Chinese Officials Justify Reaction to Western Presence in Taiwan Strait

Monument of Recognition of Taiwan on Hainan Island, (Tai Wan Dao – Taiwan Island)

“[Chinese Foreign Minister] Qin Gang pointed out that the Taiwan issue is the core of China’s core interests, the most important issue in Sino-US relations, and the most prominent risk.”

Taiwan is a “core interest”[i] of China’s. As such, recent military operations by the United States and other Western powers near Taiwan have elicited a strong Chinese response. On 26 May 2023, a Chinese J-16 [RG1]  fighter aircraft intercepted an RC-135 American reconnaissance aircraft in the skies above a Chinese naval exercise featuring the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong. On 3 June, a Chinese naval ship intercepted and cut off the U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon while it transited the Taiwan Strait with the Canadian frigate HMCS Montréal.

According to the Global Times, a subsidiary of China’s flagship People’s Daily, a spokesperson at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command stated that the PLA Navy “tracked and monitored them [USS Chung-Hoon and HMCS Montréal] through the whole course, and handled the situation in accordance with law and regulations.” . This was almost identical to a statement by the PLA Southern Theater Command, which a week earlier claimed that aerial forces were organized to “track and monitor it [the RC-135] through its entire course, with maneuvers in a professional manner and in accordance with law and regulations.”[ii] Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang clarified China’s position on Taiwan to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken while the two met in Beijing two weeks later, according to a statement published on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Qin told Blinken that, “Taiwan is the core of China’s core interests” China’s recent military actions have been bolder towards both Taiwan and U.S. naval and aircraft operating in the region. Repeated aggressive responses to what China considers provocations, while not necessarily a trend, illustrate its willingness to engage in brinkmanship regarding Taiwan, perhaps to persuade Western powers to rethink military and political support for the island.[iii]


Liu Xuanzun, “PLA handles US, Canadian warships in provocative Taiwan Straits transit amid Shangri-La Dialogue, forcing US vessel to alter course,” Global Times (Chinese daily under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily). 4 June 2023.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) handled a provocative transit in the Taiwan Straits made by US and Canadian warships on Saturday, with a Chinese destroyer reportedly forcing the US vessel to alter course by cutting in front of it, showing determination and capability in countering the provocation, experts said on Sunday.

Coming against the background of the US failing to arrange a meeting between Chinese and US defense chiefs during the ongoing Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore amid rising tensions, the latest Taiwan Straits transit, led by the US, again showed the US’ lack of sincerity, analysts said.

The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoonand the Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montréal made a transit through the Taiwan Straits on Saturday, and the PLA Eastern Theater Command organized naval and aerial forces, tracked and monitored them through the whole course, and handled the situation in accordance with law and regulations, Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesperson at the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement late on Saturday.

Shi’s statement came after the US and Canada hyped their warships’ transit through the Taiwan Straits, including Canadian news outlet Global News releasing a video on Saturday, which showed a PLA Navy Type 052D destroyer picking up speed and cutting in front of the bow of the USS Chung-Hoon from left to right, forcing the US warship to alter course and slow down to avoid a crash as the two vessels were reportedly within 150 yards (137 meters.)

The maneuvers in the Taiwan Straits share resemblances to another recent incident in which a PLA Air Force J-16 fighter jet intercepted a US RC-135 reconnaissance plane when the latter attempted to spy on the PLA Navy Shandong aircraft carrier group’s routine training in the South China Sea on May 26, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Sunday.

Both incidents were caused by US provocations in sensitive regions on China’s doorsteps, followed by US failure to listen to Chinese radio warnings, led to professional PLA tactical maneuvers, which were then hyped by Western media attempting to shift blame to China, hype “China threat” and pressure China on the Shangri-La Dialogue, the expert said.

It showed that the US has no sincerity at all in communicating with the Chinese side, and if any accident happens, it would be the US who must shoulder the blame, the expert said.

“秦刚同美国国务卿布林肯举行会谈 (Qin Gang Holds Talks with US Secretary of State Blinken),” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, 18 June 2023.

Qin Gang said that at present, Sino-US relations are at the lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic relations. This does not conform to the fundamental interests of the two peoples, nor does it meet the common expectations of the international community. China’s policy toward the United States has always maintained continuity and stability. It is fundamentally based on the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping. China is committed to building a stable, predictable and constructive Sino-US relationship. It is hoped that the U.S. side will uphold an objective and rational understanding of China, meet China halfway, maintain the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations, and handle unexpected incidents calmly, professionally and rationally. The two sides should fully implement the consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Biden at the Bali meeting, so as to promote the stabilization of Sino-US relations and get them back on track.

Qin Gang clarified his solemn position and made clear demands on China’s core interests and major concerns including the Taiwan issue. Qin Gang pointed out that the Taiwan issue is the core of China’s core interests, the most important issue in Sino-US relations, and the most prominent risk. Promises are truly delivered.

The two sides had a long period of candid, in-depth and constructive communication on the overall relationship between China and the United States and related important issues.The two sides agreed to jointly implement the important consensus reached at the Bali meeting between the two heads of state, effectively manage and control differences, and promote dialogue, exchanges and cooperation.


[i] The Chinese wording on the statement regarding “core interest” from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads as follows: “台湾问题是中国核心利益中的核心.”

[iii] For additional information regarding growing tensions regarding Taiwan, see: Dodge Billingsley, Taiwan Sees ‘Shift’ in China’s Grey Zone Warfare,” OE Watch, January 2021.

Image Information:

Image: Monument of Recognition of Taiwan on Hainan Island, (Tai Wan Dao – Taiwan Island)
Source: Author’s own photo
Attribution: By Author’s permission

Iran Indicates Plans To Commercialize Nuclear Technology, Sell Heavy Water

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei addresses nuclear scientists and engineers, 11 June 2023.

“If we wanted to build nuclear weapons, we would do it, and they know it.”

