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6. August 2015, 12.08 Uhr:

Paintball Spieler

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

5000 syrische Kämpfer gegen den IS, die zugleich Assads Truppen in Ruhe lassen, wollten die USA ausbilden. 60 sind geworden. Von denen befinden sich inzwischen wohl fünfzehn in den Händen der al Nusra Front, also des lokalen Ablegers von Al Qaida.

Außerdem haben die USA vorher netterweise aus die Regierung in Damaskus vom Einsatz der Truppe informiert. Das erklärte jedenfalls der syrische Außenminister:

The United States contacted us before they sent in this group and said they are fighting against Daesh (ISIS) and not the Syrian army at all.

Was man in der arabischen Welt von diesem ganzen Unterfangen hält, fasst Ali Bakir zusammen:

“No one in the Arab world takes this program seriously; I mean you would need around 50 to 60 people to play paintball but definitely not to fight Islamic State.”

“There is a profound general perception in the Arab world that the Obama administration is no less responsible than Iran and Russia in the Syrian crisis,” he said.

The deal with Iran and the cooperation with Iranian forces against Islamic State, include “Shi’ite militias that are no less criminal.”

This situation is increasingly seen in the Arab world as siding with the Shi’ites at the expense of the vast majority of Muslims, he asserted.

The US administration is more concerned about not jeopardizing the Iran deal than helping the Syrian people, Bakir added.

4. August 2015, 11.42 Uhr:

Assads neue Waffen

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Nach chemische Waffen und Barrel Bombs hat das Assad Regime jetzt eine neue Waffe in seinem unermüdlichen Krieg gegen syrische Zivilisten:

Trapped in towns besieged by fighting, deprived of food, water and electricity, Syrian civilians are now facing a new threat from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Beyond the barrel bombs that have already killed thousands in indiscriminate aerial assaults, beyond the chemical attacks with cylinders of chlorine gas in civilian areas controlled by opposition forces, the Assad government is now dropping 200-kilogram naval mines from its helicopters into residential neighbourhoods.

Set to explode just a few metres from the ground, the naval mines, designed to float in the sea and detonate as a warship approaches, are packed with high-intensity explosives that cause extraordinary damage and terror, experts say.

Außerdem setzt, verschiedenen Quellen zufolge, die syrische Armee neuerdings auch Napalm ein:

Reports have emerged that the Syrian regime in recent days has fired napalm-loaded rockets at rebels holed up in the border town of Zabadani.

Alaraby Aljadeed on Monday reported the use of napalm against the insurgents, who have fought fierce battles against encroaching Hezbollah and regime troops in the past month.

The London-based daily said that the regime was using surface-to-surface missiles to deliver the incendiary payload, which can set buildings alight and has been banned for use against civilians by the 1980 United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

3. August 2015, 15.46 Uhr:

Die jungen Männer kommen

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

In Izmir traf der Hurriyet Reporter Banu Sen unter den Zehntausenden von syrischen Flüchtlingen, die versuchen, nach Europa zu kommen, auch viele junge Männer, die in die Türkei gekommen sind, um sich dem Wehrdienst in der syrischen Armee zu entziehen:

Almost all of the Syrian refugees that have recently come to ?zmir said they ran away from being recruited to the army as they did not wish to fight in the country’s civil war. 

“We are running from the army. Men aged between 18 and 35 are being recruited to the army. We do not want to fight, that is why we are running. Our families are in safe cities. The ones who are married take their families with them,” one young Syrian migrant told daily Hürriyet on the streets of Basmane. “We do not aim to stay in Turkey; we came here to go to Greece.” 

A group of five Syrian young men, who said that they had been sleeping near a wall in Izmir for the past week, said they were all university graduates and had professions but had fled Syria to avoid the draft. 

“We were working in Damascus, but we have not been able to see our family for two years. We fled to avoid being taken into the army. Money talks in Syria. If you give 300 dollars you get a passport,” one of the five said.

Und warum sie unbedingt die Türkei verlassen wollen bzw. müssen, erklären sie auch:

“We were caught twice by Greek soldiers when we tried to escape from Çe?me [a district of ?zmir]. They confiscated all that we had and left us on the Turkish side, but we will try until we make it. If we cannot go in a months’ time Turkey will deport us, which will mean delivering us into the hands of the [Syrian] army,” the group said. “That is why we do not fear a risky journey at sea; we have no other choice.”

Und in Deutschland liest man dann, es wäre ja auffällig, dass sich unter den syrischen Flüchtlingen so viele junge Männer befänden. Über Deserteure, die das einzig vernünftige tun und sich dem Wahnsinn, der in ihrem Land herrscht, entziehen, liest man dagegen nichts.

2. August 2015, 23.35 Uhr:

Jahrestag der Shingal Katastrophe

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Vor einem Jahr stürmten Jihadisten des Islamischen Staates das Sinjar Gebirge. Was folgte, war eine unbeschreibliche Katastrophe für  Hunderttausende von Yeziden.

In Arbil erinnerten Demonstraten an den Jahrestag:

More than 50 Kurdish Yezidi women, men and children gathered outside the United Nations building in Erbil on Sunday to shed light on the bloody massacre that befell the Yezidis in Shingal nearly one year ago.

