Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Helsinki Think Tank warn EU leaders




Helsinki Think Tank implores EU Leaders to Prepare for Possible Migrant Sexual Mass Abuse this Spring.


Press Statement

Michael “Mike” Hulden
HTT Chairman and spokesperson  

Helsinki Finland 
March 30, 2016


          

Helsinki Think Tank (HTT) expresses deep concern at the sexual attacks and violence across EU,
which has left countless women traumatised and wounded. 

As police reports require a exact description of the perpetrators many victims fail to meet the criteria 
to charge the attackers officially. 

This mater of fact leaves a large unknown number of sexually motivated attacks undocumented and hence not reported to the political leadership.

HTT referred to the violence and rape representing the “horrible reality of  many women and girls in EU today” and pointed to migrant traditions as incitement and the major factor in the ongoing attacks. 

 HTT Chairman issued the following statement:
In the shadow of the horrifying sexual attacks that took place in Cologne and incident´s ongoing elsewhere, we need to acknowledge that we have a systemic problem. 

The sexual attacks must be addressed at the highest level since there remains to be no consensus on the scale of the threat within the European Union.

The term “mass rape” in Arabic is translated to “taharrush”. It is very deeply rooted in the Islamic culture and is a term we have heard used by many different migrants from all walks of life.

 All our Experts have said time and again, the migrant sexual abuse issue has to be dealt with harshly. 

We are not talking of incidents that are rare but incidents that are becoming culturally appropriated 
in many Islamic societies that now has hundreds of thousands of new migrants here within the European Union.

The fact that this spring, millions of European women will dress very lightly will give the migrants and excuse to trigger sexually fueled attacks that individual Nations and EU. 

It is urgent that we prepare in advance. This is very important as most of the newly arrived migrants in the EU have never seen a bare leg or stomach on a woman.

Helsinki Think Tank is reaching out to all EU leaders to act upon this very real threat,protecting their citizens.  







© Helsinki Think Tank 











Security Alert: US orders families out of south and west Turkey over security



The US says it has ordered families of defence personnel and diplomats out of parts of Turkey amid security fears.

Dependants are being moved out of Adana, Izmir and Mugla provinces.
The US European Command said the decision was not permanent but "intended to mitigate the risk to [Department of Defense] elements and personnel, including family members".
Once a beacon of stability, Turkey has entered a period of high tension and violence.
Key cities have been struck by a spate of deadly bombings. Meanwhile Turkey has been fighting Kurdish militants in its restive east and struggling to prevent violence spreading from across its border with Syria.

The US State Department has warned all Americans against travel to south-eastern Turkey.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the decision had been made out of an "abundance of caution".
"There's no specific threat that triggered this but a broader decision based on what we've seen in the region," he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting the US this week to attend President Barack Obama's nuclear security summit.
But rarely have relations between the US and one of its key Nato allies been so poor as those between Washington and Ankara, says the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus - with each other's response to the Syrian crisis a particular point of friction.


'Increased threats'

Some 5,000 US service personnel and dependants are based at the Incirlik air base in the southern city of Adana - from which the US launches air strikes on fighters from so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

But security fears last July prompted officials to ban troops and their families from frequenting the "American alley" of markets and kebab restaurants which had flourished outside the base's gates.
Two months later, officials offered military families the chance to evacuate voluntarily - an option only few took up. Now they are being involuntarily evacuated.
"This decision allows for the deliberate, safe return of family members from these areas due to continued security concerns in the region," said the US European Command statement.
The state department, meanwhile, said it had also ordered the departure of family members of employees at the US Consulate in Adana as well as family members of US government civilian employees in the western Izmir and Mugla provinces.
In a statement, it warned US citizens of "increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey and to avoid travel to south-eastern Turkey".
The decision to evacuate was made in consultation with the Turkish government, said the European Command.

"We understand this is disruptive to our military families, but we must keep them safe and ensure the combat effectiveness of our forces to support our strong ally Turkey in the fight against terrorism."
The battle against militants from so-called Islamic State remained a priority for both Turkey and the US, it said.


US-Turkey: The strained alliance

It's a diplomatic relationship that is deeply in crisis, but one that remains of crucial importance to both countries.
Rarely have relations between the US and one of its key Nato allies been so poor as those between Washington and Ankara.
"Damage limitation" may be an understatement to describe one of the main aims behind the visit the of the Turkish President, Recep Tayip Erdogan to the US this week.
It has become increasingly clear what both these presidents think of each other.
In his recent study of Barack Obama's foreign policy - the product of multiple interviews with the president - Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic summed up Mr Obama's view of his Turkish counterpart in terms of disappointed expectations.
Goldberg notes that "early on", Obama saw Erdogan "as the sort of moderate Muslim leader who would bridge the divide between East and West - but Obama now considers him a failure and an authoritarian, one who refuses to use his enormous army to bring stability to Syria."

Whatever Mr Obama may think about his Turkish counterpart in private, Mr Erdogan has been much more outspoken in public.
Just one example - earlier this month he condemned the Obama Administration's support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, insisting that Washington's inability to grasp their true nature had turned the region into "a sea of blood".

The differences between Washington and Ankara are various, not least reflecting US disappointment at the current drift in Turkish domestic affairs.
But it is the Syrian crisis, and in particular the role of Kurdish militias in the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS) that has crystallised US-Turkish tensions.

US and Turkish disagreements over Syria reflect fundamental differences on both strategy and goals.
From the outset Turkey backed rebel groups in Syria opposed to the Assad regime.
Indeed his removal became a strategic necessity for the Turkish government; the only way they believed stability could be restored.
Turkey has been directly hit by the crisis - not just by the spill-over of terrorism across its own borders. It has also been forced to contend with a huge wave of Syrian refugees.
That is one of the reasons why the Turks have backed the idea of establishing "safe zones" inside Syria; areas that could be protected by US and allied air power as well as forces on the ground.
That idea has been consistently opposed by the Obama administration.
The US was no friend of President Assad but its focus was elsewhere - the struggle against IS in both Syria and Iraq.
Given the absence of any clear alternative governing arrangements in Syria, Iraq appeared to be Washington's priority, while it helped arm rebel groups in Syria its efforts initially had little impact.


