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“Israel Is Unsettled” by New US Mideast Policy

daniel_mockli

Daniel Möckli / photo: Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich

In what I think is a very good piece of international affairs analysis, Daniel Möckli of the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich comments on the new US policy on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Möckli talks to Swiss-German radio’s Echo der Zeit, Switzerland’s flagship news program, on the impact on Israel of Obama’s policy .

“There are signs that US policy on Iran takes a direction, which does not necessarily meet Israeli interests” says Möckli. “Israel is obviously unsettled”. The interview comes at a time when Israel’s president Shimon Peres voices support of the new US approach, even though the prime minister and his government are tough on Iran and the Palestinians.

Möckli also comments on the Swiss government’s engagement in the Middle East. According to him, the Swiss government has decided to no longer mediate between Iran the West on the nuclear issue, due to domestic political reasons. “I personally regret this, because we’ve been very successful there”.

Daniel Möckli has been a guest of ISN Podcasts, where he discussed Swiss Mideast policy. A policy brief he wrote on Switzerland’s controversial policy in the region can be accessed through the ISN’s Digital Library.

ISN Weekly Theme: ICT and IR

Communicating in the desert

Communicating in the desert / photo: John & Mel Kots, flickr

This week we’re highlighting the dovetailing of information communication (ICT) and technology with international relations (IR).

Check out some of featured items on the site:

Puffing Away in China

Young Chinese man smoking

Young Chinese man smoking / photo: ernop, flickr

As I read a news piece on smoking in China on the website of a Finnish newspaper I thought, for a brief second, that it was April Fool’s. This was a joke, right?

The article said the provincial government in Hubei in China had set a quota for civil servants to smoke at least 230 000 packs of local cigarettes a year. And if they did not reach this quota or decided to smoke another brand instead, they would be fined.
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Reding Says EU Not Ready for Cyberattack

Screenshot of Reding's site

Screenshot of Reding\’s site

Offering up the 2007 Estonia attacks as an example, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding says in her video blog that the EU must do more to protect member states against cyberattacks.

According to Reding, a month-long internet interruption in the US or Europe would lead to “losses of at least 150 billion euro.”

The Luxemberger took no prisoners in scolding her own organization:

“So far, the EU’s 27 Member States have been quite negligent. Although the EU has created an agency for network and information security, called ENISA, this instrument remains mainly limited to being a platform to exchange information and is not, in the short term, going to become the European headquarters of defense against cyber attacks. I am not happy with that.”

Reding believes that Europe needs a “Mister Cyber Security” (hmmm…or a “Miss” maybe?), a go-to person for when an attack is underway. The person would also be in charge of enacting plans preclude attacks.

This call is somewhat a day late and a dollar short (the EU should have gotten the message with Estonia), but Reding is on the mark in stating that the EU’s efforts have fallen far, far short.

The full video blog can be found here along with a PDF transcript.

Screenshot: Site of Viviane Reding.

Kim Jong Il: Jack of all trades…

Just a tad bit late for Groundhog Day, North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, or one of his doubles, may have appeared during his ‘re-election’ to another five-year term as ‘eternal president.’

I don’t think they’re doubles. I think he’s re-spawning, hence the multiple re-elections as ‘eternal president.’

Kim’s been out of sight since having a stroke last August.

Or maybe he’s been taking a well-deserved break.

Being ‘The Great Athlete’ is a hard job:

‘Master of Creation’ is harder:

Oh, and we mustn’t forget, ‘The Fashion Designer’

He’s runway ready.

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