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Sweden Expels Chinese Journalist Amid National Security Concerns

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In a move reflecting escalating tensions between Sweden and China, Swedish authorities have expelled a Chinese journalist, citing her alleged threat to national security. The expulsion underscores the deepening rift between the two nations and raises questions about press freedom and diplomatic relations in an increasingly fraught geopolitical landscape.

According to reports, the Swedish Security Service (Säkerhetspolisen) has deemed the Chinese journalist a threat to national security, prompting her expulsion from the country. The journalist, whose identity remains undisclosed, had been residing in Sweden and was presumably engaged in journalistic activities when the expulsion order was issued.

The expulsion of the Chinese journalist comes amidst mounting concerns over China’s alleged efforts to exert influence abroad and suppress dissenting voices. Sweden, like several other Western nations, has voiced apprehensions about China’s growing assertiveness and human rights abuses, particularly its treatment of ethnic minorities such as the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.

The Swedish government’s decision to expel the Chinese journalist has elicited mixed reactions, with some applauding it as a necessary measure to safeguard national security, while others view it as a troubling encroachment on press freedom. Critics argue that the expulsion sets a dangerous precedent and risks chilling investigative journalism and free speech.

The incident also underscores the broader challenges facing journalists operating in restrictive environments, where governments routinely employ tactics to suppress dissent and control the flow of information. Press freedom remains a cornerstone of democratic societies, and efforts to curtail it undermine the principles of transparency, accountability, and democratic governance.

In response to the expulsion, Chinese authorities have expressed their dismay and called for a reversal of the decision. The incident is likely to exacerbate tensions between Sweden and China, further straining diplomatic relations and complicating efforts to find common ground on key issues such as trade, human rights, and geopolitical stability.

As the fallout from the expulsion unfolds, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and challenges inherent in modern diplomacy and international relations.

The clash between national security imperatives and press freedom concerns underscores the delicate balance that governments must navigate in an increasingly interconnected and volatile world.

Analysis

Intelligence Advantage: Profiling African Leaders’ Meetings with U.S. Presidents

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How the CIA’s “Visit Pieces” Shape U.S.-Africa Diplomacy

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

Explore how the CIA’s leadership analyses, known as “visit pieces,” have provided U.S. presidents with strategic insights for meetings with African leaders, from the Cold War to today.

The Issue

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a crucial tool known as the “visit piece,” a detailed analysis of foreign leaders’ personalities, goals, and geopolitical strategies. This intelligence report helps the U.S. president gain a decision advantage during meetings with African counterparts. Historically, the CIA’s assessments have been pivotal in navigating the complex geopolitical landscape of Africa, particularly during the Cold War.

The Evolution of Leadership Analysis

Since its inception, the CIA’s leadership analysis has undergone significant evolution. Starting in the early 1960s, these reports were rudimentary but quickly became essential for presidential diplomacy. By the Carter administration, and especially under Reagan, the visit piece had matured into a sophisticated tool, offering deep insights into African leaders’ personalities and strategic intentions.

Creating the Visit Piece

Origins and Development:

1961: President John F. Kennedy, dissatisfied with his intelligence support post-Bay of Pigs, saw the creation of the President’s Intelligence Checklist, the predecessor to the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). This innovation was a response to the need for concise, insightful intelligence reports.

Kennedy’s Diplomacy: Kennedy’s personal engagement with African leaders necessitated detailed analyses of these leaders. His meetings were informed by assessments that provided not just political context but personal insights, such as the 1961 report on Sudanese General Ibrahim Abboud.

Growth and Refinement:

Carter and Reagan Eras: Under Carter, the CIA’s leadership analyses played a vital role, notably in Middle Eastern diplomacy. Carter’s approach influenced the rigor applied to analyses of African leaders. During Reagan’s tenure, the CIA’s visit pieces became more prominent, reflecting Reagan’s interest in personal diplomacy and Africa’s strategic importance.

