Wednesday Night #1963

Written by  //  October 30, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

On the eve of Hallowe’en, the real world seems scarier, more full of goblins and evil spirits than ever – or at least than in recent memory. And, once again, the focus of last Wednesday is overridden by unpredictable events.

The announcement of the successful raid by a U.S. special ops team and death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was certainly a show-stopper. While initially greeted as good news, commentary and conjecture have quickly followed, along with sharp criticism by prominent military and intelligence experts of Mr. Trump’s revelation of operational details that can only serve the purposes of terrorists of whatever persuasion, along with continuing criticism of Trump’s coziness with Russia and Turkey coupled with his dismissive treatment of the role played by the Kurds.
Jeremy Kinsman & Larry Haas comment on the death of al-Baghdadi, including the dangers posed by the way that Trump revealed the news.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that al-Baghdadi’s likely successor, ISIS spokesperson Abu Hasan al-Muhajir, had also been killed. However, according to al-Jazeera, the two most likely successors are Abu Othman al-Tunsi and Abu Saleh al-Juzrawi, who is also known as Hajj Abdullah.

What interesting timing – is Turkey considered a friend or foe these days?
House Passes Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide – It is the first time that a chamber of Congress has officially designated the 1915 slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide. “Livid at Turkey’s bloody military assault in northern Syria, some lawmakers saw an uneasy parallel between the Armenian genocide and the bitter warnings from Kurdish forces that the withdrawal of American forces would lead to the ethnic cleansing of their people.”

The Boris Brexit Britain circus continues as Parliament breaks Brexit deadlock with vote for 12 December election Our favorite comment so far: “Hurrah! Something has moved within the walls of the palace of Westminster,” cheered France’s Libération. “The British parliament has finally agreed on … no, not Brexit, that would be too easy. But on snap elections, to be held on 12 December.” The paper noted that after another day of “barely comprehensible developments”, parliament would now be dissolved on 5 November, “the day the skies light up with bonfires and fireworks in memory of an earlier attempt to blow it up”.

The Ukraine/impeachment file grows larger and more outrageous every day. Reminder per NYT: President Trump is accused of breaking the law by pressuring the president of Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 election.
Most recently, a new -to most of us- name, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who has testified that he witnessed potentially improper behavior by President Donald Trump. And for this act of duty, he was smeared as an untrustworthy foreigner. The attacks on him have been vicious and response has been outraged (see: Take It From Me, the Attacks on Vindman Are Disgraceful)

Protests around the world
As Hong Kong protests continue (Hong Kong braces for Halloween havoc as protesters target party district), Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced that the city’s economy will enter a “very serious situation” and may see a “technical recession”.
Chile‘s President Sebastian Pinera said he had taken the “painful” decision to cancel the summit in Santiago, as well as a high-profile international gathering on climate change in December, to focus on restoring law and order and pushing through a new social plan.
However, Rodrigo Espinoza Troncoso and Michael Wilson Becerril argue that Chile will never make progress under Pinochet’s constitution
In Iraq protesters pack Baghdad’s Tahrir square as the anti-government movement gathers momentum with continuing protests against economic stagnation, political elite. On Wednesday, al-Jazeera reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s two main backers have agreed to work to remove him from office as protests against his government gained momentum in Baghdad and much of the Shia south only to be met with violence.
After Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, Stepped Down in Face of Protests, Reuters reported on Wednesday morning that Hariri is ready to be Lebanese prime minister again but on condition the government includes technocrats and can quickly implement reforms to stave off economic collapse. Would his return solve any/some of/all the problems? Doesn’t sound as though it would, judging by Al Jazeera’s analysis Lebanese protesters celebrate Hariri resignation, but want more
And in Barcelona, 350,000 protesters flooded the city last Saturday for a separatist rally. Coincidentally (or not?) CBC reported on Tuesday that Fugitive Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has been officially denied entry into Canada. Surprise, surprise, “The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the group that invited Puigdemont to Canada, said it was “scandalized” by the decision to deny the separatist leader entry into the country.” – presumably, it does not take much to scandalize the SSJB.

It has happened again – world news has drowned out whatever is prompting angst, anger or applause in Canada, Quebec and Montreal. We would, however, draw your attention to this piece by former Westmount MNA  Richard French: He won. Now Justin Trudeau has to do better. Also, see below for a couple of good pieces on Alberta.

Long reads
A comprehensive account of U.S. relations with the Kurds in Syria and the ultimate betrayal
As Kurds Tracked ISIS Leader, U.S. Withdrawal Threw Raid Into Turmoil
Trump’s decision to pull troops from Syria upended a 5-year alliance and threw the plans against al-Baghdadi into disarray.
Republicans Have Only Three Choices
As the evidence mounts against President Trump, the GOP faces three unpalatable options.
Eric Denhoff: Why are Albertans so damned angry?
From Peter Lougheed to Ralph Klein, Alberta has always been at the centre of the national debate, and always felt that nobody even recognized they were there.
A good piece, but it is important to read the comments and note some of the corrections.
Alberta: Help Canadians Understand
Ok, Alberta. Lets talk. We’ll start and then we hope you can help Canadians outside of your beautiful province understand why you are so frustrated because a lot of us can’t see it and don’t understand the angst you are experiencing

You Must Be This Conservative To Ride: The Inside Story of Postmedia’s Right Turn
New CEO Andrew MacLeod has a plan to muffle moderate voices at Canada’s largest newspaper company. It’s created confusion and uncertainty in newsrooms across the country.
The above dates from August, but helps to explain the recent endorsement of Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives in The Gazette that enraged so many Montrealers.

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