Picture: REUTERS/Files – In this 2001 file picture, Osama bin Laden, left, sits with Al Qaeda’s top strategist, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri. He replaced Bin Laden after his death as leader of the organisation. This past week, the United States has celebrated a drone strike that has killed al-Zawahri, the writer reports.
By Shifaan Ryklief
This past week in news from around the world, the United States (US) has celebrated a drone strike that killed al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahri, former Philippines President Fidel Ramos has died and the first Ukrainian grain shipment has left, successfully, the port of Odesa.
On Monday, Ukraine infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted that the first ship had left the port as part of the deal with Russia, the United Nations and Turkey to unblock Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in order to “prevent world famine”.
“Unlocking the ports will provide at least $1 billion in foreign exchange revenue for the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan next year’s sowing season,” Kubrakov said in a statement.
“In the ports of Greater Odessa another 16 vessels are already waiting their turn. These are the vessels that have been blocked since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion,” he said.
On Wednesday, the shipment passed inspection in Istanbul and made its way to Lebanon. According to Al Jazeera news, the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni is transporting about 26,000 tonnes of maize.
And in the Philippines, press secretary of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos has confirmed the death of 94-year-old former president Fidel Ramos. He died at the Makati Medical Centre reportedly due to complications of Covid-19, The Manila Times reported.
Ramos was the 12th president of the Republic of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998, and was said to be the driving force behind the renewed investor confidence in the country. It was during his time that the Philippines was recognised as a budding “tiger economy”.
Staying in Asia, it was a controversial week for China as tensions heightened due to US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as part of a congressional delegation tour of the Indo-Pacific region.
Chinese officials issued several warnings that the US would “pay the price” if Pelosi visited the island as Beijing viewed the visit as a provocation.
“What I can tell you is, the US will definitely have to bear responsibility and pay the price for harming China’s sovereignty and security interests,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying during a press conference in Beijing.
“China will take firm and powerful measures,” he said.
The US ignored all warnings and in turn they deployed four warships, including aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, east of Taiwan as Pelosi made her trip to Taipei, with the White House saying that its speaker had the right to visit Taiwan.
The carrier, which is situated in the Philippines Sea, operates a guided missile cruiser.
Meanwhile, Russia has come out in support of China, with whom it has forged a strong partnership in recent years, and has warned Washington that Pelosi’s visit puts it on a collision course with Beijing.
Speaking on a visit to Myanmar, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has criticised the US, saying it is acting with impunity.
“I see no other reason to create such an annoyance almost out of the blue, knowing very well what it means for the People’s Republic of China,” Lavrov said.
Pelosi’s arrival on Tuesday in Taiwan prompted a furious response from Beijing at a time when international tensions are already elevated by the conflict in Ukraine.
And, on Thursday following Pelosi’s departure from Taiwan, the Eastern Military Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army conducted long-range live-fire precision strike drills against specific targets in the eastern part of the Taiwan Strait.
The planned military exercises comes in response to the visit after the US has ignored warnings from Chinese officials.
“On August 4, long-range live-fire exercises and precision strikes were carried out in the Taiwan Strait on targeted areas in the eastern Taiwan Strait, and the expected results were achieved,” the military said.
According to Sputnik News Agency, China will continue to conduct live-fire exercise drills until Sunday.
Lastly, President Joe Biden announced on Monday that the US has killed Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of al-Qaida and one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. Al-Zawahri, alongside the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden, oversaw the attacks of September 11, 2001, he said.
Al-Zawahri was killed in a CIA drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the weekend, according to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
When US forces withdrew from Afghanistan last August, Biden administration officials said they would retain capability for “over-the-horizon” attacks from elsewhere on terrorist forces inside Afghanistan. The attack against al-Zawahri is the first known counter-terrorism strike there since the withdrawal.
Ryklief is a multimedia journalist at African News Agency (ANA).