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Brand new [MENA] thread- Middle East and North Africa

OrganichuOrganichu poopspeesRegistered User, Moderator mod
edited February 21 in Debate and/or Discourse
(Unfortunately the extant MENA thread is inaccessible due to a software issue around threads with kicked users. Many of the things happening in that part of the world right now are deeply upsetting and also hugely important to regional and global politics. I decided to make a replacement thread so everyone can discuss current events and issues in MENA, in spite of the forum glitch. Note that I can't access the last thread, so I'm unable to crib the original post. I'll mention a few things here for the OP, but if you think there's some other worthwhile stuff foundational to the first page of the thread, let me know. Also note that since thread kicking is busted- moderation in this thread is going to involve more forceful, forum-wide infractions. Some of the things happening in this part of the world right now are tremendously disturbing and emotionally charged, so I'm understanding of extreme responses. But especially without a thread kick- if you're incapable of posting within the rules in this thread, stay away.)

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puycbjx1k24d.jpg
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA), also referred to as West Asia and North Africa (WANA), is a geographic region. While still referring to most of the Middle East (or West Asia) and North Africa together, it is widely considered to be a more defined and apolitical alternative to the grouping of countries that is known as the Greater Middle East, which comprises the bulk of the Muslim world.

As a regional identifier, the term "MENA" is often used in academia, military planning, disaster relief, media planning (as a broadcast region), and business writing. Moreover, it shares a number of cultural, economic, and environmental similarities across the countries that it spans; for example, some of the most extreme impacts of climate change will be felt in MENA.

Some related terms have a wider definition than MENA, such as MENASA (lit. 'Middle East and North Africa and South Asia') or MENAP (lit. 'Middle East and North Africa and Afghanistan and Pakistan'). The term MENAT explicitly includes Turkey, which is usually excluded from some MENA definitions, even though Turkey is almost always considered part of the Middle East proper. Ultimately, MENA can be considered as a grouping scheme that brings together most of the Arab League and Iran and variously includes their neighbours, such as Turkey, Israel, the Caucasian countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a few others.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/middle-east-and-north-africa/report-middle-east-and-north-africa/

This Amnesty International portal looks at some of the principal concerns in the region, wrt human rights. It's clearly out of date for some of the rapidly changing conflicts. I'll briefly touch on two of the current issues that seemed to draw the most discussion in the last instantiation of this thread:

Wiki and some other sources I've seen are broadly calling the current situation in Israel-Palestine the 'Israel-Hamas War', with Al Jazeera placing the current Palestinian death toll at over 29,000, with over 12,000 of them being children. More than 1.5 million people are taking refuge in Rafah in extreme humanitarian crisis- a huge number of them displaced from other parts of the strip. Another longterm ceasefire resolution was just vetoed by the US, in contrast to a temporary proposal by the US contingent upon total hostage release.

There is an ongoing crisis in the Red Sea between the Houthis in Yemen and a varied-depending-on-who-you-ask coalition of Israel, the UK, and the United States. Missiles have been fired off, drones shot down, and a couple American military members have died- and just over 30 Houthis (plus strikes on dozens of Houthi resources). This conflict draws attention to the crucial leverage that can be applied to important waterways and trade routes, and posits the question of what we consider legitimate violence qua political action.

Organichu on

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    ZavianZavian universal peace sounds better than forever war Registered User regular
    yesterday, the US yet again vetoed another UN immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, saying that they're going to do this the 'right way' until they 'reach a final solution'

    INCREDIBLY bad terminology on the part of the US Ambassador, and of course, incredibly shitty policy

    https://usun.usmission.gov/remarks-by-ambassador-linda-thomas-greenfield-at-the-un-security-council-stakeout-following-a-vote-on-the-situation-in-the-middle-east/

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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited February 21
    This is a good Vox article from Feb 20th about how we got to what is going on right now in Israel-Gaza and who is responsible:
    https://www.vox.com/24055522/israel-hamas-gaza-war-strategy-netanyahu-strategy-morality
    Citing conversations with “seven current and former members of Israel’s intelligence community,” Abraham reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had changed its doctrine to permit far greater civilian casualties than it would have tolerated in previous wars. IDF leadership was greenlighting strikes on civilian targets like apartment buildings and public infrastructure that they knew would kill scores of innocent Gazans.

