Peter's Feed
Mar 2, 2012

Talk of Israel strike on Iran soars but is it bluff?

LONDON (Reuters) – As tension rises over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, chatter indicating a potential Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear targets has never been higher.

But in the smoke-and-mirrors world of Middle East geopolitics, such talk can often be a diplomatic weapon in its own right and sometimes an alternative to genuine action.

Feb 24, 2012

Nervously, world powers eye greater Somalia action

LONDON (Reuters) – Somalia might still be described as the “world’s worst failed state,” but international enthusiasm for involvement there is ticking up to levels not seen since the 1994 withdrawal of international peacekeepers.

Following the October 1993 “Blackhawk Down” debacle in which 18 US servicemen and well over a thousand Somalis died in a botched Mogadishu battle, world powers have largely left Somalia to anarchy, chaos and conflict. Some estimates suggest more than a million people may have died since Somalia’s last government collapsed in 1991.

Feb 21, 2012

Out of sight, Somali piracy fight gets rougher

LONDON (Reuters) – When tanker master Miro Alibasic takes one of his company’s vast ships across the Indian Ocean, he likes to have all the firepower he can get on board.

Having seen last year how Somali pirates treat their captives, the 61-year-old is in no hurry to experience it again.

Feb 16, 2012

Iran “shadow war” intensifies, crosses borders

BANGKOK/LONDON (Reuters) – The loudest noise that Thongma Danoi had ever heard was followed 20 minutes later by the strangest sight: a dazed and bloodied Iranian carrying two wire-adorned devices through the usually sleepy Bangkok neighborhood.

“He was losing a lot of blood,” said Thongma, 68, who saw the Iranian man, later identified as Saeid Moradi, fleeing a rented house blown apart by a massive explosion on Tuesday. “People were shouting, ‘He’s got a bomb!’ I tried not to look at him.”

Feb 13, 2012

Asia key as U.S., EU tighten sanctions against Iran

LONDON (Reuters) – Western states hope new oil sanctions will deter Tehran from pursuing its disputed nuclear program but ultimately it will be China, India and other Asian powers that determine their effectiveness impact on already volatile Iranian politics.

Both the United States and European Union have introduced tough new restrictions coming into force later this year and designed to effectively choke off Iran’s oil exports. But — unlike rounds of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council — they are not binding on other countries.

Feb 10, 2012

Vietnam seen courting Western arms deals

SINGAPORE/LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Vietnam is
opening up to Western defence firms as tensions in the South
China Sea trigger subdued yet growing warnings of a regional
arms race, defence executives and security analysts said on
Friday.

The Communist-ruled country is one of several Southeast Asian
nations seeking to expand surveillance and maritime patrol
capabilities, sparking fierce competition for regional deals
estimated to be worth up to several hundred million dollars.

Feb 9, 2012

Analysis: In cyber era, militaries scramble for new skills

LONDON (Reuters) – With growing worries about the threat of “cyber warfare,” militaries around the world are racing to recruit the computer specialists they believe may be central to the conflicts of the 21st century.

But whilst money is plentiful for new forces of “cyber warriors,” attracting often individualistic technical specialists and hackers into military hierarchies is another matter.

Feb 9, 2012

In cyber era, militaries scramble for new skills

LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – With growing worries about the
threat of “cyber warfare”, militaries around the world are
racing to recruit the computer specialists they believe may be
central to the conflicts of the 21st century.

But whilst money is plentiful for new forces of “cyber
warriors”, attracting often individualistic technical
specialists and hackers into military hierarchies is another
matter.

Feb 8, 2012

Higher speeds, hired guns drive Somali piracy cost

LONDON (Reuters) – Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean costs the global economy some $7 billion a year, a study said on Wednesday, with ships forced to travel faster over longer routes and increasingly hire armed security guards.

“The question for the shipping industry is how long this is sustainable,” said Anna Bowden, program manager for the research by the U.S.-based One Earth Future foundation.

Feb 6, 2012

Corrected – Disagreements on cyber risk East-West “Cold War”

LONDON (Reuters) – With worries growing over computer hacking, data theft and the risk of digital attacks destroying essential systems, western states and their allies are co-operating closer than ever on cyber security.

But as they do so, the gulf between them and China and Russia – blamed for many recent hacks and with a very different and much more authoritarian view over the future of the Internet – grows ever wider.

    • 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