Ed: 41: March/2016
There is a strong possibility that Iran will continue to benefit from North Korea's nuclear advances, and some of Iran's nuclear activities might take place in North Korea itself, using the "hermit state" as a convenient backyard.
No less a personage than the Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council, Ambassador Ibrahim Khreisheh, has confirmed that such ethnic cleansing of Jews is a goal being sought, or at least considered, by the leadership of the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority (PA).
Over the ruined landscape of northern Syria, a number of core factors which today define the strategic reality of the Middle East are colliding. Close observation of that blighted area therefore offers clues as to the current state of play more broadly in the region - who is on the way up, who on the way down, and what might this imply for Israel in the short to medium term.
The NSW ALP's state conference in February was the latest forum to debate whether to ban party members from travelling to Israel on sponsored trips, or else require they spend equal time in Palestinian areas.
Like other ALP conferences, the fixation of elements of the party on Israel generated a wave of media coverage, most of it critical.
After the fraudulent presidential elections of 2009, Iran's "deep state" - the secret and semi-secret networks of hardliners in the security, intelligence and the judicial apparatus who supposedly support the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - banned the two major political organisations of the reformists, Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Organisation of Islamic Revolution Mojahedin.
Ever since, the reformists have been determined to make a political comeback.
Judging from media reports, anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) campaigns have been getting increasing attention around the world. Academics, musicians and athletes are pressured into boycotting Israel, and those falsely accusing Israel of violating international law are speaking up louder and more frequently. Recent suggestions from within the Australian Labor party that would discourage members from participating in educational trips to Israel show just how widespread the boycott idea has become.
Malaysia is in political and economic crisis as it has been, now, for many months, due to a huge and still unresolved corruption scandal featuring a mysterious US$700 million that was transferred into a bank account belonging to the country's Prime Minister Najib Razak. The money arrived just before a hotly contested 2013 national election, which saw Najib's United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) triumph by a whisker. Where this money came from is anyone's guess.
When any of my discussions turned to the subject of the current tensions and prospect for a better future for Israelis and Palestinians, condemnations of the obsessive Israel-bashers in the West were passionate and consistent and often contained the same advice - let people exposed to crazed anti-Israel defamations come and see the country for themselves.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been widely criticised for agreeing, in an interview prior to last year's election, with a reporter who asked him to confirm that a Palestinian state would not be created in his next term.
Netanyahu's reply was immediately seized upon by critics who claimed it proved he no longer supported a two-state outcome, but this claim wasn't true.
2016 may well be remembered as the year that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel finally died its death - in a clinical sense, at least.
Across the US, state legislatures are passing bills that will outlaw state authorities from investing public funds in, and entering into contracts with, companies and other entities that engage in a boycott of Israel.