Framing the World
Framing the World is back once again with the first summer edition. But International affairs don’t know season, then read this number to know the latest news. Follow us across Africa, where clashes and violence go on, and Latin America, and get updated on the FARC rebels’ return, and on the protests occurred in Brazil. In the Middle East the situation stays complicated because of the past attacks against Saudi oil tankers, and the imminent elections in Israel. Also, in Taiwan tensions rise, and China celebrates the 30th Anniversary of protests in Tiananmen Square.
Concerning Europe, here we resume the debate on the election results, while economic news focus on the “trade war”, that’s back in the foreground, and on Tesla risks to not last much longer.
Last but not least, terrorism hits France, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso again, and even Iraq and Syria are completely free from ISIS.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCE AND ECONOMICS
Trade war, new developments. The month of May ends with bad news linked to tariffs. Friday morning President Trump has announced the introduction of new tariffs of 5% on imports from Mexico, planned to take effect as of 10 June. These last will increase to 25% by October, if Mexico won’t stop the flow of illegal migrants across the border. The news drove down American pricelists (and not only) to minimum values for 12 weeks, since Mexico is the third largest trading partner ($350 billion). Bad news also come from the Chinese front: no deal has been found, so the tariffs announced three weeks ago have taken effects on Friday 31 May. These events provoked the fall of crude oil price, which decreased of 20%, reaching $53.28. The spectre of the trade war threats to slow down the global economy by reducing the oil demand and by pushing its price down.
Chinese coffee, and not only. Few weeks ago, in this section we reported news about the new little-known competitor of Starbucks, Luckin Coffee. The Chinese company is implementing an aggressive expansion plan, which included to be listed on Wall Street; that’s what happened on May 17. At first, things were going alright, and its stock value passed from 17$ to 26$, earning 53%. But on May 21 the shares held by the company have were priced for less than 17 Dollars again, to finally reach 14$. On the one side Investors are worried about the status of relations between China and the US, on the other Luckin investors wander whether strategies based on wasting huge amounts of money in order to get market share postponing their profits to the foreseeable future is would be effective or not.
Tesla, what future? Only few years ago Tesla was considered one of the most promising car company, and its market value (more than $65 billion) surpassed GM’ and Ford’ ones.
2018 ended with the first positive quarter for Tesla’s profits: the “model 3” had reached the provided levels of production and Model X and S sales kept increasing. But in the last weeks Tesla lost its impetus because of some delays on the production of new models, and questions linked to the quality of its vehicles.
Also, the sale of older models set the page. Results: losses for $702 million in the first quarter of 2019, and its market value lost 50% compared with 2017. So what professor Scott Galloway (NYU) predicted in march became reasonable: he foresees that Tesla will lost an additional 50% the next year, and it will be acquired by other companies such as Google or Apple (which have hundreds of millions in cash), or even by some rivals as Toyota or Daimler (Mercedes). Morgan Stanley is even more pessimist, as he predicted a market value of $10, while on Friday its price was 185$.
Italy and France, a setting of wedding bells? Keeping with automobiles, in the past months we reported that FCA was searching for a partner from PSA (Peugeot – Citroen), and that Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi hadn’t a CEO, after that Ghosn was arrested. Now these events combine themselves: FCA officially offered Renault a 50-50 merger of equals, for 35 billion Euros, without involving Nissan and Mitsubishi (for now). Markets reacted positively (FCA gained +8%, and Renault +12%). It would be the third most important vehicle manufacturers in the world after Volkswagen and Toyota) dominating Europe and South America. It would be able to handle the competition in this rapidly-changing sector, where electrification might lead important colossus to disappear. The French state is the most important shareholder of Renault, and it’s declared to be favourable to the mentioned operation, such as Salvini has done, one he got the assurance that no staff reductions will take place in Italy. Tomorrow (Tuesday 4 June) the French CDA is supposed to find a non-binding deal to start merger negotiations.
Television. How to resist to Netflix advanced and to its investments in contents for $15 billion in 2018?
