Aurel Braun

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In this Jan. 8, 2020 photo, rescue workers search the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Ebrahim Noroozi

The crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, with the loss of all 176 people on board, including 15 children and 57 Canadians, was a horrific tragedy. It’s also deeply revelatory regarding several seminal issues involving Iran.

Flight PS752 went down shortly after it took off from the Tehran airport, just hours after Iran fired some 15 ballistic missiles at two large bases in Iraq that housed American and allied forces, as retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani.

The coincidence of the airline crash and the Iranian retaliation resulted in speculation and suspicion. The Iranian regime immediately and implausibly claimed mechanical problems as the crash cause.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russia Arctic Bear Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Today the world continues to focus on Moscow’s brazen aggression in Ukraine and its blatant disregard for international law. However, Russia’s imperial delusions and energy dependence are also creating major problems elsewhere in the world, including in the Arctic — a vast, energy-rich region where the Kremlin has both great ambitions and is pursuing dangerous policies.

Despite its superpower pretensions, Russia remains a poorly developed state with a unidimensional economy that is extremely dependent on oil and natural gas, and saddled with often difficult-to-access energy deposits costing billions to exploit. An increasingly stagnant economy has only widened the disconnect between Moscow’s ambitions and its economic capabilities.…  Seguir leyendo »