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Foreign Affairs

Israel, Gaza call ceasefire

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Israel Gaza call ceasefire

Israel and leaders of the Gaza Strip reached a ceasefire agreement this morning following three days of massive rocket attacks into Israel and retaliatory air and gunboat strikes in Gaza. 27 Palestinians and four Israelis died from the attacks.

Not everyone was pleased on either side. Israelis are complaining that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have conceded nothing while Gaza residents said they didn’t get enough. Unconfirmed reports say Israel is easing some restrictions, including allowing fishing zones to extend to 12 km.

This is the worst fighting of the year and comes around a month before the United States intends to release a Middle East peace plan put together by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.

Opinion

While Netanyahu works to form his coalition government, the severity of the attacks – around 700 rockets and mortars fired in less than three days – makes one wonder if he’s only allowing the ceasefire because he still has political work to get done. If the government were fully formed, would he have backed down so quickly after having a clear mandate to push further?

While I’m not crazy about the notion of invading Gaza and ejecting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad without a deal brokered with the Palestinian Authority to take over, it still seems like a weak move.

Quote

“Almost 700 were launched into Israeli territory, many casualties and injuries and four deaths – all of which result from the loss of deterrence – end with further surrender to the extortion of Hamas and the terrorist organizations. All that the government did, once again, is delay the next campaign.” – Energy Minister and Security Cabinet member Yuval Steinitz

Final Thoughts

This is going to happen again. As long as Hamas and the PIJ have control over Gaza, they will mismanage it and then lash out at Israel with rockets when the pressure gets too high. They’re a broken record. It’s time for a new song.

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Culture and Religion

Two weeks after Benghazi attack, Ilhan Omar Tweeted ‘Allahu Akbar’

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Two weeks after Benghazi attack Ilhan Omar Tweeted Allahu Akbar

This is old news, of course, but bears repeating at this time. Representative Ilhan Omar has been doing everything she can over the last couple of weeks to paint herself as the victim of bigotry and someone who loves our country. And while there’s definitely some substance to the notion that crowds of Republicans shouldn’t be chanting “send her back,” it’s also understandable why so many Americans are opposed to her presence on Capitol Hill.

Even if we dismiss reports that she married her brother, called for CBP to be eliminated, said this is “not going to be the country of white people,” referred to 9/11 as “some people did something,” and is regularly praised by former KKK leader David Duke, it’s difficult to dismiss her reaction to the Benghazi attacks that took the lives of four American heroes in 2012.

I’m not going to dignify her Tweet with an opinion. She’s the one who needs to explain it. But despite her celebration, life isn’t good for the four men who lost there’s in Benghazi. Remember this, folks, as Democrats embrace her wholeheartedly.

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Foreign Affairs

Iran has seized a British tanker

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Evidence points to Iran seizing British tanker

Update 2: They may have captured a second British tanker.

Update 1: Iran has confirmed it seized the tanker.

Original Story:

A British oil tanker traveling through the Strait of Hormuz to Saudi Arabia has made some strange maneuvers, causing speculation that it has been seized by Iran.

The tanker, Stena Impero, veered off course according to positioning trackers and is now heading towards the Iranian island of Qeshm which has a substantial Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base. British authorities are seeking answers.

The Islamic republic has threatened retaliation for the British seizure of an Iranian tanker heading towards Syria, which would break an EU sanction. Five Iranian attack vessels confronted a British tanker last week but quickly retreated when the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose closed in.

Iran has long claimed sovereignty over the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz. They attempted to stage bombings of two oil tankers last month and four in May in hopes of being able to act as defenders of the Strait, but U.S. video of the second round of bombings caught an Iranian ship removing an unexploded mine from the haul. With that potential bargaining chip off the table, it appears they’re trying to work their way to the negotiating table by force.

A collapsing economy is forcing Iran to make aggressive moves. This is standard operating procedure for the desperate. An international military response may be in order to abate further acts of terrorism by Iran.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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Foreign Affairs

Is war with Iran inevitable?

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Is war with Iran inevitable

Aggressive actions have become commonplace between Iran and the United States over the last two months. The U.S. sent the powerful Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber squadron to the region following the defection and intelligence cache delivery by former Iranian Brigadier General Ali Nasiri. Since then, Iran has been bombing tankers, shooting down American drones, and attempting to seize a British Tanker.

Today, the escalation continued as Iran admitted to capturing at least one foreign oil tanker. Then, the United States sent the USS Boxer, loaded with 2000 Marines, into the Persian Gulf where it shot down an Iranian drone that came within 1000 yards of the ship.

Is war inevitable?

No. There is still a very good chance President Trump will not risk reelection by engaging in another unpopular Middle East war. There are those who think Iran will push it too far, and that may be the case, but their goal would be to provoke attack, not war. It behooves them to get hit by the United States so they can play the victim card in the international arena. This is why they’ll poke, prod, annoy, and continue to be aggressive without going so far as to make war warranted.

An attack by the west is the best thing Iran can hope to happen at this point. Their economy is crumbling. Their terror and military proxies are hurting because of the dried up funds no longer coming in from Tehran. They can’t seem to sneak an oil tanker around Africa to Syria, one of the few places willing to disregard U.S. sanctions against Iran. So they’re left with either giving up their nuclear weapons ambitions altogether or provoking a war without being clearly seen as the aggressors.

Even though I do not believe war is inevitable, I don’t see a way to completely avoid military action. Iran won’t stop until they’ve forced an attack against them.

The Middle East has always been a volatile place. With Iran doing everything they can to appear like the victims to the international community while still seeming strong internally, strikes may be inevitable but war is not.

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