Asia

Terrorists in Idlib Should not Hope on the Help of Foreign Sponsors

There are about 10,000 terrorists linked with al-Qaeda on the territory of the Syrian province of Idlib. Editor ISF This statement was unexpectedly widely quoted in the Western media, contrary to the established tradition of representing members of illegal armed groups as “rebels” and “fighters for freedom”. Perhaps the reason for the change in rhetoric was the fact that it came from the mouth of the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura. As the statement ... Read More »

China cracks down on religion, crosses burned at Christian churches, Xi Jinping photos installed

China has intensified its crackdown on religion, with images emerging of crosses being burned and destroyed at Christian churches. By Ian Burrows and Bang Xiao ABC The crosses are said to often be replaced with objects such as the Chinese flag and photos of Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. In one video posted on Twitter earlier this month, fire is seen engulfing the cross at the Chinese Christian Church in Xinxiang city, in the ... Read More »

Iran’s Ahvaz Attack Worsens Gulf Tensions

An attack on a military parade in Iran is raising tensions in an already volatile Gulf region. Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of perspectives in Tehran, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Washington and warn that a single attack can trigger further escalation. ICG An attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on 22 September, which killed 29 people, dangerously raised tensions in an already volatile Gulf region. Iran accused a local insurgent group (which ... Read More »

Indonesian incest rape victim, 15, could be sent back to jail for having an abortion

An appeal against the acquittal of a 15-year-old rape victim who was charged with illegal abortion in Indonesia has been condemned by local activists, who say the move is a backward step for the protection of women. Tasha Wibawa ABC A regional prosecution office launched the appeal, saying it wanted the case to serve as a lesson to others considering aborting a pregnancy, the Jakarta Post reported. The girl — who fell pregnant after being raped by her brother — ... Read More »

Turkey Must Choose the Tough Option and Leave Syria

Ankara doesn’t want to leave, but it doesn’t want armed conflict either. On September 17, Erdoğan reached an agreement with Putin at a meeting in Sochi to create buffer zones between government forces and those of the opposition confronting each other in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib in a… Mohammed Ayoob The National Interest This may have postponed the military showdown for the moment but is unlikely to lead to a lasting solution as the regime of President Bashar al-Assad ... Read More »

Washington’s Farcical “Certifications” Enable the War Crimes of Allies

And violate U.S. law. Ted Galen Carpenter The National Interest Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s certification that the Saudi-led military coalition in the Yemen war was taking adequate steps to avoid inflicting civilian casualties may have achieved a new low in U.S. foreign-policy ethics. There is abundant evidence of multiple atrocities that Riyadh and its United Arab Emirates (UAE) junior partner have committed and continue to commit. The coalition’s war strategy has created a famine as well as a cholera ... Read More »

Turkey went on a building spree as its economy boomed. Now the frenzy is crashing to a halt.

ISTANBUL — Inside the Ozdilek Park mall, Dogukan Altin arrives for his shift at a men’s clothing store. Today is a national holiday and almost everyone has the day off. But almost no one has come to Ozdilek. David J. Lynch The Washington Post “It’s generally just empty. There’s too many malls,” says Altin, 34, sporting a close-cropped beard along with a dark tie and white shirt. “Because there’s three malls right next to each other, none of them make ... Read More »

So Much Like Home: From Palestine To Central Australia

In December 2016, New Matilda editor Chris Graham travelled to the Middle East, his first visit to Palestine. What he found shocked him, but not so much for the depth of poverty and oppression, but rather for how much it reminded him of the… Chris Graham New Matilda In his 2013 documentary Utopia, Australian journalist John Pilger looks at the state of Aboriginal Australia following the Northern Territory intervention, a cynical government policy launched in the lead up to the… The ... Read More »

Chinese medical vessel docks in Venezuela

The humanitarian tour will provide medical help to the crisis-ridden country, but Venezuelan officials said it was also part of a “strategic defense operation.” Medication prices have soared as the currency tanks. DW The Chinese army medical vessel “Peace Ark” arrived in Venezuela’s La Guaira port on Saturday, as the country faces a deep economic crisis that has devastated its public health services. It is the latest stop for the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s ship in its 11-nation “Mission Harmony” ... Read More »

This pains me, but it’s time to compromise on Australia’s cruel asylum seeker policy

Vacating the moral high ground is part of ending the most terrible act perpetrated by the Australian state during my lifetime Robert Manne The Guardian In the past 30 years Australia has crafted an almost uniquely cruel asylum seeker policy. Our only competitor is the proudly illiberal Hungary. When Malcolm Turnbull outlined our current policy to Donald Trump in their notorious telephone conversation, the US president was mightily impressed. “You are worse than I am.” No more evidence about the ... Read More »

James Ricketson’s family elated following Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon

James Ricketson’s family has expressed joy and relief following the Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon after 15 months in a Cambodian prison on “outrageous” espionage charges. Fergus Hunter & Bevan Shields The Canberra Times Targeted by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s authoritarian government, Ricketson was sentenced in June to six years’ imprisonment. His relatives had feared the 69-year-old would not survive the harsh conditions. Ricketson has left his Phnom Penh jail and will soon be deported to Australia, possibly by Sunday. Fairfax ... Read More »

Major hurdles – and rewards – as China and Philippines try to forge deal to share South China Sea resources

If the two sides manage to reach an agreement, an outcome that is far assured given the myriad political and legal complexities, it could radically alter the dynamics of a vexing geopolitical dispute. South China Morning Post Ahead of President Xi Jinping’s expected visit to Manila in November, the Philippines and China have taken a major step towards resolving their maritime disputes. Last month, the Philippine government announced the formation of a technical working group to iron out the legality ... Read More »

US imposes sanctions on China for buying Russian weapons

The US has imposed sanctions on the Chinese military over its purchasing of Russian military jets and surface-to-air missiles. BBC It says such purchases contravene US sanctions on Moscow introduced over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in US politics. China recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles. Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its Western allies since 2014. Relations between the US and Russia deteriorated rapidly ... Read More »

Yemen’s Hodeida Offensive: Once Avoidable, Now Imminent

When the plan for consultations between Yemen’s warring parties, scheduled to begin in Geneva on 8 September, collapsed, the frozen battle for the Red Sea port of Hodeida resumed. Peter Salisbury ICG It could prove fatal for many of the millions already on the brink of starvation. Over the last two weeks, the latest attempt to set Yemen on the path to peace has collapsed, triggering what could become the bloodiest battle of a war approaching its fourth anniversary. In ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan to open Cologne mosque in controversial state visit

The Turkish president’s hopes of addressing the German-Turkish community are closer to becoming reality. His upcoming state visit was described as a “betrayal” by journalist Deniz Yücel, who was imprisoned in Turkey. DW Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will officially open a new central mosque in the western German city of Cologne, the Turkish-Islamic organization DITIB confirmed on Tuesday evening. Erdogan will open the mosque at a ceremony at the end of his state visit to Germany, which is set ... Read More »

The Australian war film Jirga is a lesson in Afghan forgiveness

It is cathartic when a war movie takes us far beyond the horror of bullets, bomb and blood into the other side of the battlefield — the emotional impact on individuals. Ehsan Azari Stanizai The Conversation The Australian production Jirga mines the depth of the heartache and guilt experienced by an Australian ex-soldier whose conscience has caught up with his participation in a night raid on a… In doing so, it moves away from run-of-the-mill cinematic depictions of this war, ... Read More »