GAMBIA/ICC – The new Gambian President Adama Barrow says he will reverse his predecessor’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court according to an EU official quoted by the AP.

SYRIA/AL-BAB – Syrian rebel forces together with Turkish troops have advanced into the western suburbs of Al-Bab which is held by ISIS. At least one Turkish soldiers was killed. Al-Bab is the major ISIS stronghold in Syria’s northern Aleppo province.

TURKEY/CONSTITUTION – President Erdogan has approved changes to the constitution granting the Presidency significantly more power and reducing the power of Parliament. A referendum will now be held April 16.

SAUDI/CONSPIRACY – Another Saudi cleric has used Saudi television to repeat the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was an inside job. Sheik Awadh Al-Qarni saiad the twin towers were toppled by a controlled explosion and that ‘it is in the West’s interests fo terrorism to continue in the Islamic countries, so that it can exploit and utilize it’.  This sort of remark passes as mainstream thinking in sections of Saudi Arabia and is not challenged.

COMING UP

A lot of headlines are likely to be generated during Wednesday’s visit by Israeli PM Netanyahu to see President Trump in Washington.  On the agenda – West Bank settlements, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, and the Iran deal.

Apart from that there’s a lot of background positioning going on away from the headlines. For example, the G20 Foreign Affairs meeting in Germany on Thurs/Fri should see some high level bi-lateral meetings between heavy hitters, ditto the Munich Security Conference on Fri/Sat/Sun.  There’s almost always a significant story to emerge from both. With Merkel/Pence and Lavrov/Tillerson meetings scheduled this will be no exception.

DIARY

Feb 13 – Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in Washington to see President Trump. He’ll be the 3rd foreign leader to see the new President since Jan 20th.

Feb 15 – Indian Space Research Organization launches 104 satellites using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

Feb 15 – UN forces due to begin withdrawal from Ivory Coast.

Feb 15 – Moscow hosts another meeting with Pakistan, India, China, Iran and Afghanistan to discuss Afghan war as Russia seeks to regain its role as a global player.

Feb 16/17 – The foreign ministers 0f G20 meet in Berlin.

Feb 15 – U.S. Sec of State Rex Tillerson expected in Mexico. Tbc.

Feb 15 – Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu in Washington D.C. to see President Trump.

Feb 15/16 – NATO Defence Mins meeting in Brussels. 1st chance for U.S. Defence Sec Mattis to meet his counterparts.

Feb 16 – ‘Poops in Space’.  NASA announces winner of ‘Space Poop Award’. No really. $30K presented for the best idea for disposing of astronaut excreta.

Feb 17 – French PM Bernard Cazeneuve in UK.

Feb 17/19 – Munich Security Conference.

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3 Comments on "Things We Lost In The Mire – 7"

  1. More than 100 years after the sinking of the Lusitania and documents pertaining to it remain classified so not much hope that there will be full disclosure about 9/11 in our lifetime. That of course then provides fertile ground for any number of different conspiracy theories to continue. Interestingly 6 months after the attacks the NYT/CBS carried out a series of polls which found that 60% of people thought the government were mostly telling the truth but hiding something. A poll for Ohio University in 2006 found that 36% of respondents thought it likely or very likely that federal officials either assisted or took no action in the attacks in order to go to war in Iraq, in the same poll 16% thought there had been a controlled explosion. In a 2008 world opinion poll 23% of Germans, 30% of Mexicans and 36% of Turks thought the US govt was behind 9/11. The latest poll last year found 54% of Americans believe that the US government is concealing what they know about 9/11.

  2. Admittedly a week and a half away but the current betting odds on the coming Copeland and Stoke Central by-elections makes fascinating (or grim if you are Labour) reading. Ladbrokes and Paddy Power have Conservatives 4/9 and Labour 2/1 in Copeland, a seat Labour has held continuously since 1935. UKIP and Labour are neck and neck at 10/11 in Stoke, a seat Labour has held continuously since 1950. Only two years ago Tristram Hunt was 1/50 on to win the seat at the general election, which he of course did but with a poor majority. Labour are 5/4 to lose both seats with Jeremy Corbyn consequently 6/4 to be replaced as leader by the end of March. Of course if you are a diehard Jezza fan you can get 11/2 on him being the next PM which even by bookies standards seems a bit mean to me. Fascinating to see how the Labour party pandering to it’s support in London is alienating their voters in most of the rest of the UK, has anyone told them there are only 73 seats up for grabs in the capital?

  3. A story that the British MSM seem to not be too bothered about is the revelation that the US used depleted uranium rounds in Syria against ISIS only a short time after it stated that it wouldn’t.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/02/16/the-pentagon-said-it-wouldnt-use-depleted-uranium-rounds-against-isis-months-later-it-did-5265-times/?utm_term=.69e7e4a6f127

    Another is the report by Airwars stating the the coalition is now killing more civilians in the region than the Russians

    https://airwars.org/news/for-the-first-time-the-coalition-is-now-killing-more-civilians-than-russia/

    On the bright side they did have the very important news about the grant given to the door to door poet.

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