Israel has launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip, "Operation Protective Edge," as rocket fire continues from Gaza. On Tuesday, Israel struck over 50 targets killing an estimated five people after an estimated 80 rockets were launched into southern Israel. The Israeli military said it was preparing for a long battle against Hamas in the Gaza. The operation has begun with an aerial campaign and naval assaults, however officials have said a ground invasion would be possible, and the army has deployed troops to the border and called up 1,500 reservists. The escalation has come amid three weeks of increasing tensions from an exchange of fire and the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers and a Palestinian teen.
The United Nations has released a report highlighting the hardships facing Syria's female refugees. According to the United Nations, four-fifths of the estimated 2.8 million people who have fled Syria since the conflict broke out in March 2011 are women and children. Additionally, women are the sole providers for about a quarter of refugee families, about 145,000 families. Meanwhile, the U.S. ship Cape Ray, in the Mediterranean Sea, has begun the 60-day process to neutralize Syria's chemical weapons materials. However, the joint United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons mission is looking into possible discrepancies in the Syrian government's initial declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile.
- Bahrain ordered Tom Malinowski, U.S. assistant secretary of state for human rights, to leave the country for interfering with internal affairs after meeting with the main opposition group, al-Wefaq.
- Facing criticism for delaying the next meeting of parliament for five weeks, Iraqi lawmakers scheduled the next session for June 13 as they struggle to form a government.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran needs greater uranium enrichment capacity as talks with world powers over Tehran's nuclear program make little progress.
Arguments and Analysis
'The logic of violence in the Islamic State's war' (Stathis N. Kalyvas, The Washington Post)
"if the Islamic State ought to be characterized, it would be as a revolutionary (or radical) insurgent actor. These groups project a goal of radical political and social change; they are composed of a highly motivated core, recruit using ideological messages (although not all their recruits or collaborators are ideologically motivated - far from it) and tend to invest heavily in the indoctrination of their followers. They tend to prevail over their less effectively organized insurgent rivals (see the examples of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front or the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka), but their Achilles heel lies in their radical proclivities which often turn local populations against them if the opportunity arises, as happened in Iraq with al-Qaeda in Iraq. Revolutionary groups can appropriate a variety of other causes (nationalism, ethnic or sectarian identities), but their revolutionary identity is central and helps make sense of much of their activity. In that respect, we have much to learn from revisiting the action and strategy of the last generation of insurgent revolutionary actors, those of the Cold War."
'New President, Old Pattern of Sexual Violence, in Egypt' (Vickie Langohr, MERIP)
"Recent experience, however, provides many reasons for skepticism. Under four previous governments -- those of Mubarak, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Mursi, and the nominally civilian rule of Mansour -- court cases brought by survivors of mass assault have been prosecuted only when the government could achieve some political gain, usually when government adversaries could plausibly be blamed for the assaults. In addition, state security tactics to quash protest since Mursi's overthrow have likely worsened harassment and may have decreased the chances of rescuing survivors from assault. Since August 2013, the Tahrir metro stop -- the city's busiest -- has been closed in order to prevent protesters from emerging directly into Tahrir. This closure has led to unprecedented crowding in other stations, facilitating the kind of sexual harassment which was already endemic on public transit. Crackdowns on most forms of street-level organizing led some of the activists who coordinate teams to rescue women from assault during Tahrir gatherings to suspend their work. The government will need to do much more than make small revisions to the criminal code and create new task forces to effectively combat public sexual violence."
'The Likud-Beytenu divorce has nothing to do with Gaza' (Raphael Ahren, The Times of Israel)
"On January 22, 2013, Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu party ran on a joint list with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud. On Monday, Liberman dismantled that alliance, citing differences in opinion between him and Netanyahu over Israel's response to ongoing rocket fire from Gaza.
But in divorcing Likud, Liberman likely had his eyes on political machinations rather than military ones. By calling for a harsher response on Gaza, the foreign minister was able to score points with right-wing voters while also finding a convenient exit strategy from a partnership that had outlived its usefulness."
-- Mary Casey
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