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Welcome to the PDB Afternoon Bulletin. I'm Mike Baker. Your eyes and ears on the world stage. Let's get briefed. Iranian backed Houti militants in Yemen hijacked an Israeli linked cargo ship Sunday in the Red Sea, stoking fears that the Israel Hamas conflict is at risk of bubbling over into a larger regional war. We'll also discuss the upset victory of libertarian Javier Mile in Argentina's presidential runoff election. But first, our afternoon spotlight. An Israeli linked cargo ship was hijacked in the Red Sea on Sunday by Iranian backed Houti militants operating from Yemen. The militants repelled down onto the vessel from a helicopter and took the 25 member crew hostage, marking a significant escalation of activity from the Hooties since the 7 October attacks on Israel. The Hootie militants said they took the vessel due to its links with Israel. Although none of the 25 crew members were Israeli citizens, they vowed to continue attacking ships operating in the region with ties to Israel or from governments supporting Israel, calling the vessels legitimate targets. The militant group said Sunday that the attacks will not end until the Israeli government ceases their military response. In Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, well, he cut straight to the source of the problem in a statement on Sunday, calling the hijacking an Iranian act of terror.


So why this ship? Well, that's where the details remain a bit murky. Officials in Israel are insisting that the shipping vessel in question, the Bahamian flagged Galaxy Leader, has no ties to their country. They say it's a British owned and Japanese operated vessel. Now, while it was confirmed that the Japanese company NYK Line operates the vessel, a review of public shipping databases by the Associated Press linked ownership of the Galaxy leader to Israeli billionaire Abraham Rami Ungar. The AP reached out to Ungar for comment, but he declined until more details regarding the attack come to light. The ownership of the cargo vessel aside, Israeli officials said the attack by Iranian backed Houti militants jeopardizes the security of global shipping routes and, quote, constitutes a leap forward in Iran's aggression against the citizens of the free world. Officials in Japan, they also condemned the actions of the Houtis chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said his government is negotiating for the safe release of the hostages and is in contact with Israel and several other governments in the Middle East. Now, not to worry though. The Houti militants, well, they stressed that they're treating the hostages on board, quote, in accordance with their Islamic values.


Yeah, we've taken hostages, but don't worry, we'll treat them according to our values. Now, as we've been discussing on the PDB. Attacks from Iranian backed proxy groups are occurring throughout the region with increasing frequency. We learned last Wednesday that a drone from Yemen, likely sent by the Hootie militants, was shot down by A-U-S. Navy warship operating in the Red Sea as the drone targeted the vessel. The attack occurred just days after the group threatened to strike US. Ships operating in the Red Sea. And, of course, that happened after the third attempt by the Biden administration to deter Iranian proxies from further attacks on US. Personnel. Now, Iran and there are no surprises here well, they denied any involvement in the attack or in the operations of the Houtis in Yemen. Move on. Nothing to see here. We don't know anything about it. While Iran will continue to issue denials and feign ignorance, the truth is that the IRGC, the Iranian regime's tool for all things terrorist related, has been escalating tensions with US. And Israel forces on multiple fronts since the Israel Hamas conflict began. A barrage of missiles fired from Yemen were shot down by the USS Carney over the Red Sea as they headed towards Israel on October 19.


And in another provocation, this one on November 9, houthi militants successfully shot down a US. MQ Nine Reaper drone that was operating over international waters. So American forces in Iraq and Syria have been subjected to repeated drone and rocket attacks by Iranian backed militias in the region. So far, over 60 attacks since 17 October, which have thus far injured at least 59 US. Service members. The Biden administration has responded with three separate counterstrikes on facilities in Syria linked to the militias and the IRGC, but have been reluctant to respond more aggressively over fears of sparking a wider regional conflict. They continue, however, to offer strong words of rebuke to the Iranian regime and their proxy groups, warning them against escalation. It appears, however, that these strong words of rebuke are falling on deaf ears. As the Sunday hijacking in the Red Sea sharply illustrates. The continued provocations are raising very tough questions regarding the effectiveness of the Biden administration's strategy to contain the Israeli Hamas conflict and avoid a confrontation with Iran. Now, as an aside, when it comes to Iran's aggressive behavior, the US. Shouldn't and hopefully doesn't expect any support from the United Nations.


After all, the UN now has Iran chairing a human rights forum. Okay, well, look, not to just pick on the UN. Let's say that global institutions in general are somewhat useless at calling out the behavior of despotic regimes. As another example, this received almost no press. North Korea, that bastion of benevolence, was recently appointed to a three year term on the executive board of the World Health Organization. And that was at the encouragement and support of Russia. Also, another bellwether of human rights and global goodwill. All right, coming up after the break, a closer look at the surprise victory of libertarian Javier Belay in argentina's presidential runoff election. I'll be right back.


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Welcome back to the PDB afternoon bulletin. I want to turn our attention to the nation of Argentina, which woke up this morning to a seismic shift in the political scene. Self described anarchocapitalist libertarian Javier Millet, a 53 year old political outsider, stormed a victory in Sunday's presidential runoff, capturing 56% of the vote over his opponent, economy Minister Sergio Masa, who received just over 44%. Known for his flamboyant hair and sideburns, earning him the nickname The Wig. Milay's triumph is seen as a rebuke to the political establishment by an electorate seething with discontent. So just what led to his upset victory well, Milet's search to power is rooted in Argentina's domestic woes. The country is grappling with a dire economic landscape, branded by experts as the worst economic crisis in a generation. And for Argentina, that's saying something. With an astronomical annual inflation rate soaring to 143% and the Argentine peso's rapid devaluation against the US. Dollar, nearly 40% of the country's population is currently living in poverty. During his victory speech, Millet declared, quote we have monumental problems ahead inflation, lack of work, and poverty. The time for lukewarm solutions is over. End quote. Now, his prescription for Argentina's ailments is well, it's nothing short of radical a so called economic shock therapy.


Malay's controversial strategy involves dissolving the central bank, abandoning the peso for the US. Dollar, and dramatically slashing government expenditures. How dramatic. Well, let's just say the symbol of his campaign was a chainsaw. Yeah. Yet it's not just his domestic policies that have drawn attention. Milet's foreign policy stance is equally provocative, and it's a departure from his predecessors. He's pledged to sever commercial ties with Argentina's key trading partners, Brazil and China. In a blunt critique, he has refused to engage with communist nations, even likening trade with China, to dealing with an assassin. In contrast, Milay is a pivot towards capitalist allies, notably the United States, as he seeks to reorient Argentina's international relationships. Now, this marks a significant shift from Argentina's traditional partnerships and signals a potential realignment with global trade priorities under Malay's unconventional leadership. Now, there's two points here that are worth mentioning. Malay's victory goes against the recent trend of nations in the region, such as Venezuela, Brazil, Honduras and others veering towards the hard left and socialism. And China has taken advantage of the trend. And frankly, through their massive online influence, campaigns have fueled the move towards socialism. While the US has been focused elsewhere during the past several years, china has been busy through its extended belt and road initiative, cutting trade, mining and finance deals with countries right in America's backyard.


Xi's regime will no doubt be concerned with the results in Argentina, and as will the current US. Administration, but they'll be looking at it from a political prism. With the 2024 election approaching, democrat Strategists will no doubt draw parallels between Malay's victory and the looming shadow of former President Trump. And that, my friends, is the PDB afternoon bulletin for Monday 20 November. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me at PDB at the First TV. I'm Mike Baker. I'll be back tomorrow. Until then, stay informed, stay safe, stay cool.


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