US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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13.05.2020

"Is Russia pulling support from Libyan strongman Hifter?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/05/russia-pull-support-hifter-libya-gna-army-aguila-saleh
-issa.html

Im libyschen Bürgerkrieg steht Russland bisher an der Seite von General Khalifa Hifter, der gegen die international anerkannte Regierung in Tripolis kämpft. Kirill Semenov zufolge gibt es allerdings Anzeichen dafür, dass Moskau sich von Hifter abwenden und stattdessen die Übergangsregierung in Tobruk unterstützen könnte. "Hifter had lost some backing after a string of defeats in the battle for Tripoli. External players such as Russia were increasingly predisposed to believe Hifter was unable to solve the matter militarily and only stood in the way of the peace process launched in January at the Berlin Conference. That is why they were increasingly inclined to think they should instead deal with Saleh and Abdullah al-Thani, the head of the interim government in the east, and encourage them to come to the fore in the dialogue with the Government of National Accord while gradually sidelining Hifter. The scenario was evidently unacceptable to the field marshal and apparently led to his declaring himself Libya's ruler. Given that Russia had helped the Tobruk parliament president draft the peace initiatives and banked on them for resolving the conflict, it could not support Hifter’s attempts to usurp power and withdraw from the Skhirat agreement that had led to the Government of National Accord."

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12.05.2020

"Intel: US sanctions squeezing Iranian forces in Syria, says US envoy"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/05/iran-sanctions-syria-james-jeffrey.html

Der US-Sondergesandte für den Kampf gegen den IS, Jim Jeffrey, hat den teilweisen Abzug iranischer Milizen aus Syrien auf die US-Sanktionen gegen Teheran zurückgeführt. "Cash-strapped Iran is reining in some of its forces in Syria as a result of American sanctions, US envoy James Jeffrey said today. 'We have seen the Iranians pulling in some of their outlying activities and such in Syria because of, frankly, financial problems ... in terms of the huge success of the Trump administration’s sanctions policies against Iran. It’s having a real effect in Syria,' said Jeffrey, the US special envoy for Syria policy and the fight against the Islamic State. Speaking at a virtual panel hosted by the Washington-based Hudson Institute think tank, Jeffrey acknowledged reports that Iranian-supported forces have scaled back their presence in Syria, part of which he chalked up to the lack of ongoing fighting."

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10.05.2020

"In Israel, coronavirus crisis improves Jewish-Arab relations"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/05/israel-arabs-benjamin-netanyahu-yitzhak-rabin-joint-li
st.html

In Israel habe die Coronakrise zu einer Verbesserung der israelisch-arabischen Beziehungen geführt, berichtet Afif Abu Much. "The truth of the matter is that Israel has long gotten used to the idea that emergency situations (most of them based on politics or security) tend to increase tensions and exacerbate preexisting animosity between the Arab and Jewish communities. (…) In contrast, the COVID-19 crisis seems to have helped improve the intercommunity relationship. The fact that the virus did not distinguish between Arabs and Jews played an important role in reconciling them. So did images of Arab doctors and nurses (some 20% of Israeli medical staff are Arab) fighting relentlessly on the front lines in the battle against the virus. By way of comparison, attitudes toward ultra-Orthodox society also experienced a shift as a result of COVID-19. The secular community was outraged at the high incidence of infection among that community, attributing it to lax attitudes toward social distancing and other measures intended to curb the pandemic’s spread. In the meanwhile, the coronavirus had the opposite effect on attitudes toward Arab citizens, and strengthened the relationship between the Arab and Jewish communities. All it took was a precursory glimpse at how the Arab community adhered to all government instructions, even shutting down its mosques and churches."

