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White House: Removing Comey will help bring Russia investigation to end

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The White House said Thursday that removing FBI Director James Comey from his post may hasten the agency’s investigation into Russian meddling. “We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity”, said deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, referring to the FBI’s probe into Moscow’s interference in last year’s election. “And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen”.

Both Moldova and Bulgaria’s new presidents want closer relations with Moscow

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Moldova’s first direct presidential election has resulted in a convincing victory for the leader of the Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon, widely seen as a pro-Russian candidate. He has served as a member of Parliament and worked as a deputy Prime Minister. He has more than once called for improving relations between Moldova and Russia and has connections to the Russian political elite. In an interview with the TASS news agency, Dodon announced that, if elected president, his first foreign visit would be to Russia to discuss issues of friendship, cooperation and settling the Transnistria conflict. In October this year, Dodon said that, if he came to power, he would hold a referendum on canceling Moldova’s agreement on association with the EU, which – according to him – had been adopted in haste. In the meantime, victory in the presidential election in another East European country went to a candidate from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Rumen Radev, a former Air Force general, who – like Dodon – said it was necessary to improve relations with Russia and to lift sanctions.

The relations between US and KSA will remain strong

BreakingNews @en di

A senior American diplomat has reassured the Kingdom about America’s continuing commitment to strong and robust relations regardless of the changes one may see after the US administration is led by Donald Trump. Christopher Henzel, deputy chief of mission at the Riyadh-based US Embassy, said that the Saudi-US partnership “will remain strong.” “This partnership is driven by the interests of both countries, and is sustained by the dense network of relationships and cooperation that has developed over the past 80 years,” said Henzel, while speaking during an election night reception hosted by the US Embassy here on Tuesday.

First elections of the High Judicial Council (HJC) in the history of Tunisia

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said, on Sunday, the Republic of Tunisia “is experiencing today a milestone in the history of Tunisia and the judiciary”, refering to the holding of the first elections of the High Judicial Council (HJC). In a message to the judicial community and published on the official page of the Prime Ministry, Chahed said that this new stage in the process of the introduction of constitutional institutions “is likely to contribute to the consecration of the foundations of the independence of the judiciary for which militated entire generations of Tunisians.” It also lays the foundation for building the institutions of the 2nd Republic under the Constitution, he said. The Prime Minister also congratulated all Tunisians as well as all components of the judicial system for this important step, which he said, will be a step towards the completion of the democratic transition process in the country.

German divisions over immigration

Politics di

“A difficult day” for the party said German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the state election held last Sunday. The CDU (Christlich Demokratische Union) lost the majority in two out of three federal states, Baden – Wuttemberg and Rhineland- Palatinate. A remarkable result: although the CDU remains the main political force, we clearly see the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)party, led by Frauke Petry, gaining increasing support. Key issue: immigration policies.

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In response to the Syrian and Middle Eastern refugee crisis, Chancellor Merkel has been promoting an open-door policy, according to which Germany grants asylum to refugees and migrants coming from war zones. In 2015, more than a million people crossed the German border. A “humanitarian” policy, which distances itself from the position taken by other European countries. For instance, Slovenia has opted for closing the borders, while Austria has imposed stricter controls at the borders and a ceiling of refugees to be accepted.

Very different the approach presented by the AfD, which stands for securing the borders. “Asylchaos beenden” – the party’s motto- clearly shows the concern for national internal stability. The right-wing party supports a conservative political line, aimed to protect the traditional Christian values. The constant influx of Muslim immigrants is perceived as a threat to these values​​: a xenophobic attitude, then, that seems to get more support among the German population.

The AfD, in fact, is gaining votes also outside the traditional far-right supporters. Many conservatives, usually closer to the positions of the CDU but disillusioned by the centrist policies promoted by Merkel, have given their preference to the far-right. The alternative offered by Petry’s populist party, indeed, seems to get closer to their needs and ideas.

We are seeing a strongly polarized electorate. On the one hand, those who has supported and continues to support the open policies promoted by Merkel, whose real fear is not the influx of refugees , but the closure of borders . Doing so would endanger the European Union’s fundamental principles, such as the free movement of persons, free trade and the single currency. On the other hand, the far-right xenophobic party bets on a more radical approach, which aims to defend the national integrity and security at the expense of community values, indeed, the freedom of movement.

