Saturday, February 16, 2019
Security Challenges

Are the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia preparing for regime change in Iran?

By Michael Lüders

As The New York Times reported in November 2018, the United States and Saudi Arabia have apparently reached a framework agreement for the sale of nuclear power stations to the Kingdom. The deal is said to be worth up to $80 billion. However, Riyadh is insisting on creating its own nuclear fuel, despite it being cheaper to buy abroad.

There can only be one plausible reason for this pursuit of …

The EU and its members will have to come up with their own policy for the new reality in Syria

By Volker Perthes

For the past eight years, Syriahas been the place where almost all the geopolitical, political, ideological and sectarian conflicts of the Middle East have converged as if under a burning magnifying glass. Syria is not at peace today, but the government of Bashar al-Assad – with more than a little help from Russia and Iran –has won the war.

The opposition is largely marginalized; most of its Arab backers are …

The Israeli defense. Military success in the age of terrorist armies hinges on public education, too

The Israeli defense. Military success in the age of terrorist armies hinges on public education, too
By Rafael L. Bardají and Davis Lewin

Democratic nations constrain their militaries in line with a moral code developed over centuries, forged in the face of the horrors of war and enshrined in the Law of Armed Conflict. However, recent history has shown that much of the fighting Western armies and their democratic allies have had to engage in has been against adversaries who abuse these rules purposefully for battlefield gains. This is particularly prominent in relation …

As long as civil war in Syria continues, neither Israel nor Iran can have an interest in escalating the conflict between their two countries. And yet, the conflict has already taken on a sinister tone

By Gisela Dachs

It’s nothing new for Iran and Israel to find themselves on a collision course. In the past, confrontations between these two countries – including cyberattacks, Israeli intelligence operations and Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks abroad – were often spectacular, but almost always covert. At the moment, however, we are seeing confrontations increasingly carried out in the open, for all to see. For example, direct military clashes took place on Feb. 10, 2018, …

What Libya tells us about Europe’s role in its unstable neighborhood

What Libya tells us about Europe’s role in its unstable neighborhood
By Wolfram Lacher

For the past four years, US and European policymakers have thrown up their hands in despair at their inability to influence the course of the war in Syria. Russia, Iran and Turkey, they complain, have relegated them to secondary roles. But the West’s failure to contain the conflicts in Libya since 2014 tells a different story.

Libya is not a theater of intense rivalry between major powers and regional heavyweights. …

When it comes to Iraq, it is easy to expect the worst, but the country refuses to collapse

When it comes to Iraq, it is easy to expect the worst, but the country refuses to collapse
By Andrea Böhm

During the past 15 years, Iraq has been the subject of numerous obituaries written by foreign policy experts and journalists – including myself. After the United States and its allies brought down Saddam Hussein in 2003, the country seemed constantly on the verge of collapse. Lately, however, it has become a source of better news. In late 2017, the government in Baghdad declared victory over the Islamic State (IS). Car …

The clear winners in Syria are Assad, Iran and Russia – with the Kurds caught between a rock and hard place

The clear winners in Syria are Assad, Iran and Russia – with the Kurds caught between a rock and hard place
By Frank Nordhausen

It is not often that something leaves Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speechless. Yet following his visit to Moscow in late January, Erdoğan needed several days to return to his old rhetorical form. His meeting with the Kremlin leadership was the latest in a series of talks on resolving the drama in northern Syria. US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement on Dec. 19 that he would pull out all 2,000 …

Afghanistan is again the world’s deadliest conflict

By Thomas Ruttig

Reports of a “breakthrough” in US-Taliban talks have returned Afghanistan to the international limelight. Although both sides have reached consensus about a “framework” to deal with two key issues – a US troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees about preventing a return of Al Qaedatype terrorist groups to the country – this still needs to be fleshed out and represents just a first step in the marathon to a peace deal. …

The war IS not over: Pulling out would lead to more conflict on the ground and more instability overall

By Behnam Said

Shortly before the holidays, on Dec. 19, 2018, US President Donald Trump claimed victory over the Islamic State (IS) and ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from the northeast of Syria. Experts and observers mostly agreed that the true beneficiaries of this decision were Turkey on the one side and the current Syrian government and its allies Russia and Iran on the other. Additional winners include jihadi militants such …

US-North Korean talks continue, but can Kim Jong-un’s pledge to give up his nuclear program be taken at face value?

By Hanns G. Hilpert

The White House has announced that US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un will hold their second summit meeting at the end of February. Optimists expect that Kim Jong-un will follow through with his stated willingness to denuclearize and commit to a verifiable, irreversible nuclear dismantling. Pessimists are afraid that we will see just another summit full of rhetoric and void of substance. As of today, …