US-Soldaten in Afghanistan



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"Blinken: Biden Will End US Involvement in Yemen War in 'Short Order'"

Die Biden-Regierung könnte Dave DeCamp zufolge eine schnelle Wende der bisherigen Jemen-Politik der USA einleiten. "President Biden’s secretary of state-nominee, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday that the Biden administration will work quickly to end US involvement in the war in Yemen. 'The President-elect has made clear that we will end our support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and I think we will work on that in very short order,' Blinken said during his Senate confirmation hearing. Blinken also said during the hearings that the Biden administration will 'immediately' review the Trump administration’s designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization."

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"Recording Proves Assange Warned State Department Ahead of Cable Dump"

Neu veröffentlichte Audioaufnahmen eines Telefongesprächs belegen Dave DeCamp zufolge, dass Julian Assange das US-Außenministerium 2011 vor der Veröffentlichung von geheimen Dokumenten durch einen abtrünnigen WikiLeaks-Mitarbeiter gewarnt habe. "The release is a recorded phone call from August 26th, 2011, between Assange and former State Department attorney Cliff Johnson. Assange said files were taken from WikiLeaks by a 'rogue' employee who would release the cables without redacting names of State Department sources. He urged the State Department to warn individuals who could be at risk. (…) The recording blows a hole in the narrative of the US government’s prosecution team that is seeking Assange’s extradition. Throughout the extradition hearing, the lawyers representing the US have accused Assange and WikiLeaks of recklessly releasing the cables and other documents with no regard for the safety of the individuals named in them."

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"German FM Calls For Stricter Iran Deal"

Bundesaußenminister Maas hat sich für eine Neuverhandlung des internationalen Atomabkommens mit dem Iran ausgesprochen. Nach Ansicht von Dave DeCamp ist dies im Hinblick auf die Überlebenschancen des Abkommens ein schlechtes Zeichen. "'A return to the previous agreement will not suffice anyway. There will have to be a kind of 'nuclear agreement plus,' which is also in our interest,' Maas said in an interview with Der Spiegel. 'We have clear expectations of Iran: no nuclear weapons, but also no ballistic missile program that threatens the entire region … We need this agreement precisely because we distrust Iran.' (…) It’s not clear from Maas’ comments if he wants to scrap the JCPOA altogether or if he would favor an initial return to the deal, with a new agreement negotiated after the fact. Joe Biden has said he plans to return to the JCPOA and then negotiate a follow-on deal that would include Iran’s missile program. Either way, Maas’ statement is not a good sign for the accord. There are a lot of forces working to sabotage the deal for good, and the European signatories were expected to be strong proponents of salvaging the JCPOA."

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"US Wasted Billions of Taxpayer Dollars in Afghanistan From 2018 to 2019"

Einem neuen Bericht der US-Behörde für den Wiederaufbau in Afghanistan (SIGAR) zufolge sind der US-Regierung zwischen dem 1. Januar 2018 und dem 31. Dezember 2019 in Afghanistan etwa 3,4 Milliarden US-Dollar durch Betrug, Missbrauch oder Verschwendung verloren gegangen. "The 19-year-old war in Afghanistan continues to be a huge sinkhole for US taxpayer dollars. The US government’s oversight authority that monitors waste in Washington’s Afghanistan reconstruction effort released a report this month updating its findings. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that as of December 31st, 2019, Congress appropriated almost $134 billion to Afghanistan reconstruction since the 2002 fiscal year. Of that amount, SIGAR reviewed about $63 billion and found approximately $19 billion or 30 percent was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse."

