One should never rejoice in the demise of a fellow human being but it’s difficult not to agree that Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al’Quaeda, got what was coming to him. The long-serving former second in command to Usama bin Laden met his maker when two US Hellfire missiles slammed into his balcony in Kabul where he was taking the early morning air and now he is no more. Those who live by the sword tend to die by the sword, and few tears will be shed.
What does this tell us? Well, first, that being an international terrorist militates against living a long and happy life. Most are either killed or captured in the fullness of time, and it tends to be a short career. But, more importantly perhaps, it tells us that there are few hiding places and that the long arm of international justice will get them in the end. It’s not a career path that I would recommend.
Eighty-two year old Pelosi was the first senior representative of the US administration to visit Taiwan over the last twenty-five years and she made the trip in the face of fierce opposition from the Chinese government and even against the expressed wishes of President Biden. Taiwan is important internationally because it manufacture’s something like eighty per cent of the world’s computer chips. It is also of importance to the US and its allies in the region – _ Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia because it’s at the centre of the inner ring of island nations which is seen to curtail China’s expansionist ambitions.
The US government’s policy towards China has often been described as one of strategic ambiguity; it officially recognises the Chinese government under President Xi Jinping whilst supporting Taiwan militarily and economically. Military exclusion zones have been declared just off Taiwan, ballistic missiles have been fired into the sea near Taiwan and Japan, naval vessels have patrolled and fighter jets have carried out practice attacks. This festering sore of a stand-off will persist for some time yet
Israeli forces killed the leader of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Khaled Monsour, in an air strike on the refugee camp in Rafah in southern Gaza. This was followed by the arrest and detention of dozens of PIJ members by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). PIJ retaliated by launching a barrage of an estimated 200 plus rockets and mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip into Israel. And yet, there was no action taken against Hamas which has been deemed a terrorist organisation by the USA, UK, EU, and various other governments around the world. Hamas encouraged the PIJ to participate in the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which now seems to have brought peace to the region. But until Israel and the various Palestinian factions agree to a compromise solution to the conflict between them, the risk of further outbreaks of fighting looms large