On Wednesday the US was hit by yet another mass shooting. Dylann Roof, who was only 21 years old, joined a prayer meeting in Emanuel Church in Charleston, before opening fire and killing nine people – all African American. The church is one of the oldest African American churches in the US, and has long been involved in the civil rights movement. The killer, driven by racism, apparently believed in segregation, had been photographed with the flags of apartheid era South Africa and Rhodesia, and shouted racist rhetoric and slurs during the shooting. The government is treating the attack as a hate crime and as domestic terrorism. There aren’t many more clear-cut example of vicious racism ending in murder. Unless though, you’re a Republican candidate for President. Let’s see what they had to say:
After a few months in which it seemed that the Islamic State was on the back foot, one week has shaken things up all over again. IS scored two of its biggest victories since taking over Mosul last year, seizing first the Iraqi city of Ramadi, then the Syrian city of Palmyra, and finally the last border crossing between Iraq and Syria they still didn’t control. So why are these cities so important? What will the effect be on Iraq and Syria? And what does this mean for the US’s strategy? Continue reading
Yesterday President Obama announced that Cuba would be taken off the US’s list of countries that sponsor terrorism, to which Cuba replied “thanks, about time“. It shows real progress towards better relations with Cuba, but also raising an interesting question – what does it mean to sponsor terrorism? More importantly, what is terrorism actually? In this adaption of an essay I wrote for university in my first year, I take a lot at how useless this word really is. Continue reading
I’ve got my midterm exam for Middle Eastern Politics tomorrow, so I figured I might as well combine study and writing!
Strong words, little sense (Photo: Gage Skidmore)
Recently 47 US Senators sent a letter to Iran ‘informing’ them that any deal with the US on their nuclear program would be worthless, because the Senate would refuse to cooperate, and a Republican President could scrap the deal in 2016. The letter caused outrage in the US, and it was seen as deliberately undermining Obama’s foreign policy. Iran itself responded by simply poking holes in the Senators’ logic and knowledge of law.
While the letter itself is ridiculous, it does show the way US Republicans are thinking. One of these Republicans is Marco Rubio – one of the expected front-runners for the presidential elections in 2016. Rubio took to Foreign Policy yesterday to defend his ideas on Iran. Let’s take a look at what a possible future president thinks. Continue reading
In a shock result, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu has won last night’s general election. His Likud party gained 6 more seats than his leftist rivals, who had been predicted to win. In the end though, Netanyahu’s appeal to the nationalist right seems to have swung the vote in his favour. He should now be able to form a ruling coalition with other rightist and centrist parties. It’s a result that will frustrate many – including the unlikely combination of the Palestinians and US government. So why is Netanyahu so disliked by his strongest ally? And more importantly, what will this victory mean for the conflict with Palestine? Continue reading
This week President Obama showed just how powerful the presidency can be by potentially drastically changing the lives of 4 million people. After years of Congress not passing any law to deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, Obama used his power as President to pass immigration reform that ensures illegal migrants whose children were born in the US will no longer be able to be deported. The Republican Party reacted with predictable fury, saying that Obama is acting like a dictator or monarch. So what the ‘immigration problem’ in the US, and what will now change? And what does this mean for the next few years of American politics? Continue reading
The Nov. 24th deadline for a final deal on Iran’s nuclear programme is fast approaching, with talks between Iran and six world powers remaining difficult. While failure to reach a deal doesn’t mean there won’t be another temporary deal, it will damage relations and give both sides reasons to provoke the other. The talks come at a time when the US and Iran need each other more than ever, with both sides fiercely opposing the Islamic State. So what are the issues being discussed? What are the potential stumbling blocks? And just how complex of a political game is this? Continue reading