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Geopolitics

Benghazi Basic Training: Can Libya’s Ragtag Rebels Shape Up In Time?

At the gates of Benghazi, military training is being dispensed to all those eager to go to the frontlines. But enthusiasm can’t make up for poor hardware.

Checkpoint Brega
Checkpoint Brega
Adrien Jaulmes

BENGHAZI – In a camp near the southern entrance of Benghazi, a group of would-be soldiers of the Libyan revolutionary army are sitting loosely on the ground. Some wear mismatched uniforms, but most are dressed in civilian clothes. Another group is set to begin studying how to operate a Kalashnikov. Before getting down to business, the men all shout a hearty "Liberty! Freedom!"

"You must first remove the clip and verify the chamber," says the instructor, his head covered by a helmet painted in black, green and red, the colors of the Libyan revolution. He shows the gun to 50 or so young men and teenagers sitting under the blinding sun.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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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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