In the accompanying excerpted speech from the official website ( of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei addresses Iran’s nuclear program. Khamenei makes a public call to commercialize Iran’s nuclear progress. Specifically, he suggests selling heavy water and nuclear isotopes. Heavy water is a type of water with specific atomic properties useful in the production of nuclear weapons and power. This follows a pattern in which Iran has sought to leverage its indigenous military industry to wean Iran off reliance on outside powers, turning it into a source of hard currency and influence.[i] While Western officials worry about Iran’s military exports—for example, the sale of its drones to Russia and elsewhere—[ii]the proliferation of nuclear goods would raise concern to a new level. Khamenei’s suggestion that Iran make such sales to countries that are its allies would only enhance this concern. Many Iranian allies are either U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism, such as Syria, or revisionist states that reject the post-World War II liberal order, such as Cuba and Venezuela.  Syria in 2007 sought to build a plutonium processing plant, allegedly with North Korean assistance. Iranian provision of nuclear goods would complicate operations should Syrian ambitions remain. Iranian export of enriched uranium will increasingly raise the specter of adversarial state and nonstate forces using dirty bombs. Khamenei’s speech also touches on past themes including linking Iran’s prestige to its nuclear program and denying that Iran intends to build nuclear weapons, even though he also acknowledges that Iran could develop nuclear weapons should he make the decision to do so.


“Biyanat dar Didar Daneshmandan, Motakhsasan, Karshenasan va Mosa’valan Sana’at Hasteha-ye Keshavar” (Statements in the meeting of scientists, specialists, experts and officials of the country’s nuclear industry),” (official website of the Iranian supreme leader), 11 June 2023.

… I am truly grateful to the scientists, officials and activists of this industry who prepared this great meeting and this great exhibition for us today; it was a very good exhibition, it was pleasing, encouraging and redeeming. I have prepared a few remarks for you…. The first is about the importance of the nuclear industry. Of course, you know and you know the importance of this industry, but many people do not know the value of the nuclear industry, the various and extensive dimensions of this industry, and its impact on people’s lives and in the progress of the country…. This industry is important to the country’s progress and to the country’s capabilities in sectors such as technology, economy, and health. It brings honor to the country and makes life better for the people, and brings great international prestige to the country. At the same time, the enemies are afraid that other nations might follow the path and the forward-looking mindset of the Iranian nation. In light of these aspects, everyone should acknowledge that the nuclear industry is one of the fundamental and important components of the country’s credibility and the strength and power of the country…. This is also why the enemies are focused on nuclear energy; the reason that we have been challenged for 20 years… They know that we are not looking for nuclear weapons… We oppose mass murder. It is against Islam, whether it is atomic, chemical, or by other means. In the wars of the time of the Prophet, the commander of the faithful, and in early Islam, it was advised to make sure that the water was neither denied to the [enemy] people nor spoiled… [but] if we wanted to go nuclear, they would not be able to stop it, just as they have not been able to stop our nuclear advances so far. If we wanted to build nuclear weapons, we would do it, and they know it…. Today our nuclear facilities and progress are more than a hundred times more than 20 years ago…. Another recommendation is to commercialize nuclear products and services. These developments have good markets in the world and can really benefit the country’s economy and income. Cooperation should be made with countries that do not have a conflict with us in this regard.

“Cheshmandaz Sazman-e Enerzhi Atomi Tajari Kardan Sana’at Hasteha-ye Ast (The Vision of the Atomic Energy Organization [of Iran] is to Commercialize the Nuclear Industry),” Holy Defense News Agency (official news agency of Iran’s Defense Ministry), 12 June 2023.

[Behrouz] Kamalvandi said, “Our vision is to have a strong organization that will take research to the industrial stage and then bring the industry to commerce. The cycle is to research and once research begins, it can’t stop. Following research comes a semi-industrial pilot project, then an industrial project, and then a commercial industry. When we say commercial, this means delivery to the market, whether domestic or international. We now have a good market in “heavy water.” Many companies from different countries want Iranian heavy water and its derivatives, and they are queuing to buy this product.


[i] For example, see: Michael Rubin, “Iran Increased Defense Budget Leading to More Arms Exports,” OE Watch, 04-2023.

[ii] For example, see: Michael Rubin, “Iran Asks Tajikistan Not to Use Iranian Drones in Dispute with Kyrgyzstan,” OE Watch, 01-2022.

Image Information:

Image: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei addresses nuclear scientists and engineers, 11 June 2023.

Malian Special Forces Sustain Collaboration With Russia’s Wagner Group

Russian security IN Bangui

“The BAFS was the gateway for Wagner’s mercenaries into the center of the country.”

On 29 May, Le Monde, the French-language publication covering international affairs in France and Francophone countries, reported on the Malian Autonomous Special Forces Battalion (BAFS), which is the conduit for Russian Wagner mercenaries to support the Malian army. BAFS became widely known among Mali observers when one of its members, Colonel Assimi Goita, launched a coup in 2020 that brought himself into power. According to the article, BAFS’ importance increased after it participated in the military coup in 2020 and then helped topple the transitional government in 2021.[i] After this second coup, relations with France and other Western countries soured and the new coup leaders welcomed Wagner Group to support BAFS. Wagner now has 1,600 troops in Mali and its current objective is ostensibly to fight alongside the BAFS in counterterrorism operations in central Mali, according to the Le Monde article. However, the article claims summary executions have occurred when BAFS and Wagner Group operate together. Malian leaders claim “only terrorists” are killed in these operations and have vociferously rejected any criticisms of BAFS’ cooperation with Wagner Group, indicating that Wagner will remain in Mali.[ii]


“Massacre de Moura au Mali: ce que l’on sait des deux militaires sanctionnés par les Etats-Unis (Massacre of Moura in Mali: what we know about the two soldiers sanctioned by the United States)” (French daily with a focus on analysis and opinion and with socialist leanings), 29 May 2023.

Mali remains plagued by both security and political instability: the military retook power from civilians after two coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

The BAFS was the gateway for Wagner’s mercenaries into the center of the country. Deployed in Mali to help Bamako fight terrorism, the Russian private security group, which now has nearly 1,600 men on the ground, gained a foothold in the center of the country in early 2022.

It is from this locality that Wagner and the FAMA conduct a large part of their anti-terrorist operations in the center and during which several instances of abuses against civilians have been noted by humanitarian and human rights organizations.

