11 June 2018   Leave a comment

Austria has closed seven mosques and expelled all Turkish-funded Imams.  According to The Local, an English-language Austrian newspaper, the move comes after “an investigation by Austria’s religious affairs authority sparked by images which emerged in April of children in a Turkish-backed mosque playing dead and re-enacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli.  That battle was between British and French forces against the Ottoman Empire and ended in a disastrous defeat for the Western allies at the hands of a Muslim empire. The Austrian government claimed that the act breached a 2015 agreement that included religious guidelines that required  “a positive attitude towards the state and society”.  The move also reflects a growing tension between Austria and Turkey as well as the hardening of anti-Muslim sentiment in many sectors of European society.  Turkish President Erdogan denounced the move and declared that  “these measures taken by the Austrian prime minister are, I fear, leading the world towards a war between the cross and the crescent.”

 

The United Nations is engaged in intense negotiations to forestall a Saudi Arabian coalition attack on the Yemeni port city of Hudeida.  The port serves as the only access point for humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni civilian population which is suffering from high rates of malnutrition and cholera.  The war began in 2014 as Houthi rebels, which Saudi Arabia considers proxies for Iran, took control of Yemen, and more than 10,000 civilians have died and 22 million civilians are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.   At this time, the US military is mulling over a request from Saudi Arabia for assistance in conducting the assault on the port city, a move that would be disastrous for the people of Yemen and which would run the risk of a wider war in the region.

The Destructiveness of the War in Yemen

 

There were widespread protests in Vietnam over a proposed new law creating “Special Economic Zones” (SEZ) in some of the provinces in the country.  The zones would offer investment incentives in an effort to stimulate economic activity, and one of those incentives would include 99-year leases for investors.  The protests were ignited by fears that Chinese investors would dominate the SEZs and further empower Chinese influence in the country.  The Vietnamese government is trying to tamp down the protests lest they frighten investors.  The protests reflect both the historical mistrust of China in Vietnam as well as the strong economic nationalism in Vietnam at this time, a nationalism which is consistent with sentiments in other countries (think of “America First”).  The protests also stem from the growing fear of Chinese hegemony in Southeast Asia.

Protests in Vietnam

Posted June 11, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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