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08.05.2020

"Report: Child soldiers deployed to Libya by Turkish-backed Syrian National Army"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/05/child-soldiers-libya-syria-national-army-turkey.html

Ankara-treue syrische Rebellengruppen rekrutieren einer neuen Untersuchung zufolge Kindersoldaten, die in Libyen für die international anerkannte Regierung in Tripolis kämpfen sollen. "Factions of the Turkish-backed opposition Syrian National Army are recruiting minors to fight in Libya, according to a report laying out in exhaustive detail Turkey’s use of Syrian rebels to prop up Libya’s Government of National Accord. The 40-page document, prepared by Syrians for Truth and Justice and shared exclusively with Al-Monitor, cites sources on the ground in Syria and in Libya who say Syrian teenagers have been recruited and are part of their units in the battlefield. The report will be published Monday by the nonpartisan not-for-profit organization, which documents human rights abuses in Syria. The children are among well over 2,000 Syrian rebels believed to have been deployed over the past year via Turkey in support of the Government of National Accord against the eastern warlord Khalifa Hifter, who is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates."

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01.05.2020

"Idlib jihadist group uses Syria cease-fire to restructure, expand"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/syria-idlib-hayat-tahrir-al-sham-new-brigades-battle.h
tml

Die dschihadistische Rebellenfraktion Hayat Tahrir al-Sham nutze die aktuelle Waffenruhe in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz, um sich auf neue Kämpfe vorzubereiten, berichtet der syrische Journalist Khaled al-Khateb. "Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has been restructuring its ranks in northwestern Syria's Idlib, taking advantage of the cessation of hostilities and the relative calm that followed the cease-fire agreement signed between Russia and Turkey March 5. HTS was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the UN Security Council in 2018 and international sanctions were imposed on the group. It has made changes in the leadership of the armed formations, intensifying military training in camps scattered throughout the areas in northern Idlib. The group is working to attract more recruits exploiting the difficult living conditions in Idlib and unemployment among young people to attract new fighters."

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22.04.2020

"How a German court is trying to bring Syrian war criminals to justice"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/syria-war-crimes-trial-germany-damascus-prison.html

Elizabeth Hagedorn berichtet über das Verfahren gegen mutmaßliche Mitarbeiter des syrischen Geheimdienstes, die sich vor dem Koblenzer Oberlandesgericht wegen der systematischen Folter von Gefangenen verantworten müssen. Es handle sich um einen "wegweisenden Strafprozess", da Syrien kein Mitglied des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (ICC) sei, der ansonsten für derartige Fälle zuständig wäre. "Unable to achieve justice at the ICC or within Syrian courts, victims have turned to third countries like Germany. Prosecutors are relying on their country’s sweeping universal jurisdiction law, which allows for the prosecution of grave crimes committed in another country, regardless of whether a German national was involved. 'There are some crimes that are so horrific that it would be a huge violation of the international legal system if they were left not to be prosecuted,' said Mai El-Sadany, the managing director and legal and judicial director at the Washington-based Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. 'The argument for universal jurisdiction becomes that much stronger with a context like Syria, where there are really no other opportunities for justice.'"

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20.04.2020

"Meet Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisers"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/joe-biden-foreign-policy-advisers-iran-saudi-arabia-tr
ump.html

Bryant Harris stellt das außenpolitische Team des demokratischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten Joe Biden vor. "Biden has already staked out drastically different positions from President Donald Trump with vows to reassess US-Saudi relations and reenter the Iran nuclear deal as well as his opposition to Israel annexing the West Bank. But as always, the devil is in the details. Will Biden fully undo the decades-long US-Saudi security partnership? What about the troubled US-Turkish alliance? To what extent and at what pace is he willing to move to lift Iran sanctions? How will he stop Israel from annexing the West Bank without using military aid restrictions as a pressure point? The man tasked with calibrating the answers to these questions is Tony Blinken, Biden’s former national security adviser who has been in the vice president’s orbit for the better part of 18 years. Blinken now oversees a growing cadre of familiar faces from the center-left of Washington’s foreign policy establishment who are tasked with advising the campaign both formally and informally. That network includes several of Biden’s other national security advisers during his tenure at the White House."

