World View: Syria War Spills into Lebanon as ISIS Attacks Town of Arsal

World View: Syria War Spills into Lebanon as ISIS Attacks Town of Arsal

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Israel and Hamas agree to a 3-day Gaza humanitarian ceasefire
  • Syria war spills into Lebanon, as ISIS attacks town of Arsal
  • China reasserts its sovereignty over the South China Sea

Israel and Hamas agree to a 3-day Gaza humanitarian ceasefire

Both Israel and Hamas have agreed to begin a 3-day humanitarianceasefire to begin on Tuesday morning at 8 am local time. However,expectations are extremely low because there have been severalattempts at ceasefire in the past, and they all failed fairly quickly.The ceasefire proposal was put forth by Egypt, and it’s apparentlyidentical to the ceasefire proposal that Egypt proposed three weeksago. 

An Israeli spokesman said: “Israel will cease all military operations againstterrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. Israel will honor thecease-fire and will be watching to see if Hamas doesto.”

A Palestinian spokesman said: “It’s clear now that the interest of all parties is tohave a cease-fire. It’s going to be tough negotiations becauseIsrael has demands, too.”

As I’ve written several times in the last weeks, Israel and Hamasagree on little except one thing: Neither wants to return to thestatus quo ante. This means that Israel will not agree to apermanent ceasefire unless Hamas and other Gaza factions aredemilitarized, and Hamas will not agree to a ceasefire unless theout of Gaza. USA Today

Syria war spills into Lebanon, as ISIS attacks town of Arsal

Militias from the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS),which have gained control of large swaths of Syria and Iraq, joinedwith some militias from al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra to attempt totake control of Lebanon by attacking the town of Arsal in northernLebanon. 

Thousands of families were forced to flee from theirhomes as the battle raged between the ISIS militants and the LebaneseArmed Forces (LAF). ISIS terrorists had been hiding out in themountains surrounding Arsal after combined forces of the Syrian regimeand Hezbollah drove them from border villages in Syria. Reportsindicate that ISIS is preparing a military strategy to take over theregion by repeating its successes in Iraq, where in the past few daysit scored a major victory by capturing Iraq’s biggest hydroelectric dam.

Lebanon’s population is about 40% Christian, 27% Sunni Muslim and 27%Shia Muslim, and Lebanon itself has been split along religious lineswhether to support the Alawite/Shia regime of Syria’s president Basharal-Assad or his Sunni enemies. In the past, these religiousdifferences have split the army, whose soldiers are drawn from theentire population, but the ISIS invasion of northern Lebanon appearsto have united the army, at least for the time being, to join withHezbollah to fight the invaders. Daily Star (Lebanon) and Al Monitor and Daily Star (Beirut)

China reasserts its sovereignty over the South China Sea

China is aggressively asserting claims to the entire South China Sea,including regions that have historically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei,Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. China is building anetwork of airstrips and military garrisons in the South China Sea inclear violation of international law and refuses to participate inany United Nations mediation efforts. The South China Sea is believedto contain big oil and gas deposits and rich fishing grounds. Chinahas been using a “salami-slicing” technique of annexing one portionafter another. 

The Philippines is proposing a freeze on activity in the South ChinaSea in order to prevent a dispute that might lead to a militaryconfrontation. However, a high government official in Beijing hasrejected the proposal, saying: 

The Spratly Islands are China’s intrinsic territory,and what China does or doesn’t do is up to the Chinesegovernment. Nobody can change the government’s position…

Why is it that when other countries wantonly build airports,nobody says a word? But China has only this year started small andnecessary construction, to raise living conditions on the islands- and so many people raise doubts.

I guess the answer to this question is that when other countrieswantonly build airports, they do so on their own territory, ratherthan on someone else’s territory. Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Hamas, Gaza, Egypt,Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL,Lebanon, Arsal, Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic FrontHezbollah, Iraq,China, South China Sea, Philippines

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