The main European and American networks gave the same answer: by uniting themselves. In the US Disney merged with Fox and it’s ready to introduce a new streaming platform in order to face Amazon and Netflix, while the big communication company AT&T bought Time Warner; both agreements have been approved by competition regulators. In Europe they tried to do the same, but both governments and control units blocked these moves at first. Vivendi has been forced to offset its rights to vote at Mediaset, and the same Mediaset partnership agreement with Sky has been refused. Now both companies try to set up “Euroflix” continental platform: Mediaset acquired 10% of ProSiebenSat1 (the second largest television group in Europe) for $330 millions, and Vivendi obtained M7 (an important satellite TV player) for $1 billion.
Central Arica, the armed group 3R attacks. This news began to spread since May 26, but information were not clear. Then the victims toll was gradually published and the number of dead civilians increased to 50 people. The 3R group is one of those that signed the Khartoum peace agreement; it seems that the attack was caused by two events dating back to the past weeks: a cattle rustling, and the death of a Fulani individual. The leader of 3R, Sidiki Abbas, founded the group only in 2016 in order to protect Fulani Muslims from any attack. The government and MINUSCA invited to respect Human Rights and the peace agreement, also they issued an ultimatum of 72 hours urging the group to bring those responsible to justice and dismantle the bases of the group. However, similar moves may lead to a new spiral of interethnic and violence among municipalities, putting an end to the buckling contents provided by the agreement.
But it is necessary to report that Friday ( May 31) some news reported the decision to dismantle the bases belonging to the group in that region. Developments will be followed.
Madagascar, legislative elections. Malgasy Parliament elections have been held on Monday 27 May. 10 Millions of electors had the right to vote. President Andry Rajoelina run against Marc Ravalomanana (ex president) trying to preserve his majority and implement the reforms he introduced. His aim is o prevent the opposition from obtaining the majority, as it would lead to a cohabitation between this last and the president.
Also, it is interesting to remark that 500 candidates out of 810 are independent, that’s why they could be the key element. “Africarivista” reports how this phenomenon is dangerous, since it would be a strategy conceived by the major parties to get more seats; it would bring a spreading corruption to obtain fidelity. We wait for official results.
Senegal, the biggest wind park of Africa. 46 wind turbines blades measuring about 180m will allow the capital to increase the national electric production of 15%. The park will be situated at 90 km from Dakar, and it will be activated after three stages, in the end of 2020. It is a relevant work, and it causes many complications linked to the quantity of electric energy supposed to be injected in the Senegalese network.
An important element to remark is the Chinese non-participation in the project, that is completely financed by an American development finance institution (OPIC, which paid $215 Millions) and a (Danish) lending company (VFK, that gave $117 millions). The construction of the park will be managed by a Danish company too (VESTAS company).
Somalia, the UN states about the AMISOM mission. We finally got news concerning discussions about the UN mission in Somalia, in particular about disagreements between France and the US on certain points: the extension and the duration of the engagement. Well, the mission has been prolonged by one year, but 1000 less troops will join it, and the maximum number of soldiers involved has been fixed at 19.626 units. This amount was proposed by the UK, through a resolution countries unanimously voted for. It provides the possibility to re-examine every decision in case of worsening in those territories. The process of gradual reallocation of security conditions to the Somali federal government should lead to elections in 2020. But many doubts about the success of this plan are still present.
Sudan, new tensions rise. Last Saturday (May 25) such opponents protested after the meeting between Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, leader of the military transition government, and Al-Sisi, Egyptian president. Egypt’s non-interference in the internal affairs of Sudan has been required, but Cairo declared its will to sustain the Sudanese stabilization.
In the following days the civil society called a two-day strike, that was badly seen by military authorities; on Friday 31 instead, these last closed the Khartoum office of the broadcaster Al-Jazeera, without explaining the reasons. On this background we can’t ignore hundreds of people’s initiative to demonstrate in support of an wholly military government –they are Islamist people, and supported Bashir until December-.
Argentina, new elections. Ex President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced to be intentioned to run for vice-presidency in the next elections that will take place in October. The situation in Argentina is complicated: the economic crisis is expanding and people’s spending power decreases, that makes the current condition even worse than the crisis occurred in 2001. The new elections will be a real challenge; Cristina Fernandez is going through one of 12 trials where she’s accused of corruption.
