Iraqi police seize more than 6 million Captagon amphetamine pills | News

Syria is the Center East’s principal producer of the drug Captagon and Saudi Arabia is the primary shopper market.

Iraqi safety forces seized greater than six million tablets of the amphetamine-type stimulant Captagon, making a number of arrests and breaking apart a drug trafficking ring.

“Round 6.2 million tablets” had been uncovered in a warehouse within the southwest of the capital, Baghdad, the nationwide safety company stated in a press release on Saturday.

Three Iraqi nationals and 4 suspects from different Arab nations had been arrested in reference to the trafficking community, the company stated, including that the medicine had been destined for distribution “in areas of Baghdad and different provinces”.

Safety forces additionally broke up a second drug ring when three males had been arrested with six kilogrammes (13 kilos) of cannabis.

All 10 suspects “admitted to hyperlinks with worldwide drug trafficking networks”, the company stated.

Drug trafficking convictions will be punishable by the demise penalty in Iraq.

Captagon was the commerce identify of a drug initially patented in Germany within the early Nineteen Sixties that contained an amphetamine-type stimulant known as fenethylline used to deal with consideration deficit and narcolepsy amongst different circumstances.

The drug was later banned and have become a bootleg substance nearly completely produced and consumed within the Center East and is shut to what’s recognized in different nations as “velocity”.

Syria is the Center East’s principal Captagon producer and Saudi Arabia the primary shopper market.

Saudi custom officer opens imported pomegranates, as customs foiled an attempt to smuggle over 5 million Captagon pills in 2021 [File photo: Saudi Press Agency/AP]
Saudi customized officer opens imported pomegranates, as customs foiled an try to smuggle greater than 5 million Captagon tablets in 2021 [File photo: Saudi Press Agency/AP]

In April 2021, Saudi customs authorities in Jeddah port foiled an try to smuggle in additional than 5.3 million Captagon tablets, which had been hidden in pomegranate shipments from Lebanon.

The drug bust led Saudi Arabia to droop fruit and vegetable imports from Lebanon, saying shipments had been getting used for drug smuggling and accused Beirut of inaction.

Then in June final yr, Saudi Arabia’s customs foiled an try to smuggle greater than 4.5 million Captagon tablets hidden in a cargo of oranges from an undisclosed nation and an additional 14.4 million tablets had been found hidden in a cargo of iron plates from Lebanon.

The sale and use of medicine in Iraq has soared lately. Safety forces have stepped up operations and make nearly day by day bulletins of seizures or arrests.

Within the first three months of this yr, greater than three million Captagon tablets had been seized by Iraqi authorities.

Musk’s #TwitterTakeover: What next for the ‘digital town square’? | Social Media

From: The Listening Submit

One of many world’s richest males and ‘free speech absolutist’ Musk acquires Twitter, prompting debates over the way forward for the platform. Plus, Mexican journalists in peril.

Elon Musk is closing in on shopping for Twitter for $44bn, taking management of a platform the place everybody appears indignant about one thing. It isn’t but clear if the billionaire is aware of simply what he’s stepping into.

Contributors:
Rasha Abdul-Rahim – Director, Amnesty Tech
Abe Brown – Senior editor, Forbes
Evan Greer – Director, Combat for the Future
Edward Ongweso Jr – Employees author, Motherboard
Shadma Shaikh – Co-founder, FactorDaily

On our radar:

Newbie hour: The Kremlin accuses its adversaries of plotting to kill a Russian journalist however the proof doesn’t add up. Producer Johanna Hoes on Putin’s weird allegations.

Mexican journalism – a combat to the loss of life:

Journalism, on the run. Mexico, its tradition of violence towards reporters who’re killed, with impunity.

Contributors:
Andrés Manuel López Obrador – President of Mexico
Reyna Haydee Ramírez – Journalist & co-founder, Crimson Sonora de Periodistas
Ana Cristina Ruelas – Former director, Article 19, Mexico and Central America & Researcher, El Colegio de México A C Seminar on Violence and Peace

UN condemns Mali’s ban on French media | Freedom of the Press News

Geneva, Switzerland – The UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights criticised Mali’s determination to ban French media shops and known as on its navy rulers to reverse their determination.

