Sábado, 14 de abril de 2018

Cuando a media mañana del domingo, día 25 de marzo, tuve conocimiento de que Carles Puigdemont había sido detenido por la policía alemana me quedé muy asombrado. Pensé que el destituido presidente de la Generalitat no había calculado el riesgo que correría si organizaba su segunda fuga de la Justicia española, esta vez desde Finlandia una vez que fue informado sobre la orden europea de detención dictada por el juez Llarena, precisamente a través de Alemania. Pues el marco legal relevante del caso es muy parecido entre ambos países, sobre todo en el orden constitucional, y en principio también en el ámbito penal.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reconducción

El balance de daños del denominado procés no puede ser más desalentador. Seguramente, no hay precedentes en la historia de nuestra democracia de un proceso político que haya terminado a tanta distancia de los objetivos que decía pretender y cuyo balance de daños haya sido tan catastrófico para todos, incluyendo a sus principales impulsores.

No está claro si los partidos que iniciaron este camino hacia una supuesta independencia buscaban que Cataluña saliera de España o más bien buscaban que fuera España la que saliera de Cataluña, pero es indiscutible que, una de las primeras consecuencias, ha sido la implosión del propio sistema de partidos.…  Seguir leyendo »

La premio Nobel de la Paz Malala Yousafzai. Suzanne Plunkett (REUTERS)

Tenía 17 años, la persona más joven que subía a recoger un Premio Nobel, aupada en sus altos tacones, gracias a los cuales consiguió medir cinco pies y dos pulgadas. Ni un murmullo en el auditorio al escuchar la decidida voz de Malala, la niña paquistaní a quien los talibanes habían descerrajado el cráneo por su empecinamiento en querer estudiar. Escuchándola, entre el ilustre público, también estaban Shazia y Kainat Riaz, disparadas junto a ella en el valle de Swat. Y Kainat Somro, otra amiga del alma cuyo hermano fue asesinado por los terroristas. “Sobrevivimos. Y desde aquel día nuestras voces no han hecho más que crecer”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Racist attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem

I always thought that if Israel were to unilaterally annex the occupied Palestinian territories, it would come under an international spotlight, with denunciations and protests around the world. I was wrong. Annexation is underway, but out of the spotlight, away from international attention. In the dismal offices of the fortified Justice Ministry in East Jerusalem, in the cramped meeting rooms of the Knesset, and in the august chambers of the Supreme Court, Israel’s finest lawyers are working around the clock to shape the biggest paradigm shift since the West Bank was conquered in 1967. The government’s lawyers are busy giving their counsel, drafting laws, and defending Israel’s efforts to expand the jurisdiction of its law and administration beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines to serve the interests of Jewish settlers at the expense of the occupied Palestinians, whose civil rights are suspended.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace unas semanas, el mismo día en que la Policía denunciaba que Holanda va camino de convertirse en un narcoestado, un ejecutivo de esa nacionalidad, autoproclamado experto en España («hay cosas que me fascinan de los españoles, como la manera de divertirse»), señaló que constituimos un grave peligro para la estabilidad futura de la Unión Europea. Esta curiosa simultaneidad aconteció poco antes de que los jueces de un Estado alemán fronterizo de Dinamarca, conocido por la productividad de sus vacas lecheras, que Bismarck se anexionó para mantener entretenido al Ejército prusiano y también para disponer de un territorio-tapón frente a los siempre peligrosos escandinavos, negaran en la práctica que España es un Estado de derecho.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Son las Naciones Unidas la organización más antidemocratica del planeta? Sí, sí, yes, yes, oui, oui, da, da. Sin ninguna duda, como prueba fehacientemente el drama sirio en estas fechas. Una nación –repito, una sola; en este caso el villano es Rusia– puede paralizar cualquier intento de la comunidad internacional de tratar de pacificar ese país y detener la pavorosa sangría de muertos (¿400.000?) y desplazados o exilados (5.000.000). Aunque la mayoría del planeta, a veces la inmensa mayoría, quiera actuar y poner coto.

La Carta de la ONU, su constitución, es una auténtica monstruosidad jurídica si nos ceñimos a criterios mínimamente democráticos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Smoke rises after the Assad regime carried out an airstrike at Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, on 7 April 2018. Anadolu Agency/Mouneb Tai

What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack?

On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical weapons attack. According to local first responders, the attack killed more than 42 residents sheltering in their homes and affected more than 500. The attack came as Syrian government forces subjected the city to a surge in conventional bombing after negotiations stalled over the city’s surrender.