Strategic importance

Turkey, with its long land border with both Syria and Iraq was clearly of huge strategic importance in Washington's anti-IS campaign.
The US pressed to use Turkish air bases though for a long period the Turks were reluctant.
When they did finally approve their use it appeared to represent to many observers something of a quid pro quo for the US turning a blind eye to Turkish strikes against the Kurds.
For it is Kurdish dynamics, rather more than IS, that has dominated thinking in Ankara. Kurdish fighters have been among the most successful ground forces battling IS.


In the process they have received considerable material support from Washington.
This has been like a red-rag to a bull for the Turks who, already battling a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey, fear any Kurdish successes that might encourage Kurdish national aspirations.

So Ankara and Washington are allies, but at the same time pretty much at loggerheads over Syria.
Russia's military intervention on the side of President Assad only added a new complication.
Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet that briefly intruded into its air space prompted an ambivalent reaction from its NATO allies. In public there was strong support for Turkey.
But in private many of them were alarmed at what they saw as a strand of recklessness in Ankara's behaviour.
US fighters were briefly deployed to patrol Turkish air space but were almost as quickly withdrawn.
US-Turkish strategic differences over Syria are one thing. But both governments need to find sufficient common ground to move forward with the campaign.
The growing IS terrorist threat to Turkey may encourage some flexibility in Ankara.
Turkey would dearly love to roll back Kurdish gains in Syria but it wants other things too.
Turkey's position is not necessarily as strong as it appears. It now has few friends or allies in the region.
Gone are the days when Mr Davotoglu, as the then foreign minister, proposed a new Turkish foreign policy of "zero problems" with all its neighbours.

Now it has problems on all its frontiers. Ankara's "new Ottomanism" , its bid to secure a role as a major player in the Middle East, may have run its course.

The Syria crisis has exacerbated Turkish fears of Kurdish autonomy; it has renewed its campaign against Kurdish militants inside Turkey; it is now under threat from IS terrorism; it faces chaos across its borders with both Iraq and Syria.
Turkey also has an uneasy relationship with Washington; terrible relations with Moscow; and it has fallen out with other key regional players like Israel with whom it once was close.
Turkey badly needs a reset in its foreign policy. Washington could help with that.
But on Syria their differences remain so fundamental, it is hard to see how any compromise can be achieved.

Source:BBC


























Tuesday, 29 March 2016

U.S DoS news: Remarks at the International Law Enforcement Academy -- Bangkok





Remarks
Sarah Sewall
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights 
Bangkok, Thailand
March 28, 2016



Good morning everyone, and thank you Colonel Aye for the introduction.
My name is Sarah Sewall, and I serve in the U.S. Department of State as the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.
In this role, I lead the Department of State’s efforts to strengthen protections for all people under the rule of law. That is why I am pleased to join you today for the start of this groundbreaking new course at ILEA Bangkok.
I hope everyone realizes that you are now a part of something very special. Back in 1998 when the United States and Thailand first established this Academy, it became the first-ever program to convene law enforcement professionals from across Southeast Asia for training.
At the time, the rationale for this Academy was straightforward: in an era of transnational crime, terrorism, and human trafficking, even the duties of local law enforcement began to take on a global dimension.
To stay ahead of this evolving landscape, law enforcement professionals and institutions needed to constantly learn and adapt. That meant sharing practices across national borders – what’s working and what’s not – and drawing from experiences outside their typical practice back in their home countries and communities.
Over the years, this Academy has trained thousands of officers whose work strengthens security and justice for millions of people across Southeast Asia. And once you finish here, you will join its remarkable network of over 15,000 alumni throughout the region.
One lesson that I hope stays with you, and that I see almost everywhere I’ve visited as Under Secretary, is that even as law enforcement challenges become more global in some respects, the most effective solutions remain local.
Time and again, I’ve seen how strong partnerships between law enforcement and local communities can make communities more resilient to a host of threats.
When people know whom to call, and trust law enforcement to act in their interest, it becomes much harder for bad actors to harm the community – from criminals and drug dealers to violent extremists.
That is why ILEA Bangkok now partners with civil society to teach law enforcement to build more effective community partnerships to tackle challenges like human trafficking and child exploitation. The protection of law enforcement should extend to everyone in the community – especially the most vulnerable.
Sadly, that has not always been the reality. Throughout history, we have seen crimes targeting people because of who they are – because of their race, ethnicity, faith, physical ability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
As the world grapples with how to strengthen protections for vulnerable communities, law enforcement professionals in every region have had to adapt their practice. And to ensure that you all are exposed to the very latest thinking and practices, ILEA has continued to broaden its instruction.
And that’s what today’s groundbreaking course is all about – strengthening accountability for bias-motivated crimes, also known as hate crimes, especially those against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people across the region.
Because despite progress toward full equality, LGBTI persons still face staggering rates of violence and bigotry around the world, which in the United States has led to less access to education and increased rates of homelessness and suicide.
Some countries have sought to ban LGBTI identities and conduct outright. More than 75 countries outlaw consensual same-sex relations, and in at least seven of them, the penalty is death. And even in places where LGBTI people can live openly, they still face violence. Scores of LGBTI persons are murdered each year for the “crime” of living openly as who they are and professing honestly whom they love.
But after centuries of silence, the world is beginning to wake up to these crimes and implement new laws and policies to protect the LGBTI community.
But standing up to discrimination is about more than protecting any one community. When everyone feels included and protected, it strengthens the social fabric and makes communities more resilient to all manner of violence.
Under the Obama Administration, the United States has acted to strengthen legal protections for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable to violence. In 2009, we strengthened legal tools for addressing hate crimes against LGBTI individuals and persons with disabilities, and also established new units to bring perpetrators to justice.
President Obama has made this a priority of his administration, directing the entire U.S. government to strengthen protections for LGBTI individuals at home while increasing support for law enforcement around the world to do the same.
Thailand has also been a leader in strengthening protections for the LGBTI community. It was the first country in Asia to protect the rights of transgender people and prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
But while new laws and policies are an important first step, they are nothing without implementation. That’s what actually makes a difference in people’s lives. As law enforcement professionals, you understand the importance of process. You know how mishandling evidence, misreporting testimony, or even messing up paperwork can lead to a miscarriage of justice.
And as you also know, each type of crime has its own set of considerations. Hate crimes are no exception, which is why this course will focus on the particular process for identifying, managing, and investigating these cases.
In this course, you will also see examples of how countries across the region are adapting their institutions and practices to better address hate crimes. Those with more experience can share their lessons, and others who are just beginning to consider these issues can listen with an open mind.
In participating in this training, you are part of something innovative and historic.
So let’s keep broadening ILEA’s courses, and our practices back home, so that all citizens – whatever their ethnicity, religion, ability, or sexual orientation – can trust that their rights will be protected not only by the law, but by those who enforce it.
Because when any one group goes unprotected, either because it’s unpopular or politically vulnerable, that weakens the entire social contract.
Attitudes change; political power shifts; new groups fall in and out of favor. But what gives societies stability is the rule of law, blind to bias, constant in its enforcement, and unflinching in its pursuit of justice.
That is your work – that is your privilege, so thank you for what you do, and I wish you all a productive course