The Elements of a Visit Piece

Personality: Understanding a leader’s disposition and temperament is critical. For example, the CIA characterized Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie as possessing “unusual personal vigor and determination” and Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda as “highly emotional.”

Goals: Identifying what African leaders aim to achieve from their U.S. engagements is essential. The CIA has highlighted various priorities, from financial aid requests to broader foreign policy goals, such as Senghor’s support for Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi.

Context: Analyzing the political, economic, and security backdrop provides a comprehensive understanding of a leader’s motivations. This includes their opinions on U.S. allies and adversaries, such as Senegalese President Abdou Diouf’s critiques of French policies.

Warning: Preparing the president for potential friction points ensures smoother diplomatic interactions. This element includes red flags about criticisms or demands that might arise, as seen in the analysis of Sudanese leader Jaafar Nimeiri’s controversial policies.

Outlook: Forecasting future developments helps in long-term strategic planning. This might include predicting election outcomes or assessing the stability of a regime, as with the CIA’s analysis of Nigerian leader Ibrahim Babangida.

Grading the Analysis

The effectiveness of visit pieces is measured by their impact on presidential diplomacy. Successful instances include:

Mobutu Sese Seko: Nixon and Kissinger skillfully acknowledged Mobutu’s balancing act between independence and U.S. alignment, reflecting the CIA’s insights.

Leopold Senghor: Carter’s understanding of Senghor’s mediator role in the Arab-Israeli conflict was shaped by detailed CIA profiles.

Samuel Doe: Reagan’s assurances to Doe about continued U.S. support were influenced by CIA warnings about Liberia’s economic vulnerabilities.

However, there have been notable misses:

Jaafar Nimeiri: Despite the CIA’s warnings about Nimeiri’s instability, Reagan’s administration did not adequately address the risks, leading to Nimeiri’s eventual ousting.

Economic Philosophies: The CIA sometimes failed to align its analyses with presidential interests, such as Reagan’s focus on free-market beliefs, highlighting a gap in understanding the principal’s priorities.

Profiling for the Future

As President Biden continues to engage with African leaders, the CIA’s visit pieces remain a critical resource. However, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) presents new opportunities for enhancing these analyses.

Recommendations for AI Integration:

Scale: AI can help generate profiles on entire delegations, adding depth to the president’s understanding of key figures beyond the primary leader.

Customization: AI can produce tailored reports for different U.S. officials, ensuring that all relevant stakeholders receive pertinent information.

Data Analytics: AI’s ability to process and analyze large datasets can strengthen the empirical basis of visit pieces, providing more nuanced insights.

The incorporation of AI into leadership profiling promises to maintain the high standards set by decades of CIA expertise while adapting to the evolving demands of modern diplomacy. By harnessing AI, the intelligence community can enhance the accuracy, depth, and relevance of its analyses, ensuring that U.S. presidents remain well-equipped to navigate the complexities of international relations, particularly with African leaders.

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Biden’s Africa Visit Plans if Re-Elected

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U.S. President Announces Plans to Visit Africa Post-Election, Presuming Victory Over Trump

President Biden announces his intention to visit Africa in February, contingent on his re-election, as he meets with Kenyan President William Ruto at the White House.

In a recent statement, U.S. President Joe Biden revealed his intention to make an official visit to Africa in February, provided he wins re-election in the upcoming presidential race against former President Donald Trump. The announcement was made during a meeting with Kenyan President William Ruto at the White House, marking the beginning of a two-day event that includes high-level discussions and a state dinner.

Biden’s visit aims to strengthen U.S.-Africa relations, signaling a continued commitment to engaging with the continent on various fronts. This planned visit underscores the importance of Africa in Biden’s foreign policy agenda, with potential discussions around economic partnerships, security cooperation, and climate change initiatives.

The visit, scheduled for February, is contingent on Biden securing another term in the November 5 election. As Biden greeted President Ruto, he stated, “I plan on going in February after I am reelected,” projecting confidence in his victory over his Republican rival, Trump.