Brazil, the protest of a group without political leaders. The new elected Bolsonaro’ government restricted spending on education and research, but protests blown up soon. In the Brazilian places student organisations, representatives from schools, and Teachers unions demonstrate. But the aspect that marks this period is the presence of a large group of students who don’t express political views. Important protests are taking place, and they require Bolsonaro’ attention, however he tries to devalue these last, defining them “partisan manifestations”. In the same time the Supreme Court sentenced that discriminations against homo-sexual and transgender people must be prosecuted according to racism regulation.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia: a recurring threat? The FARC, may represent a threat to peace again, after they signed a peace agreement with the government. This last provides to promote the development of rural areas and grant instruction for everybody, until high school, access to drinking water, development of infrastructures, and employment. But it seems that the new government doesn’t stick the agreement, as it’s seen as conflicting with the peace deal. So conflicts restart, and armed clashes are not so far.
Nicaragua, political prisoners. In prisons many opponents are detained; the opposition to Daniel Ortega’ government and International Organizations consider them political prisoners. The opposition asked for the release of all prisoners in order to maintain a dialogue with Ortega government; about 130 citizens arrested during the protests against the government are still imprisoned. Also, about 50.000 people were forced to flee the country because of the conflicts.
And on top of that, the economy tanked.
US, the first amendment. Julian Assange, known to be the creator of WikiLeaks, is accused to violate the Espionage act, that’s a federal law regulating the management and the access to military and diplomatic secret documents. The State filed 17 more charges against Assange.
Instead, at the border with Mexico a Guatemalan boy died in a Border Police station. He is the sixth minor who died in detention camps along the border since December 2018. The US approved a wave of anti-abortion laws, that could make it look like the most of people are in favour of this laws. On the contrary, these last were sustained by a minority that got a large political influence, as the majority claims freedom of choice.
Venezuela, early elections? On May 20 Nicolas Maduro proposed to bring forward the elections planned for 2020, but he didn’t specify any date.
Meanwhile the dialogues between Maduro’s government and the opposition go on in Oslo, Norway.
However in Venezuela difficulties in accessing the fuel. In the most of countries as Merida, Zulia e Portuguesa, accessing to service fuel stations is extremely difficult, and it causes many problems to the agriculture and to the transport networks, bringing down the country.
ASIA AND FAR EAST
China, from Tiananmen to the rare lands and the South China Sea. On June 4th China will commemorate the controversial anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests (in Beijing), harshly repressed in June 1989. In Southern China the event constitutes a tangled inheritance, and a taboo subject, except in Hong Kong, where a ceremony takes place every year to commemorate the dead protesters. An interesting article of Foreign Policy analyses the political aspects behind the vigil.
Keeping with anniversaries, this weekend the Shangri-La Dialogue was held (in Singapore). It is an intergovernmental meeting to dealing with security issues involving Asia, and now subjects linked to the relations between US and China in the South China Sea became a key point to face.
Finally, the eventuality of China’s decision to stop the rare earths exports towards America’s economy (the US import 80% of rare earths from China), weakening high-tech enterprises, becomes increasingly concrete.
Japan, the meeting with the President. On May 25 President Donald Trump landed in Japan for the long-awaited meeting with Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito (it’s the first State Visit held by the Emperor) and to talk about economy and foreign policy with PM Abe Shinzo. The “meeting” between these last ended on May 28, and it brought some important novelties: from a new space, to the question related to the Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North Korean regime (and to the last missile launches), to end with talks about new possible bilateral trade deals between the two countries.
Also, on Friday 31 May Abe travelled to Philippines to discuss with President Duterte, who agreed with the Japanese PM up to the points concerning North Korea.
Taiwan, a militarised island. On May 23 two American warships crossed the Strait of Taiwan –conforming to freedom of navigation- for the third time in one week, exacerbating tensions with Beijing. Few days later, on May 31, Taiwan conducted one additional military training in Han Kuang, by using a Highway (the Sun-Yat-Sen) as a runway.
Also, from 13 to 21 May John Bolton and David Lee (respective Ministries of Defence, NSA) met in the country, with the aim to deepening military cooperation, that’s strongly contested by China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. During the Shangri-La Dialogues the Chinese general Shao Yuanming affirmed that the attitude of the US is mining the Chinese territorial unity.
North Korea, a ghost execution. According to an anonymous source of a South Korean newspaper (Chosun Ilbo) it would seem that Kim Hyok-chol, special correspondent on the summit held in Hanoi, has been executed. However, according to the BBC this statement should be carefully verified, as this kind of news often turned out to be inexact. Also the same source declares that Kim Yong-chol, the right-hand man of the Chinese leader, has been transferred to a work camp bordering with China.
