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Azraq

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The Era
Opposition anger over surprise EHTO membership
JUGOL - All the major opposition parties have reacted with outrage to learning the Empire of Azraq had agreed to full membership of the East Himyari Treaty Organisation at press conference in Natal, and demanded a formal vote on the issue.​
The upset comes just weeks after the government agreed to enhance security and military cooperation with the Commonwealth of Nedernesia and informed the Emperor and the media before the Imperial Parliament.​
"Democracy is being disrespected in Azraq," declared Justice Party leader Mulatu Birru in the Junior Council, while the Shamo People's Liberation Front warned of a "dictatorship by stealth".​
Imperial foreign affairs minister Abdisalam Yusuf Omaar was present in the Natalian capital Camp Hill for the second EHTO summit were it was announced Azraq would be joining the alliance. EHTO, which has since renamed itself to the Himyari Forum for Cooperation, was set to up to fight "non-state actors" on the continent.​
The Pan-Hasremotic People's League said dismissed the attacks, and claimed it had "obeyed" the constitution as only the Emperor had to be informed of uses of executive authority to sign treaties, not parliament.​
 

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ABC | Azraqi Broadcasting Corporation
NEWSFLASH: Full text of Jugol Agreement published
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published the signed copy of the Jugol Agreement in full and praised the Continental Empire of Justosia and the Democratic Defense Initiative for both compromising in order to avoid war.​
"All nations involved in the mediation talks demonstrated a willingness to work to find peace," read an official ministerial statement that accompanied the release of the Jugol Agreement.​
His Imperial Majesty Boqor Tiirka Illah was also praised for his "direct, personal involvement" in the talks and Azraqi diplomats following the proceedings say his presence was instrumental to their success.​
The Jugol Agreement has committed Justosia to abandoning a fourth naval fleet and limiting its military presence in Vanguardia, a Justosian island colony in the Silk Sea.​
The treaty can be read in full below.​
The assembled nations of Ambrosia, Justosia, Pohjanmaa, Sylvania, and Touzen hereby agree to the terms within this treaty as binding according to the individualized terms. Hosted under the auspices of the gracious and hospitable Empire of Azraq, this treaty signifies a step toward peace and understanding in order to bridge the gap of potential conflict and to create a suitable foundation for future dialogue, cooperation, and progress. Each term shall be found to be binding by all signatories. Recognizing the points of this treaty, all signatories sign in faith that the agreed terms will be followed. The articles within are to be considered multilateral works and are to be recognized as such.

1. The Construction of a 4th Justosian Fleet
a. The Empire of Justosia agrees that it shall not create a 4th fleet. Justosia hereby agrees that no such fleet will be created within 5 years.
a1. After a period of 5 years, Justosia is free to renegotiate this term.
b. If Justosia is threatened by high-intensity conflict, and only from a defensive perspective, is Justosia free to create a further 4th fleet. This will only be done with permission of the aforementioned signatories
c. Current ships that are near completion or have yet to be commissioned may be distributed among current fleets.

2. Freedom of Navigation
a. The Empire of Justosia agrees to respect the customs of free maritime travel
b. The Empire of Justosia agrees to notify signatories of an large-scale exercises
c. Large-scale exercises will take place no fewer than 430 nautical miles (approx 500 miles) away from any primary shipping lane

3. Vanguardia
a. Signatories recognize Vanguardia as being under Justosian laws and therefore - this treaty.

b. The Empire of Justosia agrees that no significant levels of military personnel are to be added to the current garrison.
b1. This does not extend to the naval hospital which has yet to open which is not to exceed 200 personnel.
b2. Similar to 1b, should Justosia find herself in a high-intensity defensive conflict, 3b shall be suspended until hostilities are concluded.
b3. The Empire of Justosia has the right to renegotiate 3b after a period of 4 years.

c. No more than 2 combat aircraft squadrons are to be posted in Vanguardia
c1. Excluded from 3c are search and rescue, medical, and other humanitarian aircraft.

d. Touzen may post up to 85 observers in Vanguardia in accordance with Justosian laws
d1. The Empire of Justosia may renegotiate the number of observers after 4 years

e. No more than 1/3 of the total Justosian fleet will be docked in Vanguardia at any given time.
e1. The Empire of Justosia has the right to renegotiate 3e in 4 years
 

