US-Soldaten in Afghanistan



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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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"Turkish Invasion Forcing Syrian Kurds to Adopt Terror Tactics"

Angesichts vermehrter anonymer Bombenanschläge gegen pro-türkische Rebellen im Norden Syriens vermuten Beobachter Jason Ditz zufolge, dass kurdische Gegner der türkischen Invasion mittlerweile zu bekannten Terror-Taktiken greifen. "Turkish officials have been quick to blame specific Kurdish factions, particularly the YPG/PKK, for these attacks, and are trying to present them as vindication for long-standing claims that the Kurdish groups are effectively terrorists. And yet the YPG was not using car bombs generally, or indeed at all, before Turkey started invading Kurdish towns and cities, an offensive that was in no small measure about Turkey’s government’s very real problems with the Kurds. Desperation in the face of a foreign invasion has put the Kurdish groups in a position all-too-common with people living under occupation, adopting terrorist tactics to resist the enemy forces."

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"At Least 74 Killed as Iraq PM Orders Elite Troops to End Protests"

In den vergangenen Tagen haben irakische Sicherheitskräfte Berichten zufolge mindesten 74 Demonstranten getötet und über 3.600 verwundet. "Demands for genuine reform from thousands of protesters and warnings to show restraint in policing by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani are falling on deaf ears in Iraq. With at least 74 killed in crackdowns on protests, and over 3,600 others wounded in the past 3 days, and 149 others killed in the last round of protests, the situation looks likely to further escalate. Having previously promised reforms, Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi is now calling on Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Services to deploy on the streets and 'use all necessary measures' to end public demonstrations against his continued rule. Sistani has yet to react to this, which is the exact opposite of the restraint he counseled. On the other hand, politically powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is demanding Abdul Mahdi back off immediately."

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"What the Media Aren’t Telling You About Turkey and the Kurds"

Marc D. Joffe unterstützt die Entscheidung des US-Präsidenten für einen Truppenabzug aus Syrien dagegen und erinnert daran, dass die Türkei ein NATO-Partner sei und die syrischen Kurden der Terrororganisation PKK naheständen. "Cherry-picking facts or reporting distortions in support of an anti-Trump or pro-intervention narrative does a huge disservice to the American public, who, as the President rightly noted last week, have spent $8 trillion and lost thousands of soldiers on endless wars in the Middle East since 9/11. And, as major media are failing to tell us,, several of those US casualties have been in Syria. (...) there would never have been a good time to remove troops from the Turkish-Syrian border: Turks and Kurds have been at odds for centuries. The US military cannot assure optimal results everywhere: in many cases, we’ll have to tolerate the outcomes that local states and regional powers achieve. Otherwise, the loss of American lives and treasure will continue until our country will no longer be able to take care of itself, let alone others."

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"Saudis Say Iran’s Blame ‘Undeniable,’ But Doubts Persist"

Jason Ditz weist darauf hin, dass die bisher vorgelegten Beweise für eine iranische Verwicklung in die Angriffe auf saudi-arabische Ölanlagen nicht von allen Regierungen umstandslos anerkannt worden sind. "Saudi officials offered pieces of drones they claimed were from Iran, and pieces of missiles that they similarly said were from Iran. They say that in having said that, there was no longer any way to claim that anyone else had done it. Many nations haven’t bought in to this, and aren’t likely to do so. French officials say they don’t intend to comment at all until they see some evidence and have all the facts. That’s not the position the US nor the Saudis are taking. Japan’s Defense Minister was even more doubtful about the matter, saying he wasn’t aware of anything that actually pointed to Iranian involvement. Moreover, he noted that Yemen’s Houthi movement had claimed the attack, and that Japan is inclined to believe them."

