French Election

On Sunday, France held the first round of the presidential election cum referendum on EU membership. Emmanuel Macron won the largest share of the votes with 24% of the vote, followed close behind by Marine Le Pen with 21.3%. Thus, these two candidates will now compete for the French presidency in a runoff vote on May 7.

During his first interview after the election, Macron said,

The French people have decided to put me at the top in the first round of the vote,” “I’m aware of the honor and the responsibility that rests on my shoulders.”

In contrast, Marine Le Pen said that the outcome of the election was “an act of French pride” and called on French citizens to support her in order to defeat Islamist terrorism.

On Monday, Ms. Le Pen quickly renewed her attacks on Mr. Macron calling him “weakling” for his anti-terrorism policies.

The defeated candidates also gave their opinions about the outcome of the election and called on French citizens to support Emmanuel Macron against the xenophobic Marine Le Pen in the runoff vote on May 7.

The socialist Benoît Hamon, with 6% of the votes, was the first to concede and called on his supporters to vote against Marine Le Pen.

Fillon conceded with a 40-minute speech:

“The obstacles in my path were too many and too cruel,” he said. I accept responsibility for this loss,” added Fillon, asking his constituents to remain united and determined going forward into the French parliamentary elections. The defeated leader said he had ”no choice but to vote against the extreme right.” “I will vote in favor of Emmanuel Macron,” he concluded.

Jean-Luc Melenchon refused to say who he would back, criticizing both candidates for having “no stance on the environment or the future of civilization, and who both challenge the welfare and social model of the country.” He also said that the 500,000 members of his organization, La France Insoumise, will hold a vote to decide whether to support Macron, cast a blank vote, or abstain in the runoff vote in May.

The current President, François Hollande called on French citizens to reject far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and back Macron in the runoff on May 7.

For the first time in six decades, neither of France’s main left-wing or right-wing parties had a candidate remaining in the run-off election.

The outcome of the first round of the French election portrays a terrifying scenario. French citizens will now have to choose between Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker who represents the establishment, and Marine Le Pen, a xenophobe who wants to destroy the EU and expel millions of legal resident immigrants in the name of fighting terrorism.

Macron’s victory would probably lead to the French working class losing purchasing power, which, in the short-term, will weaken the French economy. On the other hand, Le Pen’s victory would be catastrophic. She wants to hold a referendum on EU membership, and expel millions of immigrants who sustain the French economy.

According to recent polls, Emmanuel Macron will win the second round with 59% of the vote. However, experts have suggested that there is a factor which could give Le Pen the presidency: so-called Islamist terrorism.They think that a major terrorist attack in the next week in France would send a shock wave through French society, giving Le Pen a real chance of becoming president.

Paradoxically, Marine Le Pen wants to eradicate terrorism and Islamist terrorists want to assassinate her. However, they need each other to survive for the following reasons:

1- Marine Le Pen needs a terrorist attack to have any hope of victory.

2- Islamist terrorists need Le Pen to cause chaos in Europe if they want to spread their ideas and attract new militants.

While French citizens await the outcome of the runoff vote on May 7, the establishment is endorsing Emmanuel Macron in order to instate a new financial dictatorship in France if he becomes president. Marine Le Pen, meanwhile, has renounced her membership in the National Front (her political party) while being endorsed by Trump and U.S. alt-right organizations.

It is clear, then, that Neither Le Pen nor Macron will transform French society into a fairer one. Thus, the only thing that French citizens can do is organize and prepare themselves for a long battle against the unfair measures implemented by their next president.

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Donald Trump: the Despicable Warmonger

When Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, not many people, including his most fervent supporters, could ever have imagined that his belligerent actions would one day place us on the brink of WWIII.

Despite his many promises, three weeks ago, Trump directed a tactical strike on al-Shayrat air base (Syria) that was designed to weaken Syrian military defenses against rebels and terrorists, but which also jeopardized diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States.

Prior to that, Trump had attempted to garner a green light from the international community at large in order to launch a preemptive strike against Iran. However, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, warned him that,

“it would be disastrous for the world if the U. S. that it would be disastrous for the world if the U.S. tore up the Iran nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to scale down its nuclear aspirations in exchange for sanctions relief, which brought stability to the region.”

Under the pretext of defending the U.S. against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Trump obtained the long-awaited international support needed to implement his imperialist, warmongering plans. Although the international community at first supported Trump, in the end, it established some boundaries aimed at avoiding global instability.

Ignoring international demands, Trump recently announced the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its carrier group to waters off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, with his usual belligerence, Trump threatened Kim Jong-un, saying that the next time that North Korea conducts either a new ballistic missile or other variety of nuclear test, the U.S. will launch a preemptive strike against North Korea.