This announcement comes at a time when U.S.-Africa relations are pivotal, with growing global competition and the need for strategic partnerships. Biden’s anticipated trip would follow a pattern of increased U.S. diplomatic engagements with African nations, reflecting a broader strategy to reinforce alliances and counterbalance influences from other global powers.

The White House meeting with President Ruto is seen as a significant step in bolstering ties between the United States and Kenya, as well as the wider African continent. The discussions are expected to cover a range of topics, including trade, investment, and regional security issues, aligning with both nations’ interests.

In conclusion, Biden’s proposed visit to Africa highlights the strategic importance he places on the continent and his administration’s efforts to foster stronger bilateral relationships. The outcome of the November election will ultimately determine whether this visit comes to fruition, setting the stage for future U.S.-Africa collaborations.

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Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognize Palestinian state

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Ireland, Norway and Spain each announced Wednesday the recognition of a Palestinian state, citing the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and a need to achieve a two-state solution for lasting peace in the region.

“The ongoing war in Gaza has made it abundantly clear that achieving peace and stability must be predicated on resolving the Palestinian question,” Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said. “The war is the lowest point in the prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The situation in the Middle East has not been this grave for many years.”

Israel quickly denounced the diplomatic declarations by the three countries, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that Hamas had won a “prize for terrorism.”

He said a Palestinian nation “would be a terrorist state. It would try to carry out the October 7 massacre again and again – and that, we shall not agree to.”

Norway said there is broad international consensus about the need for a two-state solution, including an overwhelming vote at the U.N. General Assembly this month to recognize the Palestinians as qualified to join the world body.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the decision was based on “peace, justice and coherence.”

“Time has come to move from words into action,” Sánchez said.

The three countries said their recognition of a Palestinian state will take effect May 28.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, called it “a wonderful moment…. This European wave, hopefully, will be followed by other waves.”

In Washington, the White House National Security Council said President Joe Biden “is a strong supporter of a two-state solution and has been throughout his career.”

However, it said Biden “believes a Palestinian state should be realized through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz immediately announced the recall of Israel’s ambassadors from all three countries that recognized a Palestinian state.

“History will remember that Spain, Norway, and Ireland decided to award a gold medal to Hamas murderers and rapists,” Katz said.

Katz said recognizing a Palestinian state is a reward to Hamas and Iran, and an “injustice to the memory” of those killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people and led to the capture of about 250 hostages.

Israel’s subsequent seven-month counter-offensive in Gaza has killed more than 35,000 civilians and combatants, although the Gaza Health Ministry says most of the dead are women and children.

“Israel will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security,” Katz said.

Ireland’s prime minister, Simon Harris, said Ireland unequivocally recognizes Israel and its right to exist “securely and in peace with its neighbors.” Harris called for all the hostages currently being held by Hamas in Gaza to be released.

Harris pointed to Ireland’s own history and the importance of getting recognition from other nations.

The vision for a Palestinian state put forward by Norway is not one led by the Hamas militants who have ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, but one derived from the Palestinian Authority in charge of parts of the West Bank.

Norway’s Støre said the situation in the Middle East “has not been this grave for many years,” and that recognizing a Palestinian state is a way of “supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict.”

“In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured, we must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike: Two states, living side by side, in peace and security,” Støre said.

Aid suspension

The United Nations has suspended food distribution in Rafah on Gaza’s southern border due to depleted supplies and insecurity.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday the distribution centers of the World Food Program and UNRWA, the agency for Palestinian refugees, are inaccessible because of the ongoing Israeli military operation in Rafah.

About 1.1 million people face high levels of hunger, the U.N. said. The Rafah crossing into Egypt, once the main entrance for aid, has been closed since May 6, and no aid trucks have crossed the U.S.-built floating pier in two days, the U.N. said.

A WFP spokesperson said the “humanitarian operations in Gaza are near collapse.” Abeer Etefa warned that if food and other supplies don’t resume entering Gaza in “massive quantities, famine-like conditions will spread.”