The Malian government maintains that only “terrorist fighters” were killed by the army in Moura and it persists, moreover, in denying the presence of Wagner in the country, despite confirmations of the deployment of the group in Mali emanating from the Russian authorities.


[i] Mali’s first military coup occurred in 2020 when a group of soldiers from the Malian army mutinied and arrested President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita and forced him to resign and dissolve the government and National Assembly. Although the mutinying soldiers promised to hold elections and reinstate the constitutional system, no clear path for transition emerged. Subsequently, nine months later, in 2021, Mali’s military arrested the interim civilian president and prime minister whose appointments the previous military coup leaders had overseen, but now the coup leaders claimed that the cabinet formed by the civilian leaders violated the terms of Mali’s transition charter. Although that charter called for new democratic elections to be held in February 2022 to fully restore Mali to civilian rule, the coup leaders have not held those elections and remain in power. This has led to deteriorating relations with the West and has coincided with closer relations with Russia. See Ena Dion, “After Two Coups, Mali Needs Regional Support to Bolster Democracy,” United States Institute of Peace, 9 December 2021.

[ii] The mutiny by Wagner Group CEO Yevgeny Prigozhin in June 2023 seems to have little effect on Wagner’s presence in Africa, including in Central African Republic (CAR), where its force is larger than in any other African country. The Russian Ambassador to CAR has claimed there are 1,890 “Russian instructors” in the country, who are reportedly “running” the country alongside the CAR government and have “displaced” the former colonial and post-colonial power, France. See Al-Jazeera, “Russian envoy says 1,890 Russian ‘instructors’ are in CAR,” 3 February 2023.

Image Information:

Image: RussiansecurityBangui
Source: Corbeau News Centrafrique,
Attribution: CC x 2.0

Iran’s Proposed Maritime Security Alliance Draws Mixed Reviews

North Arabian Sea (Jan. 19, 2021)

“Iran’s actual and real success in forming [the new naval alliance] is an imposition of a new deterrence theory and a great challenge to the United States of America and its hegemony in the region, which it is slowly losing.”

In early June 2023, Iran’s navy commander suggested that Tehran was on the verge of establishing a regional naval security alliance that would include India, Pakistan, and several Arab Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia.[i] Reactions in Arabic-language media were mixed. Outlets affiliated with or supportive of China, Iran, and Russia portrayed the announcement as a highly consequential move that would further erode, if not fully negate, U.S. regional influence. However, the announcement was essentially ignored by mainstream Arabic-language Gulf media outlets from the countries purported to form the alliance’s backbone, most notably Saudi Arabia.

The first accompanying source, an excerpt from Russia’s Sputnik Arabic, characterizes the proposed alliance as a one-time “fantasy” that has become an imminent reality made possible by the U.S. failure to provide regional maritime security. The second accompanying source, from a report in China’s CGTN Arabic, argues that the China-brokered Saudi-Iran détente has created favorable conditions for regional security cooperation between Iran and the Arab Gulf states.[ii] The third accompanying source, an opinion piece in the pro-Iranian Lebanese media outlet al-Mayadeen, describes how this new alliance constitutes Iran’s “imposition of a new deterrence theory and a great challenge to the United States of America and its hegemony in the region,” as well as “a practical reality, a fatal blow to the strategic interests of Israel.” Although not a tacit rejection of the idea, other Gulf media outlets have been less enthusiastic and officials from the Arab states involved have not commented. Prominent Saudi media outlets, such as al-Sharq al-Awsat and al-Riyadh, have also kept quiet. By contrast, Saudi media outlets have vocally expressed new alignment with Iran on regional matters, most notably Syrian normalization since Saudi Arabia’s May 2023 détente with Iran. Iran’s inclusion in the Russo-Chinese “Maritime Security Belt” exercises in the Indian Ocean, most recently in March 2023, indicate the possibility of a Russo-Chinese role in encouraging a regional naval coalition that marginalizes the United States’ role. Chinese interest in and encouragement of this Iranian-led security mechanism, if genuine, suggests that Saudi leadership might take the idea more seriously than the lack of media coverage would otherwise suggest.


“تحالف بحري بين إيران والخليج… لماذا أصبح من الضروري أن تحافظ دول المنطقة على أمنها بنفسها؟

(Naval alliance between Iran and the Gulf… Why did it become necessary for regional countries to guarantee their own security?),” Sputnik Arabic (Russian Arabic-language media outlet), 5 June 2023.تحالف-بحري-بين-إيران-والخليج-لماذا-أصبح-من-الضروري-أن-تحافظ-دول-المنطقة-على-أمنها-بنفسها-1077771292.html

A few weeks ago, talk of an alliance including Iran and the Gulf countries together was a fantasy, but it has become a reality with the announcement of the imminent formation of a naval alliance that includes the countries of the region… Hassan Ibrahim Al-Nuaimi, an Emirati political analyst, considered that the countries of the region suffered from maritime threats, while foreign countries failed to secure the seas in the region. Thus, it became clear to the Arab Gulf states that these foreign countries only pursue their own agendas, and do not care about the interests of other countries.

“إيران تخطط لتشكيل تحالف بحري وسط تحسين العلاقات في الشرق الأوسط

(Iran plans naval alliance amidst improving relations in Middle East),” CGTN Arabic (Chinese Arabic-language media outlet), 6 June 2023.

Iran’s proposal for a security alliance or coordination mechanism with Gulf countries is completely natural. Iran had the idea, and it is not a new one, but conditions were not adequate in the past…

” تحالف دولي.. إيران في مواجهة هيمنة أميركا على المنطقة

(International alliance… Iran confronting American regional hegemony),” al-Mayadeen (pro-Iran Lebanese media outlet), 12 June 2023.تحالف-دولي-إيران-في-مواجهة-هيمنة-أميركا-على-المنطقة

Iran’s actual and real success in forming it is an imposition of a new deterrence theory and a great challenge to the United States of America and its hegemony in the region, which it is slowly losing… The international naval alliance is a joint security project for Iran and the Gulf states, the realization of which constitutes a practical reality, a fatal blow to the strategic interests of “Israel” in that region…


[i] In addition to Pakistan and India, Iran’s proposed alliance is to include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iraq.