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"US, Russia Making Progress in New START Talks"

Nach einigen pessimistischen Meldungen über den Verlauf der Verhandlungen zur Verlängerung des New-Start-Abkommens gibt es nun offenbar neue Fortschritte. "Arms control talks between the US and Russia resumed in Helsinki on Monday as the fate of the New START hangs in the balance. Earlier reports indicated the negotiations were not going well, with the US demanding unreasonable concessions from Moscow. But a Trump administration official told The Wall Street Journal that the two sides are making progress and could agree on the framework for a new treaty soon. 'This is the first time the US has heard concrete proposals from the Russian Federation,' the official said after Monday’s talks. 'We have an agreement on the way forward in terms of form. Where we have a lot of work to do is in terms of substance.' President Trump’s envoy for arms control, Marshal Billingslea, said in a tweet that Monday’s meeting brought 'important progress.'"

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"Julian Assange Could End Up at Colorado Supermax Prison"

Sollte Julian Assange tatsächlich an die USA ausgeliefert werden, könnte er Dave DeCamp zufolge in ein berüchtigtes Hochsicherheitsgefängnis in Colorado überstellt werden. "WikiLeaks found Julian Assange could end up in one of the most notorious prisons in the US if extradited and convicted for espionage charges, a court at London’s Old Bailey heard on Tuesday. Maureen Baird, a former warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, testified during the extradition hearing. Baird said Assange would be held in isolation under Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) in pre-trial detention, as well as later if convicted due to the national security aspect of the case. Baird said that given the SAMs requirements, if Assange is convicted, the 'only place' he could go is a federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, known as ADX. Baird said Assange would have to be 'almost dying' to be sent to another facility."

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"US Special Ops Using Secret Drone Missiles in Northwest Syria"

US-Spezialeinheiten führen mit Unterstützung der CIA im Nordwesten Syriens einen verdeckten Krieg gegen eine mit der Al-Qaida verbündete Rebellengruppe. Bei einem geheimen Drohnenangriff ist nun ein Anführer der Miliz getötet worden. "The strike allegedly killed Sayyaf al-Tunsi, a Tunisian and a high ranking member of Hurras al-Din, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda. Hurras al-Din is an offshoot of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), previously the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in Syria). HTS is the dominant militant group in Idlib. Hurras al-Din was founded in 2018 by hardline members of HTS and al-Nusra, and other Islamist militant groups in the region. US Joint Special Operations Command, with help from the CIA, has been waging this covert war against Hurras al-Din for months. The US killed the former leader of the group with a Ninja Hellfire missile back in June."

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"Intelligence insiders see Israeli alliance with Gulf States as 'biggest change in decades'"

Geheimdienstexperten betrachten die sich abzeichnende Allianz zwischen Israel und den arabischen Golfstaaten als wichtigste regionale Entwicklung seit Jahrzehnten. "The former CIA official, Marc Polymeropoulos, who worked closely with both Israel and the Palestinians in his 26-year career, told SpyTalk’s Jeff Stein and Jonathan Broder that secret intelligence links between Israel and some Arab countries are nothing new. However, 'this [new] overt alliance is the biggest change in the region in decades', said Polymeropoulos. He added that these intelligence links will only deepen now that official diplomatic relations have been established between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. (…) The end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the deepening polarization between Sunni and Shia populations in the Middle East, were the context in which the Israeli outreach to Arab states took shape. This context essentially convinced Arab leaders that their populations are sufficiently concerned about Iran to 'stomach an alliance with Israel' Polymeropoulos told SpyTalk."

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"Biden Says Stay in Mideast, Increase Military Spending"

US-Präsidentschaftskandidat Joe Biden hat in Aussicht gestellt, im Fall seines Wahlsiegs im November den Militärhaushalt zu erhöhen und den Truppenabzug aus Afghanistan und dem Nahen Osten zu stoppen. "Biden said the ongoing US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are so complicated he can’t promise a withdrawal. He also suggested he may increase military spending even beyond its current record levels as he shifts focus to what he believes should be the military’s priorities. The priorities, as are so often the case for the US, are fighting Russia, who Biden identified as a 'near-peer' power. The US spends more than ten times the amount on its military annually that Russia does, and it is unclear in what way they are a 'near-peer.' Either way, Biden intends to shift the focus toward unmanned drones and cyber-warfare, and suggests that is likely to boil down to not just a shift in where money is spent, but likely an increase in spending as well."

