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22. Mai 2015, 10.02 Uhr:

Cui bono?

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Profitiert eigentlich außer dem Islamischen Staat irgendwer vom Fall Ramadis? Gar der Iran und die von ihm angeführten Milizen, die in letzter Zeit ein wenig in Verruf geraten waren?

Eine Antwort:

In a private meeting in Baghdad that media were not privy to, members of the Anbar provincial council also voted on whether they should allow the Shiite militias to enter Ramadi. The council members concluded that they had no other option – the government security forces did not seem capable of defending the city and the militias now appear to be the strongest military force in the country.

Now there remains only one problem: the conditions that some of the Shiite militias, especially those who appear to have closer ties to Iran than to the Iraqi government, will impose if they are to go back to fighting. The leaders of these kinds of militias – including Hezbollah in Iraq, the League of the Righteous and the Badr Brigades – had been having an increasingly testy relationship with al-Abadi. Now they’re in a more powerful position and more likely to get their way on requests like immunity from prosecution during this crisis. (…)

There are also reports of secret meetings taking place, bringing together Iraqi officials, US officials and the leaders of the Shiite militias. If what seems to be happening really is – that is, the meetings are being held to draw up battle plans and coordinate different parties in the fighting – this could be the first time that the US cooperates openly with the Shiite militias in the ongoing fight against the IS group.

Einer der Führer dieser Milizen wird so vorgestellt:

The militias’ operational head, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, was listed as a “specially designated global terrorist” by the US after he spearheaded some of the deadliest assaults on US troops after the invasion. “He’s basically a fully paid up member of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran,” said Michael Knights, an Iraq expert and fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Und ein anderer stellt klar:

“You have to remember,” he went on, “ultimately when we work, we don’t work for government. We work for God.”

22. Mai 2015, 00.29 Uhr:

Comical Command

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Erinnert sich noch wer an den irakischen Informationsminister, Baghdad Bob bzw. Comical Ali, dem eine ganz eigene Webseite gewidmet ist? Wie er 2003 etwa  von großen Erfolgen der irakischen Armee in den Nähe von Basra berichtete, als die US-Truppen gerade den Flughafen von Bagdad einnahmen?

Hätte man noch ein wenig Humor übrig angesichts der Katastrophen im Irak und Syrien, man könnte eine ganz ähnliche Seite heute fürs US-Central Command einrichten.

Da hieß es etwa im Februar:

A major offensive to retake Iraq’s second-largest city from Islamic State militants is tentatively planned to begin in April or May and will involve 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops, a U.S. Central Command official said Thursday.

The Mosul offensive would be the most decisive ground battle of the Iraq campaign against the Islamic State, which has seized large swaths of the country.

Ein paar Monate später ist Mosul noch immer fest in der Hand der Jihadisten, dafür aber auch Ramadi, die Hauptstadt der Anbar Provinz vor den Toren Bagdads. Aber nein, die ist nicht etwa, wie Medien und Augenzeugen berichten, von Isis gestürmt worden, sondern:

Iraqi security forces weren’t “driven from” Ramadi, they “drove out of Ramadi,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Eigentlich war es auch nicht der Isis, sondern ein Sandsturm, ja ein Sandsturm wars!

Reports indicate that Iraqi security forces drove out of Ramadi – an important provincial capital – during a sandstorm May 16.

Und Mosul, das kann warten. Denn man plant ja einen richtig langen Krieg:

“At the start I said three years,” he said. “That still might be the case, we may be able to achieve our objectives in three years. But I said then, and I reiterate now, that there may be tactical exchanges – some of which go the way of Iraqi security forces and others which go the way of ISIL. But the coalition has all the strategic advantages over time.”

19. Mai 2015, 13.32 Uhr:

Yours Juergen

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Was von Jürgen Todenhöfer - dem German Thinker - zu halten ist, darüber braucht man eigentlich nichts weiter zu sagen.

