Afghanistan holds the key to an untapped trove of minerals the world needs, worth $1 trillion
Under Afghanistan soil sits an untouched quantity of minerals including copper, iron ore, lithium, and rare bauxite. These minerals could power the world’s transition to renewable energies, but the precious minerals remain unearthed.
Shortly after the capital fell to the Taliban, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry expressed willingness to build relations. Insisting Beijing is “ready to develop friendly cooperation” with Afghanistan.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan’s Taliban, July 28, 2021.
A report by the US Geological Survey has proven the valuable minerals hidden within the Afghanistan mountains are more valuable than anywhere else in the world currently.
Copper is valuable in making power cables, and prices are sitting at more than $10, 000 per tonne. Lithium is a vital element that helps to make electric car batteries, wind farms, and solar panels.
Now, with the world transitioning to net-zero emissions targets the demand for Lithium will only increase. The International Energy Agency is predicting it will grow by over 40 times by 2040.
These untapped minerals have been estimated at over $1 trillion by the US Geological Survey, but Afghanistan values it three times this amount. The country also mines coal, iron, and marble.
Over the last 20 years, the Taliban hasn’t had enough power or financial support to tap into these highly sought-after minerals. This could set them high on the world’s economic chart.
Now, as they resume power, questions need to be raised over China’s interest in building a relationship and willingness to do business with the Taliban.
The state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corporation won rights to lease the giant Mes Aynak copper ore deposit in Afghanistan for 30 years. This allows them to extract 11.5 million tonnes of the commodity.
The project hasn’t started operations yet because of safety issues.
China’s diplomatic and economic motives in Afghanistan
While the rest of the world is shocked and frightened of the Taliban takeover, questions remain over China’s economic motives and diplomatic interests in the region.
“Afghanistan has a large supply of rare earth elements, China wants to secure these.”
Dr. John Coyne, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute
“Already 80% of the global market of rare earths is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, so it’s critical for the Chinese Government to secure this supply.”
Dr. John Coyne, Australian Strategic Policy Institute
“China and Russia are looking at Afghanistan as a gold rush but it’s also going to be a continuing counterterrorism threat”
Oz Sultan, Counterterrorism analyst
Building an alliance
Another reason for China’s interest in building relations, its to protect itself from future terror attacks.
Dr. Teagan Westendorf from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, questions whether China will take the risk and step up as the main financier, now that the US has withdrawn.
Becoming a vital financial aid to the region, could build a strong alliance and prevent future terror groups or attacks spilling onto Chinese soil.
What role will China play in Afghanistan following the takeover from the Taliban?
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A shared regional problem
Dr. Westendorf says Afghanistan is a concern for all of its neighbouring countries including Russia, India, and China.
“Afghanistan has become a shared regional problem and it’s something that I don’t think that any of these countries will be able to wash their hands from it. It will affect them geostrategically.”
Dr. Teagan Westendorf, Australian Strategic Policy Institute
How close to a full scale nuclear war are we really?
Since President Vladimir Putin’s latest warning that he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, the question of whether or not the former KGB spy is bluffing has become much more urgent.
There are several reasons why Putin’s nuclear warnings have the West worried. First, Russia has been increasingly aggressive in its actions in recent years, from annexing Crimea to intervening in Syria. This has led to a feeling that Putin is becoming more and more reckless and unpredictable.
Second, Russia has been beefing up its nuclear arsenal, with reports indicating that it now has more nuclear warheads than any other country in the world. This increase in firepower makes Putin’s threats all the more credible.
Last but not least, there is the fact that Putin is a former KGB agent. This means that he is no stranger to playing games of brinkmanship and bluffing. In the past, he has used nuclear threats as a way to get what he wants. For example, in 2008, he threatened to aim nuclear missiles at European cities unless the United States agreed to drop plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
The West is worried
Given all of this, it’s no wonder that Putin’s latest nuclear threats have the West worried. Only Putin knows if he is actually bluffing, but given his track record, it’s certainly a possibility.
If a nuclear weapon were used in Ukraine, it would cause a massive humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people would be killed or wounded, and millions more would be displaced. The economic and social damage would be enormous, and Europe would be plunged into chaos.
In addition, the use of nuclear weapons would also have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. The nuclear non-proliferation regime would be dealt a serious blow, and there would be a renewed risk of nuclear war.
The world would become a much more dangerous place.