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06.04.2020

"Battle for air supremacy heats up in Libya despite COVID-19 outbreak"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/turkey-libya-air-supremacy-heats-up-despite-amid-coron
avirus.html

Inmitten der Coronakrise haben sich die Kämpfe zwischen den Bürgerkriegsparteien in Libyen weiter verschärft. "Renewed fighting in Libya, where both sides rely on drone support from foreign backers, has fueled a battle for air supremacy that augurs further escalation despite the coronavirus outbreak in the country. It also raises the prospect of Turkey sending more military aid to its allies. Despite cease-fire efforts and an arms embargo, fighting in Libya has flared up since the second week of March, when the forces of rebel commander Khalifa Hifter launched a fresh push toward Tripoli, reinforced with fresh arms supplies from their allies — the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In early March, Hifter’s forces had already tightened their siege of the capital from the south and their siege of Misrata from the southeast."

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01.04.2020

"Saudis risk losing last Republican defenders with oil price war"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/saudis-oil-price-war-senate-support-yemen-coronavirus.
html

Der von Saudi-Arabien geführte Öl-Krieg habe selbst ihren engsten Verbündeten im US-Kongress vor den Kopf gestoßen, schreibt Bryant Harris. "Saudi Arabia risks losing its last line of defense against legislation targeting the kingdom in Congress amid the Saudis' rapidly escalating oil price war with Russia. A coalition of Republican senators — most of whom come from oil-rich states hardest hit by the price war and have a strong pro-Saudi voting record — has assembled to pressure the kingdom to reduce its record-high oil output. Most of the senators have consistently sought to shield Saudi Arabia from legislative efforts to end support for the Yemen war. Now they’re threatening to retaliate against the oil-rich kingdom with their own draconian measures if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fails to meet their demand to restore oil market stability."

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31.03.2020

"Intel: US stands down on Europe’s new trade mechanism with Iran"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/intel-us-stand-down-europe-trade-iran-instex.html

Mit einer Corona-Hilfslieferung an den Iran habe Europa zum ersten Mal den INSTEX-Mechanismus zur Umgehung der US-Sanktionen gegen Teheran genutzt, schreibt Bryant Harris. Die USA hätten dies akzeptiert. "'The US has no issues with humanitarian trade so long as it is conducted with strong due diligence measures to prevent the Iranian regime from hijacking the aid for itself,' a State Department spokesperson told Al-Monitor. (…) While Iran has accused US sanctions of inhibiting its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the United States did revise its sanctions guidelines last month to allow for medical and agricultural trade via Iran’s Central Bank. This means INSTEX might never actually violate US sanctions — so long as it engages only in humanitarian transactions."

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30.03.2020

"Syrian Kurds say no escapees after IS prison revolt"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/syria-prison-revolt-kurdish-region-islamic-state-water
-alok.html

In einem Gefängnis im kurdisch kontrollierten Nordosten Syriens ist es Berichten zufolge zu einem Aufstand von gefangenen IS-Kämpfern gekommen, die gegen ihre Haftbedingungen protestiert haben. Hintergrund der Revolte ist offenbar auch die Furcht vor dem Corona-Virus. "The North Press Agency, a local media outlet with close ties to the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeast Syria, said four detainees had escaped but were subsequently apprehended. The Rojava Information Center (RIC), a local newsgathering outfit that briefs foreign journalists and produces research reports, said it was likely that the fear of the coronavirus pandemic had triggered the mutiny. Inmates, many of them captive foreign fighters, reportedly ripped out doors in their cells and used them to break down a wall connecting them to adjoining ones, eventually seizing control of the ground floor of the prison. An anti-terror security official present at the scene told journalists that the inmates had called for the 'global coalition and human rights committees' to visit the prison."

