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Geopolitics

Benghazi: Surveying Remains Of Decimated Gaddafi Forces

Rebel fighters in Benghazi thank France and allies for their military intervention, say bombing barrage arrived just in time.

A B-2 stealth bomber is readied for Allied assault on Libya over the weekend.  (USAF)
A B-2 stealth bomber is readied for Allied assault on Libya over the weekend. (USAF)
Adrien Jaulmes

BENGHAZI - The bombs fell with devilish precision. Two Sunday morning air raids by the international coalition destroyed several dozen of Muammar Gaddafi's tanks, which were gathered at the southern entrance of Benghazi. Their advance toward the rebel capital was stopped in its tracks. Loyalist survivors took to their heels, retreating hurriedly to the south.

Blackened T-72 heavy tank carcasses, multiple rocket launchers, self-propelled guns and armored vehicles dotted the four-lane highway near the city. Some tanks look as if they have been dismembered by an unknown force, their turrets furiously torn apart and thrown dozens of meters away. Others, abandoned by their crews, are lying about like prehistoric animals wiped out by a cataclysm from above. Smoldering black steel remains are bleeding shiny drops of molten aluminum on the tarmac. From time to time, ammunition explodes with blinding flashes of light. The road is littered with pieces of charred metal and debris from the withdrawal. There is a smell of burned tires and gasoline in the air, the smell of defeat.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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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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