In addition, UNRWA said its health centers have not received any medical supplies in 10 days, but its health care staff still conducts medical consultations at its centers that remain open.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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The Hidden War: Somaliland’s Secret Struggle Against Terrorism

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Somaliland’s Eastern Border Crisis and the Internal Political Turmoil

BY WARYATV;

Exclusive intelligence report reveals Somaliland’s harsh crackdown on opposition leaders and media amid efforts to secure recognition by eradicating terrorists in Lasanod.

Discover the controversial moves and key players in this high-stakes geopolitical game.

In an exclusive report obtained by waryatv.com, secret intelligence sources reveal a looming confrontation within Somaliland as the government prepares to crack down on opposition voices and secure its eastern borders. At the center of this controversy is the Waddani Party and its chairman, Hirsi Haaji Ali, who oppose the government’s aggressive stance against terrorists in Lasanod. This report explores the underlying causes, key players involved, and potential consequences of this high-stakes geopolitical struggle.

Underlying Causes

The primary catalyst for the current tension is the government’s determination to secure its eastern border at Yoocada. This strategic move is seen as crucial for Somaliland’s quest for international recognition, which hinges on demonstrating control and stability in the Sool region. The presence of terrorists in Lasanod poses a significant threat to this objective, prompting the government to take decisive action.

Key Players

  1. Somaliland Government: Determined to eradicate terrorism and secure its borders, the government views this as a critical step towards achieving international recognition. They have issued a stern warning to anyone discussing military operations or the fight against terrorism, including media and social media influencers.
  2. Hirsi Haaji Ali: The chairman of the Waddani Party, Hirsi has been vocal in his opposition to the government’s military strategies in Lasanod. His stance has put him at odds with the ruling administration, making him a target for government crackdowns.
  3. Waddani Party: As the leading opposition party, Waddani’s resistance to the government’s policies has been a significant point of contention. They argue that the government’s actions could destabilize the region further and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.
  4. Western Governments: Initially pressuring Somaliland to withdraw from the Sool region on 25 august 2023 , these governments have now shifted their stance, providing support for the government’s efforts to cleanse the region of terrorist elements.

Somaliland’s struggle for recognition has been a long and arduous journey. Since declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, the republic of Somaliland  has sought to demonstrate its stability and governance capabilities. However, internal political strife and external pressures have often undermined these efforts. The current situation in Lasanod is a microcosm of the broader challenges facing Somaliland in its quest for legitimacy on the world stage.

The shifting support from Western governments suggests a changing geopolitical landscape. Somaliland may find itself at the center of new strategic alliances, particularly if it can demonstrate effective governance and security.

In conclusion, the intelligence report reveals a complex and volatile situation in Somaliland, with significant implications for regional stability and international relations. As the government prepares to take a hard line against operations terrorists in Lasanod concerns looms large. The coming weeks will be critical in determining Somaliland’s trajectory and its quest for recognition on the global stage.

The world will be watching closely as this high-stakes geopolitical game unfolds.

Warbixin Sirdoon: Digniin Adag Oo Ay Somaliland U Dirtay Madaxda Mucaaradka

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ATMIS Withdrawal Sparks Concerns Among East African Leaders

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President Museveni and President Ruto Warn of Increased Insecurity Amid Al-Shabaab Resurgence

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

Uganda and Kenya express concerns over the planned ATMIS troop withdrawal from Somalia, citing rising terrorism threats and regional instability.

The scheduled departure of ATMIS troops from Somalia has raised significant alarm among regional leaders, notably Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President William Ruto. The two leaders, whose countries contribute troops to ATMIS, voiced their concerns during a recent meeting in Nairobi. They emphasized the potential security vacuum that could be exploited by terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab, thus threatening regional stability.

The United Nations Security Council’s withdrawal plan involves removing 4,000 ATMIS troops by the end of June, following the departure of 5,000 troops last year. This downsizing has reportedly allowed Al-Shabaab to reclaim substantial territories, undermining recent military gains by Somali forces.

