The Friday Edition

Our Friday News Analysis | What the World Reads Now!

July 04, 2024

Diplomacy – The Art of Smoke and Mirrors (Part 3)


Ohrid, North Macedonia, 05 July 2024 | If you know of a decisive story, tell the world! We're still searching.



Our Friday News Analysis | What the World Reads Now!

Yordanos Eyoel, Bret Stephens - 15 min


Democracy requires disagreement. Here's how to do it better

As authoritarian leaders challenge democratic institutions around the world, some people are questioning whether democracy is even the best political system. In a wide-ranging conversation, writer Bret Stephens and social entrepreneur Yordanos Eyoel discuss why democracy is still our best hope — and offer ways we can learn to disagree more effectively in order to strengthen our societies. (Read transcript)

WATCH NOW:15 Minutes




Editorial: The Pendulum Swings, ALWAYS! 

  1. Please don’t be alarmed at the tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language of Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke’s inaugural address as the youngest Member of Parliament (MP) in New Zealand. This is typical Māori. If she had anything offensive to say, she would have stuck out her tongue with back-and-forth motions in the Māori inimitable style.
  2. A Landslide victory in Britain. Finally!
  3. Macron is sliding down the slippery slope of Gallic arrogance.
  4. Scholz is losing ground in Germany.
  5. Rutte will replace Stoltenberg (hopefully for the better).
  6. Biden nailed his political coffin because all the King’s men can’t put Humpy Dumpty back together again.
  7. Who might be left on the world stage to fix this broken world? Putin and Xi, for sure, and who knows who else. Iran will elect their new president any day now. Trump is still on the horizon. The clowns in Brussels and the stooges elsewhere are now licking their wounds.
  8. If Zelensky doesn’t watch his back, he might be heading toward the same trap as Mussolini.







 In her inaugural address, Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke pledged her commitment to her constituents, saying, “I will die for you ... but I will [also] live for you.”


WATCH NOW: 36 Seconds



What is the Side of the Story that is Not Yet Decisive? Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen.





We can explore solutions to the war in Ukraine if we allow open discussion without the high social costs of dissent.


INFLATED DEBATE? - We can explore solutions to the war in Ukraine if we allow open discussion without sky-high social costs for dissent, writes the author of the post. Photo: Harald Henden / VG


By Glenn Diesen
21 June 2024


Glenn Diesen is a professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) and Associate Editor at Russia in Global Affairs. Diesen's research focus is geoeconomics, conservatism, Russian foreign policy & Greater Eurasia.


In an op-ed in VG, it is claimed that anti-European fascism is on the rise on our continent, and the threat is so severe that this is not the time for a "false balance" in the debate. The op-ed dismisses my "dubious claims and opinions" without citing a single example.


I will put forward a counter-argument that our problems come from oversimplification and lack of open debate by using slogans and name-calling.


What is ‘Anti-European?’


               The British idea of Europe is democracy, which was argued to be undermined by transferring power to undemocratic EU institutions.


               Hungary believes that Europe is our traditional values and Christian cultural heritage, which is seen to be under attack by an unfettered liberal ideology.


               Russia sees Europe as a common home undermined by an expanding military alliance that has re-divided the continent, resulting in a new Cold War regarding where to draw the new dividing lines.


Europe is a contested concept,

and many conflicts could have been resolved
with mutual understanding and compromise
instead of always presenting disagreements as a conflict between good and evil.


We can explore solutions to the war in Ukraine if we allow open discussion without the high social costs of dissent.


If Russia is driven by unprovoked territorial expansionism, then there are no reasonable solutions, and we must prepare for war. However, if Russia invaded to prevent the expansion of a hostile military alliance, there would be compromise possibilities. A proper analysis is of great importance.


However, in our narrative-driven media, any evidence that Russia considers this a defensive war is denounced as an attempt to legitimize the invasion.


