World watch – Wednesday

Tuesday GMT

WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

23 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  November 8, 2017

    Aljazeera tv
    The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has accused Iran of an act of war, claims Iran supplied the Houthis with the missile that was fired at Riyadh the other day.

    Also
    Saudi Arabia says Lebanon ‘declaring war against it’
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/saudi-arabia-lebanon-declaring-war-171107054322565.html

    And
    Trump still being taken for a ride by the Saudis (Tillerson knows the score)
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/trump-praises-saudi-purge-detentions-tweet-171107071149577.html

    • MaureenW

       /  November 8, 2017

      Trump being taken for a ride …. don’t know that I would agree with that. I think you’ll find that when the US gets to investigating the Clinton Foundation and pay to play, and Obama’s parting gift to Iran, some of those mentioned in the Saudi purge will be in the news again.

      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/01/11/Obama-s-farewell-gift-to-Iran-130-tons-of-Uranium.html

      • Gezza

         /  November 8, 2017

        Nonsense. It’s a setup. The Saudis are worried about Iran having too much power & influence in the region, & the potential for them to appeal even to ordinary Sunnis in Saudi Arabia to get rid of their dodgy Wahabbi aristocrats. The Saudi Crown Prince is a numpty who’s totally botching the war in Yemen, so he obviouslyy hope to suck Bibi & Trump in to sort out Iran for them – which will be necessary as Iran’s troops & their allies like Hezbollah troops in Syria & Iraq’s Shiite militias in Iraq would cream their mob. Bibi’s happy to go along with this con job, I reckon, for now. It’s all been well-discussed by experts on Aljaz this morning.

        • MaureenW

           /  November 8, 2017

          Um, wasn’t Iran part of the axis of evil Gezza? When did that change? Before or after Obama shipped in the Uranium and billions in cash?

          • Gezza

             /  November 8, 2017

            Hard to say Maureen. Hard to say. Weren’t the Saudis all tied up with 911?

          • Gezza

             /  November 8, 2017

            And didn’t the Saudis close all the US bases and kick the Americans out because they weren’t very popular with their people? And didn’t they then set up their biggest base in the Middle East in Qatar? And aren’t the Saudis now making trouble for Qatar and complaining that they have an embassy for the Taliban there amongst other things? And didn’t the Emir of Qatar (a very intelligent, articulate, reasonable-sounding man) just recently point out the Americans asked them to do that so they could engage with the Taliban there? And aren’t the Saudis now stirring up shit about Qatar? For no good reason?
            And didn’t Tehran just -recently reject Ahmadinejad and re-elect a moderate President who has been prepared to negotiate with the EU and the US – but now Israel & the Saudis have persuaded the US Chief Twitter Doofus to join them in threatening them again? It’s all very confusing, especially when the Saudis are involved.

  2. Gezza

     /  November 8, 2017

    It’s bloody 2am there’s a howling gale i reckon about 178.27 kph (roughly) I’ve had to rescue two chairs from my patio before they were blown over the fence into the stream & it’s pelting with rain! It’s coming from the North! This better not have anything to do with YOU, Wilkinson! 😡

    • Missy

       /  November 8, 2017

      Ah, I was feeling a little nostalgic for home, but this has cured it – despite it being cold, wet, and dark by about 4.30! Still happy not to be anyway near that weather!

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 8, 2017

      Just a little night air in the happy home of the bureaucracy, Sir Gerald. The destructive forces within and without in happy balance.

      Would you like some road cones back?

      • Blazer

         /  November 8, 2017

        Keep one to wear on your head…Al.

      • Gezza

         /  November 8, 2017

        The tuakana’s a lefty, Sir Alan, but I thought he made quite a good point in his 3rd comment here?

    • MaureenW

       /  November 8, 2017

      178,27 kmp roughly? Lol

  3. Missy

     /  November 8, 2017

    Where to start on recent shenanigans in UK / Europe, so much is happening, much of it more of the same so to speak, but a few things are bubbling along and are becoming bigger than perhaps they deserve.