President Ruto and President Museveni

President Ruto highlighted that both he and President Museveni agree on the necessity of aligning the troop reduction with the security conditions in Somalia. Analysts and security experts have echoed these concerns, arguing that Somalia’s military is not yet equipped to maintain control over the reclaimed areas.

Abdisalan Guled, a former deputy security chief in Somalia, warned that the withdrawal could jeopardize the significant strides made against Al-Shabaab. He noted that central and southern Somalia remain hotspots for extremism, with numerous incidents reported in regions like Galmudug and Hirshabelle.

International partners, including the European Union, have also expressed apprehension. They caution that the Somali National Army (SNA) lacks the capacity to assume full security responsibilities, urging a reconsideration of the withdrawal timeline.

Since its inception nearly 17 years ago, ATMIS (formerly AMISOM) has played a crucial role in stabilizing key areas of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu. Despite criticisms over its inability to decisively weaken Al-Shabaab, ATMIS has been instrumental in maintaining a semblance of order and security.

Security expert Farah Ow Osman supports the Somali government’s request to delay the ATMIS withdrawal, arguing that an extension would provide Somali forces the necessary time to strengthen their position against Al-Shabaab. He suggests that this delay could potentially be endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, ensuring a smoother transition and sustained stability in Somalia.

The departure of ATMIS troops presents a significant challenge to the region’s security landscape. With Al-Shabaab poised to exploit any gaps left by the withdrawal, the concerns raised by Presidents Museveni and Ruto underscore the need for a carefully managed and strategically timed exit to prevent a resurgence of violence and instability. The coming months will be crucial in determining whether the gains made against terrorism in Somalia can be preserved and built upon.

Somalia’s Shift Towards Russia: Strategic Realignment or Desperate Gamble?

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Biden Administration Rejects Global Tax on Billionaires

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US Stance Contrasts with Support for Global Minimum Corporate Tax

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

The Biden administration opposes a global tax on billionaires’ assets, a proposal supported by several G20 nations. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasizes progressive taxation but rejects international wealth taxation schemes.

A proposal under consideration by some G20 nations to impose a worldwide tax on the assets of billionaires lacks support from the Biden administration, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Yellen reaffirmed the U.S.’s commitment to progressive taxation, where the wealthy pay a larger share of their income. However, she clarified that the U.S. does not support a global arrangement for taxing billionaires, stating, “We’re not supportive of a process to try to achieve that. That’s something we can’t sign on to.”

Without U.S. backing, the proposal faces slim chances of implementation, despite support from leaders of large economies like France and Brazil. The U.S. stance on this issue contrasts sharply with its endorsement of a global minimum tax on international businesses, an agreement Yellen helped broker early in President Joe Biden’s tenure.

The Global Billionaire Tax Proposal

The aim of a global tax on billionaires is to curb tax evasion by the ultra-wealthy, who often move assets across borders to tax havens, avoiding domestic tax authorities. Unlike income tax, which can be minimized through various investment strategies, a wealth tax targets the total assets of billionaires.

Economist Gabriel Zucman, director of the EU Tax Observatory, highlighted the regressive nature of the current global taxation system at a G20 finance ministers meeting in February. Zucman’s research shows that billionaires often pay a lower effective tax rate than average taxpayers. He advocates for international coordination to establish a common minimum standard, arguing that it would prevent the ultra-wealthy from relocating to low-tax jurisdictions.

According to Zucman’s organization, a 2% annual tax on the wealth of approximately 3,000 billionaires worldwide could generate $250 billion in revenue each year.

Moral and Economic Arguments

Prominent economists have voiced support for the global billionaire tax. MIT professor and Nobel Prize-winning economist Esther Duflo, addressing a G20 meeting in Washington, backed the 2% tax and a global tax on international businesses. Duflo argued that the revenue should aid poor nations in adapting to climate change, framing it as a “moral debt” owed by wealthy individuals and corporations whose activities contribute significantly to global carbon emissions.

