Exactly one month to go before Christmas, but we cannot say that the Christmas spirit has infected international business, which continues undaunted in their frenzy. This is our attempt to put this chaos in order. In this edition:
- - The apparent suicide of "el Mimo", face of the Chilean protests, but many believe the government was involved.
- - China and the USA are further away from a trade agreement but Wall Street keeps running, while and Hong Kong suffers economically;
- - The support of the USA and France for the consolidation of the Congolese state, South Africa is surprisingly one of the most violent countries in the world.
- - The first Johnson-Corbyn debate in view of the UK elections, the vote on the new European Commission and the European Investment Bank investments for “climate” goals;
- - NATO reiterates its support for Ukraine and Stoltenberg meets Macron to clarify France's critical position;
- - American recognition of the legality of the West Bank colonies, and sanctions are imposed against the Nicaraguan regime;
- - The political protests in several South American countries, from Chile to Bolivia
- - In Asia, Pope Francis' visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and North Korean diplomatic activism;
- - In the Middle East, popular protests in Iran have been repressed in blood, and the killing of the Islamic Jihad leader triggered rocket attacks between Gaza and Israel;
- - The exchange of prisoners between the Taliban and the Afghan Government, while the United States hits ISIS’ financial network
But this is just a taste, much more awaits you in this new issue of Framing the World.
Belgium, former Rwandan official accused of genocide at trial. Few days ago, the trial against former Rwandan official Neretse, accused of taking part in the genocide perpetrated in his country against the Tutsi minority in 1994, began in Belgium. The man, arrested in France in 2011, rejected all accuse, declaring himself innocent. This is the fifth trial held in Belgium on the genocide in Rwanda: according to a law of 1993, in fact, the Belgian courts enjoy universal jurisdiction to prosecute crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Chile, the street artist "el Mimo", face of the recent protests in the country, has been found dead. The street artist Daniela Carrasco, also known as "el Mimo", the face of recent Chilean protests that exploded after the increase in public service costs, was found dead hanged on a fence in the outskirts of Santiago de Chile. While authorities treated it as a case of suicide, many activists held that the woman was stopped and tortured to death by the "carabineros" for participating in the mobilizations. The feminist associations, in particular, have talked about "state murder" and have asked for justice for "el Mimo" and for all the other women victims of the police’s abuses.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, several civilians were affected by the latest attacks. During the last cross-border fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip, several civilians were killed or injured. In fact, in a nocturne Israeli forces’ air raid in the Gaza Strip, 34 Palestinians lost their lives and many other civilians were seriously injured. Among the deceased, there is also a family of eight, of which five were children. Across the border, 63 Israelis were injured due to a rocket launched from Gaza. The clashes have temporarily ceased, but it is feared they will restart soon.
Myanmar has been denounced by Gambia before the International Court of Justice for perpetrating genocide against the Rohingya. The Gambian government has filed a case against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice for violating the Genocide Convention during its ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya. The government of Gambia has in fact made itself the spokesman of the Muslim minority and presented the case on behalf of the entire Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in order to protect the Rohingya and ensure them justice.
Somalia, the peace activist Almaas Elman has been killed in an armed attack. Almaas Elman, a Somali-Canadian peace activist, was shot dead on her way to the airport in Mogadishu, after attending a meeting with the European delegation in Somalia on the resilience of the local rural communities. In 1996, Almaas's father had also been killed because of his pacifist ideas: his motto was "put down the gun, pick up the pen". After the death of his father, Almaas together with her mother and sisters had indeed returned to Somalia from Canada, where they had found refuge, to revitalized the Elman Peace Foundation, founded by his father in 1990 to promote peace in the country.
Syria, the regular army bombed a refugee camp. Recently, the Syrian regular army has launched two ground-to-ground missiles on a refugee camp and a maternity hospital in the north-west of the country, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens more, mostly women and children. Most of the camp was burned and many people were seriously injured; for this reason, it is feared that the death toll may rise soon. According to the estimates, since April 2019 over 4,500 people have been already killed in Idlib province alone.