Imams Refuse to Pray for Non-Muslim Victims of Brussels Attacks



THE UNDENIABLE FACT THAT SHOWS THE PROBLEM.
SUNNI MUSLIM IMMAM REFUSES TO PRAY OVER THE 
NON MUSLIM SOULS....

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SHAMEFUL: ARAB COVER THE ISRAELI FLAG WITH A PALESTINIAN FLAG!

video





ALGERIAN MUSLIM TELLS ISRAELI FLAG TO BE REMOVED FROM RESTAURANT

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A SHIA MUSLIM TEIING THAT ALL SUNNI (AND WAHABI) IDEOLOGY IS KILLING 

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A HEALTHY US ANALYSIS WHICH EU LEADERS SHOULD LISTEN TO:

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Somalia-bound weapons ship seized




Combined Maritime Forces
The French navy found an array of weapons on the ship

French naval forces patrolling the northern Indian Ocean have seized a ship full of weapons they say was heading towards Somalia. 
Hundreds of assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons were found.
They seized the weapons under a UN embargo to prevent arms from getting to Somali Islamist militants. 

Earlier this month, the Australian navy intercepted a cache of arms on a fishing boat off Oman, also believed to be on its way to Somalia. 

BBC Monitoring's Africa security correspondent Tomi Oladipo says the French helicopter that spotted the ship is part of the multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) that patrols the Indian Ocean. 


Combined Maritime Forces
Once the helicopter spotted the suspect ship, this French navy vessel intercepted it

The vessel was not registered to any country and the CMF did not reveal any further information about the people transporting the weapons. 

The multinational force, which was also set up to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, seized the weapons to prevent them from getting to the Islamist militant group, al-Shabab.
UN sanctions authorise the interception of weapons heading for Somalia.
However, the UN allows the Somali government to buy light weapons for its fight against the insurgents.
The al-Qaeda-linked militants frequently stage attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and other cities, and still control many rural areas in southern Somalia.

















Sunday, 27 March 2016

Reality check Sweden




SDR wishes to show you a small part of the film 60 minutes blogs are limited to a certain amount so we can not publish the entire 60 minutes but focus on the Sweden parts.
What the film team experiences is horrible  but mild compared to what normal so called white Swedes will have to face in many places in Sweden. And now also in Finland City Center the railway Station...

Believe it or not but there are at the time officially 53 no go areas in Sweden, which is about to reach the braking point! The Swedish leaders in most cases refuse to see this and Finland is sadly following the same path with a national security and police that uses the so called politically correct as a measure. As a result the statistics are all wrong and so are the so called measures by creating more and more work groups to handle that was the old groups failed to mention and address and that is the fact that we are living alongside a religious war that only the attacker admit is a war.

A few words to the political correct idiots who face to see that Islam is not a race !
So face it ...It cant be racism as Islam is not a race!
SDR has Arab and Iranian co workers who are not Muslims and very loving indeed and god forbid would we hate any Arab or Pakistani etc just because of his race or homeland etc..

We do however wish to inform people of the danger of Neo Nazism and Islam as two groups wishing the destruction of Jews and Israel and ever since the Saudi money has been spreading radical Islam from Mogadishu to Pakistan its more and more alls become a agenda against the west!

See for your self what happens to the film team here visiting Sweden ...if you don't believe it go to the so called no go zones your self without any Islamic dress and take pictures just like you would somewhere else as a tourist and you will see reality from a hospital perspective.

We must warn you that just like you will see here the police cant enter the areas as the use the absolutely ridiculous excuse ever claiming its a provocation!
Fact is they don't dare to walk around there for any longer period !
The film does not mention a very known fact that ambulance has been stopped from helping a victim
just because the police and ambulance have no authority but the local Muslims do!