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"Trump Mulls $15 Billion Iran Bailout, May Lift Sanctions"

US-Präsident Trump erwägt Berichten zufolge, die französische Initiative zur finanziellen Entlastung Irans zu tolerieren und zudem eigene Sanktionen gegen Teheran aufzuheben. "A $15 billion EU line of credit to Iran in return for oil sales, an effort to get them around near-term economic problems, seems the most likely immediate move, with Trump and Mike Pompeo both considering giving France permission to do it. Iran has suggested they would only be open to talks in the event the US lifted sanctions on th4em. Incredibly, it does appear that this too is under consideration, as Trump is very hopeful for talks, and might actually be willing to do something to make that happen."

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"Saudi Airstrike Kills 130 at Central Yemen Prison"

Bei einem saudi-arabischen Luftangriff auf ein Gefängnis in Jemen sind offenbar 130 Menschen getötet worden. "In one of the deadliest single airstrikes of the entire war, Saudi Arabia carried out a Sunday night attack on a prison in central Dhamar, Yemen, virtually leveling the site. The Red Cross delegation in the country rushed to the scene to take care of the injured. All told, 40 prisoners were recovered alive and are being treated for injuries, while bodies are still being hauled out of the rubble. The Red Cross says they believe everyone else at the site died in the attack. With 170 prisoners held there, that puts the death toll at 130. That’s going to be particularly embarrassing for the Saudis, because the Shi’ite Houthi movement reported that the prison held a large number of pro-Saudi government fighters detained in recent battles."

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"Pentagon Opposes Israeli Attacks on Iraq"

Die Reaktion des Pentagons auf die Angriffe gegen schiitische Milizen im Irak lässt Jason Ditz vermuten, dass Israel die Operation ohne Rücksprache mit den USA durchgeführt haben könnte. "The US revealed Israel was behind the attacks last week, and as attacks hit again over the weekend, Iraqi forces started saying they suspected US involvement. This is not unreasonable, as historically the US supports and facilitates Israeli attacks as a matter of course. The Pentagon statement, however, suggests this is not one of those times, referring to Israel as 'external actors inciting violence in Iraq,' and expressing support for Iraq to exercise self defense 'and protect their democracy.' The democracy comment is likely to particularly rile Israel, because the Israel narrative has long been that they are the 'only democracy' in the entire Middle East."

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"Report: Israel Planning to Attack Houthis in Yemen"

Könnte sich Israel iranischen Interessen bald auch in Jemen entgegenstellen? Jason Ditz berichtet über möglicherweise geplante israelische Angriffe gegen die schiitischen Huthi-Rebellen. "The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida is quoting 'sources' familiar with the situation ho say that Israel is planning to start attacking targets in the Shi’ite Houthi movement in northern Yemen, as well as targets along the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb. The strikes are being presented by Israeli officials as a continuation of Israel’s attacks against Iranian interests, with the sources setting this up to spin the attack as being about Iranian weapons shipments. Israel is said to be sharing intelligence with the Arab states in the area, presumably meaning Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other GCC nations involved in the ongoing war in Yemen. Spinning the Houthis as a major client of Iran is in keeping with US and Saudi narratives trying to justify the Yemen War, and even though the Houthis have denied this, Israel seems to be willing to buy in."

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"Trump Privately Suggested Full Naval Blockade of Venezuela"

US-Präsident Trump hat Berichten zufolge Überlegungen über eine vollständige Seeblockade Venezuelas angestellt. "Officials say that President Trump has repeatedly raised the idea of a full naval blockade being imposed on Venezuela for at least the last year and a half as a way of trying to impose regime change, saying the US Navy could prevent all ships from entering and exiting the large South American country. One person was quoted as saying that in recent weeks, Trump said 'we should get the ships out there' and 'prevent anything going in.' Trump has confirmed to the media that a blockade is 'an option.' Officially there is not a full naval blockade yet, though the US has made efforts to prevent shipments to Venezuela, and earlier this week was reported to have seized a ship full of food to prevent it getting to Venezuela."

