Some Israelis like to go to the Golan, where from the safety of a ramp overlooking the valley below, they can watch — no binoculars needed — the most consequential regional event of the age: the Syrian civil war.
This week, however, the Israel Defense Forces closed the area for visitors, letting in only the local farmers who worried about missing the cherry harvest.
That’s because for three days in a row, mortar shells flew across the border onto the Israeli-controlled side of the Golan, putting war gawkers at too much risk.
HAMAS COURTING EGYPT
Palestinian Hamas movement, which rules Gaza, has begun building a no-go security zone on the strip’s border with Egypt, saying “Egypt’s national security is Palestine’s national security”.
Tawfiq Abu Niem, Gaza’s deputy interior minister, said on Wednesday that the aim of the buffer zone is “to control the borderline area and boost security” on the frontier with Egypt.
The measures are part of an agreement reached with Egypt, Abu Niem said without elaborating.
The U.S. State Department forcefully denies reports claiming that President Donald Trump was considering ending his efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
WARS & RUMORS THEREOF
Russia doubled down on its rhetoric against the U.S. for the allegations that its ally Syrian President Bashar Assad was planning a new chemical weapons attack.
In the latest salvo, a Russian Foreign Ministry official on Wednesday slammed the U.S. for not accepting assurances from the Syrian government that there are no preparations for a chemical attack.
When the White House warnings were issued Monday and threats made about a response, a Kremlin spokesman the next day termed it “unacceptable.”
Assad shown around Russian Latakia air base
Shortly after Washington warned Damascus against any more chemical attacks and stressed that Russia and Iran would also be held to account, Syrian ruler Bashar Assad’s visit to the Russian Hmeimim Air Base in Latakia on Tuesday, June 27, bears striking symbolic, if not provocative, significance. Their guest from Damascus was shown around the base by the commanders of Russian forces in Syria and allowed a close look at the warplanes and attack helicopters lined up for his perusal.
Iran used a Star of David as a target for missile test last year, according to satellite images of the site distributed by Israel to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.
“This use of the Star of David as target practice is hateful and unacceptable,” Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon wrote in a complaint to the Council.
Computer users around the world were scrambling to reboot systems after a tidal wave of ransomware cyberattacks spread from Ukraine and Russia across Europe to the United States and then on to Asia. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned the alliance must step up its defence against cyberattacks, saying they could potentially trigger their Article 5 mutual defence commitment. In the NATO context, the greatest fear is that another state would attack an ally’s networks to undermine key industrial and civil society infrastructure without firing a shot.
US & GLOBAL ECONOMY
President Donald Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with China over its inaction on North Korea and bilateral trade issues and is now considering possible trade actions against Beijing, three senior administration officials told Reuters.
The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it
The cable network’s coverage of Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci came amid federal scrutiny of corporate parent Time Warner’s pending purchase by AT&T — and the widespread belief among media execs that CNN President Jeff Zucker can’t survive a merger.
CNN immediately caved after Scaramucci, a financier and frequent network guest, cried foul and threatened to take legal action, sources said Tuesday.
Podesta Meets With House Intelligence Panel Behind Closed Doors
The House Intelligence Committee met behind closed doors Tuesday with John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, amid complaints by President Donald Trump that the Obama administration didn’t do enough to counter Russian interference in the U.S. election.
ISLAM & NEW WORLD ORDER
Sweden is being torn to pieces by Muslim immigrants and refugees. Law enforcement is crying out for help, and it is only a question of time before the country will need military intervention from abroad in order to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.
A leaked report concludes that the number of lawless areas (commonly referred to as “no-go zones”) in Sweden now totals 61. That is up from 55 in just one year’s time. This increase includes not only the total number, but also the geographical size of these areas.
The commander of U.S. Pacific forces said Wednesday that ISIS-linked militants returning from the Middle East are intent on opening a new front in Asia, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Adm. Harry Harris used the battle in the southern Philippines as a prime example. He warned that the militants may be losing ground in Syria and Iraq, but their supporters are still willing to fight.
“Marawi is a wake-up call for every nation in the Indo-Asia Pacific,” he told the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “These terrorists are using combat tactics that we’ve seen in the Middle East to kill in the city of Marawi, in Mindanao, the first time ISIS-inspired forces have banded together to fight on this kind of scale.”
Two-thirds of Americans now back same-sex marriage, among them almost half of Republicans and larger proportions of religious people—the highest level of support ever registered by a survey that polled opinions every year for two decades.
MANMADE AND NATURAL DISASTERS
The University of Utah is part of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO), which provides long-term monitoring of earthquake and volcanic activity in and around Yellowstone National Park. Jamie Farrell, Research Professor at the university, said that as of June 26, 878 events had been recorded as part of the ongoing swarm. The current earthquake swarm began on June 12.