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27.03.2020

"Coronavirus cease-fire offers pause in Yemen war"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/coronavirus-ceasefire-yemen-war-covid19-who-saudi-hout
his.html

In Jemen habe die Corona-Krise eine Einigung auf den ersten landesweiten Waffenstillstand seit vier Jahren herbeigeführt, berichtet Amberin Zaman. "Yemen’s warring parties have agreed to their first nationwide cease-fire in four years, part of an effort to fend off calamity should the war-ravaged nation controlled by rival governments be struck by the coronavirus pandemic. No COVID-19 cases have been documented in Yemen so far, but the World Health Organization has warned of an imminent explosion in the number of cases. The acceptance of a cease-fire by the domestic protagonists and their regional backers was in response to the UN secretary-general’s March 25 call for an immediate end to hostilities. This week marked the fifth anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention against Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen."

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24.03.2020

"Does Turkey have the will to take on jihadis in Idlib?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-syria-russia-will-ankara-take-on-jihadis-in-idl
ib.html

Die ungeklärte türkische Position zu radikalislamischen Terrorgruppen in Idlib sei die "Achillesverse" der Beziehungen Ankaras zu Moskau, schreibt der türkische Kolumnist Semih Idiz. Russland erwarte nach wie vor, dass die Dschihadisten in der syrischen Provinz eliminiert werden. "Al-Monitor’s Fehim Tastekin underlined Ankara’s reluctance 'to treat the jihadi factions it has backed, and allowed to use its borders, as terrorist groups.' The fact that Ankara designated HTS as a terrorist organization belatedly in August 2018, to comply with the UN’s list of terrorist organizations, did not alter this situation, as Tastekin pointed out. Turkey’s connections with HTS go back to the early years of the Syrian conflict. In January 2013, Hurriyet Daily News reported on Ankara’s displeasure that Washington had listed Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organization. 'Turkish officials … said it was more important to focus on the ‘chaos’ that al-Assad has created instead of groups such as al-Nusra,' the paper wrote at the time. The question of jihadi fighters in Idlib has taken on an added significance now following last week’s killing of two Turkish soldiers in the region by 'radical groups,' as stated by Turkey’s Ministry of Defense. (…) Should Ankara decide to take on HTS — which controls a large swath of northwestern Syria — it is likely to pay a high price in civilian and military casualties. It will, after all, be engaging a hardened jihadi group that uses nonconventional and asymmetrical terror tactics to achieve its goals."

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19.03.2020

"Why Ankara’s Syrian refugee threat has lost its impact"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-syria-europe-why-refugee-card-lost-its-impact.h
tml

Die Flüchtlings- und Migrantenkrise an der türkisch-griechischen Grenze habe aus türkischer Sicht ihr politisches Ziel verfehlt, da der gewünschte Effekt auf die EU weitgehend ausgeblieben sei, schreibt Kadri Gursel. "Ankara may have partially succeeded in using the new 'refugee crisis' to overshadow its losses in Idlib, but the crisis did nothing to alleviate Turkey’s Syrian refugee burden. This is because Syrians made up only a small minority among the migrants who flocked or were bussed to the Greek border. (…) The answer is that the Syrians have largely settled down in Turkey, making a life for themselves, for better or worse. (…) The refugee crisis that Ankara instigated Feb. 28 at the Greek border has shed light on two important realities. First, the Syrians are unlikely to leave Turkey willingly unless the West promises them a better life. Consequently, any threats to unleash hundreds of thousands of Syrians on Europe will no longer have the same effect after the latest crisis. Second, a vigilant Greece enforced tough measures at the border, preventing Ankara from effectively using its refugee card. By attempting to use the refugee card again, Ankara, in fact, helped others to see that that card has expired."

