Category: Current affairs
- Hezbollah is Lebanon-based Shia political movement & Islamist militant group.
- They back Shia Syria leader Assad who is fighting ISIS.
- ISIS is an extremist Sunni movement, and hence don't like Hezbollah.
- In attempt to to demarcate sovereignty over waters, China has been building artificial islands for last 18 months.
- Next concern is establishment of an air identification zone.
- i.e. China attempting to claim control of the airspace in the region.
- Narendra Modi is India's PM and head of ruling BJP - landslide election win 2014.
- His dominance of the party has been unchallenged since then, and he has moved to centralise power.
- But BJP defeat in the state of Bihar this last weekend resulted in unprecedented criticism from within his own party - Modi magic is waning - he's accused of being divisive instead of consensual.
- No cogent Western strategy - Russia steps into vacuum.
- Putin turns Assad's minority-based Alawite (Shia) regime into a Russian protectorate.
- Chance that Sunnis, of all persuasions, ISIS and non-ISIS, will now target Russia (1980s Afghanistan-style, anti-Russian mujahideen jihad) not inconceivable.
- Oil price has more than halved in the last year, so as OPEC cartel leader, one would expect Saudi Arabia to cut output (and hence force the price up).
- But instead they have chosen to maintain supply, despite the financial pain this is causing domestically.
- Strategy is to prioritise its own long-term market share, and perhaps to inflict pain on fellow OPEC members Iran and Russia (who Saudi Arabia believes have destructive geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East).
- Russia in Ukraine.
- Russia & Iran in Syria.
- China in S-China Sea.
- Self-declared maritime border that asserts China's claim to territorial waters.
- Contested locally by Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
- China & Japan locked in separate dispute over the East China Sea.
- Real: Controls territory (in Iraq and Syria).
- Virtual: Dominates social media, inspires, motivates.
- If Russia plane incident in Egypt turns out to be an ISIS offshoot act of terrorism, signifies how dangerous the virtual ISIS can be.
- Debate and decision were largely political.
- i.e. both the democrat-against argument (bad for environment) and conservative-for argument (creates jobs) were exaggerated according to energy & policy experts.
- Major victory for environmental movement, gives US credibility ahead of Paris December climate talks + boosts Obama's environmental credentials during last year in office.
- First meeting between leaders of Chinese Communist party and Taiwan's Kuomintang since 1945.
- Chinese motivation: Good for international image + concerned about strength of pro-independence opposition party in Taiwan.
- Taiwanese motivation: Current president wants to boost image domestically as opposition party looking poised to defeat him in January.