Both of Israel’s last two senior coalition partners, Kadima, under Tipzi Livni, and Labor, under Ehud Barak, have rejected Likud’s offer to join it in a unity government. With Hamas on the rise in Palestine and Yisrael Beiteinu in Israel, it appears that any near term prospects for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians are dead.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent trip to Asia suggests that Sino-American relations during the Obama administration will be characterized by a move to ignore the thornier issues of Taiwan and human rights in an effort to achieve closer co-operation in the economic, military, and environmental fields.
Pakistani Taliban declared a 10-day ceasefire with the Pakistani government in response to the Pakistani government's agreeing to impose Sharia Law in the Swat District. However, the imposition of Sharia Law will enable the Taliban and allied anti-American militant groups to consolidate local control, a necessary precursor to furthering their anti-American operations.
Yesterday, in a special referendum, Venezuelan voters overturned constitutionally mandated term-limits, allowing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and his allies unlimited rights to hold public office. Thus, Venezuela’s path towards a revolution-cum-dictatorship appears inevitable.
Chinese authorities are keeping a watchful eye on Tibet, wary of a repeat of last year’s demonstrations and riots. The recently initiated “Strike Hard” campaign adds to the pool of evidence that Beijing has no interest in engaging with the Dalai Lama to reach a negotiated solution to the Tibet problem.
Fueled by the growing civilian carnage, worldwide protests by Tamil emigrant groups and sympathizers are echoing calls by the UN and international aid organizations to restore the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire unilaterally violated by the Sri Lankan government in its campaign against the Tamil Tigers. Yet the world’s political powers remain unmoved, and the Sri Lankan government has vowed to press on towards imminent victory.
The hostile tone in DPRK statements reverses a brief period of détente during the last year of the Bush administration, a period that witnessed the DPRK’s removal from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism List. The causes of DPRK hostility could stem from internal succession politics or geopolitical considerations, impacting the East Asian security situation.
Iran announced a secret court’s guilty verdict against four Iranian nationals convicted of organizing a “soft regime change” in Tehran at the behest of the Bush administration. The Iranian announcement follows reports of a U.S. covert-ops program targeting Iranian nuclear facilities.