Ed: 43: February/2018
On Dec. 18, the Australian chided Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' "ill-judged refusal" to meet US Vice-President Mike Pence during a planned but ultimately postponed December visit to the Middle East because of US President Trump's Jerusalem recognition statement.
By any traditional standard, Israel won its 50-day war against Hamas in 2014. It incurred far fewer casualties than its Palestinian adversary. It rooted out much of the Gaza Strip's terrorist infrastructure... And it put an end to incessant rocket attacks on Israeli towns...
Alas, according to David Patrikarakos, author of the fascinating War in 140 Characters, the traditional metrics of determining winners and losers no longer apply to armed conflict. War has entered a postmodern phase in which victories and losses on the "discursive level" matter more than casualty figures or captured territory.
Anti-Israel activity at the United Nations is mainly associated with UNRWA and UNESCO.
UNRWA, the aid agency for Palestinian refugees, has a reputation for inciting to violence and perpetuating the Palestinians' refugee status, while UNESCO, the UN's cultural agency, consistently denies any Jewish links to Jerusalem.
With US President Trump's decision to lay down a red line on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and slap more onerous non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, its clerical establishment has vowed a "severe response." But while Teheran's rhetoric has been threatening, its riposte is likely to be restrained due to three inconvenient realities...
With Malaysia's next national election due to be held by August this year, voters will have their say on a government that over the past five years has been wracked with financial scandals, a crackdown on dissent, the jailing of the popular opposition leader, and religious bigotry fed by Islamic hardliners, not to mention a leader - a scion of the establishment - accused of massive corruption.
Al-Dayeh's fall from grace was rapid once his boss, Arafat, died in 2004. This is typical for dictatorial regimes that are run as a one-man show. Arafat managed the Palestinian Authority (and PLO) as if it were his private fiefdom. When the emperor falls, so do many of those around him, particularly his personal picks.
On Jan. 13 an Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza destroyed a Hamas tunnel that extended from Gaza into Israeli and Egyptian territory. The tunnel was dug below the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and Gaza and reached 180 metres into Israeli territory. According to Israeli news reports, security forces believe the tunnel was built to facilitate a planned attack on the border crossing
New Zealand singer Lorde's announcement she was backing the BDS movement call to cancel an upcoming Tel Aviv concert likely won more coverage than it might have done if it had happened outside the Christmas/New Year period.
Today, as reflected by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's high-profile visit to India in January, and by PM Narendra Modi's visit to Israel last July, the Asian giant that once treated Israel as a diplomatic pariah has made a strategic U-turn.
If I were compiling a foreign policy wish list for 2018, high on the list would be ending the fiction that Lebanon is an independent country rather than an Iranian satrapy governed by Iran's foreign legion, Hezbollah.