US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Middle East Eye


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"Israel-UAE deal: Palestinian protesters burn photos of Abu Dhabi's crown prince"

Viele Palästinenser betrachten das Friedensabkommen Israels mit den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten als "Verrat". "On Saturday, dozens of protesters marched through the central West Bank city of Ramallah, waving Palestinian flags and carrying a banner calling the agreement announced on 13 August a 'gift to the Israeli occupation' and a 'stab in the back' to Palestinians. 'We demonstrated today to express our rejection of this deal between the UAE and Israel, which never should have happened,' Hasan Faraj, 39, a Palestinian activist and secretary-general of the Fatah movement in the West Bank, told Middle East Eye of the protest in Ramallah. 'This is a betrayal of the Palestinian people,' Faraj said. 'We expected this kind of thing from enemies of the Palestinian cause, but not from another Arab country like the UAE.'"

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"What's the Caesar Act and how will new US sanctions impact Syria?"

Die neuen US-Sanktionen gegen Syrien könnten für syrische Zivilisten nach Ansicht von Experten "verheerende" Folgen haben. "The Caesar Act, passed in Congress last year, took effect on Wednesday. It seeks to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into negotiations with Washington, while preventing foreign allies from assisting the reconstruction of Syria's devastated cities and economy. (…) experts and human rights workers have warned that the broad scope and vague wording of the bill, which mostly focuses on energy and construction sectors, could have overreaching consequences. (…) 'The bill is tied to a whole set of unrealistic measures and the American system knows that's the case,' [Julien Barnes-Dacey, director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR),] told MEE. 'The true intent here seems to be to try and provoke economic implosion that forces the regime into more meaningful compromises. The aim here is not a negotiated solution; the real aim is economic implosion, which forces the regime and its backers to concede defeat.'"

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"Israel increases secretive nuclear stockpile to 90 warheads: Report"

Israel hat die Zahl seiner Atomsprengköpfe dem neuen SIPRI-Bericht zufolge möglicherweise um zehn auf 90 erhöht. "The watchdog said that the true number could be higher as Israel does not officially comment on its nuclear capabilities. 'There is significant uncertainty about the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal and its warhead capabilities,' it said. 'Israel continues to maintain its long-standing policy of nuclear opacity: it neither officially confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons.' Israel is one of only three countries, along with India and Pakistan, not to sign the 1968 non-proliferation treaty (NPT), and is widely assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal."

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"Jordan's King Abdullah warns of 'massive conflict' if Israel annexes West Bank"

Der jordanische König Abdullah hat angekündigt, dass eine israelische Annexion des Westjordanlandes zu einem "massiven Konflikt" führen würde. Eine mögliche Reaktion wäre die Aufkündigung des Friedensabkommens von 1994, so Abdullah. "Jordan's King Abdullah II has warned that the Israeli government's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank could lead to 'massive conflict' and said his kingdom is 'considering all options,' including freezing or cancelling its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. 'I do not want to make any threats and create an atmosphere of controversy, but we are considering all options,' King Abdullah told the German magazine Der Spiegel, when asked about the possibility of cancelling the Wadi Araba treaty. Jordan shares 335km of borders with Israel and the West Bank, and its security coordination is highly treasured by Israel's military and intelligence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's incoming coalition government is expected to make moves towards imposing sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory, likely with US backing. The areas mooted for annexation amount to around one-third of the West Bank and include a 97km stretch along the border with Jordan."

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"EXCLUSIVE: Saudi crown prince plans to become king before November G20 Summit"

Die jüngsten Festnahmen im saudischen Königshaus könnten David Hearst zufolge dazu dienen, Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman den baldigen Weg auf den Thron zu ebnen. "Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a purge against his chief royal rival, his uncle Prince Ahmed bin Abdelaziz, because he intends to become king before the G20 summit in Riyadh in November, sources briefed about the plans have told Middle East Eye. Bin Salman, known as MBS, will not wait for his father King Salman to die because his father's presence gives legitimacy to the son, and he wants to use the summit in November as the stage for his accession to the throne. Instead, MBS will force his father, who suffers from dementia but is in otherwise good health, to abdicate, the sources said. This will finish the job started when MBS ousted his elder cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from the position of crown prince, the sources said."

