Analysis

The Israelis Who Prevented a War With Iran

KHAN YOUNIS REFUGEE CAMP - GAZA STRIP - SEPTEMBER 01:  An Israeli tanks guards the vacant Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim on September 1, 2005 in the southern Gaza Strip. According to reports from Israeli security sources, Israel aims to withdrawal troops from the occupied Gaza Strip by September 15 following the evacuation of Jewish settlers from the territory.  (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Netanyahu came close to ordering airstrikes in 2010 — but was thwarted by his own security chiefs. Anshel Pfeffer FP As the shadow conflict being waged between Israel and Iran in Syria has intensified in recent days, the risk has grown that the two countries — among the strongest in the region — may soon find themselves in an all-out war. But this isn’t the first time Israel and Iran have approached the precipice. Nearly a decade ago, at the start ... Read More »

UNICEF: 400,000 children on ‘verge’ of death in the DRC

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The UN’s children’s agency calls for $88m of aid to address the ongoing crisis in Congo’s Kasai region. AlJazeera Up to 400,000 children are at risk of starving to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo unless humanitarian aid efforts are ramped up, the UN’s children’s agency has warned. Fighting between government forces and regional militia in the Congo’s central Kasai province has created a “perfect storm of poverty, deprivation and conflict for the most vulnerable children”, UNICEFsaid in a… It called for urgent ... Read More »

This isn’t Helter Skelter: Why the internet alone can’t be blamed for radicalisation

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The internet’s precise role in the process of radicalisation remains vexing. You can lead a person to a bomb-making manual, but you can’t make them use it. Radicalisation is a social process. Authors: The Conversation It refers to a means by which an individual or group embraces an extreme ideology and rejects or undermines the “status quo”. This process can then lead to an increased willingness to condone or use violence. “Safety” in the digital era The internet allows previously ... Read More »

What to Expect from Putin’s Fourth Term

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And will he begin to groom a successor? Moscow was the scene of two elaborate celebrations this week. Angela Stent The National Interest On May 7, Vladimir Putin took the oath of office in the Kremlin for his fourth term as president, describing Russia as a “country of magnificent victories and accomplishments” and vowing to “do everything to build up Russia’s might, prosperity and glory.” On May 9, Russia commemorated the victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War with ... Read More »

Refugees can actually create jobs for locals in growing cities – if given the chance

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The term “refugee” conjures up certain images; bedraggled, desperate people hauling themselves onto lifeboats in the Mediterranean; or a vast sea of white tents – complete with blue UN logo – on the moon-like surface of some remote, arid land. Aisling O’Loghlen The Conversation But these scenes don’t capture how the vast majority of refugees actually live – not in branded tents, but in cities. Figures from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) show that at the end of 2016, 60% ... Read More »

Mad Magazine’s clout may have faded, but its ethos matters more than ever before

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Mad Magazine is still hanging on. In April, it launched a reboot, jokingly calling it its “first issue.” Michael J. Socolow The Conversation But in terms of cultural resonance and mass popularity, it’s largely lost its clout. At its apex in the early 1970s, Mad’s circulation surpassed 2 million. As of 2017, it was 140,000. As strange as it sounds, I believe the “usual gang of idiots” that produced Mad was performing a vital public service, teaching American adolescents that ... Read More »

The Danger of Imitating Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC15D321FDD0

Michael Cohen is the latest to try to adopt the president’s tactics, only to have it backfire. David A. Graham The Atlantic Donald Trump’s genius has always been his ability to capitalize, literally, on his fame—to use his celebrity as a vehicle to enrich himself, even when he didn’t have the accomplishments or knowledge or business prowess (or the cash) to back up what he claimed. Since his entry into politics, plenty of his hangers-on have attempted the same thing, ... Read More »

