US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Political Violence @ a Glance


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"Grading Joe Biden on Foreign Policy"

Nach den jüngsten Erfolgen Joe Bidens bei den Vorwahlen der US-Demokraten bezweifeln vielen Experten kaum noch, dass der frühere US-Vizepräsident bei den kommenden Präsidentschaftswahlen Amtsinhaber Donald Trump gegenüberstehen wird. Danielle Lupton und Michael Robinson analysieren, welche außenpolitische Strategie eine mögliche Biden-Regierung verfolgen würde. "A Biden presidency would likely mean aggressive shifts to re-establish many of the American priorities and practices that existed under previous administrations. Biden strongly advocates for re-joining and restoring the Paris climate agreement and the Iran 'nuclear deal.' (…) Some of the biggest shifts in foreign policy may emerge from the simple resumption of pre-Trump executive practices that have since fallen into disuse. (…) Biden’s election prospects are circumscribed by an electorate increasingly faced with challenges that transcend international boundaries, like pandemic disease, transnational terrorism, and refugee flows. Foreign policy issues have not traditionally made the difference at the ballot box; however, Trump’s tenure has made voters acutely aware of international challenges. The public’s views on trade, cybersecurity, and immigration have changed dramatically and in line with partisan identity, creating an opportunity for the Biden camp come November."

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"Is the Responsibility to Protect Dead? The View From Libya"

Lisa Hultman erinnert daran, dass die NATO-Intervention in Libyen im Jahr 2011 mit der UN-Doktrin der Schutzverantwortung (Responsibility to Protect) begründet wurde. Das mittlerweile offensichtliche Scheitern des westlichen Eingreifens habe auch die Legitimität des R2P-Prinzips schwer beschädigt. "Although R2P is aimed at stopping the worst kinds of atrocities, the original idea also acknowledges that, once the atrocities have ended, reducing the risk of future violence requires a commitment to rebuilding the country. There’s good reason for this. As civil war experts have demonstrated: in order to create stability and reduce the risk of a return to civil war, societies have to be transformed. (…) Research shows that civil wars that end in rebel victory or foreign-imposed regime change are less likely to relapse into renewed fighting. However, in Libya, foreign intervention did not support a strong victor who could create stability. Instead, there was only a power vacuum, which generated new competition for power. As we learned in Iraq, rebuilding a country is much harder than getting rid of a dictator. (…) For R2P to be durable, the international community must look beyond military intervention and consider other means of protection. (…) Next time leaders invoke R2P, they should make use of the whole intervention toolbox beyond military intervention, investing both diplomatic and economic resources, just as originally intended with the R2P."

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"Trump’s Peace Plan Is a Paradigm Shift for Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

Der am Dienstag vorgestellte Nahost-Friedensplan des US-Präsidenten muss nach Ansicht von Peter Krause als Paradigmenwechsel betrachtet werden. Die USA und Israel hätten sich offenbar für ein neues Modell der Konfliktlösung entschieden. "Most students of the Arab-Israeli conflict envision a peace process wherein the two sides, each with clashing but legitimate claims to territory, autonomy, and past injustices, are brought together by a third-party guarantor to negotiate a compromise that neither side will love, but both will agree to live with. This 'negotiated settlement' paradigm was the approach of Camp David, Oslo, Taba, and Annapolis — and is the favored approach of the international community. (…) But there is another model of conflict resolution, which Trump’s deal happens to represent. In this 'clear victory' paradigm, conflict is resolved by one side winning and largely imposing its terms on its rival. (…) From the perspective of the long-dominant Israeli right, this conflict has not been resolved because the Palestinians have not faced up to the fact that they have lost. (…) What the 'clear victory' model fails to take into account, however, is that the facts on the ground are not entirely in the Israelis’ favor. Demographic realities and the Palestinians’ growing shift away from support for a two-state 'negotiated settlement' towards a movement built on citizenship, equal rights, and a one-state reality may be waiting for Trump and the Israelis on the other end of the 'deal of the century.'"