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17.03.2020

"Iran hard-liners storm shrines closed due to coronavirus"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/iran-hardliners-storm-shrines-coronavirus-qom-mashhad.
html

Im Iran habe die Corona-bedingte Schließung religiöser Stätten wütende Proteste religiöser Hardliner hervorgerufen, berichtet Al-Monitor. "(…) with the epidemic showing no sign of abating, the Iranian authorities chose to impose a lockdown on the key religious sites, among them the highly revered shrines of Hazrat Masoumeh and Imam Reza in the conservative cities of Qom and Mashhad, respectively. The controversial decision triggered furious reactions from some hard-liners, who saw it as an unforgivable insult to the 'infallible' household of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Videos quickly went viral from outside the two shrines, showing mobs breaking metal fences and storming the sites as they cursed those who ordered the closure. (…) The pressure from the ultraconservatives came as both Qom and Mashhad witness an alarming coronavirus transmission rate that officials have warned could worsen if the shrines are not closed to pilgrims. The two cities reported over 90 new infections combined in the latest official daily report. Qom has been identified as the epicenter from which the virus spread nationwide."

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13.03.2020

"Erdogan turns to oil in a bid to salvage Syria policy"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-syria-russia-kurds-sdg-erdogan-putin-deal-syria
n-oil.html

Präsident Erdogan habe seine ursprünglichen Ziele der Militäroffensive in Idlib offensichtlich verfehlt und versuche nun, sich in Verhandlungen mit Russland zumindest Anteile am Ölsektor im kurdisch kontrollierten Norden Syriens zu sichern, schreibt Fehim Tastekin. "To smokescreen the flop in Idlib and revamp his Syrian venture, Erdogan has now turned to the issue of oil. In addition to the PKK-YPG argument, which aims to muzzle domestic critics, two other aspects stand out in his move. Erdogan, who has long prioritized the construction sector as a key driving force in the Turkish economy, is seemingly entertaining hopes to prop up the sector, badly hit by economic turmoil at home. Also, by raising the prospect of moving refugees from Turkey to housing in Syria, he hopes to placate and win over a domestic public that has grown increasingly frustrated with its Syrian 'guests.'"

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13.03.2020

"Intel: Russia, Turkey reach deal on Syria's Idlib"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/intel-idlib-syria-deal-russia-turkey-patrols-putin-ero
dgan.html

Russland und die Türkei haben sich Maxim A. Suchkov zufolge auf weitere Details des Waffenstillstands in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz geeinigt. Dies bekräftige den Eindruck, dass beide Seiten an einer Beilegung der Krise interessiert seien. "Today’s agreement is a further sign that both sides are keen to move beyond the crisis that erupted in Idlib last month when at least 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in a single attack that both sides chose to blame on the Syrian regime. Tensions between Ankara and Moscow spiked, prompting widespread conjecture of a major break. The language coming out of both capitals has been far more measured in recent weeks. A day before the phone conversation with Putin, Erdogan gave a mild warning to the Syrian government, saying Turkey was monitoring 'small violations' of the truce. (…) While Turkish military units and Russian military police will begin joint patrols along the strategic M4 highway linking Syria’s east and west, there was no mention of an agreement on the M5 highway linking Damascus to Aleppo, which is every bit as strategic for the Syrian government."

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06.03.2020

"Erdogan’s dance with Putin: Humiliating, but face-saving"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-russia-syria-idlib-deal-erdogan-accepts-regimes
-gains.html

Aus türkischer Sicht sei der Erdogan-Besuch in Moskau erfolgreich, aber auch "demütigend" verlaufen, schreibt Cengiz Candar. Erdogan habe für den von ihm benötigten Waffenstillstand Zugeständnisse machen müssen. "Commenting on the Erdogan-Putin deal on the Al-Mayadeen channel, Vitaly Naumkin, a former Al-Monitor columnist and an influential figure on Russia’s Syria policy, said, 'The Syrian army has achieved its objectives in Idlib by ending the militants’ control of the M4 and M5 highways.' Al-Masdar al-Arabi, a Syrian media outlet considered as pro-government, made a similar assessment, saying, 'This agreement ultimately gives the Syrian government what it has wanted for the entire Idlib operation: control of the M-4 and M-5 highways.' And what is the face-saving element for Erdogan in the new deal on Idlib? The cease-fire he was so eager to get. That was enough for Erdogan to market the deal at home as if he got what he wanted to get in Moscow."

