3 August 2014   Leave a comment

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared that an Israeli attack on a UN-run school constituted a “gross violation of international law”.  The United States said it was “appalled” by the “disgraceful”shelling.  The harsh language is unusual in diplomacy and an index of the extent to which Israeli actions have alienated many in the world.   There was also a large demonstration in Washington, DC in which protesters assailed Israeli policy in front of the White House, as well as protesting the coverage of the Washington Post and the activities of Caterpillar in selling equipment to the Israeli Defense Forces.  In response to this criticism, Israel announced a unilateral seven-hour humanitarian truce.

The situation in eastern Ukraine remains volatile, but there are indications that the Ukrainian government is making progress in regaining control of the area (albeit at a very high cost–there are reports of a large number of deaths).  But it also seems as if Russian President Putin might be looking for a way out of the stalemate.  His current situation is quite difficult: Western sanctions have begun to alienate some of his strongest supporters in Russia, but he has also ignited a strong nationalist sentiment within the country that he might not be able to control.  It seems as if Putin might be prepared, however, to jettison his support for the separatists in Ukraine if the evidence proves that they were responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airliner.

Another front has been opened in the conflict in Iraq.  Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been deployed to fight the Islamic State that has seized control of Iraqi and Syrian territory.  The struggle now reflects the regionalization of the struggle between Sunni and Shia governments.  Interestingly, the US finds itself allied with the interests of Iran.  Whether the US or Iran will try to solidify that alliance of interests remains to be seen.

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Posted August 4, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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