Peter's Feed
Jan 29, 2013

As Suez cities burn, canal shipping sails on, for now

ABOARD RMS QUEEN MARY 2, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Egypt’s army
stepped forward on Tuesday from its new place in the shadows of
the fledgling democracy and pledged to defend the state after a
week of bloody street violence in cities along the Suez Canal.

It was a measure of the canal’s place in Egypt’s economy,
and the world’s, that army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi explained
the military deployment ordered by President Mohamed Mursi in
terms primarily of protecting a waterway he called a “vital
strategic interest” – it handles about a tenth of all global
trade by sea.

Jan 29, 2013

Could Scottish, Catalan independence votes reshape Europe?

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – The separatist flag of Catalonia – with its yellow and red stripes, blue triangle and white star – was a rare sight on the streets of Barcelona a decade ago. Now, it is almost ubiquitous.

Two thousand km to the north in Scotland, the blue-and-white saltire has always been popular. But that flag too increasingly symbolizes something new, that after more than 400 years within the United Kingdom Scotland may be on the verge of demanding a divorce.

Jan 24, 2013

China, Russia, U.S. raise Mediterranean naval focus

PORT SAID, Egypt (Reuters) – Egypt has seen no shortage of empires come and go, from its own ancient civilizations to those of Greece, Rome, Britain and France. Now, it is among the outposts of the latest Mediterranean power: China.

Situated at the northern end of the Suez Canal, the Port Said Container Terminal is one of the busiest in the region, vital for shipments not only to Egypt but also much of Europe and the Middle East.

Dec 20, 2012

Troops gone, U.S. increasingly sidelined in Iraq

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – When a group of
Americans and their heavily armed guards arrived at the Turkish
embassy for a party in September, Iraqi police outside blocked
their path.

Unless they surrendered the weapons held by their security
detail in accordance with embassy policy, the Iraqis said, the
delegation of U.S. diplomats would not be allowed in.

Dec 17, 2012

Foreign nerves limit Syria rebel arms, Assad’s arsenals raided

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Syrian rebel success in capturing
government armouries is rendering increasingly irrelevant
Western efforts to limit supplies from abroad and avoid
sophisticated arms reaching Islamist militants.

Western nations, particularly the United States, remain
highly nervous of weapons falling into the wrong hands, while
even Saudi Arabia and Qatar – by far the two most enthusiastic
rebel backers – appear to have cut back support in recent weeks.

Dec 12, 2012

Assertive Turkey key to U.S. in shifting Middle East

WASHINGTON/ISTANBUL, Dec 12 (Reuters) – With its caustic
rhetoric on Israel and its gold-for-gas trade with Iran, Turkey
is not the deferential U.S. ally it once was as it carves out a
growing role in the fast-changing politics of the Middle East.

The collapse of its ties with the Jewish state have put paid
to U.S. hopes it could be a broker in the Arab-Israeli conflict,
while its gold sales to Iran have provided a financial lifeline
to a government meant to be under the choke of U.S. sanctions.

Dec 4, 2012

Terrorist attacks soar, deaths down from 2007 peak: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The number of terrorist attacks each year has more than quadrupled in the decade since September 11, 2001, a study released on Tuesday said, with Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan the most affected.

The number of annual deaths in attacks, however, peaked in 2007 — the height of the Iraq conflict — and has been falling ever since. The survey reported 7,473 fatalities in 2011, 25 percent down on 2007. That figure included dead suicide bombers and other attackers.

Dec 2, 2012

Special Report: Why some new countries are more equal than others

By Peter Apps

(Reuters) – Not all new countries are really new. Some are born almost fully formed; others have to start from nothing.

That difference is crucial to a new nation’s chances of success.

More than half the youngest nations in the world were born or reborn after the collapse of communism in Europe and had existed as independent states as far back as the Middle Ages. Most regained independence with established institutions – courts, banks, police forces, schools – and skilled people to run them.

Nov 28, 2012

As China showcases carrier, global naval balance shifting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has showcased its first aircraft carrier landings while maintenance woes have reduced the United States to a single carrier in the Gulf, pointing to the beginnings of a subtle shift in the balance of naval power.

With South China Sea tensions growing, the threat of Middle East conflict still very real and counterterrorism and counter piracy operations also demanding resources, demands on Western navies – and the U.S. in particular – seem ever-growing.

Nov 23, 2012

Israel wins U.S. support on Gaza but differences remain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As conflict erupted in Gaza last week, Israel’s officials and supporters embarked on what proved a successful diplomatic and media campaign to ensure the United States remained right behind them.

Israel’s ambassador to Washington Michael Oren became a regular fixture on cable news channels and talk shows. Pro-Israel lobby groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Israel Project bombarded journalists with e-mails offering footage of Hamas rocket strikes and interviews with ordinary Israelis in the line of fire.

    • About Peter

      "Peter Apps is political risk correspondent for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, covering a range of stories on the interplay between politics, economics and markets. Previously, he was emerging markets correspondent based in London after postings in southern Africa and Sri Lanka. His neck was broken in a vehicle smash on assignment in Sri Lanka in 2006, leaving him largely paralysed from the shoulders down."
    • Follow Peter