ECONOMICS AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCE
Wall Street, new records. US markets keep on setting new all time highs, even though indicators such as industrial production, inventories and investments remain in a negative trend, and rumours of pessimism in the Communist Party about the trade agreement come from China. As a result, these records seem increasingly less justified and more precarious, fuelling rumours of a Wall Street sell-off. There is no lack of optimism, however, given that industrial activity seems to have already reached its lowest point and that the future, especially if the agreement materializes, promises a rapid recovery. The question remains: have the markets already priced the resolution of the trade war in or will there be further gains in case of agreement?
Trade War, not positive news. There is no good news on the trade war front: China and the US are at an impasse in negotiating the details of the agreement. China, in fact, refuses to guarantee the yearly purchase of 50 billion in agricultural products and the creation of an executive mechanism to block forced technology transfers, while the United States is not willing to eliminate the duties currently in force before reaching an agreement. Additional new tariffs, in force from December 15, are getting closer and put pressure on both countries, but even more so on China which sees its industrial production grow by a "paltry" 4.7%.
Hong Kong, the crisis is harsh. While protests do not hint at calming down, Hong Kong's economy enters a technical recession, something that did not even happen in 2007-2008. The former colony government reported that exports fell by 7.3% year-on-year and that tourism was severely damaged by the violence, with -37% in August and September and even worse numbers in October. The immediate reaction was the allocation of $255 million to the sectors most affected, but the US Senate's bill to support the protesters, other than prohibiting exports of police hardware, could mean ending the special U.S. trading consideration that bolsters HK’s status as a world financial center.
FedEx, tax blizzard. The company is in the bullseye of the 2020 campaign after the NYT accused it of not having paid federal taxes in fiscal year 2018, while in 2017 its tax rate was 34%, and of not having invested these savings but rather distributed them to its shareholders. The news was immediately shared by Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders (their rhetoric against big businesses is known). The company went into crisis-mode and pointed out in a fiery statement that it had paid federal taxes every year (unlike the newspaper itself ...) and that the lower taxable income is due to several billions contributed to employee pension funds and spent on large investments in plants and significant increases in wages.
Bribes, GM sues FCA. GM accused FCA of bribing UAW union members to make the union’s deal with GM more costly than the one agreed with FCA and asks for several billions (the amount is not specified) as compensation for the higher costs which it incurred into. Union’s corruption had already been established in 2017 when Mr. Iacobelli, a former FCA manager, was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment. Now the focus shifts to compensations of damages suffered, which is not easy to prove according to several legal experts, also because the perpetrator identified by GM is Mr. Marchionne, who passed last summer. John Elkann, the FCA president, rejected the accusations as groundless and directed against a person who can not defend himself, excluding also effects on the merger with PSA.
Burkina Faso, widespread insecurity. The UN has expressed its concern about the social and security context in Burkina Faso, pointing out that there are currently about 500,000 IDPs in the country (of which 300,000 in the last 4 months alone), which could mean reaching 650,000 people by the end of the year. France, through its Foreign Ministry, has also declared that the Burkinabe country is a completely unsafe destination to reach.
Niger, change the anthem to recompose the historical truth. Niamey's decision to revise the national anthem as it does not correspond to the reality of what happened on the occasion of independence is particularly newsworthy. "La Nigèrienne" was created by the French Maurice Albert Thiriet in 1961 and in his third and fourth verse emphasizes the country's gratitude to a new freedom obtained, almost to thank the former colonizing country. The action also brings with it the need to reconstitute the Nigerian population around a new patriotic feeling because of the difficult condition of the country.
D.R. Congo, USA and France do not abandon the ally. The United States will guarantee Tshisekedi 600 million between now and 2022 to support the process of consolidating the state and economic growth of Kinshasa. These are in addition to an almost equivalent figure that since 2015 the U.S. has invested in the country already with its predecessor, Kabila, underlining the importance and interest that this country has in the U.S. administration. The announcement, made on Thursday 20 November, was made at a time of renewed difficulty for the DRC in the eastern regions of the Kivus, and with the Ugandan rebels of the ADF, Rwandans of the FDLR and Burundians of the Red Tabara.
