11 February 2018   Leave a comment

Israel is tweaking the US, apparently trying to embarrass it into taking a more aggressive role in the Syrian conflict.  Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to Washington, made a rather pointed comment about the US “inaction” in Syria in Bloomberg:

“The American part of the equation is to back us up,” but the U.S. currently “has almost no leverage on the ground,” Michael Oren, Netanyahu’s deputy minister for public diplomacy and a former ambassador to Washington, said in a phone interview Sunday. “America did not ante up in Syria. It’s not in the game.”

The comment comes after Israel launched serious attacks on Iranian targets in Syria.  Israel has made several overtures to Russia to persuade it to temper the Iranian role in Syria, but its efforts thus far have not succeeded.  But it seems clear that Israel is playing a “Russia” card in the balance of power game in Syria.


Asma Jahangir, a leading human rights advocate in Pakistan, has died.  For some, Jahangir was a controversial figure.  But for many in Pakistan she was a courageous voice in a country not particularly friendly to human rights.  Jahangir worked to protect the institutions of democracy in Pakistan and her accomplishments were significant.  The Public Broadcasting System in the US described some of these accomplishments:

“Jahangir co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 1987 and in 2010 she became the first woman to serve as President of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association. She also served as U.N. special rapporteur for freedom of religion from 2004 to 2010.”

Jahangir’s death is a loss for all in the world who believe in human rights for all.

Asma Jahangir

Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jehangir in Lahore, Pakistan on June 14, 2017


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has slowly worked out an arrangement with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) that has preserved a governing coalition to assure her a fourth Chancellorship.  But the price of that coalition was to cede the Finance Ministry to the SPD which does not share her party’s views on fiscal discipline.  That concession has angered some in the Christian Democratic Party and could lead to serious problems in the future.  But the SPD membership had clearly soured on continuing the relationship with Merkel believing that the SPD had lost its political soul.  So a high price was demanded and expected.  The concession has undoubtedly weakened Merkel and governing Germany and its relations with the EU will be very difficult for the coalition.

Posted February 11, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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