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paris2Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's revolutionary guard are spearheading an attempted regional takeover in the troubled Arab world, focusing on Syria, writes Jonathan Paris. Because the Obama administration was fixated on securing the 2015 nuclear deal, they gave a green light to Iran to do all sorts of things in the region. And this took place in 2013-15, when the Syrian rebels were at their peak and Iran's ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was near his end. It was looking very grim for the Syrian regime, but they were able to call on Iran to backstop them. General Qassem Soleimani (Qassem), the head of the Al Quds division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), persuaded Putin in 2015 that getting Russia involved in Syria was a great opportunity to save Bashar. Putin for reasons of his own did that.

Penny Bochum 1Re-introducing compulsory military service, 'restoring' Germany's military capabilities, toughening up 'soft' soldiers, setting up a German border police force and deleting the UN's 'Enemy States' clause: these are all policies from Germany's fastest growing party, the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is celebrating its fifth birthday this month, writes Penny Bochum.

Formed in response to the Eurozone crisis, the party was officially established in April 2013 at an inauguration meeting in Berlin.The AFD's short life has been dramatic. It is a party riven with internal contradictions, in-fighting and factionalism. Nevertheless, it has achieved stunning electoral success. It only just came under the "5% hurdle" political parties have to jump in order to win seats in the Bundestag in the same year as it was formed, won 7.1% in the 2014 European Parliament elections and then gained seats in ten states in regional elections in subsequent years.


The Holocaust was the moral death of Europe, one with which it has since struggled to cope, writes Professor Jeremy Black to mark Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day on 12th April 2018 (and the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising).

A continent whose leaders saw themselves as at the cutting-edge of history, and as destined to rule over much of the world, was horribly compromised for it was not only Germany (very much including Austria) that was responsible but also the many that actively co-operated. This row of infamy spanned Europe, from the authorities to France to the government of Romania. Just as many brave and worthy individuals risked much trying to thwart the Holocaust, so all too many were culpable, whether directly involved or by not doing what they could and should have done to oppose, limit or condemn the process. The excuses were to be many, as the Catholic hierarchy exemplified, but the reality as passing along on the other side of the road, if not, in some cases, crossing it to co-operate.

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