On the first day after Russia's invasion in February 2022, President Zelensky confirmed that Moscow had contacted them to start peace talks. The demand was for Ukraine to restore its neutrality, something Zelensky wanted to discuss. On the third day after the invasion, both Russia and Ukraine confirmed that negotiations would begin based on restoring Ukraine's neutrality. Ukrainian ambassador Oleksandr Chalyi, the head of Zelensky's party David Arakhamia, and Zelensky's former adviser Oleksi Arestovych confirm they were close to an agreement based on Ukrainian neutrality.


General Harald Kujat, the former head of Germany's armed forces and head of NATO's military committee, claims the Americans sabotaged the peace agreement to use Ukrainians to weaken a strategic rival. The Israeli and Turkish negotiators confirmed that Moscow and Kyiv were close to an agreement, but the Americans and the British blocked it. Washington and London had decided to bleed Russia out with regime change as their only acceptable outcome of the war.


How is it that no Norwegian journalists thought this was worth reporting?


We have limited our analysis by presenting everything as a conflict between good and evil. This Manichean manipulation is excellent for mobilizing public opinion in favor of confrontation and war but prevents workable solutions.





The overconfident president got what was coming when his party suffered a massive defeat in the first round of the national election.


FILE PHOTO. France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the press at the end of the European Council Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2024. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP


By Rachel Marsden, columnist, political strategist, and host of independently produced talk shows in French and English.


HomeWorld New

1 July 2024


As Le Monde reported, French President Emmanuel Macron figured he would toss a grenade at the anti-establishment right that beat his team in last month's European parliamentary elections. He presumed that even though French voters favored Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party to keep Brussels’ Eurocrats in check, they would still find the so-called “far-right” too scary up close in a national election.


So Macron triggered what might go down as one of the dumbest unforced errors in political history.


Even though an Ipsos survey taken in May indicated that 39% of the French viewed their vote at the EU level solely through the prism of a burning desire to spank Macron, he dissolved parliament and dared them to do it again. Maybe he likes spankings? Or else this is one guy who should probably steer clear of the betting tables in Las Vegas. Because the French just grabbed hold of his grenade with both hands and used it to blow his beret right off his wig.


Team Macron didn’t even come in second this time, in the first of two rounds of voting. It came in third, with a projected 20%, behind both anti-establishment parties. The big winner, yet again, was Le Pen’s anti-establishment right National Rally party with about 33%, and the anti-establishment left New Popular Front coalition placed second at an estimated 28%.


Not only did the much vilified “far-right” anti-establishment win this round of voting, but there’s now even talk of them potentially securing between 260 to 310 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly — which could meet the 289 seats required for a majority government, according to an Elabe polling analysis.


So now, with Macron’s establishment party purged, leaving the anti-establishment right and left, the political cards are getting reshuffled for a second-round vote on Sunday, July 7, that’s set to determine France's true ideological heart and soul.


With this losing bet, Macron has virtually guaranteed himself a final three years of his presidency as a captain adrift legislatively, constantly fighting whatever crew he ultimately ends up within government. And both sides of the anti-establishment political divide on the right and left celebrate that.


This vote inflicted a heavy and undeniable defeat for the president, his candidates, and the so-called presidential majority,” said leftist coalition leader Jean-Luc Melenchon. But then he called on his party’s candidates, currently running in third place heading into the final round, to drop out if the National Rally has any chance of winning, even if they meet the threshold of votes (12.5% of registered voters) to continue to the second round.


This would mean that Team Melenchon would effectively support the Macronist establishment candidates. There’s leftist logic for you: Incredibly, we defeated the establishment, but please vote for it now over our anti-establishment rival.


If you like that logic, watch how they apply it to economics if they ever get into power. Two plus two equals… who cares because you’re paying for it, anyway.


And even though the crooked globalist establishment has just been buried, its specter of influence is still haunting the French political landscape heading into this final vote. They don’t take a hint very well.


Team Macron, including Macron himself and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, demands that French voters choose the National Rally’s opponents in the second round, even if they must hold their noses and vote left.


