Ed: 42: April/2017
Brian Fishman's The Master Plan provides a comprehensive history of the Islamic State's (ISIS) strategic evolution, covering the personalities and events that shaped one of the most feared terrorist-insurgent groups that has ever existed. Eminently readable, in places even amusing - no small feat in a book about ISIS - Fishman flips with ease between the overview and the granular to demonstrate his points...
On March 12, 2017, Ahmed Daqamseh, the Jordanian soldier who had murdered seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997, was released from prison... When he spoke to the media in his village, he justified the massacre he committed, calling Israelis "human waste."
Fairfax chief correspondent Paul McGeough used Israeli PM Binyamin's Netanyahu's visit to Australia to attempt to put Israel in the same class as North Korea - claiming parallels between the failed 1997 poisoning assassination attempt on Hamas chief Khaled Meshal in neighbouring Jordan and the fatal poisoning last month in Malaysia of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un...
A question often asked is, "What do the jihadis [Mujahideen] want?" The answer is surprisingly obscure, as most of their attacks do not include clear demands.
The Nigerian Government this month declared the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) a security threat. The Nigerian network is similar to other welfare systems established by Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups. It boasts more than 300 schools, Islamic centres, a newspaper, guards and a "martyrs' foundation", and is said to be encouraging significant numbers of Nigerians to convert to Shi'ism.
The arrival in Kuala Lumpur of Saudi King Salman and his delegation - an entourage of some 1,500 princes, ministers, officials, businessmen and security personnel, plus hundreds of tonnes of cargo to support a caravan of six jumbo jets - rendered such a spectacle that little room was left to ponder its significance.
Forging a coherent policy on Syria would tax any administration. One critical priority is defeating ISIS in a way that neither leaves a vacuum nor fosters deeper sectarian differences after liberating Raqqa.
While the Vienna Nuclear Deal (VND) reached in 2015 is focused on preventing (or at least postponing) the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, its restrictions are looser with regard to related delivery systems (particularly nuclear-capable ballistic missiles) and to the transfer of nuclear technology by Iran to other countries. Moreover, almost no limits have been placed on the enhancement of Teheran's military nuclear program outside Iran. North Korea arguably constitutes the ideal such location for Iran.
US President Donald Trump's Special Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, arrived in Israel on March 13, 2017, to meet Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and to sound them out on restarting peace negotiations.
His visit to Abbas' presidential office, the Muqata'a, came amidst growing tension in Ramallah and even uncertainty about the very future of the Palestinian Authority.
Sir Gerald Kaufman was more than just another veteran Labour politician. Having entered the House of Commons in 1970, he was the longest-serving parliamentarian of any political hue... And, as an Orthodox Jew, he should have been revered by the Jewish community. Instead, when he died last month aged 86, not a tear of sadness touched the cheek of British Jewry.