27 February 2016   Leave a comment

Thousands assembled in Russia to protest the lack of progress in solving the murder of Boris Nemtsov one year ago.   Nemtsov was a vocal critic of President Putin and many in Russia believe that the President was involved in Nemtsov’s murder.  The authorities have charged a group of Chechen men with the murder, but the accused men do not seem authoritative enough to have perpetrated the crime without orders from higher up.  The protests reflect a broader sense of discontent within Russia as the economy has slowed down.

Early poll results in Iran indicate that reformers and moderates won handily in the national elections held on Friday.  The elections were for the Assembly of Experts, which appoints the Supreme Leader, and for the national parliament, the Majlis.  The early returns indicate that young people were primarily responsible for the outcome and that their major concern was over the health of the economy.  The preliminary results are encouraging for those who look forward to more normal relations with the US.

Remarkably, the first day of the brokered “cessation of hostilities” (there is great reluctance to call it a cease-fire) in Syria seemed to have partially succeeded.  Although there were several reports of violations, most of the major news agencies still present in Syria were reporting that the fighting had substantially subsided.  The truce does not apply to Daesh (the Islamic State) or to the al-Nusra front (the affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria), so all sides can still attack those two groups.  The hope is that the truce will last long enough for humanitarian agencies to provide help.  The truce also helps the government of President Assad since it silences the guns of most of his opponents.

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Posted February 28, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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