Nothing new nor surprising. We have already seen the same process in France with the rise of Le Pen’s xenophobic far-right party and now in the US with Trump’s successes. It seems that in Western countries the intolerance towards permissive policies on refugees and foreigners is sharply growing. And the sense of insecurity due to ongoing threats and attacks carried out in various European capitals certainly does not facilitate an opener position.

In the background of this internal conflict there are also the negotiation leading by the Bundeskanzlerin within the EU with Turkey, in order to sign an agreement on migrants. Erdogan has recently requested an extra 3bn Euros (on top of the 3bn Euros already made available), while proposing an exchange mechanism according to which for every Syrian refugee readmitted in Turkey, the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey to other EU Member States. “Understandable” demands, according to Germany; different reaction from other European leaders, such as the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel that defines the agreement as a sort of blackmail.

However, neither the outcome of the election, nor the conflicting opinions within the EU have changed Merkel’s plan: no U-turn in the open-door policy, while the agreement with Turkey still remains the only possible way to solve the crisis.

Likely, there will be consequences both at national and European level. In Germany, the CDU is not only facilitating the growth of far-right parties, but it is endangering the internal stability of its own party. Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU, sister party of the CDU in Bavaria, has heavily criticized Merkel’s decisions, saying that after similar electoral results the only acceptable response is a policy change. At European level, the distance between an EU-leading Germany and other Member States once again questions the credibility and stability of the institution as well as the effectiveness of any agreement achieved with Turkey. As there are many European countries to have interests at stake, an EU response must take into account these different needs. And if Merkel wants to maintain her leadership, she cannot close her eyes on other countries’ positions.

 

Paola Fratantoni

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The Kurdish wars

Middle East - Africa/Politics di

Against Isis, against Erdogan’s threats, against Barzani that wants to be the president of KRG forever.

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While on the turkish border, President Erdogan is exploiting international aid to face Isis and, at the same time, try to hit the Kurds of PKK, the president of the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government), Barzani, is organizing military parades in order to retain his mandate, beyond the two-year extension already granted. KRG is the only form of government able to represent Kurdish people, divided between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran.

The Kurdistan Regional Government was established in Iraq after the collapse of the regime of Saddam Hussein and is now subjected to the same power struggles that caused the instability of the Middle East. During the years Kurdish people were, and still are, discriminated against. Saddam Hussein has made the Kurds the target of his chemical weapons causing real massacres as in Halabja in 1988. The persecution took the traits of the genocide through the “Anfal Campaign”.

In Turkey , as well as in Syria, over the years, the persecution never stopped and Kurdish people did not get more favors. Their conditions has come to international attention since the irregular army of KRG, the Peshmarga, took their weapons to face the advancing of Isis. The pages of history books written now, will describe the heroic resistance of these mixed troops made of men and women, who fought to protect cities like Kobanî. But this is not enough for Turkey that is ready to exploit the Isis justification to attack the Kurdish army.

If the elections on June 7 in Turkey seemed to be a turning point with the entrance in Parliament of HDP; recent events like the connection of the Democratic party of the Kurdish people to PKK after exceeding the threshold of 10% of the preferences set by Erdogan, seem to record a sharp setback.In recent years, the bombings inflicted by the Turkish on the Kurds of northern Iraq never stopped and have caused the reaction of the Kurdish militants. On August 10th, the escalation of violence caused 9 victims, killed in four separate attacks. Near the US Consulate and a police station in Istanbul and near a convoy and a military helicopter in the south-east of the country, Sirkin, in Kurdish territory.

Episodes that are triggering the danger of a real civil war. The DHKP-C claimed the shots against the US consulate that brings the terrorists of the Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the People, and PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party of Ocalan, was responsible for the two attacks in the south-east . The reasons that led Erdogan to attack the Kurds, causing their reaction, is to be found in the victory of the Kurdish minority in the last election.

The entry of HDP into Parliament has removed the AKP, the Party for Justice and Development which belongs to Erdogan, that had held absolute majority for 13 years. After the attacks of August 10, Erdogan is supporting the need to go to early elections and get back to the majority denied last June. The attacks claimed by DHKP-C and PKK will cause a loss of votes in the Kurdish party of Hdp at they will be used at his advantage. If it is not possible now to talk about a probable alliance between the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and the terrorists of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C), however, it is certain that the Kurds are increasingly unwilling to accept the requests of the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, in 2006.

