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Israel attacks Iran
Israel attacks Iran | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Israel attacks Iran

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take on the latest in the Middle East crisis. And things actually looking a little bit more stable today than they have over the past couple of weeks. And that is some very welcome news.

The headlines, of course, that the Iranians have been hit by Israel, though no one is saying that Israel has admitted to doing it, in the town of Isfahan. Clearly, military targets and the Iranians trying to knock down those missiles coming over. But this was a significantly more restrained attack than what the Israelis did to kick off this crisis, which was attack an Iranian government building in Damascus and target and assassinate a senior Iranian leader. That led to the Iranian response that we saw over the weekend, which was a significant and serious one, with a few hundred missiles and drones. And now we are in the escalatory portion of the cycle.

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Members of the Iranian Army's land force are marching in a military parade to mark the anniversary of Iran's Army Day at an Army military base in Tehran, Iran, on April 17, 2024.

Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

When will Israel strike Iran, and will a hostage deal ever happen?

The world is waiting to see how Israel retaliates against Tehran’s recent air attacks. But, according to new reports, nothing is likely until after Passover, a holiday celebrating the liberation of Israelites from Egypt thousands of years ago. Passover begins on Monday and ends on April 30.

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People gather as they watch from afar after an alleged gang member was killed and set on fire, amid an escalation in gang violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 20, 2024.

REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol

Want to stabilize the world’s worst crises? “Leave your textbook in your drawer.”

Matthew Kendrick spoke with Ghassan Salamé, the former head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, and former UN Deputy Secretary-General Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, as part of a panel at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings on Wednesday.

The international community is struggling to address half a dozen conflicts, spanning from the Middle East to Haiti, that often involve institutions poorly equipped to tackle modern problems. But that doesn’t mean they can afford to stop trying; it just means they need to get creative.

“The most urgent need is to bring back humanitarianism as a domain independent from war,” said Ghassan Salamé, the former head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, noting that the basic concerns of food, education, and healthcare must not be held hostage to military objectives. “And you cannot apply it in a selective way. You have to apply it in Ukraine with the same strength you do in Gaza.”

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Israeli soldiers stand next to military vehicles, near the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Israel, April 15, 2024.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

War in Gaza rages on as all eyes turn to Israel-Iran tensions

Much of the world is waiting to see how Israel responds to Iran’s weekend attack. In the meantime, Israeli tanks reportedly rolled back into parts of northern Gaza on Tuesday, a day after the military told Palestinians not to return to that part of the enclave. According to reports, airstrikes also pummeled Rafah, the southern Gaza city that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to invade and where over a million Palestinians are sheltering.

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A demonstrator during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and to call for the release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas from Gaza, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 6, 2024.

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Does Hamas have the Israeli hostages?

Cease-fire negotiations between Israel and Hamas seemingly took a bad turn on Wednesday. In recent days, the US presented a plan calling for a six-week cease-fire, during which Hamas would release 40 Israeli hostages in exchange for 900 Palestinian prisoners currently in Israeli jails. But Hamas reportedly rejected the proposal and planned to present its own path for ending the war.

Then, late Wednesday, more alarming news broke with Hamas reportedly telling negotiators it doesn’t have 40 hostages who meet the criteria for the initial phase of a proposed temporary cease-fire in Gaza.

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Who's winning the Israel-Palestine information war?
Who's winning the Israel-Palestine information war? | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Who's winning the Israel-Palestine information war?

To fully grasp why the Gaza war remains so far from a peaceful resolution, you need to understand the codependency between Israel's Far Right and Hamas. So says Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman on "GZERO World."

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Palestinian gunmen attend the funeral of the Palestinians who were killed in an Israeli army raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Jan. 7, 2024.

Ayman Nobani/REUTERS

Iran throws more sparks into a tinderbox

Even as the war in Gaza rages, tensions in the occupied West Bank continue to rise, and there is fresh evidence that Iran – a longstanding backer of armed Palestinian groups – has been flooding the territory with weapons over the past couple of years.

A New York Times investigation found that Tehran has been smuggling thousands of handguns and rifles into the West Bank. The weapons are routed either through the long, porous West Bank-Jordan border or via smuggling networks running through Lebanon and Israel itself. The Iranian commander assassinated last week by an Israeli airstrike in Damascus is thought to have been involved.

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Israel’s lethal AI

The Israeli military is using artificial intelligence to determine bombing targets with cursory oversight from humans, according to reports from The Guardian and +972 Magazine last week.

The reports cite anonymous Israeli intelligence officials, who say an AI program called Lavender is trained to identify Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants as potential bombing targets. The government has reportedly given Israel Defense Forces officers approval to take out anyone identified as a target by Lavender. The tool has been used to order strikes on “thousands” of Palestinian targets — even though Lavender is known to have a 10% error rate. According to the Guardian, 37,000 potential targets were identified by the program.

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Israel attacks Iran