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Geopolitics

Report: Syria Crossed Chemical Weapons "Red Line," But West Got Cold Feet

Sources tell Le Monde that the Syria regime fired rockets with a non-lethal chemical agent during a deadly Dec. 23 attack in Homs. So why didn't Western leaders follow through on their threats?

Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
Natalie Nougayrède

HOMS – On December 23, the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its opponents in Homs, sources in western intelligence services told Le Monde.

Throughout 2012, Western countries had warned Syria that if it crossed this “red line,” it would face an international military intervention. Now, these same countries are denying or minimizing the impact of the attack last month, “to avoid getting involved,” claim our sources.

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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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