From the prison of Imral he asked his fighters to seek dialogue with the Turkish government to reach a cease-fire. If the risk, in Turkey, is to come to a war against the Kurds, the chances that serious internal unrest will happen in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan are just as real . Days ago, the President of the KRG, Massoud Barzani organized a military parade in Erbil. A clear message designed to get to what he has been asking for a long time, that Is a new confirmation of his role. According to the internal laws to KRG, the presidential term of four years is extendable just for only one renewal. Then, the President decades automatically. Barzani has already achieved a two-year extension that will run out on the next August 19. However, he does not intend to give up his role. The first elections in the KRG took place in 1992. Neither political parties PUK and PKK, represented by Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani reached a majority and an agreement. Those conditions caused the dreadful civil war that has killed more than 3,000 civilians. When the civil war ended in 2005, Talabani became the Iraqi President and Barzani the KRG’s President.

The power of the Kurdistan Regional Presidency was stronger than the one of the Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to counterbalance the Iraqi presidency. For the KRG, the presidency was a new institution with unlimited powers. The result is that corruption has grown exponentially, national resources have been squandered, private militias and intelligence services are increasingly loyal to their parties as opposed to the country, and there is ever-growing social inequality. The country is bankrupt and most people are struggling to make ends meet, while 10,000 millionaires and 15 billionaires have emerged in a short period of time. Society is polarized between lackeys who live on political parties’ handouts and good honest citizens who have to wait for wages that are three months behind. In fact the system is almost near a dictatorial regime than a Presidential one. It’s true that is a well-established Middle-Eastern-Fact that the presidential system only breeds dictators and corrupt leaders.

In 2013, when Barzani’s term was extended, the political system became an absolute presidency according to legistlation and the chances required by Barzani, to get the president’s powers greater than those of any other president in the region. Just to have an idea, here’s a few of the KR President’s powers: highest executive power in KR, chief of General Staff, power to dissolve Parliament, can announce a State of Emergency [without parliament’s consent], power to appoint KR’s Constitutional Court members and members of the Judges Assembly, power to control KR’s Security Council and KR’s Intelligence services and most importantly of all, the power to approve or reject legislation passed by parliament.

The oppositions tried to make alliance to oppose Barzani but every attempt has been unconclusive. When the war against IS began, only the attack to Shingal and the following capture of a 1,000 women and children made Barzani act. Before that violences Barzani was refusing to engage in the conflict. Nowadays even the war hasn’t motivated Barzani to get his act together with Yazidis and unite the Peshmerga into a strong national army. There can only be two explanations for the multidimensional crisis Barzani has dragged the nation into: either he is too weak to accept responsibility and tackle these matters head on or else he is directly involved in the wrongdoing and exploitation of national resources.

What could happen is Barzani left? The response is not easy at the moment. Now, KRG is governed from the two-party coalition of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Kurdistan List). At the opposition we found four parties, PUK, Gorran, KIU and KIG that might accept another KDP candidate o tolerate another term for Barzani only if KDP accepts constitutional amendments to establish a full parliamentary system and limit the powers of the president.
But at the moment KDP has not an influential leader who can be accepted by both of the main wings of their party. The PUK seems to have given up on the position since they already have Iraq’s presidency. Gorran also hasn’t declared any interest in the presidency. Just one thing is certain. If the parties do not reach a consensus in the next few months, KR will face a political crisis which could potentially lead to civil unrest.
Monia Savioli

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Nigeria: Us and Gb suspects behind Buhari triumph

Middle East - Africa di

Buhari has won in Nigeria election. Despite several million votes over his rival Goodluck, this achievement it’s nt clear for Us and Gb

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The muslim Muhammadu Buhari has become the new Nigeria president after he has defeated the christian and former chairperson Jonathan Goodluck in election in last March. His party, Afc, has won for the first time after three consecutive failures. Despite 3 million over his rival, who’s congratulated him, United States and Great Britain has denounced possibile vote riggings.

As evidence of this, there are Buhari precedents. He’s an ex general and ex dictator who ruled from 1983 to 1985 during coup d’etat. Even if he lost three times, but however he’s the protagonist of brutality on christian population.

Buhari is been especially voted in Borno State, where Islamic State founded Caliphate in 2014. He said to want to fight the islamist organization during political campaign, but it’s possibile that he’d come to a pact with them. This scenario should lay Nigeria on the line not only in democratic point of view, but also in economic prospective. Indeed, several oil factories and Western States are present in Rivers State. So Us and Gb are monitoring context in order that it doesn’t become a new Libya.

Giacomo Pratali

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Giacomo Pratali
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