Saturday, October 29, 2016

Foreign Digest: Updates on Turkey, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Syria the United Kingdom and Yemen

Turkey’s Purge Continues
            The purge by the Islamist authoritarian Turkish government continues after the failed military coup in July and expands into still more areas and professions.  As a result, in addition to Greece, some Turks are now seeking political asylum in Germany.

Venezuela’s Dictatorship Blocks the Democratic Opposition
            After the recent blockage by Venezuela’s Socialist dictatorship of the democratic opposition’s attempts at placing a referendum on the ballot to recall the President, in what the opposition calls a “coup d’etat,” more demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest the regime.  The opposition-led Congress is now placing the President on a political trial.  The opposition won a supermajority in the national legislature, but the regime has acted in an authoritarian manner to deny them any share of power.

Hong Kong’s Pro-China Legislature Refuses to Seat Democratic Opposition Legislators
            The Chinese Communist-appointed government of Hong Kong declined earlier this week to seat two members of the democratic opposition to the special territory’s legislature because of their objections to the oath of office that implies loyalty to Peking.  The opposition had won a majority in the elections after mass protests last year against the Chinese Communists’ efforts to strip Hong Kong of its autonomy.  The territory was promised fifty years of autonomy, liberty and free markets after reverting from British rule in 1997, but Peking has limited the number of elective seats in Hong Kong’s legislature and barred some opposition candidates from standing for office.

Syria Reportedly Uses Chemical Weapons
            A report publicized earlier this week conducted under the auspices of the United Nations and a non-proliferation organization has concluded that the Syrian dictatorship has repeatedly used chemical weapons of mass destruction in the Syrian Civil War.  Syria had pledged to give up all of its chemical weapons, but the terms of the agreement brokered by the United States and Russia did not include chlorine, one of the earliest-known chemical weapons.  The Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, like that of his father, uses weapons indiscriminately against civilian residential areas where there is opposition to the dictatorship.  Such actions are crimes against humanity.  The Assad regime also sponsors terrorism and is the main ally of Iran, which is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.  Iran and Russia are backing the Syrian dictatorship.

United Kingdom’s Economy Grows, Despite Leaving the European Union
            The British economy grew more than expected last quarter, following the approval of the referendum for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, according to a report by the British government a few days ago.  Although the British economy has suffered some adverse effects, the doomsday-type predictions of the supporters of remaining in the E.U. have not materialized.  Supporters of leaving the E.U. had expressed confidence that the U.K. would thrive if it regained its economic sovereignty and independence.  The U.K. will begin negotiations to leave the E.U. next year.

Yemen: Americans Intercept Iranian Weapons Shipments
           The United States reported yesterday that it has intercepted multiple Iranian shipments of weapons to the pro-Iranian Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.  The interceptions are apparently the reason why the rebels recently attacked American warships off the Yemeni coast.  

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