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American Strikes Might Not Be the Solution

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the airstrikes carried out by American forces on pro-Iranian armed groups in the Middle East might not be the best way to calm tensions in the region. Instead, an agreement to stop the fighting between Hamas and Israel could be more effective.

Why the Airstrikes Won't Stop Attacks

The American retaliatory strikes were a response to the killing of three American soldiers by Iranian-backed groups in Syria and Iraq. However, experts believe that these strikes are unlikely to prevent further attacks on American and Israeli interests. To truly stop these attacks, a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is necessary.

American Strikes and Their Targets

Early on Saturday morning, American forces launched strikes on sites belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force in Syria and Iraq. The strikes were carried out by aircraft launched from the United States, using precision-guided missiles. The targeted facilities included command centers, control centers, espionage centers, and storage sites for missiles and drones.

The Reason Behind the Conflict

The Wall Street Journal attributes the conflict between the United States and factions allied with Iran to the war launched by Israel in the Gaza Strip. This conflict has led to a sharp escalation in attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria.

Other Groups Involved

In addition to the conflict in Gaza, Lebanese Hezbollah has also engaged in an exchange of fire on Israel's northern border. The Iranian-backed Houthis have launched attacks that have affected international shipping traffic in the Red Sea, leading to US airstrikes in Yemen. Both groups have stated that they will not stop fighting until Israel stops its aggression against Gaza.

Pressure on the US Administration

The war in Gaza has put pressure on the administration of US President Joe Biden to achieve a ceasefire and the release of Israeli prisoners held by Hamas. The United States is proposing a six-week halt to the war to allow hostages to leave and pave the way for a more sustainable peace. However, there are obstacles preventing both sides from agreeing to the deal, including internal divisions in Israel.

Source: Wall Street Journal

 

 

Thousands Protest in Support of Gaza

There were these really big demonstrations in Europe recently. People came out in huge numbers to show their support for Gaza and to demand that the war there stops. Can you believe it? This has been going on for 121 days already!

London and Vienna

In London, thousands of people gathered to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Over in Vienna, there was a silent march to show support for Gaza too. It's amazing to see so many people coming together for a cause.

Strasbourg and Germany

Now, in Strasbourg, France, people carried torches and marched in solidarity with Gaza. They held banners calling for an end to the war and condemning the crimes committed by Israel. In Germany, several cities saw large demonstrations too. People were showing their support for Gaza and speaking out against Germany's support for the Israeli government.

Cologne and International Support

In Cologne, people gathered in front of a historic cathedral with the slogan "Freedom for Palestine." They were really upset about the Israeli attacks on Gaza and wanted to raise awareness about it. Not just Palestinians, but also Turkish and German citizens, and people from other countries, joined in the demonstration. It's great to see people from all over the world standing up for what they believe in.

Geneva and Istanbul

Over in Geneva, Switzerland, a pro-Palestinian demonstration took place. The demonstrators called for the protection of the Palestinian people, an immediate end to the aggression against Gaza, and holding the occupation accountable for its attacks on civilians. In Istanbul, Turkey, dozens of people marched to protest the Israeli attacks. They chanted slogans and demanded that the children of Gaza be protected.

Other European Cities

But wait, there's more! The cities of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Italy also had massive marches. People there demanded an end to the war, accountability for the occupation's crimes, the lifting of the siege on Gaza, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. It's heartwarming to see so many people coming together to support a just cause.

Source: agencies

 

Communication Crisis in Sudan

There are concerns that communication services in Sudan might be cut off. An expert and former official in the Sudanese Communications Authority revealed that the Rapid Support Forces have ordered two major communication companies, Sudanese and MTN, to disconnect communication and internet services for 36 million subscribers in the country. This decision was made because Sudatel, another company, was unable to maintain the fiber optic network cable for Darfur due to the ongoing war. As a result, several states in Darfur have lost access to telecommunications and the internet.

Control Over Communication Servers

The former official also mentioned that the Rapid Support Forces have control over the areas where the main servers of the two communication companies are located. This poses a bigger problem than just interrupted communication and internet services. It could also affect banking applications, as the main servers could be closed or sabotaged, making it difficult to operate them again. If this happens, Sudan might be completely cut off from the rest of the world for a long time.