“We’re deeply dismayed by the Malian media regulator’s determination to definitively droop Radio France Worldwide [RFI] and France24,” stated a spokesperson for Excessive Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on Friday.

“These suspensions are the most recent in a string of actions curbing press freedom and the liberty of expression in Mali, and are available at a time when extra, not much less, scrutiny is required.”

Mali’s navy leaders first imposed the suspensions on March 16, accusing the 2 broadcasters of airing false allegations about studies of human rights violations by the military.

On Wednesday, the Excessive Authority for Communication introduced these provisional suspensions can be definitive.

Journalist associations have denounced a rise in assaults and smear campaigns in opposition to reporters over the previous 12 months, specifically in opposition to representatives of French media shops. Overseas and native reporters overlaying Mali have denounced a worsening of the local weather for media professionals within the nation.

“We didn’t have this sort of scrutiny earlier than,” stated a freelancer contributing to French media, who requested to not be named for safety issues. “The state of affairs has obtained worse since tensions between France and Mali began to extend. It’s a political subject.”

‘Pervasive chilling impact’

On Friday, the Committee to Defend Journalists additionally known as on the authorities to reverse their determination to ban RFI and France 24.

“Malian authorities’ determination to solidify these suspensions signifies simply how dedicated they’re to denying these of their nation entry to info,” stated Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa programme coordinator, in a press release.

On February 6, French journalist Benjamin Roger, a reporter on project for Jeune Afrique, was arrested and expelled inside 24 hours of his arrival within the Malian capital, Bamako. The authorities stated the reporter didn’t have press accreditation. Every week earlier, they introduced it could grow to be tougher for media representatives to acquire a media allow.

“Press accreditation has hardly ever been demanded till now,” stated Reporters With out Borders in a press release, “and missing it has not prevented journalists from working freely.”

On April 8, Reporters With out Borders marked one 12 months from the kidnapping of French journalist Olivier Dubois, a correspondent for French publications Libération, Le Level, and Jeune Afrique. On March 14, the al Qaeda-linked Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), a coalition of armed teams, launched a video displaying he was nonetheless alive.

French help employee Sophie Petronin was kidnapped in Gao in 2016 and launched after 4 years. In 2013, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, two journalists of RFI, have been kidnapped and killed by gunmen within the Malian city of Kidal as they completed an interview with a Tuareg separatist chief.

A member of the Malian special forces stands guard during the ceremony that celebrates the national army day
A member of the Malian particular forces stands guard in Kati, Mali [File: Florent Vergnes/AFP]

In the meantime, the UN denounced how such a state of affairs is inducing these reporters who’re nonetheless contained in the nation to follow self-censorship.

“The present local weather is one with a pervasive chilling impact on journalists and bloggers,” UN Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani instructed reporters on Friday.

“Our workplace continues to doc severe allegations of violations of worldwide human rights legislation and worldwide humanitarian legislation in lots of elements of the nation, and we stay significantly involved by steps to additional shrink the already restricted civic house.”

Tensions between Mali and France have elevated since a navy coup led by Colonel Assimi Goita on August 8, 2020, that overthrew elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was supported by France.

In June 2021, France, a former colonial energy within the area, halted its joint navy operations with Malian forces awaiting ensures that civilians return to positions of energy.

French President Emmanuel Macron introduced he would begin a withdrawal of troops, about 5,100 troopers, stationed within the area since 2013 below its so-called Operation Barkhane spanning 5 nations within the Sahel – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

In response to the military’s energy seize in Mali, the Financial Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc and the African Union suspended Mali from their organisations and threatened sanctions.

In January, Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga accused France of selling insecurity and division within the nation and expelled its ambassador.

In accordance with Reporters With out Borders, Mali is ranked 99th out of 180 nations within the 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

South Africa floods: Malawian migrants decry gov’t neglect | Floods News

Earlier this month, Edina Maliwa, 25 was asleep in her dwelling within the Mariannhill neighborhood of the KwaZulu-Natal province after a tiring shift as a maid when a deafening sound awoke her.

