Global Discussions- March 2, 2015

From Global Discussions:
Hello Everyone! 
Here is your news update for the week! I also wanted to thank all of you that came out to the Global Issues Forum this past weekend, it was a big success!

In June of 2014 (roughly eight months ago), the city of Tikrit in Iraq fell to ISIS. This past Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered a wide scale offensive against ISIS in Iraq. This past Monday, March 2, around 30,000 Iraqi soldiers composed of Sunni and Shiite Muslims alike attacked strongholds in Tikrit, approaching from various fronts. There have been other failed attempts to recapture Tikrit in the past months, but several factors make this attempt distinct. For one, the fighting forces include Iraqi troops, members of the Shia al-Hashed al-Shaabi militia, members of the Sunni Sons of Salahuddin brigades, and other Sunni tribal fighters. Another important aspect of this attempt is the fact that many of these troops have been through crash courses conducted by US troops; this offensive could tell if the troops’ training has made an impact. If successful, this offensive could prove that retaking the much larger city of Mosul could soon be possible. If unsuccessful, it would provide ISIS with a victory it hasn’t seen since last summer. With so much on the line, there is concern that Iraqi forces may kill combatants and civilians alike, and are thus being urged by the U.N.’s envoy to Iraq to take all measures possible to spare civilians.

For more click here.
From The New York Times: Mr. Nemtsov at an opposition rally last year. He was scheduled to lead a protest against the war in Ukraine this weekend. Credit Yuri Kochetkov/European Pressphoto Agency

From The New York Times: Mr. Nemtsov at an opposition rally last year. He was scheduled to lead a protest against the war in Ukraine this weekend. Credit Yuri Kochetkov/European Pressphoto Agency


Late last Friday night Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed. Police say that an unidentified man in a car shot Nemtsov three times in the back while Nemtsov was walking on a bridge near the Kremlin (where President Putin works). Nemtsov was fierce critic of President Putin, and before he was killed Nemtsov was working on a march to protest Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. He had been working on a report that stating that Russian troops have been fighting along side the “separatists” in Ukraine. Putin has condemned the killing of Nemstov and says that he plans to launch a full investigation in his case. The police are looking to see if his death was caused by Islamic extremists, but nothing has been confirmed and no suspects have been taken into custody. Others are speculating that Putin himself had something to do with the murder because his death was so close to the Kremlin and Nemtsov was very against many of Putin’s policies. Yesterday, about 30,000 people showed up to march in protest of Nemstov’s death. People at the march held up signs that said things like “I am not afraid”.  This death shocked Nemstov supporters and this is a story to watch as the police and the Kremlin investigate. 
For more click here. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is appearing before Congress Tuesday to discuss the US’s proper course of action to undergo in dealing with Iran’s growing nuclear program. His abrupt visit to the US is a bit unusual, for he did not contact the White House and was invited by Congress, failing to schedule any meetings with Obama or the Executive branch. This is the first time in US history that a foreign leader has come to the US without approval from the White House. Many people believe this unusual visit is a strategic political move of Netanyahu’s, as the March 17 elections for Israel’s Prime Minister position are particularly close. Also, the US is supposed to come to an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program by March 31st. His visit broke the US foreign policy of not hosting state officials facing an upcoming election, and members of the Commanders for Israel’s Security claim he has hurt the strategic US-Israel alliance.

The visit is causing more bipartisanship in US politics at the same time as 42 Democratic members of Congress are skipping the speech. This is likely to be used against many of the Democratic Congressmen in elections, for a pro-Israel ideology is very common in the US, especially among evangelicals. “Don’t lose focus. The bad guy is Iran,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., told an AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) audience Sunday. “We can never allow Israel to become a political wedge issue.” Netanyahu will address Congress tomorrow with his insight on the Iranian nuclear program and claims he is not intending to defame Obama in any way.

For more click here, and to find out why Virginia state Senator Tim Kaine decided not to attend the speech click here.

North Korea:

It has been said that North Korea is preparing for war with the US. On Monday, South Korea and US combat troops were conducting routine preparations for protecting South Korea. Kim Jong Un tells his troops to be ready the as the “peninsula is creeping closer.” North Korea responded by firing two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. These missiles are capable of extending to cities in South Korea. Tensions remain high as North Korea believes the drills are nothing but the US and South Korea’s way “to cover up their surprise invasion of the north.” It is no surprised these missiles were fired after 90 were fired last year during a similar drill. South Korea’s Kim said “Our military is strictly warning North Korean military of the reckless and the provocative act. We will firmly and strongly respond to any North Korea’s provocation through solid united defense posture.”

For more click here.
Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, has announced that he is going to be limiting the amount of U.S. diplomats that are allowed to work in Venezuela. Maduro also said that Americans trying to come into Venezuela now need a visa and there will be a list of politicians that are not allowed to enter the country. Politicians such as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Marco Rubio have been banned from entering the country. Earlier this month the U.S. imposed visa restrictions on politicians from Venezuela, accusing the government of human rights violations. Maduro has also accused the U.S. of working with opposition groups to stage a “coup” and bombing the presidential palace, but the White House has denied these claims. 
For more click here

About the author

Kyra has been writing for The Match for four years and is co-editor this year with Emily and Gabi. When she isn't reading The Match, she enjoys chocolate, professional wrestling, and long walks on the beach.