Israel vs Iran

This week, Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli positions in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, and Israel’s air force struck a number of Iranian military sites inside Syria. Who fired first? Depends on whom you ask. There is clarity on one thing: This exchange represents the most intense clash between these two countries since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.


Syria was already the world’s most dangerous arena of potential great power conflict. This is the place where Russia, the United States, Iran, Turkey, Kurds, jihadis and Syria’s own heavily armed government are all jostling for position while Saudis and Israelis, their fingers on the trigger, keep watch.

Why is this happening? Israel says Iran commands 80,000 soldiers in Syria, and that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is actively setting up bases near the Golan Heights. Israel, worried that Trump wants US troops out of Syria, has launched a series of airstrikes in recent weeks to send Iran a “we-see-you” message of zero tolerance. Iran, faced with renewed US sanctions, is in no mood to back down.

The bottom line: If this fight escalates, who can step in to mediate? Trump has made crystal clear which side he’s on. Russia is too directly interested in Syria’s future for either side to fully trust Moscow. Would Israel accept the EU in this role? Neither side wants a full-blown war, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get one.

It was inevitable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make India's elections a referendum on Narendra Modi, and now that the vast majority of 600 million votes cast have been counted, it's clear he made the right call.

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Among the 23 men and women now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to take on Donald Trump in next year's election, the frontrunner, at least for now, has spent half a century in politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden, first elected to the US Senate in 1972, is the very epitome of the American political establishment.

Yet, the dominant political trend in many democracies today is public rejection of traditional candidates and parties of the center-right and center-left in favor of new movements, voices, and messages. Consider the evidence from some recent elections:

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It's Friday, and Signal readers deserve at least one entirely upbeat news story.

José Obdulio Gaviria, a Colombian senator for the rightwing Democratic Center party, is an outspoken opponent of government attempts to make peace with the FARC rebel group after 50 years of conflict.

On his way into a meeting earlier this week, Gaviria collapsed. It was later reported that he had fainted as a result of low blood pressure probably caused by complications following recent open heart surgery.

A political rival, Senator Julian Gallo, quickly came to his rescue and revived him using resuscitation skills he learned as—irony alert—a FARC guerrilla. CPR applied by Gallo helped Gaviria regain consciousness, before another senator, who is also professional doctor, took over. Gaviria was taken to hospital and appears to have recovered.

Because some things will always be more important than politics.