“I didn’t know what it was at first till I received off my mattress,” Maliwa stated in a phone interview from a neighbouring city the place a buddy had taken her in. “I used to be submerged in water to my ankles, that’s after I knew that I used to be in bother.”

“Once I received out, I discovered {that a} massive tree had fallen on my neighbour’s home. All of the 5 those that have been there died that night time.”

The floods continued for a number of days and left at the least 443 folks useless and 63 others lacking.

The Malawian overseas affairs ministry advised Al Jazeera that at the least seven of its residents have been amongst that loss of life toll, at the same time as two are lacking and greater than 200 stay displaced.

Maliwa, a Malawian, is amongst them. Again in 2019, she left her daughter, now aged 5, together with her mom and migrated to South Africa on account of an absence of alternatives for work in her dwelling nation.

For years, rising unemployment charges and poor dwelling circumstances in neighbouring international locations like Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have made South Africa, the second-largest economic system on the continent, a sexy nation, particularly for hundreds of youth. A lot of them find yourself within the casual sector, working as safety guards, store assistants and home assistants.

However those that have survived the catastrophe say they ended up shedding all their possessions and that they’ve acquired no help or assurance from their dwelling authorities.

In keeping with them, they haven’t acquired help from the provincial or nationwide governments in South Africa, both. However that additionally applies to the locals who’ve proven frustration with the extent of help from the authorities.

For folks like John Achadi, 26, a neighborhood corridor is the one place the place he might discover shelter. He’s one in every of 32 Malawians tenting there and surviving on handouts from well-wishers. There are different immigrants on the camp – from Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe – and they’re apprehensive about their security, too, in a rustic with recurring xenophobic violence.

Achadi stated he’ll board the primary bus again dwelling as quickly as he can. 4 years in the past, he travelled to South Africa with hopes of discovering a job, as his mother and father have been too poor to help his schooling and so discovering work was robust in Malawi.

However following the floods, not solely did he lose all his property – most of which was already packed to be despatched dwelling – however his office, a bakery, was additionally washed away. His employer despatched him a textual content message that operations is not going to resume till July.

“That’s too lengthy and the way are we going to outlive right here?” he requested. “It’s so arduous to get cash to purchase meals as a result of even the meals costs have gone up. Life is more durable for me than it was earlier than,” he stated.

John Kabaghe, a spokesman for the Malawian overseas affairs ministry stated the authorities have been monitoring the state of affairs and are able to repatriate these keen to come back again dwelling, together with offering them with journey paperwork which most had misplaced.

“They may really feel that manner (uncared for) however it’s like we’re attempting to help them from a viewpoint of not having a mission on the bottom on the place,” he stated, including that Lilongwe is already grappling with latest disasters together with Cyclone Ana.

“We had individuals who went there and couldn’t entry many of the areas,” he added. In conditions like these, there are unrealistic expectations [from the people] on what the federal government can do.”

Maliwa and Achadi stated they have been unable to achieve their embassy as a result of they haven’t any contacts for officers there.

Lilongwe-based political scientist Victor Chipofya Jr blamed the federal government for not catering to the wants of Malawians within the diaspora of their time of want.

“Most Malawians which can be dwelling in South Africa are folks which can be going there and the roles that they’re doing should not actually high-paying jobs,” he stated. “So to kind out the issue, in the long term, perhaps it’s excessive time that the Malawi authorities creates an setting inside Malawi that ought to make these folks to not go away this nation to go and work in South Africa.”

The morning after the downpour, Maliwa witnessed dozens of our bodies being shovelled off from the rubble, a sight that has left her traumatised. However with no higher prospects again dwelling, she is keen to remain, hoping for a recent begin.

US Congress revives WWII-era weapons programme for Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

‘Lend-Lease’ laws handed in Home of Representatives will make it simpler for US to ship weapons on to Kyiv.

The USA Congress has handed lend-lease laws that can make it simpler to export army gear to Ukraine, reviving a World Battle II-era US weapons financing programme.

The US Home of Representatives overwhelmingly backed the “Ukraine Democracy Protection Lend-Lease Act of 2022” on Thursday by a vote of 417 to 10, sending the invoice to President Joe Biden for his signature. The invoice had sailed by the Senate with unanimous help.

