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Lake Chad Basin: Fighting terrorism, ‘decisive test’ on biggest challenges of our time

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Early marriage remains a serious problem in Chad in the Sahel region of Africa. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The situation in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin region remains highly volatile, the UN peacekeeping chief told the Security Council on Friday, spotlighting a rising tide of extremist violence as a continuously crippling force.

Lives are lost daily to terrorist attacks, millions are displaced and health care remains inaccessible – even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage. 

The fight against terrorism is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and the way in which the international community responds and attacks on its deep causes represents a decisive test”, said Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

Pushing back

Outlining efforts to push back against terrorist threats, he cited as an important achievement, the formation of the Group of Five (G5) Sahel countries’ Joint Force – comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. 

Since its deployment in 2017, the Force has increasingly demonstrated its ability to respond to attacks on civilians.

However, Mr. Laxroix stressed that it now stands at a crossroads, requiring more predictable funding to tackle a range of challenges – including terrorism, weak border security and the trafficking of persons, drugs and weapons – all of which impact women most severely.

Support grass-roots women’s groups

Against the backdrop of pervasive right violations and extremist violence, women’s organizations are fighting back with solutions grounded in dialogue and empowerment, according to Fatimata Ouilma Sinare, President of the Burkina Faso chapter of the Network on Peace and Security for Women in the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Space.

She outlined a far-reaching security crisis that disproportionately impacts the region’s females and called for support from the international community.

Women in crisis

The Lake Chad Basin and Sahel regions have seen spiking rates of terrorist violence in recent years, including devastating attacks against civilians.

Women in those regions also suffer from high rates of harmful practices, such as early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and increasing recruitment by armed groups.

Moreover, Ms. Sinare informed the Council of rampant reports of sexual abuse and rape, along with women’s severe underrepresentation in decision-making roles that could help improve policy outcomes.

Community-level support

To address these grave concerns, a range of women’s groups across the region are offering solutions that aim to combat violent extremism and multiple forms of violence at the community level. 

However, Ms. Sinare stressed that crucial grass-roots civil organizations remain severely underfunded and require technical and financial support to have a long-term impact.

Other recommendations noted that regional and international efforts should focus on encouraging dialogue among armed groups and State and regional authorities to stem the unabated violence. 

Support is also needed to improve the quality of health and education services and bolster conflict prevention activities.

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Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’

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Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.

As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.

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American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’

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“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.

One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.

Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.

That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.

Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.

He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.

Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.

Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.

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Iran’s Parliament approves bill on accession to SCO

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Iran’s Parliament has approved by a majority vote a bill on the Islamic republic’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according TASS information.

205 parliamentarians voted for the bill, 3 voted against and 4 abstained.

On September 30, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a bill on the country’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to the Young Journalists Club news agency, Raisi sent the bill to the country’s parliament for consideration.

Iran signed a memorandum on liabilities for joining the Organization.

The Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan on September 15-16 launched the procedure of admitting Belarus as a full-fledged member.

Egypt and Qatar were granted a dialogue partner status, while Bahrain, Kuwait, the Maldives, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia began the procedure for obtaining this status.

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