What we are observing: Rape problem in India, Iranian antics at sea, Guatemala has another anti-corruption prosecutor
The problem of rape in India: Hundreds of protesters have flocked to the streets of New Delhi for four days in a row after a 9 year old girl was raped and murdered in a small village outside the capital as she went to fetch water for her family. Some protesters burned effigies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming the government had not done enough – or anything, really – to address the abysmal rape problem in the country: there have been more than 32 000 recorded rapes in 2019, certainly a vast undercount given the stigma associated with reporting sexual assault in India. The scourge of sexual violence against women and girls in India was revealed in 2012 when a 23-year-old woman was gang rape and murdered while traveling on a bus in the nation’s capital, sparking international outrage. Four men have been arrested in connection with this week’s attack, although they have not been charged. The city of New Delhi, meanwhile, has ordered an investigation to investigate the events surrounding the girl’s death, although Indians who have sounded the alarm bells over violence against women for decades do not expect much.
Iranian antics in the Arabian Sea: Iran raised the bar in ongoing sea wars: Iranian last week drone attack on an Israel-linked tanker operated by a British company, killed a Briton and a Romanian, prompting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to warn of “serious consequences”. Now this week the British said another tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates had been hijacked, likely by Tehran, although the ship has since been declared safe. What is Iran’s strategy here? The drone attack fits into the pattern of the ongoing Israeli-Iranian phantom war (Israel has target several Iranian ships bound for Syria, carrying oil and weapons.) But some observers wonder if all this shenanigans on the high seas could also be an attempt by the powerful and ultra-hardl Corps of Islamic Revolutionary Guards to scuttle them. negotiations underway on a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement. The last round of talks in Vienna were postponed in June, and as the Biden administration says it is determined to return to the negotiating table, trust between Washington and Tehran is extremely low.
Guatemala appoints a possible fox to watch over the henhouse: Guatemala named a new anti-corruption prosecutor, just weeks after his predecessor’s sacking sparked street protests and drew a harsh reprimand from los yanquis. The Central American country ranks 149th on the Corruption Perceptions Index, and recent efforts to change have not been inspiring. In 2019, the government kicked out a United Nations agency that investigated corruption, creating its own local anti-corruption team instead. In July, the government of President Alejandro Giammattei sacked the leader of this group, who fled to neighboring El Salvador and claimed he was ousted for discovering things Giammattei did not want him to know. Protesters then took to the streets and the Biden administration, which is trying to root out corruption in the region, called for the fault. The new kid, Rafael Curruchiche, is a former prosecutor specializing in electoral crimes. But critics point to the past allegations that he too has used his power to protect corrupt politicians, including former President Jimmy Morales.