean little to the Israeli voter despite many of them being given an open mike to speak their minds and promote a peace agenda. They did not call on the public to come out and reject the plan. (…) Now needs to be the finest hour of the Israeli left. An American president has presented an extremely problematic diplomatic program that could lead Israel into the abyss of a binational state, proposes the transfer of Israel’s Arab citizens, and in essence, eternalizes the conflict with the Palestinians. If the left feels that Trump's program endangers Israel’s future, why not say so directly, boldly and honestly?"

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02.02.2020

"Turkish-Russian alignment in Syria faces moment of truth"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/turkey-syria-russia-ankara-moscow-faces-moment-truth.h
tml

Die türkisch-russischen Beziehungen stehen in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz vor einer ernsten Belastungsprobe, meint Metin Gurcan. Moskau unterstütze die Offensive der syrischen Regierungstruppen, obwohl Putin Erdogan einen Waffenstillstand versprochen habe. Ankara könnte reagieren, indem es erneut eine stärkere Kooperation mit den USA ins Auge fasst. "There is military logic, indeed, in Turkey moving closer to the United States should its rift with Russia in northwestern Syria deepen. Slowing down the Russian-backed regime forces in Idlib would serve US interests, too, because the longer Damascus remains busy in the northwest, the longer it will delay military moves into the northeast, especially the oil fields in Deir ez-Zor and Rmelan. As power dynamics shift from the negotiating table to the battlefield, another card for Ankara would be to supply more sophisticated weapons to the armed groups under its patronage. (…) Meanwhile, four of Turkey’s 12 military observation posts in the Idlib region remain besieged by regime forces. Five other outposts could be surrounded within weeks, if the regime offensives continue unabated."

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30.01.2020

"Intel: Why Russia’s warming ties with Israel may lead Moscow to embrace Trump’s peace plan"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/russia-trump-peace-plan-putin.html

Die verbesserten Beziehungen Russlands zu Israel könnten Moskau Maxim A. Suchkov zufolge dazu bewegen, den umstrittenen Nahost-Friedensplan der USA unter bestimmten Umständen zu unterstützen. "Until recently, Russia had been extremely skeptical about the Trump proposal. (…) Following Trump’s release of the peace plan, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was less dismissive. (…) Some policy experts in Moscow interpreted Russia’s cautious change in tone as a sign that Moscow is willing to jump on board if it finds an opening for itself. Well aware of the complexities of the plan, the divide it has created among Arab elites and its general dismissal by the Arab street, Moscow has adopted a wait-and-see approach. If the plan is rejected and fails, Russia won’t look like the one that torpedoed it. If it goes through, which is unlikely without some Russian and, perhaps, European engagement, Moscow will have a stake in the process and won’t feel sidelined by the Trump initiative."

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29.01.2020

"Intel: Erdogan abandons balancing act in Syria, targets Russia"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/intel-erdogan-turkey-balancing-syria-criticize-russia-
idlib.html

Der türkische Präsident Erdogan habe Russland aufgrund der Offensive syrischer Regierungstruppen in der Idlib-Provinz zum ersten Mal seit langem offen kritisiert, berichtet Ezgi Akin. "Turkey has avoided directly cliticizing Moscow until now, given its deepening isolation in the current political climate. Erdogan’s statement came at a time when Russian side is said to be considering backing Turkey’s position in the energy rivalry over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean to convince Ankara to soften its position against the Syrian Kurdish groups. (…) Following Erdogan’s statements, the ball is now in Moscow’s court. Syrian government forces backed by intense Russian airstrikes have made significant advances over the last week and captured several towns to the south of Idlib. Two of Turkey’s 12 observation posts set up as part of the Sochi deal have been under siege and the fate of the rest remains uncertain."