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05.03.2020

"Why new Russia-Turkey deal on Idlib matters"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2020/03/russia-turkey-deal-idlib-important-putin-erdogan.ht
ml

Präsident Putin und Präsident Erdogan haben sich in Moskau auf eine neue Waffenruhe in Idlib verständigt. Maxim A. Suchkov erläutert die russische Interpretation der Krise: "To translate from diplomatic Russian jargon into clear English: This means Russia believed the crisis erupted over Turkey’s inability to deliver on its commitments to drive out the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham from the de-escalation zone. Moscow didn't like that instead Ankara even went to virtually help Hayat Tahrir al-Sham preserve its positions. Yet Moscow understands that what happened in the last few days was painful for Erdogan politically and was disastrous for Turkey in the humanitarian domain in terms of refugee flow, so Russia is ready to help stop the escalation and think of ways forward. In a sense, it’s also reflective of the three principles Russia follows in dealing with a difficult counterpart such as Turkey. First, demonstrate empathy on issues that are sensitive and important to Turkish security. Second, clearly outline your own red lines and a corridor of opportunities for future cooperation on these issues. Third, take advantage of mistakes made by the other parties whose position is important to Ankara — the United States — and use the contrast to your advantage."

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04.03.2020

"Iran risks confrontation with Turkey over Idlib"

http://https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/iran-confrontation-turkey-idlib-syria.html

Bei den türkischen Angriffen gegen das syrische Militär sind Berichten zufolge auch einige Iran-treue Kämpfer getötet worden. Hamidreza Azizi berichtet, dass Teheran auf die Krise im Nordwesten Syriens mit der Forderung nach einer diplomatischen Lösung, aber auch mit einer Drohung gegen Ankara reagiert habe. "(…) Rouhani’s diplomatic call for compromise was supplemented by a direct warning against Ankara by the Islamic Republic’s military command in Syria. Iran’s 'advisory center in northern Syria' issued a statement March 1 saying that the Turkish military continues to attack positions belonging to the center. While warning that Turkish soldiers in Syria are 'within firing range' of the Iranian forces, the center asked the Turkish military 'to act wisely' so as not to trigger a retaliatory move by the Iranian side. (…) While the Islamic Republic had always refused to admit its involvement in the Idlib battles, the statement was a clear confirmation of the active role of Iranian and Iran-backed forces in that part of Syria. As such, Iran’s decision to publicize its presence in Idlib could be seen as an attempt to declare that it has a set of interests in Syria’s northwest, which should be respected by the other actors, especially Turkey. In fact, the statement was quite clear in defining those interests, as well as Iran’s red lines in Idlib."

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03.03.2020

"Idlib operation splits Turks more than other Syria interventions"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-syria-russia-idlib-operation-splits-turkish-pub
lic.html

Die aktuelle türkische Offensive in Syrien ist die vierte in vier Jahren. Die meisten Türken seien "tief nationalistisch" und würden das Militär fraglos unterstützen, schreibt Ayla Jean Yackley. Trotzdem treffe die Offensive in der Öffentlichkeit auch auf Kritik. "(…) the latest foray into Syria opens a new chapter for an army whose cross-border activities have been limited to pursuing insurgents. Three earlier operations in Syria, greenlit by both Russia and the United States, to fight the Islamic State and a Kurdish militia with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had overwhelming public support. Now, Turkish soldiers are openly battling another government’s army for the first time since the 1974 Cyprus invasion, and it’s on behalf of mostly Islamist militants, bringing NATO’s second-biggest army and Russia, Assad’s main backer, to the brink of confrontation. (…) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cast the conflict with Syria as a battle for the soul of his nation. (…) But Turks seem more worried about a sharp economic slowdown. The economy and unemployment are the most important problems Turkey faces, a combined 57% of people surveyed in February by Area Research said. Terrorism ranked first at 11% and Syrian refugees at 9%. The poll showed 50% of voters said they would not vote for Erdogan if an election were held now."

