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Security policy press review
Bloomberg from 02/14/2019
"Europeans Grow Tired of the U.S. Led Alliance"
order? srnd = opinion
The US has largely given up its leadership role in the liberal world order under President Trump, writes Leonid Bershidsky. The resulting mood among the allies is reflected in the title of the report of this year's Munich Security Conference. "The 2019 report, titled 'The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces ?,' is somewhat less anxious in tone than the 2018 version, which raised the specter of a large-scale conflict. That danger appears to have devolved into a competition as the US takes on a long-term challenge from China and a more immediate one from Russia. The way the US is handling these tests, though, doesn't exactly inspire confidence in its long-time allies. (...) The lack of a security and economic infrastructure that doesn't include the US makes it difficult for the second-tier powers - Germany, France, the UK, Japan - to pursue any kind of independent policy. The result is a balancing act between a US that acts like a competitor with a tendency toward bullying and and a security architecture that depends on the US being an ally. "
2.1. Germany / Europe
Daily newspaper from February 13th, 2019
"Syrian ex-intelligence agents arrested"
For the first time since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, two alleged torturers of the Assad regime could be brought to justice in Germany, reports the daily. "The Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Criminal Police Office have been investigating crimes against humanity in Syria for years. Two suspected torturers of the Assad regime could soon be on trial in Germany for the first time. On Tuesday, the German authorities succeeded in arresting two alleged ex-employees of the Syrian secret service The access took place on Tuesday in Berlin and Rhineland-Palatinate. The two men are accused of having been involved in thousands of tortures and ill-treatment in Syria in 2011 and 2012, or of having provided assistance, including assistance in two killings is the talk. "
CNBC on 02/14/2019
"The EU's 'dirty-money' blacklist now includes Saudi Arabia and some US territories"
The European Commission has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will in future be added to a black list of states that are seen as a threat due to their lack of action against the financing of terrorism. "The European Commission added Saudi Arabia, Panama, Nigeria and other jurisdictions to a blacklist of nations seen as posing a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, the EU executive said on Wednesday. The move is part of a crackdown on money laundering after several scandals at EU banks but has been criticized by several EU countries including Britain worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia. "
New York Times 02/13/2019
"House Votes to Halt Aid for Saudi Arabia's War in Yemen"
adlines & nlid = 201795340214
The US House of Representatives has spoken out against further American support for the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen. If the Senate confirms the decision, President Trump would probably veto for the first time, report Catie Edmondson and Charlie Savage. "The 248-to-177 vote, condemning a nearly four-year conflict in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians and inflicted a devastating famine, will pressure the Republican-controlled Senate to respond. Eighteen Republicans - almost all of them hard-line conservatives with the Freedom Caucus - voted with the Democratic majority. (...) Senate passage of the Yemen resolution could prompt Mr. Trump to issue the first veto of his presidency, and it would come after Republicans have registered their unhappiness over other foreign policy issues, such as the president's plan to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan and his threats to pull the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. "
New York Times 02/13/2019
"U.S. Revives Secret Program to Sabotage Iranian Missiles and Rockets"
According to the New York Times, the US government has rekindled a secret program to sabotage the Iranian missile program. The program was started by President George W. Bush and later continued by President Obama. "Officials said it was impossible to measure precisely the success of the classified program, which has never been publicly acknowledged. But in the past month alone, two Iranian attempts to launch satellites have failed within minutes. Those two rocket failures - one that Iran announced on Jan. 15 and the other, an unacknowledged attempt, on Feb. 5 - were part of a pattern over the past 11 years. In that time, 67 percent of Iranian orbital launches have failed, an astonishingly high number compared to a 5 percent failure rate worldwide for similar space launches. (...) The officials described a far-reaching effort, created under President George W. Bush, to slip faulty parts and materials into Iran's aerospace supply chains. The program was active early in the Obama administration, but had eased by 2017, when Mr. Pompeo took over as the director of the CIA and injected it with new resources. "
2.4. Near and Middle East, Maghreb
Frankfurter Rundschau from February 14, 2019
"Netanyahu Confused With Statement About 'War With Iran'"
In a video that was only available online for a short time, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of a "common concern of a war with Iran," reports the Frankfurter Rundschau. The video was deleted from the server shortly after it was published by the Prime Minister's office. "In the revised English translation of the Prime Minister's Office, the word 'war' was replaced by 'fight'. In the deleted video, however, Netanyahu used the Hebrew word for 'war'. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Sarif responded mockingly on Twitter: 'We have always known Netanyahu's fantasies. Now the world - and everyone at the Warsaw Circus - knows them too. '"
Time online from 02/13/2019
"27 dead in attack on Revolutionary Guard"
Zeit Online reports on two attacks on troops of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. "At least 27 people were killed in a suicide attack on a Revolutionary Guard bus in southeastern Iran. 13 other members of the elite troop were wounded in the explosion in the southeastern province of Sistan and Balochistan, the Revolutionary Guards press department (IRGC) said in one of According to the Revolutionary Guard, the bus was attacked with a vehicle loaded with explosives. Border guards were on the way home. The Sunni separatist group Jaish al-Adl ('Army of Justice') complained the attack for himself, according to the state news agency Irna. "
Al Monitor dated 02/14/2019
"Turkey frustrated over Western inaction in Khashoggi murder case"
