Seit drei Monaten besteht für die Organisation ein Betätigungsverbot in Deutschland. Das hat vor allem innenpolitische Gründe. Allerdings hatte die Terrorgruppe auch in Deutschland Material gelagert, aus dem Sprengladungen hergestellt werden sollten.

Christoph Prantner, Berlin 23 Kommentare

Knapp dreitausend Tonnen Ammoniumnitrat sollen die Explosion im Beiruter Hafen verursacht haben. In Deutschland dürfte die Terrororganisation Hizbullah grosse Mengen des Stoffs gelagert haben.


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July 26, 2020 – August 9, 2020Editor: Dr. Raz Zimmtlinkedin
The meeting between the supreme leader of Iran and the Iraqi prime minister (ABNA, July 29, 2020).

The meeting between the supreme leader of Iran and the Iraqi prime minister (ABNA, July 29, 2020).

Overview – On the night between August 2-3, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) fired on a cell that attempted to place improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in an Israeli-controlled enclave on the eastern side of the border fence separating Syria and Israel. The IDF assesses that the attempt was carried out by a local cell operated by Iran, likely as a response to a series of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria, which have been attributed to Israel.
  • Military sources in the city of Daraa in southern Syria reported that Russian Military Police and Syrian forces loyal to Russia have recently applied pressures that led to a reduction in the presence of pro-Iranian militias in the region, and in the nearby Quneitra governorate, bordering Israel. This report follows prior reporting on growing Russian efforts to entrench their hold over southern Syria.
  • Iran issued a statement of condemnation following reports that an American energy company, the Delta Crescent Energy, signed a deal to export oil with the Kurdish-led autonomous administration of north east Syria. The spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs labeled the deal “a grave violation of Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  • Senior Iranian officials expressed solidarity with the Lebanese people following the Beirut Port explosion, and expressed willingness to assist Lebanon. The day after the disaster, Iran began dispatching special assistance flights to Beirut carrying medical equipment, medical personnel, humanitarian assistance, food and medicine.
  • The Adviser of International Affairs to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali-Akbar Velayati, labeled the meeting of the Iraqi prime minister with the supreme leader during his July 21st visit to Tehran as one of the most extraordinary meetings that Supreme Leader Khamenei has held. Meanwhile, talks continue between political and military Iranian and Iraqi officials. The Iranian military attache to Baghdad met with the Iraqi minister of the interior and discussed ways to facilitate movement between the two countries in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, while the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad met with the Iraqi national security adviser.
Iranian Involvement in Syria
  • On the night of August 2-3, the IDF struck a cell that attempted to place IEDs in an enclave under Israeli control on the eastern side of the border fence between Syria and Israel. According to the IDF, the cell included four members who were apparently killed in the incident. The IDF spokesman assessed that the cell was a local one, operated by Iran and not Hezbollah, and it is possible that the attack was attempted as retaliation for a series of airstrikes hitting Iranian targets in Syria in recent weeks, which have been attributed to Israel.
  • The al-Arabiya channel reported (July 30), based on military sources in the city of Daraa in southern Syria, that the Russian Military Police and the forces of the Syrian Army’s Fifth Corps, which is loyal to Russia, have recently applied pressure that resulted in a reduction in the presence of Iranian-backed forces in the city and its countryside, as well as in the Quneitra governorate, which borders on Israel. According to this report, the Russian forces prevented pro-Iranian forces from establishing themselves in new locations, and placed checkpoints to prevent the concentration of these forces in one place. This report joins a series of prior reports about growing Russian efforts to entrench its grip over southern Syria, in part by bolstering the Fifth Corps of the Syrian Army, as part of the power struggle Russia is waging against Iran for spheres of influence in the war-torn country.
  • The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement of condemnation following reports that an American energy company, Delta Crescent Energy, signed a deal to export oil with the Kurdish-led autonomous administration of north and east Syria. According to the report, the agreement was signed with the full knowledge of the U.S. administration and without receiving any authorization from the Syrian regime. The spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abbas Mousavi, called the agreement “a grave violation of Syrian’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and claimed that this is an illegal and invalid decision by a “force occupying Syrian land” and is a further step in stealing Syria’s natural resources (Tasnim, August 4).
  • Iran expressed solidarity with the Lebanese people following the explosion in Beirut and expressed its willingness to assist Lebanon. The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, sent a message of condolences to the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, and expressed sorrow about the great tragedy in the Port of Beirut, and expressed willingness to offer humanitarian assistance and medical equipment for those injured The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke on the phone with his Lebanese colleague, Charbel Wehbe, and expressed his condolences to the victims of the disaster, adding that Iran is willing to offer all the assistance Lebanon requires, including immediate needs, and particularly humanitarian support (Tasnim, August 5). The Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, also expressed his condolences to the Lebanese people and offered the assistance of the IRGC to Lebanon (Tasnim, August 5).
