Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Russian plot in Africa has warnings for America

International | Deadly mercenary activities in the Central African Republic related to Russian hacking in the United States
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/22/18, 12:47 pm

RUSSIA: With Britain calling for stepped-up sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Skripal poisoning, this blockbuster story details the deadly mercenary activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs in the Central African Republic—and the three veteran Russian journalists apparently gunned down there last month while they tried to investigate.

Integral to this plot are key underwriters of Russian hacking in the United States: Moscow’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, and Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, who underwrites the troll factory used by hackers. Microsoft accused the GRU this week of hacking conservative websites that have broken with the Trump administration ahead of midterm elections.

The Russian operatives working Putin-backed private military contractors form a pattern not only for Russian involvement in Africa but also Syria, and perhaps elsewhere.

Crystallizing Russia’s mercenary bent under Putin: “This is how we gradually become competitive, since neither Russia’s finances nor technology can compete with Europe and America. We choose the security field, where we are strong—our forces have proved that in Syria.”

VENEZUELA: A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck the northern coast, with aftershocks. Little damage has been reported, but seismologists say the quake is one of the largest recorded between the Caribbean and South American plates.

EL SALVADOR became the third country this year to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan under pressure from China. U.S. lawmakers vowed to end foreign aid to El Salvador in an effort to cut into the Chinese campaign.

SOUTH AFRICA: The ruling African National Congress has begun land seizures of white-owned farms, following a plan that devastated agriculture and the economy under neighboring Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.

YEMEN: This week, the United States admitted it killed in a drone strike last year al-Qaeda bomb-maker Ibrahim Al-Asiri. But one analyst argues Al-Asiri was a better boogeyman than bomb-maker, and the resources used to hunt him down could better be used to hunt down the terrorists whose bombs actually blow up.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy is senior editor of WORLD Magazine and the author of They Say We Are Infidels. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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