Friday Headlines

Tunisian Group Wins Nobel Peace Prize
The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, a group comprising labor-union and business leaders as well as human-rights activists and lawyers, won the Nobel Peace Prize for its contribution to democracy in the country.

Europeans Begin To Toughen Stance On Migrants
After months of absorbing thousands of Middle Eastern migrants, the European Union now is toughening its stance, even discussing the possibility of putting up border fences. On Thursday the European Union agreed to “increased return rates should act as a deterrent to irregular migration,” and also held discussions about creating an EU border force, reports The Washington Post.

EU ministers also said they were willing to detain migrants to prevent them from escaping and to expand detention centers.

“All measures must be taken to ensure irregular migrants’ effective return, including use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort,” the conclusions said, according to London’s Telegraph.

Meanwhile, Hungary agreed to permit NATO and the European Union troops to help protect its borders.

Today’s Middle East Reminiscent Of Europe in 1914
History may never repeat itself, but sometimes it comes close. The chaos and tension present today in the Middle East reminds many of the atmosphere in Europe prior to World War I, says Slate Magazine’s Fred Kaplan.

“Like the Europe of 101 years ago, the Middle East today is a tinderbox, with plenty of kindling supplied by the combination of weak regimes, millenarian militias, and freelance rebels of various persuasion, each faction backed (or directly armed and aided) by larger powers, some engaged in proxy wars, others drawn in for converging motives while trying to resist the centripetal pull of deeper involvement (with diminishing success). It doesn’t require a wild imagination to envision the lighting of a match—some contemporary counterpart to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand,” he writes.

The region has been thrown into more turmoil with Russia filling the leadership vacuum left by the United States.

“Putin has taken advantage of years of relative American inaction in Syria. He has moved to protect Russian assets in Syria, including a naval base he would likely lose if Assad were to fall. And he’s shown Russia to be a reliable ally where America is not, thereby spreading and deepening Russia’s influence in the region at Washington’s expense.

“It is—at least at first blush—something of a coup for Moscow. Fresh on the heels of Russia’s successful invasion, then annexation, of the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which was accomplished in the face of Western protest and sanctions, Russia has now undercut Western power and relevance in the Middle East,” argues Michael Petrou in MacLean’s.

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