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12. November 2013, 15.55 Uhr:

Aleppo heute

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Aus einer Reportage von Francesca Borri:

Aleppo heute ist nichts als Hunger, Hunger und Islam, sonst nichts. Auf der Straße sieht man alle möglichen Gegenstände; es scheint, als hätten die Menschen ihre Wohnzimmer auf den Straßen entleert: Teekannen, Fernseher, Telefone, Tischdecken, Lichtschalter – alles Erdenkliche oder, besser gesagt, Teile von allem Erdenklichen.

Aleppo heute, das sind Trümmer – einer verkauft dir einen Kinderwagen, ein anderer die dazu passenden Räder. In den engeren Gassen – sofern sie nicht unter Granatenbeschuss stehen – sieht man die käfigartigen Schaukeln des Id al-Adha-Festes, mit dem die Moslems dem Patriarchen Abraham ihre Verehrung erweisen. Die Jungs (rechts, mit ihren Kalaschnikows aus Plastik) sitzen den Mädchen (links, schon verschleiert) gegenüber. Zwei bärtige Väter des Dschihad, mit Kaftan und Patronengürtel, stoßen sie sanft an.

Ungefähr eine Million Syrer leben noch hier in Aleppo, unter der Kontrolle der Freien Syrischen Armee – all diejenigen, denen 150 Dollar fehlen. So viel Geld kostet ein Taxi, das einen bis zur türkischen Grenze bringt. Dutzende barfüßige und zerlumpte Kinder, verunstaltet von den Narben, die von der letzten Leishmanioseepidemie geblieben sind, folgen ihren ebenfalls barfüßigen und ausgemergelten Müttern, alle von Kopf bis Fuß schwarz verschleiert.

Die Kinder halten eine Schale in der Hand, alle sind auf der Suche nach einer Moschee, wo man Brot verteilt – es erinnert an Somalia oder Äthiopien. Gelb vor Typhus. Sie sehen dir direkt in die Augen, wenn sie deinem Blick begegnen, so wie alle Kriegskinder.

Und wer es noch aushält, kann sich danach diese Reportage über Syriens Kinder anschauen.

12. November 2013, 00.34 Uhr:

Tugendterror maskierter Männer

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Die Al Qaida nahe Jihadistentruppe ISIS baut ihren Einflussbereich in Nordsyrien systematisch aus, kontrolliert inzwischen weitgehend die Provinzhauptstadt Raqqa und versucht immer mehr Grenzübergange zu erobern, um den grenzüberschreitenden Jihad in den Irak zu erleichtern. Dabei geht es weniger darum, die syrische Armee zu bekämpfen, als vielmehr in sog. “befreiten Gebieten” die Macht zu übernehmen und die Scharia einzuführen. Da ISIS selten nur gegen syrische Einheiten kämpft, viele ihrer Anführer zuvor im Irak gekämpft haben und dabei unterstützt wurden vom syrischen Geheimdienst, grassiert in der syrischen Opposition inzwischen die Theorie, dass irgendwie doch immer noch enge Beziehungen zwischen der ISIS und dem Regime bestehen, da die Jihadisten nicht so sehr Assad, wohl aber der restlichen Opposition immens schaden.

Wie der Alltag unter den maskierten Jihadisten aussieht, beschreibt Doha Hassan:

This is the violence of the Assad regime-bred Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which spread its doctrinal control by the sword in regions that were once known as “liberated.” In early 2012, Hakwati took his camera and started shooting short documentaries in northern Syria. “A masked man came in Deir Ezzor’s Mayadin and pulled me by the hair, insulting me and threatening to slaughter me. He took me to the Religious Committee. My friend tried to intervene by telling them, ‘We are sons of the same revolution,’ but the masked man answered, ‘I have nothing to do with this revolution of yours.’”

“After more than five hours of insults and threats within the Religious Tribunal,” Hakwati said, “the emir of the Nusra came over and had a look at the pictures we took before leaving. Some lawyers and the city council intervened and we were released. A while back, they warned me they would have me beheaded.”

