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Geopolitics

Radical Islam Finds Fertile Ground In Tropical Paradise Of Maldives

Five years after a terrorist attack that killed a dozen foreign tourists in Male, could this idyllic archipelago be transforming into a hotbed of Islamic radicalism?

Mosque in Male, Maldives (Shazwan)
Mosque in Male, Maldives (Shazwan)
Frederic Bobin

MALE – A carefully trimmed beard, slicked-backed hair and a suave demeanor: meet the historic leader of the Islamists in the Maldives, the Muslim archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean that has been facing major political instability in recent weeks. Sheikh Ibrahim Fareed tries to lull any suspicion: "We aren't interested in politics." He is the star preacher of the Islamic Foundation, an organization that claims to be purely educational and charitable.

At a time when religious parties linked to conservative Islam are gaining ground in the Maldives – a trend reinforced by the February 7 police mutiny that forced liberal President Mohamed Nasheed to resign – the movements of organizations such as the Islamic Foundation or the Salaf group are being closely watched. Sheikh Ibrahim is used to these kinds of attacks: "Our conferences and seminars are peaceful," he insists.

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Geopolitics

Venezuela-Iran: Maduro And The Axios Of Chaos In The Americas

With the complicity of leftist rulers in Venezuela, Bolivia and even Argentina, Iran's sanction-ridden regime is spreading its tentacles in South America, and could even undermine democracies.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visiting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on June 11. Venezuela is one of Iran's closest allies, and both are subject to tough U.S. sanctions.

Julio Borges

-Analysis-

CARACAS —The dangers posed by Venezuela's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is something we've warned about before. Though not new, the dangers have changed considerably in recent years.

They began under Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chávez , when he decided to turn his back on the West and move closer to countries outside our geopolitical sphere. In 2005, Chávez and Iran's then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, signed collaborative agreements in areas beyond the economy, with goals that included challenging the West and spreading Iran's presence in Latin America.

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