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BlueMTexpat

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Switzerland
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
Number of posts: 3,765

Journal Archives

Israel’s Least Bad Options the Day After the Iran Deal

The author of this piece, which could also be considered a Good Read, is optimistic that President Obama will successfully sustain a veto of the Iran Deal. I hope that he is correct.

I am posting the most relevant paragraphs because World Politics Review is a subscription website and readers may not be able to view them otherwise.

The Middle East is changing rapidly, mostly for the worse. Many of the changes are closely related to Iran and will be exacerbated by the added stature and additional funds it will gain from sanctions relief. While Iran has not abandoned its long-term nuclear aspirations, but merely come to terms with current international realities, the nuclear issue is likely to be on the back burner for the foreseeable future. In these circumstances, after repairing its ties with Washington, Israel will face three primary challenges.

First, Israel needs to ensure that the planned inspections regime is, indeed, implemented fully and effectively, so that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are checked for the duration of the agreement. ...

Second, even assuming the deal’s effective implementation, Israel must still contend with countering Iran’s influence in the region, which is likely to grow, especially in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Much has been made in the media of the convergence of strategic interests between Israel and the Sunni Arab states. Unfortunately, ... it is hard to imagine how common interests can be translated into significant strategic cooperation, especially with the Saudis, for anything beyond even limited intelligence exchanges. ... Moreover, under now-President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, once a partner in the region, has made a strategic decision to downgrade relations with Israel. Nothing short of a change in Turkey’s government will lead to an even partial restoration of strategic ties. Israel should seek closer relations with the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, but they are unlikely to prove more reliable allies today than they did in the past.

Third, and maybe most immediately, Israel needs to deal with what remains of Syria. No other issue poses such immediate dangers for Israel and such limited options. Israel should continue to do its utmost to stay out of the Syrian quagmire. But it cannot allow Syria to become a new front for attacks against Israel, which would create one long frontline extending from Lebanon. Should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remain in power, the Syrian rump state will, for all practical purposes, be an Iranian and Hezbollah stronghold and springboard on Israel’s border. Assad’s fall, however, also bodes ill for Israel, as the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or some combination of the other Islamist opposition groups now vying for power, will inevitably turn their attention toward Israel once the internal battle is resolved.


http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/16534/israel-s-least-bad-options-the-day-after-the-iran-deal

Rare photos from Barack Obama's first trip to Kenya in 1987

The photos also include some from his visit in 2006 and seated with his Kenyan family on this visit.

http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/rare-photos-from-barack-obamas-first-trip-to-kenya--WyGhwOU_Qx

If you really want to know about legal aspects of the Iran deal,

this might help. http://www.asil.org/insights/volume/19/issue/14/iran-nuclear-weapons-and-international-law-what-might-final-agreement Yes, the June deadline has passed, but there is an agreement to continue talks to July 7. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2015/0701/UN-report-says-Iran-is-on-target-to-meet-goals-for-cutting-nuclear-arms

ASIL is a nonpartisan association of US academics and practitioners of international law. http://www.asil.org/community

Other issues pertaining to the "Law of Armed Conflict and International Security" - http://www.asil.org/law-armed-conflict-and-international-security

If you have about a 1.5 hour to spare and really want to know about the history, background and legal issues pertaining to any Iran deal, you can find a recent event video (from May 22, 2015) at this link. http://www.asil.org/resources/asil-event-videos

While some content is restricted to members only (I am one), much is available free of charge to the public, as you can see from these urls.

Please inform yourselves as best you can about these (and other) IL issues because the preponderance of the US MSM will not (CSMonitor can be an exception in some instances). And we have a truly crazy bunch of nutcases in the US Congress and their allies - bad as any Iranian hardliners - who would like to sabotage any deal so that the saga of ongoing war everywhere continues and they can continue to drive their own selfish agendas, whether economic, political, or religious.

For legal junkies, this is a great reference from SCOTUSblog.

Stats from the most recent term: http://www.scotusblog.com/2015/06/final-stat-pack-for-october-term-2014/

For SCOTUS Blog generally: http://www.scotusblog.com/

Six Ways TPP Opponents Have Won - Even as Fast Track Advances

Perhaps there are a few silver linings to a very dark cloud.

6. The demands to see the secret text got some results.
WikiLeaks made public two draft chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, giving ammo to the opposition and making many wonder why we were having to rely on Julian Assange for this information.

While the fast-track bill doesn’t do anywhere near enough to respond to secrecy concerns, it does require the executive branch to make public the full text of new trade agreements for 60 days before they are sent to Congress. Then lawmakers need to wait at least another 30 days before voting.

