Briefs News

World in Brief: political turmoil in the Middle East, deadly wildfires

Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US-led drone strike near Baghdad’s airport last Friday, reported the New York Times. Since Soleimani’s death, the Iranian government announced its intentions of ending all commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, raising fear all over the world and the new #WW3 storming Twitter. Escalations also reached Iraq, with the government calling for the expulsion of all foreign troops amid Soleimani’s death. There are currently about 5,000 US troops on Iraqi soil. While seen as a hero by many in Iran, Soleimani was listed as a terrorist by the US. In a statement, the Pentagon accused Soleimani of planning terrorist attacks on the US and approving an attack on the US embassy in Baghdad last week.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, referred to Israel as a nuclear power in a slip of the tongue during a weekly cabinet meeting about a subsea pipeline deal with Greece and Cyprus. Netanyahu said “the significance of this project is that we are turning Israel into a nuclear power,” he then paused, acknowledged his mistake with a shy smile before correcting his statement to “energy power,” reported Reuters. Israel has been long-denying the possession of a nuclear arsenal.

Ongoing wildfires ravage Australia despite large efforts to tame the blaze. Since September, five million hectares of land have been destroyed killing 23 as of Jan. 4, reported Global News. Efforts from Australian forces and other countries like Canada have been fighting the flames. The causes of the fires are still unclear, but officials are pointing fingers to the extreme temperature, drought, and human activity. A 19-year-old was arrested on suspicion of arson. The individual was charged with seven counts of setting fire.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Poli Savvy: Turning WW3 and Franz Ferdinand into hashtags

On Jan. 3, the Twittersphere woke up with the hashtags #WW3 and #FranzFerdinand exploding all over social media.

This came right after Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed by American drones in Iraq. Memes were then shared and next thing you know, people were joking about being drafted for an imminent World War Three.

But why exactly are the death of Soleimani and WW3 trending together even more than, let’s say, the twisted relationship between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear threats?

Soleimani was a highly-known Iranian figure all over the Middle East, described in a statement by Trump after his death as “the number-one terrorist anywhere in the world.” Now, parallels are being drawn between him and Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which the younger generation usually knows as a rock band from the 2000s, but who was actually another famous General, killed more than 100 years ago in Bosnia.

As the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ferdinand’s assassination is associated with the beginning of WWI. In comparison, Soleimani was considered as the next most powerful individual next to the widely popular President of Iran. With obvious similarities, the killing of Soleimani is seen as the boiling point to ongoing tensions between the US and Iran.

While the nonexistence of social media back in 1914 didn’t allow for these types of reactions, a hypothetical WW3 is currently turning into a joke. Knowing how devastating both World Wars were, aren’t these memes and tweets leaving you with a sour taste?

Yet, humour has always been a coping mechanism. So, in the meantime, I suggest revisiting the Scottish band’s 2004 song “Take Me Out” and scrolling down the comments for a good laugh.

As if you’re listening right before WW3 starts. 


Graphic by Victoria Blair

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