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Azraq

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Analysis: New Tiburan empire propels Prince Dalmar to frontrunner for Ivory Throne

Jugol, PAHINA - The possibility of a restored Holy Tiburan Empire has boosted the prospect of the young Prince Dalmar of Haradhera becoming the next Azraqi Emperor, as the Gunnish press suggest the Dawamalian royal could be an elector, giving him considerable clout in Gallo-Germanian politics as well as at home.

Church authorities in the deeply Catholic kingdom have annulled Countess MacLeod's first marriage, paving the way for His Royal Highness Dalmar Filsan Tahiil of Haradhera to wed the Gunnish noblewoman.

The potential marriage, which started as a whirlwind romance in the Azraqi colony of Kollam, is barely discussed in Azraq's media thanks to strict lèse-majesté laws. However the imperial capital Jugol is alive with chatter on what a wedding may mean for domestic politics.

"By accident or design, Prince Dalmar has put himself as the frontrunner to be the next Haradhera candidate for the Ivory Throne," suggests one nobleman from a rival ruling family.

Azraq operates an unusual system of rotational monarchy where the title of Emperor is shared between the seven Dawamalian dynasties that founded the League of the Fertile Crescent, the predecessor state to the First Azraqi Empire.

Each family has to put forward a candidate that has to by accepted the Imperial Convention, the body that represents the ruling families. Yet with each family counting several hundred eligible makes as members, the path to selecting an Imperial nominee is rarely a straightforward one.

"The race to become Emperor takes behind closed doors but can be brutal, especially for princes with a lesser profile whose disappearance may not be noticed," explains a seasoned Ivory Throne watcher.

The current Emperor, Tiirka Illah (Pillar of God in Dawamali), hails from the Gabood dynasty, named after Azraq's richest and arguably most influential city-state.

Initial statements from the Azraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggested the Emperor was supportive of the marriage between Prince Dalmar and Countess MacLeod. However reports from Jugol suggest the reigning monarch is far more suspicious, viewing the wedding as an attempt by the Haradhera dynasty to run a parallel foreign policy. "The Haradheras have long been the traditional rivals of the Gaboods," says an Azraqi historian.
 

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Reports: Imperial Convention moving against Azraqi Emperor

Jugol, PAHINA - Emperor Tiirka Illah ('Pillar of God') may be the first Azraqi sovereign to be removed from the Ivory Throne, as rumours swirl that the Imperial Convention, the body that represents Azraq's ruling family, is preparing to depose him.

Boqor Tiirka Illah made history by suspending the Azraqi parliament in response to growing geopolitical instability, with civil war in neighbouring Loago and Cabaon plus rising tensions in the Long Sea, a key waterway for international trade. While the suspension was initially supported by the Azraqi elite, many now feel he ruled absolutely for too long, damaging trust in the monarchy as an institution. "Many saw this is a step to an imperial dictatorship," explains one Azraqi journalist.

The subsequent dissolution of parliament to pave way for fresh elections, which only narrowly passed the Supreme Court, was also seen as an error. To the lower class Azraqis and ethnic Shamo who supported the previous left wing administration, the act seems like an imperial coup d'état and strengthens suspicions their votes do not carry the same weight. As a result, there have been best continual protests throughout the Himyari empire, many of them violent.

Desperate to prevent another Shamo uprising or socialist rebellion, Azraq's noble families are now considering extreme measures to appease the protestors. Well placed sources tell PAHINA the Imperial Convention is considering using a never used before clause in the constitution to remove the Emperor, and may well look to restore the previous parliament. "Nothing is off the table," claims a high ranking Azraqi nobleman. Much of the plotting is said to be driven by Prince Dalmar of the Haradhera dynasty, who is due to marry Countess MacLeod of Gunnland.

Azraq operates a unique rotational monarchy, with the title of Emperor shared between the seven Dawamalian dynasties that formed the League of the Fertile Crescent, the predecessor to the First Azraqi Empire.

No Emperor has been removed since the creation of the Second Azraqi Empire after the fall of the Islamofuturist regime, with each one serving their full six year reign.

The manoeuvrings have so far been unreported by the Azraqi media thanks to the strict lèse-majesté laws and the ongoing election campaign.

Some Azraqi constitutional experts, speaking anonymously, doubt the Imperial Convention would act so drastically. "To make the Emperor's legitimacy subject to popular opinion will pave the way to a republic," argues one Ivory Throne watcher.

The current Emperor also hails from the Gabood dynasty, named after Azraq's richest and arguably most influential city-state. "His Imperial Majesty has more sway and influence than his rivals think," says one ally.
 
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Natal

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Pelasgia sets itself on the path to EHTO membership

Camp Hill, PAHINA - A Pelasgian delegation headed by the Imperial Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Emmanouīl Avgīros has arrived in Camp Hill today to discuss the current state of Himyari security and ways to further improve it.