    “In one case,” Abraham reported, “the Israeli military command knowingly approved the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in an attempt to assassinate a single top Hamas military commander.”

    Abraham’s reporting showed, in granular detail, the ways that this war would not be like others: that Israel, so grievously wounded by Hamas on October 7, would go to extraordinarily violent lengths to destroy the group responsible for that day’s atrocities. In doing so, it would commit atrocities of its own.
    Things did not have to be this way. After the horrific events of October 7, Israel had an obviously just claim to wage a defensive war against Hamas — and the tactical and strategic capabilities to execute a smarter, more limited, and more humane war plan.

    The blame for this failure lies with Israel’s terrible wartime leadership: an extremist government headed by Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, a venal prime minister currently on trial for corruption who has placed his personal interests over his country’s even during wartime.

    Nothing is going to end here till Netanyahu is gone imo. It's a necessary condition of this conflict ending.

    shryke on
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited February 21
    Also, since I think this slipped through the cracks of the previous thread:
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-biden-order-attaches-human-rights-conditions-to-us-military-aid-easing/
    A new directive by President Joe Biden appeared to ease a split among Democrats over his military support for Israel’s war in Gaza, with lawmakers on Friday praising the order authorizing a swift cut-off of military aid to countries that violate international protections of civilians.

    For Biden, the commitment to conditioning U.S. military aid for Israel and other allies and strategic partners will help him shore up support among centre-left Senate Democrats for his proposed $95 billion supplemental assistance package, which is aimed primarily at military aid for Ukraine in its war with Russia and for Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

    Democratic senators on Friday called Biden’s directive – meant to bring breadth, oversight, deadlines and teeth to efforts to ensure foreign governments don’t use U.S. military aid against civilians – historic.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-house-to-require-countries-using-u-s-weapons-to-abide-by-u-s-law/
    The Biden administration will be requiring countries that receive weapons from the U.S. to provide "credible and reliable" written assurances to the State Department that they will use those weapons in accordance with the laws of war, according to a national security memorandum released Thursday.

    The executive action applies globally to the more than 100 countries that currently receive American arms and aid and adds a new requirement that an annual report be sent to Congress.
    The memo requires written commitments from the more than 100 countries that receive U.S. weapons within 180 days. Those in active conflict, including Israel and Ukraine, must respond within 45 days. If the president doesn't receive those assurances, the U.S. can cut off assistance.

    It also requires the secretaries of state and defense to provide a report to Congress on weapons or assistance provided to other countries within the next 90 days. The first report will include any assistance provided since Jan. 1, 2023.

    An administration spokesperson told CBS News that the memo emerged in part from conversations with members of Congress who raised questions about existing standards and how the standards are enforced. Nineteen Democratic senators have pushed for an amendment in the national security supplemental bill being negotiated in Congress to require the use of U.S. supplemental aid to comply with U.S. international law

    The TLDR is that a bunch of Democratic Senators went and talked to Biden to get him to add some actual rules to the US's conditions on it's military aid. Reporting deadlines and such rather then what I gather was just a vague promise that it should be looked in to.

    shryke on
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    daveNYCdaveNYC Why universe hate Waspinator? Registered User regular
    Israel is looking to put in limits on Muslim-Israeli access to the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa during Ramadan, which combined with the likely timing of the Israeli offensive in South Gaza will very likely make things even worse. Notably the only people who think this is a good idea are Netanyahu and the hard-liners in his government, which you would hope might make other countries *cough* USA *cough* really think about what those people's goals really are and what impact their current level of support is having on the government's behavior in light of those goals.

    I'm not going to bother trying to opine on what Netanyahu thinks about all the war criming in Gaza. That's almost irrelevant if you think, like I do, that Netanyahu is looking to ignite a larger conflict either internally and/or against an external group in order to use the crisis of being at war to stave off any attempts to remove him from power.

