China-EU-USA: an attempt to reach an agreement
Over the past week, Chinese and European diplomats have agreed on a joint video conference to cool tensions.
After a string of accusations and scandals about the Coronavirus, this will be the first attempt at constructive negotiations.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council – Executive Director and EU President – will hold a video conference with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
“We are ready to work with China. But we also expect China to assume its responsibilities as one of the world’s largest economies,” said a senior official helping prepare the summit. “The pandemic has heightened some (EU) concerns.”
European officials accused Beijing of spreading “misinformation” about the coronavirus the day before. However, relations between the states were not at their best even before the pandemic: the parties had fundamental disagreements on the issue of Hong Kong and the investment pact. At the same time, in connection with the US and China trade war, Washington put pressure on Brussels to take a tougher stance against Beijing.
With the coronavirus hitting all the world’s economies, politics has given way to pragmatism: for all their anti-Chinese campaigns, Western countries cannot isolate the world’s largest economy. Even the US, the world leader in anti-Chinese rhetoric, had to take pragmatic steps the day before: lifting the strict ban on coordination on 5G with tech-giant Huawei.
This week, President Donald Trump also postponed harsher sanctions against Chinese officials accused by hawks of discriminating against Uighurs. Trump explained that such measures could interfere with trade negotiations.
“Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal. And I made a great deal, $250bn potentially worth of purchases,”
Thus, Trump summed up, there are enough trade tariffs for China – additional sanctions are already an unnecessary step.
All of this does not indicate a “warming” of relations between China and the West, but it does indicate the need to negotiate a post-coronavirus world order.
The Libyan Cauldron: conflict with Egypt
This week, the contradictions between the GNA in Libya and the Egyptian government were particularly clear. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi warned that if the Libyan army moves into the strategic city of Sirte – about 450 km east of Tripoli – it could provoke a “direct” intervention by Cairo.
The UN-backed Libyan government says the threat of a military intervention by the Egyptian President is “unacceptable” and “amounts to a declaration of war.”
For the Libyan state, “interference in its internal affairs, attacks on its sovereignty, whether by declarations… like those of the Egyptian president or by support for putschists, militias, and mercenaries, is unacceptable,” the GNA said.
The conflict was long overdue: as early as June 15, Nabila Makram, Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates, swore that Egypt would not remain silent about any attacks on Egyptian expatriates. This was in response to a videotape circulated on social media that stated that a number of Egyptian workers captured in the western city of Tarhuna were being insulted and tortured.
On June 16, Egyptian deputies discussed the possibility of expelling the Libyan Ambassador to Cairo.
At the same time, the GNA’s cooperation with Turkey has strengthened against the backdrop of the current situation. The Libyan government has allocated $12 billion to Turkey as a payment for Ankara’s military participation in this North African country under the National Agreement, the Libyan media reported.
On Wednesday, GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj received in Tripoli a high-level Turkish delegation headed by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Earlier, we wrote about the importance of building a dialogue in Libya on the Ankara-Cairo-Moscow axis. At present, contradictions are fed by those who do not benefit from this axis: the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Israel and Greece. Probable cooperation between Ankara and Cairo will have a positive impact on the approach of Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt to the crisis in Libya.
Therefore, the current contradictions may be directly relate to the attempt to break the forthcoming cooperation.
Turkey in Iraq
The Turkish Defense Ministry said that additional forces of Turkish Special Forces were deployed in northern Iraq. In this area, Turkey is conducting operation “Claw-Eagle” against the banned PKK.
Over the past 10 days, Turkey and Iran have conducted a series of coordinated air strikes and artillery fences against PKK targets in northern Iraq.
Strikes have included attacks on areas on the Iraq-Turkey border where PKK fighters remain active, Yezidi areas near Sinjar on the Iraq-Syria border, and areas on the Iraq-Iran border where PKK and a number of other opposition groups are present.
Turkey, inter alia, blames PKK for a series of recent bombings in areas of northern Syria. Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, on the other hand, see these attacks as a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
US: Tiktok and sabotage
The presidential race is entering a hot phase with more and more political actions taking place against President Trump.
This week the most vivid and somewhat comical in social networks was the sabotage of Trump’s live speech by TikTok users. They deliberately registered for his conference in Oklahoma, and then they didn’t come, leaving a big part of the arena empty. Despite these efforts, the rally took place.
While projecting power required an intense arena, the campaign was determined to use the rally as a launch pad for ongoing efforts to sow doubt about Biden’s ability to be president.
Despite such minor turmoil, Trump himself is preparing for the election, including in terms of personnel. A surprise decision taken on Friday by the US Department of Justice was to replace one of the chief federal prosecutors, US Attorney in Manhattan Geoffrey Berman.
One of the main candidates for his post was US Attorney in Manhattan Geoffrey Berman, who is considered more “loyal” to Trump.
While Clayton has been criticised by Democrats and consumerists, he is generally respected as an experienced bureaucrat.
Thus, Trump is trying to gain the support of part of the establishment on the eve of the 2020 elections. It is too early to make any predictions: Trump is less likely to win now, given the active protests and campaigns for George Floyd, as well as the economic consequences of the Coronavirus (medical crisis and rising unemployment). However, it is still almost six months until November, during which time everything depends on Trump’s actions.
Confrontation in France
The elite French police unit RAID arrested five Chechens after four nights of clashes in the town of Dijon, according to the prosecutor’s office and a police source.
The socialist mayor of Dijon, Francois Rebsamen, criticised what he saw as insufficient police deployment over the weekend.
“As justice comes too late and the police do not have the means, the Chechen community decided to take the law into its own hands,” he said.
The preconditions for inter-ethnic conflict in France began on June 10, when a 16-year-old Chechen native was beaten by representatives of the Maghreb community on the terrace of a bar in the centre of Dijon. Another Chechen who arrived for help was also beaten.
The disturbances began on the evening of June 12, when dozens of Chechens gathered in the centre of the city in retaliation for their brother they attacked the Le Black Pearl bar, armed with knives, baseball bats and other metal structures.
The police had to use tear gas to prevent the conflict, and the deputy prosecutor of Dijon reported dozens of wounded, some of whom were seriously injured.
On the night of June 14, both sides were to meet in Dijon for talks, but someone opened fire and the conflict returned to a hot phase.