A nuclear explosion in Ukraine would have a regional impact, but it could also have global consequences. The use of nuclear weapons would violate the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and this could lead to other countries acquiring nuclear weapons. In addition, the risk of nuclear war would increase, and this would have a negative impact on the entire world.
The UN has condemned Russia’s threats of nuclear war, and it has called on all parties to refrain from any actions that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. The UN Secretary-General has said that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and he has urged all sides to return to the negotiating table.
Russia has several allies in its war against Ukraine. These include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia also has the support of China and Iran.
The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on energy prices.
Due to the conflict, there has been a disruption in the supply of natural gas and oil from Ukraine. This has led to an increase in prices for these commodities.
The West can only threaten Putin further, as they’ve done all year, since President Biden warned that Russia was about to invade Ukraine.
Every step of the way, Putin has done exactly what the West has feared.
“These are the guys?” Putin’s Dad’s army
Vladimir Putin’s army is in a bit of a pickle. They’ve been drafting retirees, and telling conscripts to use tampons for bullet wounds.
This isn’t exactly the most impressive fighting force we’ve ever seen. In fact, they look more like dad’s army than anything else.
It’s clear that Putin is desperate to beef up his forces, but it seems like he’s just throwing bodies at the problem instead of actually preparing them for battle.
Pictures from Sevastopol in Crimea show groups of men — many well into their 50s and 60s gripping weapons and wearing uniforms.
Several appear in questionable fighting shape.
This could be a big problem for Russia if they actually get into a serious conflict. We hope for their sake that they never have to find out.
Thousands of Russian men are fleeing the country to avoid conscription. This just goes to show how unpopular Putin’s policies are, even among his own people.
The Kremlin is now trying to catch thousands of Russian men as they try and leave the country. But it’s not going to be easy.
Many of these men are willing to risk everything to avoid being drafted into Putin’s army.
It’s estimated that up to 100,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the conflict began.
This is a huge loss of life for Russia, and it’s all thanks to Putin’s reckless policies.
Many of these soldiers were just boys, barely out of their teens. They had their whole lives ahead of them, but they’ll never get to experience it now.
It’s tragic, and it’s all thanks to Putin. He needs to be stopped.
At the same time, a video shared on social media shows a Russian officer telling new recruits what to expect.
“I say right away if you are near the fire, you are f***ed,” she says, before reeling off a list of items they will need to acquire themselves before entering the war zone.
“Take sleeping bags with you, you will sleep where you have to.”
IRAN PROTESTS | Are countries using religion as an excuse to violate basic human rights?
Iran protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression
IRAN PROTESTS – The story of Iran is one of a country that has been through a lot in recent history.
An uprising of both men and women has engulfed Iran, following the death of Mahsa Amini. Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.
From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.
Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.
There is a feeling of discontent among the Iranian people. The economy is struggling, and many young Iranians feel they have no future.
They are fed up with the corruption of the government and the lack of opportunity.
Mahsa Amini’s brutal death
On top of this is the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman.
Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police for “improperly” wearing her mandatory hijab.
Reports suggest she was beaten so severely that she went into a coma.
Three days later, she died, and many suspect it was a direct result of this police brutality.
Amini’s death has fuelled further anger and extreme protest, with widespread condemnation from Iranians, denouncing her death and the regime that caused it.
The incident has brought attention to the plight of many Iranians who feel they are living under an oppressive regime.
While it is difficult to predict what will happen next in Iran, many hope the death of Amani will not be in vain.
Many pray the protests will lead to real action and a country where women are treated as equals. They want a country where there is opportunity for all.
Women in Iran and around the world are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption and human rights violations.
In 2022, many are angry that men are controlling what women do with their bodies and what they wear.
Will this drive change?
In Iran, many young Iranians are showing the world they don’t want this system any more, that they want democracy.
They’re cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, they’re putting their own safety on the line to take a stand against the regime that has silenced them for so long.
This generation is very different, but it doesn’t guarantee that this uprising will fuel any real change.
However, Memarsadeghi said “there is no way back from here.”
How can organisations and world leaders help?
Iran is in the midst of a political upheaval and the world is watching.
Scenes of protest and violence are being shared far and wide on social media. The world has a front-row seat to the unfolding crisis.
However, the Iranian Government has responded by imposing a sweeping internet ban, cutting off the protesters from the outside world.
This only adds to the urgency of the situation, as Iran’s people are now risking their lives to speak out against their oppression.
World leaders and democracy advocacy groups are already discussing ways to help the people of Iran and hold their violations to account.
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