  • The Iranian embassy in Beirut announced that following the explosion in Beirut, Iran began dispatching special assistance flights to Beirut, carrying medical assistance, medical personnel, humanitarian aid, food and medicine from the Iranian Red Crescent (ISNA, August 5).
Iranian Involvement in Iraq
  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, the Adviser on International Affairs of the Supreme Leader of Iran, described the meeting of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kazimi, with the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, during his July 21st visit to Tehran, as one of the most extraordinary meetings the leader has held. Velayati, who was present at the meeting, stated that since the outbreak the COVID-19 pandemic, Khamenei has avoided meeting foreign guests, but due to the gravity of the meeting with the prime minister of Iraq, and the special importance of Iran-Iraq ties, in the Leader’s view, he decided to hold the meeting despite the public health measures. Velayati reported that al-Kazimi treated Khamenei with great respect, referring to him as “leader” (qa’ed in Arabic). He stressed that Iran does not meddle in Iraqi domestic affairs, and that the resolution passed by the Iraqi parliament, demanding the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, reflects the will of the Iraqi people. Velayati discussed the relationship between Iran and Iraq, stating that there are only a few nations that have such historic, religious and cultural ties, and that the relationship between the two nations has gotten deeper due to the joint sacrifice of Iranian and Iraqi youth in the campaign against ISIS. Addressing the threat made by Khamenei to avenge the death of Qasem Soleimani, Velayati stated that Iran’s determination of avenge the death of the former commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force marks the start of a strategic process that will lead to positive developments in the future of the region. This process will entail the nations of the region gaining control over their destiny. He remarked that Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and the “resistance front” will be the ones deciding their future and the fate of the region, without interference from the Americans, who will pay the price for the crimes they have committed. Velayati praised the Shia militias in Iraq, defining them as “a blessing for the Iraqi people” (ABNA, July 29).
  • On July 27, the Iranian Military Attache to Baghdad, Mostafa Moradian, met with the Iraqi Minister of Interior, Othman al-Ghanami. The two discussed the movement restrictions between the two countries due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and ways to facilitate the movement of goods and commercial activity in the border crossings connecting the two countries. In the meeting, the Iraqi minister of interior expressed his country’s willingness to expand ties with Iran and use Iran’s technological capacities to fight organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism (ISNA, July 27).
  • In parallel, the Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi, met with Qasim al-Araji, the Iraqi National Security Adviser. The two discussed the need to maintain cooperation between the two countries (Mehr, July 27).
  • On July 31, the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, spoke on the phone with the Iraqi President, Barham Salih, on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, and remarked that the last visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kazimi, to Tehran was positive, and provided opportunities to discuss the issues facing both countries. He expressed hope that the decisions and the agreement, which were reached between senior officials in both countries, will be realized as soon as possible, and will facilitate the expansion of economic and trade ties between Iran and Iraq. The president of Iraq thanked Rouhani for the Iranian assistance in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed the need to maintain cooperation and implement the agreements signed between the two countries (Fars, July 31).
  • On the occasion of Eid al-Adha, President Rouhani also spoke on the phone with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kazimi. Rouhani stated that al-Kazimi’s visit to Tehran last month and the agreements reached during it will promote the expansion of ties between the two countries. The Iraqi prime minister mentioned that after his visit to Iran, he ordered the establishment of committees chaired by ministers of his government to implement the agreements and join projects, which were concluded during the visit. He stressed that Iraq wishes to remove all the barriers and challenges standing in the way of expanding ties with Iran, and commence laying down the railroad track between the two countries as soon as possible (Fars, August 1).
  • The manager of the Iranian customs directorate in the Ilam province in western Iran, Ruhollah Gholami, reported that about 400 trucks of goods cross from Iran to Iraq through the Mehran border crossing, representing a sharp drop compared to last year. He mentioned that over the past year, over 107,000 trucks passed through the Mehran international border crossing, but due to COVID-19-related restrictive measures imposed by Iraqi authorities on import of certain types of goods from Iran, the border crossing is open only twice per week, and the volume of trade has been significantly reduced. He added that most of the Iran exports to Iraq through the Mehran border crossings include agricultural products, plastic product, metal, steel, mechanical equipment, car spare parts, ceramics, construction material and glass. The Mehran border crossing in Ilam province is considered the central border crossing for the movement of private cars, trucks carrying goods and movement of religious pilgrims between Iran and Iraq (IRNA, August 4).