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"Trump’s Casual Approach to War Crimes Has Grave Implications"

Mit seiner scheinbar gedankenlos ausgesprochenen Drohung einer Zerstörung iranischer Kulturstätten hat US-Präsident Trump nach Ansicht von Thomas Gift und Andrew M. Bell auch im Hinblick auf die Kultur der US-Streitkräfte ein bedenkliches Exempel statuiert. "Trump’s pattern of flouting international and military law and norms matters for the conflict with Iran because it suggests that even the most extreme military options — including ones inconsistent with established law — aren’t off the table should a crisis emerge. More broadly, however, Trump’s degradation of norms matters because of what it signals to US servicemembers: that following the laws of war isn’t necessarily a priority. Leaders play a key role in establishing the organizational culture of any institution. That’s particularly true for professionalized militaries. (…) Trump’s challenges to the laws of war obscure respect for military rules and send conflicting messages. On the one hand, US combatants are taught to follow orders and adhere to training that prohibits the unauthorized use of force. On the other hand, their commander-in-chief seems to imply — through word and deed — that following the laws of war isn’t essential. That message could make some US servicemembers second-guess the imperative of abiding by the rules amid the 'fog of war.'"

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"Was the Killing of Qassem Soleimani Justified?"

Die beiden Politikwissenschaftler Valerie Morkevicius und Danielle Lupton von der Colgate University erläutern, warum das Attentat auf General Soleimani im Kontext der Lehre vom gerechten Krieg auch aus ethischer Sicht nur schwer zu rechtfertigen sei. "There is no doubt that Soleimani was not only responsible for past crimes, but was actively plotting additional attacks against the US and its allies. But that alone is not enough to ethically justify his killing. The Soleimani killing falls into the realm of 'jus ad vim' — the use of force short of war. In the just war tradition, the ethical soundness of tactical decisions is evaluated by considering six questions. In order for the targeted killing of Soleimani to be ethically justifiable, it must be able to satisfactorily answer all of them. This attack fails to do so on multiple accounts. (…) there is no reason to believe Soleimani’s death will discourage Iran from pursuing greater political and military influence in the region, or from attacking US interests — quite the contrary. One of the ironies of just war thinking is that while it is sometimes labeled as naive or idealistic, its pragmatic aspects mean that its conclusions often line up with strategic logic. This is precisely one of those cases."

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"The Lesson of the Afghanistan Papers"

Navin Bapat hält die in den "Afghanistan-Papers" der Washington Post bestätigte und recht ernüchternde Bestandsaufnahme der Afghanistan-Mission der USA im Hinblick auf den "Krieg gegen den Terror" für symptomatisch. "The Afghanistan Papers detail that, despite enormous resources spent on Afghan security, there is little to show for the effort: Afghanistan’s government and military remain weak and brittle. Further, the papers reveal that some Afghans have little intention of ever using American resources to suppress the Taliban insurgency. And since growers of opium poppy recognized that the US was not interested in harming the Afghan economy, they would declare their willingness to burn their crops in exchange for cash. After receiving the payments, the growers would subsequently sell their opium. If the US was going to continue supplying them with capital so long as they professed anti-Taliban sentiments, Afghan growers could double their profits. Sadly, the Afghan experience is one in a considerable number of similar cases in the war on terror. Since the US strategy was to protect governments facing terrorist threats, and arm them so they could fight terrorists, why would any of these governments say no? If they cooperated, they gained indefinite protection. However, because they had indefinite protection, each of these states had incentives to engage in abuses with impunity."

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"Terrorism Boosts Military Involvement in Politics (And Why It Matters for Democracy)"

Die enge Einbindung des Militärs bei der Bekämpfung des Terrorismus habe dazu geführt, dass die politische Rolle der Streitkräfte ebenfalls zugenommen habe, stellen Vincenzo Bove, Mauricio Rivera und Chiara Ruffa fest. In demokratischen Gesellschaften sei dies ein Problem. "Terrorism increases military participation in politics and the armed forces are often willing to endorse harsh repressive strategies against terrorism. Long-enduring episodes of terrorist violence are thus likely to affect civil liberties and the quality of democracy. Greater military involvement in politics risks becoming ingrained and routinized, thereby establishing new 'securitized' modes of governance. Such modes may be promoted as a counterterrorist strategy, much as the United States has done, deferring to military actors’ inclinations to privilege security over civil liberties and political rights. Countering terrorism effectively is key, but governments must implement mechanisms — greater involvement of parliaments; regular critical reflections on the appropriateness of decisions taken; and greater use of transnational model laws — that enhance transparency and strengthen civilian control to avoid perpetuating emergency legislation and prevent the rise of militarism."

