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Geopolitics

Snapshot Of A Syrian Smuggler: Arms, Antiquities And Jihad Along Turkey's Border

As war has made regular work scarce, Ayham has trafficked in anything that has a buyer. But lately he says the face of the black market has started to change.

Earlier this year, near the Qah refugee camp in Syria, four miles from the Turkish border
Earlier this year, near the Qah refugee camp in Syria, four miles from the Turkish border
Boris Mabillard

On his cell phone, Ayham shows pictures of the archaeological treasures: a gold Byzantine cross, a statue of Alexander the Great, and another one of the Virgin Mary. Are these objects really priceless wonders, dug up by Syrian tomb raiders to be sold on the black market in Turkey?

“These are pale copies,” declares a rich merchant from Istanbul who’d come to the Syrian border to do business.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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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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