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"Israeli security chiefs and Arab leaders agree: Trump's plan is a disaster"

Unter israelischen Sicherheitsexperten sei der neue Nahost-Friedensplan der USA nicht nur auf Zustimmung gestoßen, berichtet Yossi Melman aus Tel Aviv. "Over the past week, Israeli security chiefs have expressed a growing concern that if the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu fulfills its Donald Trump-supported promise to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements, the West Bank and Gaza Strip could explode. In secret meetings Israeli security officials from the Shin Bet domestic security agency and military tried to calm down their Palestinian counterparts, urging them to wait and not rush to unilateral decisions. The major Israeli security concern is that the PA leadership will decide to stop its security cooperation with the occupying Israeli forces. Both sides benefit from this cooperation. Israeli security agencies are assisted by the PA’s security apparatus to monitor, reduce and prevent attacks planned by Hamas."

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"Annexation: How Israel already controls more than half of the West Bank"

In der Praxis kontrolliere Israel bereits heute mehr als die Hälfte des Westjordanlandes, stellt Jonathan Cook fest. Eine offizielle Annexion des Gebietes würde diese Realität in vieler Hinsicht lediglich bestätigen. "A state of de facto annexation already exists on the ground in most of the occupied West Bank. Almost two-thirds of the Palestinian territory, including most of its most fertile and resource-rich land, is under full Israeli control. About 400,000 Jewish settlers living there enjoy the full rights and privileges of Israeli citizens. (...) Leaked details suggest that Washington is now preparing to green-light the formal annexation of at least some of that territory as part of its deal-making, though Netanyahu’s political difficulties and his decision to call another election in September could mean putting details on ice once again. (...) Support in Israel for annexation is growing, with 42 percent backing one of several variants in a recent poll, as opposed to 34 percent who were behind a two-state solution. Only 28 percent of Israelis explicitly rejected annexation."

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"Has the New York Times declared war on Iran?"

Große US-Medien wie die New York Times spielen in der aktuellen Iran-Krise nach Ansicht von Belen Fernandez eine ähnlich beklagenswerte Rolle wie vor dem Irak-Krieg 2003. "(...) more than 16 years and an obscene quantity of Iraqi deaths later, it seems we may be witnessing a repeat performance of the same old media tricks, this time targeting Iran - although at least Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman has not yet decreed that the Iranians be made to 'suck on this'. First off, of course, there’s the ongoing nuclear hysteria, which apparently can’t be put to rest no matter how many times we review the facts. (...) Now, there has been plenty of ink spilled by well-intentioned observers urging journalists to recall the lessons of Iraq and to refrain from enlisting in the war effort against Iran. But the enduring lesson is that it quite literally pays to toe the official line, and that war - whether it achieves its purported aims or not - is the modus operandi and the essence of the global superpower, acting on behalf of an elite minority."

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"The reasons behind Germany's condemnation of BDS"

Nada Elia schreibt, dass der Bundestag mit seiner Resolution gegen die BDS-Bewegung ähnlichen Entscheidungen in Frankreich und Großbritannien gefolgt sei. Kritiker des Beschlusses hätten besonders die beteiligten linken Parteien ins Visier genommen, da diese seit Jahren immer stärker von einer klaren Unterstützung der palästinensischen Sache abrückten. "Whatever the complex reasons for the German left’s departure from popular support for Palestinian rights, some falsehoods around this latest resolution need to be addressed. First, as Middle East Eye points out, the move is non-binding, strictly symbolic. In other words, Germany has not 'criminalised' BDS, it has passed a resolution (falsely) condemning it as antisemitic. Second, the resolution itself is not a first, but follows in the footsteps of similar earlier resolutions, issued by France and England. (...) If Israel as a country is threatened, feels 'delegitimised' by demands that it abide by international law - which is all that BDS seeks to accomplish - than clearly that country is in egregious violation of international law. Ultimately, whether boycotting Israel is criminalised or not, the 'legality' of a movement, ideology, policy, or practice is no indicator of its moral integrity. Apartheid was the law, until it was abolished."