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Anger, fear and opportunity in Jugol
Pelasgia's slide into civil war threatens the Emperor's and government's plans to rebrand Himyar but many see an opening for Azraq
The Long Sea region is once again proving to be a source of trouble as Pelasgia, whose vast coastline and many islands fill that narrow body of water, collapses into internal conflict.
With the Pelasgian military now in charge and communist and nationalist rebels ravaging the country, the Second Southern Tiburan Empire appears no different to the likes of Crotobaltislavonia.
Here in Azraq, the Imperial Gendarmerie supported by the Imperial Special Intelligence Service, have arrested hundreds suspected of terrorist links in a decisive act to secure national stability.
While there is some glee in Jugol that the the historic rival for the true claimant of the Abrahamic legacy, and in some circles, monotheism, there is a desire to see a quick resolution to the conflict in Pelasgia and current constitutional status quo maintained. "If the Pelasgian Emperor falls, then we will have lost one of Himyar's truly great dynasties and face an end to monarchy on the continent," says one diplomat coordinating Azraq's response.
There is also anger and frustration. After the shock of the Seven Day War and lingering tensions in Gallo-Germania to this day, the Emperor and his government saw a historic opportunity to reposition Himyar. Pelasgia, widely regarded as Himyar's strongest economy and regional power, collapsing into civil war will damage the safe haven narrative Azraq wants to create.
Others see opportunity. The Imperial Treasury and Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry are already drawing up plans to woo multinationals in Pelasgia to Azraq through tax breaks and cheap loans.
Sources close to the Ivory Throne also say the Emperor is convinced now is the time for Azraq to emerge as Himyar's premiere power. "The Second Tibur will soon look to Jugol for leadership," declared one imperial adviser.
 
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ABC | Azraqi Broadcasting Corporation
NEWSFLASH: Emperor to deliver special televised address on Pelasgian crisis
His Imperial Majesty Boqor Tiirka Illah will directly speak to the nation after weekend prayers to outline the Empire of Azraq's response to Pelasgia falling into civil war.​
The large north Himyari nation, which Azraq shares a maritime border with in the Sea of Buto and Wadjet Channel, is facing multiple uprisings being led by communist rebels and secessionists.​
While Azraq and Pelasgia have long been historical rivals, in recent years the two countries have improved relations, with the return of Tephanon seen as a high point in bilateral ties.​
To guarantee Azraq's own internal peace and security, hundreds of activists and politicians suspected of terrorist links have been arrested while the military has been deployed to regions seen most at risk of violence.​
Azraq has also agreed to attend an emergency summit in Camp Hill, the capital of the Central Himyari Union, to discuss the situation in Pelasgia.​
Sources close to the Ivory Throne refused to give any hint as to what the Emperor's address may contain.​
 

