Peter's Feed
Mar 16, 2012

Turkey “safe haven” talk a game changer for Syria?

LONDON (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s suggested humanitarian “buffer zone” for refugees in Syria could prove a turning point in the conflict, opening the door to foreign intervention in the year-old uprising.

Turkey has been wary of raising the prospect of military action, but with the body count rising and growing numbers of refugees crossing its borders — some 15,000 so far, including 1,000 in the space of 24 hours on Thursday — it is seen being pushed ever closer. Memories of 500,000 flooding onto Turkish territory from Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War are still vivid.

Mar 14, 2012

Seen by millions, will Uganda Kony video matter?

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) – A YouTube video gone viral has
propelled Joseph Kony, leader of Uganda’s rebel Lord’s
Resistance Army, back onto the agenda, entrenching his position
at the top of the list of the world’s most wanted men.

But how long the current spike of interest will last is far
from clear. Hits on the video appeared to have fallen sharply in
recent days, while the charity has also found itself on the
receiving end of a savage backlash.

Mar 9, 2012

Syria intervention calls rise, few good options

LONDON (Reuters) – As Syria’s death toll mounts, calls are growing for some form of outside intervention. But with few easy options, foreign powers who find themselves unable to halt the suffering could simply end up prolonging it.

Earlier this week, Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain called for US-led airstrikes to undermine the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Government forces have been ruthlessly suppressing largely peaceful demonstrations since last year, in the last month pounding the city of Homs in some of the worst violence yet prompted by the “Arab Spring”.

Mar 8, 2012

“Anonymous” hurt by arrests but hard to kill

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) – In turning one of its best-known
hackers into an informant and breaking open the highest profile
elements of the “Anonymous” movement, authorities have dealt a
serious blow to a group they found a growing irritant.

But as the broader “Anonymous” label — complete with its
iconic Guy Fawkes mask imagery — is used by ever more disparate
causes worldwide, it may be all but impossible to shut it down
for good.

Mar 7, 2012

Asia 2012 military spending to top Europe’s-report

LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) – Asian military spending will top
that of Europe in 2012 for the first time in centuries, a global
defence survey said on Wednesday, pointing to high regional
economic growth and an increasingly ambitious China.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic
Studies said U.S. military spending was also falling with
withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan – although Washington’s
$739 billion budget still dwarfs that of other nations.

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.

    • 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