According to yesterday’s breaking news revealed by the New York Times, the aircraft deployment was fabricated:

The carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.”

“The Carl Vinson is now on a northerly course for the Korean Peninsula and is expected to arrive in the region sometime next week,” Defence Department officials said. The White House declined to comment on the misunderstanding, referring all questions to the Pentagon.”

Amidst growing tension, China, and Russia warned the international community that the U.S. and North Korea are set for a head-on collision and called on Trump to de-escalate the tension in Korea.

Several pundits noted that North Korea does not yet have the capacity to fit miniaturized nuclear warheads on long-range missiles. Nonetheless, North Korean military forces possess conventional weapons that can easily reach South Korean and Japanese targets and deal catastrophic damage.

Despite a multitude of warnings, Trump does not appear to be considering the consequences of a potential war with North Korea, and continues instead to escalate the tension with his usual belligerent rhetoric against Kim Jong-un. Each time this happens, Kim Jong-un announces counter-measures and elevates his nuclear threats against the U.S.

On Saturday, during the traditional military parade for the birth of Kim Jong-il, North Korea showed its armament’s capacity, including what appears to be an ICBM (an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching U.S. soil) However, most pundits think that it has never tested, and its purpose was to send a clear message to Trump.

On Sunday Kim Jong-Un unsuccessfully attempted to test a new ballistic missile, which exploded a few seconds after launch.

Due to the relentless escalation of the conflict, citizens living in the region are preparing for an imminent outbreak of violence. They say that they are used to this kind of narrative between the two countries. This time, however, it appears to be different with Trump, who is a very unpredictable president.

With the drums of war beating, the international community is warning Trump, saying that if he follows through on his threats and attacks North Korea, the outcome would cause up to 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 casualties (according to an investigation conducted two years ago by the Obama administration). It would primarily affect civilians in South Korea and Japan, but also the thousands of U.S. troops deployed in the region.

In response to the constant international pressure, Trump could decide not to attack North Korea. However, it is important to remember that Trump also said that he would never attack the Syrian government, but ended up putting the lie to those words and launched a nighttime attack.

Regardless of the outcome of the Korean conflict, it appears that Trump will continue following in the footsteps of previous warmongering presidents in pursuit of power and popularity. Thus, the only left question is whether Trump will cause more carnage than George W. Bush.

U.S. Strike on Syria

On Thursday night, Donald Trump directed a strike against a Syrian military airbase, which targeted fighter planes, ammunition bunkers, radars, and petroleum storage. The Syrian regime said that the attack killed 7 soldiers and wounded 3.

In a brief press conference, Trump assured the American public that the strike was in retaliation for the last chemical attack against innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria, which caused as many as 80 casualties, including many children.

Despite the fact that the UN could not reliably determine the accountability of the Syrian regime over the chemical attack, the U.S. government and the mainstream media launched a campaign to accuse them.

Ignoring the resolution of the UN, the NATO and other allies expressed their support for the strike and said that it was proportional. On the other hand, the Russian government condemned the attack and said that the U.S. is helping terrorists on the ground. Furthermore, the Russian Army announced the cessation of its communications with the U.S. in Syria and reiterated its support for the Syrian regime.

48 hours after the strike, in a joint statement, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and several local militias said that the U.S. had crossed the line and that the next time they will respond with force. According to this coalition, there are many reasons to think that the U.S. wants to exert utter control over Syria due to its geolocation.

Despite their many lies, Russia and the U.S. have committed several war crimes in Syria. For years, the U.S. has bombed civilians and assisted rebel groups with ties to terrorist organizations, which have killed thousands of innocents. And Russia has supported the Syrian regime, which has also killed thousands of innocent civilians.

Everyone still remembers, when in 2003, at an assembly of the UN, the then U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, assured that the Iraqi government had WMD, which could soon cause carnage in the region and perhaps worldwide. As a result, the international community created a coalition to invade Iraq, which caused as many as 1 million of deaths. It was not until after some years that the international community found out that the CIA deliberately fabricated that story to intervene in Iraq.

By attacking Syria, Trump has gained as much popularity as Bush did during the Iraqi invasion. Since the strike, the mainstream media, including the most critical such as CNN, and The New York Times have praised Trump’s military action and elevated him as an excellent President.

It is deeply troubling that Trump has found out the key to gain popularity. Due to his incapacity to govern the country, it appears that he will launch more military interventions in countries such as North Korea and Iran.

It is important to remember that for years, Donald Trump suggested that Obama’s intervention in Syria was a political move to gain popularity. However, he is now adopting the same ploy. Fortunately for everyone, he could not delete his past tweets and here there is a sample of them:

Screenshot from 2017-04-08 13-55-13Screenshot from 2017-04-07 23-10-42

Despite the complexity of the Syrian conflict, this will only end when all parties negotiate a realistic resolution. Apparently, Trump is not willing to do so, but a strong antiwar movement may force him (like in the past with previous administrations) to step back in his bellicose decisions.