               “Tonight’s lesson is that the far right is on the brink of power… Never in our democracy has the National Assembly been at such risk of being dominated by the far-right as it is this evening,” Attal said as the results came in.


               “Not a single vote should go to the National Rally… If we want to live up to the French destiny, it is our moral duty to do everything possible to prevent the worst from happening,” he added.


Did it ever occur to these guys that they and their establishment pals are now seen as the real extremists, and that’s why they keep getting democratically rejected whenever the people get a say?


They’re talking like they think voters are stupid and don’t know a real threat when they see one. But what voters keep conveying, in a second vote in as many months now, is that they are already fighting existential threats, that those are worse than any imaginary ones conjured up by the establishment, and that Team Macron is responsible for that.


French citizens can barely afford to live anymore as a result of radical and highly misplaced priorities on everything from Ukraine spending and domestically “economic” measures under the illusion that they’ll mean Ukraine wins on the battlefield to musing about French troops fighting Russia in Ukraine — initially as “trainers” teaching Ukrainians nabbed off the street how to do burpees, preferably up against a missile launch firing mechanism. But then, when it comes to outright commuting more troops who don’t even have to pretend they’re in the war zone to do deadlifts and push-ups, who knows? Not the French because Macron wants to sow “strategic ambiguity.” Or, as ordinary people call it, shadiness.


It’s not like Macron’s crash and burn didn’t enjoy the benefit of a massively long runway with several exit ramps. French Yellow Vest protests that kicked off in November 2018 with Macron’s decision to raise carbon taxes again on car fuel and lasted for months on end, up until the Covid lockdowns, should have been the first clue that the French weren’t willing to pay for ideological nonsense at the expense of their ability to make ends meet. But then he and his elitist Eurocrat pals persisted with increasingly stifling climate change costs and regulations that messed with the price and availability of the food that the French put on their plates.


There is nothing radical about that.


For all his insistence on democracy, Team Macron also rammed through unpopular laws with the Article 49.3 constitutional clause, forcing their passage. And now it’s just such a big mystery why the French are no longer deterred by Macron’s qualifying the opposition as extreme. And what has he done about the increasingly extreme immigration and insecurity situation, which French voters consider to be linked and one of the top three issues in this election alongside purchasing power and the perception of France in the world? Not enough.


So now he’s resorting to blowing a kiss to the left, treating them like the last hope to save voters from themselves and from what they keep telling him they want. I’m sure they’ll only be too happy to obey whatever he orders French voters to do now mindlessly. French voters have twice listened to Macron’s electoral demands and told him to shove it. But the third time’s the charm, right?


Rachel Marsden is a media professional with over two decades of expertise in international politics. Her extensive career includes multilingual hosting, presenting, producing, and debating across TV, radio, and digital platforms. She has been an internationally syndicated columnist since 2011, contributing to over 100 major newspaper outlets globally. Her media background is complemented by over 20 years of business experience as the CEO of Rachel Marsden Global Corporation, an international political and business risk consulting firm. Rachel has also taught in the Masters of Journalism and International Affairs program at Sciences Po in Paris, France.

Rachel's website can be found at





West Jerusalem claims it’s close to defeating Gaza’s militants, but the facts show otherwise.


© RT / RT


By Elizabeth Blade, Middle East correspondent

HomeWorld News
3 July 2024


Through April, the IDF had targeted more than 32,000 military sites belonging to Hamas and its allies. In June, Israel announced that 15,000 of the group's militants had been eliminated. But experts are confident those measures won’t eradicate the Islamic group that has been in charge of Gaza since 2007.


We are advancing to the end of the stage of eliminating the Hamas terrorist army,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, addressing the cadets of Israel National Defense College.


               “I was impressed by the achievements above and below ground and the commanders’ fighting spirit. With this spirit, we will achieve our objectives: Returning our hostages, eliminating Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, ensuring that Gaza will not constitute a threat...” he added.


