Will it ever end?
A political crisis in the separatist entity of Abkhazia, which included coup rumors and Russia’s temporary detention of an opposition leader, has eased for now. But the sources of instability have not been fully addressed.
After large protests and counter-protests on December 15 in the capital, Sukhumi, the de facto president, Raul Khajimba, offered concessions to the opposition. But while this appears to have dampened tensions for now, Abkhazia seems likely to be gripped by uncertainty for months ahead.
So what set off this crisis? On November 30, the opposition party Amtsakhara announced that if Khajimba did not resign by December 15, it would convene a people’s assembly. The implicit threat was that this people’s assembly might seek Khajimba’s ouster. The government took the threat seriously, organizing a counter-protest, as well as a range of statements by political and civil society actors (including even former South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity) that uniformly appealed for unity. In addition, the State Security Service presented recordings it claimed featured certain opposition members discussing plans to forcefully overthrow Khajimba.
A Turkish judge who formerly served on international criminal proceedings concerning Yugoslavia and Rwanda has been arrested.
The judge is accused of being involved in some way with the coup attempt this past July. The UN court president Theodor Meron told the UN general assembly today that the Turkish government has denied several requests to visit the incarcerated judge.
As a judge for the UN, Aydin Sedaf Akay would be entitled to diplomatic immunity and some are saying this is possibly the first time this privilege of UN judges has ever been violated.
The “Red Shirts” movement has caused large-scale political instability, but it has brought to the fore critical questions about the road to Thai democratization.
For some years now Thailand has been undergoing a colossal political crisis, resulting in the 2014 coup d’état, the second military coup in the past 8 years. This was triggered by the rise of populist Thaksin Shinawatra within Thai politics. Fear of his powers mobilized the middle-class, elites and military against Thaksin. Specifically, two military coups were aimed at putting an end to “Thaksin’s party”, but both failed to achieve their goal. Thai society continues to be divided, and the pro-Thaksin movement (Red Shirts) retains its strength.
Thailand’s dictatorial regime recently held a referendum on a new constitution, aimed at reasserting control over Thai politics. Thai people voted in favor of the new constitution believing that it might restore stability. However this seems far from likely while Thailand’s political processes continue to be controlled by the military. More likely, the junta’s voting system in the next elections will produce a weak coalition administration and a Senate appointed by the army.
25 years ago, an attempted takeover by communist hardliners led to the Soviet Union’s collapse. The reverberations still continue.
The death of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a reality, despite rumours that it didn’t happen at all. But it was a strange death, reflecting the strange life of the beast itself. A state that had survived the onslaught of Nazi armies and avoided overthrow by popular revolution ended as a result of the failure of the “State Committee for the State of Emergency” (GKChP in its Russian acronym), better known as “the failed coup in Moscow in August 1991”. A quarter of a century later, the aftershocks are still being felt, and by all of us.
It was a pathetic end for the former superpower. The coup was orchestrated by its top officials, the entire cast in power with one exception: the USSR’s first (and last) president, Mikhail Gorbachev, who was taking his summer vacation in Crimea. The “gang of eight” included Gennady Yanayev, the Soviet Union’s vice-president; Valentin Pavlov, its prime minister; Dmitri Yazov, defence minister; Boris Pugo, interior minister; Vladimir Kryuchkov, head of the KGB.
Evidence and reliably informed speculation are the only two rational means that are, as of yet, available to reconstruct the source behind the 15 July 2016 Turkish coup-attempt.
One can reasonably assume that some nation’s intelligence-operation was involved, and that this would have entailed either America’s CIA or Turkey’s equivalent, the MIT or National Intelligence Organization, or else both. America’s CIA has been behind coups in «more than 50 countries». Throughout the CIA’s existence, it has organized or helped others in organizing, most of the world’s coups. Whereas previous empires (i.e., previous international dictatorships) have functioned mainly via overt invasions (using the military), the US international dictatorship operates mainly via coups (using intelligence-operatives) – coups are the American aristocracy’s particular specialty; the CIA is the world-champion specialist in this field, and no other intelligence agency is anywhere in its league, for such operations.
The whole experience was psychedelic, even for seasoned observers of Turkish politics, most of whom were first-hand witnesses or indeed victims of the periodic interventions of the “guardians of the republic” – in 1960, 1971, 1980, 1997 and, for that matter, 2007.
Fighter jets and helicopters flying over Istanbul and Ankara, dropping bombs on police headquarters and the parliament, sporadically opening fire on civilians; tanks and platoons occupying central locations, among them the two bridges on the Bosphorus, the Ataturk airport, TV stations and General Staff headquarters; a president defying the mutiny on Facetime and calling the “nation” to take to the streets; a quick denouement which left 265 dead, 1440 wounded and an even stronger “strongman” behind.