The US Supreme Court and Texas
Texans are protesting the outcome of the US election at the highest level. Although the mainstream media has recognized Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 presidential election, several states have not agreed to accept the results.
For example, a Republican state legislator in Texas has promised to introduce a bill in the state legislature allowing voters to hold a referendum on state secession from the United States.
“The federal government is out of control and does not represent the values of Texans. That is why I am committing to file legislation this session that will allow a referendum to give Texans a vote for the State of Texas to reassert its status as an independent nation. This legislation perfectly aligns with Article 1 Section 2 of the Texas Constitution which reads: “All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit “, Kyle Biederman, State Representative for Texas House District 73, said.
“That is why I am committing to file legislation this session that will allow a referendum to give Texans a vote for the State of Texas to reassert its status as an independent nation,” he added, along with the hashtag #Texit.
Republican President Donald Trump himself, his team and many Americans are challenging the results with Biden’s victory, suspecting Democrats of massive electoral fraud. Moreover, Trump’s lawyers have filed a complaint in the US courts over the alleged rigging, and noted that the system is very inflexible in its precedents. States other than Texas (including Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania) have also filed lawsuits over doubts about the popular vote.
Texas is a rather peculiar state whose history is somewhat tricky.
Before Texas joined the USA in 1845, the territory existed as an independent state. The Texas Nationalist Movement still promotes the independence of the state from the USA.
Biden is upsetting to Texans on several parameters at once: his questioning of the constitutional right to bear arms, his ecological agenda (and consequently problems with the oil industry) among other points.
“It is certainly understandable that people are frustrated with the situation after months of a pandemic and concerns they may have about the integrity of the election, but the solution isn’t to dissolve or detach from the greatest nation in history,” Republican House Speaker Dennis Bonnen told Insider. “Instead, Texas needs to take care of Texas and continue to lead the nation by example with legislation that continues to pursue economic strength and freedom.”
The last time a strong secession movement gained momentum in Texas was in 2016 after the UK referendum on leaving the European Union (Brexit).
Incidents such as these demonstrate that many Americans refuse to accept the dubious power of the globalists and neoliberals that Biden represents and are nostalgic for the idea of “good old America”, which was much in tune with Trump’s presidency.
Nagorno-Karabakh – escalation
Although the bloody war in Nagorno-Karabakh has officially ended, clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces continue on the ground.
Fighting continued Sunday between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, breaking the November ceasefire that ended the bloody conflict.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said four of its soldiers had been killed while their units were attacked in areas adjacent to the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Meanwhile the Armenian authorities said six of their soldiers had been wounded.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted in September with clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenian-backed separatists over the mountainous region.
The fighting allegedly ended on November 10 thanks to a Russian-brokered peace agreement that resulted in Armenia giving up part of its territory.
Some Armenian soldiers remained in the forests despite agreeing to withdraw, the defence ministry and state security service said in a joint statement.
The press release said Baku had met all conditions for the withdrawal of all armed groups and Russia had also asked them to leave the territory through loudspeakers.
Instead of leaving the region, Armenian forces have reinforced their positions and are attacking both Azerbaijani soldiers and civilians.
“Armenia shouldn’t try to start it all over again,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said.
Relations between the former Soviet republics have been strained since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh as well as seven adjacent regions.
When new clashes erupted on September 27, the Armenian army hit civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian ceasefires.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several towns and almost 300 settlements and villages from occupation.
On November 10, the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end hostilities and work towards a comprehensive settlement.
US threatens sanctions against Turkey
The US State Department on Thursday announced sanctions against 17 officials from China and other foreign countries, as well as their immediate family members, for serious human rights violations. They include citizens of El Salvador and Jamaica, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
China announced decisions to impose reciprocal sanctions on US officials in the executive and legislative branches, representatives of non-profit organisations (NGOs) and their families in response.
This is the first time US executive branch officials have been added to China’s sanctions list, in what is likely the toughest retaliation from China over Washington’s provocations to date. Observers believe that with outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo having authored a number of Hong Kong bills and sanctions against Chinese officials on Hong Kong affairs, he could be added to the Chinese sanctions list and be given permanent status.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also announced on Thursday that it would lift the visa regime for US diplomatic passport holders visiting the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong SAR) and Macau SAR after the US imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on more than a dozen Chinese officials. Experts believe the move will significantly reduce the scope for US officials to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Given that the US has used the Hong Kong issue to seriously interfere in China’s domestic affairs, China has decided to impose reciprocal sanctions on US officials from the executive branch, Congress and NGO staff who act egregiously and have major responsibilities in Hong Kong-related matters, as well as their family members, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told a news conference Thursday.
Such measures, considered the strongest US response to the latest sanctions on the 14 vice-chairmen of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s highest legislative body, could cause real pain to US officials who have pushed through Hong Kong’s bills and played a malign role in turning the Chinese city into a subversive base. They also serve as the harshest warning to the Trump administration during its time in office and target some of the major hands behind the chaos in Hong Kong, such as Pompeo, observers say.