In the previous edition, we also wrote about the extreme drought, and the serious of the national water systems. According to the analysis provided by the WFP, it seems that this aspect must be better defined.
South Korea, many worries. Wednesday 29 May at 9:00 p.m. Hungarian time, a touristic boat transporting 30 South Korean tourists sank in the Danube River in Budapest. 7 people died.
Concerning economy, South Korea is stuck in the middle of US and China, because of the Huawei affair and 5G technologies. “It is not easy to ignore such demands [from Washington] because it is a matter of economy which affects many private companies” since some of the component pieces utilised by the Chinese company are assembled by using devices from Korean tech enterprises.
Furthermore, an African swine flu coming from different countries as China, Vietnam and Mongolia, is likely to cross the border between two Koreas, and hit South Korean cattle.
Finally, the New South Korean Ambassador in China When Jang Ha-sung declared his will to join the BRI; but the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave a quick denial.
India, we cannot avoid touching upon elections. On May 30 the candidate from the BJP party Nerendra Modi officially took the oath of Office for his second term. His far right-wing party, reflecting Hindu nationalism, obtained 349 seats out of 545 at the low chamber of the Parliament, after his increasingly radical election campaign.
Economy will the biggest challenge for India, as it is necessary to deal with 12 millions young people who will expand the Indian workforce each year, and with sluggish GDP growth.
Also the USA removed India from their “Generalized System of Preferences”, that gives trade facilitation to developing countries; on 5 June this decision will take effect.
However Indian economic relations with China have been strengthened, and Beijing’s investments in the country increased of 100billion Dollars.
WESTERN EUROPE AND EUROPEAN UNION
Austria, the censure motion leads to Kurz’ dismissal. Two weeks ago debates were focused on the political scandal that led to Strache’s resignations. Following the trail of that affair, today Kurz has been forced to resign as Chancellor. The day before the European election, the censure motion has been voted by the Socialist Party, sustained by the far right FPӦ, that was subject to the “slap of Ibiza”. That’s because the chancellor wasn’t able to deal with the scandal: he didn’t try do dialogue with the Parliament. So this last exploited the affair to isolate its government allies, penalizing them in order to gain visibility.
The consequence is that the Minister of finance (from THE FPӦ) has been nominated interim chancellor till a new team of experts will guide the country towards new elections – likely in September.
European election, participation. The continent voted expressed itself on the next European Parliament. Participation rates registered an average increase –although it didn’t happen in Italy- and voter turnout reached 50,97% (compared with 42,61-42,97% and 45,47% of the last elections). Among the main aspect to remark in Western Europe, participation rate increased of +20, 49% in Spain, +14,41 in Austria, +13,31% in Germany, +9,68% in Denmark, and +7,69% in France. Shifting attention to Central and Eastern Europe, it’s necessary to remark the rise of participants in Poland, Romania and Hungary, that recorded respectively +21,85%, +18,73% and +14,39% reaching participation rates of 45%, 51% and 43%.
European elections, the results. On the contrary, there weren’t so many surprises concerning results, if compared to the premises we wrote about in the previous edition. EPP and S&D parties exceeded forecasts, and they obtained about ten seats more than expected (respectively 179 and 143) conquering 221 and 191 total seats. ALDE’s results confirmed forecasts as it obtained 105 seats, while the Greens represent the fourth party, with 69 seats. In the light of these results, the two biggest parties can’t reach the majority, and they will need allies to govern.
Italy, how the European elections affect the Italian politics. It was expected that the European elections would have affect the Beautiful Country, but even some experts have been overwhelmed by final results. The recent events might upset the Italian political balances, and they highlight a trend likely to become more frequent in the next years: that’s a top-down relation (and not only bottom-up) with Europe. According to an article in the “Corriere”, after the elections results 50% of Italian citizen thinks this government risks to fail, but only 29% would stand for early elections. Naturally four members of Five Stars Movement out of five would continue in this way, while only one League member out of four thinks the same. In fact the most of them desires a final balance respecting what came across in the last Parliamentary elections.
Italy, the new Commission’s letter about Public finances. League members’ festive spirit have been placated by a Commission’s letter sent on May 29. It communicated that the European Union pays close attention to Government policies that wouldn’t have respected what has been provided.