On the line of talks was the security of the Wadjet Sea and the Northcott Channel and the need to secure the two sea lanes so the events from the neighbouring Long Sea can never happen in the heart of Central Himyar, and as a premiere since the downturn caused by the Loagan Bush War, Pelasgia and Natal have discussed ways to keep the Far Eastern Himyari state away from the path of becoming a failed state.

In a show of reconciliation, Meso Makwariba, the mayor of Camp Hill has ordered the addition of the names of 15 Pelasgian soldiers and volunteers that have fought in the Loagan National Defence Force against Masimba to the list on the monument for the "Martyrs of Democracy and Civilisation of Himyar".

The Pelasgian delegation has met with Chief Minister Demetria Unathi Vavi and the Minister of External Affairs, Cyrus Black and have held talks about the need to join the current security scheme of the Eastern Himyari sub-continent, EHTO. As of yet, full members of the treaty organisation are Natal, Cabaon, Loago, and it's newest addition, the Commonwealth of Port Stanley. The Dune Sea is an associative member and it is expected that Pelasgia will first become one too before fully joining. As of today, the Azraqi Empire has been invited too into the organisation but the current political crisis in Jugol has delayed the signing and ratification of the treaty, even though Azraqi authorities have seen the organisation with good eyes.

The Eastern Himyari Treaty Organisation was set up by the Stone-Mtoto Administration last dry season, to create a platform of joint security against non-state actors and dissident groups fighting for political change by violent means and for protection against external threats.
 

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Himyari Mercs active again

Maseru, PAHINA - The Green Legion, the biggest Himyari mercenary company, made mostly of Engell Natalians, white Loagans of Viru ancestry, Urudoah and Cyanopians has stated that it is moving in the Alfajiri Mountains of Loago after signing a contract with the PM of Loago, Moyo Kamara to aid the Loagan National Defence Force in ending the communist guerrilla activities.

Named after their patches showing a golden snake with a pipe in it's mouth on a green background, the Green Legion is currently led in a unique way, mimicking a Tiburan Legion, with two joint commanders, the Natalian Matthew "Mad Matt" Bolton and the Urudoah Revolutionary from Cabaon, Zahira el-Javid. They have commanded pro-Ahmari units in Cabaon and now find themselves under a new contract in Maseru.

The Green Legion has been created in 1953, by veterans from the NaDF whom have fought against the communist guerrillas in Natal, but have really become big in the 1970-1980 Natalian Bush War against the first generation of the Rhinos. They have seen action all over Himyar, being hired by the Islamofuturist regime in Azraq, or later to contain Kollamese nationalist groups, they were hired by the old Imperial Government of Loago to guard caravans along the Seashell Road to Pelasgia, by the white minority government in the 70s in Port Stanley to fight against RANU, and even in Al Kez. The founder of the Legion, Brett Madden, still alive and in power at the age of 99, lives currently in Harton and is still seen as the spiritual leader of the group.

"All I have wanted, when I was young, was to see that the defence forces managed to rise up to the image their were being painted into. Like those knights that killed the dragons in Burgundian and Slavonian myths. The fact that the NaDF was so weak to let commies and psychotic cultists roam around the federation in my youth, is the exact reason why conscription failed. When you force people to fight, of course they will have low morale and they will be a weak force. Many were rooting for the commies and rhinos in Natal, even if they had to fight them. That was the problem in the Natalian Bush War, many in Loago do the same. That is why Maseru needed the help of the NaDF, the Azraqi and even the uninvited Stanleyans to manage the issues with the LLC, the Burukovas and those Post-Delegationists. An army made of civilians forced to be under arms will always have cohesion issues. That is why a professional army is necessary and sometimes, groups like ours are the best to do such jobs. I have created a unit of hard men and women who aren't afraid. They don't fear bullets. They don't fear what may come after. That is why we have received this job in Loago, because the LNDF and the NaDF failed to capture Masimba and to pacify the country. That is why we are there," stated Brett Madden.

A sister company of the Green Legion, the Nutter Battalion, funded at the same time as the Green Legion by a brother in arms of Brett Madden, Lucas Riley, is now rumoured to have been hired by the Duchy of Pays Petites to aid in the pacification of North-Western Burgundy, regions now claimed by the People's Republic of Bourgogne. Compared to the Green Legion, the Nutter Battalion is much more heterogeneous, being made of ex-NaDF Natalians, ex-Askari Rozvians, ex-Impi Mbundas and Lodas and Pelasgians, Azraqis, Fante and White Loagans and even some surprising groups such as Eiffellanders who left the country after the government cracked down on the Gothic Eiffellander League, a far right party, anti-Post Delegationist Touzenis and Jurchens and even anti-communist Kadikistanis.

As of yet it isn't known for how much the Nutter Battalion has been hired by the regional government of the Pays Petites, but for the Green Legion, around 30 million NAP has been speculated as an initial payment, followed by 60 more once Masimba and his associates are terminated.
 

