As the 11 days of clashes between Gaza and Israel ends in a ceasefire, the military analysis truly begins. The Israeli army will painstakingly review all of its operations, especially the new weapons and tactics, to judge how successful they were and what improvements are needed.
Hezbollah in Lebanon has far more rockets than Hamas in Gaza, so one of the Israeli army worries will be how Hamas and other factions were able to carry on firing from such a small area right to the end, night after night. Continue reading →
Saddam Hussein’s former castle in Mosul, 2019. Photo: Levi Clancy/Wikimedia Commons/CC
The United States and its allies have dropped at least 326,000 bombs and missiles on countries in the greater Middle East/ North Africa region since 2001. That is the conclusion of new research by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies of anti-war group CODEPINK.
Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are the countries that have felt the worst of the violence, but Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine and Somalia have also been targeted. The total amounts to an average of 46 bombs dropped per day over the last 20 years. Continue reading →
Anti-Racism Protest in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. June 8, 2020. Photo: Andrew Mercer/Wikimedia Commons/CC
The murder of George Floyd in May this year triggered uprisings against and conversations about racism in countries across the world. It felt as though the Black Lives Matter movement – founded in 2013 by three Black women in the US – had gone global on an unprecedented scale.
And while racism is an issue that transcends borders (White supremacy was, after all, a colonial project), it takes on different forms in different contexts. What constitutes racism in Canada may look quite different from racism in India or Brazil. Continue reading →
Cellphone tower | Picture by Peter Bjorndal / pixabay.com. Public Domain
Regime-directed surveillance has taken new forms within the Middle East as governments have been forced to adapt to new technological and social environments. While government surveillance of its citizens is not new to the region, this old authoritarian impulse has been revamped in the attempt to subvert opposition and monitor dissidence amid widespread use of social media and access to smartphones within the region.
New forms of targeted hackings and espionage have therefore become commonplace throughout the region, and often extend across borders into the international arena. Western companies, governments, and individuals have provided extensive assistance to the surveillance efforts of these governments, often by supplying them with the necessary technology and expertise needed to conduct such sweeping operations. However, regional countries – particularly Israel – have increasingly constructed and exported their own indigenous operations and platforms designed to surveil their publics. Conducted on a mass scale and bolstered by western technological support, these new and sophisticated forms of surveillance have supplied these governments with the tools necessary to go on the offensive against all who seek to challenge the status quo. Continue reading →
Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during the Senate’s vote on Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. On Tuesday night, Pence returned to the chamber again to a break another tie. This time it was to make sure it’s easier in the future for financial service companies and other Wall Street darlies to make it easier to rip-off consumers. (Photo: Senate Television)
Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.
“Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.” Continue reading →
Israel over the weekend launched drone attacks against three of its neighbors, adding to tensions in the region. (Photo: U.S. Army/cc)
Iraqi parliamentary Shiite leaders in the Fatah Movement political party on Monday issued a statement calling weekend airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military in western Iraq tantamount to a “declaration of war.”
The statement placed blame for the strikes not only with the Israeli military but also with American forces. Continue reading →
The new policy calls the weapons “an effective and necessary capability.” (Photo: mary wareham/flickr/cc)
The Pentagon made a decision that “beggars belief,” human rights groups said Friday, when it tossed out its plan to ban certain cluster bombs that leave a large percentage of lethal, unexploded munitions, which pose a significant risk to civilians.
“This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the U.S. way out of line with the international consensus—cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries due to their inherently indiscriminate nature and the risks they pose to civilians,” said Patrick Wilcken, researcher on arms control and human rights at Amnesty International. Continue reading →
IDF soldiers deployed during “Operation Protective Edge.” (Photo: IDF/flickr/public domain)
Last week, Israel began holding its largest military drill in 20 years, and it was specifically designed to simulate a war with Hezbollah.
From the Independent:
“The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has deployed thousands of air, sea and land personnel to the Lebanese border for its biggest military drill in almost two decades, a show of strength designed to intimate Hezbollahand Iran even as their power grows in neighbouring Syria.”Continue reading →
Her ordination was “an act of love and justice”, those present at the ceremony heard in the sermon, and her comment to journalists after the ceremony was “Christ’s justice has been finally fulfilled”.
Rola had shown signs of cautious optimism in 2012 about her ordination: “It is not something that I dream of day and night. Whatever happens, I will not be discouraged.” But she tells me that she never imagined this day would come. She was very (pleasantly) surprised with the result of the Synod’s vote of 23-1 in favor of her ordination.
The historic nature of the event was not evident at first sight. She says “it’s not a big deal. I was serving my Church and I will continue serving.” Continue reading →
John Kirby briefs reporters at the Pentagon, 2014. DoD photo by Casper Manlangit [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
State Department spokesperson John Kirby is raising eyebrows after he released a recap of 2015 “success stories” in which he credits the United States for bringing “peace” and “security” to Syria and “stepping up” to help the country’s people at a difficult time.
“The United States and many members of the international community have stepped up to aid the Syrian people during their time of need,” wrote Kirby in his laudatory year-in-review released late last week. He went on to claim that “the United States has led the world in humanitarian aid contributions since the crisis began in 2011.” Continue reading →