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28.01.2020

"Abbas caught between rock and hard place as Trump unveils Mideast plan"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/abbas-response-trump-peace-plan-mideast.html

Der palästinensische Journalist Daoud Kuttab fürchtet, dass die palästinensische Führung um Präsident Abbas durch den Nahost-Friedenplan Donald Trumps in die Enge getrieben worden sei. "Diana Bhutto, a former legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team, described in much sharper language the choices facing Abbas. 'In the past, President Abbas has been reluctant to do what is needed to hold Israel accountable for its actions,' she said. 'If he decides to change and pursue a strategy of holding Israel accountable, then he has no choice but to begin supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and to suspend security coordination with Israel.' (…) The choices available to the Palestinian leadership are not easy. While the Palestinian side has a strong and effective negative power in saying no to policies and ideas that are presented, the latest effort by the United States might not be easy to overcome. Although the Trump plan reflects his support for the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, what is worrisome is that such a detailed plan, with its many gifts to Israel, will become the new reference point. It risks prompting a shift away from international resolutions to a pro-Israel plan that might result in the annexation of more Palestinian land. This is what makes the Palestinian leadership's position so difficult. Strong national unity and a willingness to make even more sacrifices are needed."

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21.01.2020

"Russia’s 'leading from behind' strategy on Libya"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/russia-leading-from-behind-libya-strategy-putin-german
y.html

Maxim A. Suchkov analysiert die Hintergründe der russischen Libyen-Politik und schreibt, dass Moskau offenbar bereit sei, aus dem Hintergrund zu agieren und Europa die Führungsrolle bei der Lösung des Konflikts zu überlassen. "(…) whether it is its Europe-oriented or profit-driven approach, Russia has entered another conflict in the Middle East North Africa region with its goal being to have its best diplomatic performance — first with the Europeans, then with the Middle Easterners. Unlike in Syria, however, in Libya Moscow appears ready to play a 'secondary' role, allowing the Europeans to take a more public stance and the involved Middle Eastern states to do the main job of taming their proxies on the ground. At the same time, both the European and regional powers would still have to turn to Russia to have the results of their work delivered to the negotiating table and worked into a final agreement. In a way, it’s Russia’s own version of the strategy of 'leading from behind.'"

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20.01.2020

"Turkey’s Libya strategy: cure has become worse than disease"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/turkey-russia-libya-berlin-summit-ankara-caused-side-e
ffects.html

Die Abschlusserklärung der Berliner Libyen-Konferenz widerspreche der harten Machtpolitik, die die Türkei seit einiger Zeit in Libyen betreibe, stellt Fehim Tastekin fest. "Turkey’s hard power tactics on Libya perhaps paved the way for the Berlin summit by provoking the international community to take action against Turkey’s unilateral moves, but the final communique that the foreign powers agreed on during the conference are conflicting with Ankara’s interests and military plans. The provision that envisages sanctions on parties that break the United Nations arms embargo is effectively blocking Turkey’s military venture. (…) Why has Turkey’s 'tension strategy' not yielded the results Erdogan has promised? Several factors have surfaced disrupting Turkey’s plans. Apart from international objections, Libya’s neighbors have been particularly annoyed by Turkey’s interventionism. (…) The only positive outcome of Turkey’s 'tension strategy' was paving the way for the Berlin meeting on Jan. 19. Turkey’s most important objective is to make the maritime deal permanent, yet the result of the Berlin summit actually has made it more difficult."

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17.01.2020

"Hamas-Fatah division deepens with Soleimani’s assassination"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/palestine-gaza-ramallah-soleimani-different-opinions-i
ran-us.html

Die gezielte Tötung von General Soleimani habe die Spannungen zwischen den beiden Palästinenserfaktionen Fatah und Hamas vertieft, berichtet Ahmad Melhem. "For Sari Orabi, a Palestinian expert on Islamist factions, this disagreement among Palestinians regarding Soleimani’s assassination was triggered by the positions of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, specifically Haniyeh's speech at the funeral in Tehran. Orabi explained to Al-Monitor that this difference was mostly felt among Hamas members, for several reasons, most notably the movement's position on the Syrian crisis and Iran's interference in it. Iran has supported the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 'Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Hamas’ rhetoric has always been in support of the Syrian people and against Iran’s interference in Syria through the [proxy] resistance movements,' he said, adding, 'To this day, the debate has been growing within Hamas about Iran. This culminated when Hamas mended its relationship with Iran. Hamas’ internal feud about Iran floats to the surface with every meeting between Hamas leaders and Iran and every press statement by Hamas leaders praising Iran.'"

