Category: Specialized Agencies

Opinion: The Hypocrisy of“Self-Determination”

JEREMY HOLT, Le Figaro

As the United Nations Security Council convenes to address the issue of the national status of Kurdish people at the height of profound regional changes, one notices two distinct arguments taking shape. The first, articulated by states such as the United Kingdom, is of aggressive international support for a new Kurdish state, particularly in Syria, “liberating” them from what they portray as a strangling “intersectional oppression” from the Syrian government and ethnic sub-state communities such as the Syrian Alawites. The second, from as incongruous bedfellows as the United States and the Russian Federation, believes in supporting the “national self-determination” of the Syrian state, and strongly opposes armed intervention. The U.S. even went so far as to suggest to a Le Figaro reporter that “larger nations should not be mettling in the affairs of smaller states” – a dramatic turn from its Iraq War-era policy of the past decade and one indicative of declining American power. This second group favors civil rights and development initiatives for the Kurds and frameworks for proportional representation and an international Kurdish assembly.

Two separate policy arguments to be sure – however, looking beyond measures of military intervention versus rural education programs, one notices that they are not so different as one might think. In reality, they are both about national self-determination, the rub being whose national self-determination the international community should prioritize, Syria’s (and the three other sovereign states with Kurdish populations) or Kurdistan’s. The Kurds, for sure, believe themselves to be a nation . They have a shared language, flag, culture, and a history which archaeologists have been able to trace back to the third millennium, B.C.E. They have vast potential for economic clout powered by the reserves of oil falling in their occupied territory, and they have begun constructing a military alliance of their international militias. Save for the fact that their political union currently has no borders, they would appear to be as much of a nation as France or Spain.

Syria, by contrast, has existed under its current borders since the end of World War I, when the victorious Entente powers divided the Ottoman Empire’s former territory into administrative units. Its population comprises, Arabs, Circassians, and Arameans, in addition to the Kurdish minority in the north. It suffers from great internal disunity on account of ethnic differences and has been wracked by civil war. The American Belfer Center think tank classifies it as a failed state.

Why prioritize a floundering polity over one that is unified and hungry? The reason is that the former has borders. If Kurdistan were to come into existence out of Syrian, Iraqi, Turkish, and Iranian territory, who is to say that nation-states should not be cleaved out of the lands of other existing sovereign countries? It is in the interests of sovereign states to support the concept of the national borders status quo for the sake of their borders’ own inviolability, regardless of how shaky their own claims to cohesive nationhood might be, lest they be forced apart. Rather than being a rallying cry for oppressed minorities, “national self-determination” has become a byline for the status quo. Which, of course, we should not expect the U.N. Security Council to dare touch.

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The Fourth Crusade, 1207

MATTHEW REIAD, Granma

The Committee of the Fourth Crusade began with a decision to send the Crusader Army to sack the City of Zara. On their way to reclaim the Holy Land as a part of the 4th Crusade, the army commited a siege and a sack thereafter of the city of Zara. This decision came with a great deal of backlash from the Pope and representatives of the Papal states.

In the very early minutes of the committee meetings, the committee was tasked with defending the sack of Zara. The 4th Crusade was marked with crimes of war and unethical methodology used in an attempt to retake Jerusalem from Islamic control. The retaking of Jerusalem should only be done through peaceful methods and avoid any imperialistic tendencies of humankind.

As the committee began to defend the actions committed by the Crusader army through the siege and subsequent sack of Zara, the committee was greeted by an announcement by His Holiness, The Pope. Pope Innocent III announced that effective immediately, all voting committee members who defended and voted in favor of sacking Zara were excommunicated from the Catholic Church. The only delegate exempt from this ruling was the Cardinal and Papal Legate. Following pleas from delegates present for the Pope to reconsider his rash decision, Pope Innocent III declared that only a very good and holy deed would gain forgiveness from his Holiness and Almighty God.

Following the announcement from the Pope, the committee began drafting directives to either regain the Pope’s forgiveness and trust or to continue on the path to regain the Levante, also known as Jerusalem. Although this was only the first committee sesion, it seems that two blocs were forming as a response to the crisis created by the Pope. A bloc that wanted to recall the crusader army and beg for the Pope’s forgiveness, and another bloc that wished to continue with the efforts to invade Jerusalem and reclaim Christianity in Israel.

As the committee began to close, it was revealed that 2,000 crusader soldiers had gone rouge and crossed into Anatolia. As the 4th Crusade concludes its first committee session, the two blocs had clearly formed and each one with a goal in mind, these goals were either to return to the Catholic Church or continue with their imperialistic goals and ambitions. As the committee continues to meet, it will be interested to see what directives pass. As of the time of this article was written, a total of five directives were presented to the director and none have been brought up for debate.

Basque Separatists Vow to Keep Bombing Spanish Civilians, Government Divided on Response

LIAM DALTON, The Guardian

The terrorist organisation Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) [Basque Homeland and Freedom] has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Spanish subway, with promises of further bombings if complete independence of Basque from Spain is not achieved.