Challenges Faced by Telecommunication Companies

Workers in telecommunication companies in Sudan have reported security and logistical problems that have led to the suspension of two major companies in the country. Additionally, entire states have lost coverage and are unable to access telecommunication and internet services.

A Dangerous Development

The former official also expressed concern that the largest operator in Sudan, Zain, might join the South African companies, Sudani and MTN. This would be a dangerous development in the ongoing war and a clear violation of human rights.

The Conflict in Sudan

Since mid-April 2023, the Sudanese army, led by President Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti), have been engaged in a war. This conflict has resulted in more than 13,000 deaths and over 7 million people being displaced as refugees, according to the United Nations.

Source: Al Jazeera

 

Details of the Deal

Israeli Channel 12 recently revealed some information about a potential exchange deal between Hamas and Israel. The deal, which is still being discussed, would involve the release of 35 Israeli detainees in the Gaza Strip, including women, the wounded, and the elderly. In return, there would be a truce for 35 days. After that, negotiations would continue for the release of more detainees, including young people and those whom Hamas considers to be soldiers.

Concerns about the Deal

The main concern on the Israeli side is not just the number of prisoners that would be released, but also their quality. Releasing a large number of prisoners who were involved in attacks against Israelis would be difficult for the public and politicians to accept.

Hamas' Response

The ball is now in Hamas' court. Mediators have presented the main points of the deal to Hamas, and they are waiting for a response. Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, announced that they have received the proposal and are studying it.

The Prisoners Hamas Wants Released

Hamas insists that the deal includes three specific Palestinian prisoners. One of them is Marwan Barghouti, a leader in the Fatah movement who is considered a popular figure in Palestinian society. The second is Ahmed Saadat, the Secretary-General of the Popular Front. The third is Abdullah Barghouti, a member of Hamas and a leader of their military wing in the West Bank.

Netanyahu's Position

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that he is willing to negotiate a new prisoner exchange deal, but there are red lines that cannot be crossed. He will not agree to stop the war, withdraw army forces from Gaza, or release thousands of Palestinian prisoners. Netanyahu wants to ensure the safety of Israel and eliminate the threat posed by Hamas.

Fears and Concerns

Some officials are worried that Netanyahu's strong statements may push Hamas to reject the deal. They fear that his words might encourage Hamas to take a harder stance and undermine the negotiations. This could allow Israel to continue fighting while blaming Hamas for the failure of the talks.

The Prisoner Situation

Currently, Israel estimates that there are around 136 Israeli prisoners in Gaza. On the other hand, they hold approximately 8,800 Palestinians in their prisons.

Source: Agencies

 

The Israeli Aggression Continues

On the 115th day of the Israeli war on Gaza, the Israeli army is still committing massacres against civilians. However, the resistance factions, led by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are fighting back on multiple fronts in the Strip.

Additionally, the occupation authorities are targeting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which provides vital support to over 5.5 million Palestinian refugees. Several donor countries have stopped funding this agency, putting the lives of many refugees at risk.

Gaza Massacres

The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that within 24 hours, the Israeli occupation forces committed 14 massacres, resulting in the death of 215 people and injuring 300 others.

Since October 7, the number of victims of the Israeli aggression has risen to 26,637 martyrs and 65,387 injured.

Recently, the Israeli bombing of citizens' homes in the Nuseirat camp and a school belonging to UNRWA in the Al-Rimal neighborhood caused the deaths of 33 Palestinians.

The occupation army continues to besiege hospitals and bomb residential buildings in Khan Yunis.

Resistance Operations

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, fired missiles towards Tel Aviv and other cities in response to the Israeli massacres against civilians.

They also released footage showing battles between their fighters and the Israeli army, resulting in the destruction of Israeli tanks.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, announced the destruction of an Israeli tank and the bombardment of enemy soldiers and vehicles in Khan Yunis.

Gaza Bombs

The Israeli army has dropped more bombs on the Gaza Strip in four months than Russia used in its war on Ukraine over two years.

According to estimates, the quantity of bombs used by the Israeli army in Gaza exceeds those used by Adolf Hitler during World War II.

West Bank Casualties

In the West Bank, five Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation army bullets in Jenin, Hebron, and Bethlehem. The occupation forces also continued their arrests, and armed clashes occurred in various cities and towns.

