google-site-verification=cXrcMGa94PjI5BEhkIFIyc9eZiIwZzNJc4mTXSXtGRM Using the Arctic could avoid future disruptions to shipping in the Red Sea, but this could mean problems for sensitive ecosystems - 360WISE MEDIA
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Using the Arctic could avoid future disruptions to shipping in the Red Sea, but this could mean problems for sensitive ecosystems

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Yemen attacks Houthi rebels on merchant ships in the Red Sea hit world trade. From November to December 2023, the variety of containers transported through the Red Sea every day dropped by 60% as ships carrying goods between Asia and Europe modified their routes around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.

This route works to say the least ten more days sailing time, so caused the freight prices will go up and had costly consequences production delays. This region has already develop into a bottleneck for the global economy. The Suez Canal, the waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, was blocked for six days in 2021 after the Ever Given container ship ran aground, disrupting billions of dollars trade value.

The route through the cape was used every time the passage through Suez was disrupted. However, there may be an alternate sea passage between Asia and Europe – the so-called North Sea route.

This route, running from the Barents Sea near Russia’s border with Norway to the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska, could also be a greater option and can soon develop into available if global warming is progressing at the expected pace. Nevertheless, it currently faces many challenges.



Map of the Arctic region showing the route through the North Sea.
Image Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

An alternative to global trade?

Tests estimates that summer sea ice around the Siberian coast will melt completely by 2035. Even if the ice sheet isn’t completely removed, the thickness of sea ice – one among the initial barriers to shipping in the Arctic – will change significantly reduced over the last 4 many years from 3.64 m to 1.89 m. Arctic navigation is subsequently expected to be profitable by 2010 the starting of the next decade.

For shipments between Shanghai and Rotterdam, the North Sea route reduces the distance ships can have to travel 3000 nautical miles compared to Suez i 6,200 miles compared to the Cape route. It would reduce the time needed to sail between East Asia and Northern Europe is up to 18 days (currently it takes 32 days via Suez).

Arctic navigation also takes place at very low speeds – below 18 knots (roughly 21 miles per hour). Therefore, depending on the speed of navigation and the kind of fuel used, a cargo ship transiting the North Sea route could profit from this 40% less fuel and generate up to 80% fewer emissions than if it used the Suez route.

But is it feasible?

Despite its benefits, Arctic navigation is extremely seasonal and limited to the months in between July and November. Sailing ships along the North Sea route also requires an escort behind a nuclear-powered icebreaker. But the variety of icebreakers is restricted. Just five operated on the North Sea route in 2021 to approx nine by 2030.

Photo taken on board an icebreaker passing through an ice field.
Sailing ships along the North Sea route requires an escort behind a nuclear-powered icebreaker.
Katrin York/Shutterstock

There are also capability issues on the North Sea route. Trade between Asia and Europe uses so-called “mega ships” with a capability of roughly 20,000 containers. However, the North Sea route is unable to accommodate megaships due to restrictions imposed due to the depth of sea ice.

Currently only roughly ships Container capability 5000 in summer they’ll easily navigate the North Sea route.

Sensitive Arctic ecosystems

They would potentially generate cargo ships traveling along the North Sea route lower carbon dioxide emissions than ships passing through Suez. However, this alternative route presents different environmental challenges.

Arctic ecosystems take a protracted time to recuperate from disturbances comparable to oil spills. Accidents in these sensitive regions can subsequently cause unimaginable marine pollution.

For example, in 1989 Exxon Valdez The tanker ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling over 250,000 barrels oil into the sea. Oil spill killed billions of salmon and over 300,000 animals of assorted species of fish and birds.

More than 25 years after the spill, 4 of those species (killer whales, Kittlitz’s Murrelets, marbled murrelets AND guillemot pigeon) haven’t been encountered again in the region.

Many cargo ships also carry ballast water to maintain stability at various stages of their operation. Ballast water is taken in or discharged during a ship’s journey. This practice has the potential to result migration of invasive species to the unique Arctic ecosystem.