Since October 7, 2023 – when hordes of Hamas militants attacked Israel and killed more than 1,500 people – Israel has eliminated dozens of Hamas tunnels. It has seized weapons depots and cash, destroyed various military sites, killed operatives of Hamas and of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and captured thousands of others.


Victory Is Still Remote?


But almost nine months in, Israel’s victory over Hamas still seems remote.


Before the deadly October 7 attack, the Islamic group that has been in control of the Strip since 2007 boasted five brigades or 25 battalions with a total number of active combatants standing at 30,000.


In June, Israel admitted that it had only eliminated half of that original force or 15,000 Hamas combatants. On Tuesday evening, the country’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, said Israeli troops had killed at least 900 militants in Rafah, south of the Strip.


Reports suggest that Hamas is now actively recruiting new cadets, many of whom are 18-year-olds, to replenish its ranks. Still, even if they fail to reach their initial numbers, the existing battalions are more than enough to challenge Israel.


Just on Monday, Hamas militants fired twenty rockets from Khan Yunis at Israel’s southern communities, showing they are still capable of putting up a fight. Areas that had been vacant of Hamas before are now seeing a resurgence. Israeli soldiers continue to fall in the Strip almost daily, with the total number already exceeding 670.


I don’t believe Israel can eradicate Hamas,” said Shadi Abdelrahman, a political analyst and native of Gaza who left the Strip shortly before the war.


               “Hamas is not like any other group. They are not outsiders. They have an ideology connected to a cause, and that cause is to fight for their lands or to avenge the death of their loved ones,” he added.


Stemming from the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist organization that’s deemed terrorist by many regional and international players, Hamas was established in Gaza in the late 1980s as a response to what they call Israeli occupation and the inability of other Palestinian factions, including Fatah, to confront it. But they were far more than just a group that wanted to resist Israel militarily. Like their patrons, the Muslim Brotherhood, they were a social movement: they established schools and hospitals, ran charities, and served as mediators in family feuds, making them an indispensable part of the Gazan society.


               “Socially speaking, Hamas of today doesn’t have that much power and cannot provide what it used to before, simply because they cannot move freely due to Israel’s heavy shelling,” explained Abdelrahman.


               “Militarily, their capabilities have also been damaged. The stocks of their weapons have been depleted, many tunnels have been destroyed, and infrastructure has been devastated. Their combatants must be exhausted as they have been fighting for a long time. But from the political point of view, Hamas has never been stronger,” added the analyst.


According to a recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 67% of Palestinians – both in the West Bank and Gaza – believe that Hamas was right in launching the deadly October attack, while 61% said they would want to see Hamas, not any other group, control the Strip after the war.


Holding on to power


Hamas is already taking steps in that direction. Leading fierce negotiations with Israel through Egyptian and Qatari mediators, Hamas says loud and clear that it has no intention to relinquish its power when the war is over. Israel insists it will only stop the current confrontation if Hamas is out of the picture. But an Egyptian official involved in the talks between Israel and the Islamic group, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said the Jewish state would not have any other choice but to let Hamas play a role in the governing force of the enclave when the conflict ends.


               “Israel doesn’t want to see Hamas going back to power, but whether they like it or not, Hamas will play a role in the future government of the Strip, probably together with the Palestinian Authority.”


Officials in Jerusalem, however, seem to have other plans. Reports suggest that Israel is mulling assuming military control over the enclave that the rule of moderate Arab states would gradually replace. Once things stabilize, Israel would then hand over the keys to the Palestinians, but this would be new players, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority, whom Israel has been accusing of supporting and funding terror.


Mistakes of the past


However, Miriam Wardak, a former aide to Afghanistan’s national security advisor, says the actions of Israel remind her of the behavior of the US two decades ago.


In 2001, after the deadly 9/11 attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan in a bid to collapse the rule of the Taliban, a radical Islamist organization. In addition to intense military pressure, the US and its allies also tried to bolster secular local governance, but two decades and $2.3 billion later, Washington failed to achieve its goal. In August 2021, the Taliban seized power again, and US forces had no choice but to pull out.