A few days ago, ISIS issued a statement in cooperation with the Religious Committee with a table of “taboos” and “means of punishment and sanctions” against whoever disobeys its instructions, including whoever refers to ISIS by name.

“Apostate, laywoman, infidel: This is how ISIS members described me while poking me with their guns as I took part in protests. I did not fear them, I used to tell them they are the regime’s men with a beard and mask,” says Souad Nawfal, one of the first activists in Raqqa before and after the city’s liberation from the Syrian army. When she talks, one can feel her strength, honesty, and spontaneity. “I used to carry a cardboard on which I wrote every day what had happened the day before and brandish it for masked men to see.”

Many protests were organized in response to ISIS’ bringing down the crosses atop the Our Lady of the Annunciation Church and the Martyrs’ Church. ISIS responded by shooting at these protests and arresting those taking part in them. Nawfal recounts: “I carried a cardboard on which I had drawn a cross and crescent side by side with the expression ‘State of Evil.’ A young man aged about 16 with a Tunisian accent attacked me, saying, ‘This woman is defending the houses of infidels and Christians. She is an infidel like them and should be killed.’ A car with Tunisian armed men on board then came and the men surrounded me and loaded their guns, shoving them straight in my face.”

9. November 2013, 20.03 Uhr:

Allons Enfants

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Morgen mag es alles schon anders aussehen, umso wichtiger den Moment festzuhalten, in dem Frankreich zum zweiten Mal in diesem Jahr das einzig Richtige macht (Mali, erinnert sich noch wer? war das erste Mal), nämlich die Atomverhandlungen mit dem Iran in Genf ins Leere laufen zu lassen.

Vor einiger Zeit hatte der neue französische Botschafter in Israel schon erstaunlich deutliche Worte gefunden:

“We take our Israeli friends very seriously when they say that there may be a military option if the talks with Iran lead to what Israel sees as a bad deal. Despite that, we are certainly interested in a diplomatic arrangement that will take into account all the information on the table. Until now, the question about the right to enrich is not on the table, and the Security Council decisions on the topic are completely clear. In any case, our determination is uncompromising. It is our duty to prevent Iran from becoming equipped with nuclear weapons.”

Und so ist es nun Frankreich, das nie als besonders israelfreundlich galt, das, mit ausdrücklichem Verweis auf Israels Sicherheitsinteressen, den vorgeschlagen Vertrag in Genf beim Namen nannte: A sucker’s deal.

“As I speak to you, I cannot say there is any certainty that we can conclude” the talks, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on France Inter radio, noting that France could not accept a “sucker’s deal".

“The security concerns of Israel and all the countries of the region have to be taken into account,” Fabius said.

Die Reaktion aus Teheran folgte auf dem Fuße:

Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, spokesman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, said “the behaviour of the French representative in the nuclear talks shows that France is trying to blackmail” Iran.

“While the French people want better ties between Tehran and Paris, unfortunately the French government prefers the will of Zionist regime,” said Naqavi Hosseini.

Esmaeel Kosari, a fellow conservative and member of the committee, expressed regret that Fabius’s comments “express the positions of the Zionist (Israeli) regime, which prompts us to eye the talks with pessimism.”

Es bleibt fraglich, wie lange Frankreich durchhalten wird, schließlich will die US-Administration den Deal um jeden Preis. Selbstredend wird Deutschland jetzt die Achse Berlin-Paris so vergessen, wie 2011, als es um die Rettung von Benghazi ging.

Und nicht zu vergessen: Ginge es nach den Franzosen, in Syrien sähe die Lage heute ganz anders aus.

Was auch morgen sein mag, heute ein herzliches Salut über den Rhein:

Wie die Verhandlungen sich aus israelischer Sicht darstellen, berichtet die Jerusalem Post:

Over the weekend, Israel learned that the deal on the table is far worse than the one presented to it on Wednesday, and included four clauses for the easing of sanctions rather than just one. Israeli officials said they became furious when the details of the actual deal reached them, describing it as an “enormous mistake.” “Kerry left with food for thought after a tough conversation with Netanyahu,” the political source said.