Sweden better start admitting the facts or other meed will show it as it is and then any politically so called correct will be exposed for what it is namely a few words to hide the truth behind.


video

If you wish to see video in HD then please press the link below:






















Dr. R. Evan Ellis:The New Phase of “Constitutional” Struggle in Venezuela




The magnitude of the victory by the Venezuelan opposition in the December 6, 2015, congres- sional elections surprised many in the country, and in the region, who had expected that the government of Nicolas Maduro would use its control over much of the media, most of the eco- nomy, the electoral authority and the repressive apparatus of the state to reduce the opposition margin of victory, if not engage in large scale electoral fraud to change the results entirely. The enormous opposition victory gave the “Uni ed Democratic Table” (MUD) coalition 112 of the 167 seats in Venezuela’s national assembly, and with it, a 2/3 “supermajority” which, at least ac- cording to the constitution, could allow it to pass legislation over President Maduro’s veto, re- move judges, and force the removal of ministers.
The victory unleashed a wave of euphoria in the region by opponents of Maduro and his po- pulist socialist government, and more broadly, those frustrated with the abysmal and deteriora- ting conditions in the country, including widespread shortages of food, medicines, and basic goods, rampant crime, government corruption, and narcotraf cking, to name a few. In the con- text of Latin America more broadly, the opposition victory has been interpreted in the context of the November 22 election of conservative Mauricio Macri to the presidency of Argentina, the announcement by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa that he will not run for a fourth term, the economic crisis in Brazil with the looming impeachment of its president Dilma Rousseff, and the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, as a trend away from leftist populism across the region.
While Venezuela and the region are indeed in the midst of a process of signi cant transforma- tion, before arriving at the end of the country’s destructive 17-year experiment with populist so- cialism, it may be on the brink of a chaotic and dangerous phase of political and economic war- fare with grave implications for both the country and its neighbors. 
Anatomy of the Coming Crisis 
The potential for catastrophe in Venezuela within the coming months arises from a potentially destructive interaction between four dynamics: (1) the deepening economic and humanitarian crisis, (2) the posture of Maduro and his inner circle to confront the solid electoral mandate given to the MUD in the December 6 election, rather than accepting it and working with the opposition to govern the country, (3) the posture of the MUD, from their assumption of power, to frontally challenge the power of the government, rather than seeking to minimize compro- mise, and (3) the structure of the current confrontation, pushing both sides toward a stalemate with escalating tension, augmenting rather than resolving Venezuela’s deepening crises. 
As a compliment to the rhetorical and legal challenges by President Maduro to the incoming National Assembly, outlined in subsequent paragraphs, the opposition also highlighted its orien- tation to frontally challenge the power of the combative old-guard politician Henry Ramos Allup to preside over the Assembly. Indeed, the rst acts of Ramos and the new assembly included the removal of the portraits of Hugo Chavez, and select portraits of Simon Bolivar from the National Assembly building, and the declaration by Ramos that it was the Congress’ intention to remove Maduro from power within six months.
4 AIR & SPACE POWER JOURNAL
Sources of Chavista Leverage against the Opposition 
Maduro and his supporters (hereafter the “Chavistas,” since they are generally united more by Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, than Maduro himself) possesses a number of powerful weapons to counter the MUD “supermajority” in the just elected national assembly to be seated on January 5, 2016. 
First, the Chavistas continue to dominate Venezuela’s judicial institutions, allowing them to impede attempts by the newly elected national assembly to pass laws that go against the strategic or material interests of the Chavista government. Indeed, following the massive defeat of the ruling PSUV in the election, Maduro obligated 13 Supreme Court justices to retire early, and in a special session on December 23, the outgoing national assembly, dominated by the Chavista “United Socialist Party of Venezuela” (PSUV) appointed their replacements,5 denying the inco- ming, MUD-dominated assembly with the opportunity to install judges acceptable to them, when the normal terms of the sitting judges expire.
Ensuring that the Venezuelan Supreme Court and its critical 7 person constitutional chamber will continue to be lled by judges beholden to the Chavistas, allows it to use the court to rule unconstitutional, or otherwise invalidate laws passed by the new National Assembly. 
While the appointment of the new judges by the Chavista-dominated outgoing National As- sembly may be of questionable legality, both the courts who would decide the issue, and the mi- litary and law enforcement organizations which would enforce the decisions, are also in the hands of the Chavistas. Indeed, it has been relatively common during the past 17 years of Cha- vista government for the opposition to complain of the unconstitutionality of a government ini- tiative, only to nd such complaints disregarded by the Venezuela’s Supreme Court. 
The power of the PSUV-dominated Supreme Court in the battle between the government and the MUD-dominated congress was illustrated when on December 30, the Court ruled to block the seating of three of the elected MUD Congressmen from the state of Amazonas, on unspeci- ed charges of electoral fraud, thus denying the MUD the supermajority that it needed to over- rule presidential vetos.7 When the incoming assembly voted to seat the three blocked candidates anyway, the Supreme Court declared all acts of the assembly as void, so long as the three were seated, obliging the MUD to accept their voluntary withdraw from those seats.
The incoming national assembly has already launched an investigation into the appointment of the judges prior to the seating of the assembly.9 In theory, if it manages to restore its two-thirds supermajority, it could potentially dismiss the newly appointed judges. Yet again, those dismissed would almost certainly contest their removal, and the courts to which it would fall to resolve the dispute, as well as the law enforcement institutions who would be called upon to remove them, are dominated by Chavistas. 