The Italian Government answered on Friday 31 May, and its answer caused many misunderstanding, as it seems that the draft answer made up by 60 pages, shared with the authorities is not the one officially sent.
The missing part concerns the “quota 100”, Income of citizenship, and Sanitation.
United Kingdom, May announces the day of her resignation. Theresa May used proud words marking a harrowing final; she announced that she will step down as PM on June 7, underlining to have engaged all of herself to the cause of the country, and to have been the second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. We wait for Conservative Party Parliamentary primaries to know who will lead UK through the turbulent Brexit waters, where all the proposed options plunged. By June 24 the Tory party has to elect a new leader, and Johnson seems to be the leading candidate.
CENTRAL-EASTERN EUROPE AND RUSSIA
Electoral dissonances in the Visegrad Group. The European elections results showed different discordances within the Visegrad Group. Sovereign parties won both in Poland and Hungary, countries where governments share a deep hostility against the EU. However the importance of these victories differs according to specific countries. On the one side Orban was the only one to obtain 52% of consents, on the other side, the Polish Euro-sceptic government Party (PiS) defeated its opponent (Ke) with less detachment. In contrast, the European elections gave many confirmations to Čaputová, neo-president of Slovakia. Čaputová was elected in march, and many consider her as the real pro-Europe alternative to Orban’s sovereign vision.
Finally, in Prague, results were more diversified. But PM Babiš’ moderate party won, containing the surge of the main anti-Europe party, which follows clear Euro-sceptic ideals.
Ukraine, Saakashvili returns to the country. Ex Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili re-obtained the citizenship and his Ukraine passport under decision of the new President Zelensky, after that they were denied by Poroshenko administration. In 2015 Saakashvili was elected governr of Odessa, once he lost the Georgian citizenship, since Georgia doesn’t permit to have double citizenship: Saakashvili self renounced to the first citizenship to not run the risk to be extradited in his origin country and be persecuted for political reasons. He became stateless in 2016, and now he comes back to Kiev.
Serbia, new tensions with Kosovo. Tensions between Belgrade and Pristine go on. This time contrasts have been caused by the missing creation of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, as ANSA news agency reports. Belgrade harshly criticized NATO KFOR operation for not enforcing impartiality standards between these two countries. The declarations by the Serbian Authorities were tough and now it’s unlikely that the two countries will find an agreement. Consequences will affect the European Union too.
Albania and North Macedonia, membership of the European Union still looks far. The possibility for Albania and North Macedonia to enter the European Union seems to not be shared by every member. Even if Germany covers a leading role in promoting EU enlargement towards the Balkans, other countries like France seem to not agree; worries concern high rates of corruption, poverty and crime in the Balkan region. In the next months the Commission will communicate its view about perspective of a future enlargement of the European Union.
Energy and infrastructures development as subject of debate on the Western Balkans. On May 29 has been held the international conference “Western Balkans: Infrastructure and Energy From a Geopolitical Perspective” in Warsaw. So sectors of energy and infrastructures become relevant elements of the integration process of Balkan countries both locally and globally. Experts of these sectors and representatives of Balkan countries and delegates of the EU took part in the conference.
Here we attach a detailed document containing the subjects discussed.
Nuclear tests lead to tension between Russia and United States. The chief of the US Defence Intelligence Agency, Robert P. Ashley raised the alarm linked to secret nuclear tests conducted by Russia. It is a significant accusation as it would equal the violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, ,a multilateral international pact that bans any kind of nuclear test, both for civil and military tasks. Although the treaty never took officially effect, it has always been respected by nuclear powers. Moscow’s answer came soon: both the Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov, and the head of the State Duma Defence Committe Vladimir Shamanov denied the accusations. The same Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), designed to verify that the rules of treaty are respected, denied –for now- the accusations against Russia; however it’s not excluded that further investigations will be conducted on the matter.
Russia gets ready for G20. Russia is getting ready for the next G20 meeting, that will be held in Osaka (Japan) on 28 and 29 June 2019. Among the main events, Putin has announced that he will meet the Turkish President Erdoğan, to discuss about the situation in Syria and bilateral relatins.
