Why John Kerry's truce is a failure:
Secretary of State John Kerry's push for a ceasefire in Gaza last week was so flawed it managed to unite Israel's fractious political leadership in opposition while simultaneously being lambasted by the Palestinian Authority.
The proposal called for negotiations on Hamas demands, including opening border crossings into Gaza and relaxed boating restrictions off the Gaza coast. In addition, its language reportedly upgraded Hamas – a designated terrorist organization – to an equal plane with Israel. Then, President Obama called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday to make "clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement."
In other words, Obama demanded that Israel institute an immediate unilateral ceasefire even while Hamas continues its terrorist operations against Israel. True to form, Hamas escalated its attacks on Monday.
A mortar attack on the community of Eshkol near the Gaza border killed four Israeli civilians and wounded nine others, five of whom were in critical condition. At the same time, a squad of heavily-armed Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in an attempt to carry out a mass murder attack. The Israeli military killed one terrorist and is searching for the others.
The U.S. response? In addition to more demands that Israel stop trying to root out the Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza, administration officials Monday expressed anger that the Israelis would leak details of the proposed ceasefire and criticize Kerry.
The Obama administration has never been a friend to Israel nor has it any interest in understanding the complexities of any geopolitical situation that the US, still seen by some as a superpower, must contend with. Obama is quite content to be blameless in any foul-up so it doesn't matter to him if Kerry takes the brunt of deserved criticism from Israelis of all political stripes. However, it does matter when not only the messenger but the message is raked across the coals by even the Egyptians. It's humiliating for the imperial administration to not be taken seriously even if it doesn't carry the pragmatic weight that other leaders do. Kerry's proposed truce is a boon to Hamas which is in no way on a moral footing with Israel. While Israel would be asked once more to surrender, Hamas could continue arming and attacking Israel. The proposal is just plain stupid.
Hamas militants are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to maintain their offensive against Israel, according to Western security sources.
This is not looking good for the Russians:
A Ukrainian security spokesman said Monday that data from the recovered flight recorders shows Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed due to a massive, explosive loss of pressure after being punctured multiple times by shrapnel. Andrei Lysenko said the plane suffered "massive explosive decompression" after it was hit by fragments he said came from a missile.
With the Ebola virus spreading, the Liberian president closes the borders:
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has announced the closure of most of the Ebola-hit country's land borders after the deadly tropical virus spread to two of west Africa's largest cities.
Liberia, along with neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone, is struggling to contain an epidemic that has infected some 1,200 people and left at least 670 dead across the region since the start of the year.
Last week authorities in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown and Lagos in Nigeria announced their first cases, marking an alarming new front in the fight against a disease mainly confined to remote villages and rural outposts."All borders of Liberia will be closed with the exception of major entry points," Sirleaf said in a statement late Sunday.
Prior to its entry into the Dominion of Canada in 1949, Newfoundland was technically a separate state fighting for Canada. It suffered one of its worst losses at the Battle of the Somme on July 1st, 1916 where, out of eight hundred Newfoundlanders, only sixty-eight survived for the roll call next morning.
And now, animals of the First World War.