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GEOPOLITICAL BULLETIN

JUNE 2017

SYRIA;  NORTH KOREA;  THE BALKANS

 

VIOLENCE: THE REALITY AND THE THREAT

In this June issue, we offer three reports: Syria: where we take a long look at what probably remains the most dangerous place on earth…overdue for resolution! North Korea, after a lengthy lay-off by NN, the nuclear menace that surrounds the ‘Secret Kingdom’ is probed; as also is the ‘destabilised’ Balkans, where violence is once again simmering amongst the fifteen nationalities. Urgent attention is necessary.

SYRIA: Alessandro Bruno who has covered Syria since before the six years of war, makes a lengthy review of this nation-sized battlefield where militarily the various rebels - the Islamists being the most problematic- are looking at military defeat, not necessarily imminent. Yet it now seems that there is little scope for the rebels and their salafist sponsors (not limited only to Al Qaeda and ISIS), of any prospect of military victory. And yet the reality is grinding down, even further, the country and its hapless population. Bruno argues that there are no alternatives to Bashir al Asad as president, until the war is over. GO TO: ........ "SYRIA: Shattered but Still Standing"

NORTH KOREA: With a new president in Seoul, after the downfall of his predecessor Park Geun–hye, our account of the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ to the north is updated. After a lengthy pause in our Korean narrative, Aidan Foster Carter reviews the current situation in both Koreas and the key events during the intervening period, since last discussed in these pages. Not only does the advent of a new, former opposition leader, Moon Jae-in as South Korea’s president change the situation, but more significantly even than the nation’s new president, another newcomer, the world’s ‘big brother’ US President Donald Trump, is a new and completely unpredictable player (as he is in most of international politics). Therefore there is a new mix at the top of Korean pressures and interests. GO TO: ........ "NORTH KOREA: Trump and Moon, Missiles and Mayhem" 

SERBIA exhibiting its disgruntled role at the reality of democracy is indulging in it’s normal disruptive behaviour at the widespread criticism both national and international, over the conduct of the recent election. This leaves the incumbent prime-minister now President Vucik. The widespread criticisms alleging it to have been a fraudulent election, includes, amongst others, the charge that there were 800,000 alleged ‘ghost’ names on the electoral lists, which if true, indicates that democracy is already broken in Serbia. Vucik thus far has not suggested any large scale investigation of this and other claims. Sara Bielecki takes us through Serbia’s close relationship with Moscow, it even being suggested that Vucik is role-modelling Russia’s president Putin, particularly in terms of authoritarianism. ‘Reporters Without Borders’ tells us, that Serbia is amongst the nations that saw the worst decline in media freedom over the past year. 

It’s an unhappy story and Serbia is not alone. Croatia, its nearest large neighbour, already a member of the EU had also veered to ‘the right’. Kosovo and Albania are protesting at Serbia’s attitude towards them. Only Croatia and Slovenia of the former Yugoslav federation are as yet members of the European Union. The other FYR republics notably Serbia are not making progress and tempers are rising, yet it is not credible that the EU would simply extend membership to grossly corrupt applicants, or those who are dangerously quarrelsome in terms of frontiers. Albania never a Yugoslav and the new republic of Kosovo, both moslem, are dissatisfied at their extended wait for EU membership and alarmed at Serbia’s intransigence. Altogether, the Balkans are not a happy place: GO TO: ........ "The Balkans - Democracy is Struggling"

 
Clive Lindley - Publisher/Editor
 
 
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