    Shut up, Mr. Burton! You were not brought upon this world to get it!
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    Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    edited February 21
    Feels like without clear objective rules and independent oversight/execution, that could be used for good wrt Israel (if we had a president willing to do so….which we very likely do not have and won’t have) but is a a “first day lever pull” for Trump wrt Ukraine

    Captain Inertia on
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    MagellMagell Detroit Machine Guns Fort MyersRegistered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Also, since I think this slipped through the cracks of the previous thread:
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-biden-order-attaches-human-rights-conditions-to-us-military-aid-easing/
    A new directive by President Joe Biden appeared to ease a split among Democrats over his military support for Israel’s war in Gaza, with lawmakers on Friday praising the order authorizing a swift cut-off of military aid to countries that violate international protections of civilians.

    For Biden, the commitment to conditioning U.S. military aid for Israel and other allies and strategic partners will help him shore up support among centre-left Senate Democrats for his proposed $95 billion supplemental assistance package, which is aimed primarily at military aid for Ukraine in its war with Russia and for Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

    Democratic senators on Friday called Biden’s directive – meant to bring breadth, oversight, deadlines and teeth to efforts to ensure foreign governments don’t use U.S. military aid against civilians – historic.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-house-to-require-countries-using-u-s-weapons-to-abide-by-u-s-law/
    The Biden administration will be requiring countries that receive weapons from the U.S. to provide "credible and reliable" written assurances to the State Department that they will use those weapons in accordance with the laws of war, according to a national security memorandum released Thursday.

    The executive action applies globally to the more than 100 countries that currently receive American arms and aid and adds a new requirement that an annual report be sent to Congress.
    The memo requires written commitments from the more than 100 countries that receive U.S. weapons within 180 days. Those in active conflict, including Israel and Ukraine, must respond within 45 days. If the president doesn't receive those assurances, the U.S. can cut off assistance.

    It also requires the secretaries of state and defense to provide a report to Congress on weapons or assistance provided to other countries within the next 90 days. The first report will include any assistance provided since Jan. 1, 2023.

    An administration spokesperson told CBS News that the memo emerged in part from conversations with members of Congress who raised questions about existing standards and how the standards are enforced. Nineteen Democratic senators have pushed for an amendment in the national security supplemental bill being negotiated in Congress to require the use of U.S. supplemental aid to comply with U.S. international law

    The TLDR is that a bunch of Democratic Senators went and talked to Biden to get him to add some actual rules to the US's conditions on it's military aid. Reporting deadlines and such rather then what I gather was just a vague promise that it should be looked in to.

    I like to think this will do anything, but Israel has constantly provided assurances they're doing what they can to reduce civilian casualties and the US has parroted those reassurances when they're not actually doing anything.

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    RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    edited February 21
    https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/23951250/sudan-refugee-crisis-civil-war-israel-gaza-humanitarian-afghanistan-earthquake

    edit:Analysis of Sudan, leads you in with story of Palestinian guy who left gaza for Sudan, then left Sudan when it got violent

    Error in reporting, mistakenly reports 10.7 casualties as 1,400 instead of 1,200

    RoyceSraphim on
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    Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    Cutting off aid over war crimes is justified and generally good policy. Guess we'll see if it gets applied to Israel. The US sees fit to make exceptions for them usually.

    wq09t4opzrlc.jpg
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    PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    I doubt the new directive will allow for any significant reduction in arms shipments to Israel. The U.S. political engine is trapped in a pro-Israel loop and the fundamentals of U.S. politics leave voters and institutions with a substantial pro-Israel viewpoint as dominant.

    It could lay the groundwork for (very) limited reductions, targeted sanctions, or investigations against Israel. On its own I doubt it can accomplish much, but it might be a useful aid for something like the ICJ investigation, depending on how that is used. "Dear Israel, you communicated to the U.S. on XYZ that you aren't doing war crimes but look at all these war crimes!" Not exactly a slam dunk but 0.1 is more than 0.0.

