THE MEDIA WAR WAGED BY HAMAS AGAINST ISRAEL

The Islamic Republic is engaged in a proxy war against Israel; a country whose very right to exist it goes so far as to deny. If Iran refrains from carrying out direct military actions on Israeli territory, it finances a network of armed organizations outside its borders which it calls the "axis of resistance" against Israel.

And just after Iran and its nuclear program, two organizations appear on the podium of threats, considered from Tel Aviv: Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah, which reportedly has "100,000 rockets" ready to be launched against the Jewish state. .

Hamas, with the atrocities committed in Israel on October 7, 2023, has not lost its reputation. And he knew how to use the media to spread the horror of their actions.

“We are fighting a battle, and more than half of this battle takes place on the media stage. We are therefore engaged in a media battle to win the hearts and minds of the members of our community,” Ayman already proclaimed in 2004 al-Zawahiri, formerly number two in Al-Qaeda and then leader after the elimination of Osama bin Laden in 2011, on the crucial role of the media sphere as an autonomous battlefield.

Al-Zawahiri's message in 2004 encouraged Iraq to mobilize all Muslims in a global jihad against what he perceived as a new American "crusade" against Islam. Al-Zawahiri emphasized the need to move al-Qaeda sanctuaries from rural areas to urban centers to exploit the media potential of urban conflicts.

Media use by civilians

This geographical shift was based on a strategic observation: the city, in contemporary asymmetrical conflicts, has become a real catalyst capable of fueling the “media war”. The destruction committed there by the enemy is more spectacular than in rural areas, the presence of thousands of civilians can make the attacker hesitate when launching his attacks, the number of collateral victims higher, the quantity of photos and videos taken there is more important – all elements which make it possible to better mobilize distant audiences against the army leading the offensive.

It is difficult not to see in the operating methods of Hamas currently implemented in Gaza a logic similar to that used by Al-Qaeda in Iraq in Fallujah (some 300,000 inhabitants) in 2004.
Moreover, by concentrating the defensive bastions either around a strategic mosque or around the Fallujah hospital, the terrorists not only benefit from the protection of human shields but also transform the operation into a real desecration in the eyes of the Muslim populations, the mosque taking on a sacred character. The desired objective: to awaken in the Umma the “reflex” of so-called “defensive” jihad.

This strategic approach persists in Hamas's current tactics in Gaza, implementing methods similar to those employed by Al-Qaeda in Iraq, such as the use of human shields and the concentration of operations in densely populated urban areas. The objectives are to maximize civilian casualties in the event of a strike, thereby provoking an emotional response and increased support from the local population.

Raising “the Arab street” and weakening Israel’s Arab partner regimes

Unlike Al-Qaeda, Hamas does not seek a priori to arouse jihadist vocations, but rather to raise "the Arab street", to radicalize it in order to weaken the Arab partner regimes of Israel and to isolate a Hebrew state keen to normalize its relations with its neighbors. Al-Qaeda strategists have also theorized the vocation of Palestinian jihad to undermine the legitimacy of Arab regimes at peace with Israel.

After two years of the signing of the Abraham Accords which helped to relax relations with other Arab countries - Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries - with the exception of Qatar, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Hamas, which is an emanation of it - Israel's response against Gaza to Hamas attacks has seriously undermined the efforts of both sides...

The ideological and strategic connection between Al-Qaeda and Hamas sheds light on the ongoing conflict in Gaza, highlighting the importance of the media battlefield and the manipulation of the media to influence public opinion.




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

A POSSIBLE TRUCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

ACCORDING TO JOE BIDEN

After almost five months of war, a lull could be looming in the Middle East. US President Joe Biden said on Monday that Israel was prepared to cease its military operations in Gaza during Ramadan, to allow the release of all hostages "Ramadan is coming and there was an agreement from the Israelis that they will not "would not engage in operations during Ramadan, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out" still on site, he said, interviewed Monday on the American television channel NBC.

Behind the scenes, negotiations launched several weeks ago are continuing under the leadership of the United States, but also Egypt and Qatar, while the Israeli offensive launched in retaliation for the deadly attack of October 7 is reportedly approaching 30,000 dead in the Palestinian enclave, according to the Islamist group's Ministry of Health. But the two camps still seem reluctant to put in place an agreement.

According to Israel, 130 hostages are still being held by Hamas in Gaza, 31 of whom are believed to have died, after the release of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinians detained by the Jewish state during a previous truce at the end of November, the only one that took place since the start of the conflict.

The mediators hope to obtain a break in the fighting before the start of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, which is due to begin this year on March 10 or 11. Delegates from Egypt, Qatar, and the United States, as well as representatives from Israel and Hamas, gathered in Doha on Sunday to resume discussions, which AlQahera News reports will be followed by meetings in Cairo.

These talks aim to follow the progress made during previous discussions held in Paris, where the head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, David Barnea, visited last Friday.

The Emir of Qatar in Paris

Talks continue in the French capital at the start of the week, marked by the arrival this Tuesday of the Emir of Qatar, a central player in the negotiations since the start of the conflict. Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is scheduled for dinner this evening with Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée. According to Qatar's official news agency, the emir recently met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Doha to discuss efforts to obtain an immediate and permanent ceasefire agreement.

Both camps far from an agreement

Recent statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could dampen hopes. In particular, he is maintaining his plan for a ground offensive on the densely populated town of Rafah, in the south of Gaza, where according to the UN, nearly a million and a half Palestinians have found refuge. Despite the concerns of the international community, he affirmed with certainty that this operation targeting the "last bastion" of Hamas would result in a "total victory" over the organization in "a few weeks". He stressed on Sunday that any truce would only "postpone" this offensive, emphasizing the possibility of an evacuation of civilians towards the "north of Rafah", outside the conflict zones.

For its part, Hamas has not yet officially commented on the truce proposal.

Abdel-Hadi accuses Reuters of the leak on the question of negotiations, believing that Biden's remarks amount to a form of "psychological warfare" on the part of the United States.



Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

ISRAELI ARMY FLOODS TUNNELS

FROM HAMAS

The Israeli army admitted on Tuesday to sending "large volumes of water" into tunnels used by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip to "neutralize" them, ensuring that it would not compromise access to water. drinking water of the civilian population

“Various tools have been developed to send large volumes of water into the tunnels (...),” the army said in a statement.

“This capacity has been professionally developed, including analysis of soil and pipe characteristics” in the affected areas to ensure there is no damage to groundwater, she said. clarified, referring to a method used only in places where it was “appropriate”.

Seawater pumped into the Mediterranean

At the end of 2023, local media cited Israeli sources indicating that the army planned to flood the galleries with seawater pumped from the Mediterranean, off the small coastal territory.

The head of the army, Herzi Halevi, saw it as “a good idea”. But some scientists and humanitarian officials said they feared contamination of the water tables.

The Gaza Strip is between six and 12 km wide, and the salinization of groundwater is already a scourge there, made worse by rising ocean levels. Added to this is a chronically faulty wastewater disposal network and uncontrolled use of pesticides and herbicides.

In November, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian Territories explained that she feared for the quality of water, including for “future generations”.

A network of underground tunnels sophisticated by Hamas

Hundreds of galleries have been dug under the border with Egyptian Sinai to move people, goods, weapons and ammunition between Gaza and the outside world.

After the war between Israel and Hamas in 2014, Hamas expanded the network, from which its fighters can emerge to fire their rockets towards Israeli soil. In a study published on October 17, the Institute of Modern Warfare at the American Military Academy West Point mentions 1,300 galleries over 500 kilometers.

The construction of this network of sophisticated underground tunnels by Hamas was a long-term project, spanning two decades. In the star-shaped tunnel, all sense of direction is abolished. Are we heading towards Gaza? Is it towards Egypt? We lose all points of reference. These tunnels are not built in a linear fashion, they are zigzag. They are on several levels. With arteries, rooms, halls, doors, electricity. a A military base under a civilian population.

It's a real military base. It is a military base under a civilian population.

They allow Hamas to operate far from the technological eyes of the State of Israel and the Israeli army, which is nevertheless one of the most efficient armies in the world.

The possibility of external influence, notably from Iran, is considered. Although this cannot be confirmed at the moment, there are similarities with other countries like North Korea or Iran, where wider tunnels could allow the passage of motorcycles or even trucks. It is also possible that certain locations are used for the manufacture and storage of weapons.

From a strategic perspective, a tunnel can serve a variety of purposes, including attacks, ambushes, kidnapping of civilians or soldiers, or even trafficking. Not all tunnels are the same, which means their detection and elimination may vary.

Current operation a considerable challenge

Underground warfare itself is complex, and combating underground tunnels has always been a major challenge for armies. Finally, a delicate human dimension is added to the situation, with priorities being the protection of hostages, innocent civilians in Gaza, and the safety of the soldiers engaged in these operations.

“For Israel, this is an existential war."




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

SANCTIONS AGAINST THE UN AGENCY

FOR THE PALESTINIANS

FACING THE INVOLVEMENT OF MEMBERS

IN OCTOBER 7

A situation which could not have arisen at a more delicate time for the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip affected by the bombings. The financial viability of the United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA), essential as the only source of emergency assistance, is now seriously compromised.

The United States and Germany, the two largest contributors, along with six other countries - Canada, Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Finland and the Netherlands - have suspended financial aid to following the involvement of at least twelve members of the agency out of 30,000 employees in Gaza in the massacres committed by Hamas on October 7 in the south of the Gaza Strip, which left nearly 1,200 dead. France, like Switzerland, declares that it does not plan a new payment in the first quarter of 2024”, but “will decide when the time comes on future conduct”.

10% of UNRWA employees have links with the terrorist group

Details of the affair were revealed by Israeli military intelligence before being passed on to the Americans. Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, confirmed these reports and revealed that the agency had terminated the contracts of some of its employees, simultaneously launching an independent and transparent investigation. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, horrified by these revelations, specified that nine employees were fired, another lost his life, while the fate of the last two remains unknown. However, Israeli services estimate that the number of employees involved in blood crimes could be higher.


After expressing regret, Philippe Lazzarini described the reaction of contributing countries as "shocking", emphasizing the vital role of UNRWA in the survival of 2.2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation. .

The agency assumes responsibility for the education of more than half a million children, in addition to providing food assistance in dribs and drabs in an enclave where 80% of the population was already living below the poverty line before the war. This institution extends its action among refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. Established in 1949 after the expulsion or flight of 700,000 Palestinians following the war that led to the creation of the State of Israel, it remains the most important agency of the UN. A notable particularity lies in the fact that only the Palestinian people benefit from refugee status from generation to generation, currently bringing the number of Palestinians supported by UNRWA to 6 million.

According to Israel, maintaining refugee status only exacerbates the conflict. Foreign Minister Israel Katz called on Philippe Lazzarini to resign, welcoming the cessation of international contributions. He believes that UNRWA will have no role after the war, accusing the agency of perpetuating the refugee issue, obstructing peace, and serving as Hamas' civilian army.

In December, the previous Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eli Cohen, denounced Antonio Guterres, accusing him of endangering world peace by harshly criticizing the impact of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip on the civilian population.




 Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

ATTACK BY THE HOUTHIS

FROM AN AMERICAN WARSHIP

IN THE RED SEA

The Red Sea is the scene of a new escalation as Yemen's Houthi rebels launched a missile Friday at a US warship, the destroyer USS Carney, patrolling the Gulf of Aden. The attack represents a major turning point in the confrontation at sea, marking the first time the Houthis have directly targeted a US warship since beginning their attacks on shipping in October.

The incident forced the US warship to shoot down the projectile, while overnight from Friday to Saturday, Houthi missile fire also ignited another commercial vessel. Early Saturday, U.S. forces responded with a strike against a Houthi anti-ship missile aimed at the Red Sea and ready for launch, according to U.S. military Central Command.

The US strikes took place near the port city of Hodeida, according to the Houthis' Al-Masirah satellite news channel, which however did not provide an assessment of the damage caused. Houthi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree did not acknowledge the attack on the Carney but claimed responsibility for the missile attack on a commercial vessel, identified as the Marlin Luanda-flagged oil tanker. Marshall Islands.

The UK's Maritime Operations Service, which oversees Middle East waterways, also confirmed that a ship had been hit by a missile and was on fire in the Gulf of Aden. Central command clarified late Friday that the Marlin Luanda had been hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile fired from Yemen, and that the Carney and other coalition ships provided assistance to the ship in difficulty, without doing so. state of injured.

In recent weeks, the Red Sea has been the scene of several incidents of this type. At least six commercial ships were targeted by drones or missiles. The most spectacular attack dates back to November 19 when a Houthi commando seized a cargo ship belonging to an Israeli businessman. The Yemeni armed group filmed the operation and broadcast the images. The boat was taken to a port in Yemen. Its 25 crew members are still sequestered.

Their support for Hamas

The Houthis claim to attack boats with Israeli interests or a point of departure or arrival in Israel, in support of the Palestinians. They threaten all boats in the Red Sea, en route to Israel, as long as the populations of Gaza do not receive emergency humanitarian aid.

They invited themselves into the war. They show their support for Hamas and have several times directly targeted Israel by sending drones and missiles against its territory, notably against the city of Eilat, in the south. Devices almost all intercepted by Israel.

The axis of Iranian resistance in the Middle East

It's hard not to see Iran's hand in this. The Houthis belong to the so-called axis of Iranian resistance in the Middle East, alongside Hamas, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria. All these movements, enemies of Israel, are armed arms of Tehran in the region, even if they retain a certain autonomy.

The Houthis in fact have very sophisticated weapons, drones, cruise missiles, but also ballistic missiles capable of hitting ships, and therefore moving targets. Iran provides the Houthis with a major arsenal. The fact remains that Iran, the main ally of this Yemeni rebel group, the Islamic Republic, seems, for the moment, to want to avoid a regional escalation.

An obstacle to international trade

Additionally, the situation in the Red Sea is having a significant impact on maritime traffic, with a notable increase in insurance costs and adjustments to route plans for several vessels. The Houthis, a rebel group which exercises control over part of Yemen, particularly over the strategic strait regulating access to the Red Sea, pose a serious threat to international trade and freedom of navigation in this crucial region.

In fact, around a tenth of global maritime traffic passes through this area. The Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, located in the south of the Red Sea between Yemen and Djibouti, is considered the 4th most important crossing point in the world for oil tankers.

Faced with this threat, Western countries are calling for international mobilization to secure this major trade route. However, the means to influence this rebel group are limited.

Among the options considered, the military option is on the table.




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

BHUTAN

REALM OF GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS

In the constitutional monarchy of Bhutan, famous for its attachment to the concept of “gross national happiness” and its negative carbon footprint, elections have just taken place and it is an opportunity to present this small, singular and timeless country. .

In the Kingdom of Bhutan, residents were recently called to the polls. They finally kept the former Prime Minister's party in power - but the stakes were slim: the two competing parties had similar programs.

Bhutan, a country like no other

Although this country is the size of Switzerland, it is perched in the Himalayas with a population ten times smaller, and it is the only country with a negative carbon footprint. It has almost 70% forests and almost no industries. This is part of its positive image, with a young and well-presenting royal couple. In this Buddhist kingdom of the Himalayas, Bhutan lives at another rhythm: that of the seasons, the Moon, religious rituals.

This State put forward the original concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which statistically is based on certain socio-economic, ecological or psychological criteria.

Bhutan deserves and cultivates its originality... In 1987, this Himalayan kingdom decided to restrict access to tourists to preserve religion and traditions. Since 1972, the notion of gross domestic product (GDP) has been replaced by that of GNH: gross national happiness.

On the main street, on Norzim Lam, in the absence of large stores, there are small shops, particularly those selling fabrics from which the national dress is cut: the elegant Kira of shimmering silk that the women drape and the Go, the coat of the men which evokes both a kimono and a Scottish kilt. Pride of the Bhutanese who wear traditional costume and wear a broad smile as if everyone seemed to enjoy a simple and communicative happiness.

A country where happiness and spiritual well-being have been at the heart of the constitution since 2008... This leads some to say that Thimphu would be the capital of "Shangri-La", this place imagined in the novel Lost Horizons (1933), by James Hilton in the 1930s, a utopian place of peace…

An economy at half mast

Bhutan's economy is one of the least developed in the world; it is based on agriculture, livestock breeding, logging, the sale of hydroelectricity to India and tourism.

In the north of the country, above 3,500 meters above sea level (Great Himalayan region), yak breeding predominates but loses profitability for breeders. This activity, in 2010, only represented 3% of the country's production of butter, cheese and meat. It has, on the other hand, the advantage of being used for traditional festivals and above all of being a tourist attraction.

Agriculture is largely subsistence and includes livestock. Mountains dominate the territory and make the construction of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with that of India through strong trade and monetary ties and relies heavily on financial assistance from that country. The very neglected sector of industrial technology is not a priority and most production comes from family workshops.

The majority of development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian seasonal labor. The hydroelectric production potential and tourism activity are the country's main capital resources.

Is Gross National Happiness enough?

The economy is nevertheless at half mast in Bhutan. Many young people have left the country. During the last elections in January 2024, the two parties which were in the running for this second round wish to revive an economy which they wish to be as green as possible, develop agriculture and create a special economic zone on the Indian border to attract foreign capital. ”.

Thus, the emphasis is placed more on economic recovery than gross national happiness, which no longer appears to be the priority.




Larry Ricky for DayNewsWorld

WHY NATO LAUNCHES

OPERATION "STEADFAST DEFENDER"

THE MOST IMPORTANT SINCE THE COLD WAR

What if NATO was no longer “brain dead” as Emmanuel Macron judged? Some 90,000 NATO soldiers will participate for several months starting next week in the largest military exercise organized by the Atlantic Alliance since the Cold War, against the backdrop of the conflict in Ukraine. “This will be a clear demonstration of our unity, our strength and our determination to protect each other,” declared Thursday, January 18, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (Saceur), American General Christopher Cavoli , during a press conference in Brussels, where NATO is headquartered.

A necessity"

The operation is not a luxury, but a “necessity”. After two days of deliberations, the military committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officially launched the start of “Steadfast Defender” this Thursday, January 18. Described as the Alliance's largest military exercise since the Cold War, the exercise will run from next week until May.

According to Admiral Rob Bauer, head of NATO's military committee, the operation will bring together around 90,000 soldiers from 31 allied countries as well as Sweden. No less than 50 warships, 80 aircraft and 1,100 combat vehicles will participate in this gigantic “war game”. A “record” figure in terms of soldiers, as highlighted by the head of the committee, bringing together the chiefs of staff of the armies of the 31 member countries of the organization.

“This is a record in terms of the number of soldiers,” reiterated Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer during the press conference, emphasizing the need to prepare for all eventualities in an era where “anything can happen at any time." He added that “the tectonic plates of power are shifting.”

These maneuvers will encompass the Atlantic area up to the eastern flank of NATO, according to the same press conference. They will adopt the form of a conflict scenario against an “adversary of comparable size”, according to the terminology of the Atlantic Alliance. Like the year 2021, they will involve the reinforcement of troops "from North America" ​​on the European continent.

The objective of this large-scale exercise, the most imposing since Operation Reforger in 1988 in the middle of the Cold War, has been declined.

“The security environment has become demanding,”

The joint NATO military exercise aims to improve the Allies' capabilities "to move quickly across the Atlantic and Europe to protect each other when necessary", explains Admiral Rob Bauer. The aim is to ensure that forces are trained, able to collaborate and ready to respond to any threat, regardless of where it comes from.

This coalition is of crucial importance at a time when "the security environment has become demanding", implicitly referring to Russia and its intervention in Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine has demonstrated that, when it comes to security, “locality does not exist”. “All security is connected,” underlines Admiral Rob Bauer during the press conference.

A clear message

Beyond the technical aspects, the military committee seeks to convey a clear message with this operation called “Unshakeable Defender”. US General Christopher Cavoli, head of Allied Forces in Europe, insists the exercise will be a clear demonstration of the Alliance's unity, strength and determination to protect each other. Grant Shapps estimated that NATO faced "greater than ever" challenges from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, warning that the Alliance's adversaries were “more connected to each other” than ever.

On the British side, 20,000 military personnel will participate in this exercise, highlighting the extent of the Allies' commitment to this initiative aimed at strengthening cohesion and preparation to face contemporary challenges. Units from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and the army will be sent throughout Europe and beyond for this exercise called “Steadfast Defender”, London explained.

kyiv demands more resources

On the ground in Ukraine, Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer noted that the Russian navy and air force remained “considerable” forces. “Intense fighting” still takes place. “Last year, the world was perhaps a little too optimistic and it is therefore “important that in 2024 we are not too pessimistic,” said this senior Alliance official. The front line between the Russian and Ukrainian armies have remained largely unchanged in recent months, prompting Kiev to insistently request reinforcements in weapons and ammunition to envisage a significant breakthrough.

Ukraine particularly expresses the increased need for anti-aircraft defense means, while its infrastructure and cities are subject to daily bombardments. However, American military aid of more than 60 billion dollars is blocked in Congress due to resistance from Republican elected officials, while a European financial contribution of 50 billion euros over four years faces a veto from Hungary. A possible outcome could emerge during the summit of the Twenty-Seven scheduled for February 1 in Brussels.

Since the start of the Russian assault in Ukraine in February 2022, the Atlantic Alliance has strengthened its defenses on the eastern flank by deploying thousands of men. NATO seeks to send a message of deterrence, aiming to convince the Kremlin that its engagement in Ukraine will have significant consequences.

This Russian attempt to weaken NATO and the EU has, on the contrary, strengthened their determination. For the Baltic states, NATO represents the only guarantee of protection, and their membership is considered their best security insurance, according to the liberal newspaper The Economist. NATO has positioned multinational battalions in the Baltic states to delay any aggressive advance in the event of an invasion.

So far, Russia has not dared to challenge the Alliance, which remains more vigilant than ever since the start of the war in Ukraine.




Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

IRAN/PAKISTAN CONFLICT IN

IN RECIPROCAL ATTACKS

Tension is rising between Iran and Pakistan.

The terrorist organization Jaish al-Adl

It did not take long for Islamabad to respond. Less than 48 hours after Iranian bombings in its western province of Balochistan, Pakistan struck the Iranian region of Balochistan-and-Sistan, near its border, on the morning of January 18. The operation resembles that carried out by Tehran. Iran declared on Tuesday that it had launched missiles against the bases of Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni armed group which is fighting for the independence of Baluchistan but has links with international jihadism, and has committed several attacks on its soil.

In response, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry indicated that its armed forces carried out "a series of surgical and coordinated military strikes against terrorist hideouts" in Iran, which left nine people dead, according to Iranian public television. friction between the two neighbors, at a time when, a little further to the west, the region is already under high tension due to the war between Israel and Hamas.

Iran intervenes against the terrorist organization Jaish al-Adl, whose headquarters is in Pakistan. Iran has attacked bases in the past, and even sent commandos a few months ago to catch leaders.

A delicate internal situation

Pakistan finds itself in a delicate domestic situation, with crucial snap parliamentary elections scheduled for February 8. A political maneuver within Parliament barred former Prime Minister Imran Khan, currently in detention, from participating in these elections. Imran Khan, Pakistan's most popular figure, is thus excluded from the electoral process. Faced with this, the provisionally ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, decided that it was imperative to fight back.
Less than a month before the elections, the coalition aspired to wash away the affront. This border region between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran is notoriously difficult to access and characterized by precarious security. It is a place of passage for contraband, particularly drug traffickers, with clashes already documented in the past, allowing various organizations to establish themselves in the villages.

The West, China and Russia

For the first time, the West, China and Russia reacted. “They are a source of great concern, because they violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries,” said Peter Stano, spokesperson for European diplomacy. Russia called on both countries to exercise "utmost restraint", while China said it "hopes that both sides can demonstrate calm". China has announced its intention to contribute to a resolution of the situation. With its influence in Pakistan, despite the latter's proximity to the United States, China also maintains excellent relations with Iran.

This initiative represents a new dynamic, where global powers are getting involved to ease tensions in a complex and volatile region.




Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld

NEW PRESIDENT LAI CHING’S BET TO PROTECT THE STATUS QUO IN TAIWAN WHILE CALLING FOR DIALOGUE WITH CHINA

With just over 40% of the votes cast, Lai Ching-te won Taiwan's presidential elections last Saturday. This result marks his victory over his main opponent, Hou Yu-ih, aged 66, who advocated rapprochement with Beijing. Succeeding Tsai Ing-wen in May, Lai Ching-te served as vice president for several years under her predecessor.

As a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Lai Ching-te expressed gratitude to his voters for "successfully resisting the efforts of external forces to influence this election." Facing his jubilant supporters displaying red and green flags, he stressed his determination to protect Taiwan against constant threats and intimidation emanating from China.

Lai Ching-te said: “We choose to be on the side of democracy.” However, despite her victory, her score was significantly lower than the 57% obtained by her predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, four years earlier. Furthermore, although the PDP retains presidential power, the party loses its parliamentary majority with only 51 seats in the legislative yuan, the lower house, compared to the 52 seats won by the Kouomintang, favorable to a rapprochement with China, and 8 seats for a third political force, the Taiwan People's Party.

The delicate question of relations with communist China constituted the starting point of Lai Ching-te's political career. His entry onto the political scene dates back to the third crisis in the Strait in 1995-1996, when Beijing, demonstrating its military power by launching missiles, incited this doctor and activist from Tainan, a city located in the southwest of the island, to enter the electoral race.

At this time, Taiwan was preparing for its first elections, and Lai Ching-te expressed his commitment to Taiwanese democracy, declaring in an op-ed published last year in the "Wall Street Journal": "I have decided that I had a duty to participate in Taiwan's democracy and help protect this nascent experiment from those who wished it harm. »

In favor of the status quo


This 64-year-old man, a Harvard medical graduate, entered politics in the 1990s, faced with Chinese military pressure, while Taiwan was gradually opening up to democracy. After having been a deputy then mayor, he rose to the post of Prime Minister under Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. At that time, he uttered words in front of Parliament which attracted the antipathy of Beijing: “I am a pragmatic worker for the “independence,” he then asserted. These words, far from being clumsy, reflect his deep thoughts, a position from which he has never deviated: “I will never
deviate from this position, whatever the position I occupy. »

Although his statements appear to have taken a more moderate tone over time, Lai Ching-te pledged during the election campaign “unwavering” support for maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. In other words, neither independence nor attachment to China.

These assertions reflect “a fairly measured position, promising that there would be no unpleasant surprises”, according to Mathieu Duchâtel, director of the Asia program at the Institut Montaigne. However, despite these assurances, persistent doubts remain on China's side about its true beliefs, perceiving it as favorable to independence, underlines the researcher. Although Lai Ching-te has considerably moderated his positions and insisted on his will to maintain the status quo, his past statements continue to haunt his reputation, exploited by China to denounce the supposed "deep" danger represented by the president elected on Saturday in Taiwan.

Caution in the United States

Never has the Chinese regime exerted so much pressure to influence the results of elections in this South East Asian democracy in its favor: naval and air maneuvers, satellite and observation balloons, massive disinformation campaigns, threats of economic sanctions. In recent days, five Chinese balloons had crossed the median line of the strait on Thursday, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, which had also spotted ten planes and six warships.

Reunification is historically inevitable, assured Xi Jinping during his New Year's greetings. The People's Liberation Army will crush any desire for independence, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Defense promised again yesterday.


A few hours after the publication of the results of the Taiwanese presidential election, marked by the victory of Lai Ching-te, a candidate criticized by Beijing because of his alleged pro-independence positions, China's reaction was not as scathing as anticipated .

The country made clear that it would not tolerate any "separatist activity" on the island, adding that the vote would not change the "inevitable trend" of reunification with China, according to a spokesperson for the office in charge. relations with Taiwan. These statements correspond to the deep rejection that this man arouses within the Chinese Communist Party, for which "reunification", whether through negotiation or by force, remains a fundamental objective.


In addition, China issued a categorical warning on Saturday, saying it would "firmly" oppose any "foreign interference." This warning is clearly addressed to the United States, Taiwan's ally, which has promised to support it in the event of an invasion.



Andrew Preston for DayNewsWorld

WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST

A SENIOR MILITARY LEADER OF HAMAS ALLIED HEZBOLLAH KILLED IN LEBANON AND THE RISK OF THE CONFLICT SPREADING TO LEBANON ?

More than three months after Hamas' deadly attack on Israel, the conflict persists with devastating airstrikes by Israeli aircraft on Gaza. The Jewish state is also preparing its post-Gaza position, rejecting both Hamas and an "Israeli civil administration" in the Palestinian territory after the fighting. Antony Blinken, the American Secretary of State, begins a new tour of the Middle East this Monday, January 8 to avoid a regional escalation, while a senior military commander of Hezbollah was killed in a strike in southern Lebanon.

Senior Hezbollah military official killed in Israeli strike

The Israeli strike on January 8, 2024 targeted a senior Hezbollah military official, Wissam Hassan Tawil, in southern Lebanon, killing him. He played a key role in directing military operations in the South, from where Hezbollah has launched almost daily attacks against Israel for three months. In a statement released on Monday, the Israeli army claimed to have destroyed a Hezbollah building in Lebanon.
This attack comes after the death of Hamas number two, Saleh al-Arouri, and other officials in a strike attributed to Israel on January 2. In retaliation, Hezbollah fired 62 rockets at a military base in northern Israel.

The slain commander, Wissam al-Tawil, was also known as Jawad and led military operations in southern Lebanon. He was killed by “an Israeli strike which targeted his car in the village of Kherbet Selem”, about ten kilometers from the border with Israel. This is the highest-ranking Hezbollah military official killed since this powerful formation opened the front with Israel to support Hamas.

Many unknowns about the Radwan force

Wissam al-Tawil, known as Jawad, was notably responsible for directing military operations in southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah has been carrying out almost daily attacks against Israel for three months. The movement also reported that it was a painful loss.

According to several sources, the man was a commander of the Radwan force, considered Hezbollah's elite unit. He had been appointed a few weeks earlier. Information on this unit is scant. In November, Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas and Iran, claimed not to know the number of fighters in the Radwan force, whereas Israel estimated their number at 2,500.

A spread of the conflict in Lebanon with Hezbollah ?

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant threatens Hezbollah to reproduce in Beirut what is happening in Gaza. He announces the start of the third phase of the war in the Gaza Strip, with more targeted operations and warns Hezbollah that operations could also extend to Beirut. Yoav Gallant warned Hezbollah, not hesitating to threaten the Lebanese Shiite movement. 

“We are ready to make sacrifices. Hezbollah sees what is happening in Gaza and it must know that we are ready to replicate these operations in Beirut,” he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal .

For his part, the leader of the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, calls on certain ministers to leave the government, affirming that the current government cannot lead the country. 

According to him, it is possible to establish in a short time a "broad, reasonable and benevolent government" that would support the IDF and the reserve soldiers, allocate the budget for the benefit of citizens, return deportees to their homes and present a plan for reconstruction on the table.


Antony Blinken, the head of American diplomacy, is in Israel to try to achieve a de-escalation and avoid a spread of the conflict in Lebanon.



Andrew Preston for DayNewsWorld

DEADLY EARTHQUAKE IN JAPAN

THE EARTHQUAKE WIDENED 

THE COAST BY 175 METERS

The powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan's Noto Peninsula on January 1 left in its wake a dramatic transformation of the coastline, extending its contours by 175 meters, says NHK World Japan, the media network of the Japanese public service.

A team of researchers, led by a professor from the Graduate Faculty of Hiroshima University, conducted an in-depth study of the earthquake's aftermath by examining ground displacements and tsunami effects from aerial photographs . This analysis covered approximately fifty kilometers of the coastline of the northeastern part of the peninsula. The results indicate a total expansion of 2.4 square kilometers in land area, with ports on the peninsula's northern coast showing a near disappearance of seawater, according to Japanese press reports.


At least 128 dead and 195 missing

The human toll from the earthquake has increased, reaching at least 128 deaths, with 560 people injured and 195 still missing, according to local authorities who communicated these figures on Sunday afternoon. The devastating consequences of the earthquake, combined with hundreds of aftershocks, led to the collapse of buildings and roads, as well as a thousand landslides and fires, notably in Wajima, where many residents are believed to be under the rubble.

The tremor, felt as far away as Tokyo, located 300 km from the epicenter, also generated a tsunami with waves exceeding one meter in height. Rescue teams are still working to find those missing and isolated due to damaged roads, while delivering food and equipment to refugees. According to the Ishikawa department, more than 30,000 people were housed in 366 government shelters on Saturday.




Larry Ricky for DayNewsWorld
There are no translations available.

IRAN ATTENTAT LORS DE LA CEREMONIE D'HOMMAGE A SOLEIMANI 

ANCIEN CHEF DES GARDIENS DE LA REVOLUTION

Deux explosions sont survenues coup sur coup ont fait au moins 103 morts et des dizaines de blessés dans le sud-est de l'Iran, où se déroulait une cérémonie marquant le quatrième anniversaire de la mort de l'ancien chef de la force d'élite Al Qods des Gardiens de la révolution, Qassem Soleimani.

