Sunday, June 8, 2014

Foreign Digest: Egypt, Syria, Palestinian Authority, China, European Union/Spain

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a retired general that had serving in Egypt’s interim government that had taken power last year through a military coup against the elected Islamist government that had become authoritarian, won the presidential elections last weekend in a landslide, although with a voter turnout of less than half the electorate.  He has been sworn into office.  It is hoped Sisi can keep Egypt peaceful, stable and free without being subject to Islamist rule. The interim Egyptian government’s faithfulness to its treaty with Israel in obtaining the Jewish State’s consent to the placement of Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula to defeat Islamist rebels there, as well as an Egyptian crackdown of smuggling to the terrorist Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are encouraging developments.

Palestinian Authority
            A unity Palestinian Authority government between Fattah, which had controlled the West Bank and Hamas, which had controlled the Gaza Strip, has been formed.  Hamas is an Iranian and Syrian-sponsored terrorist organization.  The United States of America under the Administration of President George W. Bush had cut off aid because of Hamas, but now the Obama Administration has announced that it will fund the Palestinian Authority, despite its significant inclusion of a terrorist organization. 

            The recent presidential elections during the civil war were a farce, despite the first appearance in decades of more than one candidate on the ballot, as even these candidates supported the incumbent who was seeking re-election, dictator Bashar Assad.  

Meanwhile, Syria has still not surrendered all of its chemical weapons, as it had agreed to do in order to military punishment from the United States and its Western allies for using such weapons of mass destructive against civilians.

            After twenty five years of a Chinese Communist government crackdown on dissent since the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989, the Chinese people remain as un-free as ever, despite the predictions of some at the time that the remaining Communist dictatorships in China, Cuba, North Korea and elsewhere would fall, despite their brutal repression, and repeated assurances that trade with such states would lead to political, in addition to economic, freedom.   

           Meanwhile, China has become even more aggressive in pushing its territorial claims, versus the Philippines over the Spratly Islands and Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, as it continues to assert its claim over the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands

European Union/Spain 
           There has been significant progress in GreecePortugal and Spain in lowering their level of debt, but challenges remain as these states, as well as much of the rest of Europe, struggle with a severe recession that reduces government tax revenue.

           King Juan Carlos of the House of Bourbon has announced his intention to abdicate the Crown of the Kingdom of Spain soon in favor of his son, Prince Felipe, who would rule as King Felipe VI.  Juan Carlos deserves praise for his key role in Spain’s transition to representative democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and subsequent threats to liberty and unity.  Felipe will ascend to the throne at a difficult time in recent Spanish history.  In addition to its economic and fiscal troubles, Spain faces a significant movement for independence for Catalonia.  May he reign well and long.

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