Hier ein kleiner Emailaustausch zwischen ihm und der Führungsriege des syrischen Regimes, den Now Lebanon zusammen mit einer Unzahl anderer entsprechender Dokumente gerade veröffentlicht hat:

6 December 2011

From: Jürgen Todenhöfer

To: Sheherazad Jaafari (forwarded to Bashar al-Assad)


Dear princess of the Middle East!
> Great idea, let us make Syria the democratic leader of the Arab world and I will spend every free minute there- in the most fascinating country with the most fascinating princess.
> What about our interview with the President? It would be so important to show his motivations and how he really is. Don’t give up!
> I am here under heavy fire, because I wrote some articles and showed together with Julia a tv movie - watched by more than 2 million Germans -trying to be objectif. And saying that he is the only one to find a peaceful way to democratie. In this ” historical hours".
> But time is running out- also for our interview. And it would be such a wonderful opportunity to see you.
> Yours Juergen


16 December 2011

From: Sheherazad Jaafari

To: Bashar al-Assad



I hope you win your tennis game today!! u should be a pro by now :D

so, I met with Ghatfan yesterday. He was pretty happy about jurgen Todenhouver, the German thinker. He said that he influenced the main stream idea about Syria as soon as he got to Germany. He was interviewed a lot and he wrote an article yesterday that was published in 7 main newspapers. He said a lot of positive comments about you as a person and about Syria as a country!!!

I am so happy about this!!!!  (….)

29 January 2012

From: Jürgen Todenhöfer

To: Sheherazad Jaafari (forwarded to Bashar al-Assad)


Hello Princess,

great to hear from you. Freddy  too is fascinated. We all miss you. Give my best regards to your president please. 

Some people in Germany want to kill me because of the interviews I gave concerning Syria. And the treats are very concrete. But they want the killers to put your army uniform on before so that they can blame your governement. Nice-isn’t it? -:)

But this time we should do something really great, something which would destroy the whole strategy of demonisation of the western countries and Al Jazeera. And you know that this is possible only with him. It will his best interview for ever - distrbuted all over the world.

He is the only leader  who can give  your country a modern democratic and stable future without foreign dominance. And this is what we have to make clear to the world. And to your people.

So let us do it. Nothing is stronger than a idea whose time has come. Now time is on our side. So please fight- for him and for your country! Yours Juergen from Cairo

18. Mai 2015, 16.21 Uhr:


von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Auch das war nur eine Frage der Zeit. Mehr nicht:

Saudi Arabia has taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” atomic weapons from Pakistan, risking a new arms race in the Middle East, according to senior American officials.

The move by the Gulf kingdom, which has financed much of Islamabad’s nuclear programme over the past three decades, comes amid growing anger among Sunni Arab states over a deal backed by President Barack Obama, which they fear could allow their arch foe, Shi’ite Iran, to develop a nuclear bomb.

The agreement, which is due to be finalised by the end of next month and involves the permanent members of the UN security council and Germany, is designed to roll back part of Tehran’s nuclear programme in return for an easing of UN sanctions.

18. Mai 2015, 14.26 Uhr:

Mideast Neusprech - Wenn Terroristen Terroristen zu Terroristen erklären

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

In Beirut feiert Ali Akbar Velayati einen Sieg der “Achse des Widerstandes” in den Qalamoun Bergen, wo in den vergangenen Wochen Truppen der Hizbollah und der syrischen Armee mit iranischer Unterstützung gegen die vom syrischen Al Qaida Ableger al Nusra angeführte “Army of Conquest” gekämpft haben. De facto kämpte der islamische Staat auch mit und zwar ebenfalls gegen die Nusra Front.

“We feel very proud as we have been watching in the last few days the new victories that the Lebanese resistance and Syrian army are achieving in Qalamoun,” Ali Akbar Velayati said after meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at his Beirut residence.

“This contributes to strengthening the axis of resistance not only in Lebanon and Syria, but in the whole region and worldwide.”