Cérémonie d'hommage à Soleimani

Il était environ 17 h en Iran quand la foule se rassemblait à Kerman, ville de 700 000 habitants, près de la tombe du général Qassem Soleimani. Un hommage devait être rendu, quatre ans après la mort de l’ancien chef de la force d’élite iranienne Al Qods. Il était considéré comme le dirigeant des forces pro-iraniennes en Irak et en Syrie, notamment contre l’État islamique, avant d’être tué le 3 janvier 2020 par une frappe américaine à l’aéroport de Bagdad.

Les explosions se sont produites sur les axes menant à Golzar Shohada, le cimetière du Jardin des Martyrs de Kerman. Le corps de Qassem Soleimani y est enterré avec 1 024 autres personnes considérées comme martyrs. Un lieu de rassemblement pour les opposants aux États-Unis et l’Occident.

"Les explosions ont été provoquées par des attaques terroristes", a déclaré un responsable local cité par les médias d'Etat, sans préciser qui pourrait en être derrière.

L’agence semi-officielle Nournews a rapporté que plusieurs bonbonnes de gaz avaient explosé à 10 minutes d’intervalle, sur la route conduisant au cimetière.

Les images terribles de l’attentat en Iran mercredi 3 janvier 2024 montrent que les deux explosions ayant eu lieu à Kemran (sud-est de l’Iran) visaient à faire le plus de victimes possible.

Qui est derrière l’attaque « terroriste » ?

Avec le conflit entre Israël et Gaza et la récente mort du numéro 2 du bureau politique du Hamas au Liban, une éventuelle action américaine ou israélienne pouvait être envisagée. Cependant, le mode opératoire, un attentat au milieu de la foule, ne correspond pas aux tactiques habituelles de ces deux pays, qui préfèrent généralement des attaques plus ciblées ou des assassinats directs, comme l'illustre la récente frappe israélienne en Syrie ayant tué Razi Moussavi, un commandant des Gardiens de la Révolution.

L’Iran a récemment déclaré avoir démantelé sur son sol un groupe soutenu par le Mossad, les services secrets de l’État israélien.Un attentat préparé directement en Iran alors par des opposants comme les Moudjahidines du peuple, qui ont mené des attaques par le passé ?

Quant au mouvement populaire contre le régime théocratique qui conteste notamment le foulard pour les femmes, ses différentes actions ont toujours eu pour cible les autorités et non le peuple qu’il affirme représenter. Aucune revendication n'a été faite jusqu'à présent.

Le régime peut du reste avoir intérêt à accuser l’étranger pour cacher des problèmes internes en lien avec des minorités du pays. En décembre 2023, à 700 km de Kemran, une attaque djihadiste avait tué onze policiers dans la province du Sistan-Baloutchistan, dans le sud-est de l’Iran.




Andrew Preston pour DayNewsWorld
There are no translations available.

MENACE DE GUERRE NAVALE EN MER ROUGE

 "L'AXE DE LA RESISTANCE IRANIENNE" 

DERRIERE LES ATTAQUES DES HOUTHIS

La tension monte d'un cran en mer Rouge : les rebelles houthistes du Yémen ont revendiqué hier l'attaque au drone contre la frégate française Languedoc en mer Rouge. L'engin a été abattu ce lundi dans cette zone cruciale pour le commerce maritime international. 

Celui-ci menaçait un pétrolier norvégien, qui avait déjà été touché par un missile de croisière tiré depuis les zones contrôlées par les rebelles sans faire de victime.C'était là le dernier incident en date visant des bateaux empruntant cette route par laquelle transite 40% du commerce mondial.

Les dernières semaines, la mer Rouge a été le théâtre de plusieurs incidents de ce type. Au moins six navires commerciaux ont été pris pour cible, par des drones ou des missiles. L’attaque la plus spectaculaire remonte au 19 novembre quand un commando houthi s’est emparé d’un cargo qui appartient à un homme d’affaires israélien. Le groupe armé du Yémen a filmé l’opération et diffusé les images. Le bateau a été conduit dans un port du Yémen. Ses 25 membres d’équipage sont toujours séquestrés.

Leur soutien au Hamas

Les Houthis affirment attaquer des bateaux ayant des intérêts israéliens ou un point de départ ou d'arrivée en Israël, en soutien aux Palestiniens. Ils menacent tous les bateaux en mer Rouge, en route pour Israël et ce, tant que les populations de Gaza ne recevront pas une aide humanitaire d’urgence.

Ils se sont invités dans la guerre. Ils affichent leur soutien au Hamas et ont plusieurs fois visé directement Israël en envoyant des drones et des missiles contre son territoire, notamment contre la ville d’Eilat, dans le sud. Des engins presque tous interceptés par Israël.

L’axe de la résistance iranienne au Moyen-Orient

Difficile de ne pas y voir la main de l’Iran. Les Houthis appartiennent à ce qu’on appelle l’axe de la résistance iranienne au Moyen-Orient, aux côtés du Hamas, du Hezbollah au Liban, des milices chiites en Irak et en Syrie. Tous ces mouvements, ennemis d’Israël, sont des bras armés de Téhéran dans la région, même s’ils conservent une certaine autonomie.

Les Houthis disposent en effet d’armes très élaborées, des drones, des missiles de croisière, mais aussi des missiles balistiques capables de frapper des navires, donc des cibles mouvantes. L’Iran fournit aux Houthis un arsenal de premier plan. Reste que l'Iran, principal allié de ce groupe rebelle yéménite, la République islamique semble, pour l'heure,vouloir éviter une escalade régionale

Un obstacle au commerce international

En outre, la situation dans la mer Rouge a des répercussions significatives sur le trafic maritime, avec une hausse notable des frais d'assurance et des ajustements de plans de route pour plusieurs navires. Les Houthis, un groupe rebelle qui exerce son contrôle sur une partie du Yémen, notamment sur le détroit stratégique régulant l'accès à la mer Rouge, posent une menace sérieuse au commerce international et à la liberté de navigation dans cette région cruciale.

En effet, environ un dixième du trafic maritime mondial traverse cette zone. Le détroit de Bab-el-Mandeb, situé au sud de la mer Rouge entre le Yémen et Djibouti,est considéré comme le 4ème point de passage le plus important au monde pour les pétroliers.

Face à cette menace, les pays occidentaux appellent à une mobilisation internationale pour sécuriser cet axe commercial majeur. Cependant, les moyens d'influencer ce groupe rebelle sont limités. Parmi les options envisagées, l'option militaire est sur la table. Les attaques contre les navires commerciaux dans cette région ne sont pas nouvelles, et une force internationale est déjà présente depuis plus de deux décennies. 

Les États-Unis expriment le souhait de renforcer cette présence, envisageant d'accroître leur propre engagement en mer Rouge et de mobiliser d'autres nations, dont la Chine. Néanmoins, l'escorte de chaque navire longeant la côte ouest du Yémen, contrôlée par les Houthis, demeure une tâche impossible pour les forces navales.

Par conséquent, Washington explore également des options de représailles diplomatiques. Une possibilité serait la réintégration des Houthis dans la liste américaine des organisations terroristes, ce qui pourrait compromettre les transferts de fonds nécessaires dans le cadre des négociations en cours pour un accord de paix entre le Yémen et l'Arabie saoudite. Cependant, les pays occidentaux risquent de se retrouver isolés dans leurs sanctions, car il serait difficile pour les nations arabes de condamner les Houthis sans être perçues comme des partisans d'Israël.

Pour le général américain McMaster, ancien conseiller à la Sécurité nationale américaine, l'Iran, qui finance ces mouvements islamistes, doit être frappé au porte-monnaie. "Nous l’avons fait sous l’administration Trump. Et ça a marché ! De nombreuses études le prouvent", avance-t-il dans un entretien avec un confrère.




Britney Delsey pour DayNewsWorld

HOW TO CARE AND MANAGE

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS OF HOSTAGES

FROM HAMAS ?

As Israel denounces "the impasse in negotiations" on a new humanitarian truce and brings its emissaries back to Qatar, the Israeli army confirmed, Friday, the death of five hostages in the Gaza Strip, giving their names , adding that they had “informed the families of their deaths”. After the release of 110 hostages since the start of the conflict, including 105 during the truce, there remain 136 hostages in Gaza in the hands of Hamas and other affiliated groups, Israeli authorities announced.

The day after a visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States, Israel's main allies, remained "focused" on the release of the hostages. “We continue to work with Israel, Egypt and Qatar to get the truce back on track,” declared American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Soldiers, a particular issue

Among these hostages, there could still be soldiers, precious prizes from Hamas, in a country where almost every family has a soldier. At least 11 soldiers, including four women, as well as around forty men of reservist age were among the 240 people kidnapped on October 7, 2023.

If the bodies of the deceased hostages can constitute an issue in the negotiations, those of the soldiers even more so, Israel wishing to bury them with the honors due to them.

Four French people still presumed hostages

Before the truce, France still had eight nationals missing, some of whom were held hostage in the Gaza Strip.

Mia Schem, 21 years old, Eitan, 12 years old, and Sahar and Erez, brother and sister aged 12 and 16, were released. After the truce, four French people presumed hostages remain:

Hamas is not the only group holding hostages in the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad is also in this case, as are other Palestinian organizations.

"In the chaos that accompanied the terrorist attacks, Israeli civilians [and soldiers] were taken hostage by Hamas, by another terrorist organization called Islamic Jihad, and also by individuals who had entered [in Israel]", explained the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna on November 28. “Hamas is responsible, if I may say so, for the majority of the hostages, but it is not the only one,” she added.

Extremely difficult detention conditions

The recent releases of hostages have shed light on the conditions of detention in the Gaza Strip.

Dr Ronit Zaidenstein of Shamira Hospital examined 17 Thai hostages upon their release, explaining that they had received only a "very poorly nutritious diet" during their captivity. “The people we admitted lost a significant amount of their weight in a very short period of time – 10% or more,” he added.

The Ynet news site, which interviewed Dr. Margarita Mashavi of Wolfson Hospital, where many hostages passed through upon their release. Detained in the basement, they only had “two hours of light” per day, she explained. Furthermore, they ate "rice, hummus and canned beans and sometimes cheese with bread, but nothing else". Speech begins to free itself.

Children traumatized for life

President Joe Biden announced the release on Sunday by Hamas of a 4-year-old American hostage. The little one, named Abigail, “is free and she is in Israel,” he said during a speech. The child was taken hostage on October 7 by Hamas. According to a senior American official, his mother was first murdered before his eyes. His father tried to protect the child before being killed in turn. “She suffered terrible trauma,” lamented the American president on Sunday.

The children gave equally disturbing stories. “Eitan experienced horrors, reported Deborah Cohen, the aunt of this 12-year-old Frenchman. Hamas forced him to watch the horror film [of the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7].

There, every time a child cried they threatened him with a gun to make him keep quiet. When he arrived in Gaza, all the civilians hit him."

The father of Emily, a 9-year-old Israeli-Irish girl, also explained to The Sun that she was "terrified of making noise" since her return and that all she did was "whisper".

Sexual violence

But a month and a half later, the word is beginning to be released concerning sexual violence committed against Israeli women, in particular those present at the Tribe of Nova music festival, which was targeted by the Islamist movement in the Negev desert.

“We have multiple witnesses in several cases,” says David Katz, head of the cyber section of the Lahav 433 criminal police unit, nicknamed “the Israeli FBI.” In the press, testimonies from survivors are multiplying.

The Israeli daily Haaretz echoed that of a young festival-goer, who said she witnessed the gang rape of a woman. She was then shot in the head by Hamas men.

This weekend, Le Parisien published the portrait of a survivor of October 7, "Esther", who says she was raped and beaten up in front of her boyfriend:

“It was so painful that I lost consciousness, they stopped when they thought I was dead.” The young woman then describes having been mutilated by a Hamas man.

In addition to the interrogations of Hamas fighters detained by the Shin Bet, Israeli agents can rely on numerous video evidence (surveillance cameras, images from Hamas GoPro cameras), as well as on facial recognition to try to identify the responsible for these crimes.

“Certain elements, such as broken pelvises or bodies of naked women, suggest that there were rapes and other abuses against women during this attack, which is not surprising given the of its barbarity, but for the moment we have very few details", estimates Céline Bardet, jurist in international law, specialist in war crimes.

“The phenomenon of rape as a weapon of war has been known for a very long time. It is a weapon which destroys subsequent generations”, adds Me Julie Goffin, lawyer at the Brussels bar and at the International Criminal Court (ICC), a body not recognized by the Hebrew State.

Israeli police announced on November 14 the opening of an investigation into rapes and mutilations committed by Hamas men that day. Abuses which could also have been committed on the hostages.

Post-traumatic stress and Lazarus syndrome

According to psychiatrist Patrick Clervoy, individuals released after a period of captivity are likely to develop post-traumatic stress, a phenomenon he describes as possible "Lazarus syndrome".

These civilians, mostly women and children, endured detention of around fifty days, also marked by the violent attacks of October 7, 2023.

The trauma suffered is therefore twofold, underlines the associate professor from Val-de-Grâce, who, throughout his career, has treated survivors of hostage-taking and attacks. The possibility of a Lazarus syndrome is mentioned in his intervention on TF1Info.
For the psychiatrist, captivity represents only one phase, often the second, in a series of traumatic episodes. The taking of hostages, often preceding captivity, is described as a brutal act of war, more or less prolonged, plunging the subject into a state of acute stress, leaving him totally disoriented.

During this period, the psychic capacities allowing a person to understand, control their reactions and ensure their survival are saturated. Screams, darkness, the brutality of events, physical injuries and the sight of deceased loved ones are all elements contributing to acute stress.

Individuals experience episodes of derealization, disconnecting from reality and evoking a feeling of extreme well-being, even invincibility.
Captivity then constitutes an unstable phase, marked by cruel, odious moments, sometimes accompanied by torture or physical and sexual abuse.

The third stage occurs with liberation, which is also accompanied by stress. In this context, the probability of developing prolonged psychological disorders, in the form of post-traumatic stress, is high.

The only possible exception: the case of certain children who, remaining with their parents, were able to feel secure thanks to a protective role well assumed by the parent.

However, other children will likely experience a chaotic life course.
Among the post-traumatic symptoms is Lazarus syndrome.

For psychiatrist Patrick Clervoy, people who leave captivity develop post-traumatic stress. He mentions a possible Lazarus syndrome.

Among the post-traumatic symptoms: Lazarus syndrome

It is an insidious and prolonged social dysfunction that profoundly transforms those who have experienced a traumatic event, where death seemed imminent, altering their initial nature in an irreversible manner.

It is highly probable that hostages develop this syndrome, especially as they reintegrate into a society itself marked by trauma.

The ex-hostage can envisage a return to a world identical to that before, hoping for stability to rebuild himself and find his place. However, this expectation is doomed to disappointment, as the Israeli population has been indelibly traumatized since the Hamas terrorist operation.

Whether for those who welcome the hostage or for the hostage himself, the world before has irretrievably disappeared.

The numerous psychological aftereffects .

The very experience of a hostage presents particularities likely to serve as a spring for future troubles:

withdrawal from social life, with all kinds of avoidance, potential humiliation, feeling of powerlessness...

In addition, hostage-taking, through the media coverage to which they are often subject, particularly highlights the victims' ability to recover or not.

Some have foundered, like the journalist Brice Fleutiaux, who ended his life in 2001, shortly after being held hostage in Chechnya, or the heir John Paul Getty III, who never recovered from his kidnapped in Italy in the 1970s as a child, and plunged into a spiral of addictions that left him quadriplegic until his death.

Without being as dramatic, a vast series of post-traumatic symptoms have been recorded among former hostages: difficulty concentrating and memory loss, bouts of depression or anxiety, withdrawal from social life.

But victims still tend to regain control of their lives, and some former hostages, as paradoxical as it may seem, ultimately experience positive consequences from their experience on a psychological level.

These differences are difficult to understand. Psychiatrists struggle to answer and admit that it is difficult to know in advance whether one hostage is more likely than another to develop mental disorders.

“We have not clearly delineated the factors that lead to an unfavorable outcome after a hostage-taking,” admitted in 2009 the authors of a summary on the subject, in the journal of the British Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) .

Finally, one element complicates the monitoring of psychological after-effects: the disorders can take a long time to emerge.

“It can resurface one year, two years, 10 years later, and it is absolutely unpredictable,” explains psychiatrist Christine Roullière, specialist in post-traumatic disorders, who particularly emphasizes the need for support upon release. 'a hostage.

We must “immediately allow the person to verbalize what they may have experienced,” she insists.

“It’s a way of putting back into the thread of one’s life the extraordinary events that took him to the other side of the looking glass. The objective is to support the return to the world of the living” .

And it is indeed this return to the world of the living that the Israeli authorities are trying to put in place with medical care, reunions with loved ones and management of the trauma. So many steps imposed by Israel that the ex-Hamas hostages will have to follow to the letter.

Medical care, reunion with loved ones.

The Israeli national protocol established with the hostages is scientifically approved around the world.

It consists of “dishing people out, bringing them out of this glaciation, bringing them back into reality” to prevent patients from falling “into astonishment, a psychological glaciation” in the long term. For this reason, the released hostages follow a strict and supervised protocol.

A first personalized medical examination is therefore carried out by the ICRC in Rafah upon receipt, before being transferred to representatives of the Israeli army.

"From a medical point of view, obviously, the doctor will ask if they don't have any pain. (...) You have to know if they don't have a specific medical problem and do physical exams" , he explains. Adequate medical care is then provided in one of the six Israeli hospitals where the patients were sent.

Government recommendations were also provided to the staff in charge of the hostages.

And special attention must be given to them. The Times of Israel cites the example of physical contact which can only take place with the agreement of the ex-hostage or the way of feeding them in cases of prolonged malnutrition in captivity.

If kept underground, specific attention is also required to their sensitivity to natural light.

The Israeli Ministry of Health also asked medical personnel "to search for and document any signs of torture, rape or other war crimes", as indicated by the Israeli media. Essential documentation work.

Rebuilding yourself through contact with loved ones

Once these first precautions have been passed, the hostages will gradually return to reality. Which starts with collecting their personal belongings. An important moment before finding the families, then informed of the place where their loved one has been transferred.

But to find them, the staff in charge of monitoring the hostages must above all ensure “that they are in good health again”. Then they will be able to reunite with their families. A crucial moment to regain “control of their lives because healing is both physical and mental”.

“They need to be with their families, because being with family is very important for their recovery.”

During this period of private reunion, the media will not be able to have access to the hostages or their families.

This is explained by a desire to let the hostages rebuild themselves away from the media spotlight at first. However, families will then be free to interact or not with the media if they wish.

Israeli children held hostage in Gaza face a long road to recovery after their release.

According to the Israeli government, up to 40 of the hostages are children, including a 10-month-old baby and preschoolers, some of whom saw their loved ones murdered before their eyes just before being kidnapped.

“There will never be a complete recovery,” said Mr. Dollberg, a clinical and developmental psychologist at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. “It will never be that what happened to them will not affect them and will not be forgotten. The children will experience a chaotic life journey.




Alyson Braxton for DayNewsWorld

COP28 IN DUBAI UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT OF CRITICISM

T he 28th UN Climate Conference of the Parties (COP 28), scheduled for November 30 to December 12, is preparing to open its doors in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Global delegates will gather in the United Arab Emirates for the next round of international climate talks. During 2023, new extreme weather records were set, marked by devastating floods in Libya and devastating wildfires in Canada, Greece, and the Hawaiian island of Maui.

While these COP28 negotiations are crucial to securing the global agreements needed to avoid dangerous climate change, confidence in the summit is currently being shaken, in large part because of who is leading it.

The choice of Dubai as the venue for this major international event has sparked waves of criticism, particularly from environmental activists. In addition, the choice of Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the Emirati oil company Adnoc, to chair this major event is also contested. This appointment raised questions about the neutrality of the decisions taken at COP28, thus fueling the debate on the links between economic interests and real environmental progress.

Ahmed al Jaber, president of COP28, the wolf in the fold?

The United Arab Emirates sparked controversy when it announced in January 2023 that Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, CEO of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), would chair the climate summit, giving him broad control over the agenda.

COP President Sultan Al-Jaber is plagued by major conflicts of interest when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While he is expected to guide the drafting of negotiation decisions in a neutral and independent manner, Al-Jaber also represents the host country, the United Arab Emirates, as CEO of the national oil company, Adnoc.

With fossil fuels accounting for nearly 90% of the CO2 emissions that cause climate change, some say it's a clear conflict of interest for oil and gas producers to lead climate negotiations . The United Arab Emirates burns more gas than it declares.

Several surveys have also shown that the Emirates plan to increase oil and gas exploitation from 3.7 million barrels per day to 5 million by 2027, and that commercial negotiations even take place during meetings. planned for the COP.

According to confidential documents obtained by the Center for Climate Reporting, the United Arab Emirates thus prepared private business meetings involving Adnoc with delegations from more than 27 foreign governments before the summit.

Oil revenues are a guarantee of socio-economic stability in the Gulf countries.

Furthermore, despite decades of policies aimed at diversifying the country's economy away from oil, the UAE's hydrocarbon sector accounts for a quarter of GDP, half of the country's exports and 80% of government revenue. Oil revenue contributes to socio-economic stability.

This state of affairs is a central tenet of the Arab Gulf social contract, in which citizens of the six Gulf states occupy primarily bureaucratic positions in the public sector, administering an oil-based economy with an expatriate workforce that dominates the non-oil private sector.


Concerns about the obstruction of pro-climate policies by fossil fuel industries are therefore well justified, given evidence that these industries have known for decades about the climate consequences of their products.

However, the political program promoted by the presidency of the United Arab Emirates at COP28 could perhaps help accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.

Firstly the UAE and Ahmed al Jaber were chosen by the Asia-Pacific region, which consists of a diverse set of developing countries

The choice of the country which hosts the COP summit is in fact managed by a United Nations process which is the subject of democratic alternation between six regions. Countries in each region consult about who will represent their region, and that country makes a proposal, which is evaluated and finalized by the secretariat that manages the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The energy concerns of the countries of the South

For some countries in the South, the prospect of phasing out fossil fuels seems not only daunting, but also a threat to economic development.

Of the dozens of oil-producing countries in the world, about half are middle-income developing countries whose economies are highly vulnerable to volatile oil and gas prices.

Studies have suggested that a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels could lead to trillions of dollars in losses from infrastructure investments in oil-producing countries if they are not prepared.

At the same time, many states in the South are facing the outsized consequences of climate change, from extreme weather events to rising sea levels that can threaten the very existence of their communities. UAE presidency at COP28 could accelerate the energy transition, despite criticism of Al Jaber's choice.

Concerns about the phasing out of fossil fuels are significant, particularly for developing countries whose economies rely heavily on these resources. However, Al Jaber called this transition "inevitable" and "essential", emphasizing the need to strengthen renewable energy before quickly ending the use of fossil fuels.

Al Jaber's presidency of COP28 has been interpreted as an attempt by the UAE to greenwash its oil and gas expansion plans.

Al-Jaber, however, has spent most of his career in the renewable energy sector. In 2006, he founded and led the UAE's state-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, which he helped become the largest renewable energy operator in Africa.

He was appointed CEO of Adnoc in 2016, as part of the UAE's official launch of a national post-oil strategy. The previous year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed gave a speech declaring that the UAE would celebrate "the last barrel of oil" by mid-century.

The COP28 program

Adnoc has certainly been heavily criticized for having planned to invest $150 billion in the expansion of its oil and gas capacities during this decade.

But at the global level, fossil fuel growth plans much larger than those of the United Arab Emirates are being led by the United States, Canada, Russia, Iran, China and Brazil. Most of the world's fossil fuel financing comes from banks in the United States, Canada and Japan.

And since 2015, European banks have poured a colossal $1.3 trillion into fossil fuels, including $130 billion for the year 2022.

Several UN assessments – such as the 2023 edition of the Emissions Gap Report of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), or even the current commitments made by States under the Paris Agreement – have shown that current commitments place us on a trajectory of temperature increases of between 2.5 and 2.9°C, well beyond the targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Faced with these numerous contradictions, COP28 is therefore an essential meeting which intends to take stock of the global situation, talk about energy transition and emphasize solidarity between countries of the North and countries of the South.

And the UAE is demonstrating leadership that goes beyond previous COP presidencies. Indeed the total value of renewable energy projects planned by the UAE with various partners over the decade amounts to more than $300 billion.

The COP28 agenda plans to triple renewable energy capacity over the next seven years, further reducing costs to rapidly compete with fossil fuels, potentially within the next 20 years.

It also calls on countries to agree to cease fossil fuel production when CO2 emissions are not captured by mid-century, which could accelerate the development of capture, use and storage. CO2 for commercial purposes.

Finally, restructuring climate finance to make it less costly and reduce the debt burden, as proposed by the UAE presidency, could unlock the trillions of dollars the developing world has desperately needed to support its energy transitions while industrializing.

Last year, at the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the agreement to establish a fund for "loss and damage" was hailed as a major step forward on one of the most pressing issues. more difficult climate negotiations.

During this edition, this decision of November 2022 recognized the fact that the poorest and least emitting countries need help to deal with the consequences of climate change. But a year after negotiations, the fund has not yet materialized as developing countries hoped.

Big questions left unanswered

Many questions were raised and left unanswered in Sharm el-Sheikh. Among them :

who will fund this new fund?

Where will it be located?

Who will have the power to manage it?

And who will have access to financing, and above all who will not have access to it?

Developing countries agreed to have the fund hosted by the World Bank for an interim period, despite reservations.

Many delegates are concerned about the Bank's reputation, including the predominance of developed countries among donors, the emphasis on providing loans rather than grants, and the lack of climate sensitivity in Bank operations. These concerns are likely to resurface in Dubai.

At COP28, the realization of the loss and damage fund will be a litmus test for the legitimacy of the entire climate change negotiating regime.

Certainly, the fact that an oil CEO is leading a climate summit is worrying for all those who advocate a gradual and rapid reduction of fossil fuels, but if the COP28 summit manages to reach historic agreements on the aforementioned issues, this will be a significant step forward in accelerating the energy transition. And the COP summit will be something other than a simple ballet of hypocrisy...




Abby Shelcore for DayNewsWorld

A NEW HAMAS ATTACK

IN JERUSALEM

Three people were killed and six others injured when two men opened fire at a bus stop in the western part of Jerusalem on the morning of Thursday, November 30. Hamas claimed responsibility for their actions. This attack was carried out while the pause in the fighting in Gaza was extended at the last minute on Thursday morning for a seventh day.

West Jerusalem bus stop targeted

The attack took place Thursday morning, around 7:40 a.m. (local time), near a crowded bus stop in West Jerusalem. “Two terrorists who came in a car and were armed, one with an M16 [assault rifle] and the other with a pistol,” opened fire, the city's police director told the press at the scene of the attack.

Three people were killed, and several others were injured, according to Israeli police. Several Israeli media, including Haaretz and The Times of Israel, report six injuries. The three dead are two women aged 24 and 67, and a 73-year-old man, all of Israeli nationality, authorities said.

Shooters shot dead by two soldiers and a civilian

Images broadcast by Israeli television showed two men getting out of a car and opening fire before being shot dead. According to police, they "were killed quickly by two off-duty soldiers and a civilian who shot at them."

Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated them in a press release. “My government will continue to expand the distribution of weapons to citizens,” assured the Israeli Prime Minister. Since the October 7 attack, the Israeli government has made it easier to obtain a permit to carry a firearm, and arms stores have seen sales to civilians increase.

Hamas claims responsibility for attack and calls for 'escalation'

The attackers were quickly identified as two brothers, who Israeli police say had been incarcerated in the past and were affiliated with Hamas. The Islamist movement, classified as terrorist by the European Union, claimed responsibility for the attack at midday on Thursday. “The brothers Mourad Nemr (38 years old) and Ibrahim Nemr (30 years old) (...), members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam brigades of Sour Baher”, a district of East Jerusalem, “sacrificed themselves by carrying out an operation” , writes the organization in a press release.

Hamas also calls for an "escalation of resistance" against Israel, and presents Thursday's attack as "a natural response to the unprecedented crimes of the occupier [Israel] in the Gaza Strip and against children in Jenin." , a West Bank town where two boys aged 8 and 15 were killed by the Israeli army on Wednesday.

Even before this claim, Israeli President Isaac Herzog judged that this attack was “yet another example of the situation in which we find ourselves, the endless war that we are waging against terrorist organizations, in particular Hamas”.

The head of American diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, said it recalled "the terrorist threat faced on a daily basis by Israel", where he is visiting.




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld
There are no translations available.

ACCORD ISRAEL-HAMAS LIBERATION D'OTAGES TREVE HUMANITAIRE...

Les deux parties ont finalement conclu un premier accord dans la nuit du mardi 21 novembre 2023 au mercredi 22 novembre. Après des semaines de conflit et de pourparlers simultanés, un consensus a été atteint. Le Hamas et Israël se sont entendus sur la libération de 50 otages, enlevés par le groupe terroriste le 7 octobre 2023 dernier, en échange de la libération de prisonniers palestiniens et de l'instauration d'une trêve dans la bande de Gaza.

Le Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou a qualifié l'accord de "bonne décision" mardi soir, avant le début de la réunion de son cabinet, qui a ensuite donné son feu vert tôt mercredi. Le Hamas, via son chef Ismaïl Haniyeh, a salué la décision de "trêve humanitaire", soulignant que les modalités de l'accord étaient conformes à la vision de la résistance.

Les autorités qataries, au cœur des pourparlers, ont confirmé l'accord dans la nuit, exprimant leur gratitude envers l'Égypte et les États-Unis pour leur contribution aux médiations.

Libération de 50 otages contre 150 prisonniers palestiniens ?

240 otages, capturés lors de l'attaque du Hamas sur Israël le 7 octobre 2023, étaient concernés. Le gouvernement israélien a annoncé avoir approuvé les grandes lignes de la première étape de l'accord, libérant au moins 50 otages, principalement des femmes et des enfants. Aucun militaire ne devrait être relâché.

En échange, un nombre indéterminé de femmes et d'enfants palestiniens détenus en Israël seront également libérés, selon le ministère des Affaires étrangères qatarien. Deux sources parlent de 150 prisonniers.


La nationalité des personnes libérées reste floue, bien que trois ressortissantes américaines figurent parmi les 50 otages, selon un haut responsable de la Maison Blanche. Huit Français sont toujours aux mains du Hamas.

Bien que cet accord porte initialement sur 50 personnes, les États-Unis s'attendent à la libération de davantage d'otages dans les prochains jours. Si ce premier accord ne porte que sur 50 personnes, les États-Unis s’attendent à ce que davantage soient libérées. 

"Il y aura maintenant une pause de plusieurs jours, ils (le Hamas) auront la capacité d’identifier des femmes et des enfants supplémentaires. Nous nous attendons donc à ce qu’il y en ait plus de 50", a déclaré un haut responsable américain à la presse.

Dans une série de messages sur X ce mercredi matin, le gouvernement israélien écrit d’ailleurs que "la libération de dix otages supplémentaires entraînera une journée supplémentaire de pause".

Une trêve d'au moins quatre jours.

L'échange de prisonniers et d'otages se déroulera au cours d'une trêve humanitaire, d'une durée initiale de quatre jours, avec la possibilité de prolongation. 

Cette pause est réclamée depuis longtemps par des organisations internationales et des ONG, pour permettre l'entrée de convois humanitaires et d'aide d'urgence, y compris du carburant, dans la bande de Gaza, soumise à un siège total d'Israël.. Jusque-là, seule une pause quotidienne de quatre heures avait été accordée par le gouvernement hébreu.

La Croix Rouge pourra rendre visite aux otages non encore libérés à Gaza, avec des médicaments.

Difficile de savoir si cet accord va être tenu de bout en bout. Les deux parties ont déjà évoqué un retour à la guerre. Le ministre israélien de la Défense, Yoav Gallant, a exprimé le souhait d'une reprise "à pleine force" des opérations après la trêve pour "défaire" le Hamas et créer les conditions nécessaires au retour d'autres otages.

 "Le gouvernement israélien, l’armée israélienne et les forces de sécurité poursuivront la guerre pour ramener toutes les personnes enlevées, éliminer le Hamas et garantir qu’il n’y ait plus aucune menace pour l’État d’Israël depuis Gaza", a d’ailleurs confirmé le gouvernement après son vote. 

"Nous confirmons que nos mains resteront sur la gâchette et que nos bataillons triomphants resteront aux aguets", a également averti le Hamas de son côté.

La pause pour les "otages"ne signifie pas la fin de la guerre.




