Gantz agrees to join Netanyahu in unity government — what does it mean?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, take part in a ceremony formally promoting Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, center, to lieutenant general and making him the 20th chief of the general staff of the Israel Defense Forces Feb. 14, 2011, at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen was among the guests in attendance. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade/Released)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t have scripted a better ending to Israel’s year-long election saga. Benny Gantz, the head of the rival Blue and White coalition, was going to have the opportunity to form a new government, then he suddenly reversed himself and agreed to a unity government with Netanyahu. 

Why did Gantz cave in —  especially at that moment? Some have suggested it was Gantz’s way of getting out of the race, as he had been playing the electoral game for well over a year and was simply exhausted. He competed half-heartedly from the start, and it was clear that he did not have the same energy and drive for the game of electoral politics as Netanyahu. This was the most difficult election cycle in Israeli history, and it was more than Gantz signed up for. He didn’t have the extra motivation Netanyahu does of using the prime minister’s position to avoid a criminal trial and, very likely, a prison sentence. Read more at Responsible Statecraft

Unacceptable Media Silence On Allegations of Abuse Against Biden

Not a foreign policy piece, but this is an issue I find very important.

Earlier this week, a former staffer for then-Senator Joe Biden renewed her accusation of sexual harassment against the Democratic front-runner and upgraded it to an accusation of sexual assault. The reaction to the story has been disturbing in its absence, demonstrating a desperate need to de-politicize #MeToo in a way that empowers women to, finally, have a reliable, and reasonably safe way to hold their assailants accountable, whether they are an hourly worker or a prominent politician. Read more at Medium

Announcing the ReThinking Foreign Policy Podcast

Big news, and something to take up some of that free time the coronavirus has forced on you.

ReThinking Foreign Policy has launched a podcast, by the same name. Thanks to the good folks at Anchor.fm, it will be available on the major podcast platforms, Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, etc.

The first episode, where I talk about Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempted coup in Israel and how it could set an example for Donald Trump and other authoritarian leaders is live right now, and you can listen to it here.

More than ever, I’d appreciate your feedback on this first episode. It’s my first go at a podcast, and it’s certainly rough around the edges. I need your help to make it better, and I think, with that support, I can make this a podcast that will be a valuable tool for many–and maybe even a bit entertaining once in a while!

Also, I know times are tough everywhere, so no hurry and no pressure, but when you can, the “donate” button on the home page will help me continue this podcast and expand both it and the web site.

I appreciate the support so many of you have given me over the years. Above all, please stay healthy and safe in these unprecedented and scary times.

The Sudanese Ousted a Dictator Last Year—Why Is Washington Still Imposing Sanctions?

Prof. Stephen Zunes

Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. In early January 2020, he traveled to Sudan to learn about the protest movement that ousted longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir last year. While the military regime that Bashir headed is still a powerful force in Sudan, it has been pressed into sharing power with a civilian government in formation.

Sudan’s future remains undecided. The leaders of the protest movement remain vigilant and determined to press for democracy, but in a peaceful manner. The military is divided between those who wish to unite a free, or at least freer, Sudan and those who would prefer a stronger military position in the future government. I spoke with Zunes in late January and again in early March for this interview. Read more at The Nation