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"The Art of Winning a Peace Agreement: The Case of the FARC"

Trotz der aktuellen Probleme bei der Umsetzung des Friedensabkommens in Kolumbien sind Sally Sharif und Dayron Yegrail der Ansicht, dass die FARC-Guerilla im Kontext ihrer eigentlichen Zielsetzungen von der Vereinbarung profitiert habe. "The peace agreement is not fraying for the FARC: it has managed to keep most of its former combatants united in the twenty-four demobilization and reintegration camps (...), forced the government to sign the transitional justice system (...) into law, and highlighted the government’s impotency in addressing the country’s social and economic grievances. Meanwhile, the FARC is continuing its political struggle in the countryside. The peace agreement has changed Colombian society, its expectations of the government, and the nature of its democracy. (...) FARC senators, who were present at the negotiations in Havana, told us the FARC never considered the Colombian government capable of implementing all the provisions mapped out in the peace agreement. (...) But by compelling the government to admit to these existing problems and promising to find solutions to them, the FARC has ingeniously managed to present to struggling Colombians an image of a failing government. (...) The FARC has won through the peace deal. Almost 90% of FARC ex-combatants we interviewed do not think of the FARC as a potent political force on the national level — almost 85% say they would be content simply if the mayor of a municipality or a member of the municipality council is a FARC member."

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"Do Americans Support Using Nuclear Weapons Because They Don’t Understand the Consequences?"

Die beiden Politikwissenschaftler Lisa Langdon Koch und Matthew Wells stellen fest, dass überraschend viele Amerikaner Umfragen zufolge kein Problem mit möglichen Atomwaffenschlägen gegen "Feinde" der USA hätten. In ihrer Untersuchung haben sie entsprechende Fragen mit Informationen über die tatsächlichen Folgen eines Atomwaffeneinsatzes ergänzt und eine deutliche Veränderung der Ergebnisse festgestellt. "Last year we conducted a study with the polling firm YouGov, and results shows that learning about the real-life consequences of nuclear weapons can make a difference in Americans’ attitudes about using them against foreign civilians. (...) When we provided real-life information about the suffering and damage that nuclear and conventional strikes would cause, Americans were significantly less likely to support the use of nuclear weapons. The survey respondents who learned about the human suffering caused by nuclear weapons also had higher levels of sympathy for potential civilian victims. (...) People’s beliefs about the damage wrought by nuclear weapons matter. If we are to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, it is vital to teach people about the terrible harm they cause. Americans will oppose inflicting horrific suffering on others, even in war — but too few may know that nuclear weapons will cause such harm."

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"Reactions to Terrorism Can Bring Serious Harm"

Renard Sexton, Rachel Wellhausen und Mike Findley haben untersucht, welche Folgen es hat, wenn Regierungen nach unerwarteten Terroranschlägen neue Sicherheitsmaßnahmen durch die Kürzung der Sozialbudgets finanzieren. "The vast majority of terrorist attacks take place in developing countries, which often lack the capital to boost spending in hard times. In a new study, we demonstrate how violent terrorism causes elected officials to shift budgets from 'butter' — the social services governments provide — and transfer it to 'guns' — the military, police, and security sectors that drive the response to terrorism. Unfortunately, pulling money from 'butter' can have real effects on health and welfare outcomes. (...) These findings highlight a broader challenge that developing countries that suffer from terrorism must confront: how to keep social services afloat during times of insecurity. Surviving in office in the short run is a first priority, but under-spending on social welfare has long-term consequences."

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"Reducing Press Attention to Reduce Terrorism?"