While the U.S. antiwar movement is organizing to become stronger, Trump is deploying warships, and troops in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. Over the next months, the world will observe whether the antiwar movement succeeds or Trump causes chaos everywhere.

 

Donald Trump: The War on Terror

From the outset of his presidency, Donald Trump has appeared to be willing to follow in the footsteps of previous presidencies in the “war on terror.” His cabinet has started to hammer out an international plan which, once approved will give green light to the U.S. military forces deployed in the Middle East to direct air strikes on civilian areas in the name of killing terrorists.

Despite his many promises and oaths, Obama embraced Bush’s military strategy to fight terrorism, and endow the JSOC (Joint Special Operations Commands) with the capability of operating undercover in countries such as Pakistan and Iraq with absolute immunity. The JSOC often targeted innocent civilians (including children) causing a real massacre in the region.

Emulating the legacy of previous administrations, and during his first week in the white house, Trump directed a fatal raid in Yemen, which jeopardized the lives of several members of the American special forces, and caused the death of Chief Petty Officer William and 30 civilians, including the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born “radicalized” leader who was killed in a drone strike in 2011.

During his first intervention at the Congress, Trump vehemently used the death of Officer William to make propaganda and reaffirm that the fatal raid in Yemen was necessary to protect the country against terrorists.

Far from stopping his acts of barbarism, Trump recently announced the deployment of 1000 additional soldiers to Syria. In addition, Trump has ordered the U.S. military commanders in Syria to escalate their operations in civilian areas to target and kill terrorists.

The tragedy came swiftly, on March 17, when the US-led coalition directed an air strike in a residential area in West Mosul (controlled by ISIL.), which slaughtered as many as 200 civilians. That was preceded by the killing of dozens of civilians in a school in Raqqa province where refugees were being sheltered, which itself was preceded by the US-led destruction of a mosque near Aleppo that also killed dozens.

Because of these atrocities, a large pool of U.S. commanders announced an investigation to establish accountability for the above-mentioned carnage against innocent civilians in Mosul.

“We have an investigation going on, but our initial assessment… shows we did strike in that area; in fact there were multiple strikes in that area, so is it possible that we did that? Yes, I think it is possible,” Lt. Stephen Townsend told reporters Tuesday.

“Because we struck in that area, I think there’s a fair chance that we did it.”

Unfortunately, several U.S. soldiers and commanders justified the lethal air strike, which caused so many deaths, alleging that since ISIL uses civilians to shield then the air strikes are justified because it is more important to kill terrorists.

Later on, numerous civilians fearful of reprisal expressed their concerns, and asked the authorities if there was any justification for bombing innocent civilians who are denigrated, mistreated, tortured, and raped on a regular basis by the most inhumane terrorist group on earth.

It is worth recalling that the international law prohibits the targeting and bombing of civilians. The deliberate assassination of civilians constitutes a war crime, and essentially if someone commits it, he or she is liable to face prosecution at the International Court. However, the world’s most powerful countries do not bear any legal responsibility for their crimes since they control the very organizations which investigate war crimes.

Another concerning fact is Trump’s struggle to re-establish the network of U.S. secret military prisons to torture terrorists and civilians worldwide. Several experts argue that torture programs are ineffective in fighting terrorism. Most of the prisoners who are tortured on a regular basis are likely to incriminate themselves to stop the physical and mental suffering.

Under Bush’s presidency, the U.S. unjustly targeted and jailed thousands of innocents civilians for years. Once out of the White House, Bush acknowledged some of his mistakes, although it does not exempt him from the war crimes that he committed during his presidency.

By unjustly killing thousands of innocent civilians, Trump will never annihilate terrorism. On the contrary, it will be used for terrorists as a propaganda tool to convince and persuade citizens that the U.S. is the real enemy of the Middle East.

The defeat of Islamic terrorism will only come when the international community shows citizens of the Middle East that they are there to help them. However, it is unlikely to happen since Trump could have several conflicts of interest in the Middle East.

During the last presidential campaign, Trump announced that if he became President, he would then try to take control of petroleum production in the Middle East, and this fact will undermine his efforts to build trust with the citizens.

While I am writing this piece, Trump is probably planning his next move in the Middle East. Or perhaps a deadly strike is being directed against defenseless civilians causing carnage in Syria or Iraq. What is certain is that the international media will be waiting for the next fatal event, and the international community, as usual, will lean on global superpowers and do nothing to stop the massacre in the Middle East.