News Updates

Spain’s Worst Post-Franco Era Political Crisis, Xi-Biden Summit and Expectations, US Armed Forces in Disarray, Lebanon Nearing Failed State Status, Twitter Legend Dril

Every weekend (almost) I share five articles/essays/reports with you. I select these over the course of the week because they are either insightful, informative, interesting, important, or a combination of the above.

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I chose to wait an extra day before publishing this weekend’s SCR because I wanted to see if there were any new developments in Spain since yesterday. The answer? Yes.

For those unaware (western media has been somewhat muted on this bit of news), Spain is currently being rocked by protests against the PSOE (Spanish Socialists), as they have managed to cobble together a proposed governing coalition thanks to a very, very controversial deal that they have struck with two separatist parties from the region of Catalonia.

In 2017, the separatist government of Catalonia held an illegal referendum that saw a majority of the voters who turned out vote in favour of separating from Spain. Not only was the referendum illegal under Spanish laws, but the turnout for the referendum was only 43%, as the majority of Catalonia’s population ignored the illegal vote. Catalonia’s leaders declared independence (but quickly “undeclared” it too, hilariously), making their actions criminal. Hundreds of pro-independence figures were arrested, charged, and imprisoned for sedition/violating the Spanish Constitution. The architect of the illegal referendum, Carlos Puigdemont, fled to Brussels, serving as an MEP for Waterloo. He attempted to set up a “Catalonian Government-in-exile”, while there. Even though the EU came down strongly on the side of Spanish unity, Puigdemont was not extradited to Spain.

The PSOE, struggling to find enough coalition partners to form the next Spanish Government, struck a deal with the two Catalan separatist parties. The details of the deal have left much of Spain up in arms: not only would all Catalan separatists receive amnesty for their crimes, Catalonia itself would be permitted another independence referendum. Spaniards see PSOE as violating not only the rule of law, but acting unconstitutionally as well. Their deal, which they can pass thanks to the control of the Cortes (Spanish Parliament) and their tight grip on the Spanish Constitutional Court1, would make legal what was once illegal, and open the door to Catalan secession.

The first demonstrations targeted PSOE’s headquarters in Madrid, but are now spreading across the country. Police have been heavy-handed against demonstrators, losing support of those sitting on the fence, or those who supported the demonstrators but chose to stay at home anyway. The centre-right PP and the right-wing VOX are criticizing this amnesty deal as not only unconstitutional, but as a legal coup d’etat. This is the worst political crisis in Spain’s post-Franco history.

It’s been a bit tough finding a proper English language take on this political crisis, so I am sharing this piece which is rather complex to those not too familiar with recent Spanish history and politics. It will have to do for now.

How Spain got to this point:

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