Turkey feels abandoned by western and other Arab states in its efforts to clarify the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, writes Semih Idiz. "Ankara's apparent determination to force Saudi Arabia to account for the slaying of Khashoggi also appears set to widen the existing gap between Turkey and the established Arab regimes in the Middle East. Most of these regimes have lined up behind Riyadh for economic and political reasons, or merely out of a sense of Arab solidarity in the face of what they see as Turkish meddling in Arab affairs. Many statements out of Western capitals condemning this murder and demanding accountability, as well as moves in the US Congress to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia , have failed to make any significant difference so far. Turkish officials are concerned that Western governments are refraining from pressuring Riyadh because of the economic and strategic importance of Saudi Arabia to their interests. "
2.6. Afghanistan / Pakistan
Neue Zürcher Zeitung from February 14th, 2019
"Why fear is getting around in Afghanistan after the announced withdrawal of US troops"
Marco Kauffmann Bossart reports on reactions from various political camps in Afghanistan to the announced withdrawal of American troops. Many feared the re-establishment of a fundamentalist Taliban regime if the incumbent state power were to be left to fend for themselves. "The chaos after the withdrawal of the Soviets favored the rise of the Taliban, who forced their radical interpretation of Islam on the population between 1996 and 2001. Women disappeared under the burqa, girls were banned from schools. The warriors of God blew up cultural monuments, them banned music or playing with cards and kites. Liberal voices in Kabul worry that the Taliban could restore the regime of violence that they had to give up after the Western military intervention in 2001 after the Americans withdrew. "
3. Alliances and international diplomacy
The Atlantic from 02/13/2019
"The Trump Administration Wants North Korea to Be the Next Vietnam"
_source = feed
According to Michael Tatarski, the next summit between Donald Trump and Kim Kong Un will also take place in Hanoi because the US wants to demonstrate to North Korea, using Vietnam as an example, the positive consequences that a comprehensive agreement could have in the negotiations. "In Vietnam's case, the country emerged in the 1970s from a two-decade war that left millions dead, urban areas impoverished, and huge swaths of the countryside doused with chemical defoliants. A decade of food shortages, economic stagnation, and international isolation followed . But since initiating economic reforms in 1986, it has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, lifting millions of people out of poverty along the way. It is a major cog in the global trading network, and an important diplomatic and security partner for the United States in Southeast Asia. Though Vietnam has a pluralistic leadership model that eschews the cult of personality that Kim Jong Un, his father, and his grandfather built around them, it remains a closed political society. The country has a terrible record on human rights, and lacks a free press or any semblance of an opposition, issues that Trump has largely remained silent on and which may well appeal to Kim. "
4. Military and armed conflict
5. NSA / Surveillance / Big Data
Süddeutsche Magazin from February 13th, 2019
"This compromise endangers the free network"
Simon Hurtz comments in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on the planned reform of EU copyright law and fears that the law will trigger "error-prone and illegal prior censorship". "(...) Article 13 alone is so messed up that the potential harm is far greater than the benefit. There is no explicit mention of 'upload filters'. But most platforms have no choice but to complete the content to scan that users want to upload. So far, providers are only liable for legal violations if they are notified. Article 13 provides for liability from the moment of upload. "
The American Conservative dated February 14, 2019
"Where 'Religious Freedom' Means Avoiding a Bloodbath"
On the occasion of the publication of the report "Religious Freedom in the World" by the Catholic organization Aid to the Church in Need, Doug Bandow writes that religious freedom has become a question of survival in many parts of the world. "The foreword for the latest report is authored by Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga of the Central African Republic. In his nation, he writes, 'religious freedom is not a concept; it is a question of survival.' Americans would have trouble understanding, but 'the issue,' he says, 'is how to avoid a bloodbath.' That is no overstatement. In the Middle East, religious minorities are being exterminated. Unleashed by promiscuous American military interventions, radical Islamists are murdering, enslaving, and displacing Christians, Yazidis, Jews, and other religions minorities - even Shiites and liberal Sunnis. And the Middle East is not the only locus of persecution. Some of the worst episodes are occurring in Africa, including in Cardinal Nzapalainga's Central African Republic, and Asia, specifically in the world's two most populous nations, China and India. "
9. Terrorism, fundamentalism and extremism
RealClearWorld from 02/12/2019
"The Salafi-Jihadist Movement Is Winning"
According to Katherine Zimmerman of the American Enterprise Institute, Salafist extremists first and foremost strive for the highest possible acceptance among Sunni Muslims. Measured against this standard, groups like Al-Qaeda, IS, Boko Haram and the Taliban are still very successful. "US counterterrorism strategy under George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump has been defensive and narrowly focused on groups and individuals rather than on the whole Salafi-jihadist movement. (...) Think of it this way: It is as if the United States focused solely on arresting mob hitmen or protection racket toughs and leaders, but let the mafia organization embed itself in vulnerable communities, waiting only for the moment to take over. That is the current state of US counterterrorism policy; and the enemy is prospering as a result. (...) Sunni communities tolerate the presence of Salafi-jihadist groups today as a lesser evil in the face of what they see as existential threats. Local conflicts and popular grievances create openings for the movement to grow its influence. Working to resolve these conflicts will block its efforts to infiltrate communities. Reducing the movement's ability to interact with populations is the only way to weaken it. America's strategy must change e to reflect this reality. We have won many battles, but we are still losing the war. "
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