  • Bayık: Kurdisch-Arabische Allianz kann Türkei stoppen

  • Nicht nur das kurdische Volk sei ein Problem des türkischen Staates, sagt Cemil Bayik (KCK). Den Anfang vom Ende des Regimes könnte der Punkt markieren, an dem sich arabische und kurdische Kämpfe vereinen. ANF –  BEHDÎNAN –  Sonntag, 9 Aug 2020, 07:01
  • Der Ko-Vorsitzende des Exekutivrats der KCK (Gemeinschaft der Gesellschaften Kurdistans), Cemil Bayik, hat sich in einer Sondersendung bei Stêrk TV über die türkischen Großmachtambitionen und mögliche Gegenstrategien geäußert. Bayik führte aus, dass der türkische Staat seiner Expansion das sunnitische Türkentum zugrunde lege und damit eine existenzielle Bedrohung für alle anderen Völker in seinem Machtbereich darstelle. Das AKP/MHP-Regime habe all seine Ressourcen mobilisiert, um das kurdische Volk und seine Freiheitsbewegung anzugreifen. Dabei gehe es um die vollständige Vernichtung des kurdischen Volkes. Es sei ausschließlich die PKK, die dem türkischen Staat einen Strich durch die Rechnung macht, so Bayik.

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Police detain protesters after thousands refuse to leave Jerusalem rally

Meanwhile Likud and Blue and White say Sunday cabinet meeting canceled, blame each other due to impasse over budget, in new low for crumbling coalition

By TOI staff 9 August 2020, 5:58 pm  TIMES OF ISRAEL – Israelis protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his official residence in Jerusalem on August 8, 2020.

6:07 pm

Thousands expected to mass at Netanyahu residences in latest protests

Thousands of protesters are expected to attend anti-government rallies outside Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem, and his private home in Caesarea.

So-called Black Flag demonstrations are expected to be held on some 260 bridges and intersections across the country.

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Beirut explosion: Lebanon’s PM calls for early elections as protests turn violent

Hassan Diab says he will put the proposal to his cabinet, while angry protesters confront security forces in the Lebanese capital

By Kareem Chehayeb in  Beirut Published date: 8 August 2020 16:55 UTC | Last update: 8 mins 14 secs ago  MIDDLE EAST EYE

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Saturday evening called for early parliamentary elections in a press conference, as protests raging against the political class and deadly port explosion turned violent in central Beirut.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “NEVER SAY NEVER”  : DEBATE – How Serious Is the Israeli-Turkish Rapprochement?

By Dr. George N. TzogopoulosAugust 5, 2020  ISRAEL – Moderated by George N. Tzogopoulos – BESA Center Online Debate No. 19, August 5, 2020

Q: Israel and Turkey appear to be making progress in terms of rewarming their bilateral ties. Roey Gilad, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Israel in Turkey, published an article in Halimiz suggesting that the two countries could cooperate in Syria as well as in the fight against COVID-19. Other media outlets, including The Jerusalem Post, have also published stories on a potential rapprochement between the two states, though challenges and obstacles certainly remain.

BESA joins the debate by posing the question: How serious is the Israeli-Turkish rapprochement?