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11.01.2020

"Iraqi PM quietly working to keep US troops in country"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/iraq-pm-abdul-mahdi-keep-us-troops.html

Der irakische Premierminister Adel Abdul Mahdi bemühe sich hinter den Kulissen darum, eine weitere Stationierung der US-Truppen trotz der parlamentarischen Abzugsforderung zu ermöglichen, berichtet Jack Detsch. "Iraq’s caretaker prime minister privately does not want US troops to withdraw, several sources familiar with the situation told Al-Monitor, though Adel Abdul Mahdi publicly backed a recent parliamentary vote that urged the Donald Trump administration to exit the war-torn country. Despite calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send an American delegation to Iraq to negotiate the withdrawal of US troops in a readout of a Friday call, Abdul Mahdi is trying to find a way to keep an American presence in the country while attempting to placate Iran-backed militia leaders who want to force 5,200 US troops out, a source familiar with the situation on the ground said."

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03.01.2020

"How Russia is reading the killing of Qasem Soleimaini"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/russia-soleimani-iran-us-strikes-iraq.html

In Russland werde das amerikanische Attentat auf den iranischen General Soleimaini vor allem im Kontext des Konflikts in Syrien beurteilt, berichtet Maxim A. Suchkov. "In Moscow, the news raised eyebrows of policymakers and diplomats as Russia has been fighting for more than four years now in Syria alongside Iran and the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. (…) [Soleimaini´s] meetings with the top Russian military intelligence leadership gained him a reputation in Moscow of being a shrewd strategic thinker and doer. The two primary takeaways for Moscow from the killing of Soleimani so far are whether Tehran is able to find an adequate replacement for him and who will now steer a dozen militia groups operating in Syria. Konstantin Bogdanov, a fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Al-Monitor, 'Soleimani was in charge of Iranian military and clandestine operations across the Middle East. But one of his prime tasks was to coordinate and manage rather loose and diverse groups of Iranian militias fighting in Syria on the side of President Assad. Soleimani made a name for himself as an effective and a reliable leader with whom the Russian military could solve practical issues on the ground.'"

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03.01.2020

"Israel’s security chiefs fear possible Iran war"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/israel-iran-us-iraq-qassem-soleimani-benjamin-netanyah
u.html

In israelischen Sicherheitskreisen sei der Tod des iranischen Generals Soleimaini mit "Befriedigung" aufgenommen worden, berichtet Ben Caspit. Zugleich seien triumphale Gesten vermieden worden, da jedem klar sei, dass sich die gesamte Region nun in großer Kriegsgefahr befinde. "For the past 20 years, and perhaps in all of modern history, Gen. Soleimani was Israel’s most bitter enemy. He was perceived in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv — the prime minister's office and Defense Ministry — not only as the operations officer of Iran’s global terror network and the brain behind the idea of the Shiite axis from Tehran to Tartus, he was also the great ideologue of the Islamic revolution, the heart of the resistance and the one who pushed the Revolutionary Guard with all his might toward the Israeli border, Damascus and Beirut. In closed-door meetings over the past year, senior Israeli defense officials often explained that the war Israel was waging was not against Iran, but against Soleimani. Israeli and Western intelligence assessments claimed that Soleimani was not reporting to his superiors on his plans and not always telling Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei the truth, and suggested that without him, the spirit of the Iranian revolution would be far more moderate. (…) Israel’s intelligence effort from now on will focus on determining whether someone will be found to fill the huge military shoes Soleimani left behind. The prevailing initial assessment among senior Israeli defense officials is that a replacement for Soleimani will not be found."

