15 October 2019   Leave a comment

Extinction Rebellion is a group organized first in Great Britain dedicated to civil disobedience in pursuit of effective action against climate change. Affiliated groups have sprung up all over the world. The explicit objective of Extinction Rebellion is to cause civil disruption, such as blocking roads and subways, in order to force governments to change their policies. Today, almost 400 scientists, representing 20 different countries, endorsed the tactics of the group. Reuters quotes one of the scientists:

“‘We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law,’ said Emily Grossman, a science broadcaster with a PhD in molecular biology. She read the declaration on behalf of the group.

“‘We therefore support those who are rising up peacefully against governments around the world that are failing to act proportionately to the scale of the crisis,’ she said.”

The group continued their protests despite a ban by the London police on all protests associated with Extinction Rebellion. The groups associated with Extinction Rebellion have grown substantially over the last year, but its continued growth is uncertain.

In just a matter of days, Russian troops have taken over key positions in Syria once held by US troops. The US continues to ferry its troops out of Syria and the Kurdish forces once allied with the US have sought protection from Turkish troops from Syrian government forces. At one point, the US sought the removal of Syrian President Assad, but Assad is now back in control of most of Syrian territory. Turkey also sought the removal of Assad, but it now seems to be content with simply taking control of the northeast corridor of Syrian territory. There are many reasons why deferring to Turkey’s move is a serious mistake. Turkey and Russia have been moving closer together, but their vision of the future of Syria are not completely compatible. The Washington Post elucidates:

” Moscow, which has friendly ties with both the Syrian and Turkish governments, appeared uniquely positioned to prevent the two militaries from clashing around Manbij and elsewhere in Syria. At the same, Russia has made clear that it opposes Turkey’s military operation. Lavrentyev, Russia’s Syria envoy, said Tuesday that the offensive in Syria was ‘unacceptable.’

“’We have never favored and never supported the idea of sending, for instance, Turkish units there, not to mention Syrian armed opposition,’ he said, referring to the Turkish-backed rebel groups, according to Interfax.” 

As these powers jockey for position, civilians in Syria have been left in the lurch. Sources estimate that as many as 160,000 civilians, 70,000 of them children, have been displaced by the violence. The US has also done an about-face on Turkey, from giving the green light to the Turkish invasion to slapping sanctions on Turkey in response to the invasion. It is safe to say that US-Turkish relations are very confused and difficult to sort out. The US has placed sanctions on several Turkish individuals and ministries, as well as new tariffs on Turkish steel. The tariffs on steel will probably have little effect. According to Al Monitor:

“Turkish manufacturers supply 2 million of the 30 million tons of iron and steel that the United States imports annually as part of its total consumption of 100 million tons. In terms of value, Turkish iron and steel exports to the United States were worth about $1.1 billion last year.

“Trump’s tariffs came at a time when Turkish sales to the United States were already on the decline, despite an increase in the country’s overall steel exports. According to figures by the Steel Exporters Association, Turkey’s overall steel exports stood at 3.2 million tons in the first two months of the year, a 1.3% increase from the same period in 2017. Though Trump’s new levies took effect in March, anticipation of the move led to a 60% decrease in steel exports to the United States in the January-February period. Turkish producers seem to have already turned to European markets to make up for the decline. Steel exports to European Union countries increased 62% to reach 1.3 million tons in the same period.”

Posted October 15, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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