People’s Republic of China
Chairman/General Secretary/President Xi is fond of saying dialogue and communication are China’s preferred methods of problem solving. They are not China’s only methods. That message has been demonstrated for the Republic of China on Taiwan. On 11 April, the Chinese navy began a three-day drill near its main submarine base on Hainan Island. More than 10,000 naval personnel, 76 fighter jets and a task group of 48 ships and submarines took part in the drill. The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning is in the task group.
Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping viewed the naval display from the bridge of a destroyer. Speaking from an undisclosed location, Xi said the need for a strong navy had “never been more pressing.”
While the timing of the Chinese naval power demonstration suggests to some observers that the Chinese were responding to the show-of-force transit of the South China Sea by the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) carrier strike group. The USS Roosevelt made a port call in Manila on 11 April.
The naval demonstration was more likely staged for the benefit of the Asian leaders who attended the Boao Forum for Asia on Hainan this week. Clearly, the naval exercises were part of the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy’s annual schedule worked up last year, but the timing for the assembly of ships off Boao during the Forum looks deliberate and planned long in advance.
The message for the Asian leaders is that cooperation with the PRC is better than conflict with the PRC. China’s navy is one of the strongest in Asia and is always present… in Asia. China can defend its maritime claims and its islands in the South China Sea.
Turkey in Syria
Turkey intends to remain in and govern their conquered territory in Syria’s Afrin district. On 12 April, Hasan Sindi, a spokesman for the Turkish-backed Afrin Liberation Congress (ALC), told the German DW TV that the Turkish Hatay Province will be responsible for coordinating the administration in Syria’s Afrin area. Turkey is planning to appoint a Turkish governor and district governor to directly run Afrin, according to Sindi.
“A governor will be appointed to Afrin. Yet, we don’t know who this person will be. It is still uncertain. But it will be someone from Turkey and will be appointed by the government. There will also be a district governor, again from Turkey.”
Turkey is establishing the administrative mechanisms for controlling a major piece of Syrian territory. It is establishing administrative institutions like those created by the Syrian Democratic Forces. The major differences are that Hatay Province will oversee Afrin and Turkey will appoint the Afrin government executives.
There is this old concept that you can keep what you killed seems to be in play here. If the plan is followed, the Turks will “punish terrorists” by invading all along the Syrian northern border – and then stay there to insure that there is no more terrorism. Nobody knows how much more they’ll swallow, but I haven’t heard anything from the corrupt, lying, smug, sly, elite media nor have I heard any outrage over territorial annexation. CNN Turk announced that it was a great day for Turkey.
Chemical Warfare Investigation in Syria
On 12 April, a first group of inspectors of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria. French press reported that the OPCW inspectors will begin their investigation in Douma on 14 April.
Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari welcomed the OPCW investigation and said that Syria is expecting a second group of inspectors to arrive on 13 April.
“These two groups will arrive separately in Syria on Thursday as well as tomorrow, on Friday … We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was use of chemical substances,” Jaafari told reporters during a press conference.
The site of the incident has almost certainly been contaminated by one or other of the parties, as with past incidents. The Russians denied that any thing occurred. A US official claimed the US had blood samples. The French claim they have proof of a Syrian attack. The inspectors ought to be able to at least clarify some of these claims.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent said it is unaware of any statement on the Douma incident by any officials of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. However, Lieutenant General Poznikhir of the Russian General Staff told reporters that Russian military officials contacted Syrian Red Crescent officials on site and the local office of the UN coordinator for Syria. Poznikhir said those officials could not confirm a World Health Organization allegation about 500 people treated for symptoms of exposure to chemicals.
It’s comforting to know that different independent groups will investigate rather than allowing for a knee-jerk reaction that leads to a needless war and needless killing on the part of the US. Even if the incident is confirmed, it’s very difficult in a place like Syria to know who initiated the attack. Both the Syrian government and the Syrian rebels have weaponized chlorine gas and nobody should doubt that gassing their own people for political gain is well within the capacity of the rebels.
Ukraine – Taking a Cue from the USA
On 12 April, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for global action to counter the alleged threat of Russian interference in next year’s elections.
Poroshenko has pre-emptively set up an explanation for an electoral defeat – the Russians did it. Thus, any candidate that beats him must have had Russian backing. Ukrainian elections are likely to be a magnet for outside meddling from multiple nations and organizations, including from Russia, the US and Germany.