20 July 2017   Leave a comment

It appears as if millions of Venezuelans are heeding the call for a general strike against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.  Maduro still seems intent on calling a constituent assembly to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution in ways that would expand the powers of government.  The number of people opposed to the government seems to have grown substantially in recent months although there is strong support for Maduro in some of the poorer parts of various cities.  Many of the poor were lifted up by the economic policies of former President Chavez and now-President Maduro, but the overall state of the Venezuelan economy is clearly desperate.

German-Turkish relations require a great deal of attention.  There are a large number of Turks who live in Germany and they have maintained close relations with Turkey.  After the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 which restricted the flow of people from East to West Germany, Germany actively solicited the immigration of Turkish workers to ease a labor shortage and formalized the relationship in terms of a “Gastarbeiter” (“guest worker”) arrangement.  But the strains in the relationship have been building since President Erdogan has consolidated greater power, and many Germans have been caught up in the tightening grip of Erdogan’s hold on police power.  German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has announced a complete review of Germany’s ties with Turkey and it is clear that the relationship will change dramatically.

Earlier this week, Israel set up metal detectors at the entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.  The move was clearly a security gesture, but it was viewed by many Muslims as a symbolic representation of Israeli sovereignty over the Mosque.   The Mosque is the third holiest site to Sunni Muslims (after Mecca and Medina) and is part of a larger compound known as al-Haram ash-Sharif (“the Noble Sanctuary”).  The Waqf Ministry of Jordan controlled the site until the Six-Day War in 1967; thereafter, the site is controlled by the Islamic waqf trust (a waqf is an inalienable charitable trust).  There have been calls by Muslim leaders in Jerusalem to protest the move on Friday and a confrontation might occur.

al-Aqsa Mosque

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Posted July 20, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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