Author: Gisbert Bouchard

Most dismissed retired IDF general Yitzhak Brick’s warning earlier this year of a Hamas invasion. Now Netanyahu wants his advice on how to win. Yitzhak Brick might be the only Israeli military official to see what was coming. And he’s been warning of it for some time. He also does not see a ground invasion of Gaza as the only option. And Israel must prepare for a multi-front war given the situation in the north. Brick cautioned, among other things, of problems with the competence of ground forces and made it clear that the ground invasion does not have to be…

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Moscow (28/2). Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that non-governmental organizations in Central Asia have stepped up their anti-Russian activities amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army. Shoigu said this at the board of the Russian Ministry of Defense on February 27. According to him, there are more than 100 “large pro-Western non-governmental organisations” operating in Central Asia, which have more than 16,000 representative offices and branches. “Against the backdrop of the special military operation, these NGOs have significantly increased their anti-Russian activities in order to reduce military-technical, economic and cultural cooperation between the Central Asian states and Russia.…

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All men in Russia are required to do a year-long military service, or equivalent training during higher education, from the age of 18. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out the routine spring conscription campaign, calling up 150,000 citizens for statutory military service, a document posted on the Kremlin’s website showed on Sunday (31 March). All men in Russia are required to do a year-long military service, or equivalent training during higher education, from the age of 18. In July Russia’s lower house of parliament voted to raise the maximum age at which men can be conscripted to 30…

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Frankfurt (22/09 – 58.33) Since May 2022, the Tajikistani authorities have stepped up their ongoing crackdown on Pamiris, an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority originating from the Pamir mountains in Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of Tajikistan. They have arbitrarily detained hundreds of Pamiris, including civil society activists and human rights defenders, and imprisoned over 200 of them after convictions in unfair trials, in a campaign aimed at stripping the local communities of their leadership and dismantling their civil society. The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Pamiri civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders who have been detained solely…

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France has started evacuating its citizens and other Europeans from Niger, days after a junta toppled the president, Mohamed Bazoum, and seized power in the west African country. Tensions between Niger and former colonial power France have escalated after the coup on 26 July overthrew one of the last pro-western leaders in Africa’s Sahel region. France’s decision to swiftly evacuate its citizens goes further than its reaction to putsches in recent years in the other former French colonies of Mali and Burkina Faso, where French citizens were not evacuated after military coups. The first of three planned evacuation flights landed in Paris…

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Frankfurt, London (12/08 – 80) It seems that the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has become a hostage to its investments in Tajikistan. In mid-July, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) appealed to the Supreme Economic Court of Tajikistan with a demand to annul the land certificate for the campus of the University of Central Asia in Khorog, which is owned by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The university’s administration, local authorities, and the prosecutor’s office have not commented on this matter. However, it is evident that if the authorities manage to revoke the land certificate,…

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Copenhagen, Berlin (11/8 – 42) The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) highlighted severe restrictions imposed by the Tajikistani government on religious freedom during a virtual hearing on July 20, 2023. The commission expressed grave concern over the intensified persecution targeting the Pamiri Ismaili Muslim population of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO). Source: https://www.uscirf.gov/events/hearings/religious-freedom-tajikistan-policy-options-country-particular-concern A Pattern of Repression Since 2009, Tajikistan has enacted a complex web of laws to monitor, control, and restrict religious practices. Not only are women and children under 18 prohibited from attending public religious services, but unregistered religious communities are also denied the right to…

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Frankfurt, Brussels (21/7 – 37) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again reversed course, approving Sweden’s bid to join the legacy European military bloc, having been promised a brace of classic F-16 fighter jets. This new deal was hammered out at the recent NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, and included a vow by Türkiye to avoid quarrels with ancient enemy Greece also a NATO member. During a 12 July press conference on in Vilnius, Erdogan touched on several issues important for Türkiye, including ratifying Sweden’s NATO bid, its F-16 jet deal with the US, and a “balancing act” between…

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France will send a ship equipped with a deep-sea diving vessel to help the search-and-rescue operation for a disappeared submersible that took wealthy tourists to visit the site of the Titanic wreckage, the French government said on Tuesday. The ship, called the Atalante, is managed by the Ifremer research institute. Ifremer said it had been contacted on Monday by the U.S. Navy with a request for help. “It carries the Victor 6000 autonomous robot, capable of descending to a depth of 6,000 metres, beyond the 3,800 metres of the wreck’s position”, Ifremer said, adding the ship was expected to arrive on the…

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Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir says his recent working visit to Paris was to maintain the positive momentum and further strengthen bilateral relations between Malaysia and France. He said efforts would be made to enhance bilateral cooperation especially in sectors of mutual benefit such as education, defence, trade, investment and health. In a Facebook post on Saturday (June 3), Zambry said he had the opportunity to exchange views during a meeting with his counterpart Catherine Colonna. Zambry said he also expressed Malaysia’s views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. “This is to enable both countries…

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