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TDB Top 5 International Stories: Saturday 1st April 2017

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5: War Under Trump Means More Troops, More Deaths, and Less Caution
4: Julian Assange waits for Ecuador’s election to decide his future
3: Scholar: Moscow Sees Hypocrisy in Allegations After U.S. Interfered in Russian Elections in 1990s
2: UN slams Israel over new West Bank settlement
1: Bernie Sanders Wants to Expand Medicare to Everybody — Exactly What Its Architects Wanted

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5: War Under Trump Means More Troops, More Deaths, and Less Caution

A military analyst explains the differences between Trump and Obama when it comes to conflict in the Middle East.

While Donald Trump may be having trouble passing big pieces of legislation or getting his travel ban on Muslim-majority countries past the courts, the president has a lot of autonomy when it comes to how the seemingly never-ending wars in the Middle East are prosecuted. Though Trump criticized the Iraq War during the campaign, he also said he’d embrace brutal—and legally questionable—tactics against groups like ISIS, including “going after” the families of terrorists. As with a lot of Trump’s worldview, it seemed unclear what he wanted to do in the Middle East.

Two months after he took office, there’s a little more clarity: Trump has ramped up the aggression in the global war on terror and shows no sign of slowing down. He approved a raid in Yemen by Navy SEALs that turned out to be a disastrous failure; a US airstrike against Mosul, Iraq, probably killed dozens of civilians and is being investigated; the rules of engagement in Somalia have reportedly been loosened, potentially putting civilian lives at risk; and though it sent hundreds of Marines to Syria to support anti-ISIS forces, the administration has stopped publicly announcing troop deployments.

America has been at war in in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan for most of my lifetime, but these moves seem to signal a serious escalation. To sort through what this all means, I called up Omar Lamrani, a senior military analyst at the geopolitical analysis firm Stratfor to ask about how Trump’s military policy differs from Obama’s.

Vice News

4: Julian Assange waits for Ecuador’s election to decide his future

For Ecuador’s 15 million inhabitants, Sunday’s presidential election runoff will pose a fundamental question: whether to continue with a leftwing government that has reduced poverty but also brought environmental destruction and authoritarian censorship, or to take a chance on a pro-business banker who promises economic growth but is accused of siphoning money to offshore accounts.

But they are not the only ones for whom the result will be critically important. Thousands of miles away, in the country’s tiny embassy in central London, Julian Assange will be watching closely to see if his four and a half years of cramped asylum could be coming to an abrupt, enforced end.

The Guardian

3: Scholar: Moscow Sees Hypocrisy in Allegations After U.S. Interfered in Russian Elections in 1990s

In the 10 weeks since President Trump was sworn in as the nation’s 45th president, he has faced a growing crisis over allegations his campaign colluded with Russia ahead of the 2016 election. On Thursday, reports surfaced that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony to the FBI and congressional investigators. Meanwhile, The New York Times revealed one of Flynn’s former aides was one of two White House officials to secretly meet with Republican House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes last week on the White House grounds to show him secret U.S. intelligence reports. Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing Thursday on the issue. “If we want to understand Russia’s point of view, President Putin and those around him—and of course we do—whether or not we agree with it, we need to understand how our adversaries see us, how all other nations see us, through their eyes,” says our guest Robert David English, professor of international relations at the University of Southern California. “If we do that, we realize very quickly that their frame of reference has a lot to do with the mistakes and, yes, the U.S. interference in Russian politics in the ’90s, when we directly intervened in a presidential election to boost a losing candidate into a winning position—that was Boris Yeltsin.”

Democracy Now

2: UN slams Israel over new West Bank settlement

The United Nations has lambasted the Israeli government after it approved the construction of its first new settlement in the occupied West Bank in decades.

A spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres said that the secretary-general expressed “disappointment and alarm” at the Israeli security cabinet’s decision on Thursday to build a new settlement – considered illegal under international law – on land stolen from the Palestinians.

“The secretary-general has consistently stressed that there is no Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Friday.

“He condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, which threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution.”

The decision to built a new settlement in Emek Shilo, close to the Palestinian city of Ramallah, came less than a week after the UN criticised Israel for not taking any steps to halt construction on occupied Palestinian territory, as demanded by the Security Council in a resolution it passed in December.


1: Bernie Sanders Wants to Expand Medicare to Everybody — Exactly What Its Architects Wanted

BERNIE SANDERS DOESN’T just want to play defense on health care — he’s introducing a bill that would expand the Medicare program to everybody in America, creating a single-payer health care system.

Such a system would wipe out inefficiencies in our current, private insurance-run system, and polls very well — yet it is opposed by the health care industry and the Democratic and Republican establishments that relies on them for campaign cash.

But creating a “Medicare-for-all,” single-payer health insurance system for all Americans would be fulfilling the dream of those who created the Medicare system in the first place in 1965.

Medicare’s architects ended up compromising with Congress and establishing a system that offered public-run health insurance just for the elderly, but they never intended for only retirees to benefit from the program.

The Intercept


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