November 18, 2022
CANVAS is delighted to bring you another issue of our weekly report!
A missile strike near the Poland-Ukraine border killed two Polish citizens Tuesday, prompting an emergency meeting of NATO states and eliciting international suspicion that faulted Russia for the incident. On Wednesday, NATO officials concluded that the missile likely belonged to Ukraine and accidentally fell into Polish territory. “There is nothing … to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland,” said the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, calming fears that the incident would lead NATO to invoke Article 5. This week, Russia has pummeled Ukraine from east to west with frequent missile strikes, causing widespread power loss. Kherson, recently recaptured by the Ukrainians, is facing a crisis due to a lack of power and water in the city.
Footage on social media showed security forces beating women in the Tehran metro for not wearing mandatory hair coverings, with police opening fire on a crowded platform. As passengers ran out of the station, some were trampled. The videos also show police beating women with batons as they moved from carriage to carriage, likely in response to the intensified protests on Tuesdays where protestors commemorated the 2019 Bloody November protests.
Supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, who rules the Taliban through decrees from Kandahar, has ordered judges to fully enforce Islamic law, including punishments like public execution, stoning, flogging, and limb amputation.
Security forces clashed across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border resulting in the closure of a major border crossing. A spokesperson for the Taliban says that the clashes are a misunderstanding, and both sides are investigating the situation. Pakistan has called on the Taliban to ensure that it will not harbor international militants.
On November 17, the Lebanese parliament once again, for the sixth time, attempted to elect a president. Parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri has again called divided politicians to decide on a candidate. Meanwhile, the caretaker government has failed to manage the economic collapse and cholera outbreak. As a result, politicians have criticized the parliamentary sessions, which could “contribute to normalizing the presidential vacuum.”
On Monday, Iran launched more attacks against Kurdish groups in northern Iraq using drones and missiles to target the foreign actors it accused of orchestrating the protests that have spread across the country in the past few months. This is an escalation in the government’s claim that foreign groups are to blame for the protests and unrest, including plans to attack Saudi Arabia earlier this month. The strikes on Monday hit the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran headquarters and Komala, an Iranian Kurdish Communist Party, both of whom are banned by the government.
After the recent midterm elections gave Republicans a razor-thin majority in the House, GOP leadership has signaled increased attention to U.S. – China relations. In the future, it can be assumed that two top Republicans would streamline the shipment of weapons to Taiwan to help shield the island from potential Chinese military advances. In addition, it is possible that Republicans will likely decrease aid to Ukraine while not ceasing all assistance. “What we’re trying to do in Ukraine is avoid global conflict,” said Representative Michael McCaul.
Mass protests accompanied the preparation and opening of the APEC 2022 meeting in Bangkok this week. Thousands of police officers and military personnel have been deployed across the capital to prevent groups of demonstrators from provoking rallies against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. However, despite police pressure and threats of criminal prosecution, many activists held actions demanding the government’s resignation and speaking in support of Hong Kong, against the One China policy and the APEC summit itself. According to the information of the Thailand opposition media, the dispersal of the demonstrators took place with unprecedented brutality and violated international norms and principles.
On November 17, Myanmar military junta announced a general amnesty for prisoners. It is reported that there are plans to release almost 6,000 prisoners, among which 712 are political ones. Even though Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy party were overthrown by the junta are not subject to amnesty, several prominent activists were released this Thursday, including National League for Democracy party spokesperson Dr. Myo Nyunt and legal advisor Kyaw Ho, the author Maung Thar Cho, and Mya Aye, a leader of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising. Furthermore, four foreign nationals — Australian economist Sean Turnell, former UK diplomat Vicky Bowman, Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota, and American botanist Kyaw Htay Oo — were also freed. The military said that they would be deported upon their release.
FBI director Christopher Wray has stated his concern about Chinese “police stations” opening in the US, which are used to pressure Chinese nationals to extradite themselves and to spread influence overseas. Wray told a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that Chinese police stations “violate the sovereignty and circumvent standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes.”
Tribal fighting in Darfur last week has killed at least 48 Sudanese citizens, according to a recent casualty update. United Nations figures show that some 15,000 refugees have escaped from a Central Darfur village following the unrest. A state of emergency is currently in effect.
This week, President Luis Arce of Bolivia announced that a national census would be planned one year later than the opposition had wanted. Amid a countrywide strike calling for the census to be held next year, Santa Cruz has recently reached a standstill. According to opposition groups, the government in La Paz put off the census because it would have given them more resources and seats in Congress.
Aside from urban protests, there is also a growing movement of indigenous peoples against the arbitrary mining industry, damaging both nature and the traditional communities’ life. In October 2022, public pressure succeeded in annulling the mining agreement in Madidi, Cotapata, and Apolobamba National Parks. However, Bolivian environmental legislation has significant gaps that allow illegal mining to flourish and cause irreparable ecological damage.
Local Zimbabwean courts released fourteen opposition activists imprisoned in June this week on bond. They were detained at the funeral of another opposition member; whose dismembered body had been discovered a well days earlier. Although several of the group’s members were freed this week, Job Sikhala, who has been detained 67 times but has never been found guilty, is still being kept in a maximum security facility.
Indonesia and the G7 this week reached an agreement on a $20 billion funding package to aid the Southeast Asian country in accelerating its switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) was unveiled at the G20 conference held this week in Indonesia. As part of the collaboration, Indonesia will work to reduce its power sector emissions to zero by 2030, which is earlier than the original goal of 2037, and to produce 34% of its electricity from renewable sources by the same year.
A US congressional advisory panel recently released a report explaining the new legislation coming from Beijing and diminishing freedoms in Hong Kong. The report from the bipartisan US-China Economic and Security Review Commission described a “new era of control,” with handpicked chief executives handpicked by Beijing. In response, the Hong Kong government has refuted these claims, calling them untruthful. Meanwhile, the controversial National Security Law will continue to be used in high-profile cases on trial right now, such as cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.