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"The rise of Libya’s renegade general: How Haftar built his war machine"

Arnaud Delalande beschreibt den militärischen Aufstieg von General Haftar und seiner Libyan National Army (LNA) zum Rivalen der Regierung in Tripolis. "The Libyan National Army is actually a group of militias rotating around a regular army nucleus representing a force of about 25,000 men. The regular army has a total of about 7,000 members. Haftar can also count on some 12,000 auxiliary militia members, including several Sudanese units from Darfur, Chadian militia fighters, and 2,500 members of the allied Zintan brigades, who were considered among the most effective fighters during the war against Gaddafi. (...) The equipment available to these disparate forces ranges from Toyota Land Cruisers to Russian-built tanks. Some units are very well equipped, with recent material including armoured personnel carriers, some provided by the UAE."

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"'Thousands could die': Are US and Iran headed for war?"

Ein offener Krieg zwischen den USA und dem Iran hätte für die gesamte Region "katastrophale" Folgen, so die Warnung vieler Experten. Unmittelbare Leidtragende könnten vor allem die Länder sein, die den harten Iran-Kurs der USA immer wieder gefordert hätten. "Should that happen, [Imad Harb, director of research and analysis at Arab Center Washington DC.,] painted a doomsday scenario in which Iran would not only retaliate against US troops in the region, but would also target the Arab Gulf countries hosting those American forces. Tehran and its allies in Yemen may also block or at least disrupt the straits of Hormuz and Bab el-Mandeb, the passageways into the Gulf and Red Sea, crippling international trade. 'Iran is not going to go down without harming others,' Harb said. 'We're talking about a Gulf that's anywhere between 35 and 70 miles-wide, and on the western coast ... we have Saudi and UAE installations. And Iran is not going to spare them if things really come to a head.' In fact, the same countries that have pushed the US to adopt a more confrontational approach to Iran - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - may be the ones to pay the price if violence breaks out. 'The Gulf countries - Saudi Arabia and the UAE - should really be cautious about what they wish for ... because if Iran is to be vanquished, it's going to hit them really hard,' Harb told MEE."

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"Arms sales to Middle East have increased dramatically, new research shows"

James Reinl macht darauf aufmerksam, dass Saudi-Arabien dem neuen SIPRI-Bericht zufolge zum weltweit größten Waffenkäufer aufgestiegen ist. "Arms flows to the Middle East have increased by 87 percent over the past five years and now account for more than a third of the global trade, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report on Sunday. The defence think-tank’s annual survey showed that Saudi Arabia became the world’s top arms importer in 2014-18, with an increase of 192 percent over the preceding five years. (...) The new report shows how the United States and European nations sell jets, jeeps and other gear that is used in controversial wars in Yemen and beyond, SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman told Middle East Eye."

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"EXCLUSIVE: British army permitted shooting of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan"

Eine Recherche von Middle East Eye hat offenbart, dass britische Truppen in Afghanistan und Irak zumindest eine Zeitlang mit Einsatzregeln operierten, die das Erschießen unbewaffneter Zivilisten erlaubten. "The British army operated rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan that at times allowed soldiers to shoot unarmed civilians who were suspected of keeping them under surveillance, a Middle East Eye investigation has established. The casualties included a number of children and teenage boys, according to several former soldiers interviewed by MEE. Two former infantrymen allege that they and their fellow soldiers serving in southern Iraq were at one point told that they had permission to shoot anyone seen holding a mobile telephone, carrying a shovel, or acting in any way suspiciously. The rules were relaxed, they say, in part because of concerns that unarmed individuals were acting as spotters for militants, or were involved in planting roadside bombs."

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"Saudi Arabia added to draft list of countries posing threat to EU: Report"

Die Europäische Kommission hat Saudi-Arabien einem Reuters-Bericht zufolge auf eine vorläufige Liste mit Ländern gesetzt, die aufgrund ihrer mangelnden Kontrolle der Finanzquellen von Terrororganisationen als Bedrohung eingestuft werden. "The EU's list currently consists of 16 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea, and is mostly based on criteria used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body formed by developed nations. The draft list has been updated to address new criteria developed by the EU Commission since 2017. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries added to the updated list that is still confidential, one EU source and one Saudi source told Reuters. Under the new EU methodology, jurisdictions may also be blacklisted if they do not provide sufficient information on ownership of companies or if their rules on reporting suspicious transactions or monitoring financial customers are considered too lax."

