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SPOTLIGHT: DEATH IN IRAQ

As the attacks in Paris and Brussels have shown, ISIS is a very real threat to daily life in the West. But as unacceptable as the toll paid by innocent European victims may be, it's always worth remembering who bears the brunt of Islamic terrorism: innocent Muslims. The latest case is in Iraq, where at least 93 people were killed in a Shia neighborhood of Baghdad yesterday, the deadliest attack of the year so far in the country.


Three more people were killed and 10 were wounded today in two suicide explosions at a police station in western Baghdad. Quoted in a report published today in Le Monde, one citizen of the capital describes the latest deadly wave of attacks as "Baghdad routine," amid regular power cuts and never-ending political crises.


ISIS may have lost crucial battles and important parts of territory, but its constant attacks, targeting mostly Shia Muslim communities, are a threat to Iraqi society's very existence, notes Middle East scholar Ranj Alaaldin, in a piece today in The Guardian. "Rehabilitating Iraq's cities and people will prove to be far more costly and challenging than defeating ISIS itself," he writes. That wars which are won, and missions accomplished, can be undone just as quickly, is a lesson that Iraq knows all too well.


SENATE SUSPENDS DILMA, IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDS

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been officially suspended from office after a 20-hour Senate session that saw 55 vote in favor of her being tried and 22 against. Folha de S. Paulo reports that Vice President Michel Temer, who himself is also facing potential impeachment proceedings, will take over during Dilma's impeachment trial by the Senate, which can last up to 180 days and may well end up in her being definitively removed from office. Brazil-based U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald described Temer as an "unelectable, corrupt neoliberal."

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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