[ii] The CGTN video report cites Dr. Niu Xinchun, the Director of Middle East Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).

Image Information:

Image:  North Arabian Sea (Jan. 19, 2021)
Source: Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Madrigal,  
Attribution: Public Domain

India’s Security Engagement With Egypt and Saudi Arabia Evolving

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Mohammad bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (2016)

“The military-to-military ties are likely to develop further, with greater efforts toward interoperability and understanding each other’s security concerns…” 

India’s military influence activities continue to increase in key Arab countries Egypt and Saudi Arabia.[i] In May 2023, the commanders of the Indian and Egyptian armies met in Cairo to discuss deepening bilateral military cooperation, as reported in the first accompanying excerpt, from the Twitter account of the Indian Embassy in Cairo. The meeting follows up on earlier high-level engagements discussing defense cooperation, most notably Egyptian President Sisi’s January 2023 visit to India. Their armies conducted a bilateral exercise in Egypt in January, and earlier in May, the Indian and Egyptian air forces also conducted joint training, as mentioned in the second accompanying excerpt from the Egyptian defense ministry website. Egypt is seen as a possible gateway for Indian weapons sales to Africawith rumors of looming weapons sales and possible joint production agreements between the two countries.

The Indian military has also increasingly engaged with their Saudi counterparts. Indian and Saudi naval forces held a training exercise in the Persian Gulf in May, concurrent with a 3-week training program for around 50 Saudi naval personnel in India. India-Saudi military ties “are likely to develop further, with greater efforts toward interoperability and understanding each other’s security concerns,” according to an Indian defense expert cited in the excerpt from the Saudi English-language daily Arab News. The two countries’ heads of state spoke in June on deepening relations in several areas, including defense.[ii] Saudi Arabia remains among the top global arms importers and an attractive potential customer for the Indian weapons industry. Saudi media is enamored of the narrative of multipolarity but rarely considers India as part of the great power competition discussion. India’s strategic importance is evaluated through the lens of its membership in non-Western multilateral organizations such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt recently became SCO dialogue partners and have moved toward greater involvement in BRICS institutions.[iii] India’s growing security involvement in the Arab world bears watching even though it remains overshadowed by the specter of growing Russian and Chinese influence in the region.


@indembcairo. Twitter, 15 May 2023. 

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande proceeded on a three-day visit to Egypt. The visit will provide an opportunity to enhance bilateral #DefenceCooperation and strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

“The Egyptian And The Indian Air Forces Carry Out A Joint Air Training At An Egyptian Air Base,” Egyptian Ministry of Defense Website, 8 March 2023.

Within the framework of supporting and strengthening military cooperation relations with friendly and brotherly countries, the Egyptian and Indian Air Forces carried out a joint air exercise at an Egyptian air base. The training included implementation of a number of joint drills, including training on aerial refueling, which contributes to the exchange of training experiences between the elements participating from both sides

“Indian navy chief welcomes Saudi cadets during first joint training,” Arab News (English-language Saudi daily), 2 June 2023.  

Muddassir Quamar, a Middle East expert and associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said there have also been efforts to develop cooperation in nonconventional defense areas, as well as the defense industry. “The military-to-military ties are likely to develop further, with greater efforts toward interoperability and understanding each other’s security concerns,” he told Arab News.


[i] For background see: “India-Egypt Ties: Sharply Rising Graph of Engagement,” Bharatshakti (Indian defense publication), 12 December 2022. and “How India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Ties Are Deepening, And Will Help The Defence Industry,” ABP News (Indian news network), 28 May 2023.

[ii] “PM Modi, Saudi Crown Prince review ties with focus on connectivity and defence,” Hindustan Times (Indian daily), 9 June 2023.

[iii] Egypt recently became an official member of the New Development Bank, sometimes referred to as the “BRICS bank,” and Saudi Arabia is reportedly in talks to join. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have also both expressed interest in BRICS membership and are considered potential candidates were the group to expand.

Image Information:

Image:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Mohammad bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (2016) 
Source: Prime Minister’s Office, Government of India, via Wikimedia Commons,_Deputy_Crown_Prince_of_Saudi_Arabia.jpg    
Attribution: CC BY-SA 2.0 

Armenia Questions Continuing Its Membership in Russia-Led Regional Security Body

Before the meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. From left to right: CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas, Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon

“After Russia’s refusal to intervene in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the fall of 2020, Armenia’s confidence in the benefits of participating in the Collective Security Treaty Organization has weakened to the point of threats to leave the CSTO.” 

Armenia has long considered ending its membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) due to a perceived lack of support from the organization following numerous clashes with its neighbor Azerbaijan, which is not a CSTO member. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement on 22 May that Armenia is considering leaving the organization marked the latest in a series of disputes between Armenia and CSTO leadership that could be a turning point for its role in the organization. The accompanying excerpted article from the independent, Caucasus-focused website Kavkazskiy Uzel provides a look at the issues Armenia has with the CSTO. The article notes “the degree of Armenia’s unfriendly rhetoric towards Russia has been rising” since the CSTO refused to intervene in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. In the fall of 2021, Pashinyan made a comment that “Armenia was not going to consider the possibility of leaving” the CSTO, but this position has changed since then. The article notes how the organization and Russia responded to recent incidents between Armenia and Azerbaijan. From Armenia’s perspective, clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2022 should have triggered the CSTO’s collective defense clause, but the organization declined to intervene. This damaged Armenia’s already tenuous relations with the CSTO in addition to straining Armenian-Russian relations, as Armenian officials believed Russia has failed to pressure Azerbaijan to stop attacks against their country.[i] The article also notes that Pashinyan refused to sign a CSTO declaration in December 2022, declined to host a previously planned CSTO joint military exercise in Armenia in 2023,[ii] and refused to host CSTO observers. Armenia’s relations with the CSTO have become bad enough that the CSTO Secretary General became concerned that Armenia will withdraw from the organization.


“Главное о критике Арменией ОДКБ и Кремля (The crux of Armenia’s criticism of the CSTO and the Kremlin),” Kavkazskiy Uzel (independent news website), 23 May 2023.