So far, no international party has said definitively or presented conclusive evidence that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons use.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army soldiers celebrate around a statue of Kawa, a mythology figure in Kurdish culture as they prepare to destroy it in city center of Afrin, northwestern Syria, early Sunday, March 18, 2018. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that allied Syrian forces have taken "total" control of the town center of Afrin, the target of a nearly two-month-old Turkish offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia, which said fighting was still underway. Erdogan said the Turkish flag and the flag of the Syrian opposition fighters have been raised in the town, previously controlled by the Kurdish militia known as the People's Defense Units, or YPG. (Hasan Kırmızitaş/DHA-Depo Photos via AP)

Mohammed is not his real name. He asked me not to share personal details, fearing retaliation from the fighters he passes when he walks around his city. I can say only that Mohammed is a Kurd living in Afrin, a city in northern Syria that was held for more than five years by Kurdish-led forces until it was, about three weeks ago, overrun and occupied by the Turkish army and its proxy forces fighting under the umbrella of the Syrian National Army (SNA), formerly known as the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

To be a Kurd in Afrin, once a majority Kurdish city, Mohammed says, is now to find oneself a member of a despised group, suspected of disloyalty, and liable to be robbed, beaten, put to flight, or worse.…  Seguir leyendo »

CIA Director Mike Pompeo arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the threats the U.S. is facing worldwide at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, USA, on 13 February 2018. Samuel Corum / ANADOLU AGENCY

When Mike Pompeo sits down on 12 April before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there will be plenty to talk about. Mr Pompeo has of course been nominated to succeed to Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and he will doubtless face questions about everything from whether he plans to reverse the decline of the State Department’s budget, human capital and influence, to his highly controversial and oftentimes incendiary views on Islam, to a history of statements suggesting a higher-than-desirable level of comfort with torture.

But nothing that the senators raise with Mike Pompeo will be more important than core questions of war and peace.…  Seguir leyendo »

A boat carrying migrants approaches shore after making the crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos in November 2015. Photo: Getty Images.

Last month the European Commission proposed that the EU should mobilize the next tranche of funding for Turkey (€3 billion) under the EU–Turkey deal agreed in 2016. The deal is part of a rapidly developing strategy on the part of the EU to improve cooperation on migration issues with countries of origin as well as those through which migrants and refugees transit en route to Europe. Since 2015, the EU has ramped up negotiations, with the New Partnership Framework underpinning arrangements with countries such as Niger, Mali and Ethiopia, and endorsing a memorandum of understanding between Italy and Libya in February 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

Civil defence members remove the remnants of a rocket on the outskirts of Douma in February. Photo: Getty Images

Only days after a supposed ceasefire was declared in eastern Ghouta, at least 100 people were reportedly killed, and many more injured, by what appears to be a chemical attack in Douma city.

Local medical sources reported more than 500 cases with symptoms indicative of poisoning by a chemical agent. The symptoms are consistent with an organophosphorous compound, which is the basis of sarin and other nerve agents. Some reports also suggest that the weapon may have contained chlorine.

The already shattered health system in Douma city struggled to manage this mass causality incident: it was difficult to identify the exact chemical used and the sparse medical supplies there were insufficient to treat injuries and reverse neurological symptoms.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill. Photo: Getty Images.

Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearing is painful to watch. Not because Mark himself is more comfortable in his natural habitat on Hacker Square than in the US capital. But because most of the senators’ questions revealed all-too publicly how little they frame their lives according to the barometer of a digital age.

This isn’t to say that they needed a more technical background, of course. Even after spending eight years at Facebook as a public spokeswoman for the company, I couldn’t even begin to understand the code that my colleagues on the engineering team would write, revise and push. But it is to say that the vast majority of senators in the room lacked a user’s perspective: the perspective of the vast majority of Facebook’s two billion active users who are just that – active on the platform.…  Seguir leyendo »

India's delegation enters for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo: Getty Images.

India’s approach to the regional groupings of which it is a member is self-evidently instrumentalist. With limited resources each of the organizations or groups which India promotes serve a particular economic, political or cultural purpose.

Thus, IBSA (comprising India, Brazil and South Africa) comprises a group of like-minded, Southern democracies, useful to align approaches in forums such as the UN. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) offered a means of showcasing not political alignment but economic potential. Regional forums – the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation – each offer different means for India to develop or demonstrate its regional role.…  Seguir leyendo »

Campaign billboards in Baghdad in 2014. Photo: Getty Images.

Iraq today has a unique of opportunity to chart a new path away from 15 years of chaos and upheaval.

Following the defeat of ISIS, the security situation is better than it has been for many years. Politically, there are glimpses of a move from identity to issue-based politics in various cross-sect electoral alliances. For instance, Islamists associated with Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have joined forces with secularists linked to the Iraqi Communist Party. Many Iraqis now see corruption as just as bad as terrorism, and the gap between elite and citizen has become more important than the gap between Sunni, Shia, and Kurd.…  Seguir leyendo »