Nach den Anschlägen in Christchurch und in Sri Lanka haben die betroffenen Regierungen versucht, die mediale Aufmerksamkeit von den Tätern abzulenken. Crystal Shelton, Erik Cleven und Aaron Hoffman haben analysiert, ob es tatsächlich einen Zusammenhang zwischen der terroririschen Bedrohung und der Aufmerksamkeit internationaler Medien gibt. "Thinking about the way competition for foreign press coverage is structured helps solve the puzzle. Foreign terrorist groups and other publicity-seekers compete with one another for press attention in the hopes that their actions will make the news. Like Olympic competition, however, the 'publicity prizes' terrorist organizations compete for vary in quality. Front page coverage in a national newspaper like The New York Times is more valuable to terrorists than coverage in a local newspaper. (...) countries that receive middling levels of press attention stand to gain by reducing press attention further. Conversely, countries at the upper and lower levels of press attention get much less benefit from reducing the attention afforded to terrorist organizations. In the present case of Sri Lanka, this means that a policy of denying terrorists attention could work because Sri Lanka is not a country that ordinarily receives high levels of press attention. On the other hand, it is unclear that denying terrorists notoriety will reduce overall press attention to Sri Lanka by much, raising questions about the security benefits of this approach."

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"Maduro Has Nowhere to Go"

Ein freiwilliger Rücktritt von Präsident Maduro in Venezuela sei auch deshalb unwahrscheinlich, da Maduro im Gegensatz zu früheren lateinamerikanischen "Diktatoren" nicht auf ein bequemes Exil im Ausland hoffen könne, schreiben Gabriel Leon, Scott Gates und Kristian Skrede Gleditsch. "It is a good thing that dictators do not get away with their crimes, and those who undermine democracy and abuse human rights ought to be prosecuted. Indeed, the threat of future sanctions may deter military officers from overthrowing a democratically elected government. But this emphasis on holding dictators to account also has unintended consequences. It has led to the emergence of dictatorships that preserve a façade of democracy, but do not accept either open competition or the rule of law. Venezuela may be the first of these regimes to become a full-fledged dictatorship. A regime that becomes an entrenched dictatorship becomes more repressive and hard to remove, in part because of the negative consequences from losing office. Guaidó’s offer of amnesty to regime insiders is a clever move, but suffers from a lack of credibility as future leaders cannot in practice be bound by these promises."

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"MBS Doesn’t Care About Human Rights. He Does Care About Google."

Ein Blick in die politische Geschichte zeigt nach Ansicht von Corey Ray und Sofia Smith, dass sich autokratische Regierungen wie in Saudi-Arabien kaum von Appellen zur Einhaltung der Menschenrechte beeindrucken lassen. Die Androhung wirtschaftlicher Konsequenzen habe sich dagegen als durchaus effektiv herausgestellt. Dazu gehöre auch verstärkter Druck auf Unternehmen, die Wert auf ihr Öffentlichkeitsbild legen. "Evidence shows that states that have improved their human rights behavior often did so when a threat to aid or foreign direct investment accompanied shaming. (...) While generic 'naming and shaming' of foreign firms working in Saudi Arabia is likely to fail, focusing on high-visibility corporations directly connected to Vision 2030’s success could gain traction. The types of image-conscious firms involved in Vision 2030 — such as Google and Apple — offer hope for the potential success of these techniques. (...) Convincing companies to take concrete actions focuses on the regime’s biggest pressure point: economics. The regime’s persistent backtracking on economic reform and reliance on the Vision 2030 lifeline exposes vulnerabilities that activists can leverage. Energy companies and the US government may not be moved, but big tech has branded itself as modern and socially conscious."

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"Push-pull migration models have long dominated migration research. Here’s why that’s only half the story."

Die internationale Migrationsforschung wird Justin Schon zufolge seit langem von sogenannten Push-Pull-Modellen dominiert. Seiner Ansicht nach werden dadurch wichtige Faktoren der Migration zu wenig beachtet. "Migration is often understood through a combination of 'push' and 'pull' factors. Reasons to leave are push factors. Reasons to select specific destinations are pull factors. This characterization of the migration process is about as far as migration research has come in developing an over-arching framework to explain migration behavior. This framework is very appealing for its simplicity in explaining a topic that can seem to hold dizzying complexity. Yet, it only tells half the story. Push-pull factors lead us to consider motivation. They do not intuitively lead us to consider opportunity. My forthcoming article highlights the necessity of considering motivation and opportunity to migrate for Syrian civilians. Violence in residential areas, mediated through social and psychological mechanisms, influences motivation. The ability to secure protection from violence along migration routes influences opportunity. Both are necessary to influence migration behavior."