Among the victims was a 16-year-old child who died during clashes near Bethlehem.

Lebanon Front

Lebanese Hezbollah targeted Israeli barracks with missiles, causing injuries among Israeli soldiers. In response, Israel intensified its bombing in southern Lebanon.

Houthi Attack

In Yemen, the Houthi group targeted a US Navy logistical support ship with a naval missile in the Gulf of Aden.

A spokesperson for the groups involved in the Israeli war on Gaza stated that they launched a missile as a victory for the Palestinian people and in response to the American-British aggression against Yemen. They emphasized that the Yemeni armed forces are committed to preventing Israeli navigation towards the occupied ports of Palestine in the Red and Arab Bahrain.

Israeli Bombing in Syria

According to Syrian media, an Israeli bombing targeted a farm near the Sayyida Zeinab area in Damascus, resulting in the death of four people. The Syrian media reported that the Israeli attack involved three missiles and was met with a response from air defenses.

Conference on Annexing the West Bank and Gaza

The Hamas movement expressed concern over a conference held by the ruling coalition in Israel, where they discussed the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas sees this as a plan to displace and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people, disregarding recent decisions made by the International Court of Justice. Hamas called on the international community and the United Nations to condemn this conference and take necessary measures to protect the Palestinian people.

Potential Agreement Framework

John Kirby, the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, believes that there is a framework for a new agreement between Hamas and Israel. The security mini-ministerial council, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, will hold a meeting to discuss proposals for a possible deal. Kirby described the talks in Paris as constructive and stated that reaching an agreement could lead to the release of more hostages, increased aid delivery, and a reduction in violence.

Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani mentioned progress in laying the foundation for moving forward on the detainee issue. He stated that the talks are improving and may lead to a permanent ceasefire in the future. However, he warned that the current escalation in Gaza will not contribute to progress in the return of detainees. Qatar's role is to mediate and bridge the gap between the parties involved, without putting pressure on them.

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Agencies

 

What is ECOWAS?

ECOWAS, or the Economic Community of West African States, is a group of fifteen countries in West Africa that work together to improve their economies and solve common problems. They started in 1975 and their goal is to help each other become self-sufficient by trading with each other.

ECOWAS also want to work together on important issues like poverty, education, and protecting the environment. It has done a lot of good things over the years, like creating a free trade area and making it easier to trade with other countries. However, they also have some challenges to overcome, like making sure their plans actually happen, dealing with political problems, and making sure everyone is treated fairly.

Why Did Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso Leave ECOWAS?

On January 28, 2024, three countries in Africa, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, announced that they were leaving ECOWAS.  

The decision to leave the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stemmed from a combination of geopolitical factors and concerns pertaining to regional integration.  Some officials felt that ECOWAS had failed in effectively addressing pressing issues and that leaving the organization would enable them to pursue more agile strategies in dealing with them. Additionally, disagreements over trade policies and economic disparities between member states also contributed to their decision to exit ECOWAS as they sought alternative arrangements that better aligned with their national interests.

Overall, while the departure from ECOWAS could be seen as a move towards greater autonomy for Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, it also underscored a need for stronger regional collaboration on various fronts including security, trade, and development initiatives in West Africa.

Leaving ECOWAS also shows that they don't want other countries telling them what to do, which might make their governments more popular.

 5 Reasons for the withdrawal

  1. Disagreement over Sanctions

First things first, all three countries have had military coups in the past few years. ECOWAS, which is a group of West African countries, put sanctions on them to push for a return to civilian rule. But the military leaders in these countries think the sanctions are unfair. They say the sanctions hurt their economies and make life harder for regular people.

  1. Insecurity Concerns

Another big reason is that these countries are dealing with a lot of security problems, especially from groups of extremists called jihadists. They feel like ECOWAS hasn't given them enough support in dealing with these threats. They think ECOWAS is not doing its job of keeping the region safe.

  1. Straying from Founding Principles

The military leaders also say that ECOWAS has changed from what it was supposed to be. They believe that ECOWAS is supposed to be about African unity and working together as a region. But they think that some countries, especially former colonial powers like France, have too much influence in ECOWAS. They feel like their interests are being ignored.