Garett Skyport pour DayNewsWorld

WHY TARGETED IDF OPERATIONS

ON THE AL-CHIFA HOSPITAL IN GAZA ?

The Israeli army launched a "targeted" operation on Wednesday in the al-Chifa hospital in Gaza, which it accuses of housing an underground Hamas base, something the Islamist movement and the management of the establishment deny.

What is the status of the Israeli army's operation in al-Chifa hospital ?

And what does international law say ?

The Israeli army raid continues on the grounds of al-Chifa hospital this Thursday, November 16. . Officially, for Israel, this is an operation "targeted [...] against Hamas in a specific sector of the hospital". For years, Israelis have accused Hamas of using Gaza hospitals as bases. And for them, there is no doubt, Hamas "operates inside and under" the Al-Chifa hospital, the most important in the Palestinian enclave.

On October 27, 2023, Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari claimed to have “concrete evidence that the hospital was used to hide Hamas members.” He presented, during a press conference, photographs and audio recordings proving, according to him, that the Islamist movement had several underground complexes hidden under the hospital, accessible through the network of tunnels located under the strip of Gaza, and an entry into one of the services.

Accusations supported on November 14 by the White House, which claimed to have American intelligence according to which Hamas would use the al-Chifa hospital to direct its military operations and probably store weapons.

This is not the first time that a link has been established between Hamas and this hospital. In a report published in 2015, the NGO Amnesty International accused the Islamist movement of having tortured and summarily executed Palestinians during the Israeli military offensive against Gaza in July and August 2014.

“Some [people] were subjected to interrogation and torture, or otherwise mistreated in an abandoned outpatient clinic located on the grounds of al-Chifa hospital,” the NGO noted.

The political leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinouar confirmed, in 2021, that his movement operates a vast network of tunnels “exceeding 500 kilometers”.

Yocheved Lifshitz, an 85-year-old woman taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, 2023, said after her release that she walked for miles through tunnels in Gaza that resembled "a spider's web."

Weapons, ammunition and military equipment found

Twenty-four hours after entering what the IDF presents as a strategic Hamas military platform, the Israeli army confirmed that its "soldiers" were still deployed in the largest hospital complex in Gaza where they are still located, according to the UN, some 2,300 people. Among which are patients, caregivers, and even displaced people.

An adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the army had found weapons and "other things."

“We entered the hospital on the basis of actionable intelligence,” assured Mark Regev to the American television channel MSNBC. And while the terrorist organization denies Israel's accusations, the IDF claims to have found "munitions, weapons and military equipment" from Hamas.

In particular, photographs of weapons, grenades and other military equipment were published. “Images relating to hostages” captured during the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023 were also found on computers seized during the intervention. According to Israeli authorities, no clashes or skirmishes occurred inside the hospital center, whether with civilians, patients or nursing staff

The unease of Israel's closest supporters.

Faced with this IDF military operation, the international community fears an irreversible deterioration of humanitarian conditions and access to care. The UN, which has repeatedly denounced the counter-offensive led by Israel, said it was "horrified" by the intervention of Israeli soldiers in a hospital compound.

Unease seems to be spreading even to Israel's closest supporters. American President Joe Biden called on the Israeli army during the night from Wednesday to Thursday to be “extremely cautious” in conducting its operation at the hospital. Washington also declared this Wednesday that it had not "given the green light to operations around the al-Chifa hospital", any more than it does for Israel's other military decisions.

For its part, France, which has claimed since the bloody attack of October 7 "Israel's right to defend itself", expressed 

"its very deep concern", believing that the Palestinian population had "no to pay for Hamas' crimes. On the sidelines of a trip to Switzerland, President Emmanuel Macron condemned “with the greatest firmness” the bombing of civilian infrastructure.

"Because Israel is a democracy, signatory to the same texts and the same charters as us, we have always said that this right to defend oneself must be part of international humanitarian law and respecting the rules of war, and therefore in particular the civilian populations,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday described Israel as a "terrorist state", denouncing the cost in human life of Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip. A key mediator in the negotiations on the release of hostages still in the hands of Hamas, Qatar has for its part called for "an international investigation" into the Israeli raids on hospitals in Gaza, describing the operation in the al-Chifa establishment as "war crime".

A worsening humanitarian situation

Since October 7, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has continued to deteriorate. Despite a first delivery of just over 23,000 liters of fuel on Wednesday via the Rafah crossing in the south of the territory, the UN warned that its aid operations in Gaza were "on the verge of collapse" and the head of United Nations humanitarian affairs called on Wednesday for an end to “the carnage in Gaza”.

Due to lack of fuel, the Palestinian telecoms operator Paltel announced on Wednesday "a suspension of all telecommunications services within a few hours" and could "further threaten the lives of the population of Gaza", the Human Rights organization warned on Thursday. Watch.

On Wednesday, nearly 650 people, foreigners, dual nationals and wounded Palestinians, were evacuated to Egypt through Rafah, reported the Palestinian authority in charge of operations at the border terminal.

The Israeli army, for its part, assured to provide the hospital with “incubators, baby food and medical supplies”.

The focus on the humanitarian crisis in hospitals has reinforced international calls for a ceasefire, which for Hamas would likely mean an opportunity to regroup, recover and strike again.

And what exactly does international law say ?

An exception to the rule in cases of “harmful acts”

Under international law, hospitals are entitled to protection during conflicts. But they can become legitimate targets under certain conditions, particularly if they are used for military purposes.

This is also what Article 18 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War says: “Civilian hospitals organized to provide care to the wounded, the sick, the infirm and women in childbirth may not, under any circumstances, be the object of attacks; they will, at all times, be respected and protected by the parties to the conflict".

But, in the following article, an exception to this rule is specified. “The protection due to civilian hospitals may only cease if they are used to commit, outside of humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy,” details the Convention, without defining the latter.

It was on this basis that Israeli troops struck targets near Gaza hospitals, and even targets located inside them, and entered medical buildings.

As they retreated from the hospital on Wednesday, Israeli soldiers left behind medicine, baby food and bottles of water.

The presence of weapons, if proven, could be included in the list of "harmful acts" and call into question the protection of the hospital, according to an article from the International Committee of the Red Cross, published on November 6.

“When they (hospitals) are used to directly or indirectly interfere in military operations and thereby harm the enemy, the rationale for this protection disappears.

This is particularly the case when a hospital is used as a launch base for an attack, an observation post used to transmit information of military interest, an arms depot, a liaison center with armed troops, or even to shelter able-bodied combatants", underlines the humanitarian aid institution.

Unlike Hamas, which does not claim to respect international conventions, it is up to Israel to prove that it is not violating international humanitarian law.  




Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

ISRAEL’S LAND OPERATION

DESTROY HAMAS TUNNELS

The Israeli army's military operation in the Gaza Strip has officially begun.

The Israeli army announced, Tuesday, October 31 in a press release, the death of two of its soldiers in fighting in the north of the Gaza Strip. As it advances in the Palestinian enclave, it had reported earlier in the day "fierce fighting" with Hamas. For its part, the Palestinian Islamist movement claimed that its fighters had “annihilated” an Israeli force by ambushing it in a building in the north of the territory.

Convoys of armored vehicles of the Israeli army (IDF) were spotted on Monday on one of the main roads in the Gaza Strip, converging towards the center of Gaza City. The main objective of this ground operation is to target Hamas' complex network of underground tunnels, which represent a veritable city beneath the city, a labyrinth of virtually impenetrable galleries.

The infiltration of these underground tunnels remains the major challenge for the Israeli armed forces. Israel seeks to prevent this vast underground network, used by Hamas fighters, from becoming a trap for its soldiers. To analyze this underground maze, which could also shelter the hostages kidnapped during the terrorist attack of October 7, Israel is relying on the numerous surveillance technologies developed over the years.

Cyber ​​espionage against Hamas targets

Cyber ​​espionage against Hamas targets is one of the approaches employed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a 3D rendering of the tunnels beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza on his X account (formerly Twitter) on October 27, although their existence cannot be confirmed.

Israeli forces have the capacity to deploy cyberespionage technologies against Hamas targets and their proxies. One of the most powerful spyware programs, Pegasus, was developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, and it allows you to infect a phone simply by sending an SMS. Smartphone traceability provides valuable information on the movements and possible hiding places of fighters. Attackers can also intercept communications, including targeting loved ones, to obtain sensitive information. Although there are no concrete tools to accurately model tunnels from the air, it is possible to monitor activity and pinpoint entry and exit points.

The IDF also has a fleet of spy planes, including recent models such as the Oron, tested last August and touted as an "intelligence jewel." Three Gulfstream G550 aircraft roam the skies to collect and analyze electromagnetic signals. All of these devices are used to intercept communications, collect real-time images and track movements.

On the satellite side, Israel has several surveillance devices. A small constellation of TecSAR, radar reconnaissance satellites, helps analyze changes and activities on the ground, reporting to the military any signs of new construction, for example. It is also possible to compare images and data to detect changes in infrastructure.

Iran's influence

The construction of this network of sophisticated underground tunnels by Hamas was a long-term project, spanning two decades. In the star-shaped tunnel, all sense of direction is abolished. Are we heading towards Gaza? Is it towards Egypt? We lose all points of reference. These tunnels are not built in a linear fashion, they are zigzag. They are on several levels. With arteries, rooms, halls, doors, electricity. It's a real military base. It is a military base under a civilian population.

They allow Hamas to operate far from the technological eyes of the State of Israel and the Israeli army, which is nevertheless one of the most efficient armies in the world.

The possibility of external influence, notably from Iran, is considered. Although this cannot be confirmed at the moment, there are similarities with other countries like North Korea or Iran, where wider tunnels could allow the passage of motorcycles or even trucks. It is also possible that certain locations are used for the manufacture and storage of weapons.

From a strategic perspective, a tunnel can serve a variety of purposes, including attacks, ambushes, kidnapping of civilians or soldiers, or even trafficking. Not all tunnels are the same, which means their detection and elimination may vary.

Current operation a considerable challenge

The current operation represents a considerable operational challenge. Israeli forces must navigate a dense urban environment with civilians present despite requested evacuations. Underground warfare itself is complex, and combating underground tunnels has always been a major challenge for armies. Finally, a delicate human dimension is added to the situation, with the protection of hostages, innocent civilians in Gaza, and the safety of the soldiers engaged in these operations as priorities.

"For Israel, this is an existential war. At this point, there is no question of losing the war, there is no question of a ceasefire either because it is a question of right to self-defense."




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

HAMAS-ISRAEL WAR

THE ROLE OF QATAR IN THE LIBERATION

OF HAMAS HOSTAGES

Two very first releases of hostages which represent a “ray of hope”. This is how the International Committee of the Red Cross welcomed, Friday, October 20, the arrival of Judith Raanan, 59, and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie Raanan, until then detained by Hamas.

The two American citizens from the Chicago area were visiting relatives in Kibbutz Nahal Oz when, on October 7, during the Hamas attack on Israel, they were kidnapped. This incident marks the very first release of hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist movement since the start of the conflict.
The two women handed over to the Red Cross

The release of the two women, Judith and Natalie Raanan, was carried out at the border between Gaza and Israel, where they were handed over to staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as evidenced by a video released by Hamas when they were released on Friday evening. In a statement, the ICRC expressed its relief, declaring that these two weeks of anguish had come to an end. Israeli special forces and Israel's hostage and missing persons coordinator also welcomed them.

Subsequently, the two women were transferred to central Israel, where family members awaited them at an Israeli military base. Judith's brother confirmed that both women are in good health and could return to the United States in the coming days. US President Joe Biden said he was extremely happy that they would soon be reunited with their families, after having had the opportunity to speak with them.

Three days after the release of an American woman and her daughter, Judith and Natalie Raanan, both hostages of Hamas, two Israeli women, from Kibbutz Nir Oz, close to the Gaza Strip, were released, Monday October 23. Hours after their release, the Israeli Prime Minister's office released their identities. They are Yocheved Lifschitz, 85 years old, and Nourit Kuper, aged 79 years old.

The two women were taken hostage along with their husbands, but both are still being held in the Gaza Strip. According to the spokesperson for Hamas' military wing, Abou Obeida, these women were released "for pressing humanitarian reasons", thanks to mediation from Qatar and Egypt. After being transported in a military helicopter, the two ex-hostages arrived at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, one on a stretcher and the other in a wheelchair.

Around 220 hostages are still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, ten of whom are American nationals. According to the Israeli army, the majority of them are still alive.

Qatar's mediation

Qatar's mediation played a decisive role in this release, after several days of intense negotiations. Hamas' military spokesperson said in a statement that the hostages had been released "for humanitarian reasons" thanks to Qatar's mediation. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also praised Qatar's important contribution to the release, while French President Emmanuel Macron highlighted Qatar's crucial role in the matter.

In Doha, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majid Al-Ansari praised the work of his government and expressed hope that these efforts will lead to the release of all civilian hostages of all nationalities.

Additionally, Hamas' military spokesperson said the release of the two hostages was intended to demonstrate to the American people and the entire world that the accusations made by the Joe Biden administration against Hamas were unfounded, a statement that was not well received by Israel.

"Hamas claims to the world to have released these women whom it had taken hostage for humanitarian reasons, whereas it is a murderous terrorist organization which is currently holding infants, children, women and the elderly,” replied Daniel Hagari, the spokesperson for the Israeli army.

Qatar's involvement in this liberation highlights this country's complex and influential role in the Middle East, particularly in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Qatar's diplomacy

Qatar, despite its small size, plays a central role in recent diplomatic maneuvers in the Middle East. Although its surface area is barely comparable to that of the Ile de France, its influence goes far beyond its borders.

The diplomatic web woven by Qatar over the last thirty years is impressive. This is based on pillars such as hydrocarbon reserves and a bold vision of diplomacy. In France, the brand of this canvas is notably embodied by the presence of the president of PSG, an example of sports diplomacy which culminated with the organization of the last World Cup, a costly but prestigious event.

Qatar also benefits from a considerable gas windfall, strengthening its influence, particularly in the context of an energy supply crisis following sanctions against Russia. With an ambitious football club, a thriving gas industry and the Al Jazeera news channel, dominant in the Arabic-speaking market, Qatar has become a key player.

Behind the facade of these elements, reprehensible networks are maintained. Qatar cultivates strong relations with regional players such as Iran and Hamas. Doha, the Qatari capital, hosts officials from the Islamist party that governs the Gaza Strip. These elements do not go unnoticed by countries seeking solutions to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.

Distrust of Qatar ?

The emirate has demonstrated its skill by acting as a mediator in sensitive issues. During the major conflict between Israel and Gazan factions in 2014, he played this mediating role.

Israel is well aware of the close ties between Qatar and Hamas, whose financial survival the emirate has ensured for years, notably through millions of dollars in aid. Public statements leave little doubt as to which side Qatar appears to have chosen.

For example, hours after the Hamas attacks, Doha publicly held Israel solely responsible for the escalation. However, despite these statements, Qatar is home to the largest US military base in the Middle East. And “Qatar is the historic sponsor of Hamas at the request of the government of Israel and the United States,” declared criminology professor Alain Bauer on Cnews

This duality makes him an actor with an ambiguous position, capable of juggling his interests.

While a ceasefire is currently out of reach, the first area in which Qatar could exert its influence is that of the approximately 220 hostages still in the hands of Hamas terrorists. And so far with success...




Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

UKRAINE ISRAEL THESE TWO MAJOR CONFLICTS

WHO ARE RESHALLING THE GEOPOLITICAL CARDS

On October 17, 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing where he met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, nicknamed his “best friend.” The following day, October 18, US President Joe Biden made a brief stopover in Israel to ease extreme tensions resulting from the Hamas terrorist attack. This particular temporal sequence has sparked speculation about the possible opening of a third military front for the United States, a situation from which China and Russia could take advantage.

Upon his arrival in Beijing on the evening of October 17, Vladimir Putin was officially present to participate in the annual forum on the New Silk Roads (Belt and Road Initiative, BRI). However, there is little doubt that, beyond his public declarations on this major project, the discussions between the Russian president and his Chinese "friend" mainly focused on the exceptional international situation generated by the recent escalation of violence. in the Middle-East.

Opening of a third front after Ukraine and East Asia

The sudden conflagration of this region, following the terrorist acts of Hamas against Israel on October 7 and the retaliation of the Jewish State, has created an unprecedented zone of instability. This new instability has opened up an unexpected opportunity for China and Russia. It requires the involvement of American armed forces on a third front, in addition to the existing fronts in Ukraine and East Asia.

For his part, US President Joe Biden visited Israel on October 18 to reaffirm US support. He also obtained permission from the Israeli government to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza before any major military intervention in this enclave, where around two million Palestinians live. This intervention aims to destroy Hamas infrastructure.

The American president reminded Benjamin Netanyahu that the world was paying attention to the situation. He urged Israel to take all necessary measures to protect civilians in Gaza from any consequences of the Israeli army's imminent assault. “The world is watching,” Joe Biden reminded Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel has the same values ​​as the United States and other democracies and they are watching what we are going to do. " In response, the Israeli prime minister promised: "Israel will do everything it can to ensure that civilians are not harmed." »

On Wednesday, Israel announced that it would allow humanitarian aid (water, food and medicine) to enter the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian border, a decision it had previously refused. However, this gesture by Israel may not be enough to ease regional tensions, especially since the country has massed a large contingent of soldiers and reservists, as well as an impressive military arsenal on the outskirts of Gaza, in preparation to a possible invasion.

The announcement by Hamas of the bombing of a hospital attributed to the IDF, which would have led to the death of hundreds of Palestinians, immediately triggered a wave of anger in the Arab-Muslim world. The Israeli government quickly denied any involvement in this bombing. It was subsequently established, thanks to Israeli and American intelligence services, that this catastrophe was probably due to a failed rocket launch by Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas. It will take time for the region to return to stability.

An unexpected window for Moscow and Beijing ?

This situation has raised concerns in Washington about the medium and long-term consequences of these tragic events, in a region which is already a real powder keg. The military commitment of the United States is already heavily strained by its support for Ukraine to repel the Russian invasion since February 2022 and its presence in the East Asian region, where tensions with China n have never been so lively, especially around Taiwan.
Opening a third front in the Middle East would pose a serious challenge for the United States, and this situation could represent an opportunity for China and Russia, who could be tempted to extend their military influence in these two territories. .

For America this risks becoming a major headache if the conflict between Israel and Hamas were to extend to neighboring countries, in particular over-armed Iran but also Lebanon and Syria. This conflict will also bury for a long time the prospect of recognition of Israel that Saudi Arabia was preparing to ratify under the aegis of the United States.

It is moreover this perspective which probably led Iran to play a determining role in the preparation of Hamas attacks in Israel, believe many analysts. This cross-recognition between Jerusalem and Riyadh would also have constituted a major success for the United States in the Middle East where China has scored undeniable diplomatic points since the beginning of this year.

Anti-Western position of China and Russia...

The evolution of the Chinese position since the Hamas attack on October 7 is obvious. Initially reluctant to label the attack "terrorist" and opting for diplomatic caution, China has recently swung in favor of the Palestinians. This change in position was accompanied by a public communication to Iran, which in turn warned Israel of a possible “preventive attack” in the event of military intervention by the IDF in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the United States has mobilized two aircraft carriers and deployed about 15,000 Marines off the coasts of Israel and Iran, while warning both countries not to get directly involved in the ongoing conflict. It is common knowledge that China has maintained close ties for many years, some of which remain confidential, with Tehran, as well as with Hamas.

Last weekend, China raised its voice over the Israeli response to Hamas attacks. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the bombing of Gaza "goes beyond self-defense" and stressed the need for Israel to end what he called "collective punishment inflicted on people of Gaza."
On October 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin went even further, making a shocking analogy. According to Putin, if the siege of Gaza, imposed by Israel, were to intensify, it could evoke memories of the siege of Stalingrad by Nazi Germany during World War II. This historical comparison deeply offended Israelis.

What about the Sino-American relationship ?

Alongside this crisis in Israel, the already tense Sino-American relationship continues to deteriorate, as two crucial deadlines approach: the presidential election in Taiwan in January 2023 and the American presidential elections in November 2024.

Xi Jinping has renewed dialogue with Washington in recent months, but obstacles persist, particularly linked to crucial issues for China, such as Taiwan, democracy, human rights and economic development. The big question is whether or not Xi Jinping will participate in the next edition of APEC: the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum will take place from November 11 to 17 in San Francisco. If the Chinese president agreed to come, it could be the scene of a bilateral summit with Joe Biden.

The crisis in Israel has underscored a broader trend: the distancing of China and Russia from the West in favor of alliances with authoritarian regimes like Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea. China is also working to strengthen ties with countries in the Global South, seeking to capitalize on a common hostility toward the West, hoping to take the leadership of that group in confronting America and its allies.

To use a phrase from researcher Alexandra Novosseloff, “It is these powers which regulate the metronome of the evolution of these conflicts through their agreement or, most often, their division, or even their confrontation. One of the major characteristics of conflicts frozen is that they are both internal conflicts and interstate conflicts."




Alyson Braxton for DayNewsWorld

HUMANITARIAN AID CONVOYS

WILL ENTER GAZA

The humanitarian aid long awaited by the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip can finally pass through the Rafah crossing from Egypt. Egyptian media reported Thursday that the first humanitarian aid convoys blocked at the Egyptian border will be able to enter the Gaza Strip from Friday. This agreement is the result of an understanding between the Egyptian and Israeli authorities.

Humanitarian aid, including essential supplies such as fuel for hospitals, should be delivered "daily" to Gaza to meet the pressing needs of its population. The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly pleaded in favor of this humanitarian contribution, stressing that the 20 trucks initially planned are far from enough.

Dozens of trucks full of international aid have been waiting in Egypt for several days, waiting for the opportunity to reach Gaza. However, it is imperative that this aid be substantial, of the order of 100 trucks per day, and that it be secure, according to statements by Martin Griffiths, the head of United Nations humanitarian emergencies.
Water and food are lacking for the 2.4 million inhabitants of Gaza, also deprived of electricity, after the siege imposed by Israel since October 9 on the enclave, already subject to a land, sea and air blockade. since 2007.

Russia announced Thursday, October 20, 2023 that it will soon deliver 27 tons of humanitarian aid, given to representatives of the Egyptian Red Crescent, for civilians in the Gaza Strip.

"A special plane (...) flew from the Ramenskoye airfield near Moscow to El-Arich airport in Egypt. Russian humanitarian aid will be handed over to representatives of the Red Crescent Egyptian to be sent to the Gaza Strip,” Deputy Minister Ilia Denissov was quoted as saying in a statement, without however specifying when this plane took off. “The population will receive flour, sugar, rice (and) pasta,” he added.

Russia has not specified when its aid should be delivered to civilians in the Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, the American and Egyptian presidents announced that the passage of humanitarian aid from Egypt to Gaza would be possible. Many aid shipments have been waiting for days on the other side of the border.

Joe Biden in Israel on Wednesday

This announcement comes after Joe Biden's visit to Israel, where he reaffirmed his support for his ally. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took to the region on Thursday, in Israel and several other capitals, to call for avoiding an escalation of the war. Meanwhile, in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire to cooperate with Egypt to bring more stability to the region and the world.

Road impassable due to bombing

Joe Biden, who also came to the region to guarantee access for international aid to Gaza, claimed to have obtained the agreement of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi to allow up to 20 trucks to pass through the Gaza crossing. Rafah, the only one not controlled by Israel. However, it is likely that this aid will not arrive before Friday due to work to be carried out on the road, damaged by Israeli bombing.

Subsequently, the spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency confirmed that Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Joe Biden, after their telephone conversation on Wednesday evening, had agreed to sustainably transport humanitarian aid to the strip. from Gaza via the Rafah crossing.

Israel agreed to the passage of the aid, but set one condition. This assistance will not pass through its territory until the hostages held by Hamas are released. The Palestinian movement claims the holding of between 200 and 250 hostages, while Israel says at least 199 of them are being held.

On Wednesday, the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that called for a "humanitarian pause." Washington criticizes this text for not mentioning "Israel's right to defend itself".




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

FACED BY HORROR ISRAEL EXPOSES THE REMAINS OF HAMAS VICTIMS

"We decided to expose this horror because there are people who accuse us of lying and showing dog bones,” said Dr. Hen Kugel, director of the Forensic Institute of Tel Aviv.

The toll of Hamas's barbaric attack on the south of the country last week is unbearable: more than 1,300 dead in atrocious conditions, 3,526 injured, some very seriously, 400 people missing.

According to IDF estimates, between 150 and 200 people are being held hostage in Gaza.

“…never seen this degree of barbarity”

At the Tel Aviv Forensic Institute, the horror is indescribable. The remains of Israeli victims, murdered by Hamas on October 7, are gathered there with a view to their identification. Among them, bodies burned, mutilated and in an advanced state of decomposition, a macabre scene to which forensic doctors, dressed in green overalls, tackle like a morbid puzzle, trying to reconstruct these human remains as much as possible. The corpses lie before examination on wheeled stretchers, carefully wrapped in thick black plastic bags.

Some of these bags are small, corresponding to that of a child. Each body is carefully numbered and comes from various localities, transported by volunteers, mainly Orthodox Jews. In accordance with Jewish tradition, a body may only be buried if it is complete, as far as possible.

“We chose to show this horror because some accuse us of lying, claiming that we are showing dog bones,” confessed the director of the Institute, Doctor Hen Kugel, overcome by emotion, according to reports from the French media like Le Point. “This is my 31st year in this profession. I have never been confronted with such a degree of barbarity, such cruelty, such relentlessness. It is simply
abominable,” he added in tears.

Thousands of victims

Israeli authorities have recorded more than 1,400 deaths since the attack on October 7, 2023, perpetrated by hundreds of Hamas members from the Gaza Strip who attempted to infiltrate localities and kibbutzim adjacent to the territory. Palestinian. Simultaneously, Israel carried out strikes on Gaza, where local authorities reported around 2,750 deaths.

For the identification of the bodies, in addition to the seven forensic doctors from the Tel Aviv Institute, an anthropologist, a radiologist and eight geneticists are involved, with the support of around thirty volunteers.




Abby Shelcore for DayNewsWorld

HOW COULD ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE SERVICES MISS

HAMAS’ PREPARATIONS ?

Israel has very sophisticated intelligence resources, whether collecting information on threats inside the country or outside it, with high-end secret services.

Yet when the sun set over the city of Israel, its streets were bathed in an eerie silence. A dark shadow hung over the country, leaving a nagging question in the heart of every Israeli: how could such a nightmare happen?

Israel was known for its intelligence superiority, whether monitoring internal or external threats.

However, on October 7, 2023, this reputation was dramatically shaken by an unprecedented Hamas attack. Twenty Israeli towns and several military bases found themselves under heavy fire from this surprise offensive.

The scale of the disaster left even the most seasoned experts stunned.

The general incomprehension resonated in unison with the anger and fear that invaded the country.

How could Israel have been caught off guard ?

Why couldn't we have anticipated this imminent threat ?

On October 10, 2023, the New York Times published an article reporting that Israeli intelligence had actually detected worrying signals within Hamas networks before the attack.

However, this information, although spotted, was not correctly interpreted or taken seriously. An error which was a painful reminder of the shortcomings of American intelligence before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The intelligence and counterterrorism specialist, Javed Ali, who had worked for many years in the American intelligence services, found himself at the heart of the intellectual storm that was raging at the time.

“Analyzing intelligence is like putting together a thousand-piece puzzle every day from isolated data in order to make judgments that enable policy makers to make informed decisions,” said Javed Ali. This herculean task, although difficult, formed the backbone of national security.

We spoke with Javed Ali to try to understand the workings of the Israeli intelligence services and the possible flaws that allowed this devastating Hamas incursion.

1. The mysteries of the attack

The repercussions of the attacks of October 7, 2023 were devastating, but the overarching question was how an operation of such scale could have remained off the radar of Israeli intelligence services. According to Ali, the scale of the attack suggested careful planning, requiring considerable effort to conceal the plot.

"These are not operations that you organize overnight. Such an attack requires complex logistics, precise coordination and deliberate planning," Ali explained. In addition, the geographic scope of the attack raised questions about possible Iranian involvement, although some US officials denied having any hard evidence of this.

Hamas was literally on Israel's doorstep, raising questions about the country's ability to understand events taking place in Iran, located nearly 2,000 kilometers away. This geographical proximity left a mysterious imprint on the course of events.

Israeli officials had tried to explain their failure to anticipate the attack by citing the effectiveness of their recent counterterrorism operations. They believed these actions had discouraged Hamas, minimizing its ability to carry out such a large-scale offensive. However, this explanation did not entirely clear the fog surrounding the circumstances of the attack.

2. The Shadow Artisans

Israel, like the United States, could boast of having one of the most efficient and sophisticated intelligence services in the world. The structure and operation of these services were similar in many respects to those of Uncle Sam.

The Shin Bet, the Israeli equivalent of the FBI, had the mission of monitoring internal threats. On the other hand, the Mossad, often compared to the American CIA, was responsible for external security. The Jewish state also had a military intelligence agency in the style of the American DIA, as well as other military intelligence agencies specializing in various aspects of security.

Like most Western nations, Israel benefited from a multitude of intelligence sources. Among these, human intelligence, more commonly called espionage, constituted an essential pillar. These were agents working behind the scenes to obtain sensitive information.

Signals intelligence, which encompassed various forms of electronic communications such as telephone calls, emails and text messages, also provided a crucial source of information. Imagery intelligence, such as satellite photos of training camps and equipment, supplemented this array of sources.

A fourth type of intelligence was open source information, that is, data available to anyone, such as Internet discussion forums. With the explosion of the Internet and social media, this information became more and more abundant, making the work of analysts even more complex.

3. The Dissimilarity between the two Intelligence Giants

However, one crucial difference separated Israeli intelligence services from their American counterparts. Unlike the United States, Israel did not have a national intelligence coordinator, a central authority responsible for overseeing all intelligence agencies.

In the United States, the director of national intelligence headed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), created in 2004. This system was established following the recommendations of the September 11 Commission, which noted the flaws in the American intelligence system, fragmented between different agencies and offices.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was designed to resolve complex problems that were beyond the scope of each individual agency, or where discrepancies in analysis existed. "I worked for several years in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. At one point, I was stationed directly under the Director of National Intelligence," Ali revealed.

In Israel, such a central entity was lacking. This gap in the country's intelligence architecture raised questions about its ability to anticipate and counter complex threats.

4. America and Israel: An Intelligence Partnership

The United States and Israel had close intelligence ties. Their partnership was bilateral, that is to say it only concerned these two nations, without involving other countries.

The United States also had a broader intelligence alliance known as the "Group of Five", or Five Eyes, which included Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However, in these strong bilateral relationships, when one party had information about threats concerning the other, it was required to pass it on automatically.

Nonetheless, it appeared that the United States was shifting its intelligence priorities to other regions of the world, such as Ukraine, Russia, and China. This reorientation could explain why they may not have obtained relevant information about the Hamas plot, and thus could not transmit it to Israel to warn it.

As the sun rose over a grieving Israel, the questions persisted, leaving a country searching for answers, justice and security. The Hamas attack in 2023 exposed the flaws in a seemingly infallible intelligence system, highlighting the crucial importance of careful analysis, international cooperation and constant adaptation to confront such threats. elusive than those which had just occurred.


Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

ISRAEL - HAMAS WAR "DESTROY HAMAS"

Five days after the deadliest attack in Israeli history, the escalation of tension between Tel Aviv and Hamas persists. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his desire to “destroy” the Palestinian movement, stepping up strikes on Gaza, which remains under siege and from where several salvos of rockets have been launched towards southern Israel.

“Destroy” Hamas”

Concerning human losses, the current toll is 1,200 deaths on both sides, with prospects of increasing as the recovery and identification operations of the bodies continue. Many people are still missing, according to information provided by the army.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, recently at the head of an emergency government formed with his rival Benny Gantz, said his country was now “in offensive mode”. He warned that "any member of Hamas is a dead man" and compared Hamas to ISIS, promising to crush and destroy them, just as ISIS was destroyed by the world. These statements mark the first clear expression of Israel's intention to "destroy" Hamas.

Stories of atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian fighters in Israel deeply moved Benjamin Netanyahu.

He described acts of unbearable cruelty, highlighting the barbarity of their actions.

“We saw little children tied up and shot in the head, people burned alive, young girls raped and massacred, soldiers beheaded (...). In one place, they put people together, brought tires and gasoline and burned them alive,” he said. Israel mobilized 300,000 reservists and deployed tens of thousands of troops to the outskirts. from the Gaza Strip, raising fears of an imminent ground offensive.

