Asia

Look at Syria, and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars

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It’s hard to believe the west’s leaders are letting this escalate. Have we learned nothing from history? What on earth are we doing? Simon Jenkins The Guardian I have not heard a single expert on Syria explain how dropping missiles on that country will advance the cause of peace or lead its dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to back down. It will merely destroy buildings and probably kill people. It is pure populism, reflected in the hot-and-cold rhetoric of Trump’s increasingly whimsical tweets. ... Read More »

Netanyahu is picking the wrong friends in Europe

TOPSHOT - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv on February 14, 2018. 
Netanyahu said today his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation against him after detectives recommended his indictment for corruption, prompting calls for him to resign. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Siding with Hungary over Brussels undermines Europe’s positive anti-Semitism efforts. Here’s something for Benjamin Netanyahu to consider: The Israeli prime minister should spend less time in Europe praising nationalists like Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and more time listening to people in Brussels, like European Commission Vice President Frans… William Echikson Politico Look at the recent Hungarian election. During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, ... Read More »

Why North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses are Being Ignored

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Despite the reactions of the United States and South Korea to the North’s human-rights abuses, North Koreans are left behind. Min hee Jo, Quinn Marschik The National Interest Human rights form a pillar of most democratic countries’ foreign policies and play a major role in their international relations. When it comes to totalitarian North Korea, which is among the worst human-rights abusers in modern history, the United States and South Korea under the Trump and Moon administrations respectively have employed similar but ... Read More »

Will Bolton and Trump Start the First Sino-American War?

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When America launches a preemptive attack on North Korea, will the US find itself at war with China? This is not an idle question. Charles Pierson CounterPunch On Monday, the fiercest advocate of a preemptive attack on North Korea, John R. Bolton, joined the Trump Administration. Bolton, a former US Ambassador to the UN, replaces H. R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Bolton is the gold standard against which all other hawks are measured. Bolton pushed for ... Read More »

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

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After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. Sam Heller ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack’s impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack? On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical ... Read More »

Is a Modern Chinese Navy a Threat to the United States?

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China’s rising presence in the Indian and Pacific oceans has far-reaching implications for our world order. Alfred W. McCoy The Nation Amid the intense coverage of Russian cyber-maneuvering and North Korean missile threats, another kind of great-power rivalry has been playing out quietly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The US and Chinese navies have been repositioning warships and establishing naval bases as if they were so many pawns on a geopolitical chessboard. To some it might seem curious, even ... Read More »

Beijing’s South China Sea Military Bases Now Have Jammers That Can Block American Radar and Communications, U.S. Claims

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United States officials claimed that China has installed military jamming equipment on fortified artificial islands in the South China Sea which will allow Beijing to block enemy radar and communications systems. David Brennan Newsweek This latest step in China’s militarization of its island bases signifies Beijing’s determination to assert its regional territorial claims, regardless of U.S. opposition. According to The Wall Street Journal, the jamming systems were installed within the last 90 days. The Journal quoted a U.S. Defense Department official who said ... Read More »

Less Than Meets the Eye

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The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best. Dimitar Bechev The American Interest While the U.S. mulls how to calibrate its policy in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad last week, a set of leaders are hoping that President Trump stays the course and decides to withdraw from Syria. The past week saw Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin sharing the stage in Ankara ... Read More »

Europe Caught in the Middle as Trump Threatens China

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FRANKFURT — One is a good customer, a military ally and an old friend, although lately its behavior has been erratic. The other is also a good customer, and despite a few spats and some lingering mistrust, it’s getting to be a more lucrative and dependable business partner all the time. Jack Ewing The New York Times Which side would you choose? That more or less sums up the dilemma confronting Europe as it watches the escalating conflict between its ... Read More »

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

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On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

The South China Sea Disputes: Will Taiwan’s Role Be Enhanced?

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For many years, Taiwan’s interests and role in the South China Sea disputes have essentially been officially ignored. But with the election of US President Donald J. Trump and his appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor, its influence on and involvement in such issues may increase substantially. Mark J. Valencia IPP Review Bolton in particular has a long history of supporting Taiwan’s interests. He has urged the restoration of formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and that Taiwan be ... Read More »

“Terrorism” Turkish Style

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 16: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech to his supporters in Istanbul, July 16, 2016, Turkey. Istanbul's bridges across the Bosphorus, the strait separating the European and Asian sides of the city, have been closed to traffic. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced an army coup attempt, that has left atleast 90 dead 1154 injured in overnight clashes in Istanbul and Ankara. (Photo by Defne Karadeniz/Getty Images)

On March 19, a group of students at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, Turkey’s leading institute of higher education, demonstrated against an event on campus. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The event against which they were demonstrating, organized by the Society for Islamic Research, was to champion the Turkish soldiers who had participated in the Afrin invasion. While the pro-government students distributed Turkish delight sweets, the counter-demonstrators unfolded a banner reading: “Invasions and massacres are not [to be celebrated] with delights.” Turkish President ... Read More »

Sukarno’s daughter in hot water over careless remarks

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Islamic conservatives have targeted Indonesia’s Sukmawati Sukarnoputri over a poem she read to the audience at a Jakarta fashion show By JOHN MCBETH Asia Times If the downfall of former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama wasn’t enough, a moment of carelessness now has the youngest sister of ruling Indonesian Democrat Party for Struggle (PDI-P) leader and former president Megawati Sukarnoputri facing blasphemy allegations as well. With only one year to go before national legislative and presidential elections, Sukmawati Sukarnoputri’s misstep could have ... Read More »

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations

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The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos BESA A rapprochement with Greece, traditionally at odds with Turkey, made theoretical sense but was practically difficult due to the Greek sympathy with the Arabs and the Palestinian cause. Careful diplomacy was thus required. While some discussions on the matter began in Athens in the spring of 2009, ... Read More »

Syrian government accused of chemical attacks on civilians in eastern Ghouta

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Medical relief organisation says a chlorine bomb hit a hospital, killing six people, with total death toll from chemical attacks at 41 Reuters The Guardian A Syrian rebel group has accused government forces of dropping a barrel bomb containing poisonous chemicals on civilians in eastern Ghouta and a medical relief organisation said at least 41 people had been killed in chemical attacks on the… Syrian state media denied claims by Jaish al-Islam that government forces had launched any chemical attack ... Read More »

The plight of Rohingya women

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As the minority Rohingya people flee persecution in Myanmar, none face greater hardship and suffering than Rohingya women. By Imran Mohammad. The Saturday Paper I write this as a Rohingya man, a refugee, looking at an unacknowledged reality in the upheaval of my people. The majority of Rohingya women have never had the opportunity to express themselves. It is like their lives begin and end inside four walls. They can be made to commit to a virtual stranger in an ... Read More »