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02.03.2020

"Syrian Kurds ponder Afrin’s recapture in shadow of Idlib crisis"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-syria-russia-kurds-ponder-afrins-recapture-in-i
dlib.html

Angesichts der dramatischen Entwicklungen in Idlib erwägen die syrischen Kurden Fehim Tastekin zufolge, ihre Bemühungen zur Rückeroberung des türkisch besetzten Afrin im Norden Syriens zu verstärken. "As fighting in Syria’s rebel bastion of Idlib rages on, fueled by a Turkish thrust to reverse government gains, a less palpable but related struggle is under way to the north, where the Syrian Kurds are weighing their options on how to wrestle back Turkish-controlled Afrin. Held by Turkey and its allied groups since 2018, Afrin has been high on the Kurdish agenda in recent weeks, though the escalation in Idlib has overshadowed tensions in the region. In the words of a local Kurdish source, 'Preparation of plans to liberate Afrin was already under way, but with the escalation in Idlib, this became an issue of discussion with Russia and the Syrian regime.'"

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28.02.2020

"Will Russia, Turkey go to war over Syria's Idlib?"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/russia-turkey-idlib-putin-erdogan.html

Auch Maxim A. Suchkov beschäftigt sich mit der Möglichkeit eines offenen Krieges zwischen der Türkei und Russland in Syrien. Moskau habe den Vorstoß der syrischen Truppen unterstützt, da die Verhandlungen mit dem türkischen Militär seit Wochen nicht vorangekommen und russische Kampfflieger mit türkischen Raketen beschossen worden seien. "The current mood within the Russian political class is perhaps as bellicose as it is in the Turkish one. 'If the Turks bet on military force, that would be a really bad idea since winning such a war would be difficult,' said Vladimir Dzhabarov, the deputy chair of the foreign affairs committee of the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament. (...) 'Erdogan went a bit too far with his bluffing on the incursion this time. The strikes are a bad decision, a hard one. But we don’t want a war, we mean business and we want our partners in Ankara take our concerns and their commitments seriously. This game of chicken has gone too far,' a source in the Russian government who asked not to be identified told Al-Monitor. Putin and Erdogan are increasingly unhappy with one another but both still need each other in Syria and beyond. To extend the 'marriage of convenience' metaphor that is frequently applied to describe the Russia-Turkey partnership, the two have to stay together 'for the kids' — joint trade, growing interdependency in energy supplies, the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and the S-400 missile deal as well as other possible contracts and political investments the two leaders have made into developing the relationship."

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24.02.2020

"Saudi Arabia steps up role in Libya"

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/saudi-arabia-role-liyba-gna-hifter.html

Die Türkei hat syrische Söldner nach Libyen verlegt, um die Regierung in Tripolis im Kampf gegen General Khalifa Hifter zu unterstützen. Saudi-Arabien will dies Samuel Ramani zufolge nicht einfach hinnehmen. "Saudi Arabia is stepping up its support for Libyan National Army chieftain Khalifa Hifter and its role as a potential power broker in a political settlement in Libya. The kingdom and the United Arab Emirates are both concerned about Turkey’s growing engagement in Libya, which includes the deployment of Syrian mercenaries to prop up the UN-recognized Government of National Accord. Saudi Arabia’s growing involvement in Libya is evident in both the diplomatic and military spheres. (…) Saudi Arabia’s increasingly assertive conduct in Libya can be explained by its desire to counter Turkey’s military intervention in support of the Government of National Accord and establish a long-term diplomatic foothold in Libya. Saudi Arabia views Ankara’s military assistance to the Government of National Accord, which coincided with Turkey’s joint gas exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean, as a threat to regional stability."

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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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