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Geopolitics

Putin Says He Could Back Syria Strike If Evidence Is Convincing

AP, NEW YORK TIMES, BBC

Worldcrunch

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin says he doesn't rule out his country's participation in a military operation in Syria if evidence showing that Damascus carried out chemical attacks is "convincing". He added that the operation must be conducted with U.N. approval.

In a rare interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday night, Putin said the West should not take one-sided action against Syria, stating such an action would be "an aggression." The interview came ahead of a G-20 meeting of world leaders in St. Petersburg on Thursday. The summit was supposed to focus on the global economy, but now looks likely to be dominated by the Syrian crisis, the New York Times said.

The latest on Syria:

- The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee could vote as early as Wednesday on a resolution authorizing a strike at Syria.

- Reuters reported that Barack Obama won the backing of key figures in the U.S. Congress, including Republicans, in his call for limited U.S. strikes on Syria.

- The French Parliment is set to debate on Wednesday afternoon on a potential intervention in Syria, Le Monde reported. The possibility of a vote on the matter is not yet clear, but the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said it was not excluded.

- According to Reuters, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization, remarks that appear to question the legality of U.S. plans to strike Syria without U.N. backing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual press conference in Moscow, last December - Photo : Jiang Kehong - Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS

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Geopolitics

Should We Still Even Be Talking To Netanyahu?

After forming a governing coalition with right-wing extremists, will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu face a chill in relations with the West? The reshuffled geopolitical cards offer a fair share of paradoxes.

Photo of Benjamin Netanyahu listening to someone speak

Benjamin Netanyahu, aiming to stay in the conversation

Jini/Xinhua via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — No one has yet dared to call for a boycott of Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived in Paris for talks Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron. And yet ... the political leaders with whom he's built his ruling coalition in Israel make Europe's far right look like centrists.

In Israel, it's an unsettling question. The government is seeking to defuse the risk of diplomatic isolation resulting from the Jewish state's extreme rightward turn. The first weeks of the new government have been like a storm warning for the region — both because of the outbreak of violence which killed dozens of Israelis and Palestinians in January, but also threats to Israeli democracy itself.

In a sign of the changing times, the Arab countries in the Gulf that have recently normalized ties with Israel after decades of conflict are turning a blind eye to the Palestinian question. Their security ties with Israel are more important.

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