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Left-wing parties fear low turnout in Azraqi elections

Jugol, PAHINA - There is growing concern among the left-wing and nationalist parties that formed the Empire of Azraq's last government that the record turnout that propelled them to power won't be repeated, handing power to the long dominant conservative Party of Principles and its allies.

The Justice Party, Movement for Poor and Dispossessed and Shamo People's Liberation Front led a historic coalition government after a shock election victory last year, largely thanks to higher turnout from poorer voters and lower-born Dawamalians, the dominant ethnicity in Azraq.

Strict voter ID laws and apathy have meant national elections in Azraq typically suffer from poor turnout, with many lacking the necessary paperwork to cast their ballot. Azraq's system of ethnic federalism also means many voters from minority communities such as the Qaraf, Ooba and Shamo, rarely bother with general elections, allowing the Party of Principles, which is supported predominantly by upper caste Dawamalians, and their allies to dominate electoral politics.

Until last year, the Principlists had ruled uninterrupted since the restoration of parliamentary democracy in 1981 after the fall of the Islamofuturist regime. The Principlists enjoy close relations with the Azraqi ruling elite and have powerful allies in the Council of Elders, the upper chamber of the Azraqi imperial parliament.

However an intense voter registration drive by the Justice Party, MPD and SPLF combined with dissatisfaction over growing inequality and the state of public services saw the three parties emerge victorious, defying predictions.

Internal disputes eventually saw the SPLF withdraw its support for the coalition government. They were replaced by the All Islands Kollamese National Union, who also withdrew their support in a dispute over ownership of the Joint Spice Islands Energy Corporation, which is part owned by the Cussian State Mercantile Foreign Trust.

Domestic gridlock combined with geopolitical instability, with crises in Cabaon and Loago, two of Azraq's neighbours, plus incidents in the Long Sea, eventually saw Emperor Tiirka Illah suspend then dissolve parliament, an unprecedented move in modern Azraqi politics. Both the suspension and dissolution were upheld by the Azraqi Supreme Court.

As a result, Azraq is now in the middle of a deeply divisive election campaign, which has seen near continuous protests and rioting, especially in Shamo and Zigwa (Bantu) majority neighbourhoods. Polls point towards either a hung parliament or minority administration led by the Principlists or Justice Party. Pundits all agree turnout will be key to deciding the result.

However political analysts suggest the voters that swept the Justice Party, MPD and SPLF to power are increasingly disillusioned and may stay at home on polling day. With the Principlists also promising greater spending on health, education and welfare - key pledges of the last government - many Dawamalian swing voters may also return to the fold. "The last government may prove a blip," says one Jugol insider.

Yet even if the Principlists do win, it may not be plain sailing. Surveys suggest a hung parliament or minority government, meaning a coalition or supply-and-confidence agreement will be needed. Likely partners include the nationalist Dawamalian Youth League, Ooba and Qaraf Western League or the Islamist Ansar al-Islam, none of which are particularly appealing to the Principlist leadership.

A greater crisis might be brewing over the future of the current Emperor Tiirka Illah, who has been summoned twice by the Imperial Convention, which represents Azraq's ruling families, over his handling of domestic and foreign policy. If he is deposed. which will require a two-thirds majority in the Convention, it would mark the first time an Azraqi Emperor has had his reign cut short.

Next in line is likely Prince Dalmar of Haradhera, who recently married Gunnish Countess Mary MacLeod and now wields considerable influence in the reformed northern Holy Tiburan Empire. However there are question marks over whether the Prince will be eligible for the Ivory Throne, with his faith still uncertain after marrying a Catholic noblewoman. The Azraqi constitution requires the reigning sovereign to be a Hajari Muslim, a heterodox Islamic sect that believes Fatima and Ali faked the death of the Prophet Muhammed's son Ibrahim.

Should Emperor Tiirka Illah be removed and an unpopular Principlist government elected, Azraq may face its biggest upheaval since the fall of the Islamofuturist dictatorship, ending the Empire's status as a relative haven of peace and stability in eastern Himyar.
 
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Natal

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Analysis: Camp Hill and Propontis, between placidity and backstabbing

Camp Hill, PAHINA - The Long Sea has always acted as a border between two different worlds for more than 60 years, since the Status Quo Agreement was signed between the then Democratic Republic of Kadikistan, now known as the Kadikistani Union and the then Empire of Pelasgia, now known as the Federal Republic of Pelasgia. That border has literally created two divided worlds, on one side, Gallo-Germania dominated at the time of the signature and then reaffirming their status after the 7 Day War by Kadikistan and Serenierre, though post-delegationist polities make their presence known too, and other the other side, Himyar first dominated by the Pelasgians and know, under a triumvirate made of Propontis, Camp Hill and Jugol. The main tenet of the SQT was to create this barrier and ensure that there is no interference from one side of the Long and Hamar Sea to the other and vice versa, of course, recent events are slowly showing us that as those countries get more and more isolated on the world stage, the barriers created by the SQT stand ready to fall.

