Over the past few years, Hezbollah has been occupied with propping up Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. But now, “Hezbollah fighters suggest they’re more than ready to renew their old hostilities with the hated Israelis,” writes Sulome Anderson from Lebanon for Foreign Policy, “even if it happens by accident.” How likely is the resumption of fighting between these two old enemies?
For The Washington Post, Louisa Loveluck and Souad Mekhennet report from the sprawling al-Hol camp in Syria, where 20,000 women who lived under the ISIS caliphate are being held. Residents and camp authorities say the women, from various countries, are imposing a “reign of fear,” with “mounting anger, violence and fanaticism growing amid the squalor.” With few foreign governments willing to take them back, what is the future of the camp?
Italy’s parliament is in chaos this week, after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned as a result of the scuppering of his coalition government by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Italy’s Senate has already passed Salvini’s anti-immigration security decree, which lays out punitive measures for ships rescuing migrants in Italian waters. What happens if Salvini manages to become prime minister? Cecilia Butini reports for Foreign Policy.
After half a year, New York Times correspondent Vivian Yee, her interpreter and her photographer were finally granted entry into Syria, where they spent eight days documenting what “victory” — after a civil war that cost half a million lives — looks like: “We found ruin and generosity, people grieving and people getting through the day. Suffering had been unequally distributed…The recovery, too, was unevenly shared.”
Walking through Ramallah, Raja Shehadeh reflects in The Guardian on how his city has changed over 50 years and what that tells us about Israel-Palestinian relations. "The landscape familiar to me as I was growing up is no more; it has changed... The legal strategies we employed to resist the occupation have dismally failed... It is time we recognise our defeat, step aside, hand over the reins to the young."
For many, the indifference of Aung San Suu Kyi, once "an avatar of human rights," towards the treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar has felt like a betrayal, writes Ben Rhodes, Obama's former deputy national security adviser. For The Atlantic, Rhodes traces her path and asks what she truly wants — power, democracy, or, possibly, both. "I realize, she has always contained multitudes—the idealist, the activist, the politician, the cold pragmatist."
Ilhan Uzgel, one of Turkey’s leading specialists in American-Turkish relations, spent 30 years at the University of Ankara’s storied school of political science. But two years ago, he was fired, and some 6,000 of Turkey’s 150,000 academics would share the same fate. For The New York Times Magazine, Suzy Hansen spoke with Uzgel and many of his colleagues to document the Erdogan regime’s purge of Turkey’s intellectual class.
The Commission for International Justice and Accountability — so secret that the exact location of the group’s European headquarters remains a mystery to most people — is headed by William Wiley, a Canadian, whose team has been gathering smuggled documents to make the case for Bashar al-Assad’s key role in atrocities in Syria. Mark MacKinnon visited Wiley for this Globe and Mail feature.
For many years, the Port of Piraeus, just outside of Athens, was plagued with strikes and protests. But since China’s COSCO Shipping took over, the port has turned into a competitive force. “Greece is still anchored to the EU…but its affection for China is growing,” The Globe and Mail’s Eric Reguly explains. Where does this leave Greece, if a cold war shapes up between China and the US?
In The Guardian, Corinne Redfern has an investigation into the lives of tens of thousands of underage girls in Bangladesh who have been trafficked into sex work. Trapped in brothels and raped many times a day, these girls are enslaved under the watch of a “triumvirate of powerful institutions – government, police and religion.” Their work is enormously lucrative, generating profits they will never see.
In The Globe and Mail, Doug Saunders has a deep dive into Canada’s foreign policy — what it has looked like under Justin Trudeau, and where it needs to go in the future. Whoever forms the next government “must thoroughly rethink the notion of Canada as a middle-sized country that depends on trusted allies and reliable trade partners and an outsized role in the old international organizations. All of those certainties have vanished.”
Tehran announced this week it had exceeded limits set under the 2015 nuclear deal, and tensions between the US and Iran are high. In The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Erin Cunningham and Souad Mekhennet share stories based on dozens of interviews with Iranians of various walks of life, laying out how the sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump are affecting those inside Iran.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has landed in Osaka, Japan, where he and his G20 counterparts will meet for their annual summit. Kristy Kirkup has a piece for Global News laying out what Trudeau’s strategy might be with regards to his number one priority: making progress on the fraught Canada-China relationship and pushing for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians being detained in Beijing.
For years, Deniss Metsavas rose through the ranks of the Estonian army, a respected officer who was “in effect, a totem for how Estonia sought to present itself: liberal, tolerant, cosmopolitan.” But Metsavas had a secret, and it was one he couldn’t keep forever — earlier this year, he was convicted of spying for Russia’s military intelligence service. For The Atlantic, Michael Weiss sat down with Metsavas in an Estonian prison.
For The Guardian, Oliver Holmes and Hazem Balousha report on a Jerusalem hospital where critically ill Palestinian infants are suffering and dying alone. “Israel allows temporary exit from Gaza for medical reasons in some cases, but not all,” they write, and “prevents or seriously delays many parents of patients from leaving.” Others “never apply in the first place, fearing that extensive security checks for adults will hold up their child’s exit permit and lose vital time.”
This week, Vladimir Putin conducted his annual hours-long call-in program, a televised and highly scripted affair during which the Russian president answered some of the 2.6 million questions sent to him by people around the country. In The Washington Post, Amie Ferris-Rotman breaks down Russia’s shifting public opinions, a recent rise in discontent and a fall in Putin’s popularity.
On June 4, 1989, soldiers with tanks descended upon Tiananmen Square, firing on unarmed protestors and killing thousands. In The Diplomat, Bonnie Girard, who was living in Beijing and working at the Australian embassy at the time, shares a nail-biting story from the days following the massacre: having been out of the country, she managed to smuggle in contraband international newspapers in packages of sanitary pads.
This week marks 75 years since the Allied invasion of Normandy — the D-Day landings that laid the foundation for the liberation of German-occupied Western Europe. Ahead of the anniversary, for The Atlantic, Rachel Donadio visits Omaha Beach: “Anyone who has ever set foot here comes away with two questions: How did these men pull this off? And what would have happened if they hadn’t?”
“The balance of power in the spy world is shifting,” writes Edward Lucas, and the old rules of spycraft no longer apply. In this feature for Foreign Policy, Lucas details how intelligence gathering has changed over the years, with the biggest disruptive force being, unsurprisingly, technology: “A cover identity that would have been almost bulletproof only 20 years ago can now be unraveled in a few minutes.”
This week, just ahead of a visit from US Vice-President Mike Pence, the Canadian government formally tabled legislation to ratify a new North American trade deal. The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson sat down with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was instrumental in the NAFTA talks, to discuss the way forward, and various other foreign policy issues on her radar.