Israel and Morocco
Israel’s official ties with the Arab world now stretch from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the east to Morocco in the West. On December 10, President Donald Trump announced the latest breakthrough in his diplomatic push on behalf of the Jewish state on Twitter. Morocco, the oldest monarchy in the Arab world, whose king goes by the Muslim honorific “Commander of the Faithful”, will become the fourth Arab state in as many months to establish diplomatic relations with Israel (following the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said liaison offices would reopen in Tel Aviv and Rabat, which Morocco closed in 2000 at the start of the second Palestinian uprising, and full diplomatic relations would be established “as soon as possible”.
The agreement is a breakthrough for Israel as well as Morocco. As part of the deal, Mr Trump, in line with his transactional approach to diplomatic relations, recognized Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara.
Israel and Morocco have agreed to ‘full diplomatic relations’, says Trump
The territory, which is slightly larger than the UK, is also claimed by Polisario Front, the nationalist movement backed by Algeria, which has sought independence for more than 40 years. Mr Trump’s intervention comes amid provocations from both sides and risks renewing a war that ended three decades ago.
Morocco’s main Islamist groups have rejected the government’s plan to normalise relations with Israel following a US-brokered deal.
The religious branch of the co-ruling PJD party, the Unity and Reform Movement (MUR), said in a statement on Saturday the move was “deplorable” and denounced “all attempts at normalisation and the Zionist infiltration”.
The territory, which is slightly larger than the UK, is also claimed by the Polisario Front, the nationalist movement backed by Algeria, which has sought independence for more than 40 years. Mr Trump’s intervention comes amid provocations from both sides and risks renewing a war that ended three decades ago.
“The United States made an important proclamation that stresses Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern provinces and opens new horizons for strengthening Morocco’s position in international circles. It also further isolates the adversaries of our territorial integrity,” the party said in a statement.
Morocco’s outlawed Adl Wal Ihssane, one of the largest opposition groups in the country, said normalisation deals a “stab in the back of the Palestinian cause”.
China’s sanctions against Australian coal
China has imposed tariffs and bans on a range of Australian imports, including wine, barley, lamb, beef, coal, lobster and timber, fearing more industries could be in the firing line.
Earlier this year, China imposed an 80% tariff for five years on Australian barley exports of $600 million a year because of dumping claims.
Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has strongly denied the allegations and has repeatedly urged China to resolve the issue.
Earlier this year, Birmingham also suggested that the tariffs would also prove harmful to Chinese consumers
October Australia decided to rejoin the Malabar 2020 military exercise to flex its muscle in the Asia-Pacific region.
Together with other members of the Five Eyes Alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) Australia recently issued a joint statement on Hong Kong, again interfering in China’s inter-state affairs.
The facts show that Australia has always had a vast political room, where unfortunately too many wrong decisions have been made, especially regarding the proper handling of its tensions with China.
China never denies that the two countries have different traditions, cultures and social systems and are at different stages of development.
History has proven that a strong and stable Sino-Australian relationship is in the interest of both sides, especially when Australia’s economy is slowly recovering from its first recession in 30 years.
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has resigned after a week of political turmoil that saw him end his coalition partnership with former President Joseph Kabila.
Until last week, Tshisekedi, who came to power in 2019, led a coalition with the pro-Kabila FCC party, which has a majority in parliament and the senate. Lawmakers tore up papers and turned tables in a brawl that raised fears of a protracted political crisis.
Parliament on Thursday voted to remove Kabila-backed National Assembly Speaker Jeanine Mabunda from office.
The president’s desire to reform the security sector, the judiciary and to go after corruption has been frustrated by the coalition. They accuse Kabila’s allies of undermining his successor’s right to govern.
The EU envoy to Kinshasa met with Tshisekedi on Friday in a clear show of support for the head of state.
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, will visit the DRC about European meddling in Africa.
A deal on post-Brexit trade and security could be struck as early as this week after Boris Johnson made a key concession over the weekend, Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, told EU ambassadors in Brussels.
Barnier said the prime minister’s recognition of the need for a mechanism at a treaty level to ensure fair competition as regulatory standards diverge over time had paved the way for negotiations.
According to Barnier, there are three scenarios: a deal concluded by the end of this week that would allow the European Parliament to ratify it on December 28; a breakdown in negotiations; or an agreement to be found later in the year and a deal to be “provisionally applied” to avoid a “no-deal” exit, with the agreement of MEPs in 2021.
The UK is now proposing to exclude pelagic fish from any deal with Brussels, with shares instead being discussed at the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, of which Iceland and Norway are members. Pelagic fish are among the species that swim closer to the surface and account for about 80% of the value of fish caught by EU fleets.