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Geopolitics

Will France's New President Rise To The Challenge Of A Changing North Africa?

France has close by complicated relationships with countries like Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, where the effects of the Arab spring may vary but cannot be undone. After sometimes tense relations with Nicolas Sarkozy, what approach will François Hollande

Big expectations for François Hollande in North Africa (Fabien Ecochard)
Big expectations for François Hollande in North Africa (Fabien Ecochard)
Abdelmalek Alaoui

PARIS - The new French President has just arrived in office, but already has a heavy load: the Franco-German relationship, the G8, the Greek crisis. François Hollande's attention is turned to the world super-powers and his European partners. What lies beyond the Mediterranean Sea doesn't seem to be part of his immediate agenda, in spite of its importance. And yet, the Maghreb's future is essential for France.

France is Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia's first economic partner. The country has an essential role to play in this region, whether it be in political cooperation, regional integration, migration flows control or democratization.

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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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