After Russia’s refusal to intervene in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the fall of 2020, Armenia’s confidence in the benefits of participating in the Collective Security Treaty Organization has weakened to the point of threats to leave the CSTO. The “Caucasian Knot” has prepared a report on how the degree of Armenia’s unfriendly rhetoric towards Russia has been rising… 

During the aggravation of the Karabakh conflict in 2020, Armenia turned to the CSTO for help. In response, Moscow stated that it could not help, since the borders of Armenia were not violated, the war took place on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. During the 2020 war, the Kremlin limited itself to political support for Yerevan, and then sent peacekeepers to the Karabakh conflict zone…In the fall of 2021, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, commenting on Armenia’s criticism of the CSTO in connection with Russia’s position on the conflict in Karabakh, stated that Armenia was not going to consider the possibility of leaving this organization. However, two years later, Armenia’s rhetoric on this issue changed.  

In the spring of 2022, Nikol Pashinyan accused the CSTO of not properly responding to the actions of the Azerbaijani military in the Sotk-Khoznavar sector. “The way the CSTO reacted to what happened was a failure for the organization itself. Contrary to existing procedures, the CSTO has not decided to conduct monitoring at the site at the moment, justifying the long-standing fears of the Armenian public that an organization important for the security of Armenia will not do anything at the right time,” said the Armenian Prime Minister… 

According to Pashinyan, during the discussion of security issues in the CSTO, he received clear assurances that the Armenian border was a “red line” for the organization, but “it turned out that red lines exist only in words.” “This is important not only for Armenia, but also for the CSTO, because if you say that there is no border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, then there is no CSTO, because the CSTO has a zone of responsibility, which is defined by borders. If there is no border, then there is no area of responsibility; if there is no area of responsibility, then there is no organization,” Pashinyan said. 

On November 23, 2022, Nikol Pashinyan refused to sign the declaration of the Collective Security Council (CSC) of the CSTO and the draft decision on assistance to Yerevan. The reason was the lack of a clear political position of the organization on the issue of Azerbaijan’s actions… 

In January 2023, Nikol Pashinyan stated that Yerevan considers it inappropriate to hold CSTO exercises in Armenia. “The Armenian Defense Ministry has already informed the CSTO Joint Headquarters in writing that we consider it inappropriate to conduct exercises in Armenia in the current situation…” he said.  

Commenting on the possibility of Armenia’s withdrawal from the CSTO, Nikol Pashinyan replied that the Armenian side would be guided by the state interests in this decision…“When the CSTO Secretary General arrived in Armenia in 2022, he told me that the CSTO was concerned that Armenia would withdraw from the Organization. I said that this concern is out of place, but there is another concern that the CSTO may withdraw from Armenia. My assessment now is this: the CSTO, willingly or not, is leaving Armenia. And this worries us,” Pashinyan repeated… 

On May 22, 2022, Nikol Pashinyan confirmed at a press conference that the issue of Armenia’s withdrawal from the bloc remains on the agenda… 

He also explained why Armenia refused CSTO observers, being a member of this military bloc. “The CSTO mission does not operate on the territory of Armenia for the simple reason that, in fact, the organization does not indicate its vision of the territory and borders of Armenia. 90 percent of the problems stem from this,” the prime minister said.


[i] For more background on the strained relations between Armenia and Russia, see: Matthew Stein “Armenia Acquires Indian Multiple Rocket Launcher System Amid Delays in Russian Deliveries,” OE Watch, 11-2022.

[ii] For more background on Armenia’s refusal to sign the CSTO declaration, see: Matthew Stein “Armenia Takes Another Step Away From Russia,” OE Watch, 2-2023.

Image Information:

Image: Before the meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. From left to right: CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas, Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon 
Attribution: CCA 4.0 

Pakistan’s Defense Industry Publishes New Weapon Systems Roadmap

Official logo of GIDS

“GIDS’ future roadmap ranges from improved variants of existing, mainstay solutions – such as the Fatah-series of surface-to-surface missiles (SSM) and Burq-series air-to-ground missiles (AGM) – to newly revealed systems, like the “Group 5 UCAV” or “LOMADS” SAM system.”

Pakistan has cooperated with China on the development and production of several weapons systems for use in country’s armed forces, including the Al-Khalid [RG1] main battle tank and the JF-17 [RG2] multirole fighter.[i] Technology transfers of smaller defense items have also provided a boost to Pakistan’s defense industry. The accompanying excerpted article from Pakistan defense-focused reports on a recent announcement by Pakistan’s government-owned Global Industrial & Defence Solutions (GIDS) on a roadmap to produce new products for the country’s armed forces. While the roadmap did not include joint production of a new system with China, it still provides a look at production capabilities in Pakistan’s defense industry, which has made sales to other governments in recent years.

The GIDS roadmap includes improved variants of existing systems as well as new systems. GIDS “does not develop or manufacture any of the systems it is promoting and selling,” but rather it is the commercial component of other state-owned defense companies, according to the article. The roadmap includes two high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems currently in development, one of which can carry a payload of 450 kg, or roughly 1000 lbs.  These systems could be used in a reconnaissance role for Pakistan and could fulfill several requirements for other buyers. The roadmap also includes a new surface-to-air missile system and an upgraded variant of a multiple rocket-launch system that Pakistan currently uses. The roadmap is described as “relatively ambitious” and states that “it is unclear how far Pakistan has developed each of these systems.” While Pakistan’s defense industry has been technologically limited in certain capacities, the article acknowledges that the companies producing these systems are confident enough to reveal them to potential buyers in the roadmap.[ii] It is unknown when all of the systems in the roadmap will be available for potential sales, but Pakistan’s new systems could offer buyers cheap alternatives to systems already on the market. JF-17s have a lower cost than other multirole aircraft, for example.2  Pakistan sold JF-17s to Nigeria in 2020, marking a boost for the country’s defense industry.


“Pakistan’s Defence Industry Lays Out Ambitious Future Roadmap,” (news website focusing on defense issues in Pakistan), 22 May 2023.

