Pedro Sanchez Gibraltar ‘Chandelier Bid’

Anna van Densky  OPINION  It would be utmost naive to believe Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is eager to enter history books as a man, who derailed Article 50  deal, and destroyed the the EU27 collective effort to avoid ‘hard Brexit’ over such a ‘eternal‘ issue as Gibraltar ceded to  British crown in 1713. Even more so, the derailing of Brexit deal would be senseless facing the solid support of the leadership of territory unequivocally given to British government both by the Chief Minister and opposition.

However Spanish veto threats hanging as Damocles sword over the final draft deal to be presented for endorsement on the EU Brexit Summit just in a day is an ideal opportunity for Sanchez to raise his own stakes politically in Europe and gain a considerable capital at home, boosting his own popularity.  Virtuoso of public relations, formed in Brussels institutions, Sanchez mastered modern communication strategies and has no intention to miss an opportunity Brexit offers.

In profound need of electoral support,  Sanchez, whose ascension to power happened though elaborate parliamentary chess combination, but not the citizen’s vote, finds himself in a need of political capital,  and voters sympathies, he has been chronically missing. The struggle for Gibraltar status is a ideal subject to raise media and public attention in Spain to gain so much needed  for the Socialists popularity.

The other paramount issue is the Spain‘s shattered image within the EU over the Catalan  referendum oppression – the last minute compromise Sanchez will offer to the bloc will be undoubtedly  presented as an ultimate sacrifice on the alter of collective European good to be exchanged in the future on ‘carte blanche‘ in some sensitive issues and benefits  for Spain to obtain from Brussels.

Pedro Sanchez will definitely not bloc the EU27 Brexit deal, and destroy the fruit of Michel Barnier elaborate arrangement to be delivered at the historic EU Summit, however there is a price for Spanish generosity the Brussels will discover later when leaders gather for the final say. Meanwhile the Article 50 game of nerves will go on, reminiscent of classic ‘Chandelier Bid‘, in order to create the appearance of greater demand or to extend bidding momentum for a piece on offer – #Gibraltar, whose inhabitants have already  twice in referendums supported status quo.

This Millenium Gibraltar sovereignty referendum was held on 7 November 2002 within the British overseas territory on a proposal by London to share  the sovereignty of the territory between Spain and the United Kingdom. The result was a rejection of the proposal by a landslide majority, with only just over one per cent of the electorate in favour.

#Khashoggi assassination as Trump’s ordeal

Anna van Densky OPINION There is no surprise that President Donald Trump is reluctant to accuse the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Jamal Khashoggi assassination, even if there is an overwhelming evidence delivered by CIA, for a simple reason that the President-businessman perceives as a sheer nonsense the sacrifice of such a generous client as Saudi Arabia in name of a  memory of such a nuisance as a journalist.

The ‘Holy warsPresident Trump is waging against press loyal to Democrats are notorious, however it is more than a political argument, but a profound conviction of obsolete character of the profession as such. An avid user of social media, electrifying communications with his 220W Tweets, President does not see much sense in existence of press, on contrary, he experiences it as a malicious and destructive force, intentionally deforming his ideas and policies in mass conscious. Additional scars were left after the press vehement attacks on the First Lady,  and the First family.

Clearly it would be rather naive to expect the President to demonstrate solidarity with Washington Post mourning one of its columnists after all caustic the editorial has poured on the White House. 

However this would be a strategic mistake to think that Khashoggi’s assassination is limited to a newspaper employee or a citizen of a country, because any journalist on planet Earth, irrespective of his political conviction is associating himself with the victim, whose gruesome torture, leading to an atrocious death profoundly shocked even used to regular murders press communities. Shooting, exploding, raping, – even for journalists, who systematically suffer loss of their colleagues, the way Jamal Khashoggi was tortured, assassinated and disposed was too much to bear.

… And the cynicism of the Crown Price, staging the handshake with the killed journalist young son, was tormenting to see…

Will President Trump favor humanism over profits? Will he defend the freedom of speech? Will he condemn the crime? Or will he return to the laws of Ancient Babylon, accepting compensation for the killings signing multi million contracts with Saudis?..

Each day postponing of the final conclusion on Khashoggi’s murderers is damaging the image of the Presidency irreversibly. With indulgence to Prince bin Salman less and less journalists respectful of Trump‘s left around, and their absence may become regrettable in the next elections.  #Justice4Khashoggi

 

EU wrestles May into II referendum

The EU top negotiator Michel Barnier has put the cards on the table offering British Prime Minister Theresa May to postpone Brexit for one year. However one month would be suffice to launch the second referendum procedure in alliance with the Remaines in the House of Commons, including pro-EU Tory MPs in May’s own camp.