Looking back at the events that led to that fiasco, Wardak says Washington and its allies “struggled to establish strong, sustainable local governance and security forces,” leading to widespread corruption and inefficiency within the Afghan government. They also failed to drain the support of external actors to tackle the Taliban’s ability to exploit local grievances, and they couldn’t cope with the group’s guerrilla tactics that undermined US and Afghan forces.


The former aide says Israel seems to be repeating these mistakes.


To start, Israel – just like the US – might be underestimating its rival’s ability to adapt, survive, and maintain support despite intense military pressure. Secondly, Israel may not be sufficiently addressing the external support Hamas receives from regional actors. Thirdly, Israel’s heavy military operations that cause significant civilian casualties only increase local and international opposition, and what’s worse, they also lead to further radicalization,” she argued.


Wardak is confident that destroying Hamas will be a tough nut to crack. Drawing lessons from the American experience in Afghanistan, she believes military pressure cannot be the only answer.


               “To effectively address the threat posed by Hamas, Israel should consider a multifaceted approach. To begin with, the living conditions in Gaza need to be improved. It should support the development of legitimate and effective Palestinian governance structures that can counterbalance Hamas’s influence.”


               “Furthermore, Israel should work closely with international partners to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Hamas while avoiding actions that alienate the broader Palestinian population. Conducting precise, intelligence-driven operations to weaken Hamas’s military capabilities while minimizing civilian casualties is essential. Finally, exploring opportunities for indirect dialogue and conflict resolution mechanisms could help reduce hostilities and create conditions for a long-term political solution,” she summed up.





Palestinians gather to perform Eid al-Adha prayer among the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli forces (Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)


Listen Now: 54 minutes 7 seconds.


ABC Radio Australia

Sami Shah, Presenter
Nadyat El Gawley, Producer
John Jacobs, Sound Engineer
Broadcast Friday, 28 June 2024, at 9:00 am




Can religion provide us with the peace in the Middle East that politics and war have so far failed to do?


Nine months on from the beginning of the Israel-Gaza conflict, there’s no progress on a peace plan and no end to hostilities. The death toll continues to rise, and the suffering grows louder.


Many pundits, experts, humanitarians, and journalists have tried to analyze the current situation. They’ve attempted to answer questions like “Can a ceasefire be called now?” or “Can the hostages be returned now?” These questions are focused on the immediate because who can look to the future when there’s so much carnage and misery in the present?


But here, at a distance, we can try to illuminate the possibilities.




Raphael Dascalu, Adjunct Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University. He’s also an author and translator.


Professor Halim Rane from the School of Humanities, Languages, and Social Science at Griffith University in Queensland, specializing in Islam-West Relations


Helen Rainger, Member of the Anglican General Synod and the Synod of the Canberra-Goulburn Diocese. She’s also president of the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Network.





Making a Difference – The Means, Methods, and Mechanism for Many to Move Mountains


Photo Credit: Abraham A. van Kempen, our home away from home on the Dead Sea


By Abraham A. van Kempen

Senior Editor
Updated 19 January 2024


Those who commit to 'healing our broken humanity' build intercultural bridges to learn to know and understand one another and others. Readers who thumb through the Building the Bridge (BTB) pages are not mindless sheep following other mindless sheep. They THINK. They want to be at the forefront of making a difference. They're in search of the bigger picture to expand their horizons. They don't need BTB or anyone else to confirm their biases.


Making a Difference – The Means, Methods, and Mechanism for Many to Move Mountains


Accurate knowledge promotes understanding, dispels prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more. Words have an extraordinary power to bring people together, divide them, forge bonds of friendship, or provoke hostility. Modern technology offers unprecedented possibilities for good, fostering harmony and reconciliation. Yet its misuse can do untold harm, leading to misunderstanding, prejudice, and conflict.


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