Cloaked in traditional white and black garb and carrying banners with pleas and calls to action, the group gathered under a roofed UN entrance to deliver a multitude of messages with the same theme.

“We demand the liberation of Yezidi women and girls who are still in captivity of the terrorist organization of ISIS,” one demonstrator yelled, reciting the sentence written on a large black banner at the group’s center.

“The Unites Nations and the International Security Council now have an ethical responsibility more than a legal one toward Yezidis,” another protester chimed in.

Throughout the two-hour long event, the group often broke into call and response chants—in Kurdish, Arabic and English—centered on the liberation of Shingal and demand for peace and coexistence. (…)

Several similar demonstrations, including a conference in Duhok, have been scheduled throughout the Kurdistan region for Monday.

2. August 2015, 10.35 Uhr:

Misery Index

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Über die Folgen des Iran Deals für die Region schreibt Hisham Melham:

Finally, the Iran nuclear deal as a new source of tension between Iran and its Arab neighbors, will inevitably contribute to tightening the repression in Arab societies in the name of galvanizing and uniting the people to fight Iran and its Arab proxies From Yemen on the Indian Ocean to Lebanon and Syria on the Mediterranean.

Many Arab societies have been hollowed out and militarized long before the Iran nuclear deal and the Arab uprisings. But the historic collapse of the very foundations of the political order that prevailed for a century in the Levant and Mesopotamia in the last five years is irrevocably transforming and fragmenting the region’s social, cultural and political fabric, leaving behind tattered identities.

The dangers of the unprecedented Sunni-Shiite bloodletting, and the rise of the fanaticism of the non-state actors, will be magnified in the wake of the nuclear deal. The immediate future of the region will be millions of children deprived of structured schooling, to be added to the 21 million children already out of schools. In a region that has less than 5% of the world’s population, the number of peoples who were forced to become refugees is almost half of the refugee population of the world. Syria’s refugees, close to five millions, constitute the worst humanitarian crisis in the new century.

In Yemen, people are dying of hunger; with one third of the population suffer from malnutrition. If one engages in the grizzly ritual of counting the daily harvest of blood in the majority Arab states in the region, one would be horrified, at the ability of the reaper to cut lives. Is anyone keeping up with the number of people who have disappeared in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya or even in Egypt?

The misery index for the Arabs has given us new categories of Arab victims such as, migrant Arabs, and children warriors. The nuclear deal with Iran, may have capped temporarily the nuclear storm inside Iran’s reactors, but the political fallouts of the deal will likely leave a long trail of human wreckage in its wake.

2. August 2015, 00.57 Uhr:

Die meisten Luftangriffe in Syrien

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Rekordmonat Juli:

Syrian government has conducted nearly 7,000 air strikes during the month of July, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, making it the most intense bombing reported in one month since the beginning of the conflict in 2011.

At least 6,673 air strikes were recorded during the month of July, including 3,654 barrel bombs dropped by government helicopters on 13 out of 14 Syrian provinces, the UK-based monitoring group said in its report on Saturday.

Damascus suburbs and Idlib province were the most targeted provinces, according the Observatory, which has a network of activists on the ground.

At least 791 civilians were killed due to these air strikes, including 207 children below the age of 18. At least 3,000 others were injured while thousands were forced to flee their homes as a result. (…)

The Syrian Network for Human Rights, another group monitoring the war, recorded a total death toll of 1,674 during the month of July - over half of those killed are women and children.

The network said that the rising death toll is an indicator that government forces has been ”deliberately and indiscriminately targeting civilians".

1. August 2015, 11.18 Uhr:

Spiel mit dem Feuer

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Über den türkischen “War on Terror” schreibt Behlül Özkan:

Last week, Ankara began bombing PKK camps in northern Iraq, thus effectively commencing a two-front war against both ISIS and the PKK. This is a dangerous move for Turkey, whose 30-year struggle against the PKK has taught it the impossibility of winning a war against irregular guerilla forces. Meanwhile, the country is being run by a caretaker AKP government after the ruling party lost its parliamentary majority in the June 7th elections.

As his country teeters on the brink of disaster, President Erdogan seems less interested in solving its problems than in acquiring greater power for himself. For the past year, Erdogan has sought to become Turkey’s “elected sultan” by creating a de facto presidential system. But, counter to his expectations, voters declined to give the AKP a majority. By making war on the PKK, the AKP is obviously hoping to sow division between the Kurdish-left HDP (which is known to have ties to the PKK) and the rest of Turkish society. The HDP’s remarkable success in the June 7th election – the first time in Turkey’s history that a Kurdish party has surpassed the 10 percent electoral threshold – was a major factor in the AKP’s losing its own majority in parliament. Erdogan has now declared that a number of HDP deputies will be tried on charges of supporting terrorism. This chilling announcement – harkening back to the imprisonment of Kurdish MPs during the 1990s – seems like a patent attempt to de-legitimize the HDP.

Erdogan may be reasoning that if a coalition government cannot be formed and the country is forced to have early elections in November, growing nationalist, anti-PKK sentiment will allow the AKP to regain its parliamentary majority. In short, Erdo?an and the AKP have not hesitated to elevate party politics above national security. It is Turkey and the Turkish people that will lose out in the end.

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