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"Syrian Kurds reject 'security zone' under Turkish control"

Ein Vertreter der syrischen Kurden hat die amerikanische Idee, an der Grenze zwischen Syrien und der Türkei eine "Sicherheitszone" unter türkischer Kontrolle einzurichten, kategorisch abgelehnt. "Senior political leader Aldar Khalil said the Kurds would accept the deployment of UN forces along the separation line between Kurdish fighters and Turkish troops to ward off a threatened offensive. 'Other choices are unacceptable as they infringe on the sovereignty of Syria and the sovereignty of our autonomous region,' Khalil said."

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"Up to 250,000 Syrian refugees may return home in 2019: UNHCR"

Das Flüchtlingshilfswerk UNHCR geht davon aus, dass im kommenden Jahr bis zu 250.000 syrische Flüchtlinge in ihre Heimat zurückkehren könnten. Zuvor müssten allerdings einige Fragen geklärt werden. "(...) persistent questions around documentation, forced military conscription and property ownership among the returnees must still be resolved, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday. About 5.6 million Syrian refugees remain in neighbouring countries, namely Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, according to UNHCR’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amin Awad. That figure includes one million Syrian children born abroad and whose foreign birth certificates the Syrian government has agreed to recognise, Awad said on Tuesday. 'As the situation in Syria improves some of these refugees are making the journey home,' he said during a news briefing in Geneva."

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"EU countries approve arms sales to Saudi, UAE worth 55 times aid to Yemen"

Europäische Rüstungsunternehmen haben seit 2015 Waffen und Militärgerät im Wert von 86,7 Milliarden US-Dollar an die Golfstaaten verkauft, schreibt Paul Cochrane. "European governments and the European Union publicly wring their hands about the 'human tragedy' and need for 'life-saving assistance' in war-torn Yemen. Yet while the Saudi-led coalition has bombed the region’s poorest country over the past three years, the EU and European countries approved the sale of more than $86.7bn in arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to figures compiled by Middle East Eye. (...) Many governments have promised during the course of the war to stop or restrict sales of the weapons that are being used to maim Yemenis, and the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month brought a new wave of public pressure to halt deals with the Saudi kingdom. But only Germany and Norway have suspended their sales – until Khashoggi’s murder is explained - while the UK, France and Spain have all signalled that they will continue business as usual. Experts say the continuation of the sales, which politicians often justify by pointing to job creation, security cooperation and trade relations, reveals a fundamental disconnect for Western governments between their actions and Yemen’s humanitarian crisis."

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"Turkey hosts Syria summit with Russian, French and German leaders"

Middle East Eye berichtet über das Gipfeltreffen zwischen Präsident Erdogan, Bundeskanzlerin Merkel, Präsident Putin und Präsident Macron in Istanbul. "'The eyes of the world are on us today... I hope we will act with a sincere and constructive understanding and will not fail to meet their expectations,' Erdogan said as he opened the summit in Istanbul. After arriving in Istanbul, Macron tweeted that what was at stake was averting a 'new humanitarian disaster'. The summit took place in the aftermath of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. Turkish media reported that Erdogan would also discuss the crisis in one-on-one talks with leaders on the summit's sidelines."

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"With Brunson out of jail, US-Turkey relations still face two major hurdles"

Ece Goksedef glaubt nicht, dass die Freilassung des US-Pastors Andrew Brunson aus türkischer Haft ausreichen wird, um die Beziehungen zwischen den USA und der Türkei wieder zu normalisieren. "The Americans, a Turkish diplomat told MEE, drew a line during the talks and told Ankara: 'We have no more to give or to negotiate, release Brunson and let's start talking then'. With Brunson out, the diplomat said it's time to 'deal with the real problems'. There are two: 1. Control of Manbij. Manbij has been a source of tension between the two countries since 2016, when the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), took control of the city with the support of the US army. (...) Ankara believes that the US is holding on to Manbij as a trump card for eventual political negotiations. 'They will easily give up Manbij in return of some oil wells in Deir Ezzor or Raqqa,' he added. 2. The S-400 purchase. There is a second burning issue facing the two countries: the S-400s. (...) Weeks before Brunson’s release, a US diplomatic source told MEE that relations can only be improved if Turkey gives up its decision to buy the S-400s. Turkish sources close to negotiations between the two countries say that the use of S-400 systems would create a crisis between Turkey and the US because the systems are capable of targetting and hitting most NATO missiles."

