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Geopolitics

Gaddafi’s Son Defiant: Calls Rebels 'Rats,” Predicts Another Vietnam For U.S.

In interview with Le Monde, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi doesn't exclude a cease-fire and negotiations, but otherwise strikes an aggressive posture toward the rebels and the West.

Rebel forces near Brega (Al Jazeera)
Rebel forces near Brega (Al Jazeera)
Jean-Philippe Remy

TRIPOLI - Among Muammar Gaddafi's children, Saif Al-Islam was the one with the ambition to become Libya's reformer. The Libyan leader's second son lived and studied abroad and was the presentable face of the regime in the West. But when the insurrection broke out in February, this former engineer stunned the world in a televised speech in which he vowed to fighting against the rebels in Eastern Libya ""until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet."

Four months later, he's playing a key role in Tripoli. Because of NATO strikes, he's very secretive about his whereabouts but he says this last afternoon he went "swimming in the sea." Since June 20, he's facing an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC), like his father and the head of Libyan intelligence.

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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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