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Does the Touareg question have an answer?

Does the Touareg question have an answer?

Strat-EU Columns

by Andy Morgan A few years ago, on a beautifully calm Saharan evening, I was drinking tea with an old…

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Erdogan vs Gulenists: Drawing Turkey away from independent foreign policy

Erdogan vs Gulenists: Drawing Turkey away from independent foreign policy

Strat-EU Columns

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya  At first glance, the Turkish scandals that emerged in December 2013 appear to be cases of ordinary…

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Unelected power: Democracy on the retreat in Europe

Unelected power: Democracy on the retreat in Europe

Strat-EU Columns

by Neil Clark Genuine people’s power is on the retreat in Europe, and it's under attack from those who most…

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RIAC Experts Analyze Scenarios for the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

RIAC Experts Analyze Scenarios for the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

Strat-EU Columns

RIAC experts - Alexander Tevdoi-Burmuli (MGIMO-University), Sergey Utkin (Russia Academy of Sciences) and Nikolay Kaveshnikov (Institute of Europe, RAS) - analyze scenarios for the ongoing crisis…

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Al Qaeda-linked Islamists abduct Red Cross workers in Mali

 by France24/AFP

An al Qaeda-linked Islamist group has kidnapped a Red Cross team working in northern Mali, a spokesperson for the militants, known as the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), said on Tuesday.

The members of the International Committee of the Red Cross team "are alive and in good health" a MUJAO official told AFP by telephone from the capital, Bamako.

MUJAO is one of the groups allied to the regional al Qaeda offshoot – Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM – that seized control of northern Mali in 2012 before being driven back by a French-led military intervention launched in January last year.

"Thanks to God we seized a 4X4 [vehicle] of the enemies of Islam with their accomplices," MUJAO official Yoro Abdoulsalam said.

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This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy

by George Monbiot, The Guardian

Remember that referendum about whether we should create a single market with the United States? You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws? No, I don't either. Mind you, I spent 10 minutes looking for my watch the other day before I realised I was wearing it. Forgetting about the referendum is another sign of ageing. Because there must have been one, mustn't there? After all that agonising over whether or not we should stay in the European Union, the government wouldn't cede our sovereignty to some shadowy, undemocratic body without consulting us. Would it?

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US gives up on Central Asian base

by M K Bhadrakumar, Indian Punchline

The United States has turned its back on what could have been a thrilling episode in the Great Game in Central Asia. The Pentagon announced on Friday that the US is vacating Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan by July 2014, as demanded by Bishkek. 

Instead, the US is setting up a logistics hub in Romania to back up troop rotation in Afghanistan. Curiously, Romania is also permitting the US to deploy its Aegis Ashore missile defence system at the American base at Deveselu.
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Value system in Russia should focus on the future

by Valdai club members

According to experts of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Russia is going through a transition period and needs a new value system that reflects the great Russian culture of the past, while also focusing on the future. The Value Gap session was attended by the opposition figures Gennady Gudkov and Ilya Ponomarev, TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak, pollster and head of VTSIOM Valery Fedorov, political analyst Nikolai Zlobin, renowned economist Mikhail Delyagin and political analyst Mikhail Remizov .

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Iran Torn on Syria

by Alireza Nader, Lobelog

Iran has mixed feelings and conflicting interests in the Syrian crisis. Tehran has a strategic interest in opposing chemical weapons due to its own horrific experience during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq. For years, President Saddam Hussein’s military used chemical weapons that killed thousands of Iranian soldiers. So Iran actually shares interests with the United States, European nations and the Arab League in opposing any use of chemical weapons.

But the Islamic Republic also has compelling reasons to continue supporting Damascus. The Syrian regime is Iran’s closest ally in the Middle East and the geographic link to its Hezbollah partners in Lebanon. As a result, Tehran vehemently opposes U.S. intervention or any action that might change the military balance against President Bashar Assad.

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Obama Increasingly Isolated on Syria Military Action

by Jim Lobe, IPS - Lobelog

With a week of intense lobbying behind him, U.S. President Barack Obama looks increasingly beleaguered – both at home and abroad – in his effort to rally support for a military strike against Syria to punish its government for its alleged Aug. 21 chemical-weapons attack outside Damascus.

At home, most political observers say Obama faces a particularly difficult task in bringing a majority of the Republican-led House of Representatives, which begins debating his proposed Authorisation for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) next week on return from its August recess, over to his side.

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Why Iran’s June Election Will be Different

by Omid Memarian - Lobelog

Traditionally, a few months before a presidential election in Iran, the government opens the public sphere, giving more freedom to the press, more space for activists to speak out and even loosening social restrictions like the one on women’s clothing and hijab. But less than two months before Iran’s June 14 election, the situation feels very different in Tehran. In fact, the opposite is happening.

In mid-January, Iranian intelligence forces arrested more than 16 journalists and questioned many more. All of them were released after a few weeks. Iranian intelligence also summoned the managing editors of major publications and warned them against criticizing the government during the election season.

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US Ramps Up Plans For Military Intervention In Syria

by  Joseph Kishore - WSWS.org

The United States and the major European powers are escalating plans for a direct military intervention in Syria.

The aim of US maneuvers, including a flurry of diplomatic visits this week, is to secure the downfall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Iran, while putting in place a government that will operate under the control of Washington.

Last week, top US military officials announced that they would be deploying 200 troops to Syria’s neighbor to the south, Jordan. Officials made clear that this was an initial deployment of forces to set up headquarters near the border with Syria, preparing the way for sending 20,000 or more troops in the coming months.

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Majorities in Kosovo, Serbia support new deal

by DW.de

An agreement between the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo has been hailed as a historic step forward in putting conflict in the region to rest. Now everything hinges whether the deal can be implemented.

"They were relieved, but neither of the two prime ministers was truly able to celebrate." That was the opinion shared by the large majority of Kosovar and Serbian journalists in Brussels, after Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovar counterpart, Hashim Thaci, announced the agreement on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

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Le président soudanais Béchir passe au Sud

by Pierre Prier - Le Figaro

Le président du Soudan, Omar el-Béchir, n'était pas revenu au Soudan du Sud depuis la cérémonie d'indépendance, le 9 juillet 2011. Depuis, les relations entre Omar el-Béchir et son homologue du Sud, l'ancien chef guérillero Salva Kiir, ne s'étaient pas arrangées. Les deux nouveaux pays n'arrivaient pas à gérer la paix après leur séparation à l'amiable, qui mettait fin à près de cinquante ans de guerre civile.

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STATEMENT BY BRICS LEADERS ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BRICS-LED DEVELOPMENT BANK

FIFTH BRICS SUMMIT

We, the Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met on the occasion of the Fifth BRICS Summit on 27 March 2013 in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal.

We considered that developing countries face challenges of infrastructure development due to insufficient long-term financing and foreign direct investment, especially investment in capital stock.

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