At the same time, he stressed, the US did not deceive Israel. Instead, the Americans “folded” between Wednesday and the weekend, “maybe because they very much want to reach an agreement and be done with this,” he added.

“The Iranians are the ones who came crawling to the negotiations, begging for an easing of sanctions, otherwise their regime will fall, and what’s incredible is that it seems that the Americans are more eager than them to reach an agreement,” the source charged.

If the deal is signed, the momentum against Iran could fall apart, he warned.

Israeli officials believe that Iran isn’t far from the point where it will have to decide to give up on the nuclear project in favor of economic survival, and are incredulous that now, at the moment of truth, a poor deal is being floated.

PS: Nicht zu vergessen sind natürlich die guten Beziehungen Frankreichs zu Saudi Arabien und anderen Golfstaaten:

Furthermore, France has high stakes in Sunni countries in the region that are fiercely opposed to Iran becoming a nuclear power. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is the region’s foremost buyer of French arms. “In light of the current economic situation in France, which really does not look so bright, these weapons deals are very important to the country,” Hershco said.

In late August, Paris reportedly signed a €1 billion ($1.34 billion) defense contract with Saudi Arabia, which included overhaul work on four frigates and two refueling ships.

“The Saudis are investing heavily in French agricultural, defense and food sectors,” the Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported. “The farmers of Brittany have laid off thousands of workers of late and a Saudi firm is stepping in take control of 52% of Doux, a poultry firm based there. [This is just] one example of the massive spending spree the Saudis are on.

9. November 2013, 19.18 Uhr:

Noch keine Terroristin

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Noch sei sie keine Terroristin, schreibt Sara Assaf, noch, aber das könnte sich ändern, sollte die Lage in Syrien sich nicht ändern. Nun kann man endlos streiten, was die Verantwortung des sog. Westens in dieser Region eigentlich sei, ob er eine habe, ob es nicht richtig sei, nichts mehr zu tun, die Menschen sich und ihren Schlachtfeldern alleine zu überlassen. Dass, mischt der sog. Westen sich nicht ein, andere sich einmischen, etwa der Iran, die Hizbollah und Russland auf der einen, Saudi Arabien und der internationale Jihadismus auf der anderen, ist eine Sache. Dass Nichteinmischung auch andere fatale Folgen haben kann und wird, außer der moralischen Bankrotterklärung, die der sog. Westen angesichts der Massaker in Syrien getätigt hat, das zumindest behauptet Sara Assaf, die noch keine Terroristin ist:

Today, the relatively moderate Free Syrian Army is battling against Assad’s army, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and Hezbollah on one side, and against Jabhat al-Nusra, ISIS, and other al-Qaeda factions on the other. How can anyone expect the FSA to fight alone on those two major fronts without any relevant external military support, and still win?

Today I can’t help thinking that if the whole world let us down and if the only way left to stand against Assad is empowering those jihadists, well then yes, what other choice do we really have? Today I understand why many across the Arab world share this same sentiment. Today I grasp why Sunni terrorism is prospering so quickly to fight Shiite terrorism. The atrocious images stemming daily from Syria are simply fueling a sense of injustice stronger sometimes than any voice of reason. The West has in parallel failed to effectively support the moderate forces across this region. Extremism and radicalism are thus gaining momentum over tolerance and moderation. The “guy next door” who suddenly disappears – only for his parents to know days later that he’s fighting inside Syria – is becoming more and more of a common story here. The Sunni mainstreamer who used to cheer moderate leader Saad Hariri and who now follows a jihadist sheikh is also a pattern we see more of in Lebanon.

To the West I say: Expect a whole new breed of terrorists in the decades to come. Because of your inaction, and somewhat complicity, terrorism is blossoming inside Syria and the whole region. And it won’t remain “inside” for long.

Today, I’m not a terrorist… yet. But I can’t say the same about many others who don’t have the will, wisdom, or luxury to watch this surreal scene and not react.