The measure revives a World Battle II-era association that allowed Washington to lend or lease army gear to Nice Britain and different allies at little value. The brand new plan will assist these affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, together with Poland and different Jap European nations.

Two months into the conflict, members of Congress stated they hoped the act would work because it did eight many years in the past by permitting US firms to rapidly resupply accomplice nations with out having to clear bureaucratic hurdles.

“At the moment the Ukrainian individuals are standing on the entrance traces within the battle for democracy and towards tyranny, and the US wants to offer them with each attainable measure of humanitarian and army support,” stated Consultant Mary Homosexual Scanlon, a Democrat.

Airmen and civilians from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron palletize ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
The US is transport superior anti-tank rockets, aerial drone weapons and ammunition to Jap Europe for distribution to Ukraine [File: Mauricio Campino/US Air Force via AP]

The lend-lease financing association permits the US to offer gear to Ukraine now, with only a technical requirement to pay at some later date, basically giving it to the Kyiv authorities.

“Ukrainian forces have demonstrated unbelievable power and bravado, and we should once more function the arsenal of democracy and guarantee they’ve the total vary of assets essential to defend their sovereignty,” Republican Senator John Cornyn, a lead sponsor of the invoice within the Senate, stated in a press release.

Earlier within the day, President Biden requested Congress to approve an extra $33bn in support for Ukraine, together with greater than $20bn for weapons, ammunition and different army help.

Biden’s request contains $8.5bn in direct financial help to the Ukrainian authorities and $3bn in humanitarian support. It’s supposed to cowl the conflict effort’s wants by September, the top of the US authorities’s fiscal yr.

“We want this invoice to help Ukraine in its battle for freedom,” Biden stated on the White Home on Thursday. “The price of this battle – it’s not low-cost – however caving to aggression goes to be extra pricey.”

Congress had beforehand authorized $13.6bn in army and humanitarian support for Ukraine, together with $3bn for the US European Command operations bolstering American troops within the area and $3.5bn to replenish US shares of kit despatched to Ukraine.

10 of the Largest Construction Projects in the World

What involves thoughts when you think about the world’s greatest constructing tasks? You are right for those who guessed airports, canals, and subways. And, after all, industrial complexes and utility tasks are included. Nonetheless, a number of the present tasks included on the record could shock you, such because the Worldwide House Station and an amusement advanced modeled like Disney World.

Dubai’s Al Maktoum Worldwide Airport

Center East, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, new Al Maktoum airport was a large growth venture. Bowman, Charles No different airport compares to Dubai’s Al Maktoum Worldwide Airport, which spans over 21 sq. miles. The power is able to dealing with 200 wide-body plane concurrently. The second section of the airport’s growth is anticipated to value greater than $32 billion. Initially anticipated to be accomplished in 2018, the most recent growth section has been postponed, and no completion date has been established.

Saudi Arabia, Jubail II

Jubail Business Metropolis was a large constructing venture in Saudi Arabia’s Center Jap Cultureia. Getty Pictures / Ali Al Mubarak Jubail II is a 22-year-old industrial metropolis extension venture with a $11 billion growth price range. It began its second section in 2014. It’ll finally embody at the least 100 industrial models, an 800,000-cubic-meter desalination plant, miles of trains, roads, and highways, and an oil refinery capable of generating at the least 350,000 barrels per day. The full project is scheduled to conclude in 2024.

Dubailand is situated in Dubai.

Dubailand, situated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was a large growth venture. Getty Pictures / Matilde Gattoni Three Walt Disney Worlds could also be included contained in the Dubailand advanced. Dubailand, which might cowl an space of 278 sq. kilometers and value $64 billion, might be divided into six sections: amusement parks, sports activities arenas, eco-tourism, well being amenities, scientific sights, and resorts. Moreover, it should have the world’s greatest lodge, with 6,500 rooms, and a 10-million-square-foot shopping center. The venture is anticipated to be accomplished in 2025.

