TMBANGLADESH/BLOGGER – The main suspect in the murder of the secular blogger, Avijit Roy, has been shot dead in a gun battle with police near the capital, Dhaka. Roy was hacked to death in Feb 2015. He was one of several secularists murdered by religious extremists in the country over the past two years.

JAPAN/US – Tens of thousands of people demonstrated on the Japanese island of Okinawa to protest against the U.S. military presence there. Tensions have risen after after a former U.S. Marine, employed as a civilian worker, was arrested over the rape and murder of a local 20-year-old woman.

ALGERIA/TERROR – Algerian troops killed 8 Islamist fighters in a gun battle south of Algiers, 4 militants were also arrested. The group the gunmen belonged to has not yet been made public but both ISIS and al Qaeda in the Maghreb are active in rural areas.

PAKISTAN/AFGHAN – Pakistan has reopened the Torkham border crossing into Afghanistan. The crossing was closed last week after fighting between border guards which left at least three soldiers dead.

FRANCE/STRIKES – Air France pilots will stage two 24-hour strikes – 24th and 25th – in a continuing disagreement with management. The previous strikes this month caused 20% of flights to be cancelled.

YEMEN/PRISONERS – A large prisoner swap has taken place between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to President Hadi. The civil war broke out in March 2015, but in recent weeks the fighting has died down and in the south Presidential forces are concentrating on mopping up the remnants of the al Qaeda fighters who survived a spring offensive.

COMING UP –  All eyes will be on the UK referendum. An Out vote will bring turbulence to the global financial markets of unknown duration. An In vote might stabilize the markets temporarily, but politically, whichever way the vote goes, the EU is likely to be unsettled for the foreseeable future. The ECB meets on Thursday and may try to send out re-assuring messages ahead of the UK result. See Diary.

DIARY

June 20 – Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents meet in St. Petersburg for talks hosted by President Putin.

June 23 – UK referendum on EU membership.

June 23 – Protests against French labour reforms continue.

June 23 – The ECB General Council meets in Frankfurt.

June 23-24 – Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

June 23-25 – Burma’s de facto political leader Aung San Suu Kyi visits Thailand.

June 24-26 – Pope Francis in Armenia

June 25 – Icelandic presidential election.

June 26 – Panama Canal Expansion project officially inaugurated.

June 26 – Spanish parliamentary elections.LostSM2

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3 Comments on "Things We Lost In The Mire – 32"

  1. On Japan Tim, In 2009 Yukio Hatayama of the DPJ was elected as Prime Minister on a platform of among other things closing the Futenma Base on Okinawa. This was something he was unable to achieve and which forced his resignation in less than a year. To be clear, while they may believe they are part of an independent sovereign state, the Japanese people and its government have no say on whether US bases remain on their soil or not.

  2. Peter Kennedy | 21st June 2016 at 6:26 pm | Reply

    After carefully reading about the situation of US bases in Japan it seems that:

    1) The US bases are there by mutual political consent (although a lot of the residents of Okinawa think that they should go).

    2) The USA defends Japan against North Korea and other unspecified threats and in return they get somewhere to place their military hardware whilst keeping a very close eye on Russia.

    3) Because the USA provides the majority of the defence (sorry, defense) of Japan the Japanese nation have much lower military spending ensuring a better standard of living for their people.

    Swings and roundabouts.

    • In response to your points Peter.

      1) They are there by mutual political consent insomuch as no Japanese government is ever going to ask for their removal given that the one who did dare to suggest the US remove a single base (the first left wing Japanese government since 1955) got nowhere and it brought down their PM. The current LDP government are and have been supportive of a US presence and pretty much everything else US for that matter.

      2) The Japanese Navy is one of the most powerful in the world, considerably larger than our Royal Navy in fact and North Koreas force of gunboats and obsolete submarines are no match for it. Unless the soldiers of the ROKA manage to sprout wings that country is no threat to Japan beyond it’s nuclear program. An imagined DPRK threat was used as a convenient placeholder to justify the continued presence of US forces between the threat of the Soviet Union abating and the threat of the PRC becoming real enough.

      3)The 50,000 US personnel based in Japan do not constitute the majority of that countries defence. The Japanese army numbers around 150,000, nearly double that of the UK and their air force has well over 200 active fighters, again bigger than the RAF. Would Japanese forces be larger without their alliance with the US, yes of course, would the US want or tolerate Japan as a regional military power, absolutely not.

      Swings and roundabouts unless of course your daughter has been raped and murdered by a US serviceman who you don’t want on your island.

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