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Geopolitics

ARABICA -- A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA -- A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

DAY OF DEFIANCE
*Wire agencies continue to cover the Syrian revolution from a distance, relying on eyewitness accounts and amateur footage posted online. Syrians turned out across the country for the "Day of Defiance" protests, with at least protesters killed in Homs and one in Hama. Meanwhile, the army deployed dozens of tanks and armored vehicles to the small coastal city of Banias. "They seem intent on attacking Banias as they did in Daraa," one unnamed activist told AFP.

UNDETERRED
*"Security forces open fire but the message from demonstrators is clear," writes the administrator of the Syrian Revolution facebook group under a video clip of a street with constant gunfire in the background. "This is the Friday of defiance," says one of the men filming. Speaking to President Bashar al-Assad, the men filming say "your days are numbered" and "Go on, shoot at us – we'll still come out and protest every day."

VIDEO EVIDENCE, PART 1
*A YouTube video features a clip from the Syrian official media and opens with a banner saying, "Witness the lies of the Syrian media. They say that an official and four members of the security forces were killed in Homs on Friday and at the same time they say that 10 security officers were killed in Homs. We filmed everything so they can no longer lie." The clip ends with the person filming cursing the state television channel.

VIDEO EVIDENCE, PART 2
*Another clip filmed by a group of men shows shaky camera work as they scan the streets trying to get a clear shot of the sniper on a nearby rooftop. His head is crouched down. But at :30, they zero in on the man in sunglasses on the roof of what looks like an apartment building when he lifts up his head. "There's the sniper," one exclaims. "Film it," says another.Then they start shouting, "the people want the regime to fall." Commenters below the clip expressed outrage, with one writing, "it's enough to make you want to cry" and another writing "the regime's flunkies are headed for the trash heap of history."

BIN LADEN BACKERS IN CAIRO
After months of protests directed at the Egyptian government, thousands of mostly hardline Islamists gathered on Friday in front of the American Embassy in Cairo to protest the killing of Osama bin Laden. The Salafist protesters shouted slogans such as "Obama – Bin Laden is in Tahrir Square" and "Bin Laden, Bin Laden, retribution, retribution!" while waving images of the fallen Al-Qaeda leader.

May 6, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Geopolitics

The Taiwan Paradox: Preparing For War And Ready To Do Business With China

Large segments of Taiwan seem underprepared or indifferent when it comes to the possibility of Chinese invasion. But some are actively preparing, using Ukraine as a role model.

Taiwanese tanks fire cannons during a live-fire drill in Pingtung county, Taiwan, on Sept. 7 2022.

Taiwanese tanks fire cannons during a live-fire drill in Pingtung county, Taiwan.

Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire
Lucie Robequain

TAIPEI — Hsu has just completed the required four months of military service in Taichung, central Taiwan. He had spread the training over the course of the past four years, training for one month every year. “Many guys go there during the summer. It’s like a summer camp: we go to a shooting range, we make friends,” he explains.

Yet these words seem somehow strange, incongruous, as his country is threatened by one of the most powerful armies in the world. “There is a kind of collective denial toward the Chinese threat. Many still think that the possibility of an invasion, in the short or medium term, remains very unlikely,” says Raymond Sung, a political expert based in Taipei.

In Taiwanese companies too, people remain overly confident. "What’s the point of worrying? Taiwanese are working on the technologies of the future! Thinking about war would just distract them," argues Miin Chyou Wu, head of Macronix, a company that makes memory cards.

Though relatively rare, some companies are even expanding in China. That’s the case with Delta, a Taiwanese flagship that produces equipment essential to a green energy transition (including charging stations and solar panels). Based in the outskirts of Taipei, not far from the Keelung River, Delta recently bought new land last May in Chongqing, southwest China. Their goal is now to expand their electric generator factories.

“We’re not very worried: we know that we won’t be the ones who will solve the conflict with Beijing," says Alessandro Sossa-Izzi, the head of Delta’s communication team. "But our grandchildren’s grandchildren will."

Of course, the Taiwanese government is more concerned.

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