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Pelasgia's collapse sends Jugol reeling
The disestablishment of the Pelasgian, one of the central lynchpins to Himyari and Long Sea geopolitics leaves government with mixed feelings
The dissolution was treated almost as a state funeral. The convention that led to the Pelasgian Empire's eventual collapse was followed intensely on Azraqi state television and the break up of the arguably the last surviving remnant of the Tiburan Empire was met largely with disbelief in Jugol, along with a tinge of sadness from some — and slight sense of triumphalism from others.
***
Pelasgia's brief internal conflict provoked a strong reaction in Azraq.
Hundreds of activists and even sitting politicians were detained in a mass coordinated campaign against those with supposed links to armed terrorist groups.
Meanwhile the Imperial Army, Imperial Gendarmerie and even supposedly special forces units from the Imperial Guard were deployed to the Urodoah-majority western provinces to ward off any potential uprisings.
In addition to deploying additional military units, the government is reportedly reconsidering changing its upcoming spending plans to focus on more investment for projects in the Urodoah regions. "There can be no accusations of ethnic favouritism," explains one lawmaker in the ruling Pan-Hasremotic Peoples' League (PHPL).
While condemning the rebels and fully backing the Pelasgian Imperial authorities, the government did also try profit from the crisis in Azraq's long-standing historic rival by offering tax incentives and loans for foreign businesses in Pelasgia to relocate to Azraq.
However, few in Jugol actually expected Pelasgia to splinter into different independent states, with the Jews, Kyphts and Urodoah each rewarded with their own territory as part of a new constitutional settlement.
This has led to growing fears with the Jugol establishment that Azraq's own various communities will soon demand independence "One of the world's great ancient empires has fallen... A civilization-state has broken.... One inheritor of the Abrahamic legacy has fallen... If Pelasgia can disintegrate, so could we" says an Azraqi civil servant.
***
So far there has been no serious unrest in Azraq.
Part of this is down the speed and scale of the crackdown against potential threats by the Imperial authorities. "We cast the net as wide and quickly as possible," says an officer from the Imperial Security and Intelligence Service.
Part of it is also down to the history and make-up of Azraq.
After the fall of the initial Caliphates, the history of the predominantly Urodoah western regions is marked by near constant infighting between different Urodoah tribes and Islamic sects that emerged then disappeared over the sands of time.
A divide also increasingly emerged by between the more wealthy Urodoah city-states, including al-Mukarramah and al-Munawwarah, on the coast, and the poorer interior, where many Urodoah still live a semi-nomadic lifestyle.
Then there is the history of how they came to be in the Azraqi Empire. The Sharifs of the Twin Holy Cities, fearing colonisation either by a resurgent Southern Tiburan Empire or Gallo-Germanian power, asked the Empire of Azraq for protection in return for pledging fealty to the Ivory Throne.
Subsequent Azraqi Emperors would then lead a series of campaigns to conquer the remaining Urodoah coastal states, before dividing the northeast Himyari hinterland between what is now the Dune Sea Dominion (then a Pohjanmaan colony) and the states that would eventually become the Central Himyari Federation.
The Azraqi Urodoah also share their lands with patchwork of often unrelated peoples, including many Nethian tribes such as the Cabaonians near the the Sea of Buto and Zigwa around the Dune Sea border.
"Creating a Urodoah nation-state in western Azraq would be messy, complicated and potentially bloody," explains one Urodoah Junior Councillor who preferred not to be named.
This has has led some Urodoah commentators to denounce the mass arrests as gross, potentially dangerous and counter-productive reaction. "A Urodoah uprising was never on the cards," the Junior Councillor continued before noting while Azraqi Urodoah share a common language, history and to a certain degree with their Pelasgian cousins, they are both divided by religion and tradition.
Unlike the majority Muslim Azraqi Urodoah, Urodoah in Pelasgia are predominantly Christian. "Outside of a few intellectuals, there is no genuine pan-Urodoah nationalist movement... The issue of Urodoah nationhood is very different in Pelasgia" the Junior Councillor further continued, also noting the high degree of autonomy the various Urodoah provinces of Azraq enjoy.
***
However, the government and the Emperor are taking no chances. "His Imperial Majesty will not go down as the Boqor who led to the break up of the Empire," remarks one Imperial adviser.
Yet within Jugol the real fear is not of the Urodoah trying to secede, but Shamo nationalism.
Military units in the Shamoiya region, which already has a heightened security presence following widespread rioting after the last two election results, were put on red alert following the government's clampdown. Many of those arrested - and the exact number has yet to be released by the Ministry of Justice - included members of the Justice Party and Shamo People's Liberation Front, the main two Shamo parties.
While there were some civil protests in the Shamo capital Dhihaa, there was no violence on the scale seen previously, in which both looters and the security forces were injured and killed.
Government officials point out the Shamoiya region has arguably the highest level of autonomy and internal democracy of any province.
Unlike other subdivisions, Shamoiya has no hereditary ruler, with a President instead directly elected by voters. Shamoiya also has a unicameral legislature that is entirely composed of elected representatives. All other provinces have at least an upper chamber comprising members of local nobility, or no democratically elected chamber at all.
The PHPL has also promised to keep the spending promises of the Justice Party-led coalition voted in three years ago, before collapsing and parliament then being disbanded by His Imperial Majesty Boqor Tiirka Illah.
Officers in the Imperial Armed Forces, Gendarmerie and Security Intelligence Service fear a second wave in Shamoiya once imprisoned Justice Party and SPLF members are released, which many are expecting. "Right now there is no head to the snake... Once their leaders are freed, the snake will hiss, spit and bite," warns an ISIS analyst.
So while there is some gloating in Jugol over Pelasgia's dismemberment, there is more an overriding sense of fear for the future of Azraq's own Empire.
 
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