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Lebanon

Is Lebanon On The Verge Of A New Civil War?

The two explosions that killed at least 23 people this week in Beirut are the latest sign that the country is moving toward the kind of conflict that has torn it apart in the past.

Lebanese soldiers guarding the site of the Nov. 19 blast in Beirut
Lebanese soldiers guarding the site of the Nov. 19 blast in Beirut
Farid Aichoune

Does this mean civil war is coming back? After the twin explosions against Iran's embassy in Beirut on Tuesday — which has left 23 people dead, including Iranian cultural adviser Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari — this question is an important one.

Lebanon finds itself entangled in a major political crisis inextricably linked to the Syrian conflict: Since Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned in March, there is no government. Tuesday's attack, which also left 146 injured, signals the final defeat of Lebanon's "keeping-a-distance" policy regarding Syria.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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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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