Ed: 40: June/2015
The fall of Ramadi to the fighters of the Islamic State (IS) on May 15 was a disaster for the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The taking of the city brings IS to just over 100 kilometres from Baghdad.
In addition to showcasing the low calibre of the Iraqi security forces, the events surrounding the fall of the city lay bare the contradictions at the heart of Western policy in Iraq.
Australia is not new to the threat of jihadi terrorism, but the 15-16 December 2014 hostage crisis staged by Man Haron Monis in Sydney shook the Australian people and was followed live across the world. Previous and recent arrests of young would-be Australian jihadists preparing terrorist attacks have only emphasised the growing threat of Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)'s influence in Australia.
Having surprised everyone with a decisive electoral victory in March, Binyamin Netanyahu seemed to have all but lost its fruits by May.
In what will surely be recalled as one of the most unpredicted moves in the history of Israeli politics, Netanyahu's former aide and longtime ally Avigdor Lieberman announced out of the blue on May 4 that his coalition negotiation with Netanyahu had failed, that he was resigning immediately as foreign minister, and that he and his faction were heading to the opposition.
On 19 May 2015, we lost a giant of academia, world Jewry and the fight against antisemitism.
Professor Robert Wistrich, who mixed knowledge with wisdom and research with passionate advocacy, suffered a fatal heart attack.
Less than a week earlier he had delivered a powerful address to the Fifth Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, which convened in Jerusalem. He called for a rethinking in strategies and tactics, arguing that far too many people, for far too long, had ignored the growth and potency of contemporary enmity of Jews and Judaism.
New Zealand's battle to secure a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was long and hard-fought. And with just a two-year term to serve, starting from last January, the country's foreign affairs officials don't plan to waste what time they have.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully has committed Wellington to support a greater role for the Security Council in the Middle East peace process, saying, "We have been clear in our view that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is not sustainable, and our friendships with Israel and Palestine demand we play a part in helping to find a solution."
Last December, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the head of a centre-right government of 68 members in the 120-seat Knesset, called for new elections following disputes with several key coalition members. On March 17, Netanyahu's Likud party emerged as the clear winner, with a seemingly comfortable path to a right-wing coalition of 67 seats.
Yet, in the end, Netanyahu only managed to eke out a precarious 61-member centre-right coalition, and only at the last possible moment constitutionally.
As AIR has reported, there has been a clear and dramatic rise in antisemitism in Europe in recent years. I won't repeat all the statistics again, nor the evidence that in many cities it is simply unsafe to be identifiably Jewish on the street.
Why has this happened?
Support for the Palestinian cause and antipathy towards Israel is a rare point of agreement in the bare-knuckled Malaysian political debate. But there are outliers, like the hardline Muslim NGO Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Malaysian Muslim Solidarity) - known as ISMA.
The move by the Vatican to recognise the Palestinian struggle for statehood was not enough for this group, and ISMA president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman warned against trusting the gesture.