On April 23, first-round voting for France’s next president is scheduled. Polls show Le Pen slightly ahead of her main rivals in a race too close to call.
The top two vote-getters will meet in a May 6 runoff election. Anti-Le Penism is intense, reminiscent of how French politician/IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was forced from office in 2011 over spurious rape charges later dropped.
He was favored to be France’s next president in 2012, denied the chance to run because of fabricated charges against him.
France’s establishment wants Le Pen denied a chance to succeed Francois Hollande. Media scoundrels denigrate her.
On Thursday, Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov (Russia), Walid al-Muallem (Syria) and Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran) met in Moscow in the wake of Trump’s April 7 aggression, striking Syria’s Shayrat airbase.
In a joint press conference, they called his action a flagrant international law violation.
Lavrov said “(w)e have reiterated our position and were united in stating that the attack was an act of aggression, which blatantly violated the principles of international law and the UN Charter.”
“We call on the US and its allies to respect Syria’s sovereignty and refrain from actions similar to what happened on April 7, and which have serious ramification not only for regional, but also global security.”
US imperial strategy includes endless aggression and illegal sanctions, among other deplorable actions.
When returning from spring recess next week, Congress reportedly is considering legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia, Iran and Syria - punitive measures if passed by both houses, aggravating things rather than alleviating them.
According to House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R. CA), proposed “legislation will give the administration much-needed diplomatic and financial leverage to help stop Assad’s slaughter of innocent Syrians” - a despicable Big Lie.
“It encourages real negotiations by targeting Assad’s backers,” Russia and Iran. Among other provisions, Iranian airlines are targeted for allegedly transporting weapons and munitions to Syria.
Ein el Helweh Camp, Saida, Lebanon
Photo: Mohammad Attawi 4/13/2017 as another ceasefire begins in Ein al-Hilwe Palestinian camp in Lebanon
It’s half a century overdue for Lebanon to grant Palestinian refugees, now the fourth post-Nakba generation, the most elementary civil rights to work and home ownership. Both fundamental rights are mandated by international law and enjoyed by every refugee on our planet. Sauf Lebanon.
As a direct and foreseeable consequence half of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps and several dozen refugee “gatherings” are careening toward violence while most Lebanese politicians, some of whom are clients of other countries, turn a blind eye or dither.
One example is East Saida’s Ein al Hilweh camp where nearly one hundred thousand refugees, including approximately 7000 from Yarmouk and other Palestinian refugee camps in Syria live in squalor on just 2 Sq. Km of space. Arguably the most sardine-canned population on earth today.
April 12, 2017 marked the sixth day of clashes as Palestinian joint security force mobilized to enter the notorious Al-Tiri neighborhood of Ein al-Hilweh as UNWRA was forced to close its nine schools which educate many thousands of camp children and its two medical clinics which treat hundreds of patients daily. At least 20 stores and homes were burned to the ground during the fighting.
Ethno-religious (ER) beliefs and practices have been harmless when individuals or groups linked to those practices have limited influence over the state and economy. In contrast, when such groups exercise a disproportionately powerful influence over the state and economy, they dominate and exploit majorities while forming closed self-replicating networks.
Examples of powerful ethno-centric regimes in the 1930’s are well known for their brutality and devastating consequences. These include the white Christians in the US, Germany and the European colonial settlement regimes in Rhodesia, South Africa, India and Indonesia, as well as the Japanese imperialists in Asia.
In the post-colonial or neo-colonial era, ethno-centrism has taken the form of virulent anti-Islamic hysteria resulting in predatory Western regimes embarking on wars and military occupations in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump spoke by phone - days after they met in Palm Beach, Florida.
Xi stressed the importance of “peaceful means to solve problems,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, adding:
Trump initiated the call. Xi “stressed China insists on denuclearization on the Korean peninsula to firmly safeguard (regional) peace and stability. Pyongyang claimed the “current grim situation (justifies its) self-defensive and preemptive strike capabilities with the nuclear force at the core.”
Beijing denied reports about deploying 150,000 troops to North Korea’s border, calling them “fabricated.”
Washington wants confrontation, not constructive dialogue with Russia. It continues adversarial relations over cooperative ones - Trump no different from his predecessors, a warrior, not a peacemaker.
Neocons controlling US geopolitical policies want endless wars, not peace, risking unthinkable nuclear war.
If reckless US policies aren’t curbed, it seems inevitable. Dangerous flashpoints persist in Ukraine, North Korea and Syria - Russia, China and Iran on America’s target list.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Tillerson met with Sergey Lavrov and Vladimir Putin, his demand for Russia to abandon Assad rebuffed.
After detailed decimation of President Trump’s ‘intelligence’ ‘justifying’ his invasion of Syria, the MIT specialist on such intelligence-analysis, Dr. Theodore Postol, concludes:
I have worked with the intelligence community in the past, and I have grave concerns about the politicization of intelligence that seems to be occurring with more frequency in recent times – but I know that the intelligence community has highly capable analysts in it. And if those analysts were properly consulted about the claims in the White House document they would have not approved the document going forward.
I am available to expand on these comments substantially. I have only had a few hours to quickly review the alleged White House intelligence report. But a quick perusal shows without a lot of analysis that this report cannot be correct, and it also appears that this report was not properly vetted by the intelligence community.
On Sunday, Turkish voters are deciding up or down on whether to replace its parliamentary system with a presidential one.
At stake is giving wannabe-sultan Erdogan vastly increased authority or rejecting his attempted power-grab.
He already rules with an iron fist. If adopted, an 18-article constitutional amendment will grant him greater concentrated power.
Changes would abolish the office of prime minister and the cabinet. Erdogan would have authority to rule by decree, giving him virtual dictatorial power - other than not being able to circumvent existing laws.
For a day at least, Washington and Pyongyang stepped back from the brink.
The DPRK refrained from conducting an expected sixth nuclear test, likely postponed, not cancelled.
Trump showed restraint by not belligerently reining on North Korea’s Day of the Sun commemorative parade, honoring its founder Kim Il-sung’s 105th birthday.
All quiet on the eastern front held on Saturday, fireworks perhaps coming later at a time of Trump’s choosing.
Potentially devastating Korean peninsula war threatens the entire region, catastrophic if nuclear confrontation erupts.
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