War in the Sahel or operatic undertones?

On 26 Jul 2023 there was a military coup in Niger. The Western-backed leader, Mohamed Bazoum was detained and confined to house arrest by the presidential guard, led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani. This was the 4th such coup in West Africa within the last three years. It points to a trend, with the old European colonial powers one-by-on being kicked out of their old African colonies. The recent coups were all in the Sahel region of West Africa a region once ruled mostly by France. For more, read on… Continue reading “War in the Sahel or operatic undertones?”

The AUKUS ruckus

This is a story that will not be going away any time soon. We all might live in a yellow submarine, as the Beatles would have it, but Australians now get to try their hands at nuclear submarines. Well, ‘Yellowcake’ is part of the process, isn’t it? And we aren’t talking about Betty Crocker here. Jokes aside, the AUKUS – Australian, United Kingdom and United States – agreement has many threads running through it, which we will unpack to a degree here. The general world view is that AUKUS is a sub-standard deal (pardon the pun) for Australia, a win for the United States and UK, a loss for the EU and France, and otherwise an unwise decision on the part of the Australian government. There again, opinions differ, depending on one’s geopolitical stance. So, let’s start unpacking. Continue reading “The AUKUS ruckus”

The 2020 Beirut port explosion

At 15:08:18 UTC a massive blast rocked the city of Beirut, originating in the port. As of this writing 157 people were killed in the blast and over 6000 were injured, most from the blast wave and flying glass. It has also left upwards of 300,000 people homeless. The cause of the blast has been the subject of some wild speculation on the net, with fingers automatically pointed at Israel. The blast comes at the worst possible time for Lebanon, whose economy is cratering, which has been rocked by protests and is rife with corruption. Speculation is also that this event could spell the end of Lebanon as a state. To be certain, the blast and the crisis will be played to the maximum effect by all parties. The big question, especially if it was sabotage or an attack, is cui bono? We will look at that here, along with the causes of the blast and where it may be likely to lead Lebanon into the future. Continue reading “The 2020 Beirut port explosion”

French unrest and Yellow Vests

Emmanuel Macron has seen happier days. Eighteen months into his five-year term his approval rating has plummeted from a high of 62% when he was elected to less than half now, as low as 20% by some accounts as of this writing. It is likely to fall further still. The reason? It is symbolized for us in yellow vests in the form of what might seem to some readers to have all the appearances of yet another color revolution – the gilet jaunes protests that began on 17 November this year. Those protests are ongoing and were triggered by yet another rise in prices for the French. Continue reading “French unrest and Yellow Vests”