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"Security-Civil Liberties Trade-offs: International Cooperation in Extraordinary Rendition"

Rebecca Cordell von der Arizona State University hat untersucht, warum einige Länder bei dem langjährigen "Extraordinary Rendition"-Programm der USA kooperiert haben, während andere Länder nicht beteiligt waren. "Why did more than a quarter of the world’s countries choose to participate in RDI operations during the post-9/11 period? This clandestine security coalition becomes particularly intriguing when we take a closer look at the diverse group of states alleged to have collaborated with the US (see Figure 1). For example, why did Denmark and the UK participate, but not Norway or France? In a recent article, I argue that the US screened countries according to their preferences on security-civil liberties trade-offs. In short, countries with similar preferences to the US on human rights would have been cheaper to buy off and would have required less persuasion to cooperate. Given the sensitive nature of RDI cooperation and a desire to maintain secrecy for as long as possible, it was crucial that the US avoided approaching countries that could decline cooperation and risk leaking controversial counterterrorism activities."

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"How Assad Won the Syrian Civil War Before It Began"

Der Politikwissenschaftler Eric Mosinger führt das Scheitern des Aufstands gegen die Regierung in Syrien weniger auf die Hilfe der Verbündeten Iran und Russland oder die geschickte Strategie Präsident Assads, sondern in erster Linie auf die von Anfang an "hoffnungslose Zersplitterung" der Rebellen zurück. "By early 2013, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had compiled an index of 1,000 independent armed groups operating in Syria. These eventually coalesced into five or six major coalitions, but even then Syria’s rebel movement was the most fragmented in a dataset I constructed by a significant margin. Indeed, the Syrian rebel movement is likely the most fragmented in history. What explains this dubious achievement? My research points to a set of social and political policies employed by the Assad regime to control Syrian society in the thirty years prior to the Arab Spring uprising."

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"What We Know – and Don’t Know – about Religious Civil Wars"

Desirée Nilsson und Isak Svensson von der Uppsala University haben Daten analysiert, die ihrer Ansicht nach darauf hindeuten, dass einige geläufige Annahmen über die religiöse Dimension internationaler Konflikte hinterfragt werden sollten. "Drawing on the data and findings presented in that article, we shed light on three widely held beliefs concerning religious conflicts. Claim 1. 'Armed conflicts between actors from different religious identities are becoming more common' The patterns in our data suggest otherwise. (...) If we talk about conflicts in which religion serves as an identity-marker – such as in conflicts between Shia and Sunni Muslims, or Catholics and Protestants – then religious conflicts are neither decreasing nor increasing in numbers. (...) Claim 2. 'Islamist armed conflicts are increasing' We can discern such a trend, but only in part. (...) Conflicts fought over transnational Islamist claims – involving, in particular, groups associated with ISIS and al-Qaida – have been increasing for some years now, although ISIS has now lost most of its heartland territory in Iraq and Syria. Islamist revolutionary conflicts (e.g. in Algeria involving AIS) and Islamist separatist conflicts (e.g. the Patani conflict in Thailand) – where the religious claims do not transcend borders – are not increasing in frequency. (...) Claim 3. 'Religious claims cannot be negotiated' The basic answer to this is: we do not (yet) know."

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"Climate Change and the Syrian Civil War"

Eine neue Studie hat für die These, dass der Klimawandel eine entscheidende Rolle beim Ausbruch des Krieges in Syrien gespielt habe, keine belastbaren Beweise gefunden. Cullen Hendrix analysiert die Hintergründe der Debatte und beschreibt seinen eigenen Standpunkt folgendermaßen: "Do I believe climate change and climate shocks can place strain on societies in ways that increase the likelihood of conflict? Yes, most definitely – there’s a relatively large literature on this now, though the findings are still somewhat muddled and context- and scale-dependent: climatic conditions affect different types of conflict in different ways. Do I believe that environmental conditions, i.e., the Syrian drought, contributed to the conflict in Syria? Probably, though the evidence is not entirely clear cut. Do I believe climate change caused the Syrian conflict? That’s an incredibly difficult claim to substantiate for at least two reasons."