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"US Claims Four Troops Injured as US, Russian Vehicles Collide in Syria"

Im Nordosten Syriens ist es offenbar zu einer Kollision eines russischen und eines amerikanischen Militärfahrzeugs gekommen, bei der offiziellen Angaben zufolge vier US-Soldaten leicht verletzt wurden. "On Tuesday, media were speculating about what would happen if US and Russian forces had a confrontation in Syria. Early Wednesday, an incident happened on the road near Dayrick, where US and Russian vehicles collided, injuring four US soldiers. (…) Details are still emerging. No Russian casualties were reported, and four US soldiers were reported to have mild, concussion-like symptoms. US officials described the collision as a 'side-swiping,' though the video showed very little contact."

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"Trump and Democrats Both Promise End to 'Forever Wars'"

Dave DeCamp weist darauf hin, dass sowohl die Demokraten als auch Präsident Trump in ihren Wahlplattformen für den November ein Ende der "endlosen Kriege" der USA versprochen hätten. "On Sunday, President Trump released a 50-point agenda for his second term that says the president will 'stop endless war' and bring US troops 'home.' The plan also pledges that the US will 'maintain' military strength and says the US will 'wipe out' global terrorists that threaten Americans. The Democratic Party released its 2020 platform this month, which uses similar language to President Trump’s agenda and calls for ending 'forever wars.' The plan says the Democrats will work to end these foreign entanglements 'responsibly.' The only conflicts mentioned by name in the platform are the wars in Afghanistan and Yemen. The Democrats don’t promise a withdrawal from Afghanistan, but they do call for a political agreement that will prevent the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS in the country, which sounds similar to the peace process that is playing out now."

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"TikTok Ban: For National Security or US Tech Companies?"

Nach Ansicht von Dave DeCamp ist nicht klar, ob die US-Regierung mit dem angedrohten Verbot der chinesischen Videoplattform TikTok sicherheitspolitische oder kommerzielle Ziele verfolgt. "US officials cite national security as the reason to ban TikTok, but regardless of the motives, US tech companies will greatly benefit from the ban. Rumors of Microsoft buying TikTok from ByteDance surfaced in the media after President Trump’s comments. (…) An outright ban of TikTok could benefit another US tech giant, Facebook. In mid-July, it was revealed that Facebook-owned Instagram plans on launching its version of the TikTok app sometime in August. Known as Reels, the video app has many of the same features as TikTok. Reels has been launched in other countries, including India, where it was released just days after TikTok was banned in the South Asian country. (…) All of the things TikTok is accused of, Facebook is guilty of in spades, with respect to the US government. In 2013, leaks from former NSA contractor Edwar Snowden revealed that a program known as PRISM gives the NSA and FBI backdoor access to Facebook and other US tech companies to harvest user data. In the wake of the US assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Facebook and Instagram censored posts portraying the general in a favorable light. Facebook has also teamed up with the Atlantic Council, a think-tank funded by the US government and US weapons manufacturers, to remove content."

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"Poll: Americans Believe Russia Paid Taliban to Kill US Troops"

Trotz der vielen Berichten zufolge zweifelhaften Beweislage ist eine Mehrheit der amerikanischen Bevölkerung offenbar davon überzeugt, dass Russland in Afghanistan tatsächlich Kopfgelder für getötete US-Soldaten ausgezahlt habe. Jason Ditz kommentiert: "Late last month, reports began emerging claiming that Russia had been paying substantial bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan. A new poll shows that 60% of Americans view that allegation as 'believable.' Claims Russia did something bad are usually easy to sell, and a claim repeated enough usually gets believed by many. (…) The poll shows that they view Russian President Putin as a 'threat,' and support a new round of US sanctions against Russia. Alarmingly, 9% even supported attacking Russia outright. This is undercut by the strong evidence that this plot isn’t true, and never was. The danger is, the US could escalate hostilities and the majority of the public is fine with it."

