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Lebanon

After Checkpoint Killings, Civil War Fears Return To Lebanon

L'ORIENT LE JOUR (Lebanon)

BEIRUT - "Bring Candles & Lebanese Flags only.." pleads the message on Facebook.

A group of young Lebanese activists have organized a meeting Monday night on Martyrs Square, in Beirut, under the slogan "Say no to War… we want Peace in Lebanon."

Sunday, two anti-Syrian Sunni Muslim clerics were killed at a Lebanese Army checkpoint in north Lebanon, sparking violent clashes between pro and anti-Syrian groups that left 18 people injured.

Fears that the Syrian conflict could spill over into Lebanon had the Internet mobilized on Sunday, reports L'Orient Le Jour. "On twitter, Lebanese youths who haven't lived through the civil war were worrying that it might all start again," explains journalist Mario Garaieb, one of the organizers of Monday's meeting. "We don't want to be pulled into a new war," adds student Jessica Obeid, another organizer.

The 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War resulted in between 130,000 and 250,000 deaths, one million wounded and an exodus of more a quarter of the population.

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Geopolitics

How Russia And China Are Trying To Drive France Out Of Africa

Fueled by the Kremlin, anti-French sentiment in Africa has been spreading for years. Meanwhile, China is also increasing its influence on the continent as Africa's focus shifts from west to east.

Photo of a helicopter landing, guided a member of France's ​Operation Barkhane in the Sahel region

Maneuver by members of France's Operation Barkhane in the Sahel region

Maria Oleksa Yeschenko

France is losing influence in its former colonies in Africa. After French President Emmanuel Macron decided last year to withdraw the military from the Sahel and the Central African Republic, a line was drawn under the "old French policy" on the continent. But the decision to withdraw was not solely a Parisian initiative.

October 23-24, 2019, Sochi. Russia holds the first large-scale Russia-Africa summit with the participation of four dozen African heads of state. At the time, French soldiers are still helping Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, and Niger fight terrorism as part of Operation Barkhane.

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Few people have heard of the Wagner group. The government of Mali is led by Paris-friendly Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, although the country has already seen several pro-Russian demonstrations. At that time, Moscow was preparing a big return to the African continent, similar to what happened in the 1960s during the Soviet Union.

So what did France miss, and where did it all go wrong?

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