Middle East Peace Plan and Jerusalem

Israel and Jeruslem

Recently US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan, Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People aimed at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What the Trump’s Peace Plan suggested?

Jerusalem will be the sovereign capital of Israel. Capital of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem and could be called Al Quds.
• The plan gives the Israelis and Palestinians four years to accept the borders on the conceptual map.
$50 billion investment fund to boost the Palestinian and neighbouring Arab state economies.

• Upon signing the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, Israel will maintain overriding security responsibility for the State of Palestine, with the aspiration that the Palestinians will be responsible for as much of their internal security as possible.
Port Facilities: The State of Israel will allow the State of Palestine to use and manage earmarked facilities at both the Haifa and Ashdod ports
Dismantling of Hamas: Hamas currently governs Gaza, so removing it would significantly change the coastal strip.

Global response for the plan
Palestine: Immediately rejected the plan.
Israel: Praised the plan and called it a “realistic path to a durable peace”.
India: Reaffirmed its call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and asked both sides to resolve all issues through direct negotiations.
• Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) rejected the plan.
About OIC ~~
• It is a most biased inter-governmental organization founded in 1969 with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. India is not a member.
• The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
• Official languages: Arabic, English, French
• Administrative centre: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Is Trump empowered to delay the election in the USA ?

Election of America

( Reading time 8 minutes )

A presidential election has not been delayed ever in the 244-year history of the institution – not even during the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918, or the American Civil War (1861 – 1865), or World War II .

Context:

• The U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested, the November elections be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Trump has displayed resistance for mail-in voting, making claims of a rigged election. He has implied that mail-in voting would allow election fraud to occur on a more widespread scale across the US, without offering any evidence.

Does the President of the U.S. have the powers to do so?

• According to the U.S. Constitution, it is Congress, not the President, that decides the timing of the elections.

• A federal law approved on January 25, 1845, has unambiguously set the election timing.

• It can only be changed by passing a new law. Such law would need the approval of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and would be subject to legal challenges.

• Senior leaders have dismissed Mr. Trump’s suggestion to postpone the election.

What’s next?

• President Trump’s first term is set to expire at noon on January 20, 2021.

• The 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the President and the Vice-President from March 4 to January 20. These dates cannot be changed.

• Ordinarily, if the presidency is vacant, the Vice-President assumes charge. o But here, the terms of both President Trump and the Vice-President will expire on January 20.

• The House Speaker is the next in the line of succession. o But the two-year term of the current House expires on January 3, 2021. So, Speaker cannot assume the presidency.

• The next in line is the ‘president pro tempore’ of the Senate, largely a ceremonial position.

• According to Article 1, Section Three of the Constitution, the Vice-President is the president of the Senate, and the Senate should choose a president pro tem to act in the absence of the Vice-President.

• If elections are not held in November (for 23 Republican Senate seats and 12 Democrat seats), the current equation of the Senate would change.

• The Democrats would have a majority and they could elect a new president pro tem.

What was The Gulf War

The Gulf War (article) | 1990s America | Khan Academy
Operation Desert Storm

[Reading time 10 minute ]

The Gulf War is the name given to the international conflict that erupted in Iraq in 1990, and involved many countries of the world. The Gulf War started when Iraq, under dictator Saddam Hussein, invaded its neighbouring country Kuwait, claiming it as Iraq’s 19th province.