Duflo emphasized, “Rich people and rich corporations are making their income from selling their products everywhere in the world, including in poor countries. We are not talking about extortion; we are talking about paying your fair share.”

Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad also defended the proposal, highlighting the need for international taxation to address economic inequality and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Haddad stressed that individual national efforts are insufficient without international cooperation to prevent tax evasion by the wealthy.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva echoed these sentiments, advocating for fairness and efficiency in global tax systems. Le Maire stated, “You can count on France’s absolute support. It is a matter of efficiency and justice.”

Georgieva pointed out that in many countries, the wealthy pay fewer taxes than the middle class and even the poor. She called for closing loopholes and preventing tax evasion through international agreements that facilitate tax information sharing.

In conclusion, the Biden administration’s rejection of a global tax on billionaires highlights a significant divergence in approaches to international taxation. While the U.S. supports a global minimum tax on corporations, it remains opposed to a wealth tax on billionaires. This stance underscores the complexities and challenges in achieving international consensus on taxing the ultra-wealthy.

As the debate continues, the future of global taxation will likely depend on broader international cooperation and the willingness of major economies to align their tax policies to address growing economic inequalities and the pressing needs of climate change adaptation.

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International Criminal Court seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant, 3 Hamas leaders

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The head prosecutor at the International Criminal Court announced Monday that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with three Hamas leaders in Gaza for war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the Israel-Hamas war, a decision that has triggered a slew of reactions.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog called the announcement “beyond outrageous and shows the extent to which the international judicial system is in danger of collapsing.”

Herzog added on his social media platform X post that “any attempt to draw parallels between these atrocious terrorists and a democratically elected government of Israel — working to fulfill its duty to defend and protect its citizens entirely in adherence to the principles of international law — is outrageous and cannot be accepted by anyone.”

Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz echoed Herzog’s comments calling ICC’s request to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant an “outrageous decision.”

In a post on social media platform X, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham decried the ICC decision. “The state of Israel is waging one of the just wars fought in modern history following a reprehensible massacre perpetrated by terrorist Hamas on the 7th of October,” he said. “The prosecutor’s position to apply for arrest warrants is in itself a crime of historic proportion to be remembered for generations.”

The Hamas Islamist group, which is designated by the U.S., the U.K and other countries as a terrorist militant organization, also denounced the ICC prosecutor’s decision to seek arrest warrants for three of its leading members. It accused ICC prosecutor Karim Khan of trying to “equate the victim with the executioner.” In a statement Monday, the group said it has the right to resist Israeli occupation, including “armed resistance.”

Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, hailed Khan’s decision.

“This principled first step by the prosecutor opens the door to those responsible for the atrocities committed in recent months to answer for their actions at a fair trial,” Jarrah said in a statement Monday.

ICC prosecutor Khan announced Monday that his office believes all five people bear responsibility for acts against humanity.

He said in a statement, Netanyahu and Gallant “bear criminal responsibility” for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including starving civilians as a method of warfare and intentionally directing attacks against civilians “as a means to eliminate Hamas, secure the return of the hostages which Hamas has abducted, and collectively punish the civilian population of Gaza, whom they perceived as a threat to Israel.”

In addition, Khan said, the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, commander of the Hamas military wing Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and the head of the Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, taking hostages as a war crime, rape, other sexual violence and torture.

“It is the view of my office that these individuals planned and instigated the commission of crimes on 7 October 2023, and have through their own actions, including personal visits to hostages shortly after their kidnapping, acknowledged their responsibility for those crimes,” Khan said. “We submit that these crimes could not have been committed without their actions.”

The prosecutor must request the warrants from a pre-trial panel of three judges, who will first examine the evidence before they decide if they move forward with arrest warrants.