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29.12.2019

"Iraq on brink of abyss: What happens next?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/12/iraq-iran-us-pmu-protests.html

Der Irak stehe aufgrund der aktuellen politischen Krise vor einem Kollaps, stellt Ali Mamouri in seiner Analyse fest. "Iraq's political crisis is getting increasingly deeper while the security situation is steadily declining, pushing the country toward further uncertainty and possible political collapse. What are the conflicting forces and sources of the crisis, and what are the possible scenarios for Iraq's immediate future? (…) Four main forces are actively operating against each other in Iraq, shaping the political situation and deepening the ongoing crisis: The first force is the protesters who have steadfastly remained in the streets, asking for fundamental change and even raising the ceiling of their demands. (…) The second force is Iran, which is increasing escalatory moves against the United States and the protesters. (…) The third force is the United States, which finally lost patience with Iranian proxies in Iraq and launched strikes against Kataib Hezbollah on Dec. 29. (…) The fourth force is the political parties, which seem unable to manage the crisis and reach an agreement between conflicting forces in a way that reconciles all sides, at least relatively. (…) The above all indicate that Iraq is moving steadily toward a greater uncertainty that could affect the entire region unless the internal and external forces involved in Iraq reach an agreement relatively acceptable for all parties."

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16.12.2019

"Will Libya become Turkey’s next Syria?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/12/turkey-is-libya-becoming-ankaras-second-syria.html

Metin Gurcan erläutert die Details der neuen Kooperation der Türkei mit der international anerkannten libyschen Regierung. Zu der Zusammenarbeit soll auch die türkische Erschließung von Öl- und Gasvorkommen vor der libyschen Küste gehören, die allerdings von einem Territorialstreit mit Griechenland und Ägypten begleite werde. "(…) Ankara is ready to conduct deep sea drilling with the GNA or by itself in Libya's EEZ and is considering procuring a third ship for such exploration. (…) If necessary, Ankara is prepared to use gunboat diplomacy around Cyprus and south of Crete in the Libyan EEZ to defend the rights it now asserts based on the Nov. 27 agreement. Ankara claims to be ready to dispatch a task force of one frigate, several patrol boats and submarines. At the same time, it is open to negotiations with Greece and Egypt to search for a diplomatic solution to problems stemming from the boundary in the maritime agreement. In short, Ankara’s approach to the Eastern Mediterranean is that with gunboat diplomacy and its military prowess, it won’t allow the hatching of a game plan that sidelines Turkey."

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06.12.2019

"Intel: How US just contradicted its own justification for arming the Saudis in Yemen"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/12/intel-state-department-saudi-war-yemen-justification.h
tml

Ein leitender Mitarbeiter des US-Außenministeriums hat den Huthi-Rebellen in Jemen in einem Pressegespräch die Unabhängigkeit vom Iran bescheinigt. Bryant Harris schreibt, dass damit die Begründung für die amerikanische Unterstützung des von Saudi-Arabien angeführten Kriegs in Jemen entkräftet worden sei. "'The Houthis’ de-escalation proposal, which the Saudis are responding to, shows that Iran clearly does not speak for the Houthis, nor have the best interests of the Yemeni people at heart,' the department’s Iran coordinator Brian Hook told reporters at the State Department. 'Iran is trying to prolong Yemen’s civil war to project power.' (…) Former US diplomats insist that the Houthis’ independence from Iran was always well known. 'Look, we have said all along that the Houthis are pursuing Houthi objectives,' Gerald Feierstein, who served as ambassador to Yemen from 2010 to 2013, told Al-Monitor this week. 'And the fact that they cooperate with the Iranians, and the Iranians help the Houthis because the Iranians see advantage in using the Houthis to pressure Saudi Arabia, all of that is true. But the Houthis have never been proxies of Iran. They never followed Iranian leadership guidance.'"

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02.12.2019

"Report: China, Russia worried about militants' return from Syria"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/12/report-china-russia-concerns-return-militants-syria.ht
ml

Nicht nur in Europa, auch in China und Russland sehe man einer Rückkehr einheimischer IS-Anhänger aus Irak und Syrien mit einiger Sorge entgegen, berichtet Jack Detsch. "The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s report indicates that Beijing in particular is worried that an influx of fighters returning home from the Syrian battlefield could sow insurgent activity along critical stretches of planned Chinese infrastructure investment. The report said the prospect of radicalization among members of the Muslim Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region 'is of particular concern to the Chinese government because the region is a crucial hub' for China's Belt and Road Initiative, which has used railway, port, and construction investments to woo Middle Eastern nations. The initiative has stoked concerns at the Pentagon about threats to American military technology. Chinese officials have claimed that up to 5,000 Uighurs are fighting in Syria, according to the report, but those figures have not been verified by American government agencies or independent experts, who indicate the actual number of foreign fighters may be lower. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has also expressed fears that as many as 4,000 Russians and 5,000 Central Asians have left to fight for the Islamic State, which has continued to conduct insurgent attacks, including drive-by shootings in eastern Syria, even as the Pentagon has insisted that the militant group’s self-described territorial caliphate has been eliminated."