In the TPP’s case, this could help stretch out the timeline into the heat of election season, when Democrats will be even more sensitive to pressure from their base. As Public Citizen President Robert Weissman noted, “When the inexcusable and anti-democratic veil of secrecy surrounding the TPP is finally lifted, and the American people see what is actually in the agreement, they are going to force their representatives in Washington to vote that deal down.”


http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/six-ways-tpp-opponents-have-won-fast-track

I apologize if this article has already been posted, but I felt that some small comfort was needed, even if in duplicate.

Those who are interested in following the UK elections

today may find the Guardian (UK)'s coverage a very interesting "one-stop shop," especially in its latest polls.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/general-election-2015

Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection
Our model takes in all published constituency-level polls, UK-wide polls and polling conducted in the nations, and projects the result in each of the 650 Westminster constituencies using an adjusted average.


Although I hope that my comment doesn't jinx the results, they do not look good for Cameron - nor for his current coalition partner. That, IMO, is all to the good.

Thanks very much for posting this article.

Although I am currently retired from full-time work in international organizations/affairs, I was reincarnated as an adjunct professor a few years back. Among others, I teach a course in Comparative Politics to international students, several of whom are Russian nationals.

This article should elicit some excellent discussion from my students, especially since one of our comparative topics is how the media influences politics in a given nation and/or vice versa.

I am not sure who your "usual jousting partners" are, but I am with Gore Vidal on what our own mainstream media is:

"The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity - much less dissent. "Of course, it is possible for any citizen with time to spare, and a canny eye, to work out what is actually going on, but for the many there is not time, and the network news is the only news even though it may not be news at all but only a series of flashing fictions..." Gore Vidal


Any DUers who live in or who visit Washington, DC should visit the Newseum. http://www.newseum.org/

It's a great learning experience.

Post-UK debate photo seems to indicate leftward movement ...

at least, I hope so! Fun article ... and perhaps a hopeful omen for us in the US in 2016.



Oil paintings are probably the only evidence not introduced by party spin doctors as they tried to claim victory for their leaders – even the ones who weren’t there – after last night’s BBC televised debate of the 2015 general election. Yet looking at the debate’s closing image of Ed Miliband shaking hands with Nicola Sturgeon as Nigel Farage stands isolated to our far right, I cannot help thinking of some grand narrative painting of a moment in history.

This handshake has the formal, momentous quality of, say, the meeting of Dutch and Spanish generals in Velazquez’s painting The Surrender of Breda. Sturgeon seems almost to bow, as the Spanish leader does in that masterpiece of history painting. All it lacks is someone looking out of the picture, catching our eye, commenting silently on the falseness of the moment, the complexities behind a simple image of friendship and possible alliance.

Perhaps some will see that ironic commentator as Farage, who voiced his discontent with the event itself and the composition of its audience, and claimed to be uniquely addressing the real audience watching at home.


http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/17/tv-election-debate-new-british-politics-image?CMP=fb_gu

Yawning, blinking and sweating ... hmmm!

Be careful the next time you have to go through TSA checks ...

The US airport security agency is facing ridicule after leaked documents revealed its checklist of tell-tale signs that a passenger might be a potential terrorist.

Despite its own report finding that the human ability to identify deceptive behaviour through body language is no better than chance, the US government has spent almost $1 billion on a programme deploying Behaviour Detection Officers to airport security.

The specialised agents of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are taught to evaluate passengers based on a checklist known as the “Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques” (SPOT).

But according to a copy of a SPOT report published by The Intercept, the “stress factors” that could see passengers stopped at security include arriving late for your flight, blinking too much, sweating and “excessive yawning”.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/leaked-us-security-documents-reveal-how-to-spot-a-terrorist-trying-to-board-a-plane-10145842.html?cmpid=facebook-post

Sorry if this has been posted earlier ... I just saw it now.

Charlie Hebdo: A Clash of Extremisms, not of Civilizations

Source: Informed Comment

...
What is absent from our mainstream media and politics is a careful analysis of what Islam is in France today. This would show once and for all that the Muslim “community” is not the monolith Le Pen would like us to believe. The terrorists who massacred 12 people on 7 January are apparently Muslim but so was the policeman who lost his life trying to stop them. Mustapha Ourrad, Charlie Hebdo’s copy-editor killed in the attack, was born in Algeria.
This is not a clash of civilisations, this is not a war between the West and Islam, but a fight waged by some very few, marginalised yet extremely dangerous people, for whom division is key. Ultimately, condemning Islam and Muslims indiscriminately would play in the hands of those seeking to terrorise and divide us, as well as fuel the kind of nationalism that Charlie Hebdo has always fought.


Read more: http://www.juancole.com/2015/01/charlie-extremisms-civilizations.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook



This article is well worth reading, especially since so much of Western media reporting continues to represent horrific acts of terrorism, especially those of Muslims, as a clash of civilizations.
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