Monday, October 17, 2016

Foreign Digest: Thailand, Yemen and Montenegro

The Death of the King of Thailand
            I offer condolences to the Thai people at the passing last week of their King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who had reigned for 70 years—longer than anyone else.  The revered King was a unifying figure in Thailand, which was especially helpful whenever there were coups or other political instability, such as had occurred before the 2014 military coup that brought the current junta to power.  There remains no timetable for the restoration of civilian rule and democratic elections.  I hope the Crown Prince will be able to unite the Thais when he ascends to the throne after a lengthy period of mourning.  In the meantime, the Thai people should find unity in love for their country as they make the necessary transition back to representative civilian government. 

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Fire on Americans Warships
            Iranian-backed Shi’ite Houthi rebels have recently fired repeatedly on American Naval ships off the coast of Yemen.  The United States responded in self-defense by firing missiles at Houthi military installations, the first time the U.S. has engaged the Houthis.  The Houthis are trying to take over Yemen, as is al-Qaeda, in a three-way war.  An Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been battling the Shi’ite rebels while the U.S. has been targeting al-Qaeda with occasional drone attacks during the War on Terrorism.  The Iranian support of the Houthis demonstrates that the Islamic Republic continues to engage in a proxy war with Sunni Arab states and the West in order to spread Islam by the sword.  The Islamist Iranian regime also supports Palestinian terrorists like Islamic Jihad and Hamas and the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorists, Hezbollah. 

Pro-Western Party Wins the Montenegrin Parliamentary Elections 
           Montenegro’s ruling center-left party, which has governed since independence in 2006, won the most seats in the Montenegrin parliamentary elections, together with a smaller center-left party, but fell short of a majority.  It expects to form a government together with another smaller center-left party and ethnic Bosniak, Croatian and Albanian parties.  The pro-Western ruling party defeated a coalition of pro-Russian parties which included Communists and far-right parties, some of which favor reunion with Serbia.  The opposition has refused to accept the results, despite the approval of international observers.  The ruling party has adopted a pro-Western policy, including application for membership in the European Union and accession into the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance and has joined in EU sanctions against Russia, which had been the traditional ally of the former Yugoslav republic.  The Russian Federation financed the opposition, just as it has supported monetarily far-right parties throughout Europe and uses propaganda to influence European politics and is interfering in the American presidential elections through hacking and propaganda.  

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