House, Worldwide House Station

Worldwide House Station constructing was an astronomically huge endeavor. Britannica/UIG / Getty Pictures Each 92 minutes, the Worldwide House Station (ISS) rounds the globe. It’s being constructed at a price of greater than $60 billion by a collaboration of 15 international locations and 5 area businesses. The area station’s complete value and anticipated extensions may strategy $1 trillion, at which era it may grow to be a residence for as much as 1 million extraterrestrial individuals.

China’s South-North Water Switch Venture

The South-North Water Transfer Project in China’s Qinghai province was a large constructing endeavor. Getty Pictures / Christophe Boisvieux Though the north of China is residence to about half of the nation’s inhabitants, it solely possesses round 20% of the nation’s water sources. To deal with this imbalance, China has sponsored the constructing of three large canals, every greater than 600 miles lengthy, that can transport water from China’s three main rivers to the north. The venture is scheduled to be accomplished in 48 years. When absolutely operational, it should present 44.8 billion cubic meters of water per 12 months.

Crossrail Venture in London

Males engaged in constructing work on the Crossrail subterranean metro system in London. Getty Pictures / Lionel Derimais The world’s first subterranean railway system continues to broaden, with the addition of 26 miles of tube connecting 40 stops. Building is anticipated to value $23 billion. The venture is slated to be accomplished in phases, with the primary new line—the Elizabeth line—anticipated to open in 2019 and the extra traces following in 2020.

California’s Excessive-Pace Railway

Trains Touring Alongside A Railroad Observe With A Metropolis within the Background Getty Pictures / Ren Morales California’s high-speed rail construction began in 2015 and is slated to conclude in 2029. It’ll hyperlink eight of the state’s ten main cities, stretching from San Diego to San Francisco. The venture is split into two phases: The primary section will hyperlink Los Angeles to San Francisco; the second section will broaden the connection to San Diego and Sacramento. The practice might be completely electrical, run fully on renewable vitality, and able to reaching speeds of as much as 200 miles per hour.

Japan’s Chuo Shinkansen

Pond 5 inside Sellafield Getty Pictures / Barry Lewis Formally often known as the Linear Chuo Shinkansen, Japan’s latest high-speed practice line will join Tokyo and Nagoya, a distance of 286 kilometers, in 40 minutes at a prime velocity of 505 kilometers per hour. This part of the high-speed route is anticipated to be accomplished by 2027. An extra section will see the railway prolonged to Osaka. The Tokyo-Nagoya line might be underground for about 86 p.c of its size, necessitating main tunnel development. This magnetic levitation (a.okay.a. “maglev”) practice is the world’s quickest.

Beijing Worldwide Airport, China

Beijing, China, Beijing Capital Worldwide Airport. A portion of the brand new Terminal 3 constructing, which opened in February 2008 and is the world’s second greatest construction. Getty Pictures / Christian Kober Beijing Worldwide Airport will in the end outperform Dubai’s Al Maktoum Worldwide Airport by way of value, complete sq. miles, passenger and plane capability. The primary part of the airport was completed in time for the 2008 Olympic Video games. Extra growth is anticipated to be accomplished by 2025. Terminal 1, constructed by Zaha Hadid, embodies quite a lot of sustainable design ideas inside a future architectural shell.

Libya’s Nice Man-Made River Venture

Truck with colossal pipe Getty Pictures / Friedrich Schmidt Since 1985, Libya has been creating the “Nice Man-Made River” (GMR) venture. It’s the world’s greatest irrigation venture. When completed, it could irrigate over 350,000 acres of agricultural land and considerably enhance ingesting water availability within the majority of Libya’s metropolitan areas. The venture’s water provide comes from the subterranean Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System. The venture is anticipated to be accomplished in 2030.

Turkish military operation causes controversy, division in Iraq | News

Baghdad, Iraq – Turkey’s newest army operation within the Kurdish area of northern Iraq started early final week, with Ankara launching an air and floor offensive focusing on the Kurdistan Staff’ Celebration (PKK) in pockets of Duhok province on April 18.

These operations towards the PKK, an armed group preventing for the autonomy of Turkey’s southeast and thought of a terrorist organisation by Ankara, have develop into an everyday incidence over latest years. Nevertheless, they’re rising extra controversial in Iraq, and never simply in areas administered by the Kurdistan Regional Authorities (KRG).