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"House Spending Bill Would Block Funds For Nuclear Tests"

Aufgrund der Gerüchte, die dem Weißen Haus die Erwägung neuer Atomwaffentests unterstellen, haben die Demokraten im US-Repräsentantenhaus ein neues Ausgabengesetz mit einem Verbot der Finanzierung solcher Tests ergänzt. "The House Appropriation Committee added a measure to its draft of the 2021 appropriations bill for the Department of Energy that would prohibit funds being used to 'conduct, or prepare to conduct, any explosive nuclear weapons test that produces any yield.' 'Critically, the bill would prevent the Trump administration from using any funds to carry out its dangerous and short-sighted plan to resume nuclear testing,' Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the committee’s chairwoman said in a statement on Monday. Rumors of the Trump administration considering resuming live nuclear tests surfaced in May when The Washington Post reported senior officials were discussing the possibility of a live test to send a message to Russia and China."

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"Trump Plans to Cut Another 4,000 US Troops From Afghanistan"

US-Präsident Trump plant diesem Bericht zufolge, die Zahl der US-Truppen in Afghanistan um weitere 4.000 auf den niedrigsten Stand seit der Invasion zu reduzieren. "(…) reports are that President Trump has finalized a plan to withdraw another 4,000 or so US troops from the country, with the goal of getting things down to 4,500 remaining by autumn. This would be the lowest US troop level in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion and occupation. The State Department had long said cuts below 8,600 would be conditions-based, and it wasn’t expected there would be more drawdowns so soon. President Trump was interested in a drawdown for the sake of the election, and probably will emphasize this cuts in the campaign. Depending on election strategy, this might mean that the troops lefts after this will probably be staying at least until the vote, since it allows the administration to argue that they hadn’t 'rushed' to leave Afghanistan but are still drawing down at an impressive rate, as circumstances allow."

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"Crushing US Sanctions To Take Effect on Syria This Week"

In dieser Woche treten neue US-Sanktionen gegen Syrien in Kraft, berichtet Dave DeCamp. Kritiker beklagen, dass die Sanktionen den ohnehin schwierigen Wiederaufbau des Landes erschweren und vor allem Zivilisten treffen werden. "US and EU sanctions on Syria have already frozen the assets of the state and hundreds of companies and individuals. The sanctions also prohibit Americans from exporting anything to Syria and bar US citizens from investing in the country. The new sanctions will give the US the power to freeze the assets of any individual, regardless of nationality, for doing business in Syria. The new sanctions will also target people dealing with Russian and Iranian entities in Syria. The looming sanctions have already caused many to pull out of investments in Syria, which is mostly to blame for the recent collapse of Syria’s currency. Lebanon, Jordan, and other regional neighbors are discouraged from joining the reconstruction effort since it can cause targeting by the US."

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"Russia Policy Allows Use of Nuclear Weapons in Response to Conventional Attacks"

Präsident Putin hat eine neue Militärdoktrin unterzeichnet, die es erlauben würde, bestimmte konventionelle Angriffe mit dem Einsatz von Atomwaffen zu beantworten. "In addition to retaliating for conventional attacks, the document also says Russia could deploy a nuclear response to preempt an attack if 'reliable information' emerges of a ballistic missile attack against Russia. Russia’s policy almost perfectly mirrors that of the United States, the world’s other major nuclear weapons power, which has also long resisted pushes to adopt a 'no first use' policy. Despite this, both the US and Russia maintain that their arsenals are chiefly for defensive purposes. China is the one nation that has consistently reaffirmed a no-first-use policy. India likewise takes this position, but has suggested that they could change it in the future. Germany pushed NATO to adopt no-first-use as an alliance-wide policy, but this was rejected."