Hands holding a bird soaked in oil with its beak open.
An oil-covered bird is examined on an island in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Associated Press/Alamy Stock Photo

The routes are changing

Despite these challenges, shipping traffic in the Arctic is increasing. In the years 2013-2017, the volume of freight traffic on the North Sea route Rose from 2.8 million tons to 10.7 million tons.

In 2023, this number increased to 36.2 million tons. And it shows no signs of slowing down. In 2024, the Russian icebreaker fleet expects to move 1747 escorts (up from 1218 in 2023).

The North Sea route currently cannot handle ship traffic or the volume of cargo transiting the Suez Canal. However, it might represent a viable alternative in the future, depending on how quickly progress is made in the fight against global warming and in developing a regulatory framework for shipping in the Arctic region.


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This article was originally published on : theconversation.com
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International

The chilling consequences of attempts to report on the Israel-Gaza war

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Enter Azaiza, Hind Khoudary AND Even Owda these are all Palestinian journalists who reported on the war in Gaza. And although Azaiza had to leave and now reports from afar, Owda and Khoudary still remain in Gaza. They, together with several others, provide vital details about the devastation Palestinians face day by day.

This is something that many Canadian journalists haven’t been able to do, largely because international journalists should not allowed into Gaza except on controlled trips organized by the Israel Defense Forces. Therefore, Palestinian journalists are a critical source of information.

This collage features (from left to right) Hind Khoudary, Motaz Azaiza and Bisan Owda, three Palestinian journalists who’ve been reporting on the war in Gaza since October 7, giving the world a window into the devastation. Azaiza has left Gaza and is now reporting from afar, while Owda and Khoudary remain in Gaza.
@hindkhoudary, @motaz_azaiza, @wizard_bisan1/Instagram

However, the stories they tell should not picked up by most Western news outlets.

Many Western journalists have spoken out against what they imagine is the suppression of Palestinian voices and views of their newsrooms. According to a report published in February, many CNN employees believed the media giant had a pro-Israel bias. . According to CNN reporters, Palestinian sources were often met with skepticism, while Israeli sources were often accepted at face value. Others accused the network of censoring journalists who wanted to include more Palestinian sources.

Were similar accusations from inside and other major news outlets.

Christiane Amanpour will appear on the April 8 episode of “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart to discuss the U.S.’ sensitive treatment of Israel, including journalists, and the need for strong political leadership in the Middle East.

These allegations raise many questions.

What is the role of the news media in reporting on wars and conflicts in other countries?

Who is a reliable source? What is independent and objective journalism – and does it exist in any respect?

These are the questions from Sonya Fatah and Asmaa Malik, our guests on this episode , I spent lots of time pondering and writing about. They are each professors of journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University, and their research focuses on newsroom culture, global reporting practices and equality in journalism. They are co-authors of the latest article in detailing press freedom concerns they imagine extend far beyond Gaza.

“The profound injustice that is happening is that the work (of Palestinian journalists on the ground) is not being strengthened,” Malik says. “News organizations can amplify these voices, but also amplify them, add to them and bring a human perspective to this cold, clinical concept of ‘objectivity’ and reporting as we understand it.”

Adds Fatah: “Instead of hugging them, instead of standing up and saying that this is a huge crisis and that we support it, there was silence.”

Resources

Even Owda, Hind Khoudary, Enter Azaiza & Plestia Alaqad on Instagram

“Attacks on press freedom have chilling effects far beyond Gaza.” (, January 30, 2024, by Asmaa Malik and Sonya Fatah)

“New York Times to Journalists: What Can’t Be Said About the Gaza War” (April 15, 2024, Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Grim)

“The fight for honest reporting from Palestine” (April 10, 2024 by Zahraa Al-Akhrass)

What Christiane Amanpour – and the rest of us – can learn from Palestinian journalists in Gaza” (April 16, 2024, Steven W. Thrasher)

(Edward Said, 1979)

“New York Times Covers Hamas Attack Stories” (NPR, March 6, 2024)

The head of the New York Times is trying to stop leaks about reporting from the Gaza Strip” (April 18, 2024)

Listen and follow

You can listen or follow ON Apple Podcasts (transcripts available), Spotify, Youtube or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

We’d love to hear from you, including any ideas for future episodes.