In this environment, the happenings taking place in Gallo-Germania haven't really made Camp Hill flick or pushed the Natalian government into being overly active in G-G politics. It's utmost interest always was to keep the export lines opened, so that the ever expanding Natalian mining industry to be able to function properly and to be opened to more and more markets. That goal made Natal continue to trade with both camps during the 7 Day war, and after the fall of Trivodnia, Natal has kept it's position regarding Polesia ambiguous, as it doesn't recognise any of the Trivodnian factions in exile, but neither the People's Republic officially. There is a consulate officially owned by the People's Republic of Polesia in Camp Hill, but it lacks a representative. More than surely, Camp Hill made this concession to placate Ivar so it can earn it's place as a big investor in some of Kadikistan's free economic zones.

As with Trivodnia, Natal hasn't really made great strides to make it's voice heard in the war in Burgundy either and barely whispered criticism regarding the crises in the Long Sea. From the outside world, Camp Hill seems placid enough to be seen as a truly neutral country towards what is happening in the northern hemisphere, but on a closer level, one can observe that after the Pan-Himyari conference in Camp Hill last year, describing Azraq, Natal and Pelasgia as the three Lion Economies, stagnation and rivalry is slowly creeping in.

While Azraq is threading through it's political crisis that hasn't put a government in Jugol even at this time, Natal is slowly rising to the position in which it wants to challenge the view of the northern hemisphere of the Himyari Sphere of Influence and the real power Pelasgia has over the continent. While trade between Propontis and Camp Hill is now at it's biggest value ever, and Pelasgia is an associated member of EHTO, the Eastern Himyari Treaty Organisation, the two countries are sitting and waiting like vultures for the colonial empire to draw their last breath.

While the colonial commonwealth of the Pays Petites has managed to survive the years, the likes of Loago and Cabaon, colonial outposts themselves for a while have sent through two national liberation wars and while both Maseru and Ajdir are seen as de jure independent now, their EHTO membership firmly puts them under Camp Hill's influence. This, together with the much closer political relationship the Azraqi Empire enjoys with the Federation of Natal (as the Tephanon Question strained their relationship with Pelasgia), makes East Himyar a sub-continent completely free of Pelasgian interference and by now many analysts wonder if the SQT can still be considered valid on this side of the continent now.

Probably as a way to bring the balance of power back to equilibrum and reaffirm it's position as a Himyari power rather than a Long Sea one, after it went through a short civil conflict and the disbandment of it's Empire, Pelasgia has managed to get the ancient kingdoms of the Kintu and Keke recognise it's authority, officially transforming the two, some of the last independent native kingdoms in Western Himyar as protectorates of the Pelasgian Southern Himyari Company. While Natal still prefers not to openly criticise the move, as a cooling of the relationship over the Sea of Buto (Wadjet) might be problematic for both countries, it is clear it it sees the return to mercantilism in politics and the emergence of neo-colonialism in a very bad way. Much of the criticism for the Pelasgian initiatives come from non-state actors, the biggest being the NRA, the Nethian Revolutionary Association, an ex-faction that split from the Communist Party of Central Himyar, led by Simba Sibanda, which has been recently joined in it's criticism by the Anti-State based World Zionist Congress.

Pelasgia has declared the NRA to be a terrorist organisation, especially after in their last communique, the Association has declared that their goal is now to see the development of a modern national conscience in the Kintu and Keke and to see a Chimurenga, a National Liberation War push out both the Pelasgians and the elites that sold their sovereignty towards this endeavour. At the same time, Camp Hill stood stoically in silence. State President Yonela Ashleigh Dalasile, a member of the royal house of the Loda people, has stated that Natal will be present at the IOF in Kashtan and has also spronsored the presence of the delegations of it's allies Cabaon and Loago to the WPC and many expect for the showdown between Camp Hill and Propontis to start in either of those forums.

But at the same time, the most important sporting event in Natal, the Jacaranda Rugby Cup is also approaching, and as always the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport will use this oportunity to coordinate with the Ministry of Tourism to show a great image of the Federation as a nation promoting peace and love between countries and peoples, as well as stability and economic development, with the spotlights moving from the typical townships to the flashy stadiums and athlete's villages and the more touristy areas of Harton, Blackmere, Parow, Camp Hill and Mzuzu. State President Dalasile will probably do anything possible during the Tournament to distract the world from it's problems towards the sporting events and that also means that the anti-colonialist tone and the slowly but surely rivalry between Camp Hill and Propontis will be toned down.

While in the immediate run, Camp Hill and Propontis will still state that they are cooperating and friendly, the Pelasgian colonial endeavours towards the deep south of Western Himyar is a ticking time bomb in the relationship between the two countries and that might affect other regions too, such as the Dominions of the Pays Petites or the Dune Sea. The seeds of an as of yet undeclared cold war have been sown and we are still enjoying the calm before the storm, yet I am concerned of what might happen when Jugol joins this dance too. Would there be a chance for the fuse to be extinguished or would Himyar become as bloody as Gallo-Germania?
 