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"Silent Guns: Examining the Two-Year Absence of Coups in Africa"

Rebecca Shiel und Jonathan Powell machen darauf aufmerksam, dass es im letzten Jahrzehnt immer weniger und in den vergangenen zwei Jahren überhaupt keinen Putschversuch in Afrika gegeben hat. Diese "bemerkenswerte" Abkehr von einem lange Zeit charakteristischen Merkmal afrikanischer Politik habe regionale und internationale Ursachen, wie der bislang letzte Putschversuch in Burkina Faso gezeigt habe. "Protests immediately commenced, as activists from many backgrounds stood against the coup. (...) Apart from domestic reactions, swift condemnation from regional and international powers also played an important role. The AU, ECOWAS, the UN, and the European Union all met the coup with harsh condemnation. (...) Recent scholarly work has demonstrated that such reactions can play an important role in coups over the long term. (...) Unfortunately, so long as there exists a plethora of illegitimate regimes with few alternatives to remove dictators (and the occasional democrat), the prospects for unconstitutional seizures of power will remain. However, as recently observed, the world seems to be moving away from military-led takeovers and towards popular movements."

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"Why Trump Ending Support to Syrian Rebels Might Actually be a Good Thing"

Niklas Karlén, Doktorand an der Uppsala University in Schweden, hält die Einstellung der CIA-Unterstützung für "moderate" Rebellen in Syrien dagegen für richtig, da derartige Programme sich in der Vergangenheit nicht als effektiv erwiesen hätten. "State support to rebels often fails to produce the intended policy outcomes. The main findings from a still-classified internal review by the CIA, commissioned by the Obama administration, concluded that attempts to arm foreign forces covertly often have a minimal impact on the long-term outcome of conflict. (...) The unintended consequences of backing rebels even extend beyond the cessation of violence, as support negatively affects democratization trajectories and threatens post-conflict stability. Given the many negative consequences identified by research on state support to rebels, it is thus sensible for the United States to limit its involvement in Syria. In the long run, Trump’s decision might actually be a good thing."

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"Why Civil Wars have Gotten Longer, Bloodier, and More Numerous"

Barbara F. Walter stellt fest, dass die Zahl der Bürgerkriege seit dem Jahr 2000 weltweit deutlich zugenommen habe. Ihrer Meinung nach hängt diese Entwicklung eng mit dem Aufstieg des Web 2.0 zusammen. "In a new paper 'The New New Civil Wars', I argue that these changes are due in part to the advent of the Web 2.0 in the early 2000s. Today’s civil wars are the first to be fought in an era of global, instantaneous communication, and this is the reason they are changing. (...) The current civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Somalia, and the Central African Republic (to name a few) are exhibiting all of the characteristics of internet-era conflicts. All of these wars broke out post-2003. All of them are being fought by multiple armed factions (on both the government and rebel sides). All of them include extensive involvement by outside states. All of them have resisted negotiated settlement and appear likely to last a long time. All are distinctive for their brutality toward civilians. (...) Everything we are currently seeing in these 'new new' wars suggests that the internet is likely to be far more transformative than any of us had imagined."

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"How Trump’s Budget May Harm US Counterterrorism"

Peter S. Henne erläutert, warum die im neuen Haushaltsentwurf des Weißen Hauses vorgesehenen Kürzungen internationaler Hilfsprogramme des Außenministeriums seiner Ansicht nach den Sicherheitsinteressen der USA schaden werden. "US foreign aid is not 'just' humanitarian work. It is also an important instrument through which America influences other states; without foreign aid, the US Global War on Terrorism may have been less effective in undermining the power of al-Qaeda. If Trump does cut US foreign aid, efforts to defeat al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other terrorist threats that emerge will be severely curtailed. The struggles of countries like Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, who are directly fighting the Islamic State and attempting to counter its messaging, may be hampered. Any serious US counterterrorism strategy must maintain foreign aid as an important element of the foreign policy toolkit."