Respondents: Amikam Nachmani, Michael Harari, Defne Arslan, Anna Ahronheim, Can Cirnaz, Burak Bekdil, Mark Meirowitz, Gallia Lindenstrauss, Angelos Athanasopoulos

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : VERFASSUNGSSCHUTZ REPORT sieht „Entgrenzung der bürgerlichen Mitte!“

Alles Staatsfeinde? Laut Verfassungsschutz haben Extremisten keinen prägenden Einfluss auf die deutschen Corona-Demos

Viele Politiker und Medien beschreiben die Proteste gegen die staatlichen Anti-Pandemie-Massnahmen in den düstersten Farben. Deutschlands Inlandgeheimdienst sieht die Lage differenzierter.

Marc Felix Serrao, Berlin 06.08.2020, 16.57 Uhr  NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG

Am vergangenen Wochenende protestierten in Berlin Zehntausende gegen die deutsche Corona-Politik.

Extremisten haben auf die Protestszene gegen die staatlichen Massnahmen zur Eindämmung der Corona-Pandemie derzeit keinen prägenden Einfluss. Dies erfuhr die NZZ aus dem Umfeld des deutschen Inlandgeheimdienstes. Zwar beteiligten sich führende Personen vom rechten Rand des politischen Spektrums an den Demos. Diesen sei es bisher aber nicht gelungen, nennenswerten Einfluss zu nehmen. Diese Einschätzung der Verfassungsschützer ist bemerkenswert. Führende Politiker verschiedener Parteien und etliche Medien haben die Proteste in den vergangenen Monaten wiederholt als extremistisch charakterisiert.

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Joe Biden’s & Other Rice Selections… Redux

Gerald A. Honigman |  8 August 2020 – Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. 

Months ago, I was having a discussion with friends about favorite rice dishes. I usually prefer wills varieties.

A bit later, the story surfaced about the horrendous travesty of justice that General Michael Flynn, a much decorated career army officer and President Trump’s former National Security Adviser, was subjected to via the machinations of the previous Obama Administration–whose real target was/is President Trump himself. So this got me thinking about various “rice species” even more fervently again.

The clincher prompting what follows below came at the end of the first week of August 2020. Breaking news said that President Trump’s opponent in the upcoming American election, former Obama VP Joe Biden, narrowed had his choice for a vice-presidential running mate down quite substantially.

Dr. Susan Rice–like Biden, another former pea in President Obama’s like-minded, carefully chosen pod–had made the final cut.

Given the above, let’s focus on certain “rice species” in particular…

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Hezbollah Pushes Lebanon Toward Iranian Domination

By Dr. Edy Cohen 8 .  August, 2020 – BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,680, August 7, 2020 / ISRAEL

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Islamic Republic of Iran established Hezbollah in Lebanon in the early 1980s, funded it, and equipped it with advanced weapons. In the process, it transformed the country’s Shiite community, which was once insignificant and oppressed, into a highly organized community with a powerful militia. The greater Lebanese Republic, however, is at its lowest point since it gained independence from France in 1943. Lebanon is barred from much international assistance because of the presence on its soil of Hezbollah, which seeks to exploit the country’s distress to push it once and for all into the arms of the Islamic Republic.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS  : Trump administration goes for ‘360 degree’ diplomacy to help end Libya war

The Trump administration waded even deeper into the Libya conflict this week, backing UN calls for a cease-fire amid the many factions, and signaling again that the country’s oil fields are off limits to those seeking to profit on the war.

The US initiative is well timed, with signs of an escalation of fighting between the Libyan Government of National Accord, which is recognized by the UN and backed by Turkey, and the insurgent forces of former general Khalifa Hifter, who has the support of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and France.

Libya’s also become the world’s most dangerous proxy war, ground zero in an increasingly militarized regional contest between Cairo and Ankara that is spreading to the eastern Mediterranean and to Turkey’s borders.
And then there’s Russia, which, while backing Hifter, has also sought to position itself as broker of an eventual settlement, with its eyes apparently on a cut of Libyan’s oil revenues.

US announces “360 degree” diplomacy

US national security adviser Robert O’Brien waded into the morass this week, releasing a statement Aug. 4 that “as an active, but neutral, actor, the United States is pursuing a 360 degree diplomatic engagement with Libyan and external stakeholders” to bring about a cease-fire under the UN 5+5 military talks.