Second, even without the help of the newly “packed” Venezuelan Supreme Court, President Maduro has the power to block legislation from the incoming National Assembly by vetoing it, as he has already promised to do with respect to a law granting amnesty for political prisoners that the incoming MUD legislators have prioritized to pass upon assuming power on January 5th.10 While the 112 seats won by the MUD in the new congress (if the Supreme Court eventually allows them to be seated) theoretically allows them to override such a presidential veto, the incoming MUD assembly members are an ideologically diverse group, with a range of approaches for con- fronting or working with the government. Although the granting of amnesty for political priso- ners is the rst priority of the MUD and will probably nd them uni ed, they are less likely to vote as a block on other issues in the months to come. 
Moreover, beyond the action already taken by the PSUV-dominated Supreme Court to block the seating of the three MUD legislators elected from Amazonas, it is likely that the government will also work in other ways to reduce the opposition’s effective ranks, through a combination of 
ThE NEW PhASE Of “CONSTITUTIONAL” STRUggLE IN VENEzUELA 5 
intimidation, and cooptation, as they did with the 64 National Assembly seats won by the MUD in September 2010. 
Beyond his veto, President Maduro has considerable powers through the 29 ministries under the “Executive Power,” as well as Chavista dominance of other organs of the state including the “Citizen” power (the Public Defender’s of ce, the Attorney General’s Of ce, and the Public Mi- nistry), among others. 
Indeed, the arbiter of whether Maduro is within the limits of the constitution in exercising his existing legislative authority is the courts, which are in the hands of the Chavistas. 
In addition to the powers of the government organizations still in Chavista control, while the Venezuelan National Assembly, in principle, will have control over federal spending, the execu- tive has created funds, such as Fonden, which are relatively independent of legislative authority,11 and allow Maduro to continue select activities even without the assembly authorizing funds for the government, although the amount of money actually in such funds is unclear. 
At the same time, such “power of the purse,” while an important tool, will also be, in practice, very dif cult for the National Assembly to exercise, since de-funding government programs would, in principle, allow the Chavistas to blame the opposition not only for the economic hard- ship caused by such acts, but for the suffering occasioned by the conditions of the broken Vene- zuelan economy in general. 
Finally, the Chavistas have created a National Communal Assembly that parallels the Venezue- lan National Assembly.12 This body is a congress of the “Communal councils,” created by then president Hugo Chavez and the PSUV-dominated legislature in June 2010,13 after the attempt to establish the councils through a popular referendum in 2007 failed. Anticipating the potential utility of the communes as a tool of Chavismo at the grassroots level, President Maduro increased the 2015 budget for the communal councils by 62% over its 2014 level.14 
The national communal assembly, while lacking constitutional authority to make laws, allows the Chavistas to further the illusion among its followers of support from “a legislature” for its program. Indeed, outgoing head of the national assembly Diosdado Cabello symbolically invited the communal council to sit in the National Assembly building until the incoming Congress took of ce on January 5th,15 and may employ the communal assembly for other types of symbolic legi- timation of Chavista actions in the future. 
The outcome of the present struggle between the incoming National Assembly on one side, and Chavistas, who control the courts, ministries and organization of government, cannot be readily predicted through an analysis of the powers of each body under the constitution, since during the past 17 years, the Chavistas have arguably repeatedly shown a willingness to stretch the government’s constitutional authority beyond its limits, or (some might say), simply ignore constitutional limits to their powers.16 In the upcoming struggle, the Venezuelan constitution is not a framework which establishes the rules of the game and the powers of each side, but rather, a weak tool for legitimization in a political discourse in which multiple actors, including the Ve- nezuelan military, police, and other institutional actors, decide where to place their loyalties. 
While, as argued in the preceding paragraphs, the Chavistas will have considerable authority to ignore or override the newly elected National Assembly, one of the most likely scenarios will be a dangerous paralysis of government in the context of an escalating national economic and political crisis. In the coming months, it is probable that the opposition-dominated National Assembly will pass important laws that challenge the power of the Chavistas, which President Maduro will subsequently veto, some of which may be overridden by the Assembly, then challen- ged by the Chavistas in the courts, including the constitutional chamber of the supreme court, which is likely to declare them unconstitutional. Similarly, the Maduro government is likely to continue to launch new initiatives and execute existing programs in perceived contradiction to the constitution or new laws passed by the assembly, leading it to challenge the government in court, to use its power of the purse to defund the government, or both. 
6 AIR & SPACE POWER JOURNAL 
In the extreme case, such con ict and defunding could precipitate the collapse of the nal vestiges of the Venezuelan government and productive sector. If oil production and export by the national oil company PdVSA were affected, such a crisis could simultaneously force Vene- zuela to default on its debts and lose the last remnants of its ability to import basic goods for the Venezuelan people,17 a particularly grave occurrence given that Venezuela’s own industrial and agricultural capacity have been decimated over 17 years of Bolivarian rule. 
In addition to the increase in the already enormous suffering of the Venezuelan people, the bitter discourse regarding who was to blame would likely mobilize Venezuelans on all side and produce civil unrest going far beyond that seen in 2014,18 if not occasioning an outright collapse of public order. Indeed, Venezuelan security experts consulted for this work anticipate that the armed forces might intervene if the con ict between powers extend for several months. 
Even if the situation does not evolve into civil unrest, the confrontational posture adopted by Maduro will increase the likelihood that the opposition supports the collection of signatures to hold a referendum to recall President Maduro, when its constitutionally de ned window to do so presents itself in mid-2016. The Chavista-dominated Supreme Court or the National Electoral Council (CNE) will likely rule to block any such effort, and the ght to take the recall referen- dum forward is one of the focal points around which violent struggle could emerge. 