  1. Geopolitical Alliances

Now, here's something interesting. Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali have been getting closer to Russia lately. This has made them feel more distant from their usual Western allies. So, being part of ECOWAS, which has strong ties with the West, might not make them feel like they belong anymore.

  1. Domestic Pressure

Lastly, the military leaders in these countries might be feeling pressure from their own people to show that they are in charge and independent. By leaving ECOWAS, they can make a bold move and show that they are putting their country first.

Some think that the military leaders are just using these excuses to stay in power and avoid being held accountable for their actions.  We still don't know what the long-term effects will be for both ECOWAS and the three countries that left it.

 

Israeli Army Commits Massacres in Gaza

The Israeli occupation army continues to commit massacres against the Palestinians in Gaza. In the past 48 hours, 38 new massacres resulted in the deaths of 350 civilians. Meanwhile, there are international calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Fierce Battles in Khan Yunis

Battles between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli army are ongoing in the city of Khan Yunis in Gaza. The Al-Qassam Brigades and Al-Quds Brigades have been engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli soldiers. The resistance forces have destroyed Israeli military vehicles, seized drones, and destroyed the occupation forces' command headquarters multiple times.

Israeli Soldiers Injured

The occupation army announced that 8 soldiers were injured in the battles in Gaza in the past 24 hours. This brings the total number of injured Israeli officers and soldiers to 2,765 since the beginning of the war.

Withdrawal of Israeli Brigades

The 4th and 55th Brigades of the Israeli army have withdrawn from the Gaza Strip after completing their mission there. The 4th Reserve Brigade, known as "Kiryati," completed its mission in Khan Yunis and left the city.

Massive Arrests in the West Bank

The Israeli occupation forces launched a massive arrest campaign in the West Bank, targeting dozens of Palestinians. Armed confrontations also broke out between the Palestinian resistance and the occupation in Jenin and Tubas. So far, 22 Palestinians have been arrested, including a woman, a wounded child, and a father with his four children.

Kerem Shalom Crossing Closed

The Israeli occupation army declared the Kerem Shalom crossing a closed military zone. Israeli demonstrators have been obstructing the entry of humanitarian aid trucks into Gaza at the crossing for the fourth day in a row.

Raids on Southern Lebanon

The Israeli occupation army launched two raids on towns in southern Lebanon. Yesterday, Hezbollah announced that it carried out seven operations against Israeli sites off the southern border of Lebanon.

American Soldiers Killed in Jordan

Three American soldiers were killed and dozens wounded in a drone attack on a base in Jordan. This is the first time American soldiers have been killed in attacks on American interests since the start of the war on Gaza.

No Confidence Vote in Netanyahu's Government

The Israeli Knesset will vote on a proposal of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is the second attempt this January. Opposition parties and blocs are calling for an end to the war on Gaza and a political path towards a peace process.

US Arms Shipment to Israel

The White House stated that its policy towards Israel has not changed, denying a report that arms shipments to Israel were being discussed to pressure Netanyahu to reduce the military operation in Gaza.

Demonstrations in America and Europe

Thousands of people demonstrated in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, and the United States in solidarity with Palestine and to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Demonstrators in the United States set up tents in front of the home of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, accusing the US of supporting Israel's crimes against humanity.

New Ceasefire Offer

The American Wall Street Journal revealed a new offer for a ceasefire in Gaza. The offer includes a 4-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of all Israeli prisoners. It also proposes a 6-week period of no Israeli attacks to release Israeli prisoners in need of urgent medical care, in exchange for the release of a large number of Palestinian prisoners and increased humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Source: Agencies

 

Is America on the Brink of Civil War?

The British writer and historian Zoe Strimpel recently expressed her concerns about the state of America. She believes that the country has become divided, with some areas being so frightening that they could give you nightmares.

A Troubled Past

Strimpel recalls growing up in Massachusetts during the 1980s and 1990s, a state she considered to be relatively enlightened. However, even then, she witnessed disturbing instances of police brutality and racism. She saw how black individuals were harassed and mistreated by reckless and unprofessional police forces.

Escalating Horrors

Strimpel wonders why, despite progress in some areas, the horrors seem to have multiplied in America. She points to recent events, such as the execution of a man in Alabama using nitrogen gas, a method that hasn't been used in civilized countries for decades. She also mentions how some states have imposed severe penalties for crimes, including the complete ban and criminalization of aiding or inciting drug addiction.

