By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
The official Kremlin narrative on the war in eastern Ukraine is clear and simple: after seizing power in February, a Western-backed “junta” in Kiev sent neo-Nazi gangs – then tanks and warplanes – to stamp out peaceful protests by the Russian-speaking community. The locals who took up arms are freedom fighters, and the only help they get from Russia is humanitarian aid. For the past six months, Russian state television has carpet-bombed its viewers with this message, day in and day out.
While you are reading about violent attacks in Jerusalem on the home page of your newspaper, Jerusalemites are living their lives, most of the time, as if they dwelled in a happy little European nation, say Luxembourg or the Netherlands… or suburban New Jersey. That’s how you can feel there a lot of the time, if you live on the Israeli side. That is assuming you’re not a crazed extremist of some kind.
As nuclear talks between Iran and the other members of the so-called P5+1 group are extended for another seven months, one issue is sure to remain a sticking point. The most important differences between all sides relates to the size of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.
For the past five years, Britain has been a haven of political and economic stability amid the turbulence in Europe. No longer.
Israel had grown accustomed to an absence of terrorist attacks in its cities: so the bloody murder of four worshippers and wounding of eight more at a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday was a shock. It illuminates the fragile, fractious state of the country, including the fact that the cabinet is riven, and may collapse soon.
The West’s understanding of the Middle East has often been laden with misconceptions—this has especially been the case in the years following the Arab Spring.
With six months to go until the next general election and a few days from an all-important by-election, Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the global economy is at risk from another recession. This came less than a week after the Bank of England said that the UK economy is likely to grow at a healthy 3.5 percent this year and it could even weather the storm from weak growth across the Channel.
It’s easy to get depressed about the Middle East these days. The bloodshed continues unabated in Syria. Islamic State advances across Iraq, sacking towns and slaughtering innocents. Millions are refugees. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems well ensconced in Damascus, on track to outlasting President Barack Obama in office.