ISIS and Syria’s Palestinian Refugees

As the Islamic State continues their campaign of terror in the Middle East, the Palestinians have found themselves to be victims yet again. In fact, these individuals have found themselves in between a rock and a hard place with nobody to defend them as they are a stateless people.

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On April 1st, Islamic State forces entered the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus for the first time. Since the fighting broke out three years ago, the camp has been reduced from 200,000 to only 15,000 residents. Putting aside the identity of the camp’s inhabitants, this is a serious issue. Furthermore, this issue can be generalized to represent the struggle of minorities within the war-torn nation.

This situation is representative of the overall issue that is not just the Islamic State, but how the international community has reacted to their campaign. If one is to recall, the Iraqi Kurds were in a tough place not too long ago and it took too long to provide them the support they desperately needed. As the West continues to back Syrian Rebels, one reason ISIS came to power as fast as they did, the minorities that were under Assad’s protection are the ones getting hurt.

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The main takeaway from this is that the West must allow the minorities to defend themselves by first discontinuing arms to the rebels, who have demonstrated a disregard for casualties that is truly comparable to the Assad regime. The second lesson is that the minorities need to be given proper resources so that they may defend themselves and protect their land. This is the ultimate indication of the trouble that international tampering into the community has caused. These nations and people must be left to resolve this issue, which was not entirely caused by them in the first place, so that they may finally have peace and stability.

Israel’s Election: Why Netanyahu Should Not Win Again

Benjamin Netanyahu or “Bibi” is up for reelection and there are three reasons why he is the wrong choice.

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The first reason is his stance on Iran. It cannot be argued that this position reflects that of the Jewish population, as he stated that in a recent speech. This same reasoning applies to his other positions, also. Moving back to the subject of Iran, the antagonistic view towards Iran is largely unnecessary. In 1996, Netanyahu stated that Iran was close to building their own nuclear weapon. Fast forward almost twenty years and he is repeating the same message. Common sense would lead the intelligent individual to draw one simple conclusion, Mr. Netanyahu is absolutely full of it. Iran’s connection with Hezbollah is a fair cause of concern. Iran has also provided rhetoric that may suggest hostile feeling towards them. Regardless, nations do not have to be friendly with one another to make peace and have diplomatic relations. Netanyahu’s hostility towards Iran has led him to alienate the United States as well.

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This leads to the second issue, which is his uncanny ability to alienate his allies. The recent war in Gaza has turned many nations away from continuing support for some of Israel’s domestic policies. More importantly, however, is the prime minister’s disregard for the United States’ leadership. This is made evident by his most recent address to congress. His speech was not the issue, rather the context of his visit was a significant political gesture. In accepting the invitation to address Congress without the request of the president, he has displayed his indifference to respecting the American Commander-In-Chief. This alienates him from much of the American public, which is not the message Israel wants to send to its closest ally.

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The final issue with Netanyahu as Israel’s leader is his stance on the Palestinians. In the most recent statement before the election, he explicitly noted that he would not entertain the idea of Palestinian statehood if he is to be reelected. This further alienates him from other nations. Furthermore, such a statement erases decades of slow movement towards a peaceful resolution. The Palestinian resistance movement will not react to this with peace given their is no longer anything to work for diplomatically. It will also create a rift within the Israeli public as many support the notion of a solution and are beginning to sympathize with the occupied territories. Therefore, it can be said that Netanyahu’s reelection would be destructive to Israel’s global position as well as the nation’s domestic well-being.

Racism and the International Black Community

It has been years since Barack Obama became the first black President of the United States and the most powerful individual on the planet. It has been even longer since Nelson Mandela emerged triumphantly from the South African apartheid state as their new president. Given the progress of the black community internationally, does racism continue to affect this demographic? In examining the circumstances of a few nations, the reality of the situation become much more evident.

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It is only fitting that the first nation to be discussed is United States given its standing in international politics and its image as a beacon of equality. The most recent news on the topic highlights police bias towards African Americans, which has lead to a high number of black deaths. One figure, for example, reveals that over 5,000 civilians (mainly latino and black Americans) have been killed by a predominantly white police force. An equally serious issue is the denial of this racism by many politicians, despite the fact that it has been proven. Many individuals of significant influence, mostly in the GOP, attempt to maintain the status quo, which is not an issue. In this case, however, the status quo is plagued with racism. A recent report from the Justice Department finds that Ferguson Police Department has taken a predatory approach to policing. In examining these facts surrounding the racism within the United States, it becomes evident that a serious change is necessary if they are to uphold their underserved reputation.

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After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, one of the closest nations is the United Kingdom, which is also a melting pot of cultures for various reason such as university or employment. This Western nation, which at one point commanded an empire extending across various regions, also struggles with racial prejudice. While the current issue in the nation is Islamophobia, racism towards the black population is evident in everyday culture. A large discussion recently is being had in regards to racism in football. This was spurred by a video displaying fans of the Chelsea football team chanting racist slurs and not allowing a black man to enter a train in Paris. Given the location of this incident and the fact that the bystanders did not discourage these passengers, it is fair to conclude that France also suffers from this form of racism to some degree.

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The final country that will be examined is Israel. This nation is often made out to be a center of tolerance and democracy in an otherwise intolerant region. The validity of this perception is as relevant as the treatment of their black community. In this specific case, the racism targets Ethiopian Jews and it is severe. This population faces constant discrimination in the form of verbal and physical abuse, unequal socioeconomic conditions, and even deportation. Despite the right of return that is afforded all Jews in the nation, their is a definite biased approach to granting asylum to African refugees. Out of 17,778 Africans, mostly Jews, only 45 have been granting refugee status. The rest were denied and withdrawn or even imprisoned. This reveals a pattern of racist behavior within the Israeli nation.

These nations all share one significant similarity, which is that they are all democracies which are held in high regards. The reason for which they have been chosen is to demonstrate that racism against the black community is very well alive and flourishing today. It reveals that this reality can be found anywhere and even those nations whose fundamental principles oppose it, are guilty of creating such an atmosphere. Although the international community has come a long way, they still have a long way to go.

The Gulf States’ Migrant Worker Problem

The Gulf States are notorious for their vast oil wealth, with which they have been able to form powerful allies. As a result, much of their affairs are overlooked or accepted, despite their questionable nature. One such feature is their treatment of migrant workers and the means by which they restrict their freedoms.

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The migrant workers of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kuwait make up a significant portion of the population of these nations, yet they receive minimal benefits if any. The individuals come from all over Africa and Asia as well as from the Gulf States themselves. This system is known as Kafala, in which an individual is allowed to work in one of these nations if they are sponsored by an employer. This relationship becomes very similar to indentured servitude, however, when the sponsors refuse to allow the workers to further themselves and seek better employment. The workers are often made to pay off the cost of the sponsorship, which cripples their chance for social mobility if they still wish to send remittances to their families abroad. This creates a very difficult situation for the workers and is all too often the case.

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A large portion of the migrants work construction in these countries, which are building their infrastructure through the exploitation of these individuals. Even more shocking than the Kafala system itself is the death toll and treatment the workers. For example, a report revealed that almost 1,000 migrants perished while working construction in 2012-2013 in Qatar alone. This is without mentioning the sexual and physical abuse that is a constant factor, also. Unfortunately, the power and wealth held by the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council makes fixing the situation more difficult. Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are exposing these crimes, but it is the duty of the international community to pressure these nations to enact change.