Die “Axis of Resistance", das sind jene vom Iran angeführten Kräfte, die die Verbreitung der islamischen Revolution vorantreiben, Israel vernichten wollen und darauf hinarbeiten, dass, wie sie selbst erklären, eines Tages auch auf dem Dach des Weißen Hauses die grüne Fahne des Islam wehen soll.

Ausgrechnet Velatayi nun ruft  “regional countries supporting extremist groups in Syria” auf “to end their assistance.” Gemeint sind Saudi Arabien, Qatar, die Türkei und andere Staaten, die die Army of Conquest so, bzw. weniger unterstützen, als der Iran die Hizbollah.

Extremisten nämlich sind Jihadisten, die zwar auch Israel vernichten wollen und sich freuen täten, wehte auf dem Weißen Haus die Fahne des Islam wehte, die aber blöderweise zugleich gegen den Iran und seine Verbündeten kämpfen, weil die eben der aus ihrer Sicht falschen, nämlich  schiitischen Glaubensrichtung angehören.

Das macht sie zu Extremisten und Terroristen aus iranischer Sicht. So einfach ist das mit dem nahöstlichen Neusprech, der im Westen nur allzu gerne für bare Münze genommen wird, denn im Kampf gegen den IS, da ist der Iran ja irgendwie Verbündeter …. eben gegen den Extremismus. Womit man ganz die iranische Propaganda unterstützt, denn neuerdings gefällt Teheran sich ja in der Rolle des Vorkämpfers gegen den Terrorismus.

18. Mai 2015, 00.56 Uhr:

Das nächste Disaster

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Ramadi, die Hauptstadt der westirakischen Anbar Provinz, des so genannten sunnitischen Dreiecks, ist in die Hände des Islamischen Staates gefallen, acht Monate nachdem eine Koalition auch sechzig (!) Staaten unter Führung der USA dem IS den Krieg erklärt hat.

Dafür hat der IS jetzt wieder US-Waffennachschub, die irakische Armee ist einmal mehr geschlagen und schiitische Milizen, die de facto dem Iran unterstelllt sind, dürfen ganz offiziell das Vakuum füllen. Kurzum: Das Disaster könnte größer nicht sein.

(Und, wie üblich in solchen Fällen, sind weitere zehntausende von Menschen auf der Flucht, füllen die eh schon völlig überfüllten Lagern.)

“Ramadi has fallen to Daash,” one officer said. “There were many suicide bombers and many soldiers and officers are dead.”

Ramadi Mayor Dalaf al Kubaisi confirmed the collapse of the city’s defenses in a statement in which he said at least 90 percent of the city was in the hands of the Islamic State. He said the small portions still in government control were likely to fall quickly unless help arrived in the form of government ground forces and U.S. air strikes.

One police officer confirmed that at least 30 U.S. supplied armored Humvees, which had been sent as reinforcements on Saturday, had been abandoned in the neighborhood of Malaab alone. Those vehicles were part of three regiments of Iraqi soldiers sent to the city on Saturday to confront the surprise offensive on one of the last government held population centers in Anbar, Iraq’s largest province.

The officer said that at least 500 soldiers and police were fleeing from that area, mostly on foot, with the main highway linking Ramadi to the capital of Baghdad, about 60 miles away, completely controlled by the Islamic State.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, responding to the unfolding crisis, went on state television Sunday evening to announce that he’d authorized the deployment of Iranian-backed Shiite militias to the area, though it remained unclear if any part of Ramadi will remain under government control by the time those troops can be deployed.

State television said that Anbar’s government council had voted Sunday to ask for the deployment, a move both the local Sunni tribes and the central government had resisted because of sectarian tensions between the mostly Shiite central government and the predominately Sunni residents of the area.

The Iraqi federal police claimed it would quickly mount a new operation. In a statement, Brig. Gen. Raid Shakir Joudat said he would head to Ramadi “commanding a huge force . . . to cleanse Anbar province from terrorist gangs.”

