Two of the most prominent prime ministers of the western world are being accused of corruption. The removal of one could make a big difference in regional security.
According to the Guardian yesterday:
“Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is facing the biggest political scandal of his administration. The affair centers around allegations that his former attorney general, Jody-Wilson Raybould, was improperly pressured by some of his closest advisers to prevent the prosecution of a large Canadian engineering firm over accusations of fraud and bribery. Thus far, the scandal has been politically costly; Gerald Butts, a longtime friend of Trudeau’s, and his closest adviser, resigned two weeks ago. Wilson-Raybould has resigned, too. A handful of polls are showing the scandal is politically unpopular for the governing Liberals – which is worrying for them, given there is a federal election in October.”
And, in Israel:
Israel’s attorney general intends to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges.
Mr. Netanyahu faces possible charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three cases. The prime minister is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensed favors to try to get more positive press coverage.
Mr. Netanyahu, who faces an election, said in a TV address that the case would “collapse like a house of cards.” In a defiant broadcast, he repeated his assertion that he is the victim of a left-wing “witch-hunt” intended to topple him ahead of the closely contested election on 9th April. (BBC, 3/1)
Mr Netanyahu has made Israel a lot stronger in recent years. His departure could weaken the country
“A nasty brew — anti-semitic, anti-black, anti-elite – is bubbling in France”.
“A climate of hate is emerging in France. The targets are varied, apparently unconnected and shifting: Jews, journalists, the rich, policemen, members of parliament, the president.
“When the yellow vest movement emerged last November, it was broadly a social protest and fiscal revolt. But the infiltration of ultra-left and extreme right agitators, and the determination of a radical core to seek the overthrow of Mr. Macron, has hardened the movement’s edge. Weekly scenes of violent clashes with riot police fill French television screens and plumes of tear gas fill the air on the streets of Paris and other cities. This relentless backdrop seems to have legitimized a form of violent hate. What was once confined to the unhinged ramblings of social media groups has erupted into public.” (‘Spreading like poison,” The Economist, February 23rd.)
CHINA/SAUDI ARABIA GET CLOSER
“It is, in its way, the most shocking spectacle in world politics since the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: Even as Beijing is stepping up its persecution of Muslim Uighurs, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia cozied up to Chinese President Xi Jinping on his trip to China last week.
“More than a million Uighur Muslims are said to be held in Chinese concentration and “reeducation” camps, where beatings and mass rapes are reliably reported to be perpetrated against detainees. Yet the Crown Prince of the leading Sunni Islamic state signed almost $30 billion in trade agreements with China, hailed the long problem-free relationship between the two countries, pledged support for the Belt and Road initiative, and announced that Saudi Arabia respected China’s need to protect its domestic security in its own way.
“Saudi Arabia is not the only Muslim power kowtowing to China. Pakistan has also fallen strangely silent when it comes to the concentration camps now dotting the landscape in Xinjiang. A country that regularly whips itself into fits of murderous rage over the supposed plight of Muslims in Indian-controlled Kashmir remains rigorously calm about the massive religious repression by its more powerful neighbor.
“Another sign of the strange new brotherhood between Islam and its persecutors: Saudi Arabia has pledged $10 billion to help build a refinery in the Pakistani port of Gwadar to speed Gulf oil across Eurasia. Among other things, the refinery will make it easier for China to fuel the vehicles transporting Muslim detainees to concentration camps.” (“The Saudis hedge their American bets,” WSJ, 2/26).
PAKISTANI JIHADISTS KILL 40 INDIANS
A terror attack by a Pakistani jihadist group could lead to war between India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers, after the Pakistani group attacked and killed 40 Indian troops in Kashmir.
The responsible party was Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed).
US WANTS TO ARREST BIN LADEN’S SON
“A son of Osama bin Laden is emerging as a leader in al Qaeda, the US State Department says, and it’s willing to pay up to $1 million for information on his whereabouts. Hamza bin Laden, whose father was killed by US Navy Seals in Pakistan in 2011, is taking the reins of the terror group, the State Department said late Thursday.
“The State Department wants information on Hamza bin Laden.
“Hamza bin Laden . . . is emerging as a leader” in the al Qaeda franchise, the department said in a statement. “He has released audio and video messages on the Internet, calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Western allies, and he has threatened attacks against the United States in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by US military forces.” (CNN, 3/1)
QT ANGER OVER BREXIT
The BBC’s Question Time is one of the most popular programs on British television. It gives a live audience (supposedly representing all viewpoints) the opportunity to express themselves on important topics. Last Night’s QT was no exception. The subject of Brexit was being discussed.
With only four weeks to go until the date of Britain’s departure from the EU, one member of the audience accused Britain’s three main political parties of betraying the British people.
“A furious Question Time audience member ripped into MPs on the BBC panel insisting all parties had “betrayed” Britons’ Brexit vote. The audience member pointed out Theresa May’s commitment to leaving the EU on March 29, amid fears of a delay, and Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto pledge to deliver Brexit, with the party moving towards backing People’s Vote (a second referendum). The audience member said: “I actually think all three parties have betrayed every single one of us.
“Theresa May, 52 times, said we will leave on March 29, she is now extending. Well, probably will.
“Corbyn said we won’t have a second referendum, now he is going to entertain that.
“Liberals, Nick Clegg ,said there won’t be a European army.”
There’s been a lot of lying over Brexit. Could this be the end of British democracy, as we have known it?
EU BACKS SPANISH CLAIM TO GIBRALTAR
The British government has complained about language in EU contingency plans over a no-deal Brexit. Under the legislation, direct flights between the EU and the UK will continue for nine months in the event of a no-deal Brexit. But Gibraltar International Airport isn’t included in Brussels’ plan, which refers to Spain’s claim on the 800-metre section of land.