The unstoppable force of Catalan separatism is about to meet the unmovable object that is Mariano Rajoy.
The Spanish prime minister and conservative party leader has vowed to prevent an independence referendum in the northeastern region at all costs. The Catalans are determined to vote anyway.
Neither side will be able to claim victory on Monday.
Rajoy may succeed in blocking the vote, but his intransigence has already convinced moderate Catalans there isn’t a future for them in Spain. The separatists may manage to organize a referendum, but it will be so marred by illegality and irregularity that the outcome cannot possibly be considered a mandate to break away. Read more
Iraq’s Kurds Deserve the West’s Support for Their Own State
Western countries are falling into the familiar habit of discouraging Kurdish self-determination.
American and European officials have urged Iraq’s Kurds to delay their independence referendum, scheduled for next Monday.
The reasons are by now well-known: a Kurdish state would anger the Turks, destabilize Iraq and complicate the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
All of which is true, but there will always be a reason to deny the Kurds self-rule. They have been stateless for generations. If it isn’t Turkish apprehensions today, it will be fears of an Iranian-Turkish condominium tomorrow.
The Kurds, one of the most progressive people in the Middle East, deserve better. Read more
There is little doubt Angela Merkel will win reelection in Germany on Sunday. Her Christian Democrats are projected to win up to 40 percent support against 25 percent for the second party, the Social Democrats.
The two could continue to share power in a “grand coalition”, but we’re hoping the liberal Free Democrats will win enough seats to help form a center-right government instead.
Polls suggest that the two parties might just fall short of a majority. Conservative and liberal voters who want to keep the left out of power ought to give the Free Democrats their support. Read more