Link Roundups

Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

John Singer Sargent, The Calle della Rosa with the Monte di Pietà, Venice, c. 1904. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

Will a NAFTA deal be reached today? Mob violence claimed another life in Mexico this week. A former Mexican governor has been sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of criminal association and money laundering. A Guatemalan court has unanimously ruled that the country’s military carried out genocide during the country’s decades-long civil war. The Nicaraguan government has ordered an arrest warrant for opposition leader Felix Maradiaga. A number of South American countries are pushing the ICC to investigate Venezuela for crimes against humanity. On Tuesday, President Trump suggested that Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro could be easily toppled by a military coup. The IMF has officially provided Argentina with a $57 billion loan. Keep an eye out this week for the ICJ’s ruling on an ongoing land dispute between Bolivia and Chile. Colombian President Ivan Duque claims that the influx of Venezuelan migrants has cost the country 0.5% of its GDP this year. What is the role of women in Brazil’s upcoming elections?

In a bid to increase government transparency, the Spanish government has unveiled the assets of more than one thousand high-level officials. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called for a coalition of ‘goodwill powers’ that are committed to democratic principles and multilateralism. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spent much of the week in Germany, and capped off his trip by opening the country’s largest mosque in Cologne. Belgium is suing Google for failing to blur images of sensitive military sites. Authorities in the Netherlands arrested seven men this week believed to be plotting a major terrorist attack. Conversations around a potential land swap between Kosovo and Serbia continue.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem made quite the speech at this week’s UN General Assembly meeting in New York. A trio of Lebanese citizens have been sentenced to prison terms after they were found guilty of spying on behalf of Israel. Russia is supplying Syria with an advanced air defense system and Israel isn’t happy. The UN Human Rights Council has voted to extend the mandate for an investigation of alleged war crimes in Yemen. This is a good overview of the ongoing protests in Iraq’s oil-rich Basra region. The US State Department has removed all non-essential personnel from its consulate in Basra citing threats from Iran. The State Department has also greenlighted the sale of $300 million worth of tactical missiles to Bahrain. Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj used her speech at this week’s UN General Assembly to accuse neighboring Pakistan of harboring terrorists.

Bangladesh’s leading opposition group, the Bangladesh National Party, wants to take part in December elections but is concerned that there is an uneven playing field. Cambodian PM Hun Sen doubled-down this week on the legitimacy of recent elections that saw his party win all 125 of the country’s parliamentary seats. Did Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte just admit to overseeing extrajudicial killings in the country’s drug war? The Philippines and the US have agreed to increase joint military trainings in 2019. Japanese voters go to the polls today in a gubernatorial election that, in many ways, is a referendum on Japanese sentiments towards US military bases on Okinawa. According to top North Korean diplomats, their country’s position on nuclear disarmament is a classic example of credible commitment problems.

An Egyptian activist has been sentenced to two years in prison for a number of social media posts critical of the government. In Liberia, arrest warrants have been issued for more than 30 former central bank officials in connection with more than $100 million in missing cash. Eight soldiers were killed in Burkina Faso this week after their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Chadian soldiers successfully repelled a Boko Haram attack near Lake Chad on Saturday. Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress has nominated current president Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate for presidential elections in February 2019. In Benin, it now costs $450,000 to register as a candidate in presidential elections. A combination of Ebola and dozens of rebel groups is making the situation in eastern DRC increasingly complex. Cartoons that ‘humiliate’ a government official are now illegal in Rwanda. Citizens of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) went to the polls this week for the first time since the country changed its name in April.

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