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Government decrees the declassification of documents from the Central Himyari Emergency

Harststad, PAHINA - A decree given this morning by State President Yonela Ashleigh Dalasile might fully change the way people are seeing the Central Himyari Emergency as it has ordered the declassification of a series of documents of the DEV (Direktoraat Eksterne Verkenning - the Directorate of External Reconaissance), and of the FTD (Federale Teenintelligensie-Diens - the Federal Counterintelligence Service) which might offer some answers in regards to the victims and disappearances from those years.

Usually overshadowed by the much more bloody Natalian Bush War which took place between 1970 and 1979, the Central Himyari Emergency took place between 1948 and 1955 and is now described as a low intensity conflict and localised insurgency organised by the Communist Workers Party of Central Himyar, a Marxist-Leninovist communist party closely aligned to Ivar, seen as the third most influential communist party in the world at that time after the Kadikistani one and the Pelasgian DKKP. The CWPCH was quite popular in the rural areas of the Rozvi Kingdom and the urban areas of the Upper Natal Republic, organising a series of attacks targeting governmental institutions and infrastructure.

During those years, Natal was under it's only dictatorship in history, headed by General Sigqibo Mbete, who took control of the country and set up a state of emergency to fully combat the communist party's guerrillas. Most of the documents mentioned in the decree which are to be declassified early in the next year will be about the "Internment without Trial Act" set up by the Mbete military government and with the disappearance of more than 3,500 Natalians, victims of both of the regime and of the communist guerrillas and with the assassination of seven citizens of the Kadikistani Union (back then known as the Democratic Republic of Kadikistan).

The Kadikistani Seven, as they were known, have become subjects of urban legends in regards to the existence of Natalian death squads, as their disappearance and/or assassinations have taken place during the most heated moments of the conflict. Out of those, Neven Hristov and Budimir Stefanović, members of the Radical Youth League were left to die in Chagny after they were hit by a car, with the driver immediately escaping. The two have just arrived in Bourgogne after a tour of Himyar, starting in the Empire of Azraq, continuing through the Empire of Loago, Port Stanley, Dune Sea, Natal and Pelasgia. Three more, namely Jakov Kostić, Emin Aghakhanov and Arkadiusz Dzikowski, working for the Red Star Aid in Cabaon were gunned down in the streets of Ajdir by yet another assailant that never was identified and the last two, Bogdana Stevanović and Stanislaǔ Taraškievič were clerks working for the Kadikistani embassy in Trier, both disappeared after ending their shifts, with no sign of their whereabouts and presumed dead.

During the months of June and July of 1955, when the Communist Workers' Party of Central Himyar was organising a series of attacks, namely on the assassinations of three police officers in Hartstad, the killing of Lateef Swart, the head of the Sandstad Tribunal of the Langveld Vrystaat and the bombing of a metrorail train in Swartperd, the seven disapearances of the Kadikistani have heightened the tensions up to the point that many felt that the war between Kadikistan on one side and Pelasgia and Natal on the other was palpable. The tensions have been greatly reduced and the war avoided by the signing of the Status Quo Treaty, later that year.

After the fall of the military regime led by General Mbete, the Hippo government has preferred to keep a series of documents classified, especially the ones about the disappearances, those being now put on the list of transparency by State President Yonela Ashleigh Dalasile, nearly 65 years after they were first written. In those years, the Natalian involvement in the disappearance of the Kadikistani has been pretty much an open secret, with the government always denying any involvement, but rumours about the disappearances and assassinations being ordered by Hartstad spreading.

"Those were different days and times. Now, we have a functional relationship that is based on respecting the status quo, building bridges and economical bonds. The relationship Ivar has with the south is much more pragmatic now and we see that both us and them have put the past behind us and are ready to look at the past with transparency, each ready to learn from our mistakes," stated State President YAD.
 

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Renamed and re-scoped NRA declares "peoples war" on the whole continent

Camp Hill, PAHINA - The Nethian Revolutionary Association has launched a manifesto today in which it proclaimed the beginning of the People's War against most nations of Himyar, with the exception of Port Stanley. The NRA has been banned by regional tribunals in Natal starting last summer but just a few days ago, the Federal Tribunal in Camp Hill banned the organisation as it deemed it "incompatible with the values of democracy". As a response, the NRA gave an ultimatum to the tribunal to revert on their decision, with the next day statement from the Camp Hill tribunal being that the there will be no reversal of decision based on threats but if anything, this will cement even more the idea that the organisation is a terrorist one.

Today, as the NRA launched a manifesto calling for the "rekindling of the torch of the Himyari Revolution" in which it promised to wage a "people's war" against the Natal, Pelasgia, Azraq and the colonies in Himyar, the Dune Sea, Nzadiland and the Pelasgian Far South, stating that the end goal is the creation of a continent in which the nations are free from colonial, imperialistic and despotic oppression.