Also, Putin in intentioned to intensify the cooperation with Japan to get over the Kuril Islands dispute; among the aims there is the denuclearization of the Korean mainland and adopt a “visa-free” regime between the two countries.
Iran, Russia requires more caution. The Russian vice-president Sergey Ryabkov was sent in Teheran to start mediating with Iran. After the heavy US pressure campaign, Iran seems to be intentioned to withdraw from the NPT, that’s the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Russia looks interested in modifying the JCPOA together with the other parts, to prevent the Iranian situation to get even more complicated.Russia launched a new icebreaker towards the Arctic. On Saturday 25 May, Russia has launched a new nuclear powered icebreaker; the new challenge for Moscow is to modernize its naval equipment to open up Arctic ice, more and more subtle. The task to start a process of bases and infrastructures building program along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in order to expand its influence in the northern sea routes. By 2035 Russia could provide 13 icebreaker vessels, nine of which would be nuclear-powered, as The Guardian reports.
Andrea Maria Vassallo and Mario Ghioldi.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTHERN AFRICA
Missiles against Golan, and Israel responds. On Saturday 1st June the Israeli armed forces perpetrated a series of air raids over Syria to react to the launch of two rockets against Golan Heights. According to Tel Aviv military spokesman’ declarations, two batteries of Syrian artillery, one air defence battery, and some lookout and Intelligence Syrian stations have been hit. PM Netanyahu confirmed the attacks and he stated: “e will not tolerate any aggression against us, and we will respond forcefully”. Golan Heights were conquered in 1967, during the Six Days War, and then annexed in 1980. Some months ago, despite the International Community, Trump recognized the Israeli sovereignty over this territory.
Emergency meeting in Saudi Arabia, Qatar among participants. Two years later the Embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt against Qatar, Riyadh invited the delegation of Doha to take part in two emergency summits planned for May 30 in Mecca. The Saudi government to convene a double meeting (of the Arab League and of the Cooperation Council of the Gulf) to discuss about recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region. It refers to the attacks conducted against fur oil tankers (two of which belonged to Riyadh) near Fujairah – near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran was blamed for the attack, even if no proves exist to confirm this version. The aim of Bin Salman is to bring oil monarchies together against Teheran in a delicate phase, complicated by the growing tensions between the US and Iran. The novelty is the Qatar participation , as it was isolated (until the meetings on May 30) by the other Gulf states also because of its economic-diplomatic relations with the ayatollah’s regime.
Israel, a new election announcement. Less than two months ago it was taken for granted that Benjamin Netanyahu – high after his electoral victory (although he obtained the same number of seats as his rival Benny Gantz) – would have become the longest-lived Prime Minister in the history of Israel, covering this office for the fifth time. But the forecast didn’t take place; in fact Netanyahu had to face a strongly diversified centre-right coalition. The focal point is the contrast between Netanyahu and Lieberman (ex Minister of Defence); this last tried to impose increasingly stringent conditions in exchange of his support to the new government. He even required to adopt the compulsory military service for ultra-orthodox followers. Since there were no possibilities to find a deal, the deadline to achieve the majority expired and the country saw the dissolution of the Knesset. New elections will be held on 17 September: a total upset of previous power balance might occur.
Syria, a suspected chemical attack. On May 22 the US Department of State denounced an attack using chlorine perpetrated against some villages in the North-West of Syria. Obviously a warning has been added to the denunciation: it’s still forbidden to get over the “red line” to not trigger the US reaction. The event – that hasn’t been confirmed yet – is similar to the other tragic episodes characterizing the Syrian civil war during the last years. Confirmations might be provided by the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons); it is charged to complete investigations if doubts about the improper use of chemical agents persist. The same Bashar al-Assad, who signed the OPCW Convention under strong international pressures in September 2013, authorized the up-mentioned Organization to carry out such investigation.
Vincenzo Battaglia and Federica Sulpizio.
ONU- the United Nations. Secretary General Antonio Guterres highlighted the importance of fighting against climate change and invited to impose pollution taxes and establish sustainable development subsidies to introduce a green economy; the only way to defeat pollution is to provide better life conditions. It’s an important Secretary General’s speech pronounced during the R20 meeting in Vienna.
WHO- World Health Organization. During the plenary session it came across that the number of migrants augmented of 85 millions in 10 years, not only because of conflicts, but it’s also due to the effects of climate change on areas already affected by the problem.
TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
France is attacked again. At 5:40 p.m. of 24 May 2019 a parcel bomb blew up in the centre of Lyon, France, two days before European elections, when all candidates were giving the last speeches of their eletions campaigns. The blast provoked about 10 not serious injuries, despite the parcel, defined “handmade” was full of cloves and bolts. The responsible for the attack is an Algerian 24-year-old citizen who swore allegiance to ISIS when he got arrested. He is a perishes computer who had moved to France one year ago. He bought on Amazon all parts necessary to assembly the bomb, which traces of his DNA were found.
Twitter and Facebook profiles were deleted. In the past weeks 371.000 Twitter profiles promoting terrorism have been deleted, 91% of them were found thanks to specific technological tools. It’s not the first time that the up-mentioned social media decides to eliminate pro-terrorism accounts.
Facebook did the same, even if some recent studies show that it is impossible to remove every post and video supporting ISIS and the jihadist ideology. In fact nowadays it is impossible to prevent the spreading diffusion of contents that incite extremism and Islamic terrorism as, according to analysis, some flagged contents (such as executions and Islamic propaganda) eluded Facebook’s algorithm.
Afghanistan, terrorist attacks and negotiates. Friday 31 May a car bomb was fired against a US army convoy in Kabul. The toll has been fixed at four injuries and a non defined number of victims. Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The previous day in the same town a suicide bomber (linked to the Islamic State) blew himself up near a military Training Centre – killing at least six people. The attacks are conducted during a period of negotiates between Taliban functionaries and Afghan political representatives, who met in Moscow in the last week of May.
At the same time negotiations between US diplomats and Taliban delegates are currently stalled and the parts stay in stark contrast concerning the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan (main topic discussed during the meetings). Negotiations improve slowly, and they are worsened by violence dominating the Afghan State.
The latest bloody Sunday in Burkina Faso. The Christian community settled in Burkina Faso does not have peace. Sunday 26 May a new terrorist attack was perpetrated against a church in Toulfé. The death toll is four victims among believers. The attack occurred once again in the North of Burkina Faso- where most of inhabitants are Muslim; the zone is also subject to violence committed by jihadist armed groups (native of the country, or coming from the bordering Mali). The principal targets are Christians and their places of worship, and most of attacks are perpetrated on Sunday – Mass and gather day.
The up-mentioned attack follows many other similar episodes occurred in the past weeks, such as the attack against churches in Silgadij (on May 5) and Dablo (on May 12). The spreading violence against Christians naturally causes many worries in Burkina Faso, that’s a more and more important state for Jihadists.
In collaboration with Marcello Alberizzi.
New strategy of ISIS in Syria and Iraq: burning unbelievers’ lands. The defeat of Daesh’s territory (and the collapse of the last bastion in Baghouz) doesn’t include the decline of the jihadist ideology and the end of this organizations in those territories. Currently, isolated ISIS cells stay operative, representing causing problems to the local population and to Syrian democratic forces.
Instead of making new strategies, the Islamic State recently adopted a new tactic: set agricultural fields on fire to burn crops. Sporadic fires became frequent in the past days, especially in Deir Ezzor, Raqqa (Syria), Ninive, and Anbar (Iraq). This kind of attacks hides a double task: on the one side, they aim to punish th local population feeding fears and causing relevant economic damages; on the other side their aim is to divert enemy forces, as these last are engaged in extended operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Laura Vaccaro Senna e Vincenzo Battaglia.
Framing the World is a project designed and created thanks to a team of Mondo Internazionale associates’ collaboration.
Andrea Maria Vassallo: Eastern Europe and Russian Federation
Federica Sulpizio: Middle East and Northern Africa
Laura Vaccaro Senna: Terrorism and International Security
Leonardo Aldeghi: International Finance and Economics
Marcello Alberizzi: Central Europe; Sub-Saharan Africa
Mario Ghioldi: Eastern Europe and Russian Federation
Marta Stroppa: Human Rights
Michele Pavan: America; Oceania; International Organisations
Stefano Sartorio: Asia and Far East
Vincenzo Battaglia: Middle East and Northern Africa; Terrorism and International Security
Translated by Simona M. Vallefuoco.
Originating article: https://mondointernazionale.com/framing-the-world-xi-numero
Published on 3rd June 2019.