Protests in Belarus
Post-election protests in Belarus became the focus of international organizations, politicians and the media. Several serious clashes between the demonstrators and the police were reported. On Sunday, a rally of thousands of opponents of the current Belarusian authorities took place in Minsk; the event was not coordinated with the city authorities. Participants of the rally held protest actions on the streets near the pre-trial detention center where some leaders of the Belarusian opposition are being held.
According to official data, over 6,700 people were detained in the first days. As reported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic, hundreds of people were injured during the riots, including over 120 law enforcement officers.
Alexander Lukashenko won 80.1% of the vote in the August 9 elections. In addition to Russia, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping congratulated him, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also spoke in support of Lukashenko. However, a number of politicians, including American ones, called for new elections, claiming that the election was rigged.
The conduct of the August 9 presidential elections in Belarus is deeply concerning. They were not free or fair. The U.S. strongly condemns violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters. We support the democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 10, 2020
L'Union européenne doit continuer de se mobiliser aux côtés des centaines de milliers de Biélorusses qui manifestent pacifiquement pour le respect de leurs droits, de leur liberté et de leur souveraineté.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 16, 2020
The United States and the European Union are preparing to impose new sanctions against Belarus due to the brutal crackdown on street protests after the presidential election. In their statements, the leaders of the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, as well as Ukraine, criticized the actions of Alexander Lukashenko and called on him to renounce violence.
UK Foreign Minister James Duddridge said in a statement that the United Kingdom is concerned that representatives of the OSCE and the Council of Europe were not allowed to observe the elections.
Germany called on the EU countries to think about whether it is worth lifting the sanctions against Belarus in the current situation.
FM @HeikoMaas demands release of all protesters in #Belarus who were detained while engaging in peaceful protests & exercising basic civil rights. #EU needs to double-check if lifting of sanctions is still appropriate in the face of excessive force, intimidation & detentions. pic.twitter.com/YM7T3CAtpH
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) August 10, 2020
Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia turned out to be the most active countries interested in the events in Belarus, and even announced their own plans to intervene in the situation.
Polska wciąż pamięta przełom 1989 r. i zawsze wspiera swoich sąsiadów. Zaapelowałem o zwołanie nadzwyczajnego posiedzenia Rady Europejskiej i zdecydowaną reakcję UE na wydarzenia na Białorusi. Mamy obowiązek solidarnie wspierać Białorusinów.
— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) August 10, 2020
At the same time, as if by coincidence, Poland only reaffirmed its commitment to the Western path:
Had another great visit to Poland— one of our closest Allies! Our common history and values have built a solid foundation for a future I’m optimistic about. Now, wheels up, back home to the United States. pic.twitter.com/bd6xGKRVtE
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 15, 2020
As I emphasized in my meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Czaputowicz, Poland is a stalwart Ally in Central Europe and one of the United States’ strongest partners in fostering security and prosperity regionally, throughout Europe, and the world. pic.twitter.com/8KrMRrEQ3q
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 15, 2020
In related news, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a symbolic tour of Europe – Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria.
The excitement caused by the small country speaks to the geopolitical and strategic importance of Belarus in relations between the Western powers and Russia. The West has long been trying to involve Belarus in European integration and the NATO zone, but so far, Lukashenko has managed to maintain a balance. Now, given the open hostility of Western elites towards the president, one can expect that the potential “European turn” has been suspended and Minsk will continue to remain in Russia’s orbit. The question is whether Russia will be able to offer an ideological alternative and a weighty reason for Eurasian integration to strengthen the alliance. Otherwise, globalist forces will influence the youth of Belarus and begin to impose neo-liberal “values”.
Dissolution of Parliament in Lebanon
The Lebanese authorities announced the dissolution of the Parliament. The Lebanese Parliament agreed to a two-week state of emergency in Beirut, giving the army new powers ten days after a massive explosion occurred in the capital which killed about 200 people and injured thousands.
The order gives the army broad new powers to deal with the aftermath of the blast. Angered human rights activists are accusing Beirut of potential abuse of power and human rights violations. However, the same people offer an “alternative” in the form of large loans from France and the IMF.
In a state of emergency, the Lebanese army has the right to close meeting rooms, try civilians for security crimes in a military court and impose a curfew, the media said.
Most importantly, globalist organizations, banking giants (IMF) and Hezbollah’s opponents are taking advantage of the moment of destabilization of Lebanon after the explosion. In many ways, the calls for the dissolution of parliament and a change of power are part of a consistent campaign against Hezbollah, which has a great influence in Lebanese politics and the region.
Protests in Thailand
Thousands of protesters staged another anti-government rally in the Thai capital Bangkok on Sunday. Among the demands are political reforms and a revision of the constitution. In addition, some of the demonstrators called for reform of the monarchy, a sensitive issue in Thailand (since, under Thai law, disrespect and open criticism of the royal family can be punished with a long prison term).
In recent weeks, demonstrations, especially student ones, have taken place almost daily, and a number of leaders have been arrested.
On Saturday, Turkey criticized the defense agreement between France and the Greek Cypriot administration.
According to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the Greek Cypriot administration, which does not represent the entire island or the Turkish Cypriots, has no authority or authority to conclude such an agreement.
“The agreement in question is against the 1960 Treaties and the equilibrium established by these Treaties. There is also a risk of disrupting the efforts to ensure stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the statement said.
“It is unacceptable for France to take steps to further increase tensions in the current period, to organize joint exercises with the Greek Cypriot administration in this context and to deploy military aircraft here contrary to the 1960 Treaties, albeit temporarily”, the ministry said.
Israel-UAE alliance – strike on Iran
Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement to normalize relations, with Israel agreeing to suspend its controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Until now, Israel has not had diplomatic relations with any Gulf countries.
This is, first of all, a blow against Iran. It signals deeper cooperation between the Jewish state and the Gulf Arabs in opposing Tehran, which is struggling for influence in the region.
“We warn the Emirates: Don’t open the region for the Zionist regime to step in,” Iranian President Rouhani responded.
Palestinian leaders were reportedly taken by surprise. A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas said the deal amounted to “high treason” and that the Palestinian ambassador to the UAE had been recalled.
At the same time, the United States is strongly encouraging the agreement. President Trump called the deal between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “a truly historic moment.”
“Now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.
Today is an historic day. After vigorous diplomatic outreach by President @realDonaldTrump, Israeli Prime Minister @netanyahu and Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed have signed an agreement to fully normalize relations between their two great nations.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 13, 2020
This agreement signals the formation of a dangerous alliance to strike at Iran and will undoubtedly help Israel and the Gulf states more easily coordinate their attack on Tehran. In light of the United States assassination of Qassem Soleimani, it is clear that the situation is drawing closer and closer to open conflict.