UN concerns over humanitarian efforts in Syria rise as cease-fire is ignored

By Kyle Prentice

The UN is calling for another 30-day cease-fire in Syria so that injured civilians can get the necessary humanitarian aid they so desperately need.

The call, initially unanimously passed on February 24th, was for all parties to halt engagements in heavily populated cities so that the UN could get medical supplies to the some 5.6 million Syrians in need.

However, a convoy that was headed to help 400,000 Syrians was pulled over and stripped by security forces on Monday.

According to UN aid workers in the region, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

The government is stripping these convoys of their supplies out of fear that they may be used to treat rebels.

The situation is so dire that even Russia (who initially delayed the 30-day ceasefire) is calling for a daily five-hour truce.

As of now, these calls are being ignored.

The UN has been making efforts to get to people in the heavily besieged parts of Syria, like the eastern region of Ghouta, to evacuate those in need of intensive care, but with the government’s continued bombing of Ghouta on Wednesday, it’s been to no avail.

Sadly, the UN cannot do much else without the greater backing of powerful nations like the US and Russia, none of which seem interested in getting further involved in the Syrian war mess.

 

Democrats Under Fire for Ties to Louis Farrakhan

By Kyle Prentice

Many Democrats as of late have been called upon by conservatives and liberals to denounce their connections to Louis Farrakhan after he made anti-semitic and racist remarks in a speech a little over a week ago. Farrakhan stated that “powerful Jews are [his] enemy” and “white folks are going down”.

Seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus have ties with Farrakhan, and are on the hot seat for it. Women’s March co-chairwoman Tamika Mallory has become the target of a lot of heat on social media for her ties to Farrakhan as well. She has made an attempt to protect herself on Twitter, as seen here:

Tamika Mallory Tweet

Mallory has continued to receive heat for her ties to Farrakhan regardless of this statement.

Recently, in a related news story, a picture was released of former President Obama and other members of the Black Caucus meeting with Farrakhan at an event. This picture was kept secret until recently for political reasons.

CNN’s Jake Tapper called out any Democrat associating with Farrakhan in the following tweet:

Jake Tapper Tweet

He points out the obvious irony of individuals openly against bigotry supporting Farrakhan, and rightfully so.

With the midterm elections coming up, the members of Congress associated with Farrakhan should denounce him as this will surely impact their re-election odds. It is a shame more haven’t yet.

Russia Appears to Show off Nuclear Strike on Florida in State of the Nation Video

By Kyle Prentice

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 14th state of the nation address, he showcased a video of their latest military technology. The video showed off supersonic jets, cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and underwater drones. In one of the videos, a simulation showcased what appears to be a missile strike on the state of Florida. Putin also went on to describe Russia’s new nuclear weapons as “invincible”. Russia and the United States have been staunch critics of one another and opponents in the international community for decades, so it is no stretch of the imagination to suggest this video was not only meant for audiences in Russia but here in the US as well.

Although we cannot be sure if it is or is not supposed to be Florida in the video, a strong message is sent nonetheless. This state of the nation address is highly controversial and unlike any of the others Putin has delivered. This state of the nation address was an address to the world to let everyone know just what Russia has been up to in military research.

President Trump has mentioned updating America’s nuclear arsenal on a number of occasions, including during his state of the union address. One cannot help but notice the similarity with Putin’s state of the nation address, considering the highlights were Russia’s latest advancements in nuclear weapon technology. Could this be Putin’s response to Trump, or is it just a general message to those who might oppose Russia in achieving their goals?

This move by Putin is an aggressive one, and may also be tied more to his re-election, which he has been relatively quiet about in terms of campaigning. President Putin might be trying to make the statement of “a vote for me is a vote for national security”. Putin is expected to win his fourth presidential run regardless of this video, however.

As of the writing of this article, the response from the US has only been that of officials criticizing the state of the nation address as not “behavior of a responsible international player”. Hopefully, President Trump will take a loud, strong stance on the matter for the international community to hear.

 

 

 

Chinese President Xi Facing Criticism in his Move to Remove Term Limits

By Kyle Prentice

China’s President Xi Jinping has recently proposed an amendment that would remove the two-five year term limit on being president. This term limit has been in place since the 1990’s and was set in place by Deng Xiaoping in an effort to balance power and advert any chaos similar to that which occurred during the Mao era. This amendment will be voted on in Chinese parliament on March 5th, however, it is very much nothing more than a formality.

Two individuals have come out publicly against this proposal. The most prominent stance has been taken by Li Datong, a well-respected veteran journalist. He sent a letter via an app called “WeChat” to Beijing’s members of parliament. It was a bold move, and authorities worked quickly to get rid of it. However, many copies have already been made on social media of the letter. Li Datong describes the action by the president as a move “against civilization” and suggests it will not stand the test of time.

The other individual who has publicly come out against the proposal is a prominent Chinese businesswoman by the name of  Wang Ying who described the move as “an outright betrayal” in WeChat.

President’s Xi has done a lot to push China forward as a world power by cracking down on corruption (a bit ironic considering a move like this would show that his power has corrupted him) and pushing effective economic reform, however, removing term limits would be a big step back for the nation. It is an outright attempt to solidify his power over the country, even though he still has a second five-year term to fulfill, and wouldn’t be out of power until 2023.

This move by President Xi could signify that he has bigger, more long-term plans for China. If that is the case, then when this amendment passes, we could see the return of a more Mao-like regime in China. Since the China we know is stronger both economically and militarily than it was under Mao, we need to be vigilant of them now more than ever.