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"Understanding Duterte’s 'Dirty War' in the Philippines"

Der philippinische Präsident Duterte verfolge seit seinem Amtsantritt einen "gnadenlosen" Krieg gegen Drogenhändler und Abhängige, bei dem bisher einem Polizeibericht zufolge 4.812 Menschen getötet worden seien, schreibt Belén González, Postdoktorandin an der Universität Mannheim. Dabei könne Duterte auf gewalttätige Milizen zurückgreifen, die seit den 1980er Jahren zur Bekämpfung von Aufständischen eingesetzt werden. "Over the last decade, the armed conflict has remained low intensity and the government even managed to sign peace agreements with some of the rebel groups. However, these developments did little to counter the influence of the militia groups. (...) Based on the omnipresence of vigilante groups in Philippine politics, we should not be surprised that violence spiked right after Duterte’s election. Historically, militias have offered the government high political benefits at low cost. Most importantly, the groups have provided a pool of skilled and battle-hardened vigilantes that Duterte could quickly (re-)activate and deploy."

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"Piecemeal Settlement of the Kuril Islands Dispute?"

Die japanische Regierung habe ihren harten Standpunkt im Streit um die Kurilen-Inseln offenbar abgeschwächt, schreibt Michaela Mattes. Der jahrzehntelange Territorialkonflikt mit Russland könnte nun möglicherweise mit schrittweisen diplomatischen Vereinbarungen entschärft und langfristig sogar beendet werden. "In recent research, I found evidence that a piecemeal approach can be a promising route to conflict resolution. My study suggests that, at times, leaders possess political will to make progress on resolving a dispute but a comprehensive deal is not (yet) possible due to a lack of trust at the international level and/or resistance by domestic actors. Whether the obstacles to conflict resolution can be found at the international or the domestic level, a piecemeal approach may prove an effective strategy. With regard to international concerns about trust, partial settlements allow actors to demonstrate their good will by undertaking smaller cooperative steps that can then build the basis for more extensive cooperation. With regard to domestic political obstacles, partial settlements can engender economic gains for locals – weakening their resistance to further concessions – and might encourage businesses that benefit from cooperation with the opponent to demand additional agreements."

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"Violence in Turkey Is Increasingly Resembling Violence in Syria – Here’s Data to Show Why"

Güneş Murat Tezcür und Clayton Besaw haben empirische Daten über den militärischen Konflikt zwischen Regierungstruppen und der kurdischen PKK in der Türkei gesammelt und stellen hier ihre Ergebnisse vor. "What do we take from this? First, serious negotiations and ceasefires have the potential to stop the killing if they are successful. They were not successful in Turkey because the gap between the insurgent demands and government reforms remained vast and there was no mutually hurting stalemate given the relatively low intensity of the conflict until 2015. Second, civilians are much more likely to be the victims of war when insurgencies infiltrate cities and government forces undertakes extensive counterinsurgency operations after failed negotiations. Finally, the conflict in Turkey and the civil war in Syria are very much intermingled. The PKK adopted urban warfare tactics employed in the Syrian civil war. The Turkish state views territorial gains by the PKK-affiliated-PYD in Syria as a direct threat. Consequently, political violence in Turkey would unlikely end without a modus vivendi between the Turkish state and insurgents regarding the Kurdish question in Syria."

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"Federal Syria: It’s Time to Recognize Reality"

Eric Kaufmann, Politikwissenschaftler am Birkbeck College der University of London, macht sich bereits Gedanken über eine politische Lösung des Syrienkonflikts nach Beendigung der Kämpfe. Er empfiehlt eine Föderalisierung des syrischen Staates nach libanesischem Vorbild. "We have a chance to learn from the mistakes of the past and institute a federal system based on sectarian cantons in Syria. The idea of sectarian power-sharing underpins the model in next-door Lebanon, which has a similar ethno-sectarian patchwork. It’s not perfect, but if Lebanon did not recognize sectarian divisions as the basis of politics, disgruntled minorities would swiftly resort to violence. In Iraq, Maliki’s centralization has similarly alienated Sunnis: as other commentators note, the country has only one option, federalism. (...) As it stands, American policy in Syria is like a kite in a storm, buffeted by events and other players, rather than being guided by a clear vision. It’s time for the West to ditch the fiction of a unitary Syria, embrace federalism, and persuade all parties to move toward this goal."

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"Will Iraqi Kurds Go It Alone?"