  • On 2nd August 1990, Iraq annexed its southeastern neighbour Kuwait, a country which is 25 times smaller in size than itself.
  • Iraq was, at that time, ruled by Saddam Hussein.
  • Hussein claimed Kuwait as Iraq’s province, but the real reasons for the invasion were: —
  • Hussein eyed Kuwait’s huge oil reserves. He thought Iraq could acquire a significant bargaining power in the world if it owned massive oil reserves.
  • Iraq had accrued huge debts after its war with Iran. The country also owed Kuwait a significant amount. (Ironically, it was the US that had armed Iraq with weapons to aid in its war against Iran, which was on bad terms with the US since its Islamic Revolution in 1979.)
  • A third reason was that Hussein wanted to link this annexation with the Palestinian conflict.
  • Upon the annexation the United Nations Security Council UNSC reprimanded Iraq and warned of military action if it did not retreat by 15 January, 1991.
  • As Hussein showed no intention to back off, despite the UN warnings, US-led coalition forces comprising more than 30 nations, assembled troops in Saudi Arabia.
    • The coalition included the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France, Canada, Syria, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, the UAE, Thailand, Qatar, Bangladesh, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Niger, Sweden, Philippines, Senegal, Argentina, Spain, Belgium, Bahrain, Poland, South Korea, Norway, Singapore, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Greece, Hungary and New Zealand.
    • They totalled about 7 lakh troops.
  • However, the due date passed by and Iraq showed no signs of retreating.
  • After the deadline, the coalition forces launched Operation Desert Storm, in which they destroyed Iraq’s oil refineries, air defences and other major infrastructure. This was a naval and aerial bombardment offensive.
  • This was followed by Operation Desert Shield, a ground offensive, which started in February.
  • In February end, Kuwait was released after Hussein signed a ceasefire agreement. The war officially ended on 28 February 1991.

Gulf War Impact/Results

After the war ended, Iraq was required to submit to inspections to assess and ensure that it did not possess any chemical or weapons of mass destruction. 

  • Iraq lost anywhere between 25000 to 50000 of its troops, and also more than 3000 civilians.
  • On the coalition side, only 300 troops were killed.
  • Kuwait lost more than 4000 troops and 1000 civilians. 
  • Saudi Arabia and Israel also lost some civilians in Iraqi scud missile attacks.

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD)

The Quad

Quad is largely a partnership of powers from the Indo-Pacific such as India, Japan and Australia along with the US, as the prevailing superpower, to deal with the emerging challenges, especially to deny one country (especially to counter the China ) a dominating position in the region.The QUAD alliance could soon be a reality as India is prepared to allow Australia to join the annual trilateral Malabar naval exercise involving India-Japan-USA. With Australia joining in, this could cement the QUAD alliance which Beijing considers as an anti-China grouping.

Background:

Evolution of the Quad: The Quad was born out of the crisis that followed the Tsunami in December 2004. India’s humanitarian and disaster relief effort in the Indian Ocean was coordinated with the three other naval powers engaged in similar efforts — U.S., Australia and Japan. Since then the idea of the Indo-Pacific as a larger maritime strategic community, and the Quad as an effective instrument in it, has gained credence among the four nations. In 2007, the annual India-U.S. ‘Malabar’ exercises included Japan, Australia and Singapore. After being neglected for about a decade due to strategic reasons, in 2017, the Quad returned, coinciding with the revision in U.S.’s assessment of the challenge from China, and similar reassessments in India, Japan and Australia.There have been increasing naval exercises between the nations in the region. Recently, a trilateral exercise between the U.S., Australia and Japan was held in the Philippines Sea, There has been speculation that Quadrilateral (Quad) exercises will be launched soon between all four navies.

Significance:

The Quad grouping primary objectives include connectivity, sustainable development, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and maritime and cybersecurity, with a view to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected Indo-Pacific region. The Quad has been coordinating efforts to provide financing and sustainable alternatives to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Notable among these initiatives being the India and Australian efforts in the Pacific islands, India-U.S. coordination in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, and India-Japan joint efforts to develop projects in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The military aspect of the Quad has also grown. India has strengthened its naval ties with each of the other Quad countries, and there have been more interactions, formal and informal at the official, political and military levels.

The need to counter the aggressiveness of China on one side by partnering with other powers in the region as against India’s desire for strategic autonomy has thrown tough choices for India in respect of its Indo-Pacific maritime alliance. India’s choices will have not only far-reaching implications for regional but also global security .

The Quad is a middle-ground between the consensus-based regional multilateralism and a NATO type security alliance. Inherently, Asian countries are averse to a European-model security mechanism where regional countries fought and ruined, instead prefer economic prosperity to competing alliances. They are interested in soft balancing in which like-minded countries engage through summit as well as official-level talks, joint

exercises, sharing naval facilities for mutual benefits and regular interactions at multilateral forums. This soft-balancing approach can be converted into a hard balancing as and when a rising power challenges the status quo and seeks its dominance in the region. In that sense, the combined military strength of the Quad is ideal means to deter the revisionist tendencies of the rising power.