More than 1,200 dead in each of the two camps

In Israel, human losses exceed 1,200, mainly civilians, according to the spokesperson for the Israeli army. NGOs report that more than 100 people were killed in the Beeri kibbutz alone, and at least 270 at a rave party near Gaza. The results remain uncertain for the kibbutz of Kfar Aza where atrocities on babies have been reported. On the Palestinian side, the death toll also stands at 1,200, with around 5,600 injured, according to the latest report from the Gaza authorities.
Several countries have started to repatriate their nationals stranded in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israel has admitted to kidnappings of civilians and military personnel, while many foreign nationals remain missing.

In the Gaza Strip, where 2.3 million Palestinians live in difficult conditions, more than 338,000 people have been displaced due to the bombings. Water, electricity and food supplies have been cut off by Israel, worsening the already precarious humanitarian situation. Dozens of buildings, factories, mosques and stores were destroyed during the strikes.

Lebanon and the West Bank hit by Israel

On Wednesday, the Israeli army once again struck southern Lebanon, in response to rocket fire from Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas. In the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, six Palestinians were killed on Wednesday, four in an attack by Israeli settlers and two by soldiers, according to the Palestinian Authority. Since Saturday, twenty-nine Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank in violence linked to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Blinken solidarity visit and help from Germany

On the political front, Netanyahu and Gantz announced the formation of an emergency government and war cabinet for the duration of the conflict.

This announcement came on the eve of the arrival in Israel on Thursday of American Secretary of State Antony Blinken for a solidarity visit, and while the United States said it was ready “if necessary” to deploy a second aircraft carrier for deterrence purposes. The first weapons from the United States arrived at their destination on Wednesday.

According to an official Turkish source, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a process of negotiations with Hamas with a view to obtaining the release of the hostages after the Palestinian movement threatened to execute them.

Westerners supported Israel, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and the Arab League condemned the siege imposed by Israel on Gaza. Germany also gave the green light to Israel to use two HeronTP combat drones.




Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld

DEADLY HAMAS ATTACK

ISRAEL WILL AVENGE THIS BLACK DAY

BY A MERCYLESS WAR

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu donned the costume of a warlord in his speech on Monday, October 9, 2023, and showed his muscles, declaring that he was going to destroy Hamas. Striking his fist with words full of fury, Netanyahu swore that Israel would "win this war", but warned of a high cost, hinting at a likely ground incursion.

Prime Minister Benjamin pledged to deploy the full force of the Israeli army against the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening, warning Israelis of the difficult days ahead.

“The IDF will act immediately to destroy the capabilities of Hamas,” Netanyahu said in a televised address, as terrorists remained holed up with hostages in at least three locations in Israel.

“We will paralyze them mercilessly and avenge this black day they inflicted on Israel and its citizens.”

"The people of Gaza must leave now. We will be everywhere and with all our strength," he added, as thousands of reservists headed towards military bases in preparation for a widely expected counter-offensive.

In his speech on Monday, he detailed the five points of his program:

regain control of the territory and "eliminate the terrorists" still present in Israel, carry out a "massive" attack against Hamas with "unprecedented force", "reinforce the other fronts, in the north against Hezbollah" and in the West Bank, continue the campaign to guarantee the support of the international community and finally "the unity of the people" with the formation of a government of national unity.

The faultlines on the Israeli side

During this war, similar to that of 1973, the brutal outbreak deeply shocked the Israelis. Israeli military intelligence had warned the government that enemies perceived Israel as vulnerable, but they did not expect a Hamas attack at that time.

They believed that Hamas mainly wanted to govern Gaza and not start a war against Israel.

However, Hamas carefully planned this attack for many months, representing Israel's worst intelligence failure since 1973.

The flaws on the Israeli side manifested themselves on two levels, notably in the field of intelligence. Until now well informed about the situation in the Gaza Strip, Shabak recently lost its sources within Hamas.

This blindness is surprising, because journalists had reported that Hamas militants were regularly training on motorcycles and learning to fly microlights in recent months.

Despite this, the Israeli services did not anticipate anything, thus highlighting a major flaw that they will have to justify.
This intelligence failure is often the result of gaps in the political-military conception of the country. A parallel can be made with the Yom Kippur War fifty years ago.

Despite ample intelligence about a possible Egyptian attack, politicians refused to believe it due to a strategic misconception that Egypt was too weak to launch an attack.

Similarly, the current political-strategic conception, defended for years by Netanyahu, minimizes the threat of Hamas and aims to preserve its presence in the Gaza Strip to justify the absence of a partner for peace, due to divisions in within Palestinian society between Hamas and Fatah.

For Netanyahu and the Israeli right, Hamas has become a kind of insurance against international pressure. Netanyahu had even privately expressed that Hamas' persistence was in Israel's interests. So money from Qatar was flowing to Hamas, and around 20,000 Gazans were allowed to work in Israel to make life under Hamas livable.

The intelligence services were influenced by this vision minimizing the threat from Hamas. Recently, Tzachi Hanegbi, head of the National Security Council and close to Netanyahu, declared that Hamas had no intention of resuming hostilities.

Intelligence services and many analysts also believed that Hamas preferred to export Palestinian violence to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to help undermine the little power of an already weak and unpopular Palestinian Authority, led by rival Fatah. Hamas policy.

These assumptions turned out to be woefully wrong, as were intelligence assessments before the outbreak of the 1973 war. Then, as now, Israel's adversaries were not deterred by its superiority military.

The intelligence services have therefore fallen asleep, largely due to the government's posture. In recent months, the prime minister has been focused on his fight to take control of the Supreme Court, his top priority until October 7.

This time, the failure is even more glaring, given Israel's intelligence-gathering capabilities. Hamas must have carefully planned this attack for many months. This is undoubtedly Israel's worst intelligence failure since the 1973 war.

Intelligence failure, but also military failure, with the Israeli Defense Forces massively deployed in the West Bank and clearly unprepared for an attack of this magnitude from the Gaza side. The sudden Hamas attack revealed major gaps in Israeli intelligence . The failure to anticipate this attack is due in part to a view that downplays the threat posed by Hamas.

Implications of the Hamas Assault

A complex internal debate raged inside Hamas. Since the execution or disappearance of the main founders of the organization which claims to be the Muslim Brotherhood, contradictory options have existed on how to exercise power (in Gaza), to conquer it (within what remains of the Palestinian Authority) and resolve the conflict with Israel. The military wing led by Mohammed Deif and the head of Hamas in Saza, Yahia Sinwar, seem to have gained the upper hand over the "politicians" who are most often in Damascus, Tehran and, it is sometimes said, Istanbul.

The kidnapping of Israeli citizens in order to exchange them for Hamas members detained in Israel has long been a major objective of the Islamist movement's military operations.

An emblematic case dates back to 2011 when Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier detained in Gaza since 2006, was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including Yahya Sinwar, current leader of Hamas in Gaza, who had spent 22 years in prison in Israel.
Reports of dozens of Israelis, including many civilians, captured by Hamas during this weekend's assault suggest the kidnapping may be a central motive for the attack. An unknown number of hostages, held for hours by Hamas militants in two towns in southern Israel, were finally freed by Israeli special forces.

Another, broader Hamas goal could be to undermine ongoing negotiations between the United States and Saudi Arabia for a deal to normalize relations between the kingdom and Israel. The failure of these talks would be a boon for Iran, one of Hamas' main supporters, and for its allies.

Tehran has said it supports Hamas attacks against Israel, although it is not yet clear whether Iran or Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite group in growing partnership with Hamas, will open other fronts in the coming days, although the latter had already fired shells against Israeli territory on October 8.

Any escalation of the conflict from Iran or Lebanon would pose serious problems for Israel. The same would happen if the war against Hamas exacerbated the already very sensitive tensions and violent clashes between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the West Bank.

Israeli strategy and military reality

The rhetoric of military victory does not reflect the complexity of this conflict. Hamas cannot be treated like a traditional army, which makes any military solution difficult. Hamas is not a regular army that can be defeated on the battlefield and whose surrender can be obtained. It is a very decentralized paramilitary organization, whose fighters, who hide in tunnels, are very difficult to flush out. The Israeli air force will not be enough.

To achieve this, we would have to enter Gaza with tanks and thousands of men, and there would be

Discourse focused on a military victory does not capture the complexity of this conflict. Hamas cannot be understood as a conventional armed force, which complicates any military resolution.

This is not a conventional army that can be defeated on the battlefield and forced to surrender. It is a highly decentralized paramilitary organization, with fighters hidden in tunnels, making them extremely difficult to spot. The Israeli Air Force alone cannot solve this problem.

To achieve a solution, it would be necessary to commit tanks and thousands of men to Gaza, which would result in high casualties on both sides, both among Gazan civilians and among Israeli soldiers. There is also the hostage factor to consider. What are Hamas' intentions towards all the hostages it took to Gaza?

Currently, Hamas has no interest in negotiating the release of the hostages. Assuming, for example, that the movement secures the release of all its prisoners currently held in Israel and frees the Israeli hostages it is holding, it would then lose a powerful human shield. Israel could launch a massive attack on the Gaza Strip without fear of causing the death of its citizens.

There may be negotiations, but they won't happen for a while. In the meantime, these hostages will likely be scattered throughout the Gaza Strip, forcing the military to be extremely careful in every bombing decision.

The current violence has only just begun, but it could become the bloodiest in decades, perhaps even since the war between Israel and the Palestinians in Lebanon in the 1980s.




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

ISRAEL ATTACKED BY HAMAS

CARNAGE AT A HOSTAGE FESTIVAL IN GAZA

EMBARKED IN A LONG AND DIFFICULT WAR

Two days after the start of the massive offensive launched by Palestinian Hamas from the Gaza Strip and then Israel's reprisals, the fighting continued on October 9. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israelis that they were "embarked on a long and difficult war."

Israeli President Isaac Herzog called for "unity in the people, in Parliament and in an emergency government."

The Israeli army has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers to regain full control of the desert regions near the Gaza Strip, rescue the Israeli hostages who are still there and evacuate all the inhabitants of the region here until Monday morning. Hamas has taken “more than 100 prisoners,” the Government Press Office (GPO) said on Sunday.

During the night, army airstrikes continued on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory under Hamas control. Fighting also continued on the ground between Israeli forces and armed elements of this Islamist movement who had infiltrated Israel since the day before.

The siege of the police station in the Israeli town of Sderot, bordering Gaza, where Hamas gunmen were holed up ended this Sunday morning, police announced in a statement: police and army special forces Israeli "neutralized ten armed terrorists who were in the police station."

“The enemy is still on the ground” in Israel, “we are reinforcing our forces especially near Gaza and are clearing the area”, declared Sunday evening the spokesperson for the Israeli army, promising to hunt down “terrorists wherever they will be".

Hundreds of deaths

The fighting left at least 700 dead and 2150 injured on the Israeli side. Dual nationals are among the victims.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas has at this stage counted 700 dead and 2,125 injured.

“We killed 400 terrorists,” an IDF spokesperson said this Sunday.

“Civilians and soldiers are in the hands of the enemy, it is time for war,” said the head of the Israeli army, Herzi Halevi.

"Several" Americans were killed in the Hamas offensive, according to an American official, as well as ten Nepalis as well as nationals of other countries, including a French woman. The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported "the death of a Canadian and the disappearance of two others."

Taking advantage of the surprise effect of its attack, completely unanticipated by Israel, Hamas fighters aboard vehicles, boats and even motorized paragliders made use of the imposing barrier erected by Israel around the Gaza Strip , attacking military positions or civilians in the middle of the street.

“Hundreds of terrorists entered Israel from Gaza” and “attacked dozens of Israeli communities,” said Lieutenant Jonathan Conricus, former international spokesperson for the Israeli army.

"They came door to door, house to house, looking for Israeli civilians. Some were executed in cold blood" in their homes, he added. These incursions were in addition to the launching of thousands of rockets into Israel.

Soldiers and civilians captured

Hamas also captured a significant number of civilians and soldiers during this operation which it called

“Al-Aqsa flood”.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, claimed in a video to have “captured several enemy soldiers” and the al-Quds Brigades, the military branch of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, also declared that they were holding “numerous soldiers” Israeli.

On Saturday morning, dozens of terrorists entered Kibbutz Beeri, created in 1946 as part of a strategic plan to help the future state resist an Egyptian invasion.

Hamas troops yesterday gradually took control of the entire kibbutz, whose 1,200 inhabitants make it the largest of the 25 villages that make up the Eshkol regional council.

Several members of the kibbutz were reportedly kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip. The terrorist operation was part of an unprecedented raid carried out by hundreds of Hamas gunmen, who managed to easily cross the border area under tension, penetrating into at least three towns – Ofakim, Sderot and Netivot – and several villages

The Nova Festival held in the Negev desert, near the Gaza Strip, was attacked by Palestinian movement fighters at the start of Saturday's offensive. According to Israeli media, at least 260 festival-goers have died. Others are missing, probably kidnapped.

The Israeli online news site Ynet puts forward "an estimate of around a hundred people [...] kidnapped" while the authorities have not yet given any figures.

“We have a significant number of Israelis being held by Hamas in Gaza,” assured an Israeli army spokesperson in a video published on X.

For Hamas, hostages are a formidable means of pressure

Despite their imprecision, these figures are staggering, as is the toll of 600 Israeli deaths, which exceeds all Israeli deaths at the hands of Palestinians since the end of the second intifada and the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. In a a small country of 9 million inhabitants, this means that a huge part of the population knows one of the victims directly or indirectly.

The objective of Hamas is to destroy the State of Israel and establish a Palestinian Islamic state throughout the territory of the former Palestine within its borders of June 4, 1967, (territory comprising today Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and to have Jerusalem as its capital

For the Islamist movement, these captives are a formidable means of pressure. As of Saturday, a senior executive, Saleh Al-Arouri, affirmed that the organization now had the means to free all Palestinian activists detained in Israel, by exchanging them.

In 2011, a previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu had 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for a single hostage, soldier Gilat Shalit, captured by Hamas in a raid of unprecedented scale, and detained for more than five years. Yahya Sinouar, the current leader of Hamas in Gaza, owes him his freedom.

Aware of the value of these captures, the Palestinian movement set up a specialized group responsible for monitoring the prisoners. This is the "shadow unit", created in 2006, and whose existence was revealed in 2016.

She became known in particular by broadcasting a video of soldier Shalit which showed, among other things, the hostage having a barbecue on a beach in Gaza, or watching TV.

" Unprecedented "

“What happened today is unprecedented in Israel,” admitted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a televised address.

“All these places where Hamas hides (...) we are going to turn them into ruins.”

“We are on the verge of winning a great victory,” said Ismaïl Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas.

This escalation comes fifty years and one day after the start of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war which took Israel completely by surprise, leading to the death of 2,600 Israelis and leaving at least 9,500 dead and missing on the Arab side in three weeks of combat. .

It is the deadliest escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades.

The incursion into Gaza came a day after the 50th anniversary of the surprise invasion of Israel by the Egyptian and Syrian armies in the Yom Kippur War, a traumatic event that shook many Israelis' confidence in the vigilance of the military and political leaders of the country.

“But the Yom Kippur War was fought at the front. The feeling of helplessness and vulnerability when your own home is attacked – it is more reminiscent of the 1948 War of Independence,” said Barzilai, who lives in Jerusalem.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cites senior Hamas and Hezbollah officials, Iran approved Hamas' offensive on Israeli soil during a meeting held last Monday in Beirut, Lebanon. An assertion denied by Tehran to the United Nations.

“The attack, sophisticated, powerful and coordinated, powerfully aided by Iran, has just put an end to the illusion of peace and the plan resulting from the Oslo Accords,” according to Alain Bauer.




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

LARGE-SCALE TERRORIST OPERATION

OF HAMAS AGAINST ISRAEL

The armed wing of the Palestinian movement Hamas announced this Saturday, October 7, that it had launched the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation against Israel.

Warning sirens sounded at dawn. Hundreds of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Saturday October 7, 2023. The armed wing of Hamas immediately announced that it had launched the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation against Israel.

“We have decided to put an end to all the crimes of the occupation,” declared Mohammad Deif, commander of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, in an audio recording broadcast by Al-Aqsa TV, the television channel of Hamas, an Islamist movement. in power in Gaza.

“More than 5,000 rockets” have been fired since this morning, he said. Hezbollah, support of Hamas, hails a “heroic large-scale” and “victorious” operation, and says it is “in direct contact with the command” of what it describes as “the Palestinian resistance”.

Hamas announces having captured several Israeli soldiers. Several videos on social media show Hamas activists posing with people presented as Israeli hostages. Footage believed to have been filmed in Gaza shows a pickup truck carrying armed Hamas militants, with Israeli prisoners on board.

These strikes left at least 22 dead and around 545 injured according to the Israeli government.

For its part, the Israeli army reports the infiltration of an undetermined number of “terrorists” from Gaza.

At the same time, the Israeli army, cited by the Israeli daily Haaretz, affirms that terrorists have infiltrated from Gaza by "sea, air and land". According to the same source, fighting on Israeli soil is underway and a local elected official was killed during exchanges of fire with attackers. Hamas “will pay an unprecedented price” for its “war”, declared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Follow the evolution of the situation live.

Israeli airstrikes in retaliation: Operation “Iron Swords”

The Palestinian Islamist movement has launched "a war against the State of Israel", responded Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. In retaliation, the Israeli army announced that several "dozens (of its) combat aircraft (were) currently striking a number of targets" of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
In response to Hamas's strikes, Israel launched Operation Iron Swords and began bombing Gaza. The Israeli army confirmed that several “dozens of [its] combat aircraft were currently striking a number of Hamas targets” in this territory. “We are at war and we will win,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also declared in a video message on Saturday.

The Israeli army also reported, on Saturday morning, the infiltration of “an undetermined number of terrorists” into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. “Residents in areas neighboring the Gaza Strip have been asked to stay at home,” the army added. The Israeli military said Hamas was behind a "combined attack, including rocket fire and terrorist infiltration into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip."

Images circulating on social networks show Hamas fighters having taken over an Israeli army position, clashes in the streets of the town of Sderot, armed men shooting at civilians' cars.

The end of the truce observed since May.

This operation claimed by Hamas puts an end to a truce generally respected since the end of a five-day war in May. Israel then launched an offensive against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, which cost the lives of 34 Palestinians and one Israeli woman. More than a thousand rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, most of them intercepted by the Israeli air defense system. Israel, for its part, had increased airstrikes on the small territory. A truce, brokered by Egypt, was then concluded between Israel and Gaza.

Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, had stayed away from this conflict.

Since the start of the year, violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has increased and cost the lives of at least 247 Palestinians, 33 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian. This toll includes, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians and three members of the Arab minority.

The head of the Israeli Defense Ministry body in charge of civil operations in the Palestinian Territories (COGAT) releases a video in which he warns the enemy in Arabic. “Hamas has opened the gates of hell on Gaza, Hamas has made this decision and will pay the price,” warns Ghassan Aliyan.




Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

THE NOCE CLOSES ON AFGHAN WOMEN

Human rights organizations condemned on Monday the "cruel" decision to close access to Afghan women to the Band-e-Amir park, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, popular with families for its splendid lakes located in the tourist province of Bamyan.

“Not content with depriving girls and women of education, employment and freedom of movement, the Taliban also want to take away parks and sports, and now even nature,” criticized Heather Barr, deputy director of women's rights for the NGO Human Rights Watch.

“Step by step, the walls are closing in on women, each home becoming a prison,” she denounced in a press release.

“It’s also about your ability to feel joy,” she insisted, describing this decision.

“Tourism is not obligatory.”

The Minister of Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, justified the ban on Saturday during a visit to the province of Bamyan by the fact that the wearing of the hijab (clothing covering the body and the head) had not been respected over the past two years.

"We must take serious action today. We must prevent hijab disrespect," he said.

“Women and our sisters will no longer be able to go to Band-e-Amir until we establish guidelines […].

Tourism exists, they can do tourism, but tourism is not obligatory,” he added.

“This explanation about the fact that a woman does not wear a correct hijab does not make the slightest sense,” lamented the NGO.

Since their return to power in August 2021, the Taliban government, with its austere interpretation of Islam, has continued to reduce the rights of Afghan women.

In two years, secondary schools and then universities closed their doors to women.

Parks, gyms and hammams are also prohibited. Prevented from working for NGOs and excluded from most civil servant positions, Afghan women must also cover themselves fully when leaving their homes.

The main tourist spot in Afghanistan, the Bamyan valley located in the center of the country is famous for its niches dug into the cliff, now empty of giant Buddhas after their destruction in 2001 by the Taliban, but also for its network of turquoise and sapphire lakes. Nearby Band-e-Amir , listed as a UNESCO heritage site in 2003 .

The Taliban are making Afghan women prisoners of their homes.



Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

ANTONY BLINKEN STATES BEFORE THE COUNCIL

NATIONS SECURITY THAN HUNGER

MUST NOT BE A WEAPON OF WAR

Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a solemn address to the United Nations Security Council, highlighting an undeniable truth:

the use of hunger as a weapon of war is an unacceptable aberration which must be stopped.

With palpable determination, he seized the opportunity to level harsh criticism at Russia for its decision to withdraw from the grain export pact through the Black Sea.

“In the corridors of the Kremlin, the assertion is made that the breakdown of this agreement stems from the obstacles imposed by international sanctions, supposedly harmful to agricultural exports.

In truth, it is essential to note that these sanctions explicitly exclude foodstuffs as well as fertilizers from their effects,” Blinken asserted with ironclad firmness, before an attentive assembly.

Subsequently, the Secretary of State proceeded to shed more light on the context, revealing that shortly after Moscow distanced itself from this initiative, Russia had embarked on grain exports at prices "reaching unprecedented heights".

"Globally, the tariffs applied to cereals have registered an increase exceeding 8% throughout the world", he added, thus illustrating the impact of this decision on international markets.

Mr. Blinken made a point of stressing that, despite the absence of such an initiative, which, according to general opinion, "should never have been necessary", it nevertheless generated "tangible and concrete results".

"The shipments undertaken have played a significant role in reducing world food prices by around a quarter, for the benefit of all, since the intervention in question", he explained with conviction.

Last July, the Russian authorities announced the termination of the grain export agreement, citing shortcomings on the side of kyiv.

It should be recalled that this agreement was born a year ago, in the Turkish city of Istanbul, under the joint mediation of the Turkish authorities and the United Nations.

These eloquently articulated remarks by Antony Blinken highlight the categorical imperative to outlaw any manipulation of hunger for warlike ends, while exposing the latent tensions between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the economic implications for the global scale generated by such approaches.

The urgency of effective diplomacy and peaceful solutions is reinforced by this advocacy, with a view to preserving international stability and security.




Sandra Stac for DayNewsWorld

JAPAN PREPARES TO DISCHARGE WATER FROM FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT INTO OCEAN

In a context where Japan is faced with the colossal scale of the management of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, a controversial decision is looming on the horizon:

the discharge of these waters into the ocean!

According to information from government sources, this move could take shape between the end of August and the beginning of September, following a trilateral summit involving the United States and South Korea.

Although the exact date of this launch remains to be established, the Japanese authorities maintain their commitment to the announced period, located between spring and summer of this year.

At a press conference, Hirokazu Matsuno, the government spokesperson, stressed that the decision to release the treated water will be taken once all the safety measures have been thoroughly validated.

He also hinted that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida could play a crucial role in this process, hinting at the start of the operation following his return from the trilateral summit scheduled for August 18 at Camp David, a presidential residence. close to Washington.

In an effort to assuage the legitimate concerns of fishermen and local stakeholders, the government has taken initiatives to explain in detail the safety protocols that will be applied. Matsuno assured:

"We have passed on to local fishermen and businesses all the safety guarantees related to this process.

In order to address your concerns and needs, we will continue our efforts to ensure your safety and your continued presence at work."

A concern for transparency also informs this approach, with Japan's commitment to explain the decision to discharge the treated water in a way that is both scientific and understandable.

The government spokesperson affirmed that this communication would be based on "scientific foundations and exemplary transparency", thus demonstrating the importance given to gaining public trust.

Japan's announcement comes after the support expressed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last July, which deemed the plan drawn up by the Japanese government for the dumping of treated water in the sea.

The current stages of contaminated water treatment, carried out through the ALPS system, have succeeded in eliminating most of the radioactive elements, with the exception of tritium. This water is then stored in barrels before being released into the ocean.

Faced with increasing constraints on the storage space available at the plant site, the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the plant's operating company, took the pragmatic decision to resort to dumping in the ocean. .

This approach, although controversial, is justified by the need to safely manage the growing volume of treated water while minimizing environmental risks.

In sum, Japan's imminent approach to dump treated water from Fukushima into the ocean is sparking a complex debate about issues of safety, transparency and sustainability.

As Japanese authorities work to put in place science-based and transparent measures to manage this ongoing nuclear crisis, preserving the future of the region and its ecosystems remains at the heart of global concerns.


Paul Emison for DayNewsWorld

THE AFFIRMED RETURN OF RUSSIA TO

THE AFRICAN CONTINENT AT THE SUMMIT

FROM SAINT-PETERSBURG

Vladimir Putin welcomes this Thursday, July 27, 2023, the representatives of 49 of the 54 African countries in Saint Petersburg for two days. This major Russia – Africa summit is the second after that of October 2019 in Sochi, Russia. Although it did not lead to concrete actions, this first summit had made it possible to lay the foundations for broader cooperation between Moscow and Africa.

This year, Russia intends to strengthen ties with the continent, by implementing more specific action plans. Round tables are planned, on subjects ranging from health to logistics, including the question of fertilizers and even nuclear energy.

"To African problems there must be African answers",

For African countries, a rapprochement with Moscow would make it possible to no longer be under Western and Chinese influence in the fields of economy and diplomacy. As such, Vladimir Putin's well-constructed strategy is working: "There must be African responses to African problems", declared the Russian Head of State on 24 July.

s. Geopolitics is also influenced by the war in Ukraine. After the end of the cereal agreement, a source of concern for the continent, the Kremlin wants to reassure by ensuring that it takes over.

Russian President Vladimir Putin effectively told African leaders on Thursday, July 27, 2023 that he would offer them tens of tons of grain despite Western sanctions. Vladimir Putin said that Russia was ready to replace Ukraine and supply Africa with cereals, during a Russia-Africa summit organized in Saint Petersburg. "We will be ready to supply 25,000 to 50,000 tons of cereals free of charge in the coming months to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Eritrea," he announced. Russia exported 60 million tonnes of grain last year, Vladimir Putin said.

Vladimir Putin, however, did not mention Sudan or Chad. Russia has suspended its participation in the agreement on grain exports to the Black Sea, considering that the conditions for its further extension were not met. In particular, Moscow is demanding guarantees on Russian exports of cereals and fertilizers, which it considers to be hindered, even if they are not directly targeted by Western sanctions taken in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Africans could also benefit from direct financial aid for the development and technological cooperation they need. However, despite resisting Western sanctions better than expected, Russia saw its GDP fall by 2.1% in 2022 according to the World Bank and is expected to fall again by 2.5% in 2023. New investments, in advanced technology in particular, are of interest to African countries.

Russia is not in the top five exporting countries in Africa, and its commercial presence seems to rely instead on arms exports

The major Russian investment in Africa could concern the export of arms which are badly needed by certain regimes threatened by jihadist groups and armed opponents. Russia, as heir to the Soviet Union, has an undeniable asset on the African continent: that of being a major exporter of reliable and inexpensive arms. Indeed, the Soviet Union was already, by far, the main source of arms imports for Angola, Congo, Ethiopia or even Mozambique between 1960 and 1991. It is therefore in this line that Russia continues to export its Soviet-made weapons to African countries: like the USSR, it continues to be the first source of arms imports for the countries mentioned above but also for Algeria ,

An imperialist Russia ?

On the Russian side, close collaboration with the African continent offers Vladimir Putin considerable opportunities. Africa is indeed full of precious metals, oil and highly coveted raw materials. Russian interests are particularly focused on countries harboring strategic resources, such as manganese in Gabon or South Africa, diamonds in Angola and the Central African Republic, as well as uranium in Tanzania.

The Russian private sector also plays a key role in the country's foreign policy. The influence of the paramilitary group Wagner in Mali or in the Central African Republic is well known, but Russian ambitions do not stop there. The Russian company Rosneft, for example, has concluded an offshore gas exploitation contract in Mozambique.

Getting closer to Africa offers Putin the opportunity to expand his sphere of influence by forging ties with the powers that be. This approach also allows it to compete with the Chinese and American influences already established on the continent. Thus, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, visited the continent twice in the space of six months,
showing that despite the sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine, Russia is not totally isolated.

The President of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, who currently holds the presidency of the African Union, also felt that Russia's demands should be listened to.

Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had he not declared during a historic visit to Bamako on February 7, 2023: “The fight against terrorism remains a priority for the [countries of the Sahelo-Saharan region and the Gulf of Guinea] […] We [Russia and Mali] see the reaction of Western states to the evolution of our relations, […] and this reflects [their] neo-colonial approaches and [their ] policy of “double standards” […] [They] want to decide the fate of all the continents, […] but we think that these old metropolises forget how they exploited and invaded these territories; they must, in my opinion, understand that the world has changed”.

This return of the Russian presence should be studied in the light of its desire to deconstruct a world order deemed too “American-centric” to regain a place of choice on the international scene. Russian diplomacy uses Africa with the aim of “rebalancing” power dynamics, serving its own interests.




Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

THAILAND TOWARDS AN IMPOSSIBLE DEMOCRACY

Since July 13, 2023, Thailand has been trying to appoint its new Prime Minister. Following its victory in the legislative elections of May 14, the pro-democracy coalition led by the reformist party Move Forward logically presented its leader, the reformist Pita Limjaroenrat

But Pita Limaroenrat encounters difficulties when he is elected Prime Minister of Thailand by the National Assembly. He failed to gather enough votes to be appointed by Parliament.

A Senate under the orders of the establishment

The Thai Parliament has indeed rejected, on Thursday, the candidacy of reformist MP Pita Limjaroenrat as Prime Minister. The leader of the Move Forward party, winner of the elections, did not obtain the sixty votes of senators he needed to reach the required threshold of 375 votes, despite the support of a majority coalition in the Lower House (312 deputies out of 500).

To minimize the weight of the 500 deputies elected by the people, the generals have, in fact, ensured total control of the Senate. Its 250 members are not elected but appointed by various conservative institutions. Only 13 of its 250 members supported Pita's candidacy. The senators ignored Move Forward's calls to form a government in accordance with the will of the people that would put Thailand back on the path to democracy.

Result: a second vote will take place next Wednesday, July 19, a vote in the form of a last chance for Pita to become head of government. In the event of a new setback, he has effectively indicated that he would throw in the towel.

Marching towards democracy with Pita Limjaroenrat ?

Pita Limaroenrat, whom everyone calls Pita, was born in 1981. He is a rather elegant young man who has been leading the Move forward party for several years. This pro-democracy party is the bane of the power in place and in particular of the soldiers who lock the country. The party was already dissolved for the first time in 2019 before reforming under this new name. Pita is initially a businessman from a wealthy family. He was educated in the United States.

A true idol of Thai youth, this businessman from a good family hopes to become the next Prime Minister of Thailand. He embodies the break with the military in power for a decade in Thailand. It offers a modern image of society with attractive measures such as the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, the end of compulsory military service or even marriage for all. Its renovation program aims to turn the page on a quasi- decade under the authority of former putschist general Prayut Chan-O-Cha, which saw fundamental freedoms shrink and the economy stagnate.

Imposing itself outside its usual urban strongholds, its young reformist formation won more than 150 parliamentary seats out of the 500 in the Assembly and established itself as the first political force in the kingdom. It also made an alliance with d ' other pro-democracy parties that have elected members in parliament.

The Move Forward Party, the pet peeve of power

Power wants to do everything to prevent him from governing. The country has nevertheless experienced a dozen successful coups since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1934.

To block his way, the electoral commission considered that there were enough elements to transmit to the Constitutional Court a file of suspicions of irregularity. Pita's party is accused of having owned shares in a television channel during the campaign, in contravention of the law. The president of the electoral commission recommended a suspension of his parliamentary functions. The deputy, who defends himself from any illegal maneuver, risks the loss of his parliamentary seat, a prison sentence and banishment from political life for 20 years.

In another case, the Constitutional Court has declared admissible the complaint of a lawyer who accuses Pita Limjaroenrat and Move Forward of wanting to "overthrow" the monarchy. Going forward is very offensive on the issue of lèse-majesté crime reform which, for one wrong word about King Rama X, continues to send Thais to jail.

In the past, legal gag proceedings have on several occasions made it possible to dismiss the intruders, whether they are former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in exile since in Dubai, or even the former opponent Thanatorn Juangroongruangkit. In 2020, justice had dissolved the party The Future Ahead of Us, ancestor of Going Forward.

"It's not a vote on me or Move Forward but a vote to give Thailand a chance to return to normality", Pita Limjaroenrat pleaded to voters before the opening of the vote.




