U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday labeled the North Korean government led by Kim Jong Un an "illegal and illegitimate regime" -- unusually strong language from America's top diplomat. Speaking after a meeting with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah, Kerry praised the Persian Gulf nation's moves to counter the North's nuclear proliferation activities, saying it had "recently taken steps to curb flights and to make sure that revenues from workers are not sustaining any illegal and illegitimate regime in North Korea." Washington routinely condemns Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs as violations of United Nations sanctions, and has taken the isolated nation to task for its human rights record. But it is rare for U.S. officials to directly question the rule of Kim, who took over after his father died in December 2011. Asked if the statement reflected a sharper U.S. position toward the North, which conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test last month, State Department spokesman John Kirby played down the statement.
Saudi Arabia does not represent Islam. Despite its best efforts to promote and project itself as the symbol and "centre of Islam," the Saudi state represents a regime steered by a desperate and austere few and, namely, one Mohammed bin Salman. Home to Medina and Mecca, the two holiest sites in Islam, the regime leverages its role as ward to these cities to shroud its legitimacy with religion; and function as the gatekeeper to the 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe called to enter its bounds to complete the mandated pilgrimage to Mecca. Being home to these holy sites has been just as potent as its boundless supply of crude oil to sustain the regime, with ruling monarch after monarch strategically intertwining the heft of their petrodollars with the global promotion of Wahhabism to propel the idea that Saudi Arabia and Islam are interchangeable entities.
The UK has begun air strikes against Syrian chemical weapons sites. Prime Minister Theresa May said there was "no practicable alternative to the use of force" to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. She added that the strikes were not about "regime change". The strikes, in collaboration with the US and France, are in response to an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma last week. Several large explosions have been heard in the Syrian capital Damascus.