Sunday, June 21, 2015

Foreign Digest: Denmark, Mali, Cuba

            The center-right won a plurality of seats in the recent Danish parliamentary elections.  If it can form a coalition government, it will replace the current center-left government.  Anti-immigration sentiment was a factor in the elections, as a smaller party that opposes the acceptance of asylum-seekers coming into the European Union to escape difficulties in Asia and Africa gained a significant enough number of seats to be part of a coalition.  Denmark has been a strong ally of the United States in the global War on Terrorism.

            The Malian government has signed a peace treaty with the largest separatist coalition of Tuaregs to end a lengthy insurgency, of which I had posted about previously.  The insurgency had led to a coup and the takeover of much of northern Mali by al-Qaeda Islamists who had allied themselves with various Tuaregs.  A French-led international force that included the troops of several neighboring African states helped Mali to liberate its north in a major victory in the War on Terrorism, but the jihadis fled into the desert, where they have launched sporadic attacks on Malians and the international troops.  Mali had already reached peace agreements with other Tuareg groups.  It is hoped that peace with the Tuaregs would help deter the Islamists from regaining power in northern Mali

            Al-Qaeda Islamists still control significant territory in Somalia and are able to launch attacks in its capital and in neighboring Somali allied states, although the rebels have been gradually pushed back by international forces in support of Somalia’s government.  Nigeria, together with several neighbors, has been battling Islamists in its north and has been having some recent success in halting the insurgents’ advance.  However, Libya’s internationally-recognized government controls only a relatively small portion of Libyan territory while various Islamists, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, battle for total control of Libya, thus making it a potential safe haven for Islamists, as well as a jumping-off point for terrorists into Europe.  It is critical, therefore, that Mali not be left to fall back into the hands of the Islamist enemy while these other African battles in the War on Terrorism continue to be fought.

           A Cuban human rights organization reports that over half of the total Cubans who had been political prisoners since the Obama Administration normalized relations with Cuba remain prisoners of conscience, as well as others who remain on parole.  

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