For this new scope, the NRA stated that they have renamed themselves into the Himyari People's Union and have stated that they already have chapters in most of the Himyari nations and territories and that they will be activated very soon. In their manifesto, they have targeted mostly the Pelasgian Far Southern Territories, for the newly started colonial process and Propontis' program of state sponsored settlement, but also the Dune Sea and Nzadiland for being colonies own by non-Himyari nations. Natal, Azraq and Pelasgia itself didn't escape their ire, with Natal being condemned of being a police state and banning the organisation, Azraq for its political crisis that for about two years kept them without a government, in the eyes of the People's Union, showing that the Emperor and the politicians have failed the people and Pelasgia for its imperialism and discrimination of the non-Leontic peoples.

The Natalian government has stated that before that the NRA was locally quite a dangerous organisation, but they don't see it so threatening at a nation wide let alone continent wide level. Chief Minister Bradley Ross has catalogued the newly formed HPU and their chapters in the different parts of the continent as being nothing but "gangsters coming together and thinking that they can overthrow the constitutional status quo".
 

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Interior Ministry of the Pelasgian Empire

Propontis, 24 April 2020
Unclassified - Public - Urgent

To whom it may concern,

The Pelasgian Empire condemns the rabid and vile proclamation of the so-called Himyari People's Union, which has called for the genocide of the Pelasgians of the Far South and for the violent overthrow of both the legitimate Sovereign of Pelasgia and His Far Southern Vassals in the Kintu and Kéké Kingdoms. The HPU will be crushed with the full force of the law, just like its predecessor, the NRA. Pelasgia remains committed to the rule of law, and we will defend the rule of law with means available to our Imperial State.

For these reasons, the Emperor-in-Senate has issued , declaring the Himyari People's Union a state-designated terror group, making all those associated with it either high traitors to the Throne of Pelasgia or foreign international terrorists. The punishment for both high crimes against the natural order of the world is well known, as many of the NRA's would-be rebels found out the hard way. We caution the HPU not to test our resolve. If they do not heed this warning, they will find themselves painfully awaken to the reality of their own impotence.

Signed and sealed,

Angelos Damaskenos
4th Viscount Damaskenos
8th Count Chrysopoulos
HIM Foreign Minister
 
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Azraqi left-wing and nationalist parties targeted in mass pre-dawn raids

Jugol, PAHINA - Fears are growing Azraq may be sliding into an imperial dictatorship after hundreds of activists linked to left-wing and nationalist movements active in the empire were arrested in early morning raids.

Azraqi social media was awash with posts claiming to have been witness to the arrests, with video clips surfacing of balaclava-clad members of the Azraqi Imperial Gendarmerie storming the homes of high profile politicians including Justice Party leader Hika Qiltu, Shamo People's Liberation Front chief Mulatu Birru and Movement for the Poor and Dispossessed head Axmed Dalmar Geedi.

Local press later confirmed the raids, with the Imperial Gendarmerie claiming in an official statement that the operations were linked to the recent 'declaration of war' by the Nethian Revolutionary Association, which has since renamed itself to the Himyari People's Union. The NRA/HPU has long been banned in Azraq and local commentators say it is unlikely many, if any, of those arrested earlier today had actual links to the organisation, which is considered a terrorist outfit by most countries.

"This is either about securing the position of the Emperor or his preferred political parties," explained one Azraq watcher, speaking to PAHINA on condition of anonymity.

Parliamentary democracy has been suspended in Azraq after a third general election failed to deliver a majority government. Emperor Tiirka Illah had ordered the major parties to enter talks with a view to potentially creating a 'grand coalition' that stretched across ideological, religious and ethnic lines.

In the interim, Emperor Tiirka Illah has been ruling by decree, using his powers mostly to increase spending for new infrastructure and modernising the armed forces. While the Emperor has not commented on the arrests, the scale of the raids means they were unlikely to go ahead without his consent and may signal a more permanent power grab.

"Mass arrests of this size have not happened since the Islamofuturist regime," an Azraqi politician who escaped detention told PAHINA, again speaking on anonymity, referring to the dictatorship that ruled Azraq in the 1950s and '60s.

The lawmaker said the response of other parties not targeted in the raids would indicate the direction Azraq was heading. "We are heading for dictatorship... whether it is an 'elected' dictatorship or an imperial one we don't know yet," he continued.

Both representatives of the Emperor and Imperial Gendarmerie declined to comment when approached with questions by PAHINA. The exact number of arrests has not been official disclosed, but estimates are in the range of 100 to 250 people.
 
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Eiffelland

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Aussenministerium — Ministero degli Esteri — Ministère des Affaires Étrangères
Trier, Eiffelland-Retalien — Treviri, Eiffellandia-Retalia — Trèves, Eiffellande-Rétalie


We are quite surprised about the recent move by the NRA. A declaration of war against all the countries in Hymiar is totally uncalled for, and condemnable. We offer complete assistance to our allies in Natal in their efforts to calm down the situation regarding the NRA.