Andrew Preston for DayNewsWorld

THE REASONS FOR THE DEADLY RAILWAY CATASTROPHE IN INDIA

The Indian authorities want to shed light on the causes of the train tragedy which killed at least 288 people, ensuring that "no one responsible" for the accident would be spared.

The search and rescue operations for the victims are now complete on Sunday June 4, 2023 and the time has come for questions about the precise course of the events that took place on Friday evening.

"We have identified the cause of the accident and the people responsible for it," Indian Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, adding that it was "not appropriate" to release further details beforehand. the final investigation report. According to the minister, "the change that occurred during the electronic switching is at the origin of the accident", in reference to the complex computer system managing the traffic on the Indian railways to prevent the collision of trains.

Confusion reigns at this stage but The Times of India, citing the preliminary investigation report, said on Sunday that "human error" may have caused the collision between three trains, one of the worst train disasters in India's history. country. The Coromandel Express, linking Calcutta to Madras, had been given the green light to run on the main track but was rerouted due to human error on a track where there was already a freight train, according to the newspaper.

The passenger train then struck the freight convoy at a speed of around 130 km/h. Under the impact, twenty-one cars derailed and three of them were ejected onto an adjacent track, where another passenger train was traveling at the same time . Three carriages then fell onto the adjacent track, hitting the rear of an express train which was operating between Bangalore and Calcutta. It was this collision that caused the most damage, adds the Times, citing the preliminary report. The passengers were crushed, dismembered, under a shock similar to an explosion.

The tragedy unfolded near Balasore, about 200 kilometers from Bhubaneswar, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Odisha. a signaling error.

Modi's reaction

At least 288 people died in the tragedy and 900 were injured, the deadliest rail crash in nearly 30 years. But the death toll is expected to rise further, and could reach 380 dead, according to the director general of the Odisha State Fire Service, Sudhanshu Sarangi.

"No one responsible" for the accident will be spared, promised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who went to the scene of the disaster on Saturday and met the injured in hospital. “I pray that we get out of this sad moment as soon as possible,” he told public broadcaster Doordarshan.

At this point, Friday night's train crash is India's deadliest since 1995, when two express trains collided in Firozabad, near Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, killing more than 300 people. But the deadliest in the country's history remains that of June 6, 1981 when, in the state of Bihar (east), seven wagons of a train crossing a bridge fell into the Bagmati River, causing between 800 and 1,000 dead.

New investments and technological improvements

India has seen a number of deadly train accidents, but safety has improved in recent years thanks to new investments and technological improvements. Indeed, the investment plan that has been selected for between now and 2030, is 715 billion dollars that are invested in rail infrastructure, both for passengers and freight trains.

But one of India's problems is that it has chosen to maintain rail transport for heavy, large goods. And so there's a kind of telescoping that's happening between the surging passenger traffic and freight traffic.

And the accident of June 2 is precisely linked to the fact that you have a freight train - we are in the eastern region of India, where there are all the coal mines, iron mines, etc. - which was at shutdown, and it was probably not detected that it was shut down quickly enough by the computer system.




Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld

PAKISTAN THE SPECTER OF IGNITION

In Pakistan, the arrest, on May 9, of former Prime Minister Imran Khan (August 2018-April 2022), for alleged acts of corruption, set fire to the powder.

In several cities, violent clashes pitted sympathizers of his party, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (Pakistan Justice Movement, PTI, of Islamo-nationalist tendency) and the security forces.

On May 12, the politician was released following a Supreme Court decision, but his legal troubles are not over, since he still has to appear for the charges against him.

This episode of protest, unprecedented in its intensity, is part of the long standoff between the PTI and the coalition gathered around the current Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while the army, in this country of 230 million inhabitants, continues to play a leading role.

An unexpected explosion

The scale and virulence of the mobilizations seem to have taken the government and the army by surprise, which for the first time was directly targeted by the protesters. This effect of surprise is due in particular to an erroneous perception of Imran Khan's social base: according to a cliché widely spread among their opponents and in government circles, the supporters of the PTI are essentially "keyboard activists" confining their commitment to the networks social.

These clichés have been severely contradicted by the composition of the rioting crowds of the last few days, among which were found highly motivated women as well as businessmen and young people from working-class backgrounds. In this regard, it should be noted that 60% of the population of Pakistan is between 18 and 35 years old. This generation has grown up in a world where the jihadist threat has lost its existential character and where the central role of the army is no longer self-evident.

The ability of Imran Khan and his party to unite anger and provide meaning and direction to vastly different sections of the population has been minimized by authorities, both civilian and military.

However, this is not the first time that the PTI has demonstrated its mobilization capacities: in 2014, the party organized a "freedom march" which, for four months, drained thousands of people from Lahore to Islamabad.

A society crossed by a multitude of social, ethnic and religious divisions

The social conflicts that agitate Pakistan are also measured through the anti-militarist movements that have appeared in recent years in the country's tribal marches, particularly in Balochistan, and in the Pashtun regions, where the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (Pashtun Protection Movement - PTM) succeeded in mobilizing massively to denounce the abuses committed by the security forces in the context of anti-terrorist operations, despite fierce repression.

In recent years, Sindhi nationalist groups, which are more marked on the left, have also been in the news, in particular by attacking Chinese interests. But it is above all in Balochistan, on the border with Iran, that ethnic nationalism poses the greatest challenge to the State and to a unitary conception of the nation that would be satisfied with Islam as a reference. It is in this region, forbidden to foreign observers, that the Pakistani army and pro-government militias show the most uninhibited violence.

Added to this are religious divisions, opposing Sunnis and Shiites (around 20% of the Muslim population, which itself constitutes 96% of the population) but also different Sunni religious currents, in particular the Barelwis, followers of a devotional with Sufi influences, and the Deobandi, belonging to a reformed current which broke away from popular Islam through its rigor and scripturalism.

Finally, Pakistani society is deeply unequal. In Punjab and Karachi – two regions historically rooted in the Indian world – caste hierarchies remain very significant. In Pashtun countries or in Balochistan, society remains dominated by notables or tribal chiefs, while in rural Sindh economic and political power is concentrated in the hands of large landowners. In this context of superimposed social hierarchies, the theme of “people against the establishment”, which the PTI has taken up, is highly mobilizing.

The great strength of the PTI is to have succeeded in overcoming these structural divisions by articulating an anti-system discourse transcending the divisions of caste, class and ethnicity, while promoting an Islamo-nationalism which, if it appears to exclude minorities religions (Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis), brings together the entire Muslim population.

While broadly unifying, Imran Khan has however strongly polarized Pakistani society. He divided the army, some of whose officers seem to support him, but also the families, where the PTI and its leader arouse strongly contrasting opinions. It is also these divisions that explain the depth of the current crisis, which crosses the institutions rather than opposing them head-on.

A disunited ruling coalition

There is only a front unity in the current ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition.

The political dynasties at the head of the Pakistan Peoples Party (the Bhutto-Zardari) and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (the Sharif) are historical rivals, who have not stopped vying for power since the end of the regime. Zia-ul-Haq military in 1988.

They do, however, share one objective: to consolidate democratic institutions in order to strengthen their autonomy in the face of military power, even if they often bow down to the force of the army, out of weakness or opportunism. The objective of the PTI and its leader is significantly different: it is rather for them to submit all the institutions, including the army, by forcing them to pledge allegiance to the leader of the nation.

Imran Khan fights neither for democracy nor against the military institution. He is in a very personal balance of power with the army chief, who in some ways recalls Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's attempt in the 1970s to monopolize power around himself.

The weight of the army

The army retains a central role in all areas of activity. There are retired generals at the head of many institutions, from the National Accountability Bureau (the anti-corruption agency behind the arrest of Imran Khan on May 9) to the management bodies of the universities. Through its foundations, the army controls whole sections of the economy. It is also one of the first landowners in the country, both in rural areas (where deserving officers are allocated land at the end of their careers) and in large cities (where it manages numerous real estate projects).

At the political level, since the end of the 2000s, the military has been careful not to put themselves on the front line and prefer to control affairs behind the scenes. This is what led them to support the accession to power of Imran Khan, after the 2018 elections. It was then for the army to contain the PPP and the PMLN, which for it represented a threat, with their desire to strengthen the autonomy of civil power and democratic institutions at the expense of military power.

Over the following years, a hybrid regime was set up, presenting a democratic facade but in reality controlled by the military. However, Imran Khan was quick to want to become independent from his former bosses, in particular by trying to place at the head of the army and its powerful intelligence services generals reputed to be close to him.

This is what caused his fall, following a motion of no confidence, in April 2022 – an impeachment in which the leadership of the PTI saw a plot hatched by the Pakistani army and the United States. The conflict has escalated further following the recent arrest of Khan, for which he publicly blamed the army chief, General Asim Munir.

For the leader of the PTI, however, it is less a question of launching a process of demilitarization of the country than of settling scores and winning a showdown with the only man likely to stand up to him. Even if it engages the future of civil-military relations, it is more a conflict of people than of institutions.

What scenarios can we consider ?

The first scenario is that of a rise in tensions between the PTI and the army. Playing the card of polarization and agitation, Imran Khan could call his supporters to resistance, betting on the support of part of the army or even on a mutiny which would push General Munir towards the exit. This scenario is very unlikely. If the army seems more divided than ever, it remains united behind its leader for the moment.

A second scenario is that of a return to power by Imran Khan, following the elections currently scheduled for October 2023. army leaders and opponents of the PTI resign themselves to the return of Khan, one of whose first objectives will be to punish and imprison his opponents.

The last scenario, the most probable in the short term, is that of an authoritarian consolidation at the initiative and for the benefit of the army. This seems determined to exploit the violent mobilizations of the last few weeks to bring the PTI to heel. Thousands of party supporters have been arrested in recent days and could be tried in military courts. Many of the party leaders are also behind bars. This repressive strategy has the support of the government of Shahbaz Sharif which, not without cynicism, exploits the anger of the army to settle its own accounts with the PTI. Some members of the ruling coalition would even like to take advantage of the events of recent days to ban their main rival, in order to prevent him from running in the next elections.

In any case, democracy risks not emerging from this ordeal...

Article by Laurent Gayer, CNRS research director at CERI-Sciences Po, published in The Conversation.




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

SURPRISE VICTORY OF THE PRO-DEMOCRACY PARTY

IN THAILAND AGAINST THE MILITARY JUNTA

Political earthquake in Thailand. The surprise victory in the legislative elections this Sunday, May 14, 2023 of the progressive and reformist party Move Forward could mark a “turning point in the Kingdom where the taboo of the monarchy is fading”, comments the Guardian correspondent in Bangkok, who underlines that it is "the very first time that a party that has campaigned to reform the strict laws that protect the royal family has won the vote".

For nine years, the country had been ruled by Prayuth Chan-ocha, who came to power after a military coup.

A “tradition” (Thailand has experienced a coup every seven years on average since 1932) that the electorate supports less and less. He therefore preferred the Move Forward and Pheu Thai parties to the royalists and the military.

Marching towards democracy with Pita Limjaroenrat ?

The hope of seeing the country give birth to a democracy now has a name: Pita Limjaroenrat. This leader of the opposition, claimed this Monday, May 15 the victory of his center left party Move Forward, en route to form a government coalition to succeed the generals in power for almost ten years.

A true idol of Thai youth, this businessman from a good family hopes to become the next Prime Minister of Thailand. He embodies the break with the military in power for a decade in Thailand.

“It is clear that the Thai people have expressed their desire to put the Move Forward Party in the lead. We can therefore manage the formation of the future government,” insisted the charismatic leader, aged only 42. With a confident posture and a determined gaze, Pita Limjaroenrat said he was "ready to become the next Prime Minister". He pleaded on Monday for a "smooth transition" at the head of the government.

Imposing itself outside its usual urban strongholds, its young reformist formation won more than 150 parliamentary seats out of the 500 in the Assembly and established itself as the leading political force in the kingdom.

A Senate under orders

Having to negotiate within the framework of constitutional rules distorted by the military, who led the 2014 coup, Khun Pita, as his supporters call him, must succeed, in the coming weeks, in forming a large majority made up of at least 376 parliamentarians. To minimize the weight of the 500 deputies elected by the people, the generals have, in fact, ensured total control of the Senate. Its 250 members are not elected but appointed by various conservative institutions.

To be appointed Prime Minister, the leader of Move Forward must therefore convince 376 deputies to join his executive. This Monday evening, he assured that he was already certain to rally at least 309 elected officials, from six parties. In particular, he has the support of Pheu Thai, the populist party, led by the family of billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, which had so far won all the legislative elections since 2001, and should, this time, have just over 140 elected.

Gag procedures

But nothing is won. Because going forward is very offensive on the issue of the reform of the crime of lèse-majesté which, for a wrong word on King Rama X, continues to send Thais to prison. However, this is not the position of its future coalition partners in a country where the monarchy divides.

We cannot exclude a dirty trick from the military either. Pita's supporters fear a procedure for ineligibility on the pretext, however firmly denied, that he is a shareholder in a media company, which the electoral code prohibits.

In the past, legal gag proceedings have on several occasions made it possible to dismiss the intruders, whether they are former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in exile since in Dubai, or even the former opponent Thanatorn Juangroongruangkit. In 2020, justice had dissolved the party The Future Ahead of Us, ancestor of Going Forward.

"It's a spectacular challenge for the power in place in the Kingdom", considers for his part the correspondent of the Times who nevertheless judges, like the whole of the international press, that the Thai generals will not be so easily ousted from the power, and "that there is no guarantee that Pita can become Prime Minister", despite his electoral victory.

Pita's victory "marks the culmination of the protest movement that began in 2020, with massive pro-democracy protests, when thousands of youth and student-led people challenged the military-linked government, by demanding both the resignation of the Prime Minister and the reform of the monarchy", underlines the correspondent of El Pais.




Andrew Preston for DayNewsWorld

WHY ARE TAIWAN AND UKRAINE

AT THE CENTER OF G7 DEBATES ?

The heads of diplomacy from the G7 countries arrived in Karuizawa (center), a small Japanese mountain resort, on Sunday to discuss China's growing pressure on Taiwan and the conflict in Ukraine. Delegations from the 7 most industrialized countries follow the Ministers of the Environment and Energy with a rich agenda: armies, space, technologies, cybersecurity and the growing influence of the Middle Empire. For Antony Blinken, who stopped over in Hanoi before arriving in Japan, everything must be done to counter the rise of China in the Indo-Pacific region.

East Asia under the radar

The diplomatic agenda of the past few days has indeed been marked by East Asia with the launch by North Korea on Thursday of what it claimed was a "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at solid fuel. Last weekend, China conducted military maneuvers around Taiwan, simulating attacks and a blockade of the island it considers part of its territory.

According to American intelligence, Beijing is accelerating the development of its strategic means in order to have, by 2027, an army likely to deter the United States in the event of an invasion of Taiwan.

The G7 has regularly warned Beijing against any attempt to forcefully change the status quo regarding Taiwan and some of its members are once again sounding the alarm. "We have an interest in seeing peace and stability reign in the Taiwan Strait," European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told reporters on Sunday, speaking by videoconference after testing positive for Covid-19 this week. week. "Our position is the one China policy, we respect it and we will continue to support it, but we want to defuse tensions and any change by force will be unacceptable," he added.

“Keep freedom of maneuver”

The wording of the joint communiqué of the group of seven main industrialized countries (Germany, Canada, United States, France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom) will be scrutinized after recent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron. Returning from a visit to China, he said Europe should not be caught up in "crises that are not (his) own", irritating allies anxious not to undermine relations with Washington.

While French President Emmanuel Macron's remarks on the need for Europe's strategic autonomy from the United States have somewhat shaken Europe and across the Atlantic, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who was in Beijing in weekend, meanwhile said a military escalation in the Taiwan Strait would be a worst-case scenario for the whole world.

Global economic issues around Taiwan

A conflict between China and Taiwan would indeed have major implications for the global economy, particularly regarding the dominance of the US dollar. China is seeking to expand its influence in the Western Pacific, which could challenge the role of the US Navy as a guarantor of sea lanes and, by extension, the dominant position of the dollar. Additionally, the Taiwan Strait is a vital trade route, with nearly 90% of the world's largest ships by tonnage passing through it.

A conflict or blockade in the region could cause global economic chaos. Taiwan is a key player in the global production of semiconductors, and a conflict in the region could threaten the supply of these critical components for many tech industries. If Taiwan's semiconductor industry falls under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, it could have devastating consequences for Western economies that depend on these components for their own industries and technology products.

Political and military alliances could also be strained in the event of a conflict between China and Taiwan. Britain, the United States, Australia and other countries in the region could be drawn into the conflict due to their close ties and alliances. This could create additional tensions between the nations and worsen the already volatile situation.

For Paul Nadeau, professor of political science at the Japanese campus of the American Temple University, Emmanuel Macron's statements betray a reality: "Each member (of the G7) wishes to maintain freedom of maneuver in the way in which he manages his relations with China", politically and commercially. Consensus will undoubtedly be easier to obtain on Ukraine, the occasion for the Japanese host to underline his certainty that the Russian invasion only accentuates the need to redouble our vigilance in Asia.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose government at the end of 2022 approved a major revision of its defense doctrine in the face of the rise of Chinese power, has repeatedly warned that "Asia could be the Ukraine of tomorrow".




Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld

INDIA THE MOST POPULAR NATION IN THE WORLD ?

Demographers aren't sure when India will take the title of the world's most populous nation, but they know it will happen soon, if it hasn't already. The UN, meanwhile, has set the announcement for mid-April. But independent demographic institutes, such as the World Population Review, ensure that the overrun has already occurred in 2022.

India is now the most populous country on the planet and will remain so at least until the end of the century, with 1.417 billion inhabitants, against 1.412 billion for China. The next on the podium of world demography, the United States with 338 million individuals, or Indonesia (275 million) and Pakistan (234 million) are barely larger than the state of Bihar, in the northern India, the most populous in the country.

China and India both have over 1.4 billion people and together they make up more than a third of the world's 8 billion people. India's population has grown by more than 1 billion people since independence in 1947 and will continue to grow until 2060, to reach 1.7 billion, even as the country began its demographic transition in the 1980s.

Its synthetic fertility index (2 children per woman) is now slightly below the renewal threshold (2.1 children per woman). The evolution is very slow because India has not resorted, unlike China, to a coercive policy. The country would not have supported it, after the trauma of the forced sterilization campaign imposed by Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay during the state of emergency in 1976.

China has an aging population with stagnant growth even after the government seven years ago backed out of a one-child policy, and just two years ago said couples could have three children.

India has a much younger population, a higher fertility rate and has seen a decline in infant mortality over the past three decades.

The social and economic consequences are significant. In India, this means an increase in the workforce and growth that stimulates economic activity. In China, that means fewer working-age adults able to support an aging population.

Once a country reaches low fertility, it is often difficult to recapture population growth, even with changes in government policy to encourage more births, pointed out Toshiko Kaneda, technical director of population research at Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in Washington.

“Psychologically, it will be difficult for China, especially given the rivalry in other areas between the two countries, raised Stuart Gietel-Basten. It is a great moment in the history of humanity that the relay move on to India.”

A situation which, however, places India in front of multiple challenges.




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

WHY A HIGH LEVEL OF NUCLEAR ACTIVITY DETECTED IN NORTH KOREA ?

A high level of activity has been detected at North Korea's main nuclear complex using satellite images, a think-tank says, after leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for increased nuclear production. "military nuclear material".

Satellite images taken between March 3 and March 17 suggest construction of a light-water reactor at the Yongbyon site is 'close to completion', according to US-based organization 38 North -United.

According to these same images, the construction of a building has begun, while water discharges from the cooling system have been detected, suggesting that the reactor is about to "be operational", details the report of the group of reflection.

A five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon also continues to operate, and new construction has begun around the site's uranium enrichment plant, likely to increase its capacity.

"These developments appear to reflect Kim Jong Un's recent directive to increase the production of fissile material to bolster his nuclear arsenal," 38 North analyzed.

State media on Tuesday showed North Korea's No. 1, who has called for increased production of "military nuclear material" in order to "exponentially" increase the production of nuclear weapons, inspecting a row of smaller warheads that appear to be tactical nuclear warheads.

For their part, Seoul and Washington have been warning of a new North Korean nuclear test since the beginning of 2022.

The North Korean army has increased its military exercises in recent weeks

While the two allied countries have strengthened their joint military exercises, Pyongyang is still carrying out missile launches and tests, while accusing Seoul of being at the origin of the deterioration of regional security.

The official KCNA news agency on Sunday denounced the series of joint exercises conducted by Washington and Seoul, warning of North Korea's "nuclear attack capability".

The North Korean army, which has increased its military exercises in recent weeks, said on Tuesday it had carried out a second test of what it presented as an "underwater nuclear attack drone".

While Pyongyang has called its status as a nuclear power in 2022 "irreversible", the North Korean leader ordered his army this month to step up military maneuvers for "real war".




Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

WHY THE OPPONENT RAHUL GANDHI

LOSE SEAT IN INDIAN PARLIAMENT ?

India's opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has never been a federal or state minister. Yet he remains at the center of India's opposition politics and the main target of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling BJP has just gotten rid of its main opponent for a sentence uttered four years ago. The opposition is rebelling against this new milestone in the authoritarianism of the Hindu nationalists in power, one year before the elections.

Stripped of his seat as a Member of Parliament of India

He risked overshadowing Narendra Modi as the national elections scheduled for 2024 approach: Rahul Gandhi, the charismatic leader of the Congress Party has just been stripped of his seat as a deputy in the lower house of the Indian Parliament, following a court ruling last week. Sentenced to two years in prison for defaming Prime Minister Modi for remarks made during the last election campaign, the heir to the Gandhi family could find himself de facto excluded from the race, while he embodies the main hopes of the opposition.

Now his two-year prison sentence in a defamation case and his removal from parliament on Friday could prompt his party and allies to step up their opposition to the BJP government, a year before the next general election.

Thursday's sentencing came just two months after Gandhi, 52, completed a 4,000km march across the country, from the southern tip of India to Kashmir in the Himalayas, in an attempt to revive his party and to improve its image, in what he called a Bharat Jodo Yatra, or march for the unification of India.

Gandhi's jail sentence has been suspended for 30 days, allowing him to appeal to a higher court, but he will also be barred from participating in the next general election if he does not win the suspension or reversal of his conviction.

The Gandhi dynasty

His central role in opposition politics stems from the fact that his party has ruled India for 54 of the 75 years since independence from Britain, and that his father, grandmother and great-grandfather served as prime ministers for more than 37 of those 54 years.

The Congress was the largest national political party in the country of 1.4 billion people, until it was overtaken by the BJP in 2014.

Though now a shadow of their former selves, the Gandhi family – which includes Sonia, Rahul's Italian-born mother and former party leader, and her sister Priyanka – still dominate Congress with a loyal following. fierce.

Even though Congress weakened in 2019, winning less than 10% of the lower house's 545 seats, it won nearly 20% of the vote - the most votes for an opposition group - compared to 38% for the BJP. Congress is the ruling party or the main opposition in half a dozen major states.

It is this powerful lineage and legacy that Modi and his party seek to attack when they argue that dynastic politics has no place in a democracy.

An unserious politician?

Gandhi got into politics and was first elected to parliament in 2004 in the town of Amethi, where his family lives, in the northern heartland state of Uttar Pradesh.

He repeated that victory in 2009 and 2014, but suffered a crushing setback in 2019 when he lost his seat. However, he had also contested a seat in the state of Kerala and won, which allowed him to return to Parliament.

Gandhi's attendance at Parliament was well below average. His frequent absences from the hemicycle and the country attracted media attention and the BJP accused him of being an "unserious" politician.

Outside parliament, he often reminded his supporters of his family's commitment and sacrifices, referring to the assassination of his grandmother, Indira Gandhi, then prime minister, and his father, Rajiv Gandhi, former prime minister. .

On Thursday, after his sentencing, he simply tweeted a few words in Hindi from the leader of the freedom movement, Mahatma Gandhi, who is not related to him.

"My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to it. - Mahatma Gandhi".

Single at 52, Gandhi is known to be adept at fitness and martial arts and was seen cycling in New Delhi accompanied by security men. According to Neelanjan Sircar, a visiting fellow at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, his conviction and disqualification from parliament is now "a matter of pass or fail" for him.

Will he be able to make the argument that "I am the target of a government that does not necessarily represent the interests of all Indians", or will he be seen as someone who is not a competent politician and who has therefore been outclassed by the BJP,” Mr Sircar said.

Authoritarian drift of Narendra Modi

One year from the next elections, the authoritarian drift of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is confirmed, with the sidelining of his main opponent Rahul Gandhi.

The tribunal which condemned Rahul Gandhi is indeed in the stronghold of Narandra Modi, the state of Gujarat, a region which the Prime Minister has made the laboratory of his policy and where he still pulls all the strings. However, this coup de force may come as a surprise.

Modi does not necessarily have so much to fear from his opponent. As he completes his second term, his popularity rating is still high and many are predicting another victory for him in 2024.

In the opposite camp, the opposition seems too divided to catch up. The Congress, this historic party that was once so powerful, no longer has the same ability to rally. This is why Rahul Gandhi has embarked in recent months on a great march across the country, over 3500 km, to meet the Indians. A reference to Gandhi's famous salt march, the starting point of Indian independence in the 1930s. But even if this march, which ended at the end of January, caused a lot of talk, nothing says for the moment that Congress will succeed in federating the opposition in the coming year, a sin equa non condition for hoping to overthrow the power in place.

Unless Narendra Modi finds himself splashed by the financial scandal of the moment, the "Adani scandal" named after one of the richest men on the planet, the Indian businessman Gautam Adani. At the head of one of the main conglomerates in the country, this multi-billionaire who made his fortune in raw materials has found himself at the heart of a huge fraud case for several weeks. He would have built a large-scale fraud scheme, with the blessing of the authorities. However, it is a close friend of Prime Minister Modi. The markets that have been allocated to it raise questions. The fact that he funds the BJP as well. Everything is in place for this scandal to go back to the head of government. The opposition has therefore stepped up to the plate, with Rahul Gandhi in the front line.

Yet observers make the observation: this scandal does not seem to weaken Modi for the moment, Indian public opinion is very little interested in it. The stranglehold of the BJP on the media is probably not for nothing

Since coming to power, Narendra Modi's party has tightened its grip on all sectors of society – the press, justice, the economy.




Andrew Preston for DayNewsWorld

THE RUSSO-CHINESE AXIS BETWEEN

IN A "NEW ERA"

WITH XI JINPING'S VISIT TO THE KREMLIN

To go to Russia is, for Xi Jinping, to affirm in a brilliant way his support for Vladimir Putin at a critical moment of the war in Ukraine, and a few days after the issuance of an arrest warrant for the against the Russian President by the International Criminal Court. With this gesture, the Chinese leader reminds the world that the Sino-Russian axis is solid.

An alternative to a now hostile Europe, the People's Republic of China (PRC) is, for Russia, much more than a support of circumstance. It is a real ally in international forums and on world markets to counter Western influence in general and American influence in particular.

Against the transatlantic relationship, a Eurasian axis

The PRC's support for Russia is far from temporary. The two countries have continued to develop their exchanges and cooperation over the past two decades. After having, in 1994, resolved their border disputes stemming from the Soviet period, they concluded, in 2001, a bilateral strategic partnership which materialized on several levels.

Trade has grown steadily despite the economic crises (2008, 2014, 2021). They even reached the level of 190 billion dollars in 2022, a record, and an increase of 30% compared to 2021.

The PRC has since 2010 become Russia's second largest trading partner, behind the European Union as a whole, but ahead of all EU countries taken individually. Supply of energy, minerals and defense equipment on the Russian side, export of machine tools, pharmaceutical products and electronic components on the Chinese side: the complementarities were rapidly reinforced by the establishment of financial exchanges in rubles and yuan and of a development bank within the BRICS.

The Siberian Force pipeline, launched in 2014 and inaugurated in 2019, connects Siberia to northeast China. It will soon be reinforced by Siberian Force 2. These infrastructures give Russia an alternative outlet to the EU, which is engaged in a strategy of weaning off Russian hydrocarbons. They also offer the PRC a low-cost energy supplier at a time when the United States has regained a leading position in world energy markets. As a symbol of this growing economic integration, the Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it had delivered a “record” quantity of gas the day before via the cross-border Siberian Force gas pipeline. Putin claimed the deal was "done" between China and Russia on the Siberian Force 2 gas pipeline project.

On Tuesday afternoon, Putin told Xi that Russia can meet China's "growing demand" for energy, while Russian hydrocarbons are sanctioned in the West. According to him, the goal is to deliver to China at least 98 billion cubic meters of Russian gas and 100 million tonnes of Russian LNG by 2030, even as Russia cuts its crude production by 500,000 barrels per day until the end of June.

"Russian-Chinese cooperation has truly unlimited possibilities and prospects," exclaimed Vladimir Putin on Tuesday evening during a state dinner, hailing the "special nature of Russian-Chinese relations".

The United States and NATO targeted

This partnership is largely cemented by the contestation of the West on the international scene. Long before Xi Jiping came to power in 2013 and before Russia's break with the West in 2014, the two former empires were already questioning the international action of the United States in particular and Westerners in general: at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as everywhere in the world, Chinese and Russian diplomats have mutually supported each other in criticizing NATO's interventions abroad (Serbia, Afghanistan), in challenging liberal democratic regimes and to denounce the "double standards" of a West that violates the rules it intends to impose on other international actors.

At the UNSC, the right of veto has been used extensively by Russia (29 times) and by the PRC (15 times) since 1991 to counter Western condemnations of Ukraine, Taiwan, Xinjiang, etc. There is therefore an “objective defensive alliance” between nuclear powers that are permanent members of the UNSC.

Russia and China on Tuesday, March 23, 2023 accused the United States of undermining global security by seeking to deploy missiles in several countries around the world to “maintain a unilateral military advantage”. “Russia and China express concern over the intensification of United States activities aimed at creating a global missile defense system and deploying its elements in various regions of the world, combined with an increase in the capacity of non-weapons high-precision nuclear weapons,” said the Chinese and Russian presidents.

The joint declaration signed this Tuesday, March 23, 2023 at the end of the talks is clear: the two powers "are very concerned about the growing strengthening of ties between NATO and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region concerning military issues and those security", targeting the Aukus strategic alliance between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Eurasian cooperation

This anti-Western team is coupled with a certain cooperation on a Eurasian scale: jointly creating the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2001, Russia and China have sought to establish a real joint hegemony in Eurasia to fight against terrorism, separatism and organized crime in the region. But also to counter the influence of the United States in the region following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The SCO brings together during regular military exercises in all dimensions (air, land, sea, cyber) the two military powers and their allies. Chinese support for Russia was signaled last September by the PRC's participation in the Vostok 2022 exercise in the Far East.

XI Jinping's visit to Moscow confirms that the PRC is a "foul weather friend" of Russia, in other words an ally even in times of crisis: in Eurasia and at the UN, economically and in the military fields, the Sino-Russian strategic partnership is real and claims to carry an alternative (and hostile) vision of the world to that of the West.

More concretely, the PRC quietly supports the Russian invasion by refusing to adopt sanctions, fueling the Russian military-industrial complex and recently proposing a Russian-Ukrainian peace plan that emphasizes security guarantees. for Russia.




Joanne Courbet for DayNewsWorld

THE WAR IN UKRAINE ONE YEAR LATER

A POWERFUL DEVELOPER

GLOBAL DIVIDES

The war in Ukraine is a powerful indicator of global divisions because Westerners have not been massively followed in their condemnation of Russian aggression. In fact, most of humanity refrained from taking a position and condemning Russia. Thus, the financial G20, meeting in Bangalore in India at the end of February 2023, was unable to agree on a joint statement, in particular because Beijing does not want to condemn the war which is taking place on Ukrainian soil. The EU is struggling to convince the countries of the South to condemn Russian aggression.

"Global South" versus "Global North"

From the beginning of the war in Ukraine, a ridge line appeared within the international community which is characterized by an opposition between North and South. A year after the start of the conflict, this opposition is even more embodied between countries of the "Global South", this heterogeneous group of countries formerly called "underdeveloped" with a growing role on the international scene, and those of the "Global North". , another name for the West, according to the terminology used by these first

On the one hand, Western countries have closed ranks around Ukraine, overcoming their internal rivalries to unite in the face of aggression that contradicts the order in place since the end of the Second World War. On the other hand, countries from the “global South”, in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America, have opted for a more ambiguous position.

The divisions became evident as early as March 2, 2022, when the UN voted for the first time to condemn the war in Ukraine. If a resolution calling on the Kremlin to end its offensive was voted on by 141 countries, 35 states of the "global South", historically linked to Moscow, including China, India, South Africa and Senegal abstained . A month later, the number of abstaining states soared again, despite the discovery of the Boutcha massacre. Fifty-eight countries, including Brazil, refused on April 7 to participate in the vote organized to exclude Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Among these countries, heavyweights such as China and India which, with their economic and strategic dynamics, intend to influence international relations. These two powers have so far adopted a calculated neutrality, articulated in the defense of their own interests. They adhere to the Russian discourse according to which Moscow would have been "wronged" by NATO, in Ukraine.