Palestinians look at the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza, May 20, 2024.
Palestinians look at the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza, May 20, 2024.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, and even if the arrest warrants are issued, Netanyahu and Gallant do not face any immediate risk of prosecution. But Khan’s announcement increases Israel’s isolation as it presses ahead with its war, and the threat of arrest could make it difficult for the Israeli leaders to travel abroad.

Israel’s war in Gaza was triggered by the October Hamas terror attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people and led to the capture of about 250 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Israel’s subsequent counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 35,400 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, which includes civilians and combatants in its count, but says most of the dead are women and children.

Israel says it has killed more than 14,000 militants and around 16,000 civilians.

US talks

Meanwhile, Gallant said Monday that Israel is committed to broadening its ground operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, as he met with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Gallant said in a statement that he told Sullivan the effort in Rafah was aimed at dismantling the Hamas militant group and securing the return of the hostages still being held in Gaza.

Gallant also said he and Sullivan discussed ways to strengthen Israel’s position in the Middle East.

Sullivan met Sunday with Netanyahu to discuss a more targeted Israeli military operation against Hamas in Gaza that would lower risks of civilian collateral damage.

The U.S. official reiterated President Joe Biden’s “longstanding position on Rafah,” the White House said, referring to calls by Biden to avoid a major offensive in Rafah due to fears of a humanitarian disaster.

Netanyahu has vowed not to let up the fight against Hamas until the Islamist group is defeated and all remaining hostages are brought home.

However, his Cabinet is facing an internal rift on a postwar Gaza governance plan.

Benny Gantz, one of the ministers of his War Cabinet, threatened to quit the governing coalition Saturday, unless Netanyahu approves a postwar “action plan” by June 8.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

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Communication

The Celebrity ‘Blockout’: Social Media Users Push for Accountability Over Gaza Conflict

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A grassroots movement pressures celebrities to take a stand on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by blocking their social media content.

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

What is the Celebrity ‘Blockout’ Over the War in Gaza?

Social media users have initiated a “blockout” campaign to pressure celebrities into taking a stand on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The blockout involves users blocking the social media accounts of celebrities who they believe are not speaking out or doing enough against Israel’s actions in Gaza amidst its war with Hamas.

How Does the Blockout Work?

On platforms like X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and Instagram, users can mute or block specific accounts. By blocking celebrities, users stop seeing their posts, photos, videos, and sponsored content. This action reduces the celebrities’ engagement metrics and potentially affects their income from social media activities. The goal is to divert attention away from these celebrities’ brands, thereby pressuring them to address the crisis.

Who is Being Blocked?

There isn’t a centralized list of celebrities to be blocked. Participants of the blockout choose whom to block based on personal criteria or suggestions from others. Celebrities from the U.S. and other countries are being targeted. Each social media user must block celebrities individually on each platform they use.

Origins of the Blockout

The blockout gained momentum following the recent Met Gala, a high-profile event known for its extravagant fashion displays. As images from the gala circulated online, they were juxtaposed with distressing images from Gaza, highlighting the stark contrast between the opulence of the event and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. This led to increased scrutiny of celebrities’ responses, or lack thereof, to the situation in Gaza.

Will the Blockout Be Effective?

The long-term effectiveness of the blockout remains uncertain. According to Beth Fossen, an assistant professor of marketing at Indiana University, the impact may vary depending on the celebrity’s brand and public persona. Celebrities known for their humanitarian efforts may face more significant backlash for their silence compared to those whose fame is primarily based on their talent or other attributes.

Blockout Backlash

The blockout has faced criticism from some quarters. Detractors argue that focusing on celebrities detracts from the real issues on the ground in Gaza. There are also debates about what constitutes adequate action or statements from celebrities, adding complexity to the movement’s goals.

In conclusion, the celebrity blockout is a digital protest aimed at leveraging social media dynamics to push celebrities into taking a public stand on the Gaza conflict. While its long-term effectiveness is yet to be determined, the movement highlights the growing expectation for public figures to engage with pressing global issues. The blockout also reflects broader tensions about how social media influences activism and accountability in the digital age.

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