Key Factors in Determining the Outcome 
There are a number of important factors that will impact whether or how the scenarios of politi- cal con ict, economic collapse and violence could play out: 
First, it is also not clear to what degree the Chavistas will succeed in dividing or coopting mem- bers of the MUD coalition. Indeed, if the opposition is able to overcome the previously challenge to their Supermajority and impediments to governing and rally the Venezuelan people around concrete results, it could actually attract some defectors from the PSUV. A number of PSUV de- legates are said to be upset by the widespread corruption and poor governance in Venezuela, while others would presumably be attracted by the power and access to resources potentially available by being part of the majority in the assembly. 
Another key question is who the Venezuelan public will blame if conditions in the country continue to deteriorate in the context of political con ict between the Chavistas and the MUD. If the people believe that the newly elected members of the National Assembly are making con- ditions in the country worse, rather than better, they could turn against them. Yet if, on balance, they perceive that an intransigent President Maduro is thwarting their will to change, expressed in the December 6 election, the wrath of the people may turn on the Chavistas in general. 
Beyond the perception of the people regarding “who is to blame,” the posture of the Venezue- lan military will be more important than ever in the outcome of the con ict. During the election, Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez reportedly made it clear to President Maduro that the military would not condone large scale electoral fraud, nor take to the streets to repress Ve- nezuelans, if the perception of government vote fraud produced civic unrest.19 Indeed, the mili- tary is believed to have taken a similar position in December 2007 when Hugo Chavez lost a key national referendum, forcing him to accept the results. 
In the coming months, the military may be called upon to again make such a decision if a major constitutional dispute forces it to choose between following the orders of Maduro, or the laws passed by the Congress. 
The continuing stream of criminal indictments by U.S. and other courts against Venezuelan of cials, including the indictment of the head of Venezuela’s National Guard, Nestor Reverol,20 and charges against the nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Cecilia Flores,21 is also likely to play an important, albeit indirect, role in the outcome of the Venezuelan crisis. As the military, and other agents of the Venezuelan government face decisions regarding following the orders of 
ThE NEW PhASE Of “CONSTITUTIONAL” STRUggLE IN VENEzUELA 7 
Maduro or the laws passed by the National Assembly, they may also be in uenced by such in- dictments. While the Maduro government almost certainly will not extradite those indicted by the U.S., such cases will sew uncertainty among those who are involved in narcotraf cking within the military and Venezuelan government, regarding whether they can risk traveling abroad in light of possible sealed indictments against them. Moreover, as an increasing number of persons are captured and chose to cooperate with international authorities, and as an increasing number of of cials have their assets outside Venezuela frozen due to accusations of wrongdoing, those who remain will increasingly fear losing their ill-gotten gains, or going to jail when the govern- ment eventually changes, if they do not act while they can to “cut a deal.” In addition, those in- dicted, if not removed from of ce will further undermine the credibility of the government, fuel more fractures within the ruling party and nomenclature and increase tensions within the Ar- med Forces. 
In short, the unfolding of such criminal cases, in combination with mounting evidence that the Chavista regime is on its last legs, may change the calculus of the military. Instead of conspi- ring to help the President Maduro and his allies hold on to power, they may seek ways to coope- rate with the opposition and international law enforcement to escape future criminal charges, as well as to protect the integrity of the Venezuelan military as an institution. 
How the broader international community reacts to the unfolding drama will also impact the outcome. With the loss of power of the Peronists in Argentina’s November 22, 2015 elections, the unfolding political crisis in Brazil, and Cuba’s rapprochement with the United States, Venezuela no longer has dependable allies to shield it from international scrutiny and pressure the way it once did. Indeed, with Venezuela’s diminished ability to provide subsidized petroleum to Petro- Caribe, even its leverage over nations in the Caribbean in the past year has arguably weakened. 
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) may also play a key role in the transition. The PRC has already loaned Venezuela more than $56 billion since 2005,22 and has funds that could help the Venezuelan government overcome the present crisis. Yet it also has demonstrated caution in providing new funds to Venezuela when political leadership in the country is uncertain, as occu- rred during the 2012-2013 transition from Hugo Chavez to Nicolas Maduro.23 
Western companies and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund may similarly play a role in re-negotiating loans and providing new capital and investment for Venezuela, but it is doubtful that they will do so with Venezuela in the midst of a political crisis, while the efforts by the Chavistas to circumvent the outcome of the December elections casting doubts on the government’s commitment to rule of law in general, let alone honor its nancial commitments. 
The Path Forward 
In the December 6th election, the Venezuelan people expressed a strong desire to turn away from the policies of Chavismo and more pointedly the Maduro government as the path to growth, development and greater fairness and justice. There is arguably, however, no consensus within the opposition nor the government about the path forward, yet there are reasons to be concer- ned regarding how the new political dynamic set into motion by the December 6th election will turn out. 
The United States has a strong interest in helping Venezuela to avoid that Venezuela’s politi- cal struggle degenerates into economic collapse, disorder and violence harming not only Vene- zuelans, but potentially generating adverse impacts on the nation’s neighbors in South America and the Caribbean basin. 