Global Industrial and Defence Solutions (GIDS), the commercial representative of multiple Pakistani state-owned defence suppliers, released its roadmap for future products… 

GIDS’ future roadmap ranges from improved variants of existing, mainstay solutions – such as the Fatah-series of surface-to-surface missiles (SSM) and Burq-series air-to-ground missiles (AGM) – to newly revealed systems, like the “Group 5 UCAV” or “LOMADS” SAM system. 

It should be noted that GIDS itself does not develop or manufacture any of the systems it is promoting and selling. Rather, GIDS serves as the commercial wing of a conglomerate of Pakistani state-owned enterprises that specialize in defence, such as NESCOM, for example. Basically, it is these state-owned enterprises that carry out the development and production work of GIDS’ products… 

According to GIDS, there are two HALE UCAVs are under development: the 3,000-kg “Group 5 UCAV” and the 1,650-kg Shahpar III (also designated as “Group 4”). 

The Group 5 UCAV seems to leverage twin turboprop or piston engines. The Group 5’s designers (possibly, if not likely, NESCOM) is aiming to achieve an endurance of over 35 hours and external payload in excess of 450 kg. Though it is called a UCAV, it seems that NESCOM is optimizing the Group 5 for the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) role, especially imaging-related missions… 

GIDS also revealed multiple potential systems that may speak to the future of Pakistan’s ground-based air defence (GBAD) environment through new SAMs and radars. 

First, there is a ‘LOMADS’ SAM with a range of up to 100 km and maximum engagement altitude of 20 km. According to GIDS, each of these LOMADS units would comprise of a multi-function radar and six multi-cell launchers carrying four missiles each. GIDS did not reveal the guidance and seeker details of the SAM, but it likely leverages active radar homing (ARH) like the majority of its current-day contemporaries. 

GIDS also revealed an ‘E-SHORADS’ system, which it has also designated as the ‘FAAZ-SL’. The FAAZ-SL will offer a maximum range of 20-25 km and a maximum engagement altitude of 6-8 km. GIDS stated that the SAM will be truck-mounted (seemingly similar in design to the NASAMS)… 

Finally, GIDS has also shown that Pakistan is committed to continue developing upon the systems it already has, such as the Fatah, Azb, Burq, Zumr, and Ribat. 

The Fatah-II is an evolved variant of the Fatah-I, an indigenously developed multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). Whereas the Fatah-I has a range of 140 km, the Fatah-II will improve upon it with a range of equal or more than 250 km, while also continuing to leverage the same GNSS-aided INS guidance suite… 

Overall, GIDS has revealed a relatively ambitious product roadmap…It is unclear how far Pakistan has developed each of these systems. However, given that GIDS has revealed them to the public (and, potentially, to potential overseas buyers) could suggest that the institutes behind each of these are relatively confident about completing these projects…


[i] For more information on the China’s efforts in the development of Pakistan’s defense industry, see: Matthew Stein “China Involved in Developing Pakistan’s Main Battle Tank,” OE Watch, August 2021.

[ii] For more on Pakistan’s sale of the JF-17s, see: Matthew Stein “Pakistan Moving into Sales of JF-17 Fighters,” OE Watch, May 2020.

Image Information:

Image: Official logo of GIDS 
Attribution: Public domain

Scandal Threatens Stability of Colombia’s First Leftist Government

Senator Armando Benedetti campaigns for Colombian President Gustavo Petro

They took her [the nanny] to the Casa de Nariño, that is, to the Presidential Palace, for the polygraphy part.

A scandal has engulfed the administration of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, threatening his reform agenda.[i] Petro’s campaign allegedly accepted illegal campaign contributions, including narcotics money from the Maduro regime in Venezuela. The scandal emerged when Colombia’s leading weekly magazine, Semana, reported on an incident of cash being stolen from the home of Petro’s chief of staff, Laura Sarabia. Sarabia suspected her nanny of the theft, subjecting her to a coerced polygraph test and illegally wiretapping her phone, according to the outlet. Simultaneously, Semana has a recording in which Armando Benedetti, former senator and, until recently, Colombia’s Ambassador to Venezuela, discusses breaching campaign finance limits with Laura Sarabia and hints at dirty money in the Petro campaign. According to the article in the Argentine newspaper Clarín, a lieutenant colonel who was part of the illegal wiretapping and polygraph scheme to recover the stolen money was found dead, fueling speculations of potential foul play, although the death has been ruled a suicide.

The allegations against Petro, exacerbated by the president’s own obfuscation, are likely to pose the most serious challenge that Petro’s government has faced. The inability to adequately counter these accusations will impact the government’s stability and could even lead to Petro’s impeachment. As a result of these accusations, it is likely that Petro’s planned reforms—such as his proposal for “total peace” with guerrilla groups and criminal organizations[ii]—will stall in the country’s congress.[iii]


“‘El presidente falta a la verdad:’ Fiscalía General: Duro choque con Petro por inspección judicial en caso de la exniñera de Laura Sarabia (“The president is not telling the truth:” Attorney General’s Office: Hard clash with Petro for judicial inspection in the case of Laura Sarabia’s ex-nanny),” Semana (Colombia’s leading weekly magazine), 30 May 2023. 

They took her [the nanny] to the Casa de Nariño, that is, to the Presidential Palace, for the polygraphy part… During the time she was there, they never gave her access to a lawyer, despite the fact that they were accusing her of having committed a crime, and they also kept her incommunicado…When they did the polygraph, the Police told her that she was a thief and that she should return the money. The boss said that if she spent part of the money that nothing happened, and that she should return the rest.

“Crece el escándalo por una supuesta trama de corrupción en Colombia y Gustavo Petro sale a defenderse (The scandal grows over an alleged corruption plot in Colombia and Gustavo Petro comes out to defend himself),” Clarín (largest Argentine newspaper with excellent regional coverage), 15 June 2023. 

The money stolen from Sarabia’s house, which gave rise to a scandal in the government, was allegedly Petro’s, there were five suitcases and 3,000 million pesos (about $718,000)…the scandal led to the resignation of Sarabia and the ambassador to Venezuela, Armando Benedetti, who was the one who allegedly leaked what happened to the press…In another twist to the crisis, police lieutenant colonel Óscar Dávila, assigned to presidential security and involved in the interrogation and illegal interceptions of Meza [the nanny], was found dead.