South Africa, since 1994 among the most dangerous countries in the world. These are the data of the World Bank that show how South Africa was, together with Lesotho, the only African country to be included in the "ranking" of the 15 countries with the highest rate of homicides in the world. Until 2000 it also constantly returned to the top five positions and only with the new millennium was there a drastic decline. However, the rate of homicide has increased again in the last three years, leading to a rate of more than 3.5 people per 10,000 inhabitants, or more than 58 people per day, or more than 21,000 per year, five times the world average.
United States between the West Bank, Iran, China and Mexico. The firm position of the United States handed down by the various Presidents since 1978, when Jimmy Carter - President of the United States in office - expressed the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank according to international law, is opposed by the announcement of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The latter declared that the Administration of Donald Trump has decided that: "The settlements of Israeli civilians in the West Bank are not inconsistent with international laws.
(United States and Iran) Staying always in the area, but moving in the Persian Gulf you can see the tension to the stars between the United States and Iran. The latter mobilize the general aviation, testing radars and missile systems, while the Pentagon asks for authorization for the passage of the U.S. naval group led by the aircraft carrier Lincoln.
(United States and China) With regard to relations between China and the United States, the dialogues resumed have reached a new stalemate for the attention and importance dedicated to the protection of human rights by the United States for the issue of Hong Kong. China considers this activity as "interference in the country's internal affairs" but the US seems willing to blow the trade agreement out of the way of difficult implementation.
(United States and Mexico) Finally, moving to the southern border, the United States repels immigrants to Mexico, but the latter are taken hostage and kidnapped by the Narcos to be exploited where they need to be. A major crisis.
Argentina, The transition continues in the face of known structural problems. Unlike other countries in Latin America, Argentina is experiencing a relatively quiet period. Following last month's elections, the new president Alberto Fernandez is organizing his new government team, which will be of a Peronist brand. Fernandez and his predecessor Macrí have reached an agreement that the transfer of power will take place in Congress,December 10th, following the traditions of Cristina and Nestor Kirchner. Meanwhile, a worrying figure emerges from a report by Indec. The statistical office of the South American country, pointed out that chronic poverty in the country has reached 34.5% of the population in the first half of 2019, so gradually increasing compared to 2018. In fact, 16 million out of 45 Argentinians still live in poverty. Alongside this, UNICEF has drawn up a report that confirms the state of chronic poverty of 30% of Argentina's child population.
Bolivia, The Aymara slogan "Ahora si, Guerra Civil" inflames the Bolivian soul. The situation in the Bolivian country does not change. 10 days after the forced resignation of Evo Morales, under pressure from the army for alleged electoral fraud, the new self-proclaimed president Jeanine Añez, of the conservative party, Social Democratic Movement, has not yet taken important decisions on the future of the country. The "heartfelt" promise to convene new elections with the aim of pacifying the country has not had a real implementation, thus triggering the wrath of the supporters of Morales. The government headed by Añez, in fact, is based mainly on the support of the military forces in the face of an absent parliamentary majority. This situation has led to a climate of strong political violence, with the Aymara militia, the "Ponchi Rossi", at the forefront of protests against the state of civil war in the country. While La Paz is constantly on the streets, the former President Morales, in exile in Mexico, tries to mobilize international organizations on Bolivian events.
Brazil, The stalemate at the BRICS Summit consolidates the positions of Bolsonaro. The eleventh BRICS summit, held in Brasilia, with the presence of the presidents of Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa, resulted in a stalemate. The differences in positions between President Bolsonaro and his colleagues are too great. In fact, Bolsonaro is the only one within the BRICS group to support the interim presidency of Guaidó as well as the American sanctions against Venezuela. Other significant differences have emerged with regard to Middle Eastern events and the reform of the WTO. Here in fact two different positions clashed, one favorable to the abolition of the favorable treatment addressed to the developing countries and another contrary. At the end of the summit, Brazil managed to obtain greater respect for its national sovereignty with regard to its environmental projects. The summit thus allowed Bolsonaro to consolidate its position, without affecting relations with its main allies, the USA and China.
Chile, President Piñeda called to a showdown. Demonstrations and strikes are continuing. These are difficult days for President Piñera, who had to face criticism from the opposition for the failure to deploy on the case Mario Rozas. The director of the Carabinieros, the local police, was held by the left-wing parties responsible for the violence carried out by the police. The Socialist Party of Chile has also decided to officially request its removal. In response to this, the president decided to acknowledge his responsibility for the violence and abuses resulting from the initial increase in the metro fare. In his Sunday speech, the Chilean President also reiterated the need for local courts to investigate and clarify the facts. In the same days the government of Santiago circulated data on a month of clashes, the balance is dramatic: 23 dead, 2,391 injured, 6,300 arrested, of which 759 to the detriment of minors.
