Analysis: What Netanyahu’s Win Means for Israel

A surprising finish to the Israeli elections has seen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party win the most votes and further entrench Netanyahu’s power for what will be his third-straight term as prime minister. But what will that mean for Israel? Here’s a look: A Strong Leader Ynet …

Israel Builds A Modern Highway and Finds an Ancient Village

Highway expansions can result in traffic jams, and in Israel it can turn into archaeology as well. That’s what happened to a recent project, after an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) inspector found pottery shards during the Highway 1 project, a discovery that has since led to the uncovering of an …

US, UK Slam Chlorine Attack in Syria and Urge Investigation

A reported attack using chemical components in Syria may have violated international law and has led to warnings from two powerful nations that such deeds should not go unpunished. US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond both released statements within a week of each other …

Oil Prices Rise as Egypt Ready to Send Ground Troops to Battle Iranian Allies in Yemen

The civil war in Yemen has turned into a regional war that has some reporters asking if it is a religious sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia Islam. And it looks like the fight is about to only intensify as Egypt’s leader said they are prepared to send in ground …

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Oil Prices Rise as Egypt Ready to Send Ground Troops to Battle Iranian Allies in Yemen

March 26, 2015 News
Oil prices went up over Yemen fighting. Oil Tanker. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer

Oil prices went up over Yemen fighting. Oil Tanker. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer

The civil war in Yemen has turned into a regional war that has some reporters asking if it is a religious sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia Islam. And it looks like the fight is about to only intensify as Egypt’s leader said they are prepared to send in ground troops “if necessary,” according to The New York Times. The array of nations led by Saudi Arabia fighting the rebel Houthi movement in Yemen have reportedly already intervened with more than 150 fighter jets from eight different Muslim nations, reported CNN. Including naval assistance from Egypt and Pakistan, there are ten nations involved in attacking the Houthi rebels.

The Houthi, meanwhile, are believed by the Saudis to be backed by Iran, said CNN. US spokesperson Marie Harf, according to briefings released by the State Department, say Iran has given “a huge amount of support” to the Houthis, but had “not seen evidence” the rebel group is under the “command and control” of Iran. Despite that, the US came out in strong support of the Saudi-led military intervention against the Houthis in Yemen. … Continue Reading

Congress Warns Obama of Iran Nuke Threat as Talks Enter ‘Final Phase’

March 23, 2015 News, Uncategorized
The US congress isn't staying out of Iran talks. US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The US congress isn’t staying out of Iran talks. US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

A self-imposed goal of reaching some type of agreement with Iran by the end of March is rapidly approaching, and hundreds of American legislators have laid out their interests in what a deal should look like. 367 members of the US House from both political sides urged US President Barack Obama to insist on an aggressive inspections regime, long-standing limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and answers regarding testing that can be used for nuclear weapons. In a veiled threat, the letter noted that the US sanctions relief sought by Iran in a deal with world powers can only be granted by Congress changing the law.

The letter, signed by more than 80 percent of the US House and posted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee website, comes after the German Foreign Minister noted over the weekend that talks with Iran are at a critical point. … Continue Reading

US, UK Slam Chlorine Attack in Syria and Urge Investigation

March 23, 2015 Peace and Conflict
Is Syria using chemicals as weapons again? Illustrative photo of soldier training. Photo courtesy of Mr James Brabenec (IMCOM)

Is Syria using chemicals as weapons again? Illustrative photo of soldier training. Photo courtesy of Mr James Brabenec (IMCOM)

A reported attack using chemical components in Syria may have violated international law and has led to warnings from two powerful nations that such deeds should not go unpunished. US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond both released statements within a week of each other calling for an investigation into the use of chlorine by the Syrian regime.

“The United States is deeply disturbed by reports that the [Bashar] Assad regime used chlorine as a weapon again… We are looking very closely into this matter and considering next steps,” said Kerry. Yet despite the stern warning, US spokesperson Jen Psaki admitted that nothing could happen until the reports are verified and even then it was unclear what the world would do. … Continue Reading

Obama Reevaluating Support for Israel at United Nations

March 19, 2015 News
Will Obama back Israel at the UN now? US President Obama (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (right). Israel talking to world about Iran. Illustrative. (Photo Courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Will Obama back Israel at the UN now? US President Obama (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (right). Israel talking to world about Iran. Illustrative. (Photo Courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The United States has taken the surprisingly stern step of threatening to adjust down their support for Israel at the United Nations, following comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that now was not the right circumstances for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. CNN reported that in response the Obama administration would reevaluate the US backing of Israel at the UN, where the Americans have wielded their veto and diplomatic support to squash anti-Israel resolutions.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stopped short of mentioning UN support by name, but multiple media outlets managed to learn of the intent anyway. By Thursday, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was trying to tip-toe around the dramatic UN issue. “We’re currently evaluating our approach, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve made a decision about changing our position with respect to the UN or what specific steps we would take,” said Psaki in comments released by the State Department. This came after Netanyahu has already tried to clarify his comments aren’t permanently opposed to a Palestinian state, and a US legislator has strongly criticized Obama’s threat. … Continue Reading

Analysis: What Netanyahu’s Win Means for Israel

March 18, 2015 Special Feature
Israel's next government will lean right. Illustrative. Israel supporters at a rally in the US. By Joshua Spurlock

Israel’s next government will lean right. Illustrative. Israel supporters at a rally in the US. By Joshua Spurlock

A surprising finish to the Israeli elections has seen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party win the most votes and further entrench Netanyahu’s power for what will be his third-straight term as prime minister. But what will that mean for Israel? Here’s a look:

  1. A Strong Leader

Ynet pointed out that Netanyahu had a come-from-behind victory after the last polls showed his party trailing the left-leaning Zionist Union bloc, a situation that looked bleak for Netanyahu. Just last week Stephan Miller, an American-Israeli pollster and political strategist at 202 Strategies, predicted to The Mideast Update that even if Netanyahu won, he would be weakened in the face of a tight election.

Instead, Netanyahu is arguably the strongest leader since Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Not only is Netanyahu starting his fourth term as prime minister overall (the first was in the late 1990s), but his Likud party just won their most parliamentary seats in the Israeli Knesset since 2003 when Ariel Sharon took power. … Continue Reading

Hamas Sends Mixed Messages to Israel: Do They Want Calm or War?

March 15, 2015 Peace and Conflict
Ceasefire or reloading? Spent Rockets fired from Gaza. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock.

Ceasefire or reloading? Spent Rockets fired from Gaza. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock.

Hamas is well on their way to the next round in the fight with Israel, but at the same time leaders are reportedly exploring a possible multiple-year ceasefire with Israel. According to the Ma’an News Agency, the Hamas military wing announced on their website that it has rebuilt multiple military bases near the security fence separating Gaza and Israel, claiming that once the last fight with Israel ended over the summer they “started a new stage of the conflict in preparation for the battle of liberation.”

Meanwhile, commentator Akiva Eldar for Al Monitor, citing a report from Avi Issacharoff on the Walla website, said Hamas leaders are looking into swapping a long-term ceasefire with Israel in exchnage for Israel lifting the Gaza blockade. Israel and Egypt maintain a range of anti-smuggling efforts on Gaza in an effort to prevent terror groups there from acquiring weapons. … Continue Reading

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