Cairenes are not modest about their beloved city. It is Umm al-Dunya, they say, the mother of the world. They also call it simply Masr, the Arabic term for Egypt, suggesting, of course, that there is really nothing worth noting in the vast country beyond their grand city on the Nile.
Fifty miles east of Cairo, a Chinese construction firm is giving the aged, crowded, increasingly decaying “mother of the world” a face-lift of sorts. China State Construction and Engineering Company (CSCEC) has broken ground on a new business and administrative district to the tune of $3 billion, mostly financed by Chinese banks. When completed by late 2019, according to projections, much of Egypt’s government will move to this new “capital.” Continue reading
The European Commission wants a continent-to-continent free trade deal with Africa, shifting relations away from development towards trade.
The proposal is a long-term goal for what it describes as a “new alliance” with the continent amid promises to create up to 10 million Africa-based jobs in the next five years.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Friday (14 September), the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the latest plan is different from all the past announcements on Africa. Continue reading
An American battleship, the USS Bulkeley destroyer, has reportedly entered the Mediterranean and is headed for Syria, equipped with over 50 Tomahawk missiles. This deployment comes after previous reports of the attack submarine USS Newport News (SSN-750) arriving in the Mediterranean, and after the arrival Tuesday of A U.S. Marine Corps small attack carrier full of F-35B stealth jets, the USS Essex, in the Middle East region as detailed by the military website, Task and Purpose.
The Russian news agency Interfax now reports that American forces in the region possess up to 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles available to strike targets in Syria if ordered to do so. Continue reading
What does a man who already controls pretty much everything in his country — from politics to the judiciary to defense — give to himself? How about direct takeover of his country’s sovereign wealth fund?
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed himself chairman of Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund after recent promises to exert greater influence over the economy. He’s nixed the old guard management and hand-picked their replacements, in a move his political rival, presidential candidate who lost the June election, Muharrem Ince, has aptly described as taking “public companies prisoners”.
And not to be one to break medieval sultanate tradition, he’s further named his son-in-law and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak as deputy chairman. Continue reading
Schriver: U.S. to bolster Taiwan air defenses, submarines
China’s military is a key player in the Belt and Road economic initiative around the world that is being used to expand Beijing’s overall global power, a senior Pentagon Asian affairs official says.
Separately, the Pentagon is working with Taiwan’s government to bolster the island’s air defenses in the face of growing missile and aircraft threats from China, said Randall G. Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Continue reading
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lauded his country’s relationship with Eritrea and informed the world about Moscow’s plans to build a logistics center there.
He was speaking alongside his Eritrean counterpart at a press conference in Sochi after their bilateral meeting, which he also noted included discussions about building regional transport corridors, pipelines, and opening up a Russian language department in one of Asmara’s universities. Lavrov also said that the UNSC sanctions against Eritrea that were imposed in 2009 after reports that the country was aiding Somalia’s Al-Shaabab should be lifted, and he praised Eritrea for all that it’s done in the name of regional peace over the past few months in view of its rapidly moving rapprochement with Ethiopia that completely transformed the geopolitical situation in the Horn of Africa. Continue reading
President Cyril Ramaphosa insists his government’s confiscation of white farmer-owned land without compensation is “no land grab,” but rather a “moral, social, and economic imperative.” He added:
“By bringing more land into productive use, by giving more South Africans assets and opportunities, the country is creating conditions for greater, more inclusive, and more meaningful growth.”
Yet social media posts out of South Africa tell a completely different story. In one video clip, black protesters can be seen chanting:
“Let us kill the white man. The white man must die.” Continue reading
U.S. intelligence agencies are closely monitoring Russian military activities in Libya for signs that Moscow may soon build a military base in the divided North African state.
Intelligence reports indicate that Russia is planning to expand its Syrian bases at Tartus and Hemeimeem to Libya.
The possible Russian move into Libya represents the most recent failure stemming from the policies of President Obama that backed Islamist rebels who overthrew and killed Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
Mr. Obama has said that the failure to prepare for the aftermath of the ouster of Gadhafi was the worst mistake of his presidency. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also came under fire for failing to provide security for Americans who were attacked and killed in Benghazi after Gadhafi’s fall. Continue reading
European leaders are not only unable to counteract the demographic crisis on the Old Continent, but are also losing ground in terms of defense. President Trump’s skepticism and reservation about the military ideas of European bureaucrats, Ankara’s increasingly aggressive actions towards Cyprus and Greece, and the rapprochement between Turkey and Russia highlight NATO’s weakness on the eve of its summit in Brussels.
Europe stands no chance if forced to face conflict on three fronts. Two of them are of conventional character: on the eastern flank, where there are continuous tensions with Russia, and in the Balkans near the border with Turkey. The third concerns the Mediterranean area, where young and strong men from Africa and Central Asia cross European borders with the support of a thousand people from the continent’s heartland. Europeans are also militarily involved in Afghanistan, Syria and take part in the growing conflict in Mali. Continue reading
Russians have a history of cooperation with many African countries, however, since the fall of the Soviet Union involvement in Africa has effectively ended. Recent years have seen the Russians engaging more with Africa, especially in northern countries around the Mediterranean Sea, where the Russians are using military operations against various rebel or terror groups as leverage against the United States. Continue reading
The world transformed and nobody in the West noticed. India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The 17 year-old body since its founding on June 15, 2001 has quietly established itself as the main alliance and grouping of nations across Eurasia. Now it has expanded from six nations to eight, and the two new members are the giant nuclear-armed regional powers of South Asia, India, with a population of 1.324 billion and Pakistan, with 193.2 million people (both in 2016).
In other words, the combined population of the SCO powers or already well over 1.5 billion has virtually doubled at a single stroke. Continue reading
U.S. officials wouldn’t definitively confirm Chinese personnel were behind laser incidents
WASHINGTON—Lasers have targeted pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean more than 20 times in recent months, U.S. officials say, following a series of similar incidents in which Pentagon officials said Chinese personnel used lasers against U.S. pilots in East Africa.
Officials said all of the incidents occurred in and around the East China Sea, typically where the Chinese military or other Chinese civilians operate. The laser signals directed at American aircraft appeared to be coming from fishing boats operating in the area and from shore, multiple officials said. Continue reading
Earlier this week while most of the world was transfixed on the World Cup, the Trump/Kim handshake, or a multitude of other sundry events, Julius Malema, aka the Hitler of South Africa, was busy telling white people in his country that he’s not going wage genocide against them. Yet.
Think of it as a revived Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2013 when he announced China would proudly sponsor a multi-decade international commercial and infrastructure development project — notionally running from China through Central Asia and connecting to points beyond. Yes, a benign Silk Road where all prosper. The project would have a maritime development component as well.
India, however, was immediately suspicious. China and India are rival powers, militarily and economically. They have unresolved territorial disputes in the Himalayas that occasionally involve gunfire between their armies. Continue reading
Russian President Vladimir Putin said a naval standing force, including warships with Kalibr long-range land attack cruise missiles, will be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made at a meeting with top military officials and defense industry leaders that took place in Sochi on May 16. One of the missions is delivering strikes against terrorist targets in Syria. 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned in 2018. The force will go through intensive training.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet has become a much different force in comparison to what it was just three years ago. Since 2015, the year the operation in Syria was launched, it has received 15 new ships, including two frigates and six conventional submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. With S-400 and S-300V4 air defense systems, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare systems and shore-based anti-ship Bastion batteries deployed on the Syrian coast, the ships in Eastern Mediterranean operate in a relatively safe environment. Kalibr missiles have already been fired from frigates and submarines at terrorist targets in Syria. Continue reading