What we’re watching: April 16 to April 22, 2018

♦ The deliberations in Damascus, Tehran and Moscow following the allied bombing of a major portion of Syria’s chemical weapons research, development and storage facilities. Expect also the usual denunciations of the strikes by those opposed to any use of force. The strikes were more limited than some expected, very likely because political and military coordination between the US, Britain and France would have made agreement on a wider range of targets difficult in the short planning period available. But they were sufficient to have the intended demonstration effect not only on Bashar Assad but Kim Yong-un.
♦ Also related to Syria this week: Inspectors of the  Fact-Finding Mission from the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), who have been in Syria since 2014, are reportedly to continue their efforts to “establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic”; the Arab League is holding a summit meeting in Saudi Arabia; and Iranian President Rouhani will speak April 18 as Iran celebrates Army Day.
♦ This week, Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding. By any measure, the establishment of the state and its flourishing in the midst of appalling adversity, is one of the great triumphs of the human spirit. As David Ben Gurion, the country’s first prime minister once observed, “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles”.

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