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"'No one was spared': Sweida massacre leaves Syrians reeling"

Zouhir Al Shimale berichtet über das Massaker an über 250 Zivilisten durch IS-Terroristen in der hauptsächlich von Drusen bewohnten Stadt Sweida im Süden Syriens. Überlebende werfen der syrischen Regierung vor, das Massaker nicht verhindert zu haben, um die volle Kontrolle über die Stadt übernehmen zu können. "Suspicions have also begun to mount that the government allowed the attack to take place so that it could remove the al-Aql brigade, a Druze militia in Sweida which claims to be 'neutral' in the Syrian civil war, and take full control of the province. The group has fought against al-Qaeda's one-time Syrian branch and has also had minor battles with government forces."

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"'Not up to expectation': American recruits struggle in IS territory, study says"

Einer neuen Studie der George Washington University zufolge sind amerikanische IS-Rekruten im Nahen Osten von ihren Erfahrungen mit der Terrormiliz überwiegend enttäuscht. Viele von ihnen wollen demnach trotz drohender Haftstrafen in die USA zurück. "US recruits to the Islamic State (IS) group struggle more than their European counterparts, lacking support networks and field experience and assigned to menial jobs, a report said on Monday. The study by the George Washington University Programme on Extremism said that online social networks were more essential to Americans in reaching Syria and Iraq, as they often had limited personal connections that could help them reach the battlefield. Once there, a number found disappointment in unfamiliar terrain and faced significant culture clashes; many, if they stayed alive, soon sought to return to the United States, despite facing near-certain imprisonment."

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"So far, Iran has endured Trump's hostility. That patience will run out"

Ellie Geranmayeh erwartet, dass sich der Iran die Konfrontationspolitik von US-Präsident Trump nicht mehr lange gefallen lassen wird. Um eine Verschärfung der Krisen im Nahen Osten zu vermeiden, müsse die westliche Diplomatie aktiver werden, so ihre Empfehlung. "In the coming months, as the Trump administration finalises its Iran policy review, it will be imperative for global leaders in Europe, Asia and Russia to clearly outline their concerns to both the White House and members of Congress. They ought to also provide President Trump with a more sober and accurate assessment of the root causes of the region’s current crises and highlight how the West can better secure its strategic interests on combating terrorism by cooperating with all regional powers, including Iran. Global actors should also attempt to neutralise the 'Trumpization' of the region. They could do so by offering support to any regional initiative aimed at de-escalating recent tensions between the GCC states and Iran. They can also amplify positive messaging towards Tehran in the hope that its leadership will restrain itself from provocative responses."

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"Five reasons Erdogan will win the Turkish referendum"

Omair Anas meint, dass Präsident Erdogan durch die von vielen EU-Politikern geäußerte Ablehnung eines EU-Beitritts der Türkei vor dem Verfassungsreferendum entscheidend gestärkt werden könnte. Gerade bei jungen Türken habe dies eine nationalistische Stimmung geweckt, der das Nein-Lager zu wenig entgegen setzen könne. "Here are five specific reasons why these dynamics are likely to bring conservative, nationalists and undecided voters behind Erdogan: 1. Erdogan’s opponents can’t guarantee Turkey’s accession to the EU (...) 2. The opposition doesn’t have a plan to improve Turkey’s economy (...) 3. Erdogan is trusted to improve the deteriorating security situation (...) 4. Erdogan already has a proven track record in Syria (...) 5. Voters are more interested in a 'strong Turkey' than a 'democratic Turkey' (...) So it depends on how the younger generation, now educated and prosperous, will interpret global politics. The existing narratives which unnecessarily provoke nationalist sentiments could lead young voters to favour a strong and resistant Turkey, instead of a Western underdog. The opposition parties may not fare well in this game of competitive nationalism."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

Vom Kosovo nach Kolumbien, von Somalia nach Süd-Thailand: Weltweit schwelen über 280 politische Konflikte. Und immer wieder droht die Lage gewaltsam zu eskalieren.

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