4 February 2018   Leave a comment

The New York Times is reporting that Israel has been conducting air strikes against militants on Egyptian territory with the active consent of the Egyptian government.  Israeli-Egyptian relations have steadily improved since the Camp David Accords in 1978 and signed a permanent peace treaty in 1979.  The air strikes, however, have been carried out with extraordinary secrecy because, despite the good diplomatic relations, a substantial percentage of the Egyptian population has serious disagreement with the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.  The Egyptians also work closely with Israel to prevent the flow of goods across the Egyptian border into the Gaza Strip in order to prevent material and strategic support for Hamas, a Palestinian militant group adamantly opposed to Israeli control in the Gaza.


The Republic of Macedonia (known provisionally in the UN as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) became independent in 1991 and was admitted to the UN in 1993.  Since that time there has been an ongoing dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the name of the republic.  Historically, Macedonia has always been considered part of Greece and is the birthplace of Alexander the Great.  Greeks believe that the use of the name Macedonia in non-Greek territory is misleading and that it potentially implies a claim on Greek territory that is not currently part of the republic.  Perhaps more importantly, the name insults Greek history that most Greeks regard as intolerable. National Public Radio characterizes some of the issues involved:

“Greece has a northern province called Macedonia, also the cradle of ancient Macedonia and its most famous leader, Alexander the Great. Greece considers it a non-negotiable part of its history. Its neighbor, meanwhile, considers Alexander — who incorporated its land into an empire that extended to India — part of local identity. Macedonia’s flag is emblazoned with the Sun of Vergina — a symbol associated with the dynasty of Alexander and his father Philip.”

There was a large protest against negotiations about a possible compromise on the name between Greece and Macedonia on Sunday with crowd estimates as high as 1.5 million.


There are reports that 5 mass graves of Royingha refugees, allegedly killed by the Myanmar military, have been found in Myanmar.  Myanmar denies the allegations, but the reports are consistent with verbal accounts of human rights violations against the Muslim Royingha by a military controlled by the primarily Buddhist Myanmar military.  Since August 2017, about 650,000 Royingha have fled into neighboring Bangladesh to escape the persecution.   Satellite images from the Rakhine Province where most of the Royingha lived provide graphic evidence of the attacks on the minority.  The international community’s response to these atrocities has been tepid and ineffective.

Posted February 4, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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