Colombia, The Paro Nacional upsets the country. On the day of the Paro Nacional, the strike promoted by the Cric, the indigenous Regional Council of Cauca, there were several clashes between the police and the population. These clashes resulted in a very serious budget: 3 dead and 273 injured, of which 151 were police officers. There were many violent incidents, the most serious being in Buenaventura, where the police intervened to stop the looting of a supermarket. Ivan Duque's government is the target of the protests. The strike, which at the beginning was supposed to be peaceful and of union origin against the pension and legislative manoeuvres wanted by the government, turned into a general mobilization by all public opinion, already opposed to the president for 69% of the population.
Ecuador, The economic law denied engulf President Moreno. The economic law was not approved in Parliament, but denied and shelved. Another serious defeat for the ruling party, Alianza País, headed by President Moreno. Its implementation took place in a fierce political debate which highlighted the different political positions within the legislative. On the one hand, the government would have liked to replace the previous decree on the subject with a new, more organic law. Against this position, instead, the indigenous movement that was pushing for a broader and more plural political project aimed at challenging the executive in the subsequent elections of 2021. The outcome of this dispute confirmed the difficulty of governing Moreno and his party, also after the 12 days of general strike, promoted by the social movements. The CONAIE, representative of indigenous peoples is in strong growth in the number of consents.
Nicaragua, the Ortega regime continues. A year and a half of relentless repression and those who manage to escape are often unable to obtain asylum in other countries and are therefore forced to return. As soon as he returns to the country, he is arrested, like all demonstrators, for terrorism or drug trafficking. This is the long journey of those who protest against the Sandinista regime. The United States and Canada are pressing for the regime to fall. The US Treasury Department itself has reported that it has imposed sanctions on the President of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, including other officials including several ministers. Developments in the international community are expected.
Venezuela,Prolonged isolation could lead to strategic rethinking. Venezuela is increasingly alone, in fact even Bolivia has decided to break diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan state, based on the words of the interim Foreign Minister ,Karen Longaric. Faced with this situation President Maduro would have decided to change his position on the dollar. In fact, according to the statements made in recent days to the local broadcaster Televen, foreign currency would be the only outlet for an economy submerged by inflation that will reach 500% in 2020. Meanwhile, the Bolivarian Strategic Command has sighted and neutralized a Colombian Narcos plane that was trying to use Venezuelan airspace for trafficking in Colombian illicit substances.
Michele Pavan and Domenico Barbato
ASIA AND FAR EAST
China, Kissinger visit, HK and relations with South Korea. The international order is under attack, said Vice-President Wang Qishan, referring to the threat of populism and protectionism at the New Economy Forum. Henry Kissinger, visiting Beijing, then argued that a possible conflict between China and the USA would be catastrophic, saying that neither of the two powers can dominate the other and that cooperation is the only way. In HK the situation is still hot, even with the siege of the PolyU, after Wang Yi has strongly opposed the possibility that the U.S. pass a law that obliges them to protect the human rights of citizens of the perfumed port. Jeong Kyeong-doo, South Korean Defence Minister, met with Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the "Defense&Security" event where they agreed to further meet and increase their military cooperation.
Japan, visit of Pope Francis, relations with South Korea and Shinzo Abe. Pope Francis expressed his desire for a world without nuclear power in a video message for the Japanese people. It is a message that precedes his four-day visit to the country starting on Saturday. The defense ministers of Japan and South Korea made no progress on Sunday to stop the expiration of their military information sharing pact (GSOMIA), considered crucial to reducing the threat posed by North Korean missiles and nuclear weapons. Shinzo Abe became the oldest Japanese prime minister in service after beating a record set over a century ago. Abe's total term of office reached 2,887 days on Wednesday 20.