Ariel I. Ahram berichtet, dass die irakischen Kurden in diesem Jahr in einem Referendum über ihre Unabhängigkeit entscheiden könnten. Dies wäre der Abschied vom "romantischen Ideal" eines gesamtkurdischen Staates. "(...) the referendum has the potential to transform the KRG’s domestic politics. Given the number of Arabs, Turkomen, and other non-Kurds in the disputed territories and the original Kurdish region, the agglomeration of these territories would dilute the Kurdish majority and redefine notions of national identity and citizenship. The accession of non-Kurds, making up around a quarter of the total population, within Kurdistan could bring about a shift from a largely ethnically-based identity that marginalizes non-Kurdish minorities into a multi-ethnic identity focused on civic affiliation. Kurdistan may be for the Kurds, but it will also have to be for other citizens as well. Moreover, voting solely within the Iraq’s Kurdish Region (and KRG-controlled territories) signals the end of the romantic ideal of greater pan-Kurdish unity."

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"Why ISIS Will Not Thrive in Indonesia"

Im Fall Indonesien empfiehlt Ioana Emy Matesan, die Bedeutung der jüngsten Terrorangriffe von IS-Anhängern nicht zu überschätzen. Die indonesische Regierung habe bisher in legalistischer statt militaristischer Weise auf die Gewalt reagiert, eine Abkehr von dieser klugen Strategie wäre ein großer Fehler. "To be sure, the threat of violence might not disappear in Indonesia. But it is important not to overreact to these attacks, not to overestimate the reach of ISIS, and not to conflate developments in the Middle East with developments in Southeast Asia. American involvement in counter-terrorism and harsh tactics by the police or Densus 88 (the counter-terrorism unit) have only spurred violent attacks before. Unlike many other countries countering terrorism, Indonesia has done many things right – it adopted a legalist rather than militaristic approach to counterterrorism and it has combined soft and hard tactics, understanding the importance of incentives, exit options, and respect for the rule of law. Rather than give in to an ISIS hysteria, the country should keep building on the lessons it has already learned from its tumultuous past."

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"Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Peacekeeping Missions"

Nach erneuten Berichten über sexuellen Missbrauch und Vergewaltigungen durch UN-Blauhelme in der Zentralafrikanischen Republik überlegen Sabrina Karim und Kyle Beardsley, wie sich diese Vergehen künftig verhindern ließen. "In our recent Journal of Peace Research article, we argue that the composition of peacekeeping forces also plays an important role in the level of sexual exploitation and abuse. SEA [Sexual exploitation and abuse] can arise from both an aggressive form of masculinity that is privileged in militaries (militarized masculinity) and socialized beliefs about male dominance in society (patriarchy). (...) If a part of the problem is thus due to learned and socialized behavior, then two policy levers may reduce the amount of sexual exploitation and abuse in missions: an increase in the representation of female peacekeeping personnel or an increase in the representation of soldiers that hold more gender equal beliefs. Female peacekeepers may be less likely to engage in SEA, or as some have suggested, they may serve as a deterrent, preventing their male colleagues from engaging in the behavior. Peacekeepers that come from countries with better records of gender equality may hold values that are more in line with treating women as their equal instead of potential sources of exploitation."

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"More Education = Less Terrorism? Studying the Complex Relationship Between Terrorism and Education"

Die Politikwissenschaftler Sarah Brockhoff, Tim Krieger und Daniel Meierrieks stellen in ihrer neuen Studie die häufig geäußerte These in Frage, dass junge Menschen durch verstärkte Bildungsangebote davon abgehalten werden könnten, sich radikalen Terrorgruppen anzuschließen. "While intuitive, the academic evidence on the terrorism-education nexus tends to be more pessimistic. On the national level, education is usually found to share little relationship with terrorism. What is more, on the individual level, there is evidence that the more educated are more likely to become terrorists. (...) In our new study, we provide a framework to better understand the apparently complex interaction between terrorism and education, trying to reconcile the popular narrative that education may remedy terrorism with the prevalent academic viewpoint that education – if anything – is associated with more terrorism. We argue that there is some truth to both the optimistic and pessimistic views regarding the terrorism-education nexus. The ultimate effect of education on terrorism is linked to country-specific circumstances which moderate whether the pacifying or inflammatory effects of education on terrorism prevail."

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