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"Trump Administration Asks Congress to Reauthorize NSA Snooping on Calls, Texts"

Die US-Regierung hat die Wiederaufnahme von zwischenzeitlich eingestellten NSA-Programmen zur Massenüberwachung von Telefonanrufen und Textnachrichten beantragt. "The programs were, officially, shut down in March because of technical difficulties, and the provisions are set to expire in December. But just because they aren’t even using the program, and have openly conceded it was both of 'limited' value and ripe for abuse, outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has issued a letter to Congress urging them to not only reauthorize the surveillance, but to do so on a permanent basis. Coats concedes all the knocks against the program in his letter, but argued that it is conceivable that at some undefined point in the future technology might make it cheaper and simpler to wholesale surveil the public, and argues that they might as well get the authorization now rather than worry about it at that later date."

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"Trump Imposes Economic Embargo on Venezuela"

US-Präsident Trump hat neue Sanktionen gegen die Maduro-Regierung in Venezuela in Kraft gesetzt. "President Trump signed an executive order late Monday imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela, freezing all government assets in the US and forbidding all transactions of any Venezuelan officials. This is the first major expansion of sanctions against a western hemisphere nation by the US in over 30 years, and is intended to put Venezuela into the same level of economic isolation as similarly restricted Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. (...) This is the latest US effort to try to impose regime change in Venezuela, after a failed military coup earlier this year. It’s not clear how broadly the US intends to enforce the sanctions, for example if they intend to use military force to prohibit naval trade from the Venezuelan coast."

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"Russia, Ukraine Agree on Comprehensive Ceasefire in Donbass"

Jason Ditz hebt die Bedeutung des neu verhandelten Waffenstillstands für den Osten der Ukraine hervor. "The deal is being negotiated by Russia on behalf of Ukraine’s eastern separatist movement, and obliges both sides to move heavy weaponry away from the front line, as well as banning attacks and attempts at forward movement by either side. OSCE officials say this deal, with its open-ended term, is going much further than previous ones, and followed with a joint statement from Russia and Ukraine. This commits both sides more fully to abiding by the deal. This is particularly important because in the past, smaller factions on both sides have felt entitled to simply ignore the deals, arguing they weren’t personally party to the pact. With both governments committed, dishonoring the pact comes at a much bigger price."

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"Bolton Demands Iran Abandon Non-Existent Nuclear Arms Program"

US-Sicherheitsberater John Bolton hat nach der iranischen Überschreitung des Urananreicherungslimits bekräftigt, dass die USA ihren Druck auf Teheran so lange erhöhen werden, bis der Iran sein Atomwaffenprogramm einstellt. Jason Ditz betont, dass es ein solches Programm nicht gebe. "Iran’s Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami reiterated on Monday that Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapon, and that the whole world knows that. The general asked why the world keeps sanctions Iran over the nuclear issue when it clearly isn’t a real issue. US officials have been reiterating the idea of an Iranian 'nuclear threat' so long, and against all reason, that at this point the facts don’t matter for most US officials. Policy is to escalate sanctions, and the escalation has become an end unto itself. (...) This puts Iran in a tough position with the US, because it plainly doesn’t matter what Iran promises, what Iran does, or what Iranian leaders declare as religiously forbidden. The US will always lead with the same nonsensical demand, and US officials will always feel justified with threatening Iran over plain lies."

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"US Special Envoy Tells Europe: Choose Between Us and Iran"

Donald Trumps Sondergesandter Brian Hook hat Europa im Iran–Konflikt Jason Ditz zufolge vor eine drastische Wahl gestellt. "Hook warned the European Union in particular against its attempt to establish a clearing house to allow trade with Iran, saying that the entire continent of Europe has to make a choice: do business with the United States, or do business with Iran. (...) Hook, however, insists that no country has any waivers from America allowing them to buy Iranian oil, or carry out other business with them. Even though in practice it is none of America’s business, Hook said the US intends to sanction any country caught buying oil from Iran in any way. The US threats are largely empty. China has continued to buy oil from Iran despite US warnings, and the US clearly can’t do anything about it. The EU has a similarly large economy and should be able to also call the administration’s bluff, but so far, banks haven’t shown any faith in the EU backing up their promises to protect their companies."

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