North Korea, increasingly active international relations. North Korea should appoint a new ambassador to Iran after the post was vacated at the end of September, to discuss strengthening economic cooperation. North Korea said on Tuesday 19 that the U.S. decision to postpone a joint military exercise with South Korea was not enough to encourage it to return to the negotiating table, and that it will not discuss denuclearisation until Washington puts an end to its "hostile policy". Kim Jong Un has formally rejected an invitation from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to attend an ASEAN event in Busan next week, the Korean central news agency of the DPRK (KCNA) said Thursday 21. North Korean Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MFA) in meetings on Wednesday 20 agreed to strengthen ties and expand "strategic cooperation".
India, diplomatic relations with Italy, military cooperation with the USA and the Kashmir question. Confindustria Udine hosted on Friday 22nd the visit of Reenat Sandhu, Ambassador of India to Italy, and Binoy George, Consul General of India in Milan for an institutional meeting focused on economic and industrial relations between Italy and India. Together with the USA, India is holding an important nine-day military exercise. The inaugural "Tiger Triumph" exercise involves all three Indian military branches - army, navy and air force - working with the US Navy. The exercise focuses on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and the development of cooperation between forces. The Supreme Court of India has stated that the administration of Jammu and Kashmir will have to answer all questions about the restrictions imposed by the repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution, the special status of the former state.
WESTERN EUROPE AND EUROPEAN UNION
United Kingdom, campaign continues. The first face-to-face debate was held between the two main leaders of British politics: Jeremy Corbyn for Labor and Boris Johnson for Conservatives. Brexit has been discussed: the Labor party has reproached the prime minister for not being able to complete it by January 2020, while Johnson has pressed the opponent on the position, which has always been unclear, regarding the exit from the EU. Corbyn replied that he intended to make a second referendum, but showed a sign of uncertainty in responding. They then talked about the British health system: Labor accuse conservatives of wanting to sell it to American companies. The premier reiterated that it is out of the question. The elections will be held on December 12th.
Spain, the construction of a majority. The fourth election had left the country without a government. None of the forces in the field has, by itself, obtained the majority. The Socialists (first party) had to look for someone to team up with. Initially there were rumors of a possible German-style compromise with the populars. In the end, Sanchez found an agreement with Iglesias, leader of the left-wing populist force Podemos. Together, however, they do not have the necessary seats to form a government and will have to turn to the deputies of the Catalan and Basque independent parties. Most likely the condition will be a negotiating a political solution to the issue of Catalonia.
European Union, November 27 the Commission will be voted. They were stressful months, but in the end Ursula von der Leyen managed to form the team that will govern Europe in the coming years. In recent weeks, the last candidates have passed the audition. Thierry Breton will be appointed commissioner for the internal market, promising progress in the area of green technologies. On November 27th, the plenary session of the European Parliament will be held, which will allow the establishment and beginning of the work of the European Commission.
European Union: stop to the investments in fossil fuels. The European Bank of the Investment (BEI) has taken a historical decision. The EU won’t invest anymore in project tied to fossil fuels within 2021. This decision is related to the eco-revolution that the European community is trying to pursue. Meanwhile, the European Union has a bigger plan for a sustainable system. Since 2020 to 2030 the EU will unlock one thousand billion of euro in order to support and develop sustainable energies productions. The aim for the Community is to reach the 32% of sustainable energy production for 2030. The president of the BEI Werner Hoyer affirms that this is a decision that will put the climate change on the top of the political and economic agenda of the European Union. Moreover, the European Bank of Investment will finance public programs of green energy manufacturing in the country’s member.
Climate change on top of the EU agenda for 2020. The European Parliament and the European Council have defined the next Ue budget for 2020 will allocate European funds to communitarian projects. The institutions have decided that the EU will make pressure on climate change and on the fight of climate change. It is significant that the program Horizon, the most important EU’s plan for research, will have almost 14 billion of euro. Energy production and transportation are some of the most important area in which the Union will try to fight climate change. Generally speaking, there is a common increase for funds allocated to eco-projects and productions that reduce Co2 emissions. This is the way in which the European Union is trying to fight climate change, now more than ever that this has become the most important issue for the future generations.