[i] For more information on the scandal itself from one of Colombia’s most respected political scientists, see: Sergio Guzmán, “Gustavo Petro’s Biggest Crisis Yet,” Americas Quarterly, 5 June 2023.

[ii] OE Watch has covered Petro’s political and security reforms in several different articles. For example, see: Ryan Berg, “Colombia’s Gustavo Petro Promises New Approach to Security and Drugs,” OE Watch, 10-2022.

[iii] OE Watch has covered Petro’s plans for and the prospects of Total Peace extensively. For more information, see: Ryan Berg, “Colombia’s Congress Authorizes ‘Total Peace’ Negotiation With Guerrilla and Criminal Groups,” OE Watch, 1-2023,

Image Information:

Image:  Senator Armando Benedetti campaigns for Colombian President Gustavo Petro 
Attribution: CC-BY-SA 4.0

Sahelian Countries Divided on Negotiating With Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Militants

Niger and Burkina Faso, both afflicted with jihadist violence, demonstrate divergent views on negotiating with jihadists from the Islamic State (flag pictured below) and Al-Qaeda

“Niger’s approach [to addressing jihadists threats]… starkly contrasts with the regional trend.”

The countries of the Sahel are undertaking divergent paths when it comes to the question of negotiating with terror groups as the African region cements itself as the new epicenter of global jihadist terrorism.[i] Most countries in the Sahel, and wider West Africa, have shown a reluctance to negotiate with terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda (AQ)[ii] or the Islamic State (IS),[iii] as well as with secular separatist insurgencies. Burkina Faso’s prime minister, Apollinaire Kyelem de Tambela, was emphatic that his country, which has seen one of the most significant spikes of jihadist violence of any in the world, would “never negotiate” with the militants in his country, according to the pan-African news aggregator,. He articulated, “The only negotiations that matter with these armed bandits are those taking place on the battlefield.” Burkina Faso looks to rely heavily on its armed self-defense force, The Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland, or VDP (Volontaires pour la défense de la patrie). The VDP is an auxiliary unit working alongside the armed forces of Burkina Faso, which has been criticized for providing civilians arms and authority for violence with as little as two weeks of training.[iv] Burkina Faso is also presumed to be receiving some assistance from the Wagner Group to facilitate this kinetic response, which it has officially denied.[v] Niger has taken a different approach, combining negotiations with AQ and IS elements with kinetic counterterror efforts. Niger’s counterterrorism strategy is seen as being much more effective than the zero-tolerance negotiation policy of other Sahelian states, according to a second article from the centrist pan-African think tank The Institute for Security Studies.. Niger’s approach is modeled after the successes of two other regional states, Algeria and Mauritania, to their own insurgencies, and it derived from its own successful history of addressing Tuareg rebellions that plagued the country for years. The military-first approach to counterterrorism in the Sahel has shown its limits over the past decade. The authors of the second article give advise: “Niger’s neighbors in the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea that are affected by violent extremism should take inspiration from the country’s strategy as they tackle the insecurity afflicting their populations.”


Burkina Faso: Prime Minister Rules Out Any Deal With Jihadists, Boosts Civil Militias,” (pan-African news aggregator), 31 May 2023.  

Burkina Faso’s prime minister on Tuesday ruled out any negotiations with jihadist insurgents that have taken control of swathes of the West African country since 2015. 

“We will never negotiate, either over Burkina Faso’s territorial integrity or its sovereignty,” Apollinaire Kyelem de Tambela told parliament, adding that the government aimed to double the number of volunteers for the VDP civil defence militia to 100,000. 

“The only negotiations that matter with these armed bandits are those taking place on the battlefield,” de Tambela told the Transitional Legislative Assembly. 

Hassane Koné and Fahiraman Rodrigue Koné, “Is Niger’s counter-terrorism approach an exception in the Sahel?” Institute for Security Studies (centrist pan-African think tank), 5 April 2023.  

In early 2022, Nigerien authorities recognised the need for dialogue with jihadist leaders in Tillabéri. This was inspired after several Nigeriens defected from their extremist groups, and violence in the Diffa region decreased after a disarmament and reintegration process launched in 2016…. 

The use of dialogue in Tillabéri shows strong political will on the part of the government, which is keen to disincentivise engagement with extremist groups, and stabilise the region. Niger’s approach, which combines dialogue and military action, starkly contrasts with the regional trend. Neighbouring countries have reinforced their military tactics through diversifying strategic alliance and employing armed civilians…  

By including dialogue in its counter-terrorism efforts, Niger is experimenting with an approach similar to those in Algeria and Mauritania, underpin their decade-long protection against jihadist violence. 

Niger’s neighbours in the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea that are affected by violent extremism should take inspiration from the country’s strategy as they tackle the insecurity afflicting their populations. A coordinated regional approach would also exert pressure on terrorist groups and ultimately deprive them of human resources.


[i] For more on the Sahel’s role as the new center of global jihadism, see: Jason Warner, “Global Terrorism Declined Slightly in 2022, With the Sahel as the New Epicenter,” OE Watch, 05-2023,; Jason Warner, “African Leaders, UN See Terrorism in the Sahel as Dire,” OE Watch, 11-2022.

[ii] For more on the status of Al-Qaeda in the Sahel and Sahara, see: Jason Warner, “Leader of Al-Qaeda’s Sahelian Branch Explains His Group’s Goals,” OE Watch, 05-2023.; Jason Warner, “Al-Qaeda Leader in Maghreb Celebrates French Departure, Claims No Plans To Attack French Homeland,” OE Watch, 04-2023.

[iii] For more on the status of the Islamic State in Africa, see: Jason Warner, “”UN Warns About Islamic State Surging in Africa and Afghanistan,” OE Watch, 03-2023.

[iv] For more on the VDP and critiques of it, see: Jason Warner, “Burkina Faso Fights Terrorism With Recruits and Russia,” OE Watch, 02-2023.

