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Geopolitics

"Jihad," The Belgian Play Leaving Audiences In Stitches

Even as Belgium has emerged as a hub of Islamic terror networks, a Belgian Muslim is the theatrical toast of the town as he tackles jihad, racism and culture wars with humor.

"Jihad," The Belgian Play Leaving Audiences In Stitches
Marie-Béatrice Baudet

BRUSSELS — Ismael Saidi insists he's just a regular guy, even if the 39-year-old former policeman and practicing Muslim is the singular theatrical sensation in Belgium.

Jihad, Saidi's play in eight acts, has been sold out since late December 2014, as audiences eat up the tragicomic adventures of three lost souls who swear only by Allah, even though none of them has ever read the Koran. They're recruited and decide to go fight in Syria to save their Muslim brothers. From Brussels to Homs, by way of Istanbul, their journey quickly turns to chaos.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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