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Geopolitics

After Terror Attack, France Asks If It Has A 'Chechen Problem'

A wave of immigrants arrived in France from Chechnya during the early 2000s after the wars with Russia. A minority of this Muslim community has been radicalized, including an 18-year-old who beheaded a French schoolteacher in October.

In Evreux, where Samuel Paty's killer lived
In Evreux, where Samuel Paty's killer lived
Google Street View
Isabelle Mandraud

Along the Seine, halfway between the Brie and Gâtinais rivers, Djamboulat Souleimanov tries to squeeze his large frame into a seat at a picnic table, his right leg a little stretched out to the side to spare a stiff knee. It's an old injury that this former Chechen military commander is still dealing with. It's a physical memento of a past that he now evokes in broad strokes. It starts with Souleimanov as a history student at the University of Grozny, his studies completed on the eve of the first war that pitted this small Caucasian territory with a Muslim majority against the great might of Russia. December 1994, he served at the head of a battalion of 280 fighters, before he had a brief appointment — barely six months— as ambassador to Malaysia for an equally short-lived independent Chechnya. Because then came the second war, even more deadly, that began in 1999 when he had only just begun to work as a teacher. And finally, he left.

At the time, Djambulat Souleimanov couldn't find anywhere safe. Neither in Qatar, which he left after the assassination of a fellow countryman, nor in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he had to change apartment every day. He finally decided on France, where he arrived with his wife and five children in 2006, taking advantage of a stopover at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.

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Geopolitics

Has Lebanese Politics Finally Freed Itself Of Iran's Influence?

Lebanon's recent elections have shrunk the legislative block led by national power-brokers Hezbollah. But will a precarious new majority be able to rid the government of the long shadow of Tehran?

Supporters of pro-Iranian Hezbollah sit in a street decorated with picture of the party chief Hassan Nasrallah

Ahmad Ra'fat

-Analysis-

The results of parliamentary elections in Lebanon, have put an end to the majority block led by Hezbollah, the paramilitary group concocted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hezbollah and its Christian allies, the Free Patriotic Movement, led by President Michel Aoun, lost their 71 seats and will now have 62 (of a total 128 seats).

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