Hard accusations against Italy and the EU. Dunja Mijatovic, Commissioner for Human Rights to the European Council of Strasbourg has made strong charges against Italy the European Union for what concern the migrants’ question. According to the statements of the commissioner, the EU and in particularly Italy have the fault of having allowed to the Libic coast guard to manage the migrants’ rescues in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2014 the EU have made a deal with Libya and in the following years lots of migrants found in the Mediterranean were not rescue by Italy or other country member. Returned in Libya these people went to meet death or torture. 17 migrants have made appeal to the European Council for those violations. The aggravating circumstance is that both the EU and Italy knew that those people would suffer heavily if they were sent back to Libya.
Leonardo Cherici and Dario Pone
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE AND RUSSIA
Russia, rumors of a new nuclear weapon after the accident of August 8. On 8th of August 2019, there was much talk of the mysterious failure of a Russian nuclear test and the very serious explosion it caused near the village of Nyonoksa, causing the death of five Russian scientists and a possible leakage of radiation. In memory of this disastrous event, Vladimir Putin commemorated the disappearance of the victims and recalled their importance in carrying out work of "critical importance" for the future of Russian military technology. Moscow has now publicly stated that the incident near the Baltic Sea was caused by the testing of a new nuclear weapon, which Putin said will establish a strategic superiority for years to come. However, according to the U.S. and the international community, it could be a Moscow bluff in an attempt to revive Russia's status as a new great power on the global chessboard.
(Andrea Maria Vassallo)
NATO, after Zelensky also Stoltenberg stands as a strong supporter of the Ukrainian cause. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has renewed the need for support for Ukraine, not only in the multilateral context of the Atlantic Alliance but also in the bilateral relations that the allied countries maintain with Kyiv. In addition to reiterating the importance of NATO's role in the process of modernizing Ukraine's military forces and defence structures, Stoltenberg said that the Atlantic Alliance must guarantee its solidarity with Ukraine by not accepting in any way the illegal annexation of Crimea. While not quoting directly the other country concerned by the Crimean annexation, Russia, Stoltenberg has made a strong implicit criticism of Moscow's assertiveness and has highlighted the fact that NATO could play a more active role in the near future in defending Ukrainian interests as well. However, NATO's ability to safeguard Kyiv's security will depend on the willingness of the United States and its European allies to take a clear and unequivocal stand against Moscow's actions.
(Andrea Maria Vassallo).
Rejected Hungarian commissioner for the European Commission. The European Parliament has rejected the candidacy of the Hungarian commissioner designed for the Enlargement area. The commission coordinators have the power to determine if the candidate has all the requirements for that position in the European Commission. It seems that the Hungarian member for the Enlargment in the European Commission will not be Olivér Várhelyi. Socialists, Liberals and Verdi have determined the lack of the majority for the approbation. Now Ursula von der Leyen has to find a solution for the issue. Várhelyi, member of the Orban’s party, reassured the Parliament the he would have worked for the EU and not for his Prime Minister (Viktor Orban). Nonetheless, due to the divergences between Brussels and Budapest, and the growing closeness to Moscow and Ankara, these elements made him fail to be confirmed like the commissioner for the EU’s Enlargement.
Distension between Russia and European Union? The French President Emmanuel Macron is going to define a new deal with the Russian Federation. This agreement will delete the economic sanctions that the EU had imposed on the Russian economy, following the U.S one. The first step of his deal is related to the end of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. In order to do this Macron had to make some “promises” to Vladimir Putin. The French obstructionism to the entry in the EU for Albania and North Macedonia is the first concession to Russia. Indeed, the greater fear for Putin is that Ukraine and other eastern European countries could join the EU and successively NATO, surrounding the Russian’s border. Despite of what could seems a communitarian action, with his plan Macron is trying to satisfy the “grandeur” sentiment that is very widespread in France.
France proposal for the enlargement. Almost one month ago Macron had defined France’s opposition to the possibility that North Macedonia and Albania could became part of the EU. Recently he has proposed a new path for the countries of the Balcany in order to become, in future, member of the Union. Someone could believe that this is an opening from the French President. On the contrary this is the way in which Macron is trying to make more and more difficult the European Enlargement. His proposal is divided in several steps (social, political and economic), that the candidate must respect in order to become part of the EU. France is contrary to the enlargement; her fear is due to that these new members could slow down the decisional process of the community. Moreover, in these countries like Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania there are political and institutional crisis that could bring in the EU great instability.