“This operation is principally attempting to intervene and set up networks of statement, monitoring, and bases,” Sardar Aziz, an analyst and former adviser to the KRG parliament, instructed Al Jazeera. “This time Turkey is planning to remain.”

Solely days earlier than Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the launch of the operation, dubbed Claw-Lock, he met with the KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, an obvious sign that the KRG was supportive, to a sure extent, of the operation. Erdogan has additionally stated that the Iraqi authorities cooperated with the operation.

But the Iraqi central authorities not solely refuted Erdogan’s declare, but in addition strongly condemned Ankara’s operation. Baghdad has additionally summoned the Turkish ambassador to register its opposition.

“The Turkish facet is finishing up steady violations that aren’t primarily based on any authorized foundation or settlement between the 2 international locations … they invoke Article 51 of the United Nations Constitution for self-defence, and this can’t be applied with out official Iraqi approval,” Iraqi overseas ministry spokesperson Ahmed al-Sahaf stated.

Turkey says that operations towards the PKK in northern Iraq are essential to cease the group from finishing up additional assaults in Turkey.

Regardless of Ankara’s declare that it had acquired help from each Erbil and Baghdad, it seems to be fairly clear that there’s a divide inside Iraq.

“The truth that President Erdogan talked about this operation occurred efficiently in cooperation with the Iraqi authorities, regardless of the Iraqi overseas ministry condemning the operation and summoning the Turkish ambassador, exhibits to you the dysfunction of Iraqi overseas coverage,” stated Hamzeh Hadad, a political analyst targeted on Iraq.

“The KRG says one factor and the Iraqi overseas ministry says one other. The dysfunction is additional embarrassing when you think about the Iraqi overseas minister is from the KDP, the identical half because the KRG prime minister.”

The KRG has but to problem any official statements on the operation, and the inner division inside the regional authorities might need contributed to this radio silence, based on analysts.

“[The] KRG could be very divided and is unable to specific condemnation,” Aziz stated. “Erdogan is at all times utilizing Kurdish events to point out that Kurds are agreeing with [him]; it’s properly deliberate, and the goal is to point out that the [KRG] authorities is supporting the operation.”

Assaults on Shia armed teams

The Turkish operation has come as Iraqi politics continues to face unsure occasions, with a brand new authorities but to be shaped and negotiations between political factions ongoing, regardless of elections being held again in October 2021.

To make issues extra precarious, native Iraqi media shops have that the Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) armed group, a pro-Iranian predominantly Shia pressure that has important army affect in Iraq because of its function within the struggle towards ISIL (ISIS), and now additionally has an necessary political bloc.

Because the group’s institution in 2014, Turkey has thought-about the PMF to be totally guided by Iran, based on Harry Istepanian, an analyst primarily based in Washington, and due to this fact having no legitimacy in Sunni areas. An assault on the PMF could be thought-about a provocative motion that sends a message to Iraq’s political teams, whereas additionally exposing a threat of additional escalations.

“Turkey carried out the assault on the PMF as a warning message to the Shia factions to stay exterior of Turkey’s political recreation in Iraq,” Harry Istepanian instructed Al Jazeera. “The presence of Turkish troops in Bashiqa and different places is in step with its blatant opposition to [PMF] presence in what are thought-about Sunni areas.”

Turkey has not formally commented on experiences of the assaults on the PMF, and Al Jazeera couldn’t independently confirm the experiences.

How the PMF will reply, if in any respect, will seemingly sway a number of the future course of Turkey’s army ambition in Iraq.

“It’s potential to see extra assaults on the PMF,” Istepanian stated. “Nevertheless, any PMF assault could be a brand new stage of the battle, which might permit to be towards the Turkish intervention.”

For now, Iraq’s confused response to Turkey’s operation displays its personal confused state, with out a authorities or a strong sense of goal. A extra concrete place on Turkey could solely be potential when that’s resolved.

“It’s troublesome to find out whereas within the present impasse of selecting a brand new authorities,” Istepanian stated. “The complete geopolitical panorama will depend on a variety of regional components linked to Turkey’s future relations with Iran and the south Caucasus, the Russian army invasion of Ukraine and Turkey’s inner politics and financial troubles.”