    So, first up, Catalan update. Spain issued a European Arrest Warrant for the exiled President of Catalonia. This has gained some criticism within Europe – mainly from Eurosceptics – as the European Arrest Warrant was only meant to be used for the deportation of serious criminals and terrorists, not political dissidents. Puigdemont and four of his Ministers handed themselves over to the Belgian Police on Sunday, at a hearing on Sunday Evening a Belgian judge released them while the case is reviewed, they must remain in Belgium. This is interesting as my understanding is that when an arrest warrant is issued then the individual should be arrested and returned to the country that has issued the warrant, not treated as an extradition, so the fact the Belgians didn’t just return them to Spain could mean that they are not happy with the turn of events, it could also mean that my understanding of an EU arrest warrant is lacking.

    Second up, it seems both the Liberal Democrats and Labour may be preparing for another election. The Chief of Staff to the Liberal Democrats Leader has resigned to (in her words) concentrate on campaigning and preparing as the candidate for Richmond (she won a by election in Richmond last year and lost her seat in June). The local party committee however don’t seem to be as pleased that she has assumed she would be the candidate. Labour have appointed a new campaigns manager, a Momentum activist who, in 2006, was convicted of electoral fraud. Not a good look for Labour considering the controversy around electoral fraud in the GE in June where it was alleged Labour activists and electoral officials told students they could vote twice, not to mention electoral fraud in the Borough of Tower Hamlets (a Labour council) involving double voting within the Muslim community, and the threats to Muslim voters from a Labour candidate.

    Third. Boris is in trouble, now I like Boris, but after the last few days I am thinking he cannot survive in his current position, at best he has been irresponsible, at worst he has outright lied. A British Iranian woman is in jail in Iran, to be honest I am not sure what she was arrested for originally, but she was there on holiday. Boris has been working with the Embassy on her case, and said that she had been teaching journalism in Iran (which is apparently illegal), though her family said that she was there on holiday. After he made his comments she was taken back into court and Boris’s comments were cited as new evidence to apply to increase her sentence. Boris may, or may not, have been correct, but he should never have said it publicly. If he was correct it was irresponsible of him to say it and put her at risk further, if the family are correct then he outright lied. He obviously has information and so it is possible there may have been some truth to his comments, and that the family are possibly lying to protect her, but as I said it was irresponsible of him to put it in the public domain. It shows a lack of judgement on his part, something which can be funny and charming when dealing with friendly nations and light stuff, but on something like this a lack of judgement can have catastrophic consequences.

    Fourth. Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, has apparently been meeting with Israeli Government Ministers – and the Israelis PM – whilst on holiday in Israel. The meetings have not been sanctioned by the Foreign Office, nor has the PM been made aware of the meetings. The PM had dinner with the Israeli PM the other night to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, and was apparently still in the dark at that time about Patel’s meetings with him on other matters, including (allegedly) using UK aid money for the Israeli Army.

    These two incidences have put Theresa May under enormous pressure to sack them, this is not what she needs on top of the sex scandal just weeks out from the Autumn Budget.

    • Thanks Missy. A lot to digest. Excellent synopsis.

      • Missy

         /  November 8, 2017

        There is a lot happening at the moment as things ramp up a bit before the Christmas recess, I think the Catalan stuff will fade into the background for a bit until the election in 21 December, but things in the UK are just going to get messier I think.

        Today there are reports that Priti Oatel had at least two more unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials, one in London and one in New York. The pressure is on May to sack her.

  4. Missy

     /  November 8, 2017

    The ‘Pestminster’ scandal is spreading, and has resulted in a suicide.

    Just over a week ago a spreadsheet was released listing 36 Conservative MPs that were involved in inappropriate behaviour – according to some young staffers in Westminster. The problem with the spreadsheet (based on what was reported) is none of the behaviour was either serious or illegal, most involved misjudged passes, or drunken ‘jokes’ and comments, some included consensual relationships – both extramarital and between single MPs. However, this created a flood of other complaints, including one young Labour activist who claimed she was raped by another activist and told not to report it by a senior member of the Labour Party.