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"US, Russia Are Blocking UN Push for Global Ceasefire"

Die Initiative von UNO-Generalsekretär Guterres zur Ausrufung eines globalen Waffenstillstands werde in der UNO sowohl von den USA als auch von Russland blockiert, schreibt Jason Ditz. "The proposal has got a lot of interest internationally, but is falling just short of going into effect, with the United States and Russia both insisting they wouldn’t consider themselves bound by any such ceasefire for their wars. The US is complaining that the ceasefire would hinder their wars against ISIS and other groups that they believe are hostile to US interests. Given the number of US wars around the world, that’s a substantial number of conflicts. Among primary interests is the US ability to attack Iraqi militias in the near future. Its not just America’s many wars that America believes would be at stake, but also Israel’s intermittent attacks on Syria and other nations, with US objections including that no ceasefire can be allowed to inhibit Israel’s ability to launch unilateral attacks. Russia’s complaints were similar but more narrow, focused on wanting to keep their military activities in Syria ongoing, and not wanting the international ceasefire to get in the way of Libya’s Civil War, in which Russia is supported Gen. Hafter’s forces."

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"11 Nations on Board as UN Secretary-General Pushes Global Ceasefire"

UN-Generalsekretär António Guterres setzt sich derzeit für einen globalen Waffenstillstand ein, um eine effektive Bekämpfung der Corona-Pandemie zu ermöglichen. "This is getting some interest beyond NGOs and the Pope. As of Friday, 11 countries have endorsed the idea, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. While the UN is still looking for a big nation engaged in foreign wars to really make this a thing, but some of these nations have some substantial domestic conflicts that might benefit from a ceasefire, and countries like Syria may find themselves influencing others. These are also some of the countries most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemics, with countries like Yemen, Libya, and Syria some of the nations least prepared for an outbreak, with war leaving the countries with little medical infrastructure."

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"Coronavirus Pandemic an Opportunity for Wars, and Peace"

Einige Experten fürchten Jason Ditz zufolge, dass extremistische Gruppen die Corona-Pandemie für ihre Zwecke ausnutzen könnten. Andere Konflikte hätten sich angesichts der neuen Bedrohung dagegen beruhigt. "International relations specialist Bertrand Badie called it a 'godsend' for such groups, and predicted 'the revenge of the weak over the strong' in the weeks to come. As the virus spreads around, this attitude could spread to more countries. For extremist groups, the global panic over the pandemic is just a multiplier for terrorist groups. Civilians are less resilient to high-profile attacks if they are already terrified over other issues, and terrorists can more easily provoke desperation in those already desperate. On the other hand, some groups are taking this as an opportunity for peace. The Philippines ordered a halt to their offensive against Communist rebels, a major fight spanning decades which may be getting a rare break. Elsewhere in Idlib, fighting has been on the decline."

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"Turkish Army Posts in Syria’s Idlib Merge With Rebel Positions"

Bei den derzeitigen Kämpfen in Idlib seien die Positionen der radikalislamischen Rebellen kaum noch von den Positionen des türkischen Militärs zu unterscheiden, schreibt Jason Ditz. Aus Sicht der Rebellen sei die Nähe zum türkischen Militär durchaus sinnvoll: "Turkish-backed Islamist rebels in Northern Syria’s Idlib Province have been getting more and more aid from Turkey to fight against the Syrian government. They are looking for direct Turkish backing by embedding closer and closer to Turkish Army posts. At this point, they’ve effectively merged. This makes sense for the rebels to do, because having Syria attack al-Qaeda doesn’t look like a problem, but having Syria attack the Turkish military does. Making it less clear which is which ensures that every Syrian military operation is vilified. Russian officials were critical of this tactic, saying Turkey was violating obligations they’d established in previous deals over Idlib, particularly deals when all those Turkish Army posts were established. This was done specifically so Turkey didn’t do exactly what they’re doing."

