Today the Americans are taking leave of Afghanistan, tomorrow the French from the Sahel: the international missions to fight jihadism are withdrawing, given the impossibility of replacing incompetent local governments. And jihadist groups throughout Africa, galvanised by the victory of the Taliban, launch a series of violent attacks against civilians and the military.
The dramatic events of the Afghan crisis have obscured another piece of important news, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. After the 2003 war and the ensuing guerrilla warfare, and after returning in 2014 to battle against ISIS, the Americans are now heading back home for good. Meanwhile, NATO allied troops will stay and will be under Italian command from 2022.
NATO had been present in Afghanistan for 20 years. It came not to "export democracy," but rather to fight against terrorism following the attacks of 9/11 in America. What will happen now that the two-decade mission is over? The Doha Agreement that preceded the U.S. withdrawal envisaged peace in exchange for the Taliban's renunciation of anti-American terrorism. And yet the Taliban have already broken their promises. Instead of dealing with the government in Kabul, they have overthrown it. The risk of the return of Afghanistan-based terrorism is real. In Afghanistan there are men freed from maximum security prisons with weapons left behind by the Americans. In the wake of all this is the jihadist "myth" of a country that defeated America.
We all have felt moved by the harrowing scenes at Kabul international airport where thousands of people have tried in vain to leave their country now in the hands of the Taliban. In the world of politics, once again, welcoming refugees and calling for impossible airlifts for millions of people is being urged.
What sort of future awaits Afghanistan after the hasty retreat of Western forces and landslide victory of Taliban militias? The Kabul airport will remain open until Western civilians and a minority of Afghans have been evacuated. The Taliban promise tolerance and non-interference in the territories of their neighbours (China and Russia), but this may be just propaganda. Through its secret services, Pakistan has had the biggest victory by aiding and organising the Taliban offensive and by infiltrating government troops. It will now aim to exert its control over the forthcoming Afghan Islamic government.
The WHO has decided to include artesunate, a derivative of artemisinin, in the group of three medicines whose efficacy in treating Covid-19 patients it intends to test. It has long been in use in Madagascar and Cameroon, but is only now being considered by the WHO.
Thousands of Afghans have helped the Italian contingent in their country, either as interpreters or employees on our bases. The same applies for other allied contingents. As things stand now, if they were to remain in Afghanistan after NATO's withdrawal, they would risk being killed by the Taliban. General Battisti's appeal is straightforward: do something and do it in a hurry. Too much red tape slows down evacuation.
As restrictions escalate, so does the number of ordinary people who understand that what is at stake is not the freedom to go to the pub or the restaurant, nor even vaccination freedom: it is the freedom to exist as human beings worthy of the name, without kowtowing to Leviathan. It is a question of deciding who we want to worship, God or the dragon. Revelation comes to our aid.
“I am still struggling between my faith, my religious convictions of loving and forgiving, and the reality I live every day. With Christ I will overcome any doubts I may have. With Christ I will rise again.” A year after the still unexplained explosion at the port of Beirut, which left more than 200 dead and 7000 injured, one of the survivors tells the Daily Compass about the difficult path of rebirth: “I don't remember anything, I am still undergoing operations today because of the consequences of the explosion, but I will not leave my country”, says Melvine M. Khoury. “We are still waiting for the truth about the presence of that quantity of ammonium nitrate, which could not have gone unnoticed”.
On July 28, 1951 a special UN Conference approved the Geneva Refugee Convention. It clearly defines the rights and obligations of refugees and host states. Today, these terms are confused and also apply to economic migrants.
Africa wants China as a partner because it expects nothing in terms of transparency and human rights. Now the African Union is pointing to China as a model for development. This is not a good example: China is still a poor (as well as repressed) country. On the other hand, the major Chinese investments in Africa risk being lost in collapsing states.
“The question can be formulated as this: who has the right to decide what kind of sex education their children should receive? We believe this is the right, first and foremost, of the child’s parents.” Nemeth Zsolt, President of the Foreign Affairs Commission in the Hungarian Parliament, explains to the Daily Compass the meaning of the law which Ursula von der Leyen has labelled as “anti-LGBT” discrimination. A perfect storm is concentrating on Budapest in the European Commission made of legal, and since yesterday, economic pressures. Yet, Hungary not only vindicates member states rights to autonomy, it insists on the freedom of education.