    My suspicion is the directive won't be able to do much alone and Netanyahu will mostly ignore it, but every piece of pressure helps.

    Two goats enter, one car leaves
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Magell wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Also, since I think this slipped through the cracks of the previous thread:
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-biden-order-attaches-human-rights-conditions-to-us-military-aid-easing/
    A new directive by President Joe Biden appeared to ease a split among Democrats over his military support for Israel’s war in Gaza, with lawmakers on Friday praising the order authorizing a swift cut-off of military aid to countries that violate international protections of civilians.

    For Biden, the commitment to conditioning U.S. military aid for Israel and other allies and strategic partners will help him shore up support among centre-left Senate Democrats for his proposed $95 billion supplemental assistance package, which is aimed primarily at military aid for Ukraine in its war with Russia and for Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

    Democratic senators on Friday called Biden’s directive – meant to bring breadth, oversight, deadlines and teeth to efforts to ensure foreign governments don’t use U.S. military aid against civilians – historic.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-house-to-require-countries-using-u-s-weapons-to-abide-by-u-s-law/
    The Biden administration will be requiring countries that receive weapons from the U.S. to provide "credible and reliable" written assurances to the State Department that they will use those weapons in accordance with the laws of war, according to a national security memorandum released Thursday.

    The executive action applies globally to the more than 100 countries that currently receive American arms and aid and adds a new requirement that an annual report be sent to Congress.
    The memo requires written commitments from the more than 100 countries that receive U.S. weapons within 180 days. Those in active conflict, including Israel and Ukraine, must respond within 45 days. If the president doesn't receive those assurances, the U.S. can cut off assistance.

    It also requires the secretaries of state and defense to provide a report to Congress on weapons or assistance provided to other countries within the next 90 days. The first report will include any assistance provided since Jan. 1, 2023.

    An administration spokesperson told CBS News that the memo emerged in part from conversations with members of Congress who raised questions about existing standards and how the standards are enforced. Nineteen Democratic senators have pushed for an amendment in the national security supplemental bill being negotiated in Congress to require the use of U.S. supplemental aid to comply with U.S. international law

    The TLDR is that a bunch of Democratic Senators went and talked to Biden to get him to add some actual rules to the US's conditions on it's military aid. Reporting deadlines and such rather then what I gather was just a vague promise that it should be looked in to.

    I like to think this will do anything, but Israel has constantly provided assurances they're doing what they can to reduce civilian casualties and the US has parroted those reassurances when they're not actually doing anything.

    I think it probably at least generates reports that make it to Congress where they can yell about it.

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    RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    If there ever was a time for Biden to dom Netinyahu, it would have been the moment American citizens were discovered to have been killed by panicked idf forces. We still dunno how many.

    But the point is it would have been a moment of clear executive leadership holding an ally to account for a major fuckup. No one worth listening to would have complaintes because this would have been the American president demanding answers for the deaths American citizens.

    Clear cut and dry actions.

    Yet here we are months later and support for the Netinyahu regime continues unabated

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    Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    Israel has little to no interest in controlling it's soldiers, so they're doing what every undisciplined asshole army has done since time immemorial:

    Looting
    In November, the Palestinian singer Hamada Nasrallah was shocked to discover a TikTok of a soldier playing the guitar that his father had bought him 15 years earlier. Other videos uploaded to social media in recent months show Israeli soldiers boasting about finding wristwatches; unboxing someone’s collection of soccer shirts; and stealing rugs, groceries, and jewelry.
    https://www.972mag.com/israeli-soldiers-looting-gaza/

    The "posting videos of us looting on social media" part is newer though. Reminds me of Russians stealing washing machines.

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    Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    Israel has little to no interest in controlling it's soldiers, so they're doing what every undisciplined asshole army has done since time immemorial:

    Looting
    In November, the Palestinian singer Hamada Nasrallah was shocked to discover a TikTok of a soldier playing the guitar that his father had bought him 15 years earlier. Other videos uploaded to social media in recent months show Israeli soldiers boasting about finding wristwatches; unboxing someone’s collection of soccer shirts; and stealing rugs, groceries, and jewelry.
    https://www.972mag.com/israeli-soldiers-looting-gaza/

    The "posting videos of us looting on social media" part is newer though. Reminds me of Russians stealing washing machines.