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"Afghanistan’s Abdullah Loses Final Vote Count, Announces He’ll Form Govt"

Amtsinhaber Ashraf Ghani ist zum knappen Sieger der afghanischen Präsidentschaftswahlen erklärt worden. Ghanis Rivale Abdullah Abdullah will die Niederlage offenbar nicht hinnehmen und hat die Bildung einer Gegenregierung angekündigt. "Instead of getting into allegations of fraud, Abdullah is looking to just plow forward, declaring his defeat as a victory, and insisting that he is moving ahead with plans to form an 'inclusive' government despite the fairly substantial handicap of having lost the vote. This suggests that Ghani and Abdullah, instead of a power-sharing deal, will try to form rival governments out of this election. Coming as it is in the midst of the US-Taliban peace talks, and the Taliban about to enter into talks with the Afghan government, it could be an awkward time to not be totally clear who Afghanistan’s government is."

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"Russia: Israel Used Civilian Plane as Cover in Syria Attack"

Russland wirft Israel vor, einen Luftangriff gegen Ziele in Damaskus im Schatten eines Linienflugzeugs durchgeführt und so den Abschuss des Airbus-Fliegers riskiert zu haben. "An Airbus 320 passenger jet with 172 people on board was nearly shot down over the Syrian capital city of Damascus on Thursday morning, as Syrian missile defense systems activated to respond to an incoming Israeli attack on the Damascus airport. Russian Defense Ministry officials suggested that they don’t think the incident was coincidental, but rather that the Israeli military is deliberately using passenger jets for cover while attacking Syrian targets. Israel likely considers this a win-win strategy, because either Syria doesn’t contest attacking Israeli planes, letting them strike with impunity, or Syria accidentally hits a civilian plane and gets condemned internationally for that."

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"Turkey Kills Scores of Syrian Troops in Heavy Fighting in Idlib"

Die Türkei hat auf den Vormarsch syrischer Regierungstruppen in der Idlib-Provinz reagiert und bei Zusammenstößen laut 76 syrische Soldaten getötet. "Faced with the prospect of al-Qaeda forces in Syria getting totally overrun, Turkey has sent troops back into the Idlib Province, and are attacking the Syrian military, nominally to defend themselves as the Syrian military was looking to reclaim the town of Saraqeb from al-Qaeda. Syria fired shells at al-Qaeda, and hit Turkish troops. Russia and Turkey were meant to have a deal over this matter, but Turkey’s President Erdogan has warned Russia not to 'stand in their way' in attacking the Syrian military. Erdogan had threatened to use military force on Syria Friday, and are now attacking them outright."

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"EU Diplomats Warn US to Halt Threats Over Iran"

Diplomaten der sogenannten E3-Staaten Großbritannien, Frankreich und Deutschland haben die Drohungen der US-Regierung im Streit um die Iran-Politik Berichten zufolge in überraschend deutlichen Worten zurückgewiesen. "More specifically, diplomats from Germany, France, and Britain warned that the US tactics are 'completely unacceptable,' and that their bullying tactics would not help them marshal support against Iran. The State Department was surprised by the firmness of the language, and passed it on to the White House. It was noted that the US dialed back pressure on the EU in the days that followed."

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"US Stops All Arms Deliveries to Iraq"

Im andauernden Streit um die Stationierung von US-Truppen im Irak hat die US-Regierung vorerst alle Waffenlieferungen an Bagdad eingestellt. "A US Air Force spokesman confirmed the pause, citing security concerns, and said all personnel support for Iraq’s F-16 planes indefinitely. Iraq has yet to comment on the matter. This reflects growing US tensions with Iraq, and the Iraqi government’s interest in getting US troops out of the country. The US is threatening sanctions on Iraq for even suggesting expelling them, and military aid cuts are planned. This is likely part of the US cutting their military relationship to try to make Iraq more dependent on them."

