Asia

Russia inserts itself into North Korea game

Japan’s Abe is looking sidelined while Russia’s Vladimir Putin adroitly places himself in the Korea strategy space M. K. Bhadrakumar Asia Times When it comes to North Korea, Japan and Russia may seem like two “lost souls” in Northeast Asia, standing on the fringes anxiously looking on as China, South Korea and the United States dominate the headlines. The tremors set in motion by the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore last ... Read More »

Lebanon Is Protecting Hezbollah’s Cocaine Trade in Latin America

The country’s institutions are not a counterweight to Hezbollah, but its enablers. Emanuele Ottolenghi FP Days after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, Washington ramped up sanctions against Hezbollah as part of its offensive against Tehran and its proxies. Yet U.S. policy toward the Lebanese militant group continues to be incoherent. By flexing its muscles against Hezbollah while supporting Lebanese state institutions that it has heavily penetrated or fully controls, the White House ends up undermining its own pursuit of the… Lebanon ... Read More »

Illegal trade in antiquities: a scourge that has gone on for millennia too long

Looting of artefacts has always been a sign of military might or economic power. Evangelos Kyriakidis The Conversation Over millennia, conquering generals would take away with them trophies to adorn their cities. In more recent centuries, the wealthy upper classes would make “grand tours” of classical sites and acquire – through whatever means – anything from vases to statues to entire temple friezes to show off at… Owning a piece of antiquity was seen as demonstrating wealth, a love of ... Read More »

From the St Louis to the Aquarius: the history of refugee boats as archipelagos of misery

The Aquarius, a rescue ship in the Mediterranean carrying 629 people, is now on its way to Spain, after being refused docking in Italy and Malta. Simone Gigliotti The Conversation The crisis has caused a diplomatic row between France and Italy and highlighted the stalemate within the EU on asylum policy. Sadly, there have been many historical examples of boats laden with refugees, that were refused docking. In the aftermath of World War II, the historian Eugene Kulischer wrote: “The ... Read More »

Yemen war: UN calls for vital port of Hudaydah to stay open

The UN Security Council has reiterated its call for the rebel-held Yemeni port of Hudaydah to remain open after urgent talks on the Saudi-backed offensive. BBC However, the council rejected a call by member state Sweden for an immediate halt to hostilities. Pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition launched the offensive after Houthi rebels ignored a deadline to leave the port city. Hudaydah is a key entry point for humanitarian aid to war-torn… Yemen war: UN… Read More »

UN rights chief calls for major probe into Kashmir abuses

The U.N. human rights chief on June 14 called for a major investigation into abuses in Kashmir, as his office released its first-ever report on violations committed by both India and Pakistan in the… GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he would urge the Human Rights Council, which opens a new session next week, “to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry [COI] to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into… A COI is one of the UN’s highest-level probes, generally reserved for ... Read More »

Dalit conversions: An act of rebellion against caste supremacy

The mass conversion of Dalits to other religions continue to stir anxiety and anger among India’s Hindu intelligentsia. Rahul Sonpimple Al-Jazeera The recent mass conversion of Dalits to Buddhism in Gujarat’s Una district, which included the Dalits who were brutally assaulted by cow vigilantes for allegedly skinning dead cattle, has stirred anxiety among the upper-caste Hindu intelligentsia.  Once again, India’s liberals, radical leftists and conservatives are asking, if not in one then in an analogous voice: “Why are Dalits choosing conversion?” Disturbing ... Read More »

Nazi flags and war crimes? Our armed forces need better leadership

The culture of the defence forces has allowed some nasty aspects of our society to take hold in the junior ranks Bridget Clinch The Guardian I never expected to wake up to the news that a special forces vehicle had been flying a swastika flag on operations in Afghanistan in 2007 and, I imagine, neither did the Australian public. We have entrusted these soldiers to defend us and our way of life, not to become the monsters we have fought ... Read More »

Erdogan’s Turkey Intensifies Involvement in Gaza and Jerusalem

Turkey, under the charismatic leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is intervening in many places throughout the Middle East. In each locale, it takes care to unfurl the Turkish flag literally. Pinhas Inbari Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs However, Turkey’s public involvement in Jerusalem appears to be more public and striking because Jerusalem is more important to Turkey than other places in the region. Turkey has shown great interest in both Gaza and Jerusalem. It is interested in Gaza because ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan Offers Putin to Jointly Produce New Gen S-500 Missile System

Turkey is eyeing a long-range missile defense system of its own as part of its current effort to enhance the county’s defensive strategic military capabilities. Sputnik Ankara is looking forward to the joint production of a new generation S-500 air and missile defense system with Russia, President Recep Tayyip has said. “I have contacted President Putin with a proposal about the joint production of the S-500,” Erdogan said in an interview with 24 TV. He didn’t mention the… Turkey’s Erdogan Offers… Read More »

Shock claim North Korea cyber attacks are ‘MUCH BIGGER threat’ following Trump-Kim summit

KIM JONG-UN’s “strongest cyber army in the world” could now pose a much bigger danger than nuclear weapons, a top expert on cyber attacks has warned following the historic meeting between the US and… Martina Bet Express Serguei Beloussov, CEO of a multimillion global leader company in data protection and storage management, told Express.co.uk that even without nuclear weapons, North Korea still holds an enormous amount of power in the… He said: “Today, the Republic of North Korea has one ... Read More »

Real Estate Shopping on Someone Else’s Land

At an informational session in the Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe in the West Bank, a real estate agent engages in sales patter with house hunters for a new development of penthouses and 3- and 4-bedroom apartments: “breathtaking views,” “the highest standards of construction,” and… Sari Bashi HRW Two potential home-buyers, Israeli men in their 30s, flip through brochures showing high-rise buildings built on open land that had formed part of the neighboring Palestinian… “The view is spectacular,” says the ... Read More »

How Beijing is winning control of the South China Sea

Erratic US policy and fraying alliances give China a free hand SINGAPORE — Even by his outspoken standards, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s account of a conversation he had with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, was startling. Simon Roughneen Nikkei . Asia Review During a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing in May 2017, the subject turned to whether the Philippines would seek to drill for oil in a part of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. Duterte ... Read More »

Iraq’s Sadr announces alliance with pro-Iranian leader

Nationalist cleric Moqtada Sadr announced on June 12 a surprise political alliance with pro-Iranian Hadi al-Ameri in a bid to lead Iraq over the next four years. BAGHDAD – Agence France Presse Hurriyet The two blocs won first and second place in the war-scarred country’s May 12 parliamentary election. The move by Sadr, who is staunchly opposed to Iranian involvement in the country, was unexpected by much of the political class as he had suggested unwillingness to work with Ameri and his bloc of ... Read More »

Knesset Foils Efforts to End Israeli Apartheid

For most of the seven decades after its establishment, Israel went to extraordinary lengths to craft an image of itself as a “light unto the nations”. Jonathan Cook CounterPunch It claimed to have “made the desert bloom” by planting forests over the razed houses of 750,000 Palestinians it exiled in 1948. Soldiers in the “most moral army in the world” reputedly cried as they were compelled to shoot Palestinian “infiltrators” trying to return home. And all this occurred in what ... Read More »

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un rewrites the book on the art of the deal with shrewd handling of Donald Trump in Singapore

Kim shows poise and diplomatic flourish to walk away with a win on one of the biggest points of contention Lee Jeong-ho and Kinling Lo South China Morning Post For a 34-year-old who made his first state visit in just the last few months, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seemed to hold his own in Tuesday’s high-profile summit setting with US President Donald Trump. Kim had already surprised many observers with shrewd strategic manoeuvring before the talks and the Singapore ... Read More »