Gianluigi di Gravesano-Carone, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Extraordinary Ambassador of the Italophone minority in Eiffelland-Retalia
 

Azraq

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Analysis: Silk Sea crisis exposes Azraq's weaknesses

Jugol, PAHINA - Just as Azraq thought it had ended a period of crisis, with nearly two years of legislative and electoral dysfunction, war between Justosia and a coalition of Westernesse nations threatens to create a new one.

After Justosian forces allegedly shot down an Ambrosian aircraft, Sylvania has since claimed to have downed a Justosian fighter jet.

The newly formed Azraqi government immediately issued a plea for peace and offered to host talks in the Azraqi capital Jugol, while also promising to increase aerial and naval patrols in the Pillars of Nearchus, which separate Himyar and Toyou, and around the Azraqi Spice Isles, an archipelago of small sparsely populated islands rich in oil and natural gas.

The Azraqi Emperor Boqor Tiirka Illah also personally offered to mediate discussions and also called for an immediate deescalation.

Opposition politicians, many sitting in the newly formed parliament after recently being released from prison after being accused of having links to terrorist groups, demanded swifter action by the new government to stop the potential conflict and suggested extra patrols by Azraqi forces risked worsening the situation.

Yet the truth is Azraq wields no real diplomatic clout with the parties involved in the crisis except for Justosia, which the Himyari empire had a treaty of friendship and trade agreement with. However the government has made clear it will remain neutral and the treaty with Justosia did not include a mutual defence clause.

To the Westernesse nations involved, Azraq is barely on their foreign policy radar. Back home, if anyone had heard of the Himyari country, it was as a luxury or slightly exotic holiday destination, not serious player in international affairs.

Despite having a population of over 110 million and occupying the entire northeastern coastline of Himyar, Azraq continues to lunch below its weight geopolitically. The diplomatic establishment has always largely been concerned with Himyari affairs, and the Azraqi military deliberately under-funded for decades after a number of failed coup attempts.

"After Pelasgia and Natalia, Azraq is very much the third power of Himyar," says one Natalian diplomat who asked not to be named.

The empire enjoys friendly relations with most states, although the reigning Emperor's embrace of communist countries like Ostmark and Serenierre and state visit to Justosia did prompt criticism back home.

"We do not need to be friends with everybody, just acquaintances," suggests an Azraqi politician, again speaking anonymously.

Rumours are swirling in Jugol Azraq is preparing to get more involved in the Dune Sea Dominion to support Nedernesian military operations, with some implying any intervention would be largely to distract from the Silk Sea crisis. Others point to Azraq's backseat role in the Loago crisis, which was limited to a few air strikes and support for the Muslim Fante factions.

The current Emperor has made clear he sees defence spending and infrastructure investment as two key priorities but security experts say Azraq's military needs reform as much as spending. "There is a deep lack of professionalism and meritocracy... outside Azraq's special forces no units have any recent combat experience... Procurement is a mess and the ethnic-based organisation dysfunctional," read one analyst note from the Institute of Himyari Security Studies, a Natalian think-tank.

Azraqi foreign policy also needs an overhaul, with a greater focus beyond Himyar and wider scope than just trade, the IHSS continued.

Doubts have been raised over the ability of Azraq to carry out regular naval and aerial patrols around the Pillars of Nearchus and Azraqi Spice Islands, with much of the air force and navy's equipment outdated and in need of maintenance. "There will be a few well publicised missions then it will slowly drop off the news agenda," predicts an Azraqi journalist, who asked his identity be hidden to avoid prosecution under the Empire's strict national security laws.

Many Azraqi nationalists agree with much of the vriticism and lament the Empire's previously influential role in Hamar Sea and Implarian Ocean geopolitics.

When approached by PAHINA, Azraqi diplomats defended the Empire's position. "We are trusted by most nations, seen as an increasingly attractive investment destination and importance to Himyari affairs and neighbouring regions is recognised," insisted one.
 
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Eiffelland

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RRF Flugzeugwerke
Trier, Eiffelland-Retalia


We would like to point the attention of the Azraqi armed forces and Ministry of Defence at the . This plane excels in all tasks demanded from a fighter plane, be it air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike or anti-ship strike. This plane can be described best as an omnirole plane rather than a multirole one.
 

Azraq

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Azraq joins rebranded Himyari Development Bank

Sandhavn, PAHINA - The Empire of Azraq has become the third state to join the Himyari Development Bank, now renamed to the Himyari Agriculture and Investment Bank, and pledged up to €M15bn in initial funding.

Sources in the Sandhavn-based institution said a rebrand was one of the conditions insisted on by Azraqi officials before the northeastern Himyari country could join. "The word 'development' was a particular sticking point," explained one insider familiar with the negotiations.