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26.11.2019

"IS designates Turkey as its next base"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/turkey-syria-iraq-are-isis-cells-regrouping-in-country
.html

Fehim Tastekin zufolge deutet einiges darauf hin, dass der "Islamische Staat" die Türkei als Standort für die Reorganisation der Terrormiliz ausgewählt habe. "The killings of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir so close to the Turkish border were clear signs that IS' next destination was Turkey. There are, of course, other pertinent developments. The arrests of so many IS members by Turkish security forces are another sign of IS' intention to create cells in the country. Iraqi intelligence sources have provided solid information that the brains of IS have moved to Turkey. The United States has tracked the jewelry shops and foreign currency exchanges used by IS in money transfers. (…) haphazard policies and flawed legal processes enable IS members to escape, hide and move as they want in Turkey. IS has further obtained more room to maneuver due to Operation Peace Spring and the subsequent deterioration of stability east of the Euphrates. The Pentagon’s latest report acknowledges this reality. According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, IS found the opportunity to restructure after the latest Turkish intervention."

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25.11.2019

"IDF hustles to prevent Syria from following in Lebanon's footsteps"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/israel-syria-iran-benjamin-netanyahu-security-idf-elec
tions.html

Das israelische Militär versuche derzeit, mit gezielten Luftangriffen auf Ziele in Syrien zu verhindern, dass das Land eine dauerhafte Basis für pro-iranische Milizen und so zu einem zweiten Libanon wird, schreibt Ben Caspit. "'Assad is facing a dilemma,' a senior security source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. 'On the one hand, he is not truly happy with the Iranian activity in his territory and the fact that it gets him into trouble with Israel. On the other hand he still needs the Iranians and their boots on the ground. We will use this dilemma in the future in order for him to understand the Israeli message and seriousness about preventing Syria’s transformation into a second Lebanon. Hezbollah will not be replicated in Syria. This is a strategic Israeli decision and it is time everyone understood it.'"

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18.11.2019

"IS kills priests in Syria as Turkish-backed fighters express IS sympathies"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/islamic-state-flags-turkey-operation-opposition-factio
ns.html

Im Nordosten Syriens sind am 11. November zwei Priester der armenisch‑katholischen Kirche von IS-Terroristen erschossen worden. Lamar Erkendi berichtet zudem über Hinweise auf IS-Sympathien unter den Ankara-treuen Milizen in der Region. "The Armenian National Committee of America said it looked to President Donald Trump to publicly press Turkish President Erdogan for an answer regarding the IS murder of two Catholic Armenian priests in a region of Syria that has fallen increasingly under the control of Ankara’s allies. (…) a 30-year-old man who managed to escape from his hometown of Ras al-Ain 20 days into the start of the Turkish operation, (…) told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that he saw pro-Turkey factions in Operation Spring of Peace hoist black IS flags at the autonomous administration buildings inside Ras al-Ain as they chanted IS slogans. 'As I cautiously wandered around a city neighborhood in Ras al-Ain to buy bread, I saw gunmen with long beards threaten passersby with knives. 'You, Kurds, will be slaughtered!' they said,' the man added. In a mosque in Ras al-Ain, Abu Islam al-Dairi, a Salafi leader in the National Army, was reported to have issued a fatwa during a Friday sermon whereby slaughtering and killing Kurds is allowed, saying Kurds are like pigs and dogs."

