Monday the 19th of
December 2016 will go down in history as one of the most dramatic
and tragic days in recent years. In Berlin
a man hijacked a juggernaut and drove it at high speed into a crowd of people
shopping at a Christmas market. Twelve consumers were killed and forty-eight
injured. (As terrible as that is I can't help wondering why the casualty rate
was so much lower than the attack in Nice, France
a few months ago, see: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/programme-201-podcast-nick-kollerstrom.html.)
The lorry had a Polish number-plate and the driver is believed to have been
killed before somebody else took the wheel. There is a man in custody, but the
police are not sure if he is the killer, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38374470.
There was also a shoot-out at an Islamic centre in Zurich,
Switzerland, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38377878.
Then the Russian ambassador to Turkey
was shot and killed in Ankara, Turkey.
Ironically the murderer was a diplomatic security policeman. The ambassador
Andrei Karlov was giving a speech at an art gallery when a man approached him
and shot him in the back. He was taken to hospital, but could not be saved. The
assassin was named as Mevlut Mert Altintas. He stood at the microphone which
Karlov had been using and made a speech about alleged Russian atrocities against
Aleppo in Syria.
He did not drop his weapon and continued to wave it around as he ranted, so his
colleagues had no choice but to shoot him dead as well. It's chilling to think
that this event is so very similar to one that happened a hundred and two years
ago in Sarajevo, Bosnia
in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne,
was shot dead by Gavrilo Princip of the Black Hand Serbian nationalist group. This
event triggered the most terrible human conflict in history, at least in purely
military terms; see links below. How will Russia
respond to this? And who was therefore really behind the Karlov assassination?
What makes all this bloodshed even more symbolic is that this day was also when
the US Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump as the new president of the United
States. Trump appears to be a peacemaker who
will ally the USA
with Russia and
end the "war on terror", but there is still a month left to go before
he is inaugurated. Until then the incumbent Barack Obama is still holding the
reins and has a window of opportunity to make mischief. What on earth is going
to happen now?