"Calculated neutrality"

In India, the policy of "calculated neutrality" adopted by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on the war in Ukraine is consensual. Membership goes far beyond the circle of supporters of the Hindu government: opponents on the left and the media have followed suit. All argue that the conflict in Ukraine is a European problem and that India must put its own interests first.

China also maintains a calculated neutrality relationship with its large Russian neighbor, going so far as to threaten to deliver arms to Russia. China has not condemned the Russian aggression of Ukraine. Xi Jinping has also just proposed a peace plan, a truly unprecedented announcement regarding the war in Ukraine calling for a de-escalation of violence to achieve a ceasefire. Where Westerners hoped for a condemnation of the war led by Russia in Ukraine and a request for the departure of Russian troops, China is asking not to resort to nuclear weapons and to respect territorial integrity. Beijing obviously does not want an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, but shows a certain solidarity with Russia, considering the extension of NATO to Eastern Europe as aggressive.

Towards a geopolitical recomposition

Indeed, in the shadow of the war being played out on Ukrainian soil, Europe is re-NATOising. The United States has revived it by relying on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and is encouraging its members to switch to a war economy. Finland and Sweden are asking to join. Poland holds an important place on the American chessboard. Warsaw buys American, military and civilian nuclear equipment and has announced its desire to increase its military expenditure to 4% of its GDP, proportionally the highest expenditure of NATO members. Poland would then belong to a defensive system that goes from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Washington's influence has grown significantly in Central and Eastern Europe at the cost of giving up a European defense, it seems.

But, for their part, the Russian, Chinese and South African navies are taking part in unprecedented naval maneuvers which are with the deployment of Zircon hypersonic missiles on board the Admiral Gorchkov frigate. These maneuvers illustrate the strength of the relationship between Johannesburg and Moscow, despite Western pressure. And illustrates the limits of "neutrality" and the defense of its own interest, which Pretoria continues to display.

The conflict is not just about 'the West against the rest of the world'"

Even if these naval maneuvers - which take place in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of South Africa - were planned for a long time, they come after a tour of Africa by the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov. , which aimed to establish the strategy of Russian influence on the continent, from Bamako to Khartoum via Nouakchott, after having visited Angola and South Africa at the end of January. China is getting closer to the Gulf countries, the Chinese leader was well received in Riyadh in December 2022, which had not been the case with Joe Biden during his summer tour. It is also getting closer to Iran, which has delivered drones to Russia. This clearly shows that this position of neutrality, shared by many countries of the "global South",

Besides, Russia benefits economically from the policy of New Delhi and Riyadh.

On October 5, shortly after Joe Biden visited Riyadh to try to convince Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production to help Europe through the winter, OPEC members have decided on the contrary to reduce it. The greatest powers of the South have also benefited from the very low prices practiced by Russia to sell its oil and gas. China imported record levels, while India increased its imports 33 times. Some of these countries have reached such an economic level that the West is no longer able to exert any pressure on them. This heterogeneous "global South" finds its unity in the demand for a "multipolar" world order, in the face of the "unipolar hegemony" of the West.

"Multipolar" world against Western hegemony

A few weeks before ordering the invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, traveling to China, did not he already sign with Xi Jinping a declaration on the need to "advance multipolarity". Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been carrying out a charm operation since the beginning of the war. From Pretoria to Khartoum, via Egypt, Mali and Ethiopia, he constantly invokes the "creation of a multipolar world order against "the hegemony of the West".

China just yesterday Monday March 6, 2023 bluntly denounces this Western hegemony "Western countries, led by the United States, have implemented a policy of containment, encirclement and repression against China, which has brought unprecedented challenges to the development of our country,” Xi Jinping said according to an account by the China News News Agency published Monday evening. A rhetoric close to that of his Russian counterpart.

Fierce rivalry between China and the United States

Especially since the subjects of friction between China and the United States have multiplied in recent years, from the treatment of Uyghur Muslims to the imbalance of the trade balance, via Taiwan, the domination in advanced technologies or the accusations of espionage, particularly in the case of the balloons. For the manufacture of semiconductors, the Americans having lost their dominant position to the benefit of the Asian giant, the United States, in the name of a supposed threat to its national security, have thus multiplied in recent months the sanctions against Chinese chipmakers, now hampered from sourcing American technologies. In February, it was Tiktok's turn to be accused of being able to monopolize the data of its users, and of semiconductors...

A technological decoupling is announced, organized around a Sino-American bipolarization, leaving Europe, off the hook, largely behind. And which foreshadows others...




Joanne Courbet for DayNewsWorld

WOKE CENSORSHIP AT WORK

IN JAMES BOND'S BOOKS

References deemed "offensive" following a sensitivity test have been removed from re-edited versions of the James Bond novels, written by writer Ian Fleming, The Telegraph reported on Saturday (February 25th). An announcement that comes shortly after the controversy over the rewriting of certain passages from Roald Dahl's children's books.

New indexes. Terms deemed offensive following 'sensitivity testing' and certain 'racial references' have been removed from new editions of classic James Bond works, British daily The Telegraph reported on Saturday (February 25, 2023). These re-edited versions of writer Ian Fleming's novels are also expected to carry a "disclaimer".

Contextualization and warnings

This disclaimer should be visible on the first pages of the book and could be worded as follows: "This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes that might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace" , says the newspaper. The latter continues: “A number of updates have been made to this edition, while remaining as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it takes place. »

Thus, certain terms, such as the word "nigger" which appeared in the writings of the 1950s and 1960s have been removed from this new version of the adventures of agent 007 which should be published next April. Some depictions of black people have been “reworked” or “removed”, while other references to other populations – such as Asians – have been retained. This is particularly the case of the caricatural and sometimes coarse description of Oddjob, the Korean henchman of the character of Auric Goldfinger, in the novel, of the same name.

However, certain phrases considered nowadays as obsolete, homophobic or particularly sexist have been retained. This is the case of a reference to "the sweet flavor of rape", to a "man's job" or to homosexuality as a "tenacious handicap", reports the English daily.

Controversy around the reissue of works by Roald Dahl

These corrections are the result of an order from the company holding the literary rights to the James Bond character. The latter has in fact placed an order for a rereading of the work of James Bond to a group of sensitive readers who are likely to make changes. This update comes, however, following an initial controversy in the United Kingdom over the rewriting of certain passages from Roald Dahl's children's books.

Indeed, the rights holders of Roald Dahl's work announced in mid-February that they intended to smooth the language of all the British writer's children's novels. The number of modified terms is vast, touching on issues considered sensitive: race and ethnicity, gender, weight, physical appearance, mental health, violence, etc. An “enormously big” character has therefore become “enormous”. “A crazy thing” has become “a weird thing”.

This revelation was particularly shocking in Great Britain. “This is absurd censorship,” writer Salman Rushdie wrote on Twitter. Despite this rewriting in English, at the initiative of the rights holders, its French publisher, Gallimard, indicated on Tuesday, February 21, that it intended to leave the texts of the British author intact.




Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld

CHINA "VERY CONCERNED" BY THE CONFLICT IN UKRAINE PRONE "THE DIALOGUE"

China called on Tuesday to "promote dialogue" in Ukraine, saying it was "very worried" about the conflict which "is intensifying and even getting out of control". This war is a delicate issue for Beijing, because of its strong diplomatic and economic ties for several years with Moscow, consolidated by the common interest of acting as a counterweight to Washington. Officially neutral, China calls for respect for the sovereignty of States, including including Ukraine, while urging the international community to take Moscow's security concerns into account.

A few days before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion on February 24, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed concern that China is considering supplying weapons to Russia - allegations denied by Beijing.

"It's been almost a year now that the crisis in Ukraine has seen a general escalation," Qin Gang, China's foreign minister, said Tuesday at a conference in Beijing.

"China is very worried about this conflict which is intensifying and even getting out of control," he stressed to several dozen foreign ambassadors and diplomats.

Beijing also views arms deliveries to Ukraine with suspicion. "We call on the countries concerned to stop throwing oil on the fire as soon as possible and to stop blaming China," said Qin Gang, referring in particular to Western calls for Beijing to put the blame on China. pressure on Moscow.

"We will continue to promote peace talks... and work with the international community to promote dialogue and consultation, address the concerns of all parties and pursue common security."

"Ruppet"

Qin Gang also dismissed any parallels between Ukraine and Taiwan, an island the People's Republic of China has intended to attach to the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

It is necessary "to stop making a fuss by shouting 'Today Ukraine, tomorrow Taiwan'", underlined the minister, responding to concerns about a potential Chinese military invasion of the island territory of 23 million inhabitants. "The pressures and attempts to contain China, coming from outside, are growing stronger" and "pose a serious threat to China's sovereignty and security," Qin Gang said. "China has always been on the path of peaceful development. It has never initiated a conflict or war, nor invaded an inch of land from another country."

Meeting with Putin?

On Ukraine, Beijing said last week that it wanted to make public soon a proposal to find "a political solution" to the war. The head of Chinese diplomacy, Wang Yi, is expected on Tuesday in Russia, the last leg of a European tour which has already taken him to France, Italy, Hungary and Germany.

The Kremlin said on Monday that Wang could meet President Vladimir Putin during his visit, according to Russian news agency Tass. Western pressure is mounting on China, which has never publicly supported or criticized the Russian offensive, while repeatedly expressing its support for Moscow in the face of Western sanctions.

"Providing lethal support to Russia to aid in its war of aggression in Ukraine would have real consequences for our relations with China," Antony Blinken said. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, estimated that a possible delivery of arms by China to Russia would constitute a "red line" for the European Union

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, on Monday denied the US allegations, accusing Washington of "spreading false information".

"It is the United States and not China that is constantly sending weapons to the battlefield," he added.




Britney Delsey for DayNewsWorld

HUMANITARIAN AID IN DROPS

IN SYRIA

DUE TO GEOPOLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Ten trucks crossed, this Sunday, February 12, 2023, the border with Turkey at the Bab-al Hawa crossing point, in northwestern Syria. Finally, they bring something to make emergency shelters with plastic sheeting, blankets, mattresses, ropes or even screws and nails.

This humanitarian aid is crucial, say the NGOs together, especially in the rebel areas where the situation was already dramatic. Even before the earthquakes, the north-west of Syria was home, according to the UN, to 2.9 million displaced persons and 4 million inhabitants in need of winter assistance.

And yet five days later, humanitarian aid is still struggling to arrive in Syria. While Turkey was able to benefit fairly quickly from international assistance - 95 countries responded to Turkey's request for aid - the Syrian neighbor appears to have been largely forgotten by this wave of support and was initially unable to count than on its Russian ally, then later on the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Egypt.

For what ?

A region torn apart by civil war

The country has been immersed in a civil war for 11 years between the central power led with an iron fist by Bashar Al-Assad and various armed rebellions. A conflict which has gradually isolated Damascus and its authoritarian ruler and which today makes it more difficult to send rescuers to the region.

The earthquake-affected north of Syria is indeed a deeply divided territory. The region is divided into four: the territories controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), mainly Kurdish, those managed by jihadists, the border area under Turkish influence and that subject to the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

The region affected by the earthquake can be divided into four zones, each controlled by a different group.

On the one hand, the city of Aleppo and its surroundings which are in the hands of Bashar al-Assad's government. On the other hand, the rebel areas with the Idleb region, controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (HTS heir to the Al-Qaeda group), those along the Turkish border with pro-Turkish rebels and those of east, held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

And these four areas are sometimes themselves divided by different factions and militias, describes geographer Jean-François Corty, member of Ifris.

“Each group will try to pull the blanket towards them and take advantage of this situation,” he laments. With the corollary of an instrumentalization of humanitarian aid...

The risk of Turkish blockage

Turkey's attitude is also a not insignificant blocking point in the delivery of food to Syria. The Turks want us to help them first. Erdogan plays part of his re-election on this.

And it is impossible to take the direction of Syria by road from Turkey without the agreement of Ankara. Not to mention the visceral hatred that the Turkish regime has for the Kurdish populations, who still live in the region, and who therefore cannot expect anything from Ankara.

A single crossing point at the Turkish-Syrian border

In addition, the only way to access northwestern Syria is through humanitarian corridors from Turkey, even if "snow and freezing temperatures" complicate the transport of equipment, explained El-Mostafa Benlamlih, coordinator with the UN, Wednesday during a press briefing.

Initially, the United Nations guaranteed the opening of four crossing points. But in 2020, under pressure from Russia and China, allies of the Syrian government, three cross-border crossings were closed.

There is only Bab al Hawa, the only crossing point on the border, guaranteed by a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations. However, it was affected by the earthquakes, the UN said on Tuesday.

We therefore expect the reopening of the other three points to facilitate the establishment of humanitarian corridors to Turkey. A request relayed Thursday by the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres:

“I would obviously be very happy if the Security Council could find a consensus to authorize more crossing points,” he hoped.

Bashar al-Assad's Syria ostracized

For NGOs and states, the other solution would be to send aid directly from Syrian territory controlled by Damascus. A request that the government of Bashar al-Assad explicitly formulated on Tuesday, urging the international community to come to its aid and promising that this would benefit "all Syrians throughout the territory", including areas held by rebels in Syria, where 5.3 million people are at risk of homelessness, according to the UN.

But the international community has shown itself in all its ambiguity. Faced with the urgency of the situation, the European Union and the United States, which have severed all diplomatic relations with Damascus, seem to be looking for half-hearted solutions. On Thursday, France announced emergency aid to all Syrian regions, while insisting that this did not change Paris ' "political approach" vis-à-vis the Damascus regime.

The same goes for the United States: "We are determined to bring aid to the Syrian people as we have done for years as the first provider of international aid," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday.

"But the funds will go to the Syrian people and not to the government in Damascus."

For their part, some Arab countries have reconnected and sent aid to President Bashar al-Assad as he has been ostracized since his exclusion from the Arab League in late 2011.

The United Arab Emirates, the first Gulf country to restore relations with Damascus, has already pledged aid of at least $50 million and sent planes loaded with humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also pledged aid, including to government-controlled areas.

According to Nick Heras, a researcher at the New Lines Institute, these earthquakes could thus be an opportunity for Bashar al-Assad "to try to advance the process of normalization of his regime with the rest of the Arab world".

"It is imperative that everyone sees this situation for what it is: a humanitarian crisis in which lives are at stake. Please do not politicize it", launched Tuesday February 7 the spokesperson of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke.




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

MOLDOVA DESTABILIZED BY

THE WAR IN UKRAINE

Influx of refugees, energy crisis, fear of an invasion...

Exhausted by "so many crises", Natalia Gravilita, Prime Minister of the neighboring country of Ukraine, resigned on Friday February 10, 2023. And this after a year and a half in power in this former Soviet republic which is suffering the brunt of the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

As early as February 2022, when the first bombs fell on kyiv, Chisinau had declared a state of emergency throughout Moldovan territory and closed its airspace. A space violated on Friday by the overflight of a Russian cruise missile.

"An unacceptable violation" of airspace according to Chisinau.

The day before, the Moldovan intelligence services had also confirmed information from kyiv that Moscow was planning to overthrow the pro-European government in Chisinau.

In a few weeks, this small country of 2.6 million inhabitants saw an influx of 250,000 refugees. Dependent 100% on Russian gas before the war and regularly deprived of electricity by strikes on Ukrainian installations, it also took the full brunt of the energy crisis which caused inflation to take off (34%).

Extremely dependent on Russia, the small country of 2.6 million inhabitants nestled between Ukraine and Romania suffered a drastic reduction in deliveries from the giant Gazprom after the Russian invasion.

But more than anything, it is the fear of a Russian invasion that has been tensing Chisinau for a year. Part of its territory, Transnistria (500,000 inhabitants), has already been in the hands of separatists since 1991:

nearly 12,000 soldiers in the pay of the Kremlin are stationed in this pro-Russian enclave. 

Maia Sandu accused Moscow of being behind the trafficking of arms, goods, human trafficking or of financing anti-government demonstrations: in short, of waging a "hybrid war".

Threat not denied by Moscow...

On February 3, in a television interview, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, had he not mentioned a potential extension of the war in Ukraine to neighboring Moldova ?

His wrong in his eyes ?

Being in the hands of a pro-European president, Maia Sandu, tickled by "the desire to join NATO".

However, the question is not on the agenda even if the country submitted its application to join the European Union in June 2022.

Appointed this Friday afternoon by the President, the new Prime Minister Dorin Recean, 48, should be confirmed quickly by Parliament.

This fintech entrepreneur, ex-Minister of the Interior, was Maia Sandu's "defense adviser" since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.



Alize Marion for DayNewsWorld

MORE THAN 19300 DEAD AFTER EARTHQUAKE IN TURKEY AND SYRIA

AND CRITICISM AGAINST ERDOGAN

The toll from the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria continues to grow.

According to the latest report announced overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, at least 19300 people died in Turkey and Syria after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks that hit the region on Monday. It exceeds this Thursday the 19300 dead, with more than 64000 injured in Turkey and 5000 in Syria. And the chances of survival are dwindling.

According to the latest reports from local authorities, Turkey officially deplores at least 16170 dead and 6444 buildings destroyed. This is the worst toll since the 1999 earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.4 and which left 17000 dead, including a thousand in Istanbul. In Syria, at least 3162 people have lost their lives, both in government-held and rebel areas. In total, the provisional toll stands at 19332 dead.

"The number of dead and injured is expected to increase significantly, with many families still under the collapsed buildings," Raed Saleh, the head of the relief service in northwestern Syria, said on Twitter Thursday morning. .

The Turkish interior minister warned on Tuesday that the next 48 hours would be "crucial" to find any survivors. International aid has started to arrive in Turkey, where national mourning has been declared for seven days.

It has already established itself as one of the ten deadliest of the century, and could exceed the 17000 deaths deplored during the last major earthquake in Turkey, in 1999.

Some Turkish experts even fear a balance sheet close to the 1939 earthquake (34000 dead, the worst in the country for seven centuries) because of the probably very high number of people engulfed under the rubble of thousands of buildings.

Erdogan, strongly criticized, recognizes "gaps"

After the violent earthquake that struck his country on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finds himself under pressure three months before the presidential and legislative elections which were already shaping up to be tight before the disaster. Faced with mounting criticism of the slowness and disorganization of relief, the leader in power since 2003 went to the disaster area on Wednesday and began a mea culpa.

"Of course there are shortcomings, it is impossible to be prepared for such a disaster," he pleaded from the province of Hatay, near the Syrian border.

“We had difficulties at the start with the airports and on the roads, but today it is better and it will be even better tomorrow”, replied the Head of State, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to defuse the anger.

"We have mobilized all our resources, the state is doing its job with Afad [public relief organization, editor's note] and the municipalities concerned with all the means at its disposal", hammered the Turkish president, in difficulty in the polls for re-election in the May 14 presidential election.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in power since 2003, announced the distribution of 10000 Turkish liras (494 euros) to each affected family.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan probably remembers that it was the incompetence of the authorities during the last big earthquake in Turkey, in 1999, which led his party to victory three years later. The Prime Minister at the time, Bulent Ecevit, had been the subject of strong criticism for having neglected relief to the populations.

This time, the Head of State immediately declared a maximum level of emergency calling for international assistance.

"Any help needed, whatever it is"

The first teams of foreign rescuers arrived on Tuesday, with dozens of countries offering their services to Ankara including those from the European Union and the Gulf, the United States, China and even Ukraine.

According to Mr. Erdogan, who declared a state of emergency for three months in the ten provinces affected by the earthquake, forty-five countries offered their help.

"An effective response to the emergency could strengthen the head of state and his party, the AKP, by arousing a feeling of national solidarity under the leadership of Erdogan", estimates in a note Wolfango Piccoli, from the consulting firm in political risk Teneo, based in London.

For its part, the opposition claims that the high number of deaths is not only linked to the earthquake, but to poorly regulated and poor quality construction. Most Turkish homes are not built to earthquake-resistant standards, despite a law passed in 2007 that is poorly enforced due to corruption.

And Syria ?

On the Syrian side, the concern of the international community grows as the hours pass. Aid and relief and international in Syria are more difficult to implement due to geopolitical considerations. Emergency aid "should not be politicized", insisted the UN.

However, the United Nations (UN) has received assurances that part of the emergency humanitarian aid "would pass on Thursday, February 10, 2023" through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing point, the only one authorized between Turkey and northwestern Syria, said the UN special envoy in Geneva, Geir Pedersen. In Syria, however, the appeal launched by the authorities in Damascus was mainly heard by its Russian ally.

According to the army, more than 300 Russian soldiers are already on the spot to help the relief. On Tuesday, Washington said it was working with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Syria, insisting that " its funds will of course go to the Syrian people, not the [Damascus] regime"...




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

THE WORLD IS HEADING TOWARDS

"A WIDER WAR" ACCORDING TO THE UN

War in Ukraine, climate crisis, extreme poverty…

"We started the year 2023 with in our sights a convergence of challenges never seen in our lifetime", was alarmed Monday, February 6, 2023 the Secretary General of the UN before the General Assembly.

The group of scientists managing the doomsday clock also recently estimated that humanity has never been so close to the end of the world, now at 90 seconds before midnight, he recalled, including seeing an alarm signal.

"We need to wake up and get to work", he insisted, listing the pressing issues for 2023.

At the very top of this list, the war in Ukraine.

Prospects for peace continue to dwindle.

The risks of further escalation and carnage continue to grow.

"I'm afraid the world is not sleepwalking into a larger war, but I'm afraid it's actually doing it with its eyes wide open", he said, before worry about other threats to peace.




Carl Delsey for DayNewsWorld

MORE THAN 5000 DEAD IN POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE

IN TURKEY AND SYRIA

More than 5000 people were killed in southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday by a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake, followed a few hours later by a very strong 7.5 magnitude aftershock, tremors recorded as far away as Greenland.

The first quake of magnitude 7.8 occurred in southeastern Turkey, about 60 km as the crow flies from the Syrian border; Dozens of aftershocks followed, before a new 7.5 magnitude quake in southeastern Turkey.

Several archaeological sites were affected in Syria and in particular the citadel of Aleppo.

In Turkey, nearly 3000 buildings have collapsed, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The toll continues to rise, with huge numbers of people remaining trapped under the collapsed buildings which number in the thousands. The rain and snow, which fell in some places in abundance, and the expected drop in temperatures will make the situation of people who find themselves homeless, as well as the work of the relief workers, even more difficult.

And the numbers keep climbing.

In Turkey, the death toll currently stands at 3419 and that of the injured at 20534, according to Vice President Fuat Oktay.

In Syria, at least 1602 people have died and 3,640 have been injured, according to Syrian authorities and rescue workers in rebel areas. In the government-controlled part of Syria, the death toll has risen to 812 dead and 1449 injured, according to the health ministry.

In areas under rebel control, the White Helmets (civil defense volunteers) reported 790 dead and more than 2200 injured.

The balance sheet is still likely to evolve in the affected cities, Adana, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir in particular. In Iskenderun and Adiyaman, public hospitals collapsed under the effect of the earthquake, which occurred at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers. The bad weather in this mountainous region paralyzes the main airports around Diyarbakir and Malatya, where it continues to snow very heavily, leaving the survivors haggard, in their pajamas outside in the cold.

The WHO itself said that it expected the worst and feared "tolls eight times higher than the initial numbers".

The first earthquake, which occurred overnight from Sunday to Monday, took place at the level of the East Anatolian fault, in the east of Turkey, where two tectonic plates meet. It is a major tectonic border between Anatolia and Europe.

The first earthquake was followed by numerous aftershocks, including a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, which occurred late Monday morning.

Turkey sits on one of the most active seismic zones in the world. Several earthquakes have occurred in recent years in the region. This earthquake is the largest in Turkey since the earthquake of August 17, 1999, which caused the death of 17000 people, including a thousand in Istanbul.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose reaction to this tragedy will most likely be closely watched before the May 14 election which promises to be very tight, called for national unity. A seven-day national mourning has been declared.

“We hope that we will come out of this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least possible damage,” he tweeted, adding that Turkey had received aid from 45 countries.

Condolences poured in from all over the world, from American President Joe Biden to his Russian counterparts Vladimir Putin to the still Chinese Xi Jinping, passing by Pope Francis who said he was "deeply saddened", as well as offers of humanitarian and medical aid...




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

EXTENSION OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY

BY THE MILITARY IN MYANMAR

After a decade of democratic transition, is Burma doomed to return permanently to the dark period of military dictatorship ?

On February 1, 2023, it has been two years since the military regained power in Burma, imprisoning democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and sparking a brutal civil war that left more than 2,800 dead and 13,000 civilians behind. bars. And on this anniversary day, the junta extends the state of emergency.

Indeed the National Defense and Security Council, made up of members of the junta, agreed on Wednesday to extend the state of emergency in Burma by six months, official media announced.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing's request to extend the state of emergency, declared when the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi's government in February 2021, has been granted, state broadcaster MRTV said.

Acting President Myint Swe added that "The sovereign power of the state has once again been transferred to the Commander-in-Chief".

The state of emergency was due to expire at the end of January, but on Tuesday the National Defense and Security Council met to discuss the state of the nation and concluded that it was "not yet back to normal". normal".

Will the Burmese resign themselves to a new period of military dictatorship in Burma ?

Isn't the army numerically and materially in a strong position against the civil disobedience movement ?

A movement of civil disobedience ?

Admittedly, Min Aung Hlaing also affirmed that the “government will work to organize elections in all regions of the country so that the people do not lose their democratic prerogatives”.

The opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi (the National League for Democracy or NLD) is struggling to make itself heard. Several senior representatives of the National League for Democracy as well as activists, intellectuals and artists were also arrested in February 2021.

Life goes on somehow, food prices have doubled in two years, but wages have remained the same. The anniversary of the coup is experienced with gloom, and part of the population has decided, like last year, to stay at home – a form of silent protest.

A new set of international sanctions

The United States, joined by Great Britain, Canada and Australia, announced a new set of sanctions. Will they be more effective than those imposed so far on Burma?

For the first time, Washington is targeting Myanmar's largest oil and gas producer, "MOGE":

it is from the coffers of this state enterprise that the junta draws the bulk of its income.

In all, six officials (among them the Minister of Energy) and three public companies have their assets in the United States frozen. Trade and money transfers with them will be prohibited.

The United Kingdom has blacklisted two companies that supply aviation fuel to the army and thus finance a "barbaric campaign of air raids".

Canada and Australia now prohibit the sale and export of fuel for combat aircraft.

Because the armed conflict continues in several regions of the country. Ethnic minority villages are still regularly bombed and burned.

But according to the NGO Human Rights Watch, none of these sanctions taken in dribs and drabs is painful enough to force the military regime to change its policy.

It is also unlikely that the United Nations, divided, will impose an arms embargo, the only way to make the junta bend. Moscow and Beijing, both supporters of the Burmese military, strongly oppose it.

Moreover, for many analysts, the sanctions have never worked.

For Sophie Boisseau du Rocher, researcher at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), the solution is in the hands of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in particular because "the only partners [that the Burmese military] really consider are […] their immediate neighbours. […]

They are the only ones who can really try to have an impact on the situation, especially Indonesia.

"This last country, says the researcher, "serves as an interface between the different political actors".

It would be a question of finding "a compromise […] behind the curtains"...

When will “the holding of free and fair general elections and the establishment of a true multi-party democracy” already promised in 2021 by Myint Swe, vice-president, who has become interim president ?




Alyson Braxton for DayNewsWorld

ALSO DENOUNCE THE PERSECUTION

OF 360 MILLION CHRISTIANS WORLDWIDE

"The persecution of Christians, a minority in many countries, remains in the blind spot of our concerns. It arouses little indignation. It does not arouse sanctions. year to year.”, protests Jeanne Emmanuelle Hutin in an Editorial of January 29, 2023 from the West.

One in seven Christians

Indeed the finding is clear: more than 360 million Christians were "heavily persecuted and discriminated against" because of their faith in the world in 2022 and North Korea is the worst country for Christians, according to a report by the Open Doors NGO published Wednesday, January 18. This Protestant NGO publishes an annual "global index" of the persecution of Christians, listing all attacks, ranging from "discreet daily oppression" to "the most extreme violence". This annual report reveals a global phenomenon of considerable magnitude.

Twice as many as thirty years ago

Between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022, "more than 360 million" Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals from 76 countries were "heavily persecuted in the world, i.e. one Christian in seven". , said Patrick Victor, director of Portes Ouvertes France, during a press briefing.

A number identical to the year 2022. But for thirty years, "the persecution has spread" with today "76 countries with strong persecution against 40" listed in the first index of the NGO in 1993, underlined Guillaume Guennec.

In addition, "the persecution is intensifying in the countries concerned," he added.

In 2022, 5,621 Christians were killed.

The NGO also recorded "4,542 Christians detained" (including 1,750 in India), against 4,277 the previous year, and "5,259 Christians kidnapped" (including 4,726 in Nigeria), against 3,829. The total number churches closed, attacked, destroyed stands at 2,110, down (5,110 in 2021).

All persecutions combined, North Korea rose to the top of the ranking, dethroning Afghanistan. Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Sudan follow.

"80 Christians sentenced" in Iran

Over the past thirty years, three trends have been observed. "The African continent is marked by a rise in power of Islamic extremism", with 26 countries with strong persecution against seven in 1993.

In addition, "Christians are often the victims of religious or ideological nationalism", adds the NGO, citing China, since 2017, or even India, with an "explosion of violence". Finally, the organization deplores "the Christian exodus" in the Middle East: "the abuses of (the organization) Islamic State have encouraged Christians to flee Iraq and Syria".

Totalitarianism, religious nationalism, jihadism, Islamic and clan oppression, corruption are the factors of this persecution, analyzes Open Doors.




Andrew Preston for DayNewsWorld

TWO DEADLY ATTACKS

IN EAST JERUSALEM

The first took place on Friday January 27, 2023 in the evening, near a synagogue, and the second took place this Saturday, January 28, 2023 in the morning, near an archaeological site in the City of David.

The day after a first shooting that killed seven people on Friday evening in East Jerusalem (Israel), the city was again targeted this Saturday.

A father and son were injured in a second attack near an archaeological site.

Facts

In the first shooting, which took place on the evening of Friday January 27, a 21-year-old Palestinian man went near a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood during Shabbat prayers and started to shoot at those present.

Seven of them were killed.

Following a chase and exchange of fire with the police, the perpetrator was shot dead.

For the police chief, Kobi Shabtai, it is "one of the worst attacks" suffered by Israel in recent years.

East Jerusalem experienced a second attack this Saturday, January 28, in the morning. It took place near an archaeological site in the City of David, in the Silwan district and injured two people, a 47-year-old father and his 23-year-old son.

The assailant was "neutralized and injured" by bystanders who held a license to carry weapons, according to an Israeli police statement.

Heavy balance sheets, unseen for years, the bloody climax of four weeks of tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

One of the two 13-year-old attackers

Regarding the author of the first attack, little information had filtered about him on Saturday morning. Investigators arrested forty-two people on the sidelines of the shooting. Some of them are family members of the 21-year-old assailant or residents of his neighborhood.

The perpetrator of the second shooting this Saturday is another Palestinian. The police said it was a 13-year-old boy. He was quickly arrested by Israeli security forces.

Cascading reactions

The attack on Jerusalem "is a natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation against our Palestinian people", commented Hamas, while Binyamin Netanyahu promised "immediate measures". US President Joe Biden has slammed an "atrocious terrorist attack" and an "attack on the civilized world".

The head of the American diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, must visit Israel and the West Bank on Monday and Tuesday to insist, according to Washington, on "the urgent need to take de-escalation measures".  




Sandra Stac for DayNewsWorld

COVID WHY THE NUMBER OF DEATHS IN CHINA

 IS IT UNDERVALUED ACCORDING TO THE WHO ?


The WHO had in recent weeks criticized China's reluctance to share reliable data on the Covid wave, as well as the very narrow definition of a death attributed to the virus.

But for the first time since abandoning its “zero Covid” strategy, China admitted on Saturday that nearly 60,000 people had died of Covid-19 between December 8, 2022 and January 12, 2023. Twelve times more deaths in one month than in three years according to official figures. By announcing "59,938" deaths from Covid-19 in hospitals on Saturday, China brought its official toll closer to the real situation.

A number that seems however largely underestimated.

Since December, the Chinese are almost no longer subject to any restrictions. Compulsory isolation and quarantines in centers have ended. At the same time, the health authorities have given a boost to the vaccination campaign among the elderly.

But the specialists are formal: with the sudden lifting of all health restrictions, the real balance sheet is much higher.