A Deteriorating Situation

Strimpel argues that things have only gotten worse under President Joe Biden, who was expected to bring civility and experience to the country. Instead, she believes that internal problems have escalated, pushing the United States to the brink of collapse.

The Return of Trump

Strimpel predicts that Donald Trump will likely become the next president, whether Biden runs for re-election or not. In her opinion, this would lead to civil war and the end of the American republic as we know it.

An Immigration Nightmare

According to Strimpel, the immigration situation in America has turned into a nightmare. While she acknowledges that the United States is a nation of immigrants, she believes that there should be a balanced approach to immigration. She argues against simply allowing millions of dreamers to enter the country without proper regulations.

A Bleak Future

Strimpel concludes by stating that as long as Biden remains in office, the world will be under the shadow of Trump's rule for at least four more years. She sees this as a tragic and frightening future for a country that was once loved by many.

Source: Telegraph

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Human Rights

Last Friday, the International Court of Justice made a decision that has serious implications for Israel. The court asked Israel to take action to prevent genocide in Gaza. This decision should not be ignored, and it is important for the Israeli government, parliament, president, army, and citizens to understand the severity of the situation and comply with the court's directives.

What the Court Ordered

As a signatory to the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide, Israel was ordered by the International Court of Justice to take steps to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. This includes easing the almost complete blockade of humanitarian aid to prevent irreparable harm to the population. However, the resolution did not call for a complete cessation of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip.

The Consequences of Inflammatory Statements

The court case, filed by South Africa on behalf of the residents of Gaza, put the Israeli government to the test. The laxity of the government's judicial advisor and the attorney general in dealing with inflammatory statements made by senior officials has cost Israel dearly. The court cited these statements in its ruling, highlighting the need for action against the instigators.

Punishing the Instigators

It is crucial for Israel to take action and punish those who make inflammatory statements. The court's decision emphasized the seriousness of statements made by President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Yoav Galant, and Foreign Minister Israel Katz. The court does not take these statements lightly, and Israel should not either. It is a disgrace to turn a blind eye to such statements, as they do not represent Israeli policy.

Changing the Way Israel Expresses Itself

The entire Israeli leadership needs to change the way they express themselves. If they fail to do so, the government's judicial advisor must take firm action. It is important to prioritize the well-being of civilians and provide them with conditions for a reasonable life in Gaza. This should not be done out of fear of the International Court of Justice, but rather to preserve our humanity.

The International Court of Justice's decision is a serious warning for Israel. It is crucial for Israel to comply with the court's directives and take action against those who make inflammatory statements. By doing so, we can work towards mitigating harm to civilians and preserving our humanity.

Source: Haaretz

 

Western Imperialism and Hypocrisy

Zweliflele Mandela, the grandson of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, believes that the war on the Gaza Strip is a clear example of Western imperialism and the hypocrisy of its countries. He points out that Western countries did not impose sanctions on Israel, the apartheid state, nor did they issue an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers for their war crimes, as they did with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Legal Pursuit

Mandela's grandson reveals that South Africa's legal team will continue to pursue the case he filed before the International Court of Justice. However, he is awaiting the report that Israel will submit in order to explore the available options.

Accountability for War Crimes

Zweliflele, wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, commends South Africa's legal team for their efforts to hold Israel accountable for its genocide, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and throughout occupied Palestine.

Inspired by Mandela

The grandson recalls his grandfather's words, stating that Nelson Mandela was inspired by his experience in the struggle against occupation and apartheid when supporting the Palestinian cause. Mandela believed that the freedom of the Palestinian people is essential for the complete freedom of all.

Commitment to the Palestinian Cause

Zweliville, a representative of the African National Congress in the South African Parliament, emphasizes that this generation is committed to defending the Palestinian cause and fulfilling Mandela's commitment. However, he highlights the need for international pressure to hold those responsible for genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity accountable.

South Africa's Lawsuit

South Africa filed a lawsuit before the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The devastating war, lasting over three months, has resulted in numerous casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe.

Yesterday, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to take measures to prevent genocide in the Gaza Strip and rejected Israel's request to dismiss South Africa's lawsuit.

Source: Al Jazeera