At the very least, the United States can help Venezuela’s neighbors to prepare for the possible consequences of such a disaster. At best, it can work through multilateral institutions, bilateral diplomacy, and conditional economic assistance, to ensure that the bold choice of the Venezue- 
8 AIR & SPACE POWER JOURNAL 
lan people on December 6 succeeds in re-establishing a framework of democracy, rule of law, and healthy independent governing institutions in the country. 
One of the most powerful tools that the United States has for bringing about change in Vene- zuela, ironically, is its continued pursuit of those in Venezuela’s leadership who have engaged in narcotraf cking and other illegal behavior, making them subject to prosecution in the U.S. un- der the provisions of international law. As the incoming Venezuelan Congress struggles to ght corruption and restore democratic accountability to its institutions, U.S. authorities should re- ach out to it, to pass new laws in Venezuela, or strengthen existing ones, that strengthen its hand in doing so. These potentially include laws in areas such as extradition, law enforcement coope- ration, and the sharing of nancial data. Presuming a positive outcome of the struggle, the U.S. should also be prepared to provide assistance, through appropriate State and Justice Department channels, to help the government to strengthen the capacity of judicial institutions, re-take con- trol of Venezuela’s prison system, and to purge corruption in the police through a combination of con dence tests and changes to the nation’s “basic law” as necessary. 
The United States should also engage in a dialogue with the Venezuelan military, to include indirect interactions through the militaries of other nations which engage regularly with the Venezuelans, regarding the importance, as the situation deteriorates, of not engaging in activi- ties that will bring about bloodshed, undermine the prestige of the military as key defender of the constitutional order, and lead to actions for which individual members may be held crimina- lly liable in the future.24 
The United States can also assist by coordinating with Venezuela’s neighbors Guyana, Colom- bia, and Brazil, to augment their security in the event that the destabilization of the country gives rise to rash action by its leadership such as military action against the Essequibo region of Gu- yana, or la Guajira region of Colombia, bordering Venezuela. The United States should also be prepared to support Venezuela’s neighbors if such a collapse occasions a cross-border ood of refugees, or a signi cant spike in narcotraf cking and criminal activity along Venezuela’s borders. 
Beyond such preparations, the United States should also work through the Organization of American States (OAS) to hold Venezuela accountable for adhering to the democratic fra- mework of its own constitution, including the invocation the OAS Democratic Charter if neces- sary, suspending Venezuela from the organization and sanctioning it, if it fails to do so.25 
At the same time, the United States should also be prepared to commit resources through the same Interamerican system to support Venezuela’s resolution of institutional disputes and weathering of the economic crisis, possibly including emergency loans through the Interameri- can Development Bank once the resolution of political disputes in the country, and the demons- tration of political will by the Venezuelan executive, permit such aid. 
Indeed, the present crisis represents an opportunity for the United States to help restore the OAS to its rightful place as the lead multilateral institution for the countries of the Americas to collectively address their security and other challenges. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has already demonstrated the potential for the OAS to play such a role, through the leadership that he has already shown in publicly ghting for adherence to democratic processes in Venezuela.26 
Nonetheless, assistance through the OAS or other organizations whether by the OAS will also require a commitment of the executive to work with the opposition to govern and resolve Venezuela’s crisis together, a commitment to adhere to the nation’s own constitution, and the release of the estimated 80 political prisoners in the country,27 such as Leopoldo Lopez, former Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, and former mayor of San Cristobal Daniel Ceballos.28 
As one element of Venezuela’s economic stabilization, the United States can also play a role in supporting Venezuela’s efforts to salvage its national petroleum company, PdVSA, and restruc- ture its oil sector. Restoring PdVSA to a reasonable level of functionality will be necessary to pro- duce the revenues that the country needs in the short term to import the basic needs of its people. 
ThE NEW PhASE Of “CONSTITUTIONAL” STRUggLE IN VENEzUELA 9 
To date, the Maduro regime has shown no intention to work with the newly elected National Assembly on this issue. Thus helping Venezuela to rescue its economy, and its society, may have to wait until the Maduro administration is either driven from of ce, or forced to compromise. 
The U.S. should also coordinate with other key players such as the PRC regarding assistance to Venezuela. The U.S. can make making it clear to the PRC that it will not object to it providing loans to, and investment in, Venezuela to help the country weather the crisis and rebuild its eco- nomy, but that such engagement must take place under conditions of transparency, and respect for the nation’s laws and constitution. The U.S. should emphasize that it will not tolerate Chinese banks providing funds to the Venezuelan Executive through extra-constitutional channels, or otherwise interfering in the internal affairs of the country by helping the Chavistas prevail in their institutional struggle against the opposition. 
For China, such coordination with the U.S. over assistance to Venezuela arguably presents its government and country with a “win win” situation, insofar as that it would help the PRC to se- cure its at-risk investments and pursue its economic interests in a more economically functional country, in an atmosphere of predictability, while at the same time, helping it to establish a more constructive relationship with the United States in the region. 
Conclusion 
Through the opposition victory in the December 6 Venezuelan elections, it is possible to fore- see an eventual end to 17 years of populist socialism which has destroyed the Venezuelan eco- nomy and governing institutions and polarized its people. Yet in approaching that end, Vene- zuela is arguably passing through one of the most dangerous periods in its contemporary history. The actions taken by all parties in Venezuela, by the United States, and by the rest of the interna- tional community, will have an enduring effect far beyond Venezuela’s borders. 



