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   2017 REPORTS


 
FRANCE'S NEXT PRESIDENT;  HEZBOLLAH - THE REAL STORY;  AFGHANISTAN: THE ISIS THREAT

 

FRANCE'S NEXT PRESIDENT

France – Under threat from Marine Le Pen to take them out of the EU, the French electorate in the 1st stage of the presidential election have nevertheless sent her through to the final vote on Sunday 7th May. Contrary to widespread expectations that she would come top in the first round, her vote was less than that for the comparative ‘dark horse’ candidate who topped the poll. Emmanuel Macron is the centrist candidate from a new party ‘En Marche,’ that as yet has no members in the French Assembly and not so many in the country. But all of that is about to change. On past form (when her father got so close), all Le Pen ‘true believers’ will have voted in the first round and will be back for the final test. Almost everyone else in France with a political interest will on May 7th vote against her becoming President, by voting for Macron….and yet… in a political world that has so recently witnessed Brexit and the election of President Trump, prediction is not a growth industry. 
Sara Bielecki witnessed the events……….Go To: 'France’s Next President'

Hezbollah is a name many in the west have heard, but excluding neighbouring Israelis, probably know very little about this Lebanese-centred, Shi’ite political/military force, although it has been around now for many years. Originally a successful resistance movement, after Israel first invaded and then occupied Lebanon, it frequently - we think unfairly - still in the west gets “a negative Press,” influenced by Israel’s many friends. For some time it has been a significant player supporting the Syrian government in the civil war, representing as it does militant shi’ite Islam, opposing the more familiar regionally dominating sunni of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, with their numerous sponsored militias. Alessandro Bruno has studied this and to read his take……….Go To: 'Hezbollah - The Real Story' 

Afghanistan, that once featured so prominently in geopolitical considerations has not been reported by us since November 2015, although we had covered it monthly since shortly after the western military moved in after 9/11 in February 2002 to join up with ‘the Northern Alliance’. 

It has taken a particularly huge Bomb - apparently the biggest non-nuclear bomb the US has ever exploded - to put this large, untamed, war-torn central Asian enigma, back onto the world’s front pages, and for us to seek to bring NN readers up to date on the key events. 

It is probably now in a greater, certainly a more complex mess, even than when the Taliban took control, with a little help from (pre 9/11) al Qaeda, after the Russian occupation had ceased in 1989. Instead of being simply the battleground of Islamic militants, opposed in part by a US and NATO military contingent, in support of the same-old, same-old type of politicians –which of course it still is - it remains of active interest from neighbouring Pakistan, as usual. But regional and beyond heavyweights, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US, India, Russia and China are all players, engaged at some level. On top of the involvement of these significant nation states, are the religio-political forces: the Taliban itself, powerful but not sound, riven as it is by rivalries, its hegemony now challenged by ISIS notwithstanding this infamous bomb. The two main Afghan political parties involved in government are both Muslim Brotherhood and rivals, following some schism which extended into politics. Corruption (rather than prevention thereof), seemingly remains at the top of political and individual agendas, fuelled to a considerable extent by the nation’s massive heroin output that remains the largest in the world……….Go To: 'Afghanistan – The ISIS Threat'

 

Clive Lindley - Publisher/Editor


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