9. November 2013, 11.21 Uhr:

Nach der Pax Americana

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Jonathan Spyer analysiert, welche neuen Machtbläcke sich nach dem Rückzug der USA im Nahen Osten herausbilden. Nämlich drei: Die Achse des Widerstandes mit Iran, Syrien und der Hizbollah, eine sunnitisch-islamistische mit der Türkei, Qatar und den Muslimbrüdern und eine konservativ-autokratische angeführt von Saudi Arabien mit den anderen Golfstaaten und Jordanien:

The first, Iranian-led bloc, including Assad in Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon, is the most familiar.  The Iranian ambition, clearly stated, is to replace the U.S. as the dominant power in the energy-rich Gulf area, to build a contiguous alliance of pro-Iranian states stretching from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and into the Levant, and thus to emerge as the strongest force in the Middle East.  It is committed to acquiring a nuclear capability to underwrite and insure this process against action to prevent it.

Iran’s Shia nature means that  this bloc has a legitimacy gap outside of the minority Shia Arab populations which is probably insurmountable.  Because of ideological conviction and also to bridge this gap, Iran noisily proclaims itself for the destruction of Israel.  It believes sincerely in this, but it also hopes to woo the Sunni Arab masses through this appeal to an objective also dear to their hearts.

The second bloc noted by the “Turkish officials” is that of “Turkey, Qatar, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”  This is the Sunni Islamist alignment that a year ago looked to be on the march across the region, as a result of the popular uprisings once misleadingly called the “Arab Spring.”

But 2013 has been a terrible year for the Muslim Brothers.  They have lost power in Egypt and in Tunisia.  A new emir in Qatar appears to prefer a more modest regional stance.  And in Syria, al-Qaeda and Salafi-oriented units now form the most active pillar in a confused insurgency which shows signs of turning in on itself.

The eclipse of this bloc in turn draws attention to the third alliance mentioned in the quote. This is the bloc consisting of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries excluding Qatar.  It is the bloc of the conservative Sunni Arab monarchies.

The monarchies survived intact the recent wave of popular agitation in the Arab world, which instead took its toll on the “secular,” military regimes.

But Saudi Arabia was infuriated by the Qatar-MB nexus, and set out to roll it back. Saudi support for Sisi’s coup in Egypt formed an important part of the latter’s success.

9. November 2013, 00.47 Uhr:

Israelisch-syrisches Treffen in Istanbul

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Geht doch:

MK Yakov Margi (Shas) met with Mohammed Adnan, head of the Association of Rebels in Syria, through the mediation of Mendi Safadi, the bureau chief of former Likud party minister Ayoob Kara. The two even gave an interview to Turkish television.

“I hope the Syrian people will throw down the gauntlet and choose its representatives as in any democratic country, and [then] they’ll find us extending our two hands for peace and living side by side,” Margi said.

Adnan replied, saying that the Syrian people are waking from the dream of lies of the Assad family, and that the facts prove the Israeli people are no longer the enemy, but “rather a partner in our struggle against the common enemy — Assad, Iran, and Hezbollah.”

He added that there was a series of meetings in the works to strengthen the ties between Israel and the Syrian people.

8. November 2013, 23.59 Uhr:

Interviews mit Ex-Muslimbrüdern

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Der Journalist Fawzi Oweis hat vor dem Sturz Mohammed Mursis neun Interviews mit Ex-Muslimbrüdern geführt und diese nun als Buch veröffentlicht. Al-Ahram mit einer Besprechung:

They seem like a prophecy on the direction things were heading. The veterans devoted their entire lives to the group and were imprisoned, tortured, displaced and suffered security surveillance for the sake of its ideals. They attempted many times to reform the group but to no avail.

The real irony is that when the Brotherhood finally came to power 80 years after its foundation, it led to something like an implosion among its ranks. Huge numbers left after Morsi took office, but on the other hand, a number of those who had abandoned the group before the revolution returned to participate in political life.

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