[v] For more on Burkina Faso’s relationship with Wagner and Russia, see: Jason Warner, “Russia-Supported Military Rulers in Mali, Burkina, and Guinea Continue To Deepen Ties,” OE Watch, 04-2023.; Jason Warner, “Burkina Faso Fights Terrorism With Recruits and Russia,” OE Watch, 02-2023.

Image Information:

Image: Niger and Burkina Faso, both afflicted with jihadist violence, demonstrate divergent views on negotiating with jihadists from the Islamic State (flag pictured below) and Al-Qaeda  
Attribution: CC BY-SA 2.0

French Researchers Respond to Wave of Anti-French Sentiment in Africa

Anti-French sentiment has been spreading in francophone Africa

“[African critics] no longer even need to prove that France supports jihadism. [They] just say so.”

Unprecedented waves of anti-French sentiment have swept over many francophone African countries over the past four years. These manifest in large-scale civil society protests in Mali and Burkina Faso, the targeting of French counterterror convoys throughout the Sahel, and accusations from both Mali and the Central African Republic that France is actively funding terrorists. [i]

The reasons why anti-French sentiment has become so pervasive are detailed in the accompanying article from the pan-African news aggregator . The article is based on the findings of an upcoming report from noted French think tank, the Institute for International Relations (IFRI). The report suggests there are three issues: African critiques of the French military and counterterrorism presence, a lack of development, and disdain over the CFA (Communauté financière d’Afrique) currency. The report also notes that France is consistently scapegoated by African political and military leaders for their own failures: “It is always an argument that comes to explain, and ultimately absolve, the responsibility of these elites.” The pervasiveness of simple untruths maligning French military and counterterror presence in the Sahel—what some researchers have called “Afrancaux News”[ii]—is similarly driving the pervasiveness of the anti-French sentiment. The IFRI report notes that African critics “no longer even need to prove that France supports jihadism. [They] just say so.” While Russian disinformation campaigns vilifying France and promoting Russia exacerbate the sentiment, the report’s authors recognize that France itself does bear some responsibility for its declining reputation on the continent, with French leaders long believing that anti-French sentiment was merely tied to episodic crises and was not part of longstanding grievances tied to the colonial legacy of France in Africa. Understanding African public opinion remains imperative as many countries in francophone Africa—Mali, Burkina Faso, the Central Africa Republic most prominently—move even further away from France and toward Russia.[iii]


“Pourquoi le sentiment anti-français imprègne l’Afrique francophone? (Why is anti-French sentiment so pervasive in Africa?) (pan-African news aggregator),” 15 June 2023. 

Anti-French rhetoric in French-speaking Africa has spread beyond the educated urban elite, and the phenomenon could “take root for a long time,” says Alain Antil, a researcher at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), in an interview. 

In recent years, criticism of France’s policies has been accompanied by violent demonstrations against French companies such as Total and against diplomatic representations in Chad, Mali, and, more recently, Burkina Faso. 

The depth of the phenomenon is “nothing like what we saw in previous decades,” points out Antil, who heads Ifri’s Sub-Saharan Africa Centre and who on Wednesday, with his colleague Thierry Vircoulon, is publishing a study devoted to “Themes, actors, and functions of anti-French discourse in French-speaking Africa”. 

We are a long way from the days ”when highly articulate criticism (…) was confined to leading circles of intellectuals and sometimes, during serious political crises, spilled out onto the streets,” he says. 

It is striking to note that critics no longer even try to demonstrate untruths: ”We no longer even need to prove that France supports jihadism. We just say so,” he observes. 

For the researcher, the intensification of anti-French sentiment can be explained by ”disappointing economic and political trajectories” in countries where the population had once pinned their hopes on economic progress and democracy. 

Faced with the failure of their own policies, the leaders of these countries resort to ”scapegoating techniques”: “France is ultimately responsible for the non-development of these countries and the corruption of their elites,” explains Antil. ”It is always an argument that comes to explain, and ultimately absolve, the responsibility of these elites.” 

At the same time, this anti-French rhetoric has been able to flourish because French leaders have been slow to react. 

Until very recently, the French authorities ”were in a kind of denial,” seeing it simply as a correlation with crises, ”outbreaks of hives” or manipulation by the Russians, explains the researcher. 

The study does show ”a link between this Russian propaganda war and certain segments of African social networks.” 

It is undeniable that social networks have massively circulated false information, such as videos or photos showing French soldiers ”supposedly” stealing gold or ”consorting with jihadists,” stresses Alain Antil. 

But the expert warns against the temptation to explain everything in terms of Russian propaganda. 

“Obviously, the Russians are playing their part, having an impact and funding anti-French campaigns,” he says.  

However, he warns that it would be a mistake to think that ”explaining to Africans that they are being manipulated by the Russians will put an end to it.” 

Far from abating, this rhetoric will take root ”for a long time in the politics and public opinion of these countries,” he adds, citing three factors fuelling anti-French sentiment: the military presence, the development aid policy, and the currency. 

While the number of French troops has fallen drastically from 30,000 in the early 1960s to around 6,100 today, ”interventionism has not diminished,” notes the researcher.


[i] For more information on claims that France is funding African terrorists, see: Jason Warner, “Mali Claims France Funded Terrorists; France Denies,” OE Watch, 10-2022.

[ii] For more information on the anti-French counterterror sentiment, see: Jason Warner, Lassane Ouedraogo, and Matthew Kirwin, “The Fake News Phenomenon in the Sahel: ‘Afrancaux News’ and the Postcolonial Logics of Polemical Information,” African Studies Review, 65 (4): December 2022, 911 – 938.

[iii] For more on African states’ growing alliances with Russia, see: Jason Warner, “Top Ugandan General Adds to List of Growing Pro-Russian African Military Personnel” OE Watch, 05-2023.; Jason Warner, “Mali Defends Reliance on Russian Counterterrorism Assistance,” OE Watch, 03-2023.; Jason Warner, “Burkina Faso Fights Terrorism With Recruits and Russia,” OE Watch, 02-2023.; Jason Warner, “Burkina Faso: A Bellwether on Russian and French Presence,” OE Watch, 11-2022.

Image Information:

Image: Anti-French sentiment has been spreading in francophone Africa  
Attribution: CC BY 2.0