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13.11.2019

"Islamic Jihad leader's elimination serves both Netanyahu, Hamas"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/israel-islamic-jihad-gaza-rocket-attacks-bennett-gantz
.html

Mit der gezielten Tötung eines Anführers des "Islamischen Dschihads" habe Israel der Hamas in die Hände gespielt, meint Ben Caspit. Es sei auffällig, dass sich die Hamas bisher nicht an den Vergeltungsschlägen des "Islamischen Dschihad" beteiligt habe. "For all intents and purposes, Netanyahu and Hamas are sort of allies. As of Wednesday morning, Hamas is not taking part in the rounds of fighting. Islamic Jihad launched 220 rockets as of the time of this writing alone, while Hamas sits on the fence and limits itself to verbally condemning Israel. Abu al-Ata a problem not only for Israel (and Egypt), but also for Hamas. He was a violent, belligerent and uncontrollable element, and no Hamas tears will be shed for him. Netanyahu and Hamas share almost the exact same interests: They want to preserve the differentiation between the Strip and the West Bank in order to perpetuate the deadlock in the political/diplomatic sphere and preserve the 'no partner' argument. Hamas wants to strengthen its regime to improve the living conditions of the Gaza public, and to prepare to conquer the West Bank. As of now, all these interests converge at the same point. (…) Even should Hamas unwillingly join the fighting in the coming days, that at least 30 hours passed in which Hamas held back and let Islamic Jihad wear itself out against the Israeli war machine is truly unprecedented."

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07.11.2019

"Is the PKK worried by the YPG's growing popularity?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/turkey-syria-pkk-worried-by-growing-popularity-of-ypg-
kurds.html

Die gewachsene internationale Popularität der syrischen Kurdenmiliz YPG wird von der verbündeten PKK in der Türkei einigen Beobachtern zufolge mit wachsendem Misstrauen beobachtet. "A Kurdish researcher who spoke to Al-Monitor said that the PKK command in Qandil is finding it hard to swallow the success and flourishing reputations of Abdi and Ilham Ahmed, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council. (…) The PKK is known for its strong internal discipline. Personal popularity is not appreciated. Also, as a leftist organization, it is skeptical of the United States. The success story of Rojava and its emergence as a driver of the quest for an independent Kurdistan supports this assessment. (…) A frequent subject of debate is what ideology is dominant within the PYD and YPG: Kurdish ethno-nationalism or a leftist ideology. The radical camp in the organization defends the view that the global revolutionary camp is centered in the Middle East; the Kurdish people are the pioneers of the revolutionary process; and their political party is the PKK. Some quarters think that leftist radical ideas have damaged the Rojava experience and the PYD and YPG-inspired quest."

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04.11.2019

"Baghdadi's death complicates Turkey's plan in Idlib"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/turkey-syria-baghdadis-death-complicates-ankara-idlib-
plans.html

Die US-Operation gegen den IS-Anführer al-Baghdadi habe die Position Ankaras im Norden Syriens verkompliziert, schreibt der türkische Kolumnist Fehim Tastekin. Das US-Militär habe klargemacht, dass es im Kampf gegen den IS auch künftig auf die Kooperation mit den syrischen Kurden setze. "Baghdadi's death — particularly the location of the raid — turned the tables in favor of the Kurds, who have long said that Turkey does not effectively fight IS militants in regions under its control. (…) The operations indicate that US forces will continue to pursue jihadi cells with the help of intelligence provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Redur Xelil, a spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), confirmed that intelligence operations will intensify against IS sleeper cells. (…) Turkey’s integrity in the war on IS once again comes under suspicion. Most importantly, the Donald Trump administration’s decision to not use the Incirlik base and to not share operational details demonstrates that Washington does not trust its NATO ally. This alone is a great source of stress for Ankara. The next question Ankara will likely face is, who are the Turkey-backed forces in Syria? Furthermore, the SDF’s contribution in the raids undermines the legitimacy of Turkey’s claim that the Syrian Kurdish groups are terrorists."