Re-Orienting American Seapower for the China Challenge

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As a seafaring state, America demands maximal access to the world’s oceans within the constraints of international law. Ryan D. Martinson and Andrew Erickson War On The Rocks Though seldom recognized, U.S. efforts to defend its interest in maritime freedom in the Western Pacific have been fairly successful. When the People’s Republic of China unlawfully draws “fences” around the sea, U.S. warships steam through the fences. Beijing recognizes the seriousness of America’s position, and thus far has generally yielded. However, ... Read More »

Armenia’s Future Hangs in the Balance

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New Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s road to healing the unequal and divided country will be long and difficult. Pietro A. Shakarian The Nation On May 8, 2018, one day before Armenians observed Victory Day, Yerevan once again erupted in jubilation. Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan had just been officially elected Armenia’s 15th prime minister by the country’s National Assembly, with 59 votes in favor and 42 votes against. The newly elected PM was confirmed by Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and immediately received warm ... Read More »

What to Expect of President Putin’s Foreign Policy in His New Term

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Many wonder what the world should expect now that Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been re-elected for what is supposed to be his final term. Anna Arutunyan ICG Understanding what motivates the Kremlin could help Western policymakers build an approach toward Russia that combines pressure with opportunities for engagement. A particular solemnity cloaked the opening ceremony of Vladimir Putin’s fourth presidential term on 7 May as central Moscow was cordoned off for his motorcade’s procession to the Kremlin. Silence enveloped not ... Read More »

For Timor-Leste, another election and hopes for an end to crippling deadlock

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For the last year, the people of Timor-Leste have expected – and received – little from their government except deadlock. Jerry Courvisanos The Conversation From a political standpoint, there’s been gridlock for nearly a year after the Fretilin party eked out a victory in parliamentary elections last July, kicking independence hero Xanana Gusmao’s National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party out of power for the first time in a decade. However, Fretilin’s minority government found itself blocked at every turn ... Read More »

Religious backlash loosens clerics’ grip on legacy of 1979 Iranian Revolution

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With Iran’s ruling clergy already preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it may be too late to question whether or not the revolution was in fact Islamic. Naser Ghobadzadeh The Conversation What we can do, at least, is explore the revolution’s degree of Islamicness. In Iran, like elsewhere in the world, often competing utopian political visions shaped the political landscape of the previous century. Marxism, nationalism and liberalism all played important roles in the 1979 ... Read More »

China’s Plan to Conquer the South China Sea Is Now Clear

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Well, it was hardly surprising when the news came out: Beijing has based – permanently, perhaps – offensive weapons on the artificial islands it has painstakingly constructed in the South China Sea. Richard A. Bitzinger The National Interest These deployments cap a series of deceptions, increasingly belligerent military actions, and various illegal activities that have surrounded Chinese goings-on in the region for nearly a decade. In 2015, Chinese leader Xi Jinping promised not to militarize the islands that his country ... Read More »

The Making of a Kurdish Mandela

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By keeping a key challenger in jail, Turkey’s government risks making Selahattin Demirtas an even more popular and formidable opponent. Henri J. Barkey FP The Turkish government has just called snap presidential and parliamentary elections, which will be held on June 24. Most analysts are predicting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) will sail to victory primarily because of the weakness of the main opposition parties and… He also appears to have developed ... Read More »

Toward a free and open Indo-Pacific

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The U.S. administration of President Donald Trump has launched a new Asia policy, known as the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). Yoichi Funabashi The Japan Times Trump clearly laid out the strategic concept underlying the FOIP during his remarks in Danang, Vietnam, last November: “Today, I am here to offer a renewed partnership with America to work together to strengthen the bonds of friendship and commerce between all of the nations of the Indo-Pacific, and together, to promote our prosperity ... Read More »

Explainer: how the Australian intelligence community works

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National security, intelligence and espionage have been in the headlines due to events abroad and significant developments at home. John Blaxland The Conversation News of diplomatic expulsions, cyber-attacks, leaked documents about sweeping new surveillance powers and the creation of a new Home Affairs Department make it hard to follow. What’s more, everyone has heard of the CIA, for instance, but Australia’s own national security organisations are comparatively unknown. So how is intelligence gathered? What are Australia’s peak national security bodies ... Read More »