15 January 2018   Leave a comment

Britain’s exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) has become more complicated as the EU has tightened up its demands on the free movement of individuals between the Union and Britain and insisted on British adherence to the EU fisheries policies.  The two issues were important to those who voted for Brexit and British Prime Minister May will have a difficult time accommodating those concessions.  Moreover, Norway, which is not a member of the EU but enjoys “associated” status with it, has been watching carefully to ensure that Britain does not get a better deal than it currently has.  The jockeying among members of the EU for business that is leaving Britain in order to maintain full status within the Union is also causing friction in the Union’s decision-making process.  It is difficult to see how the Brexit can be managed before the deadline in 2019 without a great deal of economic turmoil.

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a fiery two-hour speech condemning the US and other states for abandoning the two state solution.  Abbas spoke to the Palestinian Central Council and he made it clear that the US would no longer be regarded as an effective mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.  The Council was considering what steps to take in response to the collapse of the two-state solution and the Oslo Accords and some measures being considered were “rescinding Palestinian recognition of Israel, pursuing Israel for war crimes at the International Criminal Court and advancing efforts for a Palestinian state to be recognized internationally.”  The US is likely to cut off assistance to one of the main UN agencies offering help to the Palestinians very soon which will undoubtedly increase pressure on the Palestinian Authority to take strong action to change the status quo.

 

On Sunday, the US announced that it was assisting in arming a 30,000 soldier militia in northwestern Syria composed of Arabs and Kurds opposed to Syrian government Assad.  Syria, Russia, and Turkey have condemned the move, but Turkey’s response was stunningly harsh given that the US and Turkey have historically been close allies.  Turkish President Erdogan made the following statement in a speech in Ankara:

“A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders. What can that terror army target but Turkey?

“Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born.”

Turkey fears the growth of an independent Kurdistan which would incite Turkish Kurds to demand similar steps.  Syria fears the carving up of its territory and Russia fears the weakening of its important ally in the Middle East.  The trajectory of these competing interests will only lead to greater bloodshed in Syria.

Posted January 15, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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