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Mar 20, 2013

Desperate for bailout, Cyprus plays risky geopolitical game

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) – As it tries to play Russia off
against Europe to salvage its economy, Cyprus has embarked on a
high-stakes poker game that could see almost everyone lose.

Its banks shattered by exposure to Greek debt, the island
state urgently needs a way of bailing out its financial system.

Mar 15, 2013

Turkish Cypriots eye turning to Muslim states for recognition

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Frustrated by a stalled process to reunite Cyprus, the de facto Turkish Cypriot state that has run the north for almost four decades says it is considering asking fellow Islamic states for formal recognition.

That would infuriate the Republic of Cyprus government, a European Union member that describes the north as being under illegal military occupation since a 1974 Turkish invasion. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided ever since, with only Turkey so far recognizing the north as a sovereign state.

Mar 14, 2013

West tiptoes into Syrian war hoping to boost more secular rebels

LONDON (Reuters) – France, Britain and the United States are inching towards providing military aid to Syria’s rebels, hoping to beef up more secular forces at the expense of radical Islamists who are gaining ever more prominence in the uprising.

The bitter experience of Afghanistan, where the American arming of anti-Soviet mujahideen forces in the 1980s helped to give rise to the Taliban and al Qaeda, hangs heavy in the air.

Mar 14, 2013

Cyprus plans to export natural gas to Europe by 2018

NICOSIA, March 14 (Reuters) – Cyprus, urgently needing
revenues from its newly found natural gas reserves, hopes to
begin exports by 2018 and will target sales at fellow European
Union members, its energy minister said.

George Lakkotrypis also said gas could be sold in advance or
used to help the government, which is now negotiating a
multibillion-dollar bailout, to issue new debt on international
markets in future.

Mar 4, 2013

“Arab spring” brings new buyers for bulletproof cars

March 4 (Reuters) – * “Arab spring”, rising unrest help
drive demand

* Governments, oil firms, rich individuals all buying

* Industry grew on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent

DUBAI, March 4 (Reuters) – In a workshop in a dusty
industrial area on the outskirts of Dubai, engineers are
stripping down a Toyota Land Cruiser to install armoured
plating, bullet resistant glass and run-flat tyres.

In the aftermath of the “Arab spring” revolts and with the
wealth gap and social unrest rising in many parts of the world,
there is no shortage of rich individuals and governments who
suddenly feel they need a little extra protection.

Feb 12, 2013

Rising power Qatar stirs unease among some Mideast neighbors

DUBAI/DOHA (Reuters) – In the center of Cairo, young men hold up a burning flag for the cameras to show their fury at a nation they believe is meddling in their country and the wider Middle East.

It’s a familiar image. But it’s not the U.S. flag they are waving, it is that of Qatar, the Gulf state that has used its billions to spread its influence in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Feb 10, 2013

Have hired guns finally scuppered Somali pirates?

ABOARD RMS QUEEN MARY (Reuters) – Posted between septuagenarian passengers in deck chairs, lookouts stand watch over the Gulf of Aden, scanning the horizon for pirates.

After more than half a decade of Somali men attacking Indian Ocean shipping from small speedboats with AK-47s, grappling hooks and ladders, the number of attacks is falling fast.

Feb 1, 2013

Arab Spring aftermath batters Mideast tourism, Dubai booms

DUBAI, Feb 1 (Reuters) – The revolts that began in Tunisia
at the end of 2010 and spread across the Middle East and North
Africa had a devastating impact on tourism, but not everyone in
the region lost out.

While recovery from the turmoil has been at best tentative,
at worst non existent, places where the Arab Spring has not
reached have been unexpected beneficiaries.

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.

    • About Peter

      "Peter Apps is Reuters global defence correspondent, currently on sabbatical as executive director of the Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21):"
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