World watch

Wednesday GMT


There’s a lot of things happening of interest around the world, from the Brexit split between the United Kingdom and the European Union to Donald Trump’s young presidency in the United States, from the civil war in Syria and the associated surrounding Middle East mess, to growing tensions around North Korea and China.


    • Missy

       /  May 4, 2017

      The next thing I was going to comment on.

      She spoke after seeing the Queen and dissolving Parliament. In her speech she said that despite the UK’s wishes and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders, there are some in Brussels who do not want Britain to prosper. She also said that the European press have misrepresented the UK’s negotiating position, and the European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. She went on to say threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials and that these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the General Election.

      This goes with a story from yesterday which said Theresa May’s allies believe that Germany in tandem with the EU are trying to undermine her by briefing against her, and the UK.

      Over the last couple of weeks there have been a few leaks – the big one at the weekend about the dinner held last week – which is believed to have originated in the EU.

      Juncker’s Chief of Staff is one of those being accused of leaking details of confidential conversations and meetings, and briefing against the UK. Juncker’s Chief of Staff has ties to Merkel’s party, and it is believed by some that he is working to help keep her in power, but he is also a great believer in the EU project, and believes that the UK should be severely punished for leaving as an example to the other countries not to leave. He is essentially an enforcer for the EU Commission, and is working to crush the UK so no other country dreams of leaving the EU.

      However, there are some that think the hardening of the EU’s stance – especially over the last week or so – is more about a warning to France than to the UK.

      This though should not be a surprise, the EU have a history of putting the hard word on those that do not toe the line, a few years back Ireland had pressure put on them by the EU to re-run a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because the first one had a result they did not want. There was some subtle public pressure through comments from the EU to try and get the UK to re-run the EU referendum, however, Theresa May was adamant it would not happen, and the EU backed off. The EU are seen by many in the UK as undemocratic, and wanting things to keep being done until it conforms to their wishes.

  1. Missy

     /  May 4, 2017

    The EU – UK war of words continues.

    Today Michel Barnier, the chief EU negotiator, waded into the fray by saying Brexit will be painful and there will be consequences for leaving the EU – sounds more like leaving a gang than a political union. He has also stated that the Divorce Bill is non-negotiable, and he will take legal action against the UK if necessary. The problem for him with that threat is that the Lisbon Treaty does not mention any requirement for a country to pay anything to the EU on leaving, and to date no legal opinion from the EU (beyond Juncker & Co) has stated unequivocally that the UK will need to pay, whereas legal opinion in the UK – including from judges that were involved in writing the Treaty and Article 50 – states that the UK are under no obligation to pay anything on leaving.

    One report has suggested the EU now want the UK to pay up to 100 billion euros (double the amount it was yesterday) after pressure from Germany and Poland. So far the reports are saying the EU wants the UK to cover their share for the next 5-10 years of assets, general expenses, EU projects agreed to but not yet started, pensions, funding to Turkey for the migrant crisis, and now the farming subsidies for Germany and Eastern Europe.

    David Davis has said flat out that the UK will not pay 100 million euros, however, instead of denying the figure the EU hit back with Michel Barnier’s attack on Theresa May and the UK.

    There are a number of theories around as to what the EU strategy is at the moment with regards to this stepping up in rhetoric and threats, and many seem to believe it is not so much aimed at the UK, but designed to scare the French voters – and future French President – into not trying to leave the EU. It seems to be that the EU believe the harder, more difficult and nastier they make it for the UK then no-one else will want to leave.

    At the weekend it was reported that Juncker admitted the EU would miss the UK’s monetary contribution, and that other countries would not want to either increase their share (for the net contributing countries) or take less (for those that benefit from the EU). The UK is the largest net contributing country to the EU behind Germany.

    With the exception of the incredibly brainwashed and indoctrinated (personal view) EU supporters, this tactic is having the opposite effect in the UK with many becoming more convinced the UK should just walk away with no deal. On social media many who voted Remain have stated that the EU’s position over the last couple of weeks has changed their view and they are now glad the UK is leaving, they said if they had known last June what they know now they would have voted to Leave as well.

  2. High Flying Duck

     /  May 4, 2017

    There were many who said the US attack on a Syrian airfield was based on a false narrative that Assad had utilised nerve gas on his own people. A few on this forum even said the US had effectively arranged it themselves to justify the attack.

    The evidence appears compelling that this was not the case, and that Assad is a serial offender in committing atrocities against his people. Based on this the US missile attack seems restrained rather than aggressive:

    “The Assad Government has repeatedly used chemical weapons to consolidate its power in Syria, according to new evidence that has “decimated” the Russian “cover story” for the deadly April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun.

    The world was shocked last month when it was revealed that Syria had used a nerve agent against its own citizens in the rebel-held Idlib province town, killing 92 people, including at least 30 children, according to

    The attack prompted US President Donald Trump to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield.

    But new evidence released on Monday by Human Rights Watch shows that Bashar al-Assad’s government used nerve agents three times leading up to the April atrocity, which show “widespread and systematic attacks on civilians [that] could constitute crimes against humanity”.

    Russia, which supports the Assad regime, justified the Khan Sheikhoun attack by saying a Syrian bomb had inadvertently hit a rebel cache of nerve gases or pesticides.

    But Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth says new evidence renders that explanation “utterly implausible”.

    The organisation has revealed that the Syrian military used chemical weapons just five days before the April 4 attack at a town 15km southwest of Khan Sheikhoun.

    This attack did not kill anyone but injured dozens of civilians and rebel insurgents.
    Syrian forces also dropped nerve agents twice in mid-December near the eastern Hama towns of Jrouh and Al-Salaliyah, an area controlled by Islamic State.

    A rebel-affiliated activist and local residents say 64 people died from chemical exposure in those attacks.

    “This pattern of the Syrian government using nerve agents makes the Syria-Russia cover story preposterous,” Roth said at a briefing attended by in New York.

    “There’s no way that on four different occasions, in four different places, Syrian forces just happened to hit caches of nerve agents, even ignoring the fact that there’s no evidence that such caches ever existed.

    “It’s time for Moscow and Damascus to stop these transparently false, diversionary claims and to come clean about this grotesque breach of international law.”

    The organisation has also confirmed multiple cases of government forces using helicopters and ground-launched rockets to deploy chlorine-filled munitions “pervasively”.

    Roth said the report showed chemical weapons had become a “central part of its military strategy”.

  3. Missy

     /  May 4, 2017

    It is a critical night for the French Elections.

    Macron and Le Pen face off in their only head to head debate prior to the final round of the Presidential election on Sunday.

    For Le Pen it is the chance to try and win over enough of the population to make up the 20% or so she is down in the polls of voter intention, for Macron he will need to prove that he will be able to do the job despite his youth and inexperience.