As we wrote here last week, US President Donald Trump’s summit-level diplomacy with all of the key players could position the United States to get a political process on track.
It also positions the United States as a key player in the region. That was clear when the Trump administration drew the line on Libyan oil — a message directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as Hifter.

After Russian mercenaries, known as the Wagner Group, moved into a Libyan oil field, the US Treasury sanctioned Wagner financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin for sanctions evasion while citing Wagner’s involvement in Libya.

Washington has also threatened sanctions on Hifter, a US citizen, if he looks to profit from Libya’s oil fields. Hifter’s base of support is in is in eastern Libya, where some of the key oil fields are located.

On Aug. 6, the Trump administration sanctioned a network of fuel and drug smugglers involved in Libya. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States “will take concrete actions in response to those who undermine Libya’s peace, security or stability.”

Militarizing the Mediterranean

The US moves can’t come too soon. The Turkey-Egypt battle for influence has become regionalized, and militarized, spilling over into the eastern Mediterranean, as Hagar Hosny reports.

Obrien said that the “efforts of foreign powers to exploit the conflict … undermine the collective security interests of the United States and our allies and partners in the Mediterranean region.”

In November 2019, Turkey and the Government of National Accord reached an agreement on offshore gas exploration. Egypt, Cyprus and Greece (and Israel) opposed the deal as an infringement on their rights for exploration and development; the European Union took their side.

Last month Egypt and France, clearly signaling their position, carried out joint naval training exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, as did Turkey.

In a further sign that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers the eastern Mediterranean a new frontier, this week Turkey reached a joint agreement with Libya and Malta to strengthen cooperation with the Government of National Accord.

In a phone call with Pompeo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry described Egypt’s “steadfast stance” on Libya and a path toward a peaceful settlement based on the Cairo declaration, which has so far gotten little traction in Ankara or Tripoli.

Sisi takes the fight to Turkey’s borders

In response to Turkish actions in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has taken the fight to Turkey’s borders.

This week Egypt and Greece signed a maritime deal that outlines an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights.

In Syria, the Egyptian government has deepened ties with the primarily Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, which Erdogan considers a terrorist-linked group, and has reportedly sent Egyptian troops to Syria, as Fehim Tastekin reports.

In Iraq, Egypt has condemned Turkey’s military operations in the north against Kurdistan Workers Party bases, while broadening political and economic ties with Baghdad.

Putin wants it both ways

The United States isn’t the only outside player positioning for power. Putin has managed to be both a partisan in the Libya conflict and potential broker of a deal.

Russia has until now backed Hifter, but this relationship is more handshake than embrace. As Kirill Semenov wrote here in May, “Amid the commander’s [Hifter’s] setbacks in the campaign to seize Tripoli, the Kremlin is growing increasingly wary of his behavior, which is resulting in Russian attempts to find other, more reliable figures on the Libyan playing field.”

Putin has also kept up the diplomatic action, engineering a joint statement last month committing Turkey to de-escalate the conflict and pursue a “political dialogue” via the United Nations referencing January’s Berlin conference, which included representatives of all the key parties to the conflict.

Russia has also been selling weapons to both Turkey and Egypt, as George Mikhail reports.

The upshot? Time is right for a deal

The United States making clear that Libyan oil is staying in place until a deal is worked out should give Putin and Hifter pause in their rush to profit on the war. Trump has already shown he is willing to use sanctions, so they know he’s serious.

Putin has coveted another entry into the Mediterranean, and the Egypt-Turkey contest for influence can be a win for him, unless the United States blocks his moves. He has expanded the Russian naval facility in Tartus as a result of the Syria war. Libya, so far, has been a penny stock investment via his mercenaries, as well the usual frenetic diplomacy, which he seems to relish.

With the moves this week, Trump may have seized the diplomatic advantage from Putin, while raising the costs on the Russian leader’s Libyan ambitions.

The Trump administration is well placed to get the key parties to back down. As we wrote last week, Trump has good connections with all the key players — Putin, Sisi, Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

“All [these leaders] operate by personal connection and the action moves when they talk,” we wrote. “The risks of escalation remain high, but the tele-diplomacy has the potential to energize the UN Security Council — especially if Trump, Putin and Macron get on the same page — for an active role in bringing an overdue reprieve to the Libyan people.”

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