Indeed, this report only includes deaths recorded in hospital, submerged for more than a month by an unprecedented outbreak of contamination. No person who died of Covid at home or before being taken care of by a healthcare establishment is counted.

As impressive as it is, Beijing's transparency effort (12 times the total toll of the past three years in just five weeks) is not representative of reality.

Between Dec. 8, 2022, the first post-zero Covid day, and Jan. 12, the death toll from the disease in Chinese hospitals stood at 59,938, said Jiao Yahui, director of the office of medical administration within the national health commission.

Of this number, 5,503 deaths are due to respiratory failure, and the remaining 54,435 result from a combination of Covid-19 and other conditions. The average age of those who died is 80.3, she said. Nine out of ten deceased patients were aged 65 and over.

Until then, China only counted deaths due to respiratory failure, and not deaths "linked" to Covid-19. This very restrictive definition had been criticized by the international community and by the World Health Organization (WHO). The latter welcomed the new Chinese communication.

Estimating, moreover, that "only 5,503 patients died directly from respiratory failure due to Covid-19", the health authorities already seem to be mitigating the scope.

Perhaps to satisfy the WHO, rather than to compel to draw up a credible balance sheet.

A political issue for Xi Jinping

Difficult for Beijing to go beyond. If China started to change the figures, to weigh down the balance sheet a little more, wouldn't that be a way of backtracking on the 'zero Covid' policy that has been carried out?

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping, in office since 2020, today weakened by three years of epidemic, seeks to keep his grip on power. The movements of the millions of Chinese, who find themselves with their families for the Lunar New Year festivities, represent a major challenge for the authorities, who fear a new epidemic rebound.

On site, many hospitals are overwhelmed. The patients would sometimes be so numerous that the stretchers would remain on the sidewalk, according to our special correspondents. Full funeral homes.

A population devoid of protection against the virus

If we assume that 70% of the Chinese population is infected in the next few months, and that 0.1% of those infected die (a conservative estimate of the mortality rate of omicron in a population with low exposure to SARS-CoV- 2), a simple calculation suggests that the number of deaths could be close to one million.

A model from Fundan University (Shanghai) arrived at a figure of 1.55 million. At this point, there is little China can do to prevent a significant number of cases and deaths.

And again: the Chinese population is little or badly vaccinated as a whole, and has been relatively spared by previous waves due to the very strict “zero Covid” policy. However, the lesser virulence of Omicron is essentially due... to vaccination and previous infections. Evidenced by the case of Hong Kong, decimated by Omicron last winter.

What about vaccine immunity ?

Indeed, vaccination rates in China are comparable to those in Western countries. But they show an unusual characteristic: they decrease with age.

While they are most at risk of severe forms of Covid, the elderly are thus the least vaccinated demographic group with only 40% of people over 80 having received three doses.

Moreover, the effectiveness of vaccines against transmission has been severely tested, especially since Omicron began spreading in late 2021.

Since China has used so-called “inactivated” vaccines produced by the companies Sinovac and Sinopharm, these vaccines are generally safe, but tend to elicit weaker immune responses than new technologies – such as those used in mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) or adenoviral vector (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson).

The performance of Chinese vaccines has thus been mixed. Admittedly, the globally dominant Omicron variant (via its many sub-variants) is associated with significantly lower disease severity and mortality rates than the Delta variant it replaced…

But it remains a major threat to populations with low immunity, especially the elderly. At the start of 2022, Hong Kong faced similar problems to mainland China, with low prior exposure of its population to the virus.

Hong Kong even had even lower vaccination rates for the elderly than China currently has, but a stronger healthcare system. Yet the Omicron wave that swept through the megalopolis in March 2022 resulted in more cumulative deaths per million people in a matter of days than many countries have seen during the entire pandemic…

Another risk, precisely: the appearance of new variants, due to the intense viral circulation in the Middle Kingdom.

However, for the former adviser to Barack Obama, Ryan Hass, China “will persist in its refusal” to import foreign RNA vaccines. According to him, “adopting Western vaccines would be tantamount to questioning the discourse they have held all this time. All of this is going to cause deaths that could have been avoided.”

The true toll of Covid-19 in China will probably never be known, but it will be heavy.

At the international level, the concern relates to the risk of "importation" of cases - even if, for the moment, no unknown variant seems to have emerged in China.




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

TRIBUTE TO POPE BENEDICT XVI DEAD AT 95

AND FERVENT GUARDIAN OF DOGMA

The body of Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at the age of 95, is on display at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. There, the faithful will be able to pay their last respects to the late pope emeritus, before his funeral scheduled for Thursday. The doors of the huge Vatican Basilica will be open to the public from 9 a.m. (local time) until 7 p.m., then from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

The body of Joseph Ratzinger had remained so far in the small private chapel of the monastery where he lived since his renunciation in 2013, located in the heart of the Vatican gardens.

The first images of the pope released

The Vatican released on Sunday the first photos of the body of the pope emeritus, lying on a catafalque, dressed in red - the color of papal mourning - and wearing a white miter adorned with a golden braid, a rosary in his hands. A crucifix, a Christmas tree and a nativity scene are visible in the background.

The transfer of his body to St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world that can accommodate tens of thousands of worshippers, will take place at dawn on Monday.

The basilica, a masterpiece of architecture combining Renaissance and Baroque styles, completed in 1626, is also one of the holiest places in Christianity, since it houses the tomb of Saint Peter, the first bishop of Rome whose popes are the successors. On Sunday, Pope Francis once again paid homage to “beloved” Benedict XVI, “this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church”.

Brilliant theologian and fervent guardian of dogma, Benedict XVI, whose renunciation in 2013 took the whole world by surprise, died Saturday morning at the age of 95, the Vatican announced.

I am sorry to announce that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, died today at 9:34 a.m., at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, in the Vatican. Other information will be communicated to you as soon as possible” , announced in a press release the director of the press service of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni.

A look back at the life of Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl, Bavaria, not far from the Austrian border. When he was 14 (in 1941), he was enrolled in the Hitler Youth. At the end of the war, he began his training as a priest. He was ordained in 1951, while continuing his studies in theology.

In 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising, then Cardinal.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It is one of the organisms of the Roman curia, responsible for promoting doctrine and morals in conformity with the faith throughout the Catholic world. In this position, he familiarized himself with the mysteries of the Vatican and rubbed shoulders with the sovereign pontiff very closely. Also, on the death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was one of the favorites to succeed the deceased pope. He was actually elected on April 19, 2005 during the conclave.

"After the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord", he declared after his election, choosing the name of Benedict XVI.

The last pope to have participated in the Second Vatican Council, he nevertheless defended a conservative line at the head of the Church, in particular on abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia.

A pontificate marked by controversy

His death puts an end to the unusual cohabitation of two men in white: the German Joseph Ratzinger, a brilliant theologian not very comfortable with crowds, and the Argentinian Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit endowed with an incisive word who wanted put the poor and migrants back at the center of the Church's mission.

The pontificate of Benedict XVI was marked by many crises.

In 2006, Benoit XVI angered the Muslim world. In a speech at the University of Regensburg, the sovereign pontiff quotes a Byzantine emperor for whom Islam is "intrinsically violent". The allusion caused a scandal.

Benoit XVI will apologize later and quickly, the Vatican organizes several visits throughout the Islamic world in order to restore harmonious interreligious relations. Two months later, the sovereign pontiff appears praying alongside the religious leader of Istanbul at the Blue Mosque.

His pontificate was also marked in 2012 by the leak of confidential documents (“Vatileaks”) orchestrated by his butler. The scandal had exposed a Roman Curia (Vatican government) plagued by intrigue and devoid of financial rigor.

After eight years of pontificate marked by multiple crises, Benedict XVI was also caught up in early 2022 by the drama of pedocrime in the Church.

Questioned by a report in Germany on his management of sexual violence when he was Archbishop of Munich, he broke his silence to ask for "pardon" but assured that he had never covered up a child criminal.

His renunciation, announced in Latin on February 11, 2013, was a personal decision linked to his declining strength and not to the pressure of scandals, he assured in a book of confidences published in 2016. By this gesture, unprecedented in six centuries, the first German pope in modern history paved the way for his successors whose strength would come to decline. François, 86 years old and suffering from knee pain, left this possibility “open” himself.

"[...] I ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart"

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at the age of 95, asks "forgiveness" to all those to whom he has "caused harm", in his spiritual testament written in 2006. "To all those to whom I have caused harm from one way or another, I ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart,” wrote Joseph Ratzinger, pope from 2005 to 2013, in this text dated August 29, 2006 and published Saturday evening by the press service of the Holy See.

"I pray that our land will remain a land of faith, and I beg you, dear compatriots: do not let yourselves be distracted from the faith", also writes the 265th pope, who had surprised the whole world by renouncing his office before retire to a monastery for almost ten years.

“And I want to thank the Lord for my beautiful homeland at the foot of the Alps. Bavaria, in which I have always seen the splendor of the Creator himself shine,” he adds.

“And finally, I thank God for all the beauty I was able to experience at all stages of my journey, but especially in Rome and Italy, which became my second home. »

“Stay firm in the faith ! Don't be confused! “, he urges again.




Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

HOW TO RESPOND TO THE RESURGENCE OF COVID IN CHINA ?

China is going through a wave of contaminations of unprecedented magnitude with a new sub-variant of Omicron called

"BF.7", and this since the abrupt abandonment, at the beginning of the month, of its so-called "zero Covid" policy. According to the Financial Times, Chinese health authorities have estimated that the country is registering nearly 37 million new infections per day.

However, the country announced the end of mandatory quarantines on arrival in the territory from January 8, 2023 and the gradual resumption of foreign travel for Chinese.

Several countries, including the United States, are so concerned that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), called on Beijing to provide "more detailed information", and deemed the protective measures announced by other countries for travelers from China.

Indeed, several countries including Italy or Japan, as well as the United States, have decided to impose compulsory tests on all travelers coming from China.

China responds to WHO

"Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has shared reliable information and data with the international community, including the WHO, in an open and transparent manner," said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson. , Wang Wenbin.

“We shared the sequence of the new coronavirus from the start and made an important contribution to the development of reliable vaccines and drugs in other countries,” he added to the press.

On Friday, only 5,515 new cases and one death were announced by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Figures that no longer seem to reflect reality, generalized screenings are no longer mandatory.

“China has always published its data on Covid-19 deaths and serious cases in a desire for openness and transparency”, assured Thursday a senior health official, Jiao Yahui, quoted by the new China agency. .

In China, only patients who died of respiratory failure caused by the virus and tested positive are considered victims of Covid-19. An official of China's anti-Covid policy, Liang Wannian, judged the decision to be scientifically appropriate on Thursday, according to New China. Other countries count patients who died within 28 days of a positive test.

EU deems screening of visitors from China 'unjustified'

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, on the other hand, believes that Europeans are sufficiently immunized and vaccinated. The introduction of compulsory screening for Covid-19 within the European Union for travelers arriving from China is "unjustified", the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) ruled on Thursday.

EU countries "have relatively high immunization and vaccination levels" and "variants circulating in China are already circulating in the EU", the Stockholm-based agency claims, adding that "potential infections" imported are numerically “rather low” compared to the number of infections already recorded on a daily basis in Europe. The continent's health systems are further able to manage the disease, experts say.

The ECDC therefore contradicts the call of the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, who, after imposing tests on air passengers from China, wanted to impose the measure at Union level. However, the Health Security Committee wishes to "continue the discussions" in the face of a very worried Italy.

In addition, no new variant of Covid-19 has been identified. According to the information currently available, the variants circulating in China so far are all of the Omicron family. Tests carried out in Italy did not identify any new strain. The European population has therefore acquired immunity against them.

Moreover, the immunologist Brigitte Autran, president of the Committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks (Covars), did she not rightly declare this Thursday, December 29:

“The possible test would not be a barrier to the entry of the virus. There is no barrier to the entry of the virus:

the only obstacle to the entry of the virus is not to come ".




Alyson Braxton for DayNewsWorld

CHINA EFFECTIVELY PROTECT CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIVES AGAINST COVID

After the abandonment in early December of certain measures against the virus, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Monday, December 26, 2022 to take measures to "effectively protect the lives of the population", at a time when his country is facing an outbreak. of Covid-19 contamination, state television reported.

This is the Beijing strongman's first public comment since the sudden abandonment, in early December, of strict anti-Covid measures, in force since 2020.

Three years after the appearance of the very first cases of Sars-CoV-2 in Wuhan (center), the country is facing an explosion of cases. Many hospitals are overwhelmed, pharmacies are reporting shortages of fever medication, while many crematoriums have reportedly reported an unusually high influx of bodies to be cremated.

“Building a strong bulwark against the epidemic”

"The prevention and control of Covid-19 in China is facing a new situation and new tasks," said Xi Jinping, quoted by state television CCTV.

China has only officially announced six Covid deaths since restrictions were lifted. A assessment largely undervalued according to some experts, while a large part of the elderly in the country are not vaccinated against the virus.

Low immunity of the Chinese population

China's strict control over its population has indeed enabled it to prevent a general transmission of Covid to all of its immense territory since the beginning of 2020 – which is a tour de force.

The nearly 10 million cases reported to the World Health Organization in the past three years (figures differ between sources) represent only a tiny fraction of its 1.412 billion population.

But this achievement has the unfortunate consequence that its population has only acquired minimal immunity to Covid through exposure to the virus.

What about vaccine immunity ?

Vaccination rates in China are comparable to those in Western countries. But they show an unusual characteristic: they decrease with age.

While they are most at risk of severe forms of Covid, the elderly are thus the least vaccinated demographic group with only 40% of people over 80 having received three doses.

Moreover, the effectiveness of vaccines against transmission has been severely tested, especially since Omicron began spreading in late 2021.

Since China has used so-called "inactivated" vaccines, manufactured by the companies Sinovac and Sinopharm, these vaccines are generally safe, but tend to elicit weaker immune responses than new technologies - such as those used in mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) or adenoviral vector (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson).

The performance of Chinese vaccines has thus been mixed. Admittedly, the globally dominant Omicron variant (via its many sub-variants) is associated with significantly lower disease severity and mortality rates than the Delta variant it replaced…

But it remains a major threat to populations with low immunity, especially the elderly.

Any vaccination campaign that focuses on the most vulnerable people, however, is still likely to be beneficial.

“We need to carry out a more targeted patriotic health campaign...and build a strong bulwark against the epidemic,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said.




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

HISTORIC AGREEMENT "KUNMING-MONTREAL"

ON BIODIVERSITY

Countries around the world adopted a historic agreement on Monday, December 19 in Montreal to try to stop the destruction of biodiversity and its resources, which are essential to humanity.

The meeting seemed crucial: none of the previous objectives for the 2010-2020 period had been achieved and yet the pressure on natural environments continues to increase. Species are disappearing at an unprecedented rate, more than a million are threatened with extinction and 75% of the earth's surface has already been altered by humans.

The UN conference on biodiversity therefore opened in Montreal with a colossal challenge: to conclude in two weeks a historic agreement, the “last chance” to save species and natural environments from irreversible destruction. Delegates from more than 190 countries met until December 19 to adopt a new ten-year global framework to safeguard nature and its resources essential to humanity.

“Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction,” the UN Secretary-General thundered on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, during the curtain-raising of the summit, because of “our unlimited appetite for uncontrolled economic growth and uneven”.

“Together we have taken a historic step”,

After four years of difficult negotiations, ten days and a night of diplomatic marathon, more than 190 States have reached an agreement under the aegis of China, president of COP15, despite opposition from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This “pact of peace with nature” called “Kunming-Montreal agreement” aims to protect lands, oceans and species from pollution, degradation and the climate crisis.

“Countries have agreed on a roadmap that includes protecting 30% of the planet by 2030 and unlocking $30 billion in annual conservation aid for developing countries. The agreement has been adopted,” said Huang Runqiu, the Chinese president of COP15, during a plenary session organized in the middle of the night, before dropping his hammer to the applause of the tired-looking delegates.

“Together, we have taken a historic step,” welcomed Steven Guilbeault, Minister of the Environment of Canada, host country of the summit.

Protected areas

But the text also gives guarantees for indigenous peoples, guardians of 80% of the remaining biodiversity on Earth, proposes to restore 30% of degraded lands and to halve the risk linked to pesticides. And to try to resolve the financial question still burning between North and South, China also proposes to reach “at least 20 billion dollars” in annual international aid for biodiversity by 2025 and “at least 30 billion by 2030”.

In exchange for their efforts, the least developed countries demanded from the rich countries 100 billion dollars a year. That is at least 10 times the current international aid for biodiversity.

In addition to subsidies, the countries of the South also strongly pushed for the creation of a global fund dedicated to biodiversity - a matter of principle - like the one obtained in November to help them deal with climate damage.

On this point, China proposes as a compromise to establish from 2023 a branch dedicated to biodiversity within the current Global Environment Facility (GEF), the current functioning of which is considered very deficient by the least developed countries. .

This COP15, twin sister, in the shadow, of the COP on the climate, is “our chance to stop this orgy of destruction”, declared the UN Secretary General.

The stated ambition was heard to seal an agreement as historic as that of Paris for the climate in 2015.

It remains to refine and perfect the financing mechanisms while ensuring their primary mission: to finance the protection of biodiversity in a stable and sustainable manner.




Britney Delsey for DayNewsWorld

CHINA ACTS THE END OF ITS ZERO COVID STRATEGY. WHAT ABOUT CHINESE IMMUNITY ?

China is the only major country which, until recently, continued to apply a “zero Covid” strategy.

Since December 7, 2022, it is now backtracking. Other countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, had also sought to completely eliminate Covid from their territory at the start of the pandemic, but all had finally abandoned this approach. The growing social and economic costs had become unsustainable, as had the efforts required… in the face of the realization that the local elimination of Covid could only be temporary, notes.Francois Balloux, Chair Professor, Computational Biology, UCL.

In the People's Republic of China, the health strategy which relied on measures such as mass PCR testing, the closure of entire cities and provinces or the quarantine of anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, is at turn become impossible to hold.

The harshness and often arbitrary application of zero Covid has fueled growing fatigue and resentment among the population, which has recently resulted in large public demonstrations.

Restrictions have also shown their limits against Omicron: less severe but more transmissible, this variant has a shorter incubation period than previous SARS-CoV-2 lines, and it largely bypasses the protection against infection conferred by the original vaccines.

It is understandable that the Chinese authorities are now finally taking steps to ease the restrictions… However, the exit from a zero Covid policy has been painful for all the countries that have made it. And China will be no exception, it even faces unique challenges in this transition.

Low immunity of the Chinese population

China's strict control over its population has enabled it to prevent a general transmission of Covid to all of its (huge) territory since the beginning of 2020 – which is a feat. The nearly 10 million cases reported to the World Health Organization in the past three years (figures differ depending on the source) represent only a tiny fraction of its 1.412 billion population. But this achievement has the unfortunate consequence that its population has only acquired minimal immunity to Covid through exposure to the virus.

What about vaccine immunity ?

Vaccination rates in China are comparable to those in Western countries…

But they show an unusual characteristic: they decrease with age. While they are most at risk of severe forms of Covid, the elderly are thus the least vaccinated demographic group with only 40% of people over 80 having received three doses.

Another point: the effectiveness of vaccines against transmission has been severely tested, especially since Omicron began to spread at the end of 2021. However, the protection against the most severe forms and death provided by vaccines to mRNAs used by Western countries remained solid.

But China has used vaccines different from its design, called "inactivated", manufactured by the companies Sinovac and Sinopharm. This type of vaccine is based on pathogens (in this case SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19) which are killed, or inactivated, before their inoculation.

While these vaccines are generally safe, they tend to elicit weaker immune responses than newer technologies – such as those employed in mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) or adenoviral vector (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson) vaccines.

The performance of Chinese vaccines has thus been mixed. While two doses of the Sinovac vaccine appear to have reduced deaths by 86% in Chile, the results in Singapore suggest less protection against severe forms than their mRNA equivalents.

Admittedly, the Omicron variant (via its many sub-variants), dominating worldwide, is associated with a significantly lower disease severity and mortality rate than the Delta variant that it replaced… But it remains a threat major for populations with low immunity, in particular the elderly.

At the start of 2022, Hong Kong faced similar problems to mainland China, with low prior exposure of its population to the virus. Hong Kong even had even lower vaccination rates for the elderly than China currently has, but a stronger healthcare system.

Yet the Omicron wave that swept through the megalopolis in March 2022 resulted in more cumulative deaths per million people in a matter of days than many countries have seen during the entire pandemic…

Covid infections are now increasing rapidly in China, exceeding 30,000 new daily cases at the beginning of December (to fall below 9,000 these days, due to the end of systematic PCR tests: beware, these figures are no longer significant, the individuals no longer necessarily informing the authorities of the results of self-tests carried out at home, editor's note).

With the easing of restrictions and the shutdown of the main travel tracking application, there is no doubt that the increase in infections will continue.

Given the low level of immunity in China, a sharp increase in the number of cases could likely lead to a large number of hospitalizations and lead to a dramatic number of deaths.

If we assume that 70% of the Chinese population is infected in the next few months, and that 0.1% of those infected die (a conservative estimate of the mortality rate of omicron in a population with low exposure to SARS-CoV- 2), a simple calculation suggests that the number of deaths could be close to one million. A model from Fundan University (Shanghai) arrived at a figure of 1.55 million.

At this point, there is little China can do to prevent a significant number of cases and deaths. Any vaccination campaign that focuses on the most vulnerable people, however, is still likely to be beneficial.

Chinese health services are quite fragile and the shortage of intensive care beds represents a particular vulnerability. A gradual lifting of restrictions as other countries have done is one option to try to "flatten the curve" and prevent its health system from being overwhelmed. Effective referral of patients, including ensuring that only those most in need of care are admitted to hospital, could help reduce the number of deaths if the epidemic explodes.

A vulnerable population

A major wave of Covid in China will not necessarily have a significant impact on the global situation. SARS-CoV-2 lineages that are currently spreading in the country, such as BF.7 (which transmits faster and with a shorter incubation period and greater ability to infect than other Omicron variants; with a number of people infected in the absence of transmission control measures by an infected individual, or R0, of 10 or more), are already found elsewhere in the world.

Moreover, circulation in a population with little immunological protection should not exert significant additional pressure on the virus to the point that it must develop new variants to continue to spread.

But for China itself, the situation is different. It could face a possible humanitarian disaster, and that is a much bigger challenge.

The Chinese authorities were the first to take unprecedented measures to halt the spread of the virus and to champion it, providing the planet with a drastic model for managing the pandemic. China then applied these measures more ruthlessly and for longer than any other major country.

Particularly effective at first, the zero Covid policy turns out to be, in the long term, almost "futile" in the face of the adaptability of SARS-CoV-2.

While its population has been spared more than many others and is therefore less immunologically protected, China is now caught up in the social and economic costs of this strategy. And the virus will continue to spread, as it has everywhere else.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.




Boby Dean for DayNewsWorld

COP 15 ON BIODIVERSITY

THE URGENCY OF AMBITIOUS PROJECTS AND FUNDING

After two years of postponements, the COP15 on biodiversity will finally be held from December 7 to 19 in Montreal. The summit is expected to establish a new global framework to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030.

The meeting seems crucial: none of the previous objectives relating to the 2010-2020 period has been achieved and the pressure on natural environments continues to increase. Species are disappearing at an unprecedented rate, more than a million are threatened with extinction and 75% of the earth's surface has already been altered by humans.

The UN conference on biodiversity opens in Montreal with a colossal challenge: to conclude in two weeks a historic agreement, the "last chance" to save species and natural environments from irreversible destruction. Delegates from more than 190 countries meet until December 19 to adopt a new ten-year global framework to safeguard nature and its resources essential to humanity.

Time is running out: a million species are threatened with extinction, a third of the land is seriously degraded and fertile soils are disappearing, while pollution and climate change are accelerating the degradation of the oceans.

“Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction”, thundered the UN Secretary General on Tuesday, during the raising of the curtain for the summit, because of “our unlimited appetite for uncontrolled and unequal economic growth”.

This COP15, twin sister, in the shadow, of the COPs on the climate, is “our chance to stop this orgy of destruction”, he declared. But negotiations have been stalling for three years. It is a question of concretizing an agreement of about twenty objectives, the main one of which aims to protect 30% of the lands and seas. Others provide for the restoration of natural environments, the reduction of pesticides, the fight against invasive species, or the conditions for sustainable fishing and agriculture.

“Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction, because of our boundless appetite for uncontrolled and unequal economic growth,” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

“Ultimate straight line”

"This summit is a chance that the world must not miss, probably the last for governments to turn the tide and save our precious life support system," WWF Advocacy Officer Bernadette Fischler Hooper said on Tuesday.

“We are in the final straight line, and it is time for everyone to take a step forward, this is becoming crucial,” said Tuesday the boss of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Inger Andersen, visibly preoccupied.

100 billion per year

But the summit, chaired by China and moved to Canada due to Beijing's zero Covid policy, is taking place without the support of world leaders, who nevertheless came in large numbers to the climate COP in Sharm-el-Sheikh in November. It is therefore the Ministers of the Environment who will be responsible, from 15 December, for bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

The stated ambition remains to seal an agreement as historic as that of Paris for the climate in 2015. But some fear "possibly deliberate strategies to provoke a scenario similar to Copenhagen", where the COP Climate had experienced a resounding failure in 2009, notes the NGO Avaaz.

To avoid this, countries must agree on measurable and monitored targets, so as not to repeat the failure of the previous framework, adopted in 2010 in Aichi, Japan. Funding from rich countries to developing countries will also be a decisive point. A southern coalition has called for at least $100 billion a year for biodiversity, as much as for the climate, and $700 billion a year by 2030.

Some countries want to set up a fund dedicated to biodiversity, a proposal resisted by rich countries, which prefer to improve existing channels, in particular public development banks.

The thorny issue of biopiracy is also a source of blockages: many countries are demanding that rich countries finally share the benefits of cosmetics and medicines derived from resources conserved in the South.

"The cost of ecosystem degradation is estimated at 3,000 billion dollars per year by 2030", recalled Antonio Guterres.

The issue of funding

Tensions are crystallizing in particular around the question of the financing of the new global framework, an essential condition for the success of an ambitious agreement. The mobilization of all actors, public and private, is necessary.

This particularly concerns protected areas, a key instrument for the protection of biodiversity. Just to achieve the goal of safeguarding 30% of terrestrial and marine habitats by 2030, it is estimated that the financing needs of these areas will amount to between 149 and 192 billion dollars per year.

Faced with these considerable amounts, the experts indicate that it is necessary to create favorable ecosystems of financing making it possible to diversify the mechanisms and the sources. As such, several tools are of great interest and would benefit from being developed.

This is the case of Conservation Trust Funds which contribute, less through large volumes than through their continuous, stable and long-term action, to build this funding ecosystem. There are around a hundred of them currently in the world, eight of whom are supported by the French Development Agency and the French Fund for the Global Environment.

Profitable and stable

Conservation Trust Funds are private, legally independent institutions that aim to provide sustainable funding dedicated to conservation actions. They act like “life insurance contracts” for protected areas.

Thus, resources collected from international donors, States or private sector actors make it possible to generate a financial return via diversified investments on the capital markets. This is then donated in the form of subsidies to protected areas or to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) acting in favor of biodiversity. These funds thus complement the support already provided by the States and the resources drawn from tourism.

In Mauritania, for example, the Bacomab Fund has positioned itself in fishing agreements with the European Union. It has since benefited from a financial transfer linked to the service rendered by the Banc d'Arguin National Park, the main beneficiary of Bacomab, for the renewal of the halieutic resource.

Bacomab, in Mauritania, provides funding to the Banc d'Arguin National Park and its stakeholders who take care of fisheries resources.

These financing mechanisms, which appeared at the end of the 1990s, have multiplied and have continued to improve over the past thirty years, while ensuring their primary mission:

finance the protection of biodiversity in a stable and sustainable manner.




Britney Delsey for DayNewsWorld

DESPITE THE REPRESSION OF THE MOLLAHS

THE THREE-DAY NATIONAL STRIKE MOVEMENT IN IRAN IS FOLLOWED

In Iran, the protest movement born after the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16 is seeking new life.

A call for a general strike was launched from this Monday and for three days, with the aim of paralyzing the country.

The anger does not weaken indeed in Iran....

And this, despite the decision of the Iranian authorities to suppress the Gasht-e Ershad, the much maligned morality police responsible for the arrest of the young Mahsa Amini on September 13, 2022.

Movement widely followed....

In Tehran, an undetermined but fairly large number of stores have been closed since Monday, December 5, 2022.

In Narmak, people chanted "we did not give deaths for compromises and bowing down in front of an assassin of guide".

In Ekbatan, people chanted "down with the dictator, down with the IRGC" and "this is the year of sacrifice, we will overthrow Seyed Ali [Khamenei]", while protesting and lighting a street fire.

At the Towhid metro, people chanted “Khamenei assassin, his regime is illegitimate” and at the Chariati metro, they chanted “this is the last message, the whole system is targeted”.

On the Niyaech highway, the young people shouted at Khamenei “you are the assassin and the mercenary”,'' one can read in the press of NCRI Iran.

According to videos shared on the networks, the situation is identical in several provincial cities, in particular Shiraz and Isfahan.

In the cities of Iranian Kurdistan the movement seems even more followed.

On the 81st day of the uprising, there are nocturnal demonstrations in Tehran and in the provinces, bazaar strikes in 45 sectors of Tehran and 85 cities, strikes in 34 universities...

End of the morality police in Iran: real setback or window dressing ?

The Tehran regime wanted to calm the protest, which has been going on for almost three months in Iran:

the Iranian public prosecutor announced, on Saturday December 3, the abolition of the morality police at the origin of the arrest of the young Mahsa Amini,

This declaration, perceived as a gesture towards the demonstrators, came after the decision of the authorities to revise a 1983 law on the compulsory wearing of the veil, imposed four years after the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Mahnaz Shirali, the author of Window on Iran, the cry of a gagged people (ed. Les Pérégrines) warns against a declaration which "is not an announcement in good and due form", "The announcement of the suppression of the morality police which was made by the Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is not a formal announcement.

For the morality police to be abolished, a law would have had to be passed by the Iranian Parliament.

There, the subject is evoked in an ambiguous way.

This announcement is more intended to "deceive the international community", a gesture of communication vis-à-vis the West, more than an outstretched hand to the demonstrators.

Hence the continuation of the movement.

Besides, the women demand the abolition of the Islamic Republic, and not the simple abolition of the morality police.

Moreover, it is not only a question of feminist demands, for the cause of women, but also of social and economic demands, the people being starving.

But beyond the unprecedented call for a general strike, "we are more on a kind of civil disobedience", according to an expert, organizing such a movement in Iran is not a simple thing, since trade unions do not exist in the country.

The call for a strike is therefore circulating on social networks without anyone knowing who is behind it.

"It's done on purpose not to give clues about the movement to the regime, we are more on a kind of civil disobedience", explains Farid Vahid, the director of the Observatory for North Africa and the Middle East. at the Jean Jaurès Foundation.

From university students, to merchants in the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, a real barometer of dissatisfaction in Iran, to workers in refineries and teachers: all are called upon to not work for three days.

The mobilization in the big cities will be particularly scrutinized, as will that of the workers.

If we see large mobilizations in the big cities or workers in the petrochemical sector not working, this means that we are entering another phase of the movement. That of blocking the country to really enter into a revolutionary logic”, adds Farid Vahid.

This strike is not without risk for the organizers.

After the demonstrations by women, who are more and more numerous to abandon the wearing of the veil, even taking several hundred thousand people to the streets would be one more affront to the Mullahs.

The ruthless repression of the mullahs.

The head of the Iranian Judicial Authority affirmed, faced with the closed bazaars, that the "rioters" the name used to designate the demonstrators, threatened the traders to force them to close.

However, the regime has a weapon of massive deterrence: repression.

It has already claimed at least 300 victims since the start of the uprising, according to figures provided by Tehran.

Faced with the strike that is paralyzing Iran, the local press denounces the action of "rioters" and "Zionists"

While Iran lives its second day of general strike, the local press insists on the failure of its implementation and echoes original ideas to end the revolt, such as blocking the bank account of bareheaded women

"No to the forced strike" title on the front page of the state media Hamshahri ("Citizen"), on the second day of the general mobilization which is shaking Iran.

"The anti-revolutionaries [opposing the 1979 Iranian revolution, editor's note] have again been humiliated, their threat to strike has been futile," says this daily, the largest in the country with its 400,000 copies, photo d an open and bustling bazaar in one.

“While anti-revolutionary figures and media have mobilized all their resources in recent days to call for nationwide rallies and strikes, between 14 and 16 Azar [Persian calendar month], investigations Field reports in different cities, particularly in Tehran, indicate that the call for riots met with resounding failure from day one.”

In this context of protest, the head of justice announced that the death sentence of certain troublemakers linked to the foreign intelligence services, in particular Israelis, in particular those who had committed assassinations with weapons, had been confirmed and will be applied. very soon.

