April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Unlikely, but Possible Allies—Iran and the U.S.

Washington—The U.S. and Iran find themselves facing the same enemies and may end up sitting on the same side of the table on a number of issues, including dealing with Sunni insurgents all around the Middle East. Both governments oppose the growing Sunni insurgency, whose members raise the Al Qaeda flag as they terrorize the locals in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. As U.S. influence in the region wanes, and Iraq falls apart, Iran, a Shia country, is worried about the Sunni threats to its allies in Syria and Iraq, and more Sunni forces will be unleashed after the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan. As a result, last week, Iran offered to send military aid to Iraq, which is run by Shia forces, and the U.S. administration admits they can be helpful in ending the war in Syria if they come to the table—but they also say that cooperation will be based on the results of the nuclear negotiations currently underway—and despite the fact that Iran was a key player in getting chemical weapons out of Syria. (The first load left that country this past week.)

Israel Moves to Break Up Conglomerates

Jerusalem—As a result of the Occupy movement in Israel that brought hundreds of thousands out to protest the “tycoons” in 2011, and a sustained effort to expose the corruption of corporate culture by Haaretz, the Knesset last month unanimously voted to break up the corporate conglomerates that control approximately 1/3 of Israel’s economy. Most of them are public companies that control other public companies and are owned by families and individuals, who, according to the New York Times, “put down little money but control vast swathes of the Israeli economy … [they] crowd out competitors and take on excessive debt by lending among their companies.” The breakup is designed to increase competition and drive down prices and will prevent the pyramids from funding themselves with cheap financing. Israel is now overhauling its economy in an attempt to reduce income inequality.

Deal Sends Eritrean Migrants from Israel to Sweden

The United Nations High Command for Refugees in Israel has brokered a deal between the Israeli government and the government of Sweden which has allowed dozens of Eritrean migrants to settle there. Among them were 54 women. The Interior Ministry said that the deal was made in collaboration with the United Nations and that each Eritrean migrant received a payment of $3,500. The ministry cites a total of 2,612 migrants who willfully left Israel in 2013—1,955 from Sudan and 461 from Eritrea. But Michal Pinchuk, the Executive Director of ASSAF said a Swedish government delegation met with them other NGOs and African migrants, with no involvement from the government. Pinchuk said that some of the women were trafficked and had gone through torture in Sinai. She said her organization signed up a group from the Saharonim prison for the resettlement. Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar gave the approval for them to leave for Sweden and claims that the refugee protests in Tel Aviv had nothing to with announcing the Swedish deal.

 

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