    Not just looting, apparently credible reports of rape and sexual violence as well:

    https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/02/1146667

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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    Israel has little to no interest in controlling it's soldiers, so they're doing what every undisciplined asshole army has done since time immemorial:

    Looting
    In November, the Palestinian singer Hamada Nasrallah was shocked to discover a TikTok of a soldier playing the guitar that his father had bought him 15 years earlier. Other videos uploaded to social media in recent months show Israeli soldiers boasting about finding wristwatches; unboxing someone’s collection of soccer shirts; and stealing rugs, groceries, and jewelry.
    https://www.972mag.com/israeli-soldiers-looting-gaza/

    The "posting videos of us looting on social media" part is newer though. Reminds me of Russians stealing washing machines.

    Worse imo. A lot of Russian soldiers/conscripts lack those amenities at home. And Russia's army could never be described as professional.

    The IDF is meant to be a professional western army staffed by people who can afford these kind of things if they felt like it.

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    BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Bluster Kerfuffle Master of Windy ImportRegistered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    Israel has little to no interest in controlling it's soldiers, so they're doing what every undisciplined asshole army has done since time immemorial:

    Looting
    In November, the Palestinian singer Hamada Nasrallah was shocked to discover a TikTok of a soldier playing the guitar that his father had bought him 15 years earlier. Other videos uploaded to social media in recent months show Israeli soldiers boasting about finding wristwatches; unboxing someone’s collection of soccer shirts; and stealing rugs, groceries, and jewelry.
    https://www.972mag.com/israeli-soldiers-looting-gaza/

    The "posting videos of us looting on social media" part is newer though. Reminds me of Russians stealing washing machines.

    Worse imo. A lot of Russian soldiers/conscripts lack those amenities at home. And Russia's army could never be described as professional.

    The IDF is meant to be a professional western army staffed by people who can afford these kind of things if they felt like it.

    I liked/hated that piece in Haaretz last week showing IDF personnel rifeing through the pantries and cooking in the kitchens of abandoned homes and treating it like a party, while the people they forced to flee are sometimes not even eating one meal a day.

    No matter where you go...there you are.
    ~ Buckaroo Banzai
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    FCDFCD Registered User regular
    The Cruelty is, as always, the Point.

    Gridman! Baby DAN DAN! Baby DAN DAN!
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    PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    Israel is caught in a pretty awful trap, where the domestic politics that are best for Likud and Netanyahu (international scorn and outrage, isolation, us against them) are absolutely terrible for Israel overall.

    That may be playing a part in how / why some of these IDF war crime TikToks are coming out. No reason to discipline your army for bad behavior if bad behavior is the fuel for your political faction.

    Two goats enter, one car leaves
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    RingoRingo He/Him a distinct lack of substanceRegistered User regular
    If your nation teaches its citizens that their enemies aren't deserving of human rights then your citizens will find nothing wrong with violating those human rights. In Israel it's not only politicians that are driving this war - it's the man-on-the-street Israelis who believe what's happening is just

    Sterica wrote: »
    I know my last visit to my grandpa on his deathbed was to find out how the whole Nazi werewolf thing turned out.
    Edcrab's Exigency RPG
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    Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    Groups of IDF goons posing with looted lingerie is some real "oh you guys have issues issues" war crime documentation.

    wq09t4opzrlc.jpg
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    RingoRingo He/Him a distinct lack of substanceRegistered User regular
    The previous MENA thread is working again, things can be grabbed for the OP if people want

    Sterica wrote: »
    I know my last visit to my grandpa on his deathbed was to find out how the whole Nazi werewolf thing turned out.
    Edcrab's Exigency RPG
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    RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    Before i retreat into my cave, kinda fucked that the israeli and palestinians hate their "governments" to the same extent and view them as similar threats

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