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28.10.2019

"US set for risky IS mission with leader’s death in Syria"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/us-risky-mission-syria-is-leader-death-baghdadi.html

Die Operation einer US-Spezialeinheit zur Ergreifung des IS-Anführers Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi könnte Jack Detsch zufolge exemplarisch für die künftige riskante US-Strategie zur Bekämpfung der Terrormiliz sein. Es sei allerdings fraglich, wie lange sich die USA dabei auf die Kooperation mit der arabisch-kurdischen SDF-Miliz vor Ort verlassen können. "The main thrust of the effort that took Baghdadi’s life came from an American military base in Erbil, which officials now expect will be the major hub of US operations to defeat IS, a senior US official told Al-Monitor, despite Iraq’s insistence that American troops departing Syria won’t be allowed to stay in the country. Units inside Syria also gathered for the raid. But risks from the operation, which injured two US service members, were evident almost from the start. (…) But as the Syrian battlefield becomes even more complex, some experts believe that a heavy US reliance on SDF for intelligence — which Mazlum said he provided to the Americans for five months ahead of the raid — may no longer be tenable after the SDF sought out protection from Russia and the Syrian regime, which could compromise American sources."

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25.10.2019

"A post-mortem of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/turkey-united-states-russia-syria-postmortem-of-operat
ion.html

Der türkische Kolumnist Metin Gurcan zieht ein vorläufiges Fazit der türkischen Offensive zur Errichtung einer "Safe Zone" im Norden Syriens. Ankara habe viele Ziele erreicht, zentrale Fragen blieben allerdings weiter offen. "What will be the future status of the YPG’s 70,000 members? Will they be incorporated into the Syrian regime army, become an autonomous force or be demobilized? Will they be used under Russian sponsorship to fight the Islamic State? Or to restrict the pro-Iran and pan-Shiite militias that so bother Russia and Assad? The YPG could also be used to impose control over the Turkey-backed FSA factions that, to varying degrees, possess jihadi ideologies. Will Ankara accept the Russian guarantee of preserving the YPG's military strength, or will it insist on disarmament? More importantly, what is Russia’s vision for the Kurds in Syria and at a regional level?"

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25.10.2019

"Israel forced to reassess demolition policy"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/israel-palestinians-mahmoud-abbas-demolition-terrorist
.html

PA-Präsident Abbas will künftig die Häuser von palästinensischen Attentätern und ihren Familien, die von Israel als Bestrafung abgerissen worden sind, wieder aufbauen lassen. Shlomi Eldar berichtet, dass die palästinensischen Medien einen entsprechenden Fall bereits mit großem Interesse verfolgt hätten. Das israelische Militär könnte sich vor diesem Hintergrund zu einem Strategiewechsel entschließen. "Rather than achieving deterrence and intimidation, the IDF had turned the family of terrorists into victims who received respect and admiration from the Palestinian public. (…) From now on, the demolition of any terrorist’s home will be turned into a political event among the Palestinian public, and everything that is demolished will be rebuilt by the PA. In other words, Abbas instructed that people and families punished by Israel would be embraced by the PA. (…) Over the coming days, Israel’s defense establishment will be forced to reassess whether the demolition of terrorists’ homes is an effective deterrent or just punishment. It will also have to decide whether turning every home that is destroyed into a 'house of sacrifice' doesn’t just intensify and glorify terrorist activities against Israeli targets. Now more than ever, with Abbas promising to build a new home for every family whose own is demolished, it looks like the policy isn’t working anymore."

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23.10.2019

"Russian military faces tall order following Putin-Erdogan Syria deal"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/russia-military-turkey-ypg-syria.html

Maxim A. Suchkov zufolge könnte die Umsetzung der russisch-türkischen Vereinbarung in Nordsyrien das russische Militär vor Probleme stellen. "Ret. Col. Viktor Murakhovsky, editor of the Arsenal Otechestva (National Arsenal) military journal, (…) signals three concerns in this situation. '[There’s a risk] of being pulled into a potentially large-scale ground operation, which we have managed to avoid in the previous four years,' he outlined in his first concern. 'The operation is formally that of peacekeeping and counterterrorism, but in order to implement it, Russia would need to deploy larger forces and more equipment far away from our military bases in Hmeimim and Tartus. This will make the air force support for the troops more difficult,' Murakhovsky explained. 'Objectively speaking, the Russian engagement [in the] ground operation plays [an] American card. The air space east of the Euphrates is [still] the zone of control of the Americans, and we’ll have to deal with this issue,' Murakhovsky said, describing the second concern. Regarding the third concern, he argued, 'Russian troops become a target for radical and terrorist elements of various Syrian National Army factions as well as the Kurds. Russians may fall prey to 'side attacks' on Turkish forces.'"