Andrea Maria Vassallo and Dario Pone
MIDDLE-EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
Golan, tensions rekindle. On November 19, 4 rockets were fired from Syria to the Golan Heights (territory occupied by Israel since '67). According to the Israeli military spokesman, the iron dome defence system has intercepted all the missiles. He added that this attack represents "clear evidence of Iran's willingness to put military roots in Syria, which threatens Israeli security". The following day, therefore, Israel carried out a series of raids against military targets in Syria, centering the bases of the Iranian Quds force and the Syrian army.
Syria, the bombing of Idlib continues. Bombardments continue by the Syrian army - supported by Russia - against the last bag of resistance of the rebels in Idlib, in north-west Syria. Several NGOs (including Save the Children) and White Helmets (civil protection services) have reported a raid against the Qah refugee camp near Idlib. The toll is dramatic: dozens of people have died, including some children. In the last year, in the Syrian north-west, numerous bombings of this kind have been carried out, which have primarily affected hospital facilities.
Libya, Italian drone shot down. On 20 November an Italian drone crashed near Tarhouna (north-west of Libya), a strategic outpost of General Haftar's militia. The Italian Ministry of Defence initially justified the fall of the aircraft by talking about "technical failure". However, the denial arrived immediately with the claim of the abatement by the Haftar forces, who asked for clarifications to the Italian authorities. So, Rome reported that the drone was carrying out a mission to support Operation Safe Sea (a mission to ensure security in the central Mediterranean by offering support to the Libyan coastguard). That said, the hypothesis of the Italian drone's trespassing remains the most plausible.
After Iraq and Lebanon, protests also break out in Iran. Now it's also the turn of Iran. Last week social protests began against the rise in prices and the rationing of gasoline. News from the Iranian state is scarce and fragmented because of the obscuring of the internet by the authorities. Amnesty International denounces the repression of the demonstrations and speaks of at least 106 people killed by the Iranian armed forces. The version of the regime is clearly different, and admits 5 deaths (including 3 law enforcement officers). Meanwhile, protests continue in Iraq and Lebanon, where popular discontent continues to spread.
Israel, domestic situation at risk. The internal politics of this country never ceases to surprise: once the attempt to find broad agreements failed, even the Israeli opposition leader Gantz put his exploratory mandate back into the hands of President Rivlin. At the moment, the latest attempt to find a potential head of government is left to the knesset. In the case of another negative finding, the Israeli population would be called to the polls for the third consecutive time in a year. Something, however, would change in this third round; in fact, Attorney General Mandelblit has officially indicted Netanyahu on three counts: corruption, fraud and abuse of office. This is the first time in Israel's young history that a current prime minister has been formally charged with these types of crimes.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank, after 40 years the American position changes. After the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017 and the recognition of the Golan Heights, we are now facing the third major demonstration in support of Israel. In fact, recently the United States legitimized the settlements of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, conquered during the 1967 war. With these statements, the legal opinion of the State Department of 1978, which labeled the settlements as "contrary to international law" is denied. Despite the mere symbolic value of the recognition, the US move has had an impact on the already fragile balance between Israelis and Palestinians, who are firmly opposed to it.
Gaza, high tension after the targeted murder of the leader of the Palestinian Jihad. In the night between 11 and 12 November, by means of a joint operation launched by the Israeli armed forces and intelligence services, the apartment of the military leader of the Islamic Jihad, Baha Abu al-Ata, was identified and hit, causing his death. Another raid was then carried out on the outskirts of Damascus, striking another jihadist commander, Akram al-Ajouri. The urgency of conducting these operations was motivated by the fact that, according to Israel, the two leaders were planning new attacks. Subsequently, the risk of escalation was very high, with reciprocal rocket attacks from one side of the Gaza Strip to the other, with several dead and injured. A ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian factions supporting Jihad was then reached thanks to Egyptian mediation.