But with government forces in a full rout, that pledge seemed likely to prove empty, and all sides appeared to agree that the deployment of the militias was a necessary last resort. “We no longer have a choice,” said one civilian fleeing Ramadi.

How effective Shiite militiamen deployed far from their home areas in an overtly hostile environment would be remained an open question. The militia played the leading role in the government’s effort to recapture Tikrit two months ago. But the militias took heavy casualties in the predominantly Sunni area and were unable to take the city despite overwhelming numbers. Tikrit fell only after the militias withdrew, and the United States launched air strikes against the Islamic State positions to back regular Iraqi army ground forces.

Those forces, however, were the very ones that fled Ramadi on Sunday.

The capture of Ramadi, a city whose population is given as between 500,000 and 900,000, is by far the largest Islamic State victory since the militants’ June 10 capture of Mosul, which with 2 million people is Iraq’s second biggest city. It comes after nine months of U.S. bombing in Iraq and offers a counter to American military officials’ arguments as recently as last week that those strikes have put the militants on the defensive.

18. Mai 2015, 00.22 Uhr:

Eine gescheiterte nicht-religiöse Revolution

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Die ägyptische Revolution sei, wie der ganze arabische Frühling, gescheitert, meint Hani Shukrallah in Al Ahram. Sie sei eine grundlegend säkulare Angelegenheit gewesen, die sich gegen den Dualismus Staat/ Islam gerichtet habe, der die Region in einer eisernen Klammer halte und eines Tages beendet werde:

The Egyptian Revolution was profoundly secular, if not secularist. After more than nearly four decades of the inexorable rise of Islamism came a popular revolution of millions that conspicuously made a point of putting religion (with all its uncomfortable impedimenta) on the backburner. Similarly to all the Arab Spring uprisings, Egyptians in motion spoke not of Sharia, rule by what God ordained or the restoration of the Caliphate. As the whole world came to know, the banner of Tahrir was freedom, democracy and social justice. They did not speak of an Islamic nation, but rather reclaimed the flag, redefining Egyptian nationhood as one arising from the fundamental human dignity of its citizens.

It went even further. As if picking up from where the previous popular revolution in their history (the revolution of 1919) had left off, the young men and women of Tahrir and elsewhere around the country took the hitherto stunted notions of citizenship and equality to new and unprecedented heights. Women, veiled or unveiled, were now fully equal to men — their bodies, which for decades had been put at the very heart of the symbolic battle over the nation’s identity, its political, social and cultural makeup, its present and future, were rendered a non-issue. The Egyptian Revolution did not debate the hijab; it ignored it — and in doing so dismantled its very basis, symbolically and practically.

Similarly, Coptic/Muslim Brotherhood was an overriding theme of the Egyptian Revolution. Previously inconceivable images of demonstrators holding aloft the Quran and the Cross, Coptic human shields around Muslims performing their prayers, seemed to roll back, within weeks, decades of effective disenfranchisement of Egypt’s Christian minority, holding Copts hostage to the Islamist/police state contestation, with each side taking a swipe at what had become the country’s preferred whipping boy.

And herein lay a fundamental feature of the Egyptian Revolution (indeed, the whole Arab Spring), which many commentators have failed to grasp. And this is that in neither targeting nor deploying religion, it sidelined it, pushed it out of the political realm, and rendered it politically, ideologically and culturally neutral. It was not anti-Islamic or pro-Islamic; it simply was non-Islamic. Not anti-religious but non-religious.

This is the very definition of secular.

Certainly, the Egyptian Revolution has failed, and so did the whole domino of Arab Spring uprisings. In their failure to follow through they had the paradoxical effect of reinvigorating the forces they had set out to dismantle. Yet, the police state/Islamic state duality that had held the region in its iron grip for close on four decades has been shaken to its very foundations. The whole theoretical edifice of Arab/Muslim “exceptionalism”, said to be inherent to their intrinsic, immutable and unchanging “Islamic identity,” lies in the rubble of revolution and counterrevolution, having been made nonsense.

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