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21.10.2019

"Syrian cease-fire holds as Kurdish forces withdraw from Turkish border"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/syrian-ceasefire-holds-ypg-withdraws.html

Der zwischen der Türkei und den Kurden-Milizen in Nordsyrien vereinbarte Waffenstillstand scheint bisher zu halten. "The next phase of Turkey’s military operation to wrest control of much of northeast Syria from the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces may now depend on the outcome of talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. 'We will take up this process with Mr. Putin. After that, we will hopefully take the necessary steps,' Erdogan said in televised comments. He did not elaborate. Turkey agreed to pause its operation for 120 hours under a US-brokered deal last week to allow the SDF to evacuate after President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull the 1,000 or so special forces who trained and armed the SDF set the stage for Turkey to roll in troops on Oct. 9."

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15.10.2019

"Who will pay $53 billion for Turkey’s safe zone project?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/turkey-syria-who-will-pay-for-syrian-refugees-resettle
ment.html

Das türkische Projekt einer "Safe Zone" in Nordsyrien könnte Schätzungen zufolge bis 53 Milliarden US-Dollar kosten. Mehmet Cetingulec erläutert die drei Phasen der geplanten Umsiedlung von über zwei Millionen syrischen Flüchtlingen. "Turkey wants to build more than 400,000 housing units in northeastern Syria where Operation Peace Spring is taking place in order to resettle some 2 million Syrian refugees, half of whom currently live in Turkey and the other half already lives there. (...) [Erdogan] said Turkey was planning to resettle some 1 million refugees following the completion of the first phase of the military offensive (...). Erdogan said that in the second phase of the operation a safe zone with a depth of 30 kilometer (18 miles) and a length of 480 kilometer (300 miles) will be completed with the capacity to host an additional million refugees. (...) 'If we can manage to stretch the depth of the safe zone to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, we can increase the number of Syrians,' Erdogan said in regard to a third phase. Turkey will need some $53 billion for the first two phases of the project, and it handed out a booklet at the UNGA meeting explaining the high cost of the resettlement project. According to the booklet, a copy of which was obtained by Al-Monitor, the draft plan aims to establish 140 villages and 10 towns. (...) who will pay for this resettling project? It is likely that Erdogan brought the issue up at the UNGA in order to gauge the interest of the international community for a possible relief fund, asking for a donors conference."

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15.10.2019

"Israel needs to learn lesson from Turkish assault on Kurds"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/israel-united-states-syria-iran-turkey-middle-east-pol
icy.html

Die türkische Offensive in Nordsyrien sollte auch Israel zu denken geben, meint Akiva Eldar. Es sei denkbar, dass sich Israel im Ernstfall nicht auf die bedingungslose Unterstützung der USA verlassen könnte. Dies sollte sicherheitspolitische Konsequenzen haben. "Every step that the United States takes away from the Middle East requires an Israeli move toward the Sunni Arab states — its natural partners in the battle to block Iran and its Shiite allies. The longer the delay in unveiling the 'deal of the century' that Trump promised to engineer between Israelis and Palestinians, the more relevant become the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the idea of a regional defense treaty. (...) People might say that American presidents come and go, but US support of Israel is everlasting. Trump’s two Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, were not keen to engage in wars across the ocean and sought to curtail US involvement in the Middle East. Their Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives did not yield any fruit juicier than Trump’s unripe Middle East peace plan. There is nothing on the horizon to suggest that the next US president will send Israel a weapons airlift in case of war, as President Richard Nixon did in October 1973. There is also no basis for hope that he will follow in the footsteps of Jimmy Carter, the sponsor of Israel’s first peace treaty with an Arab state. True, surprises are always possible, but as the Syrians, Kurds and Palestinians are painfully learning, there is no guarantee they will work in our favor."

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