The Conversation

Foreign Affairs: What's going on around the world.

Once Again, Obama Helps Israel by Hurting It

Jul 28, 2014 6:51 AM PT

President Barack Obama's attempt to impose his will on Israel--and save face after Secretary of State John Kerry's disastrous ceasefire mission--continued at the UN Security Council overnight, with a midnight session Monday morning demanding a ceasefire. 

It was a gross betrayal of America's best ally in the Middle East. However, it has--quite unintentionally--created a new opportunity for Israel in its war against Hamas.

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Israeli Peace Rally Cut Short by Hamas Rockets

Jul 27, 2014 6:06 AM PT

The Israeli government, which includes parties that favor negotiation with the Palestinians, has been united in the struggle against Hamas in Gaza. But the Israeli left still persists in its illusions--or delusions. Consider the following report from the Times of Israel about a peace rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square that had to end early:

Several thousand left-wing activists gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday evening, calling for an end to bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and a return to negotiations with the Palestinians...

The demonstrations were cut short when Hamas unilaterally ended a humanitarian truce with Israel and resumed rocket-fire from Gaza.

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Obama's foreign policy triumph in Libya: U.S. embassy evacuated

Jul 26, 2014 6:23 AM PT

We have a surprise winner in the Saigon Embassy Evacuation Sweepstakes... surprising, that is, to anyone who hasn't been paying attention to the steady disintegration of Barack Obama's foreign policy "triumph" in Libya.  Those who placed their bets on the Baghdad embassy being the first to bail can only watch, disappointed, as F-16 fighter jets and MV-22 tilt-rotor Ospreys cover the American diplomatic retreat from Tripoli, with nary a YouTube video protest in sight.  Fox News reports:

The United States shut down its embassy in Libya on Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort amid a significant deterioration in security in Tripoli as fighting intensified between rival militias, the State Department said.

"Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya," spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

The withdrawal underscored the Obama administration's concern about the heightened risk to American diplomats abroad, particularly in Libya where memories of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in the eastern city of Benghazi are still vivid and the political uproar over it remain fresh ahead of a new congressional investigation into the incident.

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Kerry Went to the Middle East to Bring Peace, and All He Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Jul 25, 2014 11:36 AM PT

It is difficult to understate the enormity of the humiliation suffered by Secretary of State John Kerry in the Middle East this week--and the man who sent him there, President Barack Obama. The Egyptians made him undergo a security screening, the Israelis made it clear they did not want him there, and finally, the Israeli Cabinet--which can never seem to agree on much of anything--rejected his "ceasefire" proposal unanimously.

Kerry's proposal was a non-starter--even for parties that believe in exchanging territory for peace--because it would have left most of the Hamas terror infrastructure intact, leading inevitably to more attacks against Israel. A source told the Jerusalem Post that the Cabinet viewed Kerry's offer  as "a Qatari proposal with ornaments"--referring to the fact that Qatar, which has been funding Hamas, has a "plan" that would give Hamas a victory.

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Happy ending: Meriam Ibrahim arrives in Rome, meets with Pope Francis

Jul 24, 2014 8:22 AM PT

At long last, Meriam Ibrahim - the Christian woman sentenced to death for "apostasy" in Sudan, and forced to give birth to her second child while chained to a wall - has escaped the clutches of what passes for the Sudanese legal system, and arrived in Rome en route to the United States, as reported by CNN:

After her release, she and her husband, American Daniel Wani, were detained for two days, accused of falsifying travel documents after going to the airport in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. They were trying to fly to the United States with their baby daughter, who was born while Ibrahim was in prison, and toddler son.

Now their dream of starting a new life in the United States appears to be on the verge of becoming reality.

Not only that, but Ibrahim and her family met with Pope Francis at his private residence in Domus Santa Marta in Vatican City.

During the meeting Thursday, which lasted about half an hour, Ibrahim thanked the Pope for his and the Roman Catholic Church's support and prayers, the Vatican said.

He, in turn, thanked Ibrahim and her family for their "courageous witness and constancy of faith."

Francis also played with the children, 18-month-old Martin and 2-month-old Maya, and greeted the Italian diplomats involved in her journey to Italy.

With this gesture, the Vatican said, the Pope "desired to show his closeness, attention and prayer also to all those who suffer for their faith, in particular to Christians who are enduring persecution or limitations imposed upon their religious freedom."

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Russian Military Suggests a Ukrainian Fighter Jet Could Have Shot Down MH17

Jul 21, 2014 9:54 AM PT

Russian media has reportedly been spreading some wild conspiracy theories about the fate of MH17. Now the Russian military has weighed in with a theory of its own. 

The military made a colorful 30-minute presentation on the MH17 crash in which it suggested the plane could have been shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet. The military presentation was bilingual with every sentence being translated into English in real time. During the presentation the military showed maps of the path of MH17 and then highlighted what it said was a Ukrainian SU-25 which was climbing near the plane's flight path.

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Amidst Plane Attack Chaos, State Dept. Spox Tweets Out Fashion Column

Jul 18, 2014 4:59 AM PT

While the world attempted to figure out why a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 human beings went down over a war zone in Ukraine, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki took to Twitter to discuss lighter matters. In the midst of the chaos, Psaki tweeted praise for an article from the Washington Post entitled "Being informed and fashionable is natural for women":

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McCain, Perry Tag-Team Rand Paul Over His Foreign Policy Views

Jul 13, 2014 1:19 PM PT

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appeared on CNN on Sunday and labeled his fellow Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) an "isolationist. He is “part of a wing of the party that has been there prior to World War I, that is a withdrawal to ‘Fortress America,’” according to McCain.

That came on the heels of a Friday op-ed in The Washington Post by Texas' Republican  Gov. Rick Perry that readPaul’s “brand of isolationism (or whatever he prefers) would compound the threat” posed by terrorist in parts of the world like Syria and Iraq...."

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