A secondary office will also open in Gabood, Azraq's main financial and commercial hub, and an Azraqi official will be nominated as the Bank's new president after the incumbent Paulo Felipe Rodriguez, a Nedernesian national, announced he was stepping down for "personal reasons". The new President of the Himyari Agriculture and Investment Bank will be announced in the coming days.

The initial €M15bn committed by Azraq will come from a variety of sources, including the Azraqi Imperial Treasury, the Azraqi Imperial Investment Authority, which is the empire's sovereign wealth fund, and the private family offices of the ruling Dawamali dynasties. This comes on top of the €M27bn pledged by the Commonwealth of Nedernesia. Azraq, Nedernesia and the Dune Sea Dominion are currently the only members of the Himyari Agriculture and Investment Bank, although it is hoped Natalia and Pelasgia will soon join.

The bank was launched in January 2020 to focus on "poverty alleviation, infrastructure development and long-term sustainable growth" across Himyar.

Local commentators suggest Azraq's membership was partly motivated by a desire to access cheap loans from the Bank to fund new infrastructure, as tensions in the Implarian region deter private investors and lenders.
 
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Nedernesië

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Continent Poised for New Golden Age
Op-Ed by Fatima Wehbe


Himyar has long suffered depressed economies, high unemployment, political instability and widespread poverty. Many of the countries, even the more developed such as Pelasgia, rely on the export of raw materials. Natalia, the most developed economy on the continent, has performed noticeably better but still lags behind where it wants to be. Yet we could be seeing the dawn of a new golden era for Himyar as a number of events transpire that could bring great opportunities to the Pan-Himyari economy.

Azraq has been roused from a deep slumber in recent months as internal political shifts appear to be positioning the country on a more pro-business and open orientation. As the imperial capital of Jugol prepares to host a last-ditch peace conference on the South Implarian conflict, the Empire has pledged billions to the Sandhavn based Himyar Agriculture and Infrastructure Bank (HAIB) and is set to double its defence spending with the next budget.

Many analysts hope to see Azraq focus on infrastructure spending in the coming years which would help boost economic productivity and output as well as reduce unemployment as major projects get off the ground. A weak road network needs to be upgraded and expanded. The power grid needs modernisation and new plants. Schools and hospitals need upgrades and more money for proper staff and equipment. Rising oil prices are likely to greatly expand the forthcoming budget as well as new debt issuances and the likelihood that Azraq applies for cheap loans from HAIB. With the recently announced security and intelligence cooperation agreement between Azraq and Nedernesia, the port of Al-Mukarramah is likely to see infrastructure upgrades that will not just benefit docking Nedernesian warships but also civilian merchant marine vessels.

Meanwhile the Dune Sea, for decades an incredibly poor part of Himyar, officially becomes an Overseas Crown Land, or protectorate, of Nedernesia on 1 June. The territory has been reliant on Nedernesian and Natalian investment for decades but could now open a new chapter of economic growth if political stability and Nedernesian government cash come with the transfer of power. Indeed, recent developments in the Dune Sea mean that the soon to be protectorate is not out of the woods, or sand, yet. The terrorist organisation Hames, which employs barbaric violence as it claims to fight for a just and free Dune Sea, as well as the other violent gangs across the territory, are hindering efforts at stabilisation and development. Despite this, money is pouring into the former Pohjanmaan colony and early numbers suggest that unemployment, at a whopping 47% (and that is just the official number) and GDP are on the mend.

Azraqi-Nedernesian security and intelligence cooperation is likely to bring the neighbouring territories closer together diplomatically as well as physically. The Nedernesian military will require new roads from Azraqi ports to the northern Dune Sea and increased cooperation could see more cross-border trade. Natal may also view the recent changes in its neighbours as a chance to expand into markets it has so far only dabbed into. Their mining and service companies could eye more resources and more customers.

Yet intra-Himyari trade has always faced the problem of connectivity. It is often cheaper to fly from Sandhavn to Vrijpoort than it is from Sandhavn to Camp Hill. There are no cargo railways linking the Dune Sea to any of its neighbours and the road connections are insufficient for large trucks laden with goods. To bring goods from Loago or Port Stanley to Natal or Azraq require a long ship journey. If the countries of Himyar could collaborate on road, rail and air links, the cost of doing intra-Himyari trade and business could greatly be reduced. This would bring jobs and lower the cost of consumables. Political supporters of everything 'Pan-Himyar' would delight at the opportunity to do something that would benefit the average Himyari household instead of watching their money go to companies based in far off places. One such example is the dairy industry in Himyar. A Dune Sea housewife who purchases powdered NedMilk may not realise it, but even though that powdered milk came from a local factory, the milk came from cows in Scania or Gallo-Germania even though Natal has a large and thriving dairy industry. An Azraqi buying yogurt is supporting a farmer in Salen, not Port Stanley.

For decades the continent has been waiting for an opportunity to break free of the shackles that come from crumbling and lacking infrastructure. With two great shifts now occurring on the continent, the time to work together and act is now.
 
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