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"FM: If Nuclear Issue Is Sent to UN, Iran Will Pull Out of NPT"

Sollten die E3-Staaten Deutschland, Frankreich und Großbritannien ihre Klage über Verletzungen des Atomabkommens durch den Iran vor die UNO bringen, würde Teheran sofort aus dem Abkommen austreten, so die deutliche Warnung von Außenminister Zarif. "The EU3, Britain, France, and Germany, trigger the dispute mechanism within the deal last week. It was ultimately revealed that the US had forced them to do so, threaten to impose tariffs on European cars if they refused. Zarif warned them against going any farther, however, particularly not sending the file on their program to the UN Security Council, saying Iran would respond by withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) outright over that. (…) Withdrawing from the NPT would almost certainly be used by the US as an excuse for a war against Iran. This makes it potentially dangerous for Zarif to declare a red-line, as it would be entirely possible for the US to go back to its auto tariffs threat to try to get the EU to do exactly what it’ll take to kill both the nuclear deal and potentially, the peace."

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"Claims That Iran Is 'Close' to a Nuclear Bomb Ignore Reality"

Jason Ditz hält aktuelle Warnungen vor der Möglichkeit, dass der Iran innerhalb weniger Jahre eine Atombombe herstellen könnte, für übertrieben und unverantwortlich. Alarmistische Prognosen dieser Art ignorierten die technischen Komplikationen des nuklearen Anreicherungsprozesses. "The arguments surrounding Iran’s 'breakout' time are all built around irresponsible over-simplification of the nuclear process, and the assumption that Iran’s nuclear program has absolute mastery of aspects of enrichment they’ve never attempted. Breakout time gets calculated on the basis of Iran’s existing stockpile of low-enriched uranium. At 3.67% enrichment, this stockpile is far below the 90%+ used in atomic weapons, and the needs for a weapon are built around the idea that Iran’s stockpile of 3.67% grows to a certain point wherein it is transmutated to weapons grade uranium and weaponized perfectly. This isn’t how it works, of course. Iran would need a lot of further enrichment to take the uranium from levels needed for fueling a power plant to making a weapon, and Iran has never attempted to enrich uranium to anywhere near that level. This is a substantial set of challenges in the process by itself. Getting to the point where they have a weapon’s worth of weapons-grade uranium isn’t the end, either, because then Iran has to successfully weaponize that level of uranium, which they’ve never had in the first place, and obviously never attempted to turn into a weapon before."

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"Syria Death Toll for 2019 Lowest in Civil War"

Einer Erhebung des Syrian Observatory for Human Rights zufolge hat der Krieg in Syrien im vergangenen Jahr die bislang wenigsten Todesopfer gefordert. "According to data gathered by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 11,215 people were killed in Syria over the course of 2019, and this was the fewest killed in any single year of the entire Syrian Civil War. That is still a substantial number killed, reflecting some fighting in the east, Turkey’s invasion of the northeast, and fighting between Syrian forces and al-Qaeda in and around Idlib Province. The Observatory estimated 3,473 civilians among the slain. The drop-offs have been substantial, however, with just under 20,000 killed in 2018, and 33,000 killed in 2017. At the peak of the war, 76,000 were estimated killed in a single year. While fighting is fierce in parts of Syria, some parts seem to see little violence anymore."

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"Pentagon Says Full Syria Withdrawal Many Years Off"


Das Pentagon kann sich einen endgültigen Abzug der US-Truppen aus Syrien offenbar erst in vielen Jahren vorstellen. "In testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley predicted that the US will continue to have troops inside Syria for many years, and that it is 'hard to foresee anytime soon' when the US might leave. The two told the committee that this presence continued to be about the ISIS threat, and that it would be a long time before regional forces in Syria could fight on their own. It’s not clear what regional forces are even being referred to, as the US troops are centered in a very small area at this point. (…) President Trump now insists that the US war in Syria is exclusively about oil, and the only reason US troops are in Syria is to take Syrian oil with the help of US oil companies to be named later. President Trump has repeatedly reiterated this stance, despite military officials trying to make the war about something else."

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