    A number of MPs, both Conservative and Labour have been referred for internal investigation, one Labour MP had the whip suspended during the internal investigation, one Conservative MP was referred to the police and had the whip suspended. None of these MPs have been told what the allegations against them are, and the Conservative MP found out from the news as the Party did not even tell him he had been referred to the police and suspended, but rather leaked it to media instead.

    As I reported last week Michael Fallon resigned his ministerial position. It seems that Fallon has form for making unwanted passes at women, and also he was known for sexist comments and jokes. It appears that none of Fallon’s misdemeanours were illegal, but rather just opened him up to the possibility of blackmail which put him in a vulnerable position regarding the clearances required as Defence Secretary. It has been reported that May was told about Fallon by Leadsom, who has leadership ambitions, and it was Leadsom’s revelations to May that forced him to resign. However, Leadsom has not come out of this squeaky clean, as leader of the house she was reportedly aware of sexual harassment of young staffers by senior MPs, but did nothing about it.

    Labour and the Lib Dems have not been completely free from allegations.

    As well as the rape complaint mentioned earlier, a Labour MP reportedly sexually harassed a young staff member by rubbing his crotch against her and sending lewd text messages, she reported it. The MP was spoken to, and the activist was told it would be dealt with. The leaders office was told in January 2016, however, the MP in question was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet shortly after.

    Liberal Democrat activists have set up a Reddit page which they can anonymously leave their experiences, among those left are accusations of rape in which the party covered up. This hasn’t been reported very widely, and the Lib Dems are very much ducking anything to do with what has been dubbed the Pestminster scandal.

    It has also spread, last week a complaint of inappropriate sexual behaviour was made against a member of the Welsh Assembly, he was not told what the nature of the complaint was, but categorically denied any inappropriate behaviour. Today the member of the Assembly committed suicide. His suicide has prompted some, (but not all as many are seeing it was proof of guilt), to look at the issue of trial by media / social media, the twitter mob (a modern day lynch mob), and people being convicted in the court of public opinion based on hearsay and erroneous allegations.

    The leaders of all parties have called for something to be done on harassment and bullying in Westminster, and interestingly Corbyn has been one of the most vocal, bringing accusations of hypocrisy considering he happily (albeit many decades ago) showed off a naked Dianne Abbott in his flat for ‘liberal credentials’, but worse has done nothing about the Shadow Chancellor who, several years ago, called on a Female Conservative MP to be lynched, and more recently, suggested that Conservative MPs and their families should be harassed and hounded wherever they go which resulted in Labour activists trying to find out where one MP lived and his children went to school (they don’t, they are too young) so that they could go and harass them and hound them.

  5. Missy

     /  November 8, 2017

    Just saw something on Twitter about a shooting at the University of South Carolina, has anyone seen anything confirming this? G, is anything on Al Jaz?

  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  November 8, 2017

    A very funny take down of Carter Page and a sneak peek at the kind of ‘it wasn’t me your honour’ defensive rubbish we keep hearing from members of the trump cabal.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/11/07/the-paranoid-carter-page-transcript-what-in-gods-name-did-i-just-read/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.83d52a871eb6#comments

  7. Missy

     /  November 8, 2017

    A further blow to the EU.

    The Austrian President elect, Sebastian Kurz, is in coalition talks with the far right party, Freedom Party (FPO), a well known EU sceptic party. It has been reported that FPO politicians demanded that Kurz appoint either the Finance Minister or Foreign Minister from their ranks or the coalition talks will collapse.

    It has been reported this morning that Norbet Hofer of the FPO party has been appointed Foreign Minister. This is a blow for the EU on more than one front.

    First, Mr Hofer is an outspoken critic of the EU, and has repeatedly attacked the EU over Immigration, Economic, and Security Policies.

    Second, this appointment is clearly a slap in the face of Jean Claude Juncker who has previously expressed his wish to isolate and impose sanctions on far right and populist Governments, and made it clear in 2016 that Mr Hofer would have been frozen out of any discussions in the EU if he had won the Austrian Presidential election then.

    Third, Mr Hofer could use his position to influence other EU member states to oppose Mr Juncker’s plans for a single tax system, one Finance Minister, and an EU army.

    All in all things may have gotten a little sticky for the EU and Mr Juncker.