The frankness of Barnier brought certain relieve explaining the outstanding difficulty of the talks – the EU does everything possible to keep the UK ‘in’, making problem of every issue. #PeoplesVote is the ultimate goal of the Brexit talks, which follows the EU logic. If you vote ‘wrong’ you have to vote again until you aline with Brussels interests. Will May accept the EU27 ULTIMATUM tonight? She has 30 minutes of dinner speech to clarify her intentions. Afterwards the world will know if Brexit referendum was just a dressed rehearsal for a II one, or Britons really mean it.

 

Minsk Agreement funeral

Today, the 2 of September, the assassinated leader of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Aleksandr Zakharchenko (42) will be lying in state, and the Minsk Agreements are buried together with him.

If, before the assassination many commentators would say, there was no alternative to  ‘Minsk‘, and they were the only road map we had to end  the bloodshed in Eastern Europe, after the terrorist act taking away life of a man, who believed in negotiated peace with Kiev, the Agreement died, because the trust in good will of Ukrainian authorities was definitely killed.

After the explosion in cafe, which took lives of Zakharchenko and his two bodyguards there is no one left in Donetsk who cherishes the illusion of Kiev’s intentions to reintegrate the breakaway Russian-speaking region through the negotiations.

A son on a coal-miner, Zakharchenko was widely appreciated for his integrity and believe in the success of Donetsk Republic independence. As  a soldier he fought against Ukrainian nationalism, defending Donbass people identity. “I’m speechless. Blessed be his memory…”, write Twitter micro blog users. “Heroes don’t die“,  echo the others. “He will go on forever!“. Unfortunately, we can not say the same about the Minsk Agreements. The bomb explosion in the center of Donetsk took live of its leader and trust in ‘Minsk‘. The local media reports readiness to counter-attacks, repelling Kiev troops. War hawks win again. Hoc est bellum – this is war…

Austria top diplomat enjoys ‘wedding of the century’

No need to spend a fortune on a wedding gown, no need to follow strict diet to fit in either. No need to look like a Hollywood star and suffer from plastic surgeries and pain from injecting Botox to enjoy ‘wedding of the century‘. Even at the age of 54 and with some extra kilo you can catch the limelight of the entire mankind, if you invite distinguished guests. Since times of late Tsar Nicolas II Russian heads of state have not been attending weddings abroad. Austrian Minister of Foreign affairs Karin Kneissl performed a dance with one of the most powerful politician in the world, sparkling both indignation and admiration. Public opinion has never been so divided, however the wedding has not passed unnoticed. Was that the purpose?

 

Imperium blandum imperiosissimum!

(Soft power is the strongest! Latin)

Oostend in summer

Ostend is famous for its sea-side esplanade, including the Royal Galleries of Oostend, pier, and fine-sand broad beaches.  Ostend is visited by many day-trippers from all over Belgium heading to the beaches, especially during July and August. It is also appreciated by sailors, finding here a charming place to drop anchor, visiting numerous bistro and restaurants.

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The harbor is usually crowded in summer month, creating a picturesque setting next to the railway station.

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In hot day, the broad beaches are crowded, and experienced visitors come early in the morning hours to get the best places.

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Further from the town, more space with equally fine sand on broad beach.

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Oostend nowadays is truly international hosting visitors from all continents and cultures.

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Putin: Russian military presence in Syria will last as long as necessary

President Vladimir Putin assessed Russian engagement in Syria as a “unique experience” for military, and an “important mission” aimed at protection of interests of Russian citizens, he underlined that those who sacrificed their lives defeating terrorism will be “never forgotten“. The President said that Russian military presence in Syria is fulfilled within the framework of international law, and the assistance in big-scale combat operation of the Syrian army in not needed any more, while the major focus has shifted towards political resolution of the conflict. The comments were made during ‘direct line’ emission.

Thousands of insurgents accumulated in Syria, and it was better to neutralize them there, than let them enter Russian Federation through Central Asian open borders, Putin continued. At present there is no more need in  large-scale combat operations, the President ensured, while the political resolution of the conflict is on the agenda.

However two Russian military locations – Tartus and Khmeimim Air Base  in Syria will stay as long as “beneficial and needed” to defend Russian interests in this “close to Russia region“.

The President explained that there are no permanent constructions on the territory of both Russian basis in Syria , and in case of necessity,  the military can be moved out swiftly.

The experience in Syria is a precious for our troops, but Syria is not a test site for Russian weapons“, Putin continued, “Russian specialists adjusted already functioning systems to in the field, in the combat situations”.

A significant number of Russian officers and generals had an opportunity to participate in missions in Syria, accumulating experience of combat operations, allowing to make one more step to “perfect our military“.