Notas 
1. The author is professor of Latin American Studies with the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. The views expressed here are strictly his own. This work is an update of the essay “Venezuela: Into the Abyss?” originally published Decem- ber 29, 2015 by the e-journal Indrastra. 
2. William Neumann, “Venezuelan Opposition Claims a Rare Victory: A Legislative Majority,” New York Times, December 6, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/07/world/americas/venezuela-elections.html?_r=0. 
3. See, for example, Andres Oppenheimer, “Andres Oppenheimer: Obama’s big opportunity in Latin America,” Miami herald, December 12, 2015, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article49303765.html. 
4. “Venezuela: The Coming Confrontation,” The Economist, January 8, 2016, http://www.economist.com/news/ americas/21685522-dangerous-stand-looms-between-government-and-newly-elected-parliament-coming. 
5. DiegoOre,“Venezuela’soutgoingCongressnames13SupremeCourtjustices,”Reuters,http://www.reuters.com/article/ us-venezuela-politics-idUSKBN0U626820151223. 
6. Kejal Vyas, “In Venezuela, Lame-Duck Parliament Plans to Pack Supreme Court,” The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-venezuela-lame-duck-parliament-plans-to-pack-supreme-court-1450233104. 
7. “Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de Venezuela suspende proclamación de 4 diputados,” CNN en Espanol, December 30, 2016, http://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2015/12/30/tribunal-supremo-de-justicia-de-venezuela-suspende-proclamacion-de-4-dipu- tados/. 
8. “TSJdeclaraendesacatoadirectivadeAsambleaNacionalyadiputadosimpugnados,”CNNenEspanol,January11,2016, http://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2016/01/11/tsj-declara-en-desacato-a-directiva-de-asamblea-nacional-y-a-diputados-impugna- dos/. 
9.“Venezuelan opposition launches court-packing probe,” global Post, January 11, 2016, http://www.globalpost.com/arti- cle/6718170/2016/01/11/venezuelan-opposition-launches-court-packing-probe. 
10. Andrew Cawthorne, “Triumphant Venezuela opposition looks to boost economy, free prisoners,” Reuters, December 7, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-election-idUSKBN0TP03Y20151208. 
11. See, for example, “Central Bank of Venezuela to transfer USD 3.7 billion to Fonden,” El Universal, January 14, 2014, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140114/central-bank-of-venezuela-to-transfer-usd-37-billion-to-fonden. 
12. “¿Qué es el Parlamento Comunal que instaló el chavismo luego de perder la mayoría legislativa?,” El Nacional, Decem- ber 16, 2015, http://www.el-nacional.com/bbc_mundo/Parlamento-Comunal-instalo-chavismo-legislativa_0_757724376.html. 
13. Jaime Lopez, “Venezuela aprueba la primera ley sobre comunas y busca legalizar el trueque,” El Mundo, June 23, 2010, http://www.elmundo.es/america/2010/06/23/venezuela/1277310400.html. 
10 AIR & SPACE POWER JOURNAL 
14. Nick Miroff, “On Venezuela’s communes, idyllic future is just over the rainbow,” Washington Post, November 25, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/on-venezuelas-communes-idyllic-future-is-just-over-the-rainbow/2014/11/25/838f3b f4-6602-11e4-ab86-46000e1d0035_story.html. 
15. “Cabello instala un Parlamento Comunal dentro de la Asamblea Nacional,” Diario de las Americas, December 15, 2015, http://www.diariolasamericas.com/4848_venezuela/3516371_cabello-instala-un-parlamento-comunal-dentro-de-la-asamblea- nacional.html. 
16. See,forexample,WilliamPartlett,“HugoChavez’sConstitutionalLegacy,”Brookings,March14,2013,http://www.broo- kings.edu/research/opinions/2013/03/14-chavez-constutional-legacy. 
17. Juan Francisco Alonso, “Jueza condena a Leopoldo López a casi 14 años de cárcel por hechos del 12F,” El Universal, September 10, 2015, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150910/jueza-condena-a-leopoldo-lopez-a-casi-14-anos- de-carcel-por-hechos-del. 
18. Juan Francisco Alonso, “Jueza condena a Leopoldo López a casi 14 años de cárcel por hechos del 12F,” El Universal, September 10, 2015, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150910/jueza-condena-a-leopoldo-lopez-a-casi-14-anos- de-carcel-por-hechos-del. 
19. SeeCarlosGarciaRawlins,“Venezuela’sMilitarySavedDemocracy(ForItsOwnReasons),”Reuters,December17,2015, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/17/how-venezuela-s-military-saved-democracy-for-its-own-reasons.html. 
20. JuliaHarteandNateRaymond,“U.S.tochargeVenezuela’sNationalGuardchiefwithdrugtraf cking,”Reuters,Decem- ber 15, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-usa-idUSKBN0TY2RV20151216. 
21. Nicholas Casey and William Newman, “Venezuela May Have Indirectly Aided U.S. Inquiry of Of cial,” New York Times, December 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/world/americas/venezuela-may-have-indirectly-aided-us-inquiry- of-of cial.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=str eam_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=9&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0. 
22. “China-Latin America Finance Database,” Interamerican Dialogue, accessed December 20, 2015, http://thedialogue. org/map_list. 
23. See, for example, R. Evan Ellis, “Chinese Engagement with the ALBA Countries: A Relationship of Mutual Conve- nience?” in Decline of the U.S. hegemony?: A Challenge of ALBA and a New Latin American Integration of the Twenty-first Century. Bruce M. Bagley and Magdalena Defort, eds. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015, pp. 345-368. 
24. A similar recommendation was made in March 2015 by Ambassador Patrick Duddy, “Political Crisis in Venezuela,” Cou- ncil on foreign Relations, March 2015, http://www.cfr.org/venezuela/political-crisis-venezuela/p36356. 
25. See, for example, “US ready to invoke Inter-American Charter in Venezuela if necessary,” El Universal, March 12, 2014, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140312/us-ready-to-invoke-inter-american-charter-in-venezuela-if-necessary. 
26. “OAS chief slams Venezuela over election observation,” Reuters, November 10, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/ us-venezuela-election-idUSKCN0SZ33U20151110. 
27. “WinningBig,Venezuela’sOppositionNowPlansPushForPrisonerRelease,”NationalPublicRadio,December12,2015, http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/12/12/459054144/winning-big-venezuelas-opposition-now-plans-push-for-priso- ner-release. 
28. JohnOtis,“FreeingPoliticalPrisonersLeadsAgendaforVictorsofVenezuela’sElection,”TheWallStreetJournal,Decem- ber 7, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/freeing-political-prisoners-leads-agenda-for-victors-of-venezuelas-election-1449535579. 



Dr. Evan Ellis is a research professor of Latin American Studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute with a focus on the region’s relationships with China and other non-Western Hemisphere actors. Dr. Ellis has published over 90 works, including the 2009 book China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores, the 2013 book The Strategic Dimension of Chinese Engagement with Latin America, and the 2014 book, China on the ground in Latin America. Dr. Ellis has presented his work in a broad range of business and government forums in 25 countries. He has given testimony on Chinese activities in Latin America to the US Congress, and has discussed his work regarding China and other external actors in Latin America on a broad range of radio and television programs, including CNN International, CNN En Español, The John Bachelor Show, Voice of America, and Radio Marti. Dr. Ellis is cited regularly in the print media in both the US and Latin America for his work in this area, including the Washington Times, Bloomberg, America Economia, DEf, and InfoBAE.. Dr. Ellis holds a PhD in political science with a specialization in comparative politics. 




SDR wishes to thank the Air and Space Power Journal and the author Dr. R. Evan Ellis for the permission to republish this article