The violent conflict between ETA, an extremist socialist organisation, and the Spanish Government has arisen following the death of the Spanish King Francisco Franco on Nov. 20 1975. Franco came to power following the Spanish revolution in 1939 where he subsequently established a military dictatorship which governed Spain until his death. Franco selected Luis Carrero Blanco to succeed him in this military regime; upon taking office, however, Blanco initiated the process of transitioning Spain towards a democracy. Separatist movements such as the ETA in Basque have capitalized on the uncertainty generated by the transition, driving home their political objectives in an increasingly violent manner.

The ETA has been financing their terrorist activities by robbing banks, kidnapping Spanish citizens, and extorting money from Spanish aristocrats. These methods in conjunction with terrorist attacks in civilian spaces have produced notable disarray amongst the Executive Spanish Government on a proposed solution. As of the end of the first committee session, nine directives of the 16 proposed failed, with the remaining seven yet to be voted on. The directives ranged from legalising the languages of Basque, Catalonia, and Galicia, to militarising the Basque region, initiating independence referendums, and investigating claims of corruption by the interim Prime Minister. The range of these failed directives reflect a lost Spanish Executive with no clear direction for a prosperous future.

Uncertainty as to the future of Spain has heightened in recent days, as the Spanish military threatens to defect unless they are paid fair wages in a time where military demands are heightened. If the Government fails to meet these demands, the ability of the Spanish government to control the ETA will vastly diminish and pave the way for the emergence of an independent Basque.

The direction of 1975 Spanish society is truly at risk. If the members of the Spanish Executive fail to create a radical bipartisan strategy to suppress the ETA, safeguard Spanish citizens, satisfy calls for Basque and Catalonian independence, and prevent the military from defecting, then a Spanish democracy may never come to fruition.

UPDATE: Tensions have dramatically increased in Afghanistan

By FABIANA CHAVEZ, EL PAIS

The last hour of the Cabinet of the Democratic People’s Republic of Afghanistan had an important update about the things they have achieved during the conference.

 

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The Cabinet had several questions

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The minister of Finance addressed the issues at hand

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Explanation and responses about the efforts achieved

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Minister’s thinking about how to solve the issues not yet covered

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Minister of Internal Affairs catching up

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Welcome back, Marlboro Man: Bell Pottinger Management Team

BY FABIANA CHAVEZ, EL PAIS

The year was 1950 and one of the most effectives and transcendent cigarette commercials was created: The Marlboro Man. Don’t let this image of a cowboy that can do anything he wished distract you from your chores when you see a poster of him smoking a cigarette with a catchy message: “Come to where the flavor is, come to Marlboro Country.” The Bell Pottinger Management Team recreated the poster today, giving it a different spin.

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The company discussed today whether they should make a contract with Phillip Morris to recreate him, so more marketing can be done for the Marlboro company. Now he is not a cowboy, now he is a CEO that has an apartment with the prettiest view of Manhattan. He can also do anything, he is invincible and his money can guarantee him a bright future. So why wouldn’t they accept this new social campaign? Altria Group has just hired marketing specialists to create a draft of what the new poster will look like and we have the preview:

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The image was so well-received that current negotiations are being held to launch the “New Marlboro Man” campaign.

The committee worked hard and discussed the matter.  We believe that their efforts are sure to keep their clients happy.

 

Gallery: Reconstruction of the American South Fails to Address Voter Issues

BY YENA SEO, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

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Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCullough argues against the directive “Let the Good Times Roll.”

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The Reconstruction of the American South goes into voting procedure.

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A delegate argues against the directive “Do You Even Vote, Bro?”

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Delegates show support for directives.

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A delegate reads a press release.

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Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase argues that he only agrees with three clauses in “Do You Even Vote, Bro?”

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President Abraham Lincoln reacts after neither directive is passed.

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Delegates sign off on directives to address voter issues.

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Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase multitasks.

American Government Officials Fail to Resolve Voting Issues

By YENA SEO, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Despite a rapidly approaching presidential election, the American leaders present in the Reconstruction of the American South Committee struggled to pass a directive that would address the voting issues plaguing the United States of America. The officials were concerned about the safety of voters and candidates, and desperately attempted to draft directives that would address these concerns.

Two directives were presented to the committee: “Let the Good Times Roll” was given as a short-term solution, while “Do You Even Vote, Bro?” was offered as a long-term approach to the issues at hand.

“‘Let the Good Times Roll’ is not as detailed as ‘Do You Even Vote, Bro?’” Attorney General James Speed said. “We’re putting into place a long-term plan, and we’re putting polling places where free men will be able to vote.”

One of the main sponsors of “Do You Even Vote, Bro?” agreed with Speed. Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCullough emphasized that the long-term approach would be used for many years, and having voter registration and voter identification would protect the United States in the future.

Other members of the Reconstruction of the American South disagreed, arguing that a long-term framework was not what was immediately needed, and also had provisions that were questionable in nature and needed further discussion.

“The issue is that there are very few provisions in ‘Do You Even Vote, Bro?’ that are truly great,” Salmon P. Chase, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said. “Establishing the FEC is forward-thinking, but I am worried about its implementation, and there are only three clauses I find acceptable, which would be a very stripped-down version of the directive.”

“Let the Good Times Roll” offered short-term solutions, such as having federal troops and Secret Service members at elections to protect candidates.

Despite heated debate from many officials, both directives failed to pass in committee, and the presidential election is now underway with no tangible measures to ensure voter and candidate safety.

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Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCullough sponsored the directive “Do You Even Vote, Bro?”