Analysis

Trial by judge alone may not be the answer to giving high-profile defendants a fair hearing

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In April 2013, Adrian Bayley pleaded guilty to Jill Meagher’s murder. As the case was the subject of heavy media coverage, there would have been few Australians who were not well aware of it. John Eldridge The Conversation It’s worth pondering, then, what might have happened had – as was possible – Bayley pleaded not guilty. Would it have been possible to empanel a jury that could bring a fair mind to the assessment of Bayley’s guilt? If not, what ... Read More »

Syria, chemical weapons and the limits of international law

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Consider this shocking fact: Despite horrific images of yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria, the U.S.-led humanitarian intervention to protect civilians on April 13 was fundamentally illegal. Andrew Bell The Conversation Under current international law, President Trump lacks the authorization to launch a single missile to stop future attacks, even for the clear and just purpose of saving civilian lives. No matter how wise you consider this intervention, legal scholars generally agree that the United Nations Charter doesn’t allow ... Read More »

How the aid community responds in Syria will dictate its role in future crises

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The latest military strikes by the US, France and Britain in Syria highlight the Trump administration’s uncertainty on its role in the conflict. Denis Dragovic The Conversation With a near triumphant Syrian President Bashar al-Assad firmly under the control of Moscow and Tehran, the strikes against military bases suspected of facilitating the chemical weapons attacks will be nothing more than a footnote in the wider battle for influence in the… Trump must look towards the future and focus on influencing ... Read More »

Diplomacy, and not bombing, is the way to end Syria’s agony

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More legally questionable and reckless military interventions are not what British people want from their government Jeremy Corbyn The Guardian These are serious times. Following the missile attacks on Syria, now is the moment for a powerful push for peace. Boris Johnson’s blithe acceptance on Sunday that the conflict will now continue on its current course and that peace negotiations would be an “extra” is an unconscionable abdication of… Already this devastating conflict has cost more than 500,000 lives and led to 5 million refugees ... Read More »

China Is Moving into the Indian Ocean

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China is pushing westward in the Indian Ocean while New Delhi is pushing eastward through its Act East and Indo-Pacific strategies. Vivek Mishra The National Interest In the past few years, the Maldives has quintessentially exemplified the shortcomings of India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy. But there is a larger geopolitical premonition that could be anticipated from the recent crisis in the Indian Ocean islands of the Maldives, one that points to the immediacy with which China and India are approaching towards a… At ... Read More »

China’s Worst Fear: Can America Turn Taiwan into a Submarine Power?

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Even as they tussle over trade, China and the United States are entering into a more under-the-radar dispute over Taiwan. Last week, the State Department approved a marketing license that allows U.S. defense companies to explore selling Taiwan technology it needs to build submarines. Zachary Keck The National Interest The approval was reported by Taiwanese media outlets who cited Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman. Sidney Lin, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s president, also confirmed the news. The United ... Read More »

The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars

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President Donald Trump is ordering U.S. strikes against government targets in Syria after a suspected chemical attack. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic The Middle East is a “troubled place,” President Donald Trump said Friday night as he described his decision to use America’s “righteous power” in a retaliatory attack against government targets in Syria following a suspected chemical attack… Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to have won the civil war in his country—but that doesn’t mean peace is coming. In fact, ... Read More »

Keeping the Hotline Open Between Sudan and South Sudan

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A UN mission has largely succeeded in keeping the peace in Abyei, an oil-rich area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. But there has been less progress made on the mission’s work in aiding political mechanisms to determine the final status of Abyei and demilitarise and demarcate the border. As the UN Security Council debates the mission’s scope, these mechanisms deserve ongoing support. ICG In 2011, Sudan and South Sudan sought outside help to prevent a return to war along what would become their international border. This effort followed ... Read More »

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

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ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

My Jewish Encounter With Hinduism

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How I came to an intellectual and spiritual connection with Swami Chidananda Saraswati Religions are complex realities. Alon Goshen-Gottstein Tablet They are constituted by systems of beliefs and rituals. They are embedded in particular cultures. They involve communities and they are mediated to a large extent through teachers and living spiritual exemplars. In what follows I describe a process of encountering Hinduism that has been in the making for nearly forty years. It has gone… My Jewish Encounter… Read More »

Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?

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Among those glancing at Syria’s seven-year conflict, a simple but misleading declaration is circulating: “Assad is winning”. Authors The Conversation But the Assad regime has only survived because of the political, economic and military life support it’s had from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. It is now entirely dependent on them. And that’s for rule over just a part of Syria. The opposition, though very dependent on Turkish protection, holds much of the north-west, and it also – for now – ... Read More »

Iran’s Priorities in a Turbulent Middle East

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Divergent views of Iran’s ambitions are driving proxy wars from Syria to Yemen. To stop disastrous direct confrontation, it is crucial to close the perception gap and that Iran and its adversaries take mutual steps toward de-escalating tensions. What’s new? Iran is a rising power in the Middle East, having exploited opportunities arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and wars in Syria and Yemen. ICG But where the Islamic Republic’s enemies see a grasping would-be empire, its own strategists ... Read More »

The far-right’s creeping influence on Australian politics

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Far-right political groupings are a constant feature on the fringes of Australian politics. In the 1950s and 1960s, they included the League of Rights and minuscule neo-Nazi parties. Andrew Markus The Conversation In the 1980s, there was National Action, the Australian Nationalist Movement, Australians Against Further Immigration and the Citizens Electoral Council. In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of a number of groups that combine online organisation with intimidating street activity: Reclaim Australia, Rise Up Australia, the Australian ... Read More »

Are Australians ready to embrace libertarianism?

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How much influence does libertarianism have on Australian politics? The first thing to know is that the Australian political system has very few libertarians in it. Chris Berg The Conversation The only federal member of parliament to self-describe as a libertarian is Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party. Other candidates – like my former colleagues at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Senator James Paterson and Tim Wilson – describe themselves as classical liberals. Ideological classifications can get ... Read More »

Why remembering matters for healing

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April 12 marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each year communities and schools plan various events such as reading the names of Holocaust victims and survivors, forums of Holocaust survivor speakers, or panel discussions with historians. Nancy Berns The Conversation These events run through an entire week of remembrance. Such formal days of remembrance are important. As a sociologist who studies grief and justice, I have seen how these events and permanent memorials can be both healing and inspirational. I will share ... Read More »

Preventing Boko Haram Abductions of Schoolchildren in Nigeria

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Four years after the abductions in Chibok, and months after more kidnappings in Dapchi, over 100 schoolgirls are still missing. Nigeria must act to make schools safe – beefing up security, learning from past mistakes and, ultimately, working to end the Boko Haram insurgency. What’s new? In February, a faction of the jihadist Boko Haram movement, seized 113 children from Dapchi in north east Nigeria. ICG It later released 107 of them. Five reportedly died; one remains captive. This comes ... Read More »