Aaron Bushnell's Suicide: A Call to Conscience and Collective Responsibility
Aaron Bushnell, a member of the US Air Force, tragically ended his life by self-immolation in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington. His act was a stark protest against the unyielding support provided by the US to the ongoing violence inflicted by the Israeli military in Gaza. At just twenty-five years old, Bushnell's premature death serves as a poignant statement against this support. As flames engulfed his body, his cries rang out: 'Free Palestine, Free Palestine.' I watched the video of his suicide only once.
Lingering Effects Expected to Persist for Years
February 24 marks the two-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war, which commenced on February 24, 2022. Observers suggest that neither side has been able to secure a decisive victory thus far, and the prospect of either side emerging triumphant in the future appears bleak. It is possible that at some juncture, this conflict may cease, or both nations may opt for a ceasefire. The global community, espousing peace, eagerly awaits such a momentous occasion. However, regardless of when this war concludes, its repercussions are bound to endure for an extended period. Initially, Ukraine may have anticipated direct involvement from the United States and its NATO allies, which could have swiftly shifted the course of the conflict in Ukraine's favor.
Ukraine: Two years in the web of trust and mistrust amid war
Two years ago, Russia began a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine. This war is still ongoing. Russian President Vladimir Putin still believes he can win the Ukraine war. Western analysts have been discussing this in a new assessment of the conflict. In the two years of the Ukraine war, more than five million people have been displaced. Western analysts say that Putin's efforts to defeat Ukraine and expand dominance in Ukraine are still ongoing. Rather, compared to a year ago, Putin is now significantly more optimistic about this war victory. Behind Putin's optimism lies the failure of the United States' $60 billion military aid bill for Ukraine, limited success on the battlefield, and recent incursions into Ukraine's strategically important eastern city of Avdiivka. After taking control of Avdiivka, Putin directed his defense minister to launch further attacks.
What is the strategy behind the military actions of the US and UK?
The Houthis have attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea. They claim to be expressing solidarity with the Palestinians. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Houthis are attempting to gain legitimacy in the Arab world. At the same time, they are trying to restore their eroding support within the country through acts of aggression like attacking ships. On average, 68 vessels pass through the Suez Canal daily. Twelve percent of the world's total commercial goods are transported through this route. Hence, the recent targeting of commercial vessels by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea over the past two months is not something the international community can overlook.
Hasina's meeting with Zelensky: Conveying a diplomatic message
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has returned to the country after participating in the 60th Munich Security Conference, which was deemed highly significant on the global stage. Held in Germany, one of Europe's most powerful nations for the past 60 years, the conference originated in 1963, initially focusing largely on the Western world. At that time, amidst the backdrop of the Cold War and the ongoing arms race, the conference served as a pivotal platform for discussions on security, particularly concerning the United States and the Soviet Union.
The concerns of the West regarding Iran
Another important waterway for transporting energy and goods through the Middle East is the Bab El Mandeb Strait of the Red Sea. Yemen's Houthis have gained massive support and popularity among the Muslim world by attacking Israeli and Western-owned commercial ships there. The United States and the United Kingdom are now conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran. The Houthis are not backing down. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, along with the capital Sanaa, have risen in protest against these attacks. The united people have expressed solidarity with Palestine. Houthi leaders have stated that if Israeli killings in Gaza do not cease, they will continue their attacks unabated in the Red Sea. No amount of force will deter them. In Syria, fighters from the Revolutionary Guards have joined hands with members of Iran's proxy Hezbollah in support of Bashar al-Assad in the civil war. Many undercover agents of the Revolutionary Guards have been deployed throughout the Middle East.
Dreams sink into the Mediterranean
Shahrukh Khan is 58 years old. For a long time, success seemed to elude him; however, last year he returned to the screen in a new avatar as King Khan. First, he portrayed a Pathan, then a youthful character, and finally, he unleashed his signature charm with a storm. The Mumbai film industry, sitting humbly in the south, seemed to embrace Shahrukh anew. Last year, his three films may not have created storms at the box office like his previous ones. However, there has been much discussion, especially about his collaboration with Rajkumar Hirani. Many were intrigued by the prospect of their first collaboration. Due to the anticipation generated by films like "3 Idiots," "PK," and "Munna Bhai," Hirani had become an audience favorite. I haven't watched any of Shahrukh's three films from last year yet. However, I will watch "Dunki." Despite the fact that Shahrukh Khan is the reason for many, the primary reason lies more with Hirani. However, "Dunki" has been crafted with an underlying theme of illicit migration, reflecting the aspirations of a better life that drive many individuals from India to try illegal paths to reach Europe or America. In Punjab, India, such attempts are termed "Dunki flights." The film "Dunki" is inspired by such narratives.
Genocide in Israel: The South African case
South Africa has filed a case against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding Israel's alleged mass killings in Gaza. The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, with all UN member states automatically being parties to it. The 84-page complaint accuses Israel of indiscriminately bombing Gaza and causing destruction to Palestinian civilians. It also references statements from Israeli officials suggesting an intention to commit massacres.
Bangladesh has an opportunity to internationalize the Myanmar issue
The political situation in neighboring Myanmar is gradually becoming complicated. Myanmar is not a modern and democratic state in the sense of what we call a modern state in the light of the Western framework. Myanmar is a very fluid state. It is a country that has always had internal political crises and conflicts. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But the state has always gone through complications. Myanmar could not develop in the same way as the modern democratic state is built. The people of Myanmar could not create the country as a single nation-state. The country has constantly been tormented by ethnic conflicts between the Karen, Kuki, Chin, Wah, etc. Notably, these conflict-causing groups have never sought complete independence for their controlled territories. Instead, they want to grab a larger share of autonomy. Revenue collection is one of the foremost sources of strength for the state. And the conflicting groups have been demanding a stake in it.
Will Bangladesh be able to deal with geopolitical challenges by overcoming Myanmar border concerns?
As the tempo of conflicts within Myanmar remains fickle after months of dramatic insurgent advances since October 2023, the civil conflict (read war here) and its main focus has shifted to the state of Rakhine. The current situation in the region can well be termed as an escalation of decisive proportions as conflict with mainly the Arakan Army (AA) has spiked sharply. The stakes are very high not only for the Myanmar junta but also for the region. If the AA succeeds in building decisive control over the Rakhine state located between the Bay of Bengal and the Myanmar heartland, it will effectively present the military’s State Administration Council (SAC) regime with a defeat. This would not only thwart the Myanmar junta’s perceived strength, control, and cohesion over Rakhine, but also weaken the junta’s monopoly of power in the whole of Myanmar on a scale that would mean a strategic and political defeat.