Caught in the Middle (East) – October

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Iran

Iran is currently playing nice at the UN, calling for a “world without nuclear weapons.” Simultaneously, its talks with the US are collapsing. It is being blamed for the attacks on Saudi oil fields, and Israel security officials are urgently meeting to discuss the threat of an imminent Iranian attack. Who can blame them? The UN has become a joke over the years and has been a great way for the regime to spread its propaganda. Earlier this summer, the UN named Israel as only violator of women’s rights in the world. Among the voters: major human’s rights violators such as Iran, Saudi Arabia & Yemen. 

 

Israel

1000 miles from Tehran, Israel is going through the longest election season in the nation’s history. Elections in Israel are much different than here in the US. They don’t vote for two candidates and the one with the most electoral votes wins. Instead, many parties run to have seats on the 120-seat parliament. No party ever wins a majority, so they form coalitions and select one person to lead the government. Israel had elections back in April but a government couldn’t be formed, so second elections were set for September. In an even closer election, it seems that forming a government is even less likely. Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White Party refuses to be in a coalition that has leader of the Likud Party, Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, Avigdor Lieberman, refuses to join with right-wing religious parties. As a result of stubborn old men refusing to work with each other, Israeli politics is more divided than ever before.

 

Afghanistan

The endless war with Afghanistan is going on 18 years and it seems as if we’ve gotten nowhere. Trump had planned to meet with an envoy from the Taliban terror group in September but the talks fell apart after a suicide bombing killed an American soldier and many others. Pulling troops out of Afghanistan has been a large focus of both the Obama and Trump administrations, but neither have followed through. With an unstable Afghan government fighting strong terror groups, the US is their only hope. We want to bring our troops home – but we can’t – and it doesn’t seem that we will any time soon.

 

Lebanon

So much trouble coming from such a tiny country. Hezbollah, a Lebanese terror group funded by Iran, has taken a hit from new sanctions thrown by the US. A legal political party in Lebanon, Hezbollah supports the Shiite community in the country but also brags about how it has tens of thousands of missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel. If you thought mainland Iran hasn’t been enough of a problem, they are creating proxies everywhere. With growing Iranian influence in Lebanon and Syria, it seems as though Iran is desperately trying to pursue its goal of “wiping Israel off the map.” 

 

United Arab Emirates

On a lighter note, the first synagogue in the UAE is set to open in Dubai in 2022. It will be part of a complex that will house all three Abrahamic faiths, including a synagogue, a mosque, and a church. This is a big step forward in a positive direction for religious tolerance in the Gulf States.