Weekly News 9 – 13 April 2018 | Mediterranean Affairs
Monday 9 April 2018
Hungary: Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban has claimed a landslide victory in Sunday’s general election.
The 54-year-old will serve a third consecutive term in office, with his party Fidesz projected to win a two-thirds majority in parliament.
Fidesz won almost half of the vote, with 93% of ballots counted, Hungary’s National Election Office said.
Mr Orban is a strong Eurosceptic who campaigned on an anti-immigration platform. oter turnout reached a near-record 69% – an outcome some believed would favour the prime minister’s opponents.
But with almost all votes counted, the nationalist Jobbik party is in second place with 20% of the vote. The Socialists are in third with 12%, and the LMP, Hungary’s main Green Party, is in fourth with 7%. (BBC)
Italy: Almost one million people obtained citizenship in a European Union country in 2016 and Italy was the State that granted most applications, Eurostat said on Monday. The EU statistics office said that 201,591 people gained Italian citizenship in 2016, putting Italy ahead of Spain with 150,944 and the United Kingdom with 149,372. (Ansamed)
Palestine: Without reports from Israeli journalists in Gaza, media in Israeli is mostly offering only the unquestioned repetition of the military’s and government’s view on the Great March of Return protests at the Israeli-Gaza border. (Al Jazeera)
Syria: After a seven-week government offensive has killed over 2,000 and a suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40, the Jaish al-Islam rebel group is evacuating Douma. (Al Jazeera)
Syria: Save the Children said the number of doctors in Syria’s Douma is insufficient to treat the wounded there, while pharmaceuticals and medical supplies are dwindling. As the humanitarian workers on site are denouncing, there are only a few doctors to help the civilians wounded in Douma. Most of the fully qualified doctors, have, in fact, abandoned the city. Worsening the situation is also the serious lack of pharmaceutical and sanitary supplies.
Syria: Israeli warplanes bombed a Syrian regime airbase east of the city of Homs, the Russian and Syrian militaries have said.
The Russian military said two Israeli F-15 jets carried out the strikes from Lebanese airspace, and that Syrian air defence systems shot down five of eight missiles fired. Asked about the Russian statement, an Israeli military spokesman said he had no immediate comment.
Syrian state TV reported loud explosions near the T-4 airfield in the desert east of Homs in the early hours of Monday. It initially reported that the attack was “most likely” American, a claim the Pentagon has denied. (The Guardian)
Tuesday 10 April 2018
Arzebaijan: President Ilham Aliyev is expected to secure a fourth consecutive term in Azerbaijan’s election on Wednesday that opponents say has already been skewed in his favor. Opposition parties say they are boycotting the presidential vote because of Aliyev’s sustained crackdown on dissent during his rule and a likely rigging of electoral results.Seven other candidates were running in Wednesday’s election, which will have international monitors including the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE), but critics questioned whether the other candidates were genuine. (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia could take part in military action in Syria after a suspected chemical attack that killed at least 60 people in the eastern Ghouta region over the weekend, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Syria: The US Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook has left the port of Larnaca on Cyprus and is headed into Syrian territorial waters, said Turkish daily Hurriyet on Tuesday.
It said the US warship is about 100 km away from the Syrian port of Tartus, where there is a Russian military base. (ANSAmed)
Yemen: The spokesman for a Saudi-led coalition said on Tuesday that its military campaign in Yemen was not aimed at establishing a permanent presence along the country’s West coast but at restoring its internationally recognized government. (Reuters)
Wednesday 11 April 2018
Algeria: An Algerian military plane has crashed near the capital killing 257 people on board, officials say.
The aircraft came down just after taking off from Boufarik military airport, west of Algiers.
An inquiry is under way into the cause of the crash – Algeria’s worst-ever air disaster. The government has declared three days of national mourning.
Most of the dead are army personnel and their families, the defence ministry says. Ten crew members also died. (BBC)
Syria: Donald Trump has told Russia and Syria to “get ready” for a missile attack on the Assad regime, saying the bombs will be “nice and new and smart”.
Mr Trump tweeted an extraordinary response to Russia’s claim that it would shoot down any missiles fired at Syria following the chemical weapons attack on Douma. (Telegraph)
Syria: The World Health Organization (WHO) has demanded “unhindered access” to Douma in Syria to check reports from its partners that 500 people were affected by a chemical attack there.
The Syrian government denies being behind any use of chemical weapons. (BBC)
Thursday 12 April 2018
France: France’s President Emmanuel Macron says he has “proof” that the Syrian government attacked the town of Douma with chemical weapons last weekend.
He said he would decide “in due course” whether to respond with air strikes.
Western states are thought to be preparing for missile strikes in response to the alleged attack. (BBC)
UK: Theresa May and her ministers have gathered at Downing Street to discuss the UK’s response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.
Ministers are expected to back her call to join military action threatened by the United States and its allies.
Sources say the PM is prepared to take action against the Assad regime without first seeking Parliamentary consent.
But there have been calls from opposition parties and some Tories for MPs to get a vote beforehand. (BBC)
Friday 14 April 2018
Syria: The US, UK and France launched coordinated strikes in Syria, hitting targets associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program. (CNN)
Syria: The Syrian Armed Forces said in a statement that 110 missiles were fired on Syrian targets and that the country’s defense systems “intercepted most of the missiles, but some hit targets including the Research Center in Barzeh.”
Russia’s news agency TASS reported that none of the missiles fired by the three western nations struck areas near its naval and air bases in Syria. Those bases come under the protection of Russian air defense units. (CNN)
Palestine: Gaza’s health ministry says Israeli soldiers have killed more than 30 protesters and injured at least 1,600 others with live fire, since demonstrations on the border began more than two weeks ago. (Al Jazeera)
Turkey: Turkish prosecutors have ordered the detention of 140 people, including serving army officers, over alleged links to the US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen, according to an Anadolu news agency report.
Police launched simultaneous operations in 34 provinces across the country for 70 serving army members in a probe led by state prosecutors in the central province of Konya, Anadolu said.
It said the suspects were targeted based on statements by soldiers previously detained over ties to Gulen. (Al Jazeera)