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Time to call it: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. EPA/Gali Tibbon

Netanyahu’s gamble sets up Israel for messy election campaign

Israel’s Knesset has voted to dissolve itself, and a general election is due to be held on March 17 2015. Binyamin Netanyahu’s third government was a fractious one from the start, with many coalition members…
The Israeli government continues to undermine a two-state solution by expanding settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. EPA/Jim Hollander

Israel’s policy on statehood merits the same scrutiny as Hamas gets

Escalating confrontations in Jerusalem centred on the al-Aqsa Mosque, 1500 more homes to be built in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and a sharp deterioration in Israel’s relations with Jordan have…
A military campaign against Islamic State forces will offer no long-term resolution to Iraq’s extremist problem. YouTube/VICE News

Islamic State knows its history; to defeat it, we must know ours

To explain the disaster befalling Iraq, as well as the rise of Islamic State (IS), you have to go back a century – before modern Iraq even existed. That’s not to discount the shared culpability of Iraq’s…
Extra security has appeared at Cairo University. Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

Violent crackdown on students engulfs Egyptian universities

Egypt’s new academic year started in early October amid unprecedented repressive measures by the state against students. On October 11, the morning of the first day of university, police carried out a…
Locking up convicted extremists does not prevent marginalised and angry youth from being radicalised. AAP/Julian Smith

Third wave of global ‘jihad’ challenges community as a whole

The dreadful events in Iraq and Syria and counter-terrorism raids in Australia have alarmed Australians, including the 500,000-strong Muslim community. These incidents represent a new episode of the “third…
An Australian Super Hornet refuels from a KC30 tanker while flying over Iraq. @VCDF_Australia/Twitter

Why Western boots should stay out of Iraq and Syria

There are two reasons why we should ignore the growing calls in the United States, Canada and Australia for Western “boots on ground” – meaning ground troops – to fight and destroy the Islamic State (IS…
A US Marine covers a statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with the US flag in Baghdad’s al-Fardous square in April 2003, before the statue was toppled. EPA PHOTO AFPI/RAMZI HAIDAR

Is it fair to blame the West for trouble in the Middle East?

For at least a decade, attempts to understand why some young Muslims living in Western countries turn to violence in the name of religion have raised questions about Western foreign policy in the Middle…
Investigations of the death and destruction wrought upon Gaza’s civilian neighbourhoods must be independent of the warring Israeli and Palestinian forces. EPA/Mohammed Saber

The Gaza bloodshed demands a proper process of accountability

With the August 26 ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian forces holding, both sides have resumed their relentless pursuit of political advantage. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, Palestine…
Over it: Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (L) and his foreign minister Javad Zarif. EPA/STR

Frozen out of anti-IS effort, Iran is losing patience with the West

Since Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran’s president in June 2013, relations between Iran and the United States have significantly improved – though they remain very fragile. To explain why, most analysts…
This is as far as you go: refugees arrive in Jordan. EPA/STR

Jordan has become the West’s warehouse for Iraqi refugees

Swamped as we are with media outrage and political rhetoric about asylum seekers “invading” Europe, we tend to forget that the vast majority of displaced people find refuge in countries far beyond EU borders…
Barack Obama is reluctant to jump in with both feet with a major military intervention in Iraq and Syria. EPA/Valda Kalnina

Why ‘fools rush in’ is Obama’s watchword in Iraq and Syria

US president Barack Obama has yet to work out exactly what America’s strategy is in confronting Islamic State (IS), and has been foolish enough to say so in public. Cue the foreseeable torrent of point-scoring…
US troops have made gains against IS. EPA/Armin Weigel

The time has come for decisive action against Islamic State

With an unmistakable British accent, the now-infamous Islamic State (IS) fighter thought to have killed journalist James Foley has addressed his second message to US president Barack Obama. IS is trying…
Does Tony Abbott’s justification for Australian involvement in Iraq amount to a legal basis for our commitment? AAP/Dave Hunt

Australia’s military involvement in Iraq is legal – for now

The humanitarian missions by the Royal Australian Air Force in Iraq are in accordance with international law, despite a confusing statement by Iraq’s ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh. But continued…
History tells us that it is certain criteria and not democratic niceties, secularism or a moderate hand that will make or break Islamic State. EPA/STR

Going the distance: does Islamic State have staying power?

The rise of Islamic State (IS) across parts of the Middle East has galvanised the international community in a way not seen since September 11. But before a military response is considered, western nations…

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