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Lebanon

And Where Does Lebanon Stand On Syria?

Lebanon's recent history has long been inextricably linked to its northern neighbor. In the face of Damascus' crackdown on a popular uprising, the current pro-Hezbollah government has been loathed to criticize the Syrian regime. But the

The Lebanon-Syria border (Paul Keller)
The Lebanon-Syria border (Paul Keller)
Laure Stephan

BEIRUT- Perched on the pedestal of the Martyrs' statue in central Beirut, a group of young men are waving Lebanese flags, and Syrian ones too. "Freedom, freedom!," they chant. "Lebanese people and Syrian people are one!" Soon after, they start shouting the names of the cities attacked the past few days by the Baathist regime's latest offensive.

The slogans and city names are chanted by a crowd of no more than 100 people who have come to show their support to Syrian people. The turnout may seem small, but it is the biggest demonstration in Beirut against violence in Syria since the beginning of the uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in March.

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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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