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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Apr-2014
24-Apr-14 World View -- Obama says U.S. will defend Japan over Senkaku Islands

Web Log - April, 2014

24-Apr-14 World View -- Obama says U.S. will defend Japan over Senkaku Islands

Warring Palestinian factions announce a reconciliation agreement

This morning's key headlines from

France plans to keep young people from going to Syria for jihad

Screen grab from a jihadist recruiting video made last year by Toulouse Muslim converts Jean Daniel, 22, and half-brother Nicolas Bons, 30, after arriving in Syria in March.  Jean-Daniel was killed in fighting in Syria on August 11, and Nicolas was killed by a truck bomb on December 22.
Screen grab from a jihadist recruiting video made last year by Toulouse Muslim converts Jean Daniel, 22, and half-brother Nicolas Bons, 30, after arriving in Syria in March. Jean-Daniel was killed in fighting in Syria on August 11, and Nicolas was killed by a truck bomb on December 22.

I've written many times how disastrous Russia's policy has been, supplying unlimited amounts of heavy weapons to Syria's genocidal monster president Bashar al-Assad, who is conducting "industrial strength" torture and extermination on his own civilians, particularly targeting innocent Sunni women and children, which has enraged Sunnis throughout the world. As a result, Syria has become a worldwide magnet for would-be jihadists and terrorists, who go to Syria for training, before returning to make use of their new skills in their homelands.

France estimates that about 700 French citizens or residents have gone to Syria for training and to fight against al-Assad. Young people in France see the war as revolutionaries fighting against a dictatorship that's killing its people.

The administration of president François Hollande on Wednesday announced a new set of measures to stop young people from going to Syria and becoming Islamic radicals. Some of the measures are:

This all sounds a bit 1984-ish, but it's the way things are going. Radio France Internationale (RFI)

Obama says U.S. will defend Japan over Senkaku Islands

A few weeks ago we reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, visiting Japan, failed to reaffirm its mutual defense treaty with Japan, and that the U.S. would defend Japan if China attacked the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. But on Wednesday, President Obama, visiting Japan, explicitly said that the U.S. would honor the mutual defense treaty:

"At the same time, the United States is going to deal directly and candidly with China on issues where we have differences, such as human rights. I’ve also told [China's] President Xi [Jinping] that all our nations have an interest in dealing constructively with maritime issues, including in the East China Sea. Disputes need to be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, not intimidation and coercion. The policy of the United States is clear -- the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S. -- Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands."

However, Obama did not say that they are Japanese sovereign islands.

There is an increasingly widespread belief that despite any promises, the U.S. under President Obama will not honor its agreement when the actual crunch time comes. President Obama has backed down from its world policemen on several recent occasions, most notably when he flip-flopped on Syria's use of chemical weapons.

According to a Japan News newspaper editorial on Thursday:

"Perhaps one motivation for Obama’s directness is to challenge a prevalent perception of weakness, both home and abroad. The U.S. Congress, media and think tanks have become harsher in their appraisal of Obama in general, particularly since Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine last month using the threat of force as leverage."

The U.S. has also recently (in February) explicitly rejected China's "nine-dash line," by which China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, including regions that have historically belonged to other nations. However, the U.S. has ignored China's "salami slicing strategy," by which it has already annexed small regions in the expectation that the U.S. will do nothing -- an expectation that turned out to be correct. The Japan News and Radio Free Asia and The Japan News

Warring Palestinian factions announce a reconciliation agreement

The two Palestinian factions -- Hamas, which governs Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, which governs the West Bank -- on Wednesday announced a reconciliation agreement. According to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh:

"This is the good news we tell our people: the era of division is over."

This announcement was apparently hastily negotiated by the two sides, after Abbas announced that if the Mideast peace talks fail, which now appears to be a certainty, then he may step down and dissolve the Palestinian Authority, leaving the West Bank for Israel and the United Nations to govern.

The agreement calls for new elections in the fall, to elect a unity government for both the West Bank and Gaza.

The two Palestinian factions had a major political split in 2006, and went to war in 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza. Two previous attempts at reconciliation have failed, because of disputes over power sharing. However, it's thought that this new reconciliation attempt might succeed, for the following reasons:

However, there are also plenty of reasons why this attempt might fail. The differences that brought them to war in the first place are still there.

Israel has called off any further peace talks with Abbas, on the grounds that Israel can't negotiate with a group, Hamas, that's committed to the destruction of Israel. BBC and Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Apr-14 World View -- Obama says U.S. will defend Japan over Senkaku Islands thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Apr-2014) Permanent Link
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