Already four people have been executed on Sunday for the same reasons.

Described as "thugs", they were executed by hanging for destruction of public property and kidnapping.

According to Iranian media, these four individuals were also found guilty of links with the Israeli intelligence services.

A protest movement suppressed in the blood but which would grow...




Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld

ZERO COVID POLICY PUSHES CHINESE

TO DEMONSTRATE "XI JINPING RESIGNATION !"

A rare occurrence in China, where the actions of citizens are constantly watched, demonstrations against health rules and confinements have multiplied in recent days. Whether it is the iPhone factory in Urumqi, where confinement has been imposed on employees, universities in Beijing or other cities in the country, anger is mounting against the regime and its decision to prosecute whatever happens its "zero covid" policy.

Anger is mounting in China over the draconian “zero Covid” policy practiced by the government for nearly three years. China is indeed tirelessly pursuing a zero Covid health policy, which involves strict confinements, quarantines for those diagnosed positive and almost daily PCR tests, provoking growing anger from the population. Students and workers are sometimes confined for many weeks to campuses or production sites, without the possibility of moving freely.

Call for "Xi Jinping, resign !" »

“We don't want PCR tests, we want freedom. According to a correspondent in Beijing for the German media Die Zeit, protests against the “zero Covid” policy and its strict restrictions continue. Protests erupted this morning in several cities across the country, including Shanghai, where demonstrators called for the resignation of President Xi Jinping.

Shanghai

A video widely circulated on the internet and geolocated in Shanghai by a news agency shows some protesters shouting "Xi Jinping, resign!" and also go after the Chinese Communist Party. To commemorate the victims of a fire that killed ten people Thursday in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in the West.

This is a very rare demonstration of hostility against the president and the regime in the economic capital of the country, subjected at the beginning of the year to an exhausting two-month confinement. In Shanghai, the police intervene to try to disperse the demonstrators, report on Twitter the journalists whofollow the situation. Our correspondent in Shanghai tweets images as well as testimonies collected in these unprecedented demonstrations, in a country which severely represses any protest. On Twitter, a Taiwan-based DW and Guardian correspondent gives voice to people protesting in Shanghai against government restrictions and its “zero Covid” policy. “Imagine who can accept not being allowed to leave the house for four months, with no food, no medicine for the chronically ill, and a woman in labor hemorrhaging in front of the hospital because she has no PCR test result ? »

“Imagine who can accept not being allowed to leave their home for four months, without food, without medicine for people who suffer from chronic illnesses, and a woman who gives birth and hemorrhages outside the hospital because she has no not the result of his PCR test? Or people dying on a bus that takes them to quarantine ? »

In Beijing, several hundred students demonstrate

Several hundred students from the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing took part in a demonstration on Sunday against the policy to fight against Covid-19.

Other cities concerned

Videos on social media have also shown a large vigil at the Institute of Communications in Nanjing, where participants also held up sheets of white paper, as well as small gatherings in Xian, Wuhan and Guangzhou, but the authenticity of these images could not be verified Protests also broke out in Wuhan, against the “zero Covid” policy

#CHINA “I'm heading home now. Just want to add how amazing this is. Never seen anything like this in the decade that I report on China. The anger seems too much to crack down on. Wonder what happens next. »

#CHINA “I want to emphasize that what is happening is incredible. It's the first time I've seen this in 10 years that I've covered China, ”said a journalist from the Dutch media Trouw, on Twitter, last night.

An anger born in Urumqi

These rallies follow in the footsteps of the spontaneous rally that took place at dawn on Sunday in Wulumuqi Street, the Mandarin name of the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang, where ten people died three days earlier in a fire. A fire which fed the anger of the inhabitants against the sanitary measures, since the authorities are accused of having increased the human toll by having imposed a confinement of the building and by hindering the arrival of help. Then in the afternoon, hundreds of people demonstrated in silence in the center of the city, brandishing white flowers and sheets of white paper, which had become a symbol of protest against censorship, before being dispersed by the police.

Large protests also broke out on Wednesday (November 23) at the world's largest iPhone manufacturing plant, owned by Taiwanese subcontractor Foxconn, according to videos and photos posted on social media Weibo and Twitter. Always in question the containment. The Taiwanese company, Apple's main subcontractor, has indeed been confronted in recent months with an increase in Covid-19 cases at its Zhengzhou site, prompting it to take containment measures. Nicknamed "iPhone City", this huge industrial site typically employs some 200,000 people, most of whom reside on site in dormitories. First images circulating on social networks show a crowd of workers parading in a street during the day; some face a line of people in white coveralls and riot police. The #RiotsFoxconn hashtag appeared to be censored midday Wednesday on Chinese social media. A few posts referring to the protests, however, remained online.

In a statement, Foxconn confirmed on Wednesday that "violence" took place at its factory. The Taiwanese group acknowledged workers had complained about wages and working conditions at the factory, but denied accommodating new hires with coronavirus-positive staff. "Regarding any violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the [Chinese] government to prevent similar incidents from happening again," he said.

These events are proof that the anger has spread across the country, after almost three years of living under ultra-strict measures against the virus.

After three years of a zero Covid strategy applied with the greatest firmness in China, weariness is turning to exhaustion, and frustration, sometimes to anger. The consequences of this ultra-strict approach are felt as much on the daily life of most Chinese as on the economy (the International Monetary Fund forecasts growth in 2022 at 3.2%, the second lowest since 1977).

"Concentration of Power"

On November 11, the National Health Commission announced an attempt to ease restrictions related to Covid-19, specifying that it was “not a relaxation of prevention and control”. If a part of the population, in particular the inhabitants of the countryside and the oldest, continues to adhere to this approach which has made it possible to avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths, the absence of prospects weighs on the morale of the youngest.

In the broadcasts of the Football World Cup, the Chinese are discovering that they are the only ones in the world who have not made any progress in the fight against covid for three years. An exasperation which now translates into repeated demonstrations.

“Unheard of since 1989 and the Beijing Spring which ended in bloodshed. It's spontaneous and unorganized, the only form of action possible in China," commented Pierre Haski, president of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The lack of economic opportunities, but also of travel, leisure, freedom in general, leads a growing number of Chinese to dare to address political issues, usually avoided in everyday conversations. The confirmation of Xi Jinping for a third term as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), at the organization's 20th congress in mid-October, only accentuated the trend: on October 23, the Chinese leader unveiled a team made up exclusively of faithful.


A dangerous concentration of power according to some.....



Garett Skyport for DayNewsWorld

IRAN AYATOLLAH KHAMENI JUDGES THAT :

THE MAIN ENEMY IS WORLD ARROGANCE

As protests have taken place in Iran since the death two months ago of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurd who was arrested for violating a strict dress code that requires women to wear the Islamic veil in public, the authorities denounce "riots" and hundreds of people were arrested and several sentenced to death.

The Iranian authorities continue to denounce the demonstrations triggered on September 16 by the death of Mahsa Amini. And consider that these are “riots” encouraged by the West, in particular by the United States.

“The problem is not four rioters in the street, even if each rioter, each terrorist must be punished (...). The battlefield is much larger. The main enemy is global arrogance,” said Ali Khamenei, referring to Washington and his allies.

Resentment towards the United States

The highest figure in the Iranian state made this statement, broadcast by state television, when he received a delegation of young paramilitaries in Tehran on Saturday November 27, 2022, on the occasion of Bassidji week. This militia is in charge of the country's internal security, a morality police rightly decried by the Iranians since the beginning of the demonstrations.

“Some people tell us in the newspapers or on the internet that all you need to do to put an end to the unrest, which started a few weeks ago, is to solve your problem with America and listen to the voice of the nation,” he said. he throws.

“How to solve the problem with America? Will the problem be solved by sitting down, negotiating and getting a commitment from America? “, he then asked?

" Nope. Bargaining won't solve anything. Our problem with America can only be solved by accepting to be held to ransom by this country,” he said.

According to Ali Khamenei, the United States demands, in order to put an end to hostilities, that Iran abandon its nuclear program, change the Constitution, confine its influence within its borders and close its defense industries. “No Iranian can accept such conditions,” he stressed.

The Bassidji also supported by the president

The Ayatollah of Iran also attacked those who say that we must “listen to the voice of the nation”. “The enormous voice of the nation resounded on November 4 (in pro-government demonstrations), or during the funeral of (General Qassem) Soleimani. This huge crowd was the voice of the Iranian nation,” he said.

This Iranian general was killed in Baghdad in a drone strike led by the United States, in a period of heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

On Saturday, on the occasion of Bassidji week, President Ebrahim Raisi for his part visited a unit of these forces in Tehran, the Tasnim agency said. "You had a brilliant performance in the fight against the rioters," he argued to the members of this unit.

In three days, Iran and the United States will face each other on a completely different ground, that of the World Cup. In Doha, the Iranian players did not lack the courage to denounce the repression in their country. In their first game against England, the team decided not to sing the national anthem. Staying in Iran, another Iranian footballer was however arrested Thursday by the regime for "propaganda", just after a Foolad Khouzistab training session

“If the nation rises, we will all be thrown into the sea”…..

Faced with the extent of the protest throughout the country, the mullahs only know how to use repression, denial, and the designation of an external agent as an enemy to stay in power, because it is their life. Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Friday preacher in the great city of Qom is fully aware of this: “If the nation rises up, we will all be thrown into the sea”…..

The Iranian population is rising... especially since the economic situation is catastrophic. Inflation and unemployment have risen almost steadily over the past 40 years. The supreme guide acknowledged, in 2019, that he had never aimed to improve the lives of his fellow citizens, but to maintain the Islamic Republic. The population is exasperated.

Death sentences...

Ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raïssi called on the police to "react firmly". Faced with the scale of the mobilization, the head of the Iranian judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, threatened to show "no leniency" vis-à-vis the demonstrators. In ten days, more than a hundred people were killed according to Iran Human Rights and hundreds arrested. A Tehran court has already sentenced to death a person found guilty of "burning down a government building, disturbing public order, gathering and conspiring to commit a crime against national security, being an enemy of God and corruption on earth".

Iranian justice has also pronounced a second death sentence in three days against a "rioter", announced Mizan Online, the agency of the Judicial Authority. In the same trial, a Revolutionary Court sentenced another person to death accused of "terrorizing people in the street using a bladed weapon, burning a citizen's motorcycle and attacking an individual with a knife,” the Mizan Online agency said on Tuesday evening. “The accused is an enemy of God for having used bladed weapons,” according to the verdict. Five other people were sentenced to five to 10 years in prison for “gathering and conspiring to commit crimes against national security and disturbing public order”.

It is that the characteristic of the Islamic Republic is the simultaneous use of the apparatus of a modern State and the religious ideology to establish its authority, to fight the dissensions and to control the women. What the population no longer supports!

For Farid Wahid, director of the Observatory of North Africa and the Middle East of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, these protests are the result of years of "economic, political and social frustration". “It is a strong, symbolic movement, which scares the regime. The Iranian authorities have received a very hard blow, taboos are broken, Iranians are done with the systematic linking of politics and religion. The situation is so catastrophic that these young people are ready to die to change things. Mahsa Amini's death was the spark that caused the explosion,” he adds.

From revolt to revolution, all the ferments are united for the revolution, according to researcher Gérard Vespierre.




Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld

THE "ZERO COVID" STRATEGY FAILED

THE CLOSURE IN BEIJING

RESTAURANTS AND SCHOOLS

Schools closed again in several districts in Beijing. Authorities have also announced two additional deaths linked to viral pneumonia in the Chinese capital. This epidemic rebound is testing the adjustment of the “zero Covid” strategy announced by the authorities.

Beijing reported a record number of Covid-19 cases in nearly three years on Tuesday, November 22, an increase that prompted authorities to order schools and restaurants to close, while many employees are called to work from at their home.

The capital of 22 million inhabitants, which had recorded 621 new local cases on Sunday, recorded 1,438 on Tuesday, a record since the start of the pandemic. Nationwide, the total number of daily cases, including imported cases, has now exceeded 28,000, with southern Guangdong Province and southwest Chongqing City being the most affected, according to health authorities.

New variants and first deaths since May

China is the last major world economy to apply a strict health policy, known as zero Covid, which aims to do everything to prevent contamination and death. It consists of imposing confinements as soon as cases appear, quarantines for people who test positive and almost daily PCR tests for the population. Following central government announcements, several cities had however announced the end of daily Covid tests. We have seen PCR kiosks in the streets close, including in Beijing. Then the test stations reopened. Same thing in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei which surrounds Beijing. Here too, in this pilot city for the optimization or adjustment of “zero Covid” measures, massive tests have returned, as well as partial confinements.

China, however, is no longer in last year's "broad spectrum" lockdowns. The confined report that their tower is locked and that they must stay at home, because there is a positive resident a few floors higher or lower.

This temporary strengthening of health restrictions is linked to the first three deaths from Covid-19 since Saturday, among elderly people in Beijing and the first official deaths for six months in China. But it is above all linked to this epidemic outbreak at the end of autumn in several Chinese megalopolises, i.e. more than 26,800 new cases throughout the territory on Sunday, 594 new infections in the capital: we are almost back to the peaks of last April.

The capital's authorities seem to want to avoid strict confinement for the moment like the one applied in Shanghai in the spring, but have however reinforced health measures in recent days. Nearly 600 areas of the capital, including residential buildings, are considered "high risk", forcing their inhabitants to remain confined to their homes or to be transported to quarantine centers.

Zero Covid policy in default ?

Schools have switched to online classes, restaurants, gyms, parks and tourist sites have been closed and employees are being asked to work from home. In the streets, queues in front of Covid-19 test booths are getting longer, with most public places now requiring a negative result within 24 hours to enter.

But this strategy, initially effective in stemming the spread of the virus, seems to be running out of steam in the face of new variants and is dealing a severe blow to the economy, isolating China from the rest of the world and causing strong weariness among the Chinese.




Carl Delsey for DayNewsWorld

COP27 FIASCO WHICH ONLY LEADS TO

CLIMATE FINANCING

At the end of the day's extension of COP27, participants snatched a historic agreement on Sunday on aid to poor countries affected by climate change but failed to agree on new ambitions for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse.

The countries gathered at the climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh (November 6-18, 2022) reached an agreement on the issue of climate finance, via the creation of a fund “for loss and damage”. In its final decision, COP27 thus opens up the prospect of expanding financial transfers from rich countries to less advanced countries.

Arm wrestling between the North and the South

With this question of financing at the center of the negotiations, the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh promised a showdown between the North and the South. It did not thwart the forecasts and Africa, strongly represented (with 2.3 times more delegates than in 2021), gave voice to it.

"Loss and damage in vulnerable countries can no longer be ignored even if some developed countries had decided to ignore our suffering," said young Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate.

Financing the irreversible damage of climate change caused by the countries of the North:

Pakistan has taken the leadership of these countries of the South which contribute very little to global warming, but which are already suffering major impacts. They demand means to compensate for the irreversible damage of this climate change.

Pakistan, in particular, has borne the brunt of global warming this year. Pakistan flood damage amounts to $30 billion

Pakistan was indeed affected by terrible floods between June and September. A third of the country was flooded after heavy rains. More than 30 million people have been directly affected and several million have had to flee, according to Imran Saqib, policy director for WWF Pakistan. "Most are still on the road and have nowhere to return, with problems accessing drinking water and sanitation," he said. 1,700 people were killed, 6,000 kilometers of roads were washed away and more than 1.5 million houses were destroyed or damaged, particularly in the country's most rural provinces, Sindh and Balochistan. Added to this is the problem of harvests: "many crops, such as cotton and sugar cane, have been affected", points out Imran Saqib.bad for future harvests.

What about emerging countries ?

This polarization of debates between rich and less advanced countries should not, however, make us forget the crucial role of emerging countries (China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, etc.) in confronting global warming. This group of countries controls more than 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is on him that the decrease in these emissions depends in the first place.

Climate finance, a dispute with multiple causes

At the instigation of the United States, the developed countries promised in 2009 to transfer at least 100 billion dollars per year from 2020 to developing countries for the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

In 2015, the promise was enshrined in the Paris Agreement. In 2020, the account was not there (83 billion according to the OECD). And it shouldn't be before 2023, according to the Climate Finance Delivery Plan.

A second bone of contention concerns the interpretation of Article 8 of the Paris Agreement on the concerted approach to “loss and damage” caused by global warming. The less developed or island countries, heavily impacted, claim transfers under what they call the “climate debt” of the rich countries, coming up against a front of refusal so far.

Less advanced countries do not have access to the sometimes substantial financing that certain emerging countries can obtain for the conversion of their energy infrastructures. South Africa and Indonesia, for example, have respectively obtained 8.5 and 20 billion dollars to accelerate the exit from coal within the framework of partnerships with developed countries.

Litigation is finally fueled by the recent worsening of fuel poverty and food insecurity in the world.

The year 2022 is likely to be the year of the first decline in several decades in the number of people with access to electricity. Today, the war in Ukraine combines with the recurrence of climatic shocks to increase the cost of basic foodstuffs which are becoming inaccessible for the poorest and are dramatically increasing hunger in the world, wiping out several decades of progress.

The expansion of funding

Hard won during the last two days of the conference, the final decision of COP27 will expand climate finance in three main ways.

First, COP27 endorsed the principle of a mechanism dedicated to the financing of loss and damage. It is a victory, imposed by the less developed countries and the island States which have broken the united front of the rich countries. It was facilitated by the mediation of the European Union, which is more open than the United States on the issue.

It remains to negotiate the details of the system, in particular the scope of donors (positioning of emerging countries?) and the rules governing access to this new financing.

Secondly, the countries have agreed to increase traditional climate financing, particularly that for adaptation, with an emphasis on agriculture to deal with food insecurity. This additional financing should make it possible to exceed the 100 billion promised in 2009.

Thirdly, the two mechanisms of article 6 on the carbon markets constitute a third source of financing. That concerning the States (article 6.2) can already be used, countries such as Japan and Switzerland being ready to finance emission reductions in other countries through this means.

It will be necessary to wait until 2024 for private actors to be able to access this type of market (article 6.4), which will facilitate the mobilization of private capital without which there can be no change in the scale of international climate financing.

The issue of 1.5°C has once again become a subject of debate

The inclusion of the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C relative to the pre-industrial era was a victory for the least developed countries and small island states which, in 2015 at COP21, made it a condition of their adherence to the Paris Agreement.

Paradoxically, the 1.5°C issue once again became a subject of debate when these countries obtained a second victory in the negotiations. According to some, 1.5°C would be unrealistic, even scientists say.

In all the climate scenarios analyzed in the 6th IPCC report published in 2021-2022, we reach a warming of 1.5°C within one to two decades, to then be slightly exceeded. This year, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by all human activities will have remained at record levels, according to a new analysis by the Global Carbon Project, an organization bringing together scientists from around the world. This year, global CO2 emissions from our operations are expected to reach 40.6 billion tonnes of CO2; which leaves us with a “remaining carbon budget” of 380 billion tonnes of CO2 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Humanity should therefore urgently reduce its emissions to be able to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The international community has, however, failed to be more ambitious on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Just before the COP, the United Nations had however warned that as things stood, the climate commitments made by the States were leading to a rise in mercury of 2.4°C, far from the 1.5 degrees targeted by the Paris Agreement. .

But several countries, such as Saudi Arabia and China, have tried to remove this 1.5°C target, which they consider too restrictive.

This bad debate on 1.5°C has polluted discussions on mitigation actions.

Emerging countries hold the key to accelerating the decline in global emissions

The other failure recorded in Sharm-El-Sheikh concerns the phasing out of fossil fuels. No mention of the subject in the final declaration, while we are talking about the first cause of global warming. This is probably due to the impact of the energy crisis and the accompanying fears of shortages. But also the result of intense lobbying by producing countries.

However, if new funding is available, the deployment of carbon-free energy sources in less advanced countries will be able to accelerate, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where investments in renewables have stalled for two years. We will then be in the scenario where all the conditional commitments made by the countries can be fulfilled.

Be that as it may, the key to accelerating the decline in global emissions by 2030 is held by emerging countries, which tend to be forgotten when discussing the sharing of responsibilities between North and South. More than 60% of global emissions are controlled by this group of countries, which no longer belong to the least developed countries without having joined the club of rich countries. However, these countries have generally not aligned their medium-term objectives with the neutrality target that they set for the long term. As soon as they do, the decline in global emissions will gain much faster momentum.

If COP27 removed a major obstacle to the acceleration of climate action by defusing the litigation that was accumulating on funding, it. on the other hand, did not bring any progress in resolutions that were nevertheless crucial. Many countries considered that the texts proposed by the Egyptian presidency constituted a step backwards on the commitments to regularly raise the level, made in Glasgow. "This COP has weakened the obligations for countries to present new and more ambitious commitments", regretted Laurence Tubiana, architect of the Paris agreements of 2015.

A radio-classical to conclude :

“This agreement in extremis is only a cover-up, the screen for one of the most conflictual COPs in history, marked by two very worrying setbacks. A screen that does not mask much, moreover, since it is a simple agreement in principle, the terms and contributors of which remain to be specified.

Suffice to say that the islands of the Pacific are not close to receiving the necessary aid for the construction of dikes to protect them from the rise in the level of the oceans. Rarely has the urgency been so great ".




Steve McQuillan for DayNewsWorld

CHALLENGES AND BELOW THE WORLD CUP 2022

IN QATAR

Qatar is dreaming of a big football party.

As a “rentier, oligarchic and clientelist” regime, Qatar has, as researcher Danyel Reiche explains, implemented a policy of soft power through sport. This, initiated in 1995 after the seizure of power by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, was reinforced in 2008 by the Qatar National Vision 2030, a program aimed at both strengthening national security and guaranteeing maintaining the reigning family in power.

It is within this framework that, from November 20 to December 18 (national holiday), Qatar will host the 22nd FIFA World Cup. The competition has not even started yet that the controversies surrounding the 2022 World Cup have been spilling ink in recent days.

Already very controversial, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which officially begins this Sunday with Qatar - Ecuador at 5 p.m., is more than ever in the eye of the storm. In any case, the controversies accumulate dangerously around the organization of the most prestigious of competitions.

heated controversies

The years between the awarding of the competition (2010) – controversial and tainted by suspicions of corruption – and its organization were heatedly debated.

These controversies relate in particular to the cost of the work estimated at 200 billion dollars; on the ecological footprint of the event, although it will be the most compact World Cup geographically since the very first, organized in 1930 in Montevideo; on the working conditions on the construction sites, almost slave-like and the number of worker deaths, pointed out in particular by a survey by the Guardian…

Lack of respect for human and workers' rights

In the desert, it is indeed difficult to hear the voice of immigrant workers having worked on the construction sites of the Mondial. Despite some social progress highlighted by the Qatari authorities, NGOs denounce the lack of respect for human rights in the country. It is out of the question to speak openly about working conditions in the country. Manifest, don't even think about it. The last foreign workers who ventured there, in the streets of Doha at the end of August, inherited a one-way ticket to their country of origin, with no hope of returning.

Challenging the regime from within is simply impossible. In the radius of the accusations, a number comes up in a loop. Some 6,500 foreign workers have died in the host country since the event was awarded, according to a Guardian investigation published in February 2021. The NGO FairSquare went further. At the using the documents sent to the embassies of the nationals concerned, she was able to establish that 60% of the deaths were classified as "natural deaths" or "cardiac arrest", two hypotheses that are not very credible... Be that as it may, the candidates for the departure for Qatar are not lacking, especially in Southeast Asia. The large and modern houses built in the city, the businesses created by returning migrants are real incentives to leave in order to improve their social and economic status.

Lately, it was impossible to miss the "false" supporters in the emirate , foreign fans actually mobilized by the organizing committee to liven up the atmosphere in Qatar upon the arrival of the various nations, but also all throughout the tournament while generating positive content on social media. The Guardian reveals precisely on this subject this Friday that these people will ultimately simply not be reimbursed by Qatar!

The British daily explains that these supporters, who were offered travel, accommodation and a place for the opening ceremony of the World Cup, were informed by the Qatari authorities that they would not receive their daily allowances. The bad image given off by this system put in place by Qatar seems to have motivated the organizing committee to backpedal.

This new revelation should further fuel the many criticisms around this 2022 World Cup, during which, against all odds, fans will not be able to consume alcohol around the stadiums.

The stadiums built especially for the World Cup which deploy innovative technologies. But behind the beautiful speeches of the organizers, their energy cost and their environmental impact raise questions.

The environmental cost

The Football World Cup, which opens this November 20 in Qatar, will broadcast to millions of enthusiasts the dazzling images of an abundance of energy at the wrong time.

Moved to winter to escape the extreme temperatures of this wealthy Middle Eastern emirate, the competition will take place in eight stadiums, seven of which have been built specifically to host the global event. So many "jewels of the desert" - this is also the nickname of one of them - firmly embedded in the story of a "sustainable" and "carbon neutral" World Cup, told by the organizers, the Fifa and the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee. Jewels of technology assimilated by environmental associations to greenwashing. “How can air-conditioned stadiums be sustainable? Here is the rhetorical question posed on the official World Cup website.

Also communicating on a "carbon neutral" competition and highlighting the energy performance of the stadiums - even in the aisles of the COP26 - does it amount to "greening the packaging, when the whole product is problematic", sums up a researcher . Especially since, “in the Gulf countries, air conditioning is not a bad word. It is part of the way of life. “, notes another researcher: in Qatar, lowering the temperature inside accounts for 60 to 70% of the total electricity consumption of the country, noted in 2021 the Qatari newspaper The Peninsula.

Another grievance against this country: the intolerance of morals

Thus individual and collective behavior in the public space: local dress traditions require covering the body, even if a certain tolerance is granted to tourists, and demonstrations of affection in public clash with local cultural values ​​and are prohibited; as for the consumption of alcohol and drunkenness on the public highway, they are punishable by law. However, it is possible to obtain alcohol in some international restaurants and hotels, and FIFA has announced that it will be possible to obtain beer from the main sponsor in the fan zones three hours before and one hour after the matches.

On the other hand, homosexuality is not tolerated in Qatar. It falls under the law and those found guilty are liable to seven years in prison.

FIFA, however, assures that it is committed with Qatar to “guarantee the safety and warm welcome of all participants in the FIFA World Cup. This includes ensuring that law enforcement activities related to the FIFA World Cup are strictly necessary and proportionate. 

As has been the case at several international events that Qatar has hosted, individuals' privacy will be respected. »

While several captains announced that they would wear the rainbow armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community during the World Cup in Qatar (a country where homosexuality is prohibited and criminally punished), Hugo Lloris explained to him that he would not, preferring to respect the host country of the 2022 World Cup. There is no doubt that ostensible demonstrations would offend the nationals to the point of disturbing public order...

In Western countries, we hear much more criticism of the non-respect of human and workers' rights as well as the ecological consequences and intolerance of customs than popular fervor. But the objective is elsewhere for the emirate.

"Put Qatar on the world map"

“The economic viability of the World Cup does not enter into the considerations of the Qataris. It is a country that has very different economic standards from ours with a colossal gas windfall for a small number of inhabitants. The GDP per capita there is one of the highest in the world,” recalls Mathieu Llorca. And recalls the priority of the Emir Al-Thani and his father Emir before him: "to put Qatar on the map of the world". At any price. Which he partly succeeded.

A leading international player

“How did a “young” State – it has only been independent since 1971 – and devoid of any classic attribute of power, become in the space of a few years a leading international player, on which the spotlight of the world whole are robbed when it hosts the Football World Cup?, wonders Lama Fakih, doctor in contemporary history and international relations, lecturer at Saint-Joseph University in Beirut, whose analysis published in TheConversation we reproduce .

Fifty years ago, Doha was just a small fishing village. To understand the spectacular trajectory of Qatar, Qatar has employed, mainly the alliance with the great powers, the practice of "hedging" (an approach consisting in maintaining good relations with all the actors of the international community, ignoring the differences that some may have among themselves), and "niche diplomacy". If this foreign policy was primarily intended to secure the sovereignty of the emirate, it was quickly put at the service of an excessive quest for power, favored by a weakening of traditional leadership in the Arab world.

British protectorate from 1916 to 1968, Qatar – a small emirate on the Arabian Peninsula with an area of ​​11,571 km2 (about that of the Île de France, to give an order of comparison) and populated by some 2.5 million people today, barely 10% of whom are Qataris, the other residents being foreign workers – has only one land border, which is moreover controversial: with the immense Saudi Arabia, almost two hundred times larger . Qatar is somehow stuck between the two giants of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

After its independence in 1971, the country evolved for nearly 25 years in the shadow of Riyadh.

The first Gulf War, in 1990-1991, was a historic turning point for the Gulf countries. In particular, it will have a major impact on the relationship between Doha and Washington. With Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Qatar realizes its own vulnerability and the ease with which one of its powerful neighbors could annex it. He considers the American security umbrella as the only real guarantee of survival. The US military base in Al-Udeid, Qatar, will be used extensively during Operation Enduring Freedom against the Afghan Taliban.

The country is gradually emerging as a privileged regional ally of the Americans – especially after the palace revolution of 1995, to which Washington undoubtedly gave its consent.

If Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani seeks above all to ensure the sovereignty of his country by relying firmly on the United States, he does not intend to bet everything on this alliance: Qatar is multiplying partnerships, to the point of asserting itself fairly quickly as a key player in the concert of nations. Indeed, Doha opts for a “hedging” policy, which consists of maintaining good relations with opposing players to reduce possible risks in the long term. 

This approach allows the “little ones” to gain influence to promote their political autonomy. Finally, Qatar is developing niche diplomacy, a preferred strategy for small states and medium-sized powers. Through niche diplomacy, Doha is forging a national brand image and international visibility.

Qatar is thus seeking to acquire a reputation as a neutral State, friend of all, “good international citizen”, modern, open to the West while remaining faithful to its Arab-Muslim identity.

Almost unlimited financial means with gas

The “express” emergence of this country remains unique. It is therefore explained by the strategic vision of its leadership, almost unlimited financial resources and favorable regional and international circumstances. Qatar was only able to acquire its status as a regional power insofar as its interests merged with those of other powers, first and foremost the United States.

But this whole trajectory has also been made possible by the fact that, the third largest holder of gas resources in the world and the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas, the emirate now has one of the highest GDPs in the world. As an indication, it goes from 8.1 billion dollars in 1995 to 44.5 billion in 2005 to exceed 100 billion from 2010. This is mainly possible thanks to its sovereign investment fund founded in 2005, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

An economic and investment force

Qatar therefore invests massively abroad, particularly in the major capitals. The financial crisis of 2008 thus constituted an opportunity to make oneself indispensable, furthermore consolidating one's alliances.

Education (with the Qatar Foundation), sport (with the purchase of Paris Saint-Germain, the broadcasting of many events via the Bein Sports channel and of course the next World Cup), culture (with the many museums prestigious exhibitions, the exhibitions of the greatest artists or the purchase of master paintings), mediations (in Lebanon, Darfur or more recently between the United States and the Taliban), and also the Al Jazeera news channel, are as many niches as it exploits to assert itself. The latter is more explicitly described by a Wikileaks cable as a “diplomatic tool” serving the interests of Doha. This also applies to Qatar for accusations of supporting terrorism,

The reception of this competition seems in itself to be governed by a form of hedging.

"This is the balancing act in which this country, overexposed to the media, has been engaged since it won the organization of the 2022 World Cup in 2010: to sell a smooth image of the flag-flag of the Arab country of the 21st century while based on a social system comparable to that of Saudi Arabia and other authoritarian regimes in the region, where the slightest head that sticks out is expelled, in the best of cases. »

Qatar “uses sport to gain power and influence on the international stage. He is aiming for the Holy Grail of sport. “, warns Raphaël Le Magoariec, specialist in the societies of the Arabian Peninsula and in sport, co-author of The Empire of Qatar the new masters of the game ? (ed. The Points on the i.).

Not sure, however, that the projection of “soft power” changes international perceptions.



Joanne Courbet for DayNewsWorld

SECOND DEATH SENTENCE IN IRAN

RELATED TO THE RIOTS

Second death sentence in Iran linked to the “riots” and 2000 charges filed.

Iranian justice pronounced Tuesday a death sentence against a "rioter", announced the press agency of the Judiciary Authority. This is the second such sentence in three days.

Iranian justice on Tuesday pronounced a second death sentence in three days against a "rioter", announced Mizan Online, the agency of the Judicial Authority.

Protests have been taking place in Iran since the death two months ago of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurd who was arrested for breaking a strict dress code that requires women to wear the Islamic veil in public.

The authorities denounce "riots" and hundreds of people have been arrested. On Sunday, a court in Tehran had already sentenced to death a person found guilty of "burning down a government building, disturbing public order, gathering and conspiracy to commit a crime against national security, to be an enemy of God and to corrupt on earth”.