Vincenzo Battaglia e Federica Sulpizio
TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
Afghanistan, prisoner exchange. The Taliban released two hostages, an American and an Australian, in exchange for the release of three important members of the group. The two hostages are the American Kevin C. King, 63, and the Australian, Timothy J. Weeks, 50: both were professors at the American University of Kabul and were kidnapped in 2016. The Taliban, in return, demanded the release of Hafiz Abdul Rashid, Hajji Mali Khan and Anas Haqqani. The latter is the younger brother of the leader of the Haqqani group, affiliated with the Taliban. The Afghan government hopes that this agreement will pave the way for dialogue after the setback of the peace talks between the US and the Islamic group.
Isis claims the attack on the Italian soldiers. The attack against the Italian soldiers was claimed by the Islamic State through the propaganda agency Amaq. "With God's help, Caliphate soldiers hit a 4X4 vehicle with representatives of the international crusade coalition on board and representatives of the peshmerga anti-terrorism in the Kifri area, with a device, causing its destruction and injuring four crusaders and four apostates", cites the communiqué. In addition, at the same time, Isis claimed the killing of a priest belonging to the Armenian Church and one of his relatives (presumably his father) in Syria, between Hasake and Deir Ezzor. This shows how the IS, despite its territorial defeat, is still active and able to carry out attacks between Syrian and Iraqi territory.
The US hits the ISIS financial and logistical network. Five companies and four people worldwide are included in the American 'black list' as they supported ISIS financially and logistically. The nine companies were based in Syria, Europe, Turkey and the Gulf area. In Afghanistan, a false association was discovered with the aim of transferring funds and supporting the local group, ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K), by means of a cover. The five companies included are, instead, Sahloul Money Exchange (Sahloul), Al-Sultan Money Transfer, Tawasul, ACL Ithalat Ihracat and the Nejaat Social Welfare Organization (Nejaat). The companies provided funds, goods and technology to the terrorist organization. The four people identified were Ismail and Ahmet Bayaltun, who were in charge of finding funds for the Islamic State, Sayed Habib Ahmad Khan and Rohullah Wakil, who organized fake beneficial meetings which, in reality, were strategic meetings.
(Laura Vaccaro Senna)
Agreements between the EU and Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia. Negotiations have begun between the EU and the three countries mentioned above on the fight against terrorism. The EU Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, met the countries in Skopje on 19 November to sign the agreements. The priorities of these three agreements are mainly three: the management of new foreign fighters, the blocking of extremism and the fight against money laundering used to finance the terrorist network. In the Serbian case, an agreement has also been drawn up with Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, to ensure proper management of migration at the border with the EU, with the aim of combating irregular migration and cross-border crime. International cooperation is increasing and the agreement adds to an earlier agreement signed by Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia.
NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced on 19 November 2019 that he is meeting this week in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron. The decision was taken following Macron's intervention in which he described NATO as an organisation in brain death. The Secretary General specified his position. NATO is not brain-dead, it is adapting, it is responding to current needs, NATO is agile. France explains its ambitions for leadership and strategy. Europe at the center as the needle of the balance in international relations. Russia agrees with President Macron's words, while Angela Merkel says they are too drastic. All that remains is to wait for developments.
United Nations - Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention approved by the General Assembly on 20 November 1989, ratified to date by 196 states, has become the treaty with the highest number of human rights ratifications. This is an important achievement achieved by the harmonization of different cultural and legal experiences, recognizing all children in the world as holders of civil, social, political, cultural and economic rights.
Framing The World is a project conceived and created by the collaboration between members of the team of Mondo Internazionale associates.
Andrea Maria Vassallo: East - Europe and Russia Federation
Dario Pone: West Europe and European Union
Domenico Barbato: South America
Federica Sulpizio: Middle East and North Africa
Laura Vaccaro Senna: Terrorism and International Security
Leonardo Aldeghi: Economy and International Finance
Leonardo Cherici: West Europe and European Union
Marcello Alberizzi: Sub-Saharan Africa
Mario Ghioldi: South America, West Europe and Russia Federation
Marta Stroppa: Human Rights
Michele Pavan: North America, South America, Oceania and International Organizations
Translated by: Andrea Maria Vassallo, Dario Pone, Federica Sulpizio, Laura Vaccaro Senna, Leonardo Aldeghi, Leonardo Chierici, Marcello Alberizzi, Mario Ghioldi, Marta Stroppa, Michele Pavan, Stefano Sartorio, Vincenzo Battaglia, Simona Maria Vallefuoco.