Join the conversation on Instagram, X, LinkedIn and use #DontCallMeResilient.

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This article was originally published on : theconversation.com
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Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, Oman is a key feedback channel between Iran and the United States

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Before activation of the firewall drones and missiles on Israel on April 13, 2024, based on reports from Iran I got a message for Washington that its response to the earlier attack on the embassy compound in Syria could be aimed toward avoiding a serious escalation. The message was transmitted via Oman, a Persian Gulf state.

The current crisis in the Middle East is one which officials in Oman have been attempting to avoid for years. It is positioned across the Strait of Hormuz from Iran and close defense and security ties with the US and the UK Oman is aware that tit-for-tat attacks increase the risk of a wider war engulfing countries and armed non-state groups across the region.

A full-scale war may very well be triggered by further escalation actions through Tehran or Jerusalem. But this may occur too as a results of miscalculation or misunderstandingespecially given the lack of official bilateral channels for dialogue and de-escalation.

This is where Oman comes in. The Gulf state has been doing this for years he quietly built a record of achievements easing regional tensions through diplomacy. It has played this role since the October 7 Hamas attack. In the months since the attack and Israel’s response in Gaza, which have ignited a regional crisis, Oman has maintained its leadership position. high-level dialogue with Iran, hosted by British Foreign Minister David Cameron to talks on security in the Red Sea and called ceasefire in Gaza.

He could now play a key role in keeping the channel of communication open between the U.S. and Iran as the sides seek to ease tensions.

Standing out from regional competition

Together with neighbors Qatar and Kuwait – in addition to Switzerland, which it represents US interests in Iran in the absence of an American embassy – Oman played a key role in back-channel diplomacy.

However, Oman’s approach differs from that of other nations. Instead of participating in direct conversations, he creates a space for dialogue and service as a facilitator not a mediator.

Oman’s decision to act as moderator is as a result of many reasons. Unlike several other Gulf states similar to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Oman lacks a history of tense relations with Iran.

Omanis somewhat recall that Iran was under the rule of the Shah provided support to Oman in the Seventies, when the then young latest sultan of the Persian Gulf state, Qaboos bin Said, was fighting against ten-year rebellion in the southern province of Dhofar.

Even after the Shah was overthrown in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and replaced by a clerical regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini, Oman stood out from others in the region and refused to interact in the regional rivalries and competition for geopolitical influence that soured Iran’s ties with other Persian Gulf countries states.

Secret back channels

Representing a small country in an unstable region, Omani officials have created a diplomatic space that permits them to handle regional issues on their very own terms and in a way that plays to their strengths. As Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, a profession diplomat who became Oman’s minister of foreign affairs in 2020, said: we noted already in 2003“We are trying to use our intermediate position between larger powers to reduce the potential for conflict in our immediate neighborhood.”

Unlike Qatar, which has attracted worldwide attention on his role as a mediator in the Hamas-Israel negotiations, Oman is engaging less in mediation and more in making it easier.

This is a vital distinction that Omanis maintain in their interactions with U.S. and Iranian officials, but additionally Saudi and Houthi representatives during Yemen’s decade-long civil war.

Facilities in Oman take many forms. It may involve transmitting messages and maintaining indirect channels of communication between adversaries, or organizing feedback channels and organizing discreet meetings.

There is little publicity for Qatar’s mediation initiatives, similar to conversations with the Taliban, who prepared the 2020 report Doha Agreement regarding the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

But Oman’s approach should yield results. IN his memories“The Back Channel,” written after his retirement from the State Department and before his nomination as CIA director under President Joe Biden, William Burns detailed Oman’s role in facilitating communications between U.S. and Iranian officials in 2013 that changed into negotiations , which bore fruit Nuclear agreement with Iran from 2015.

This news channel began after Iranian officials passed a message to the U.S. through Oman in 2012, proposing a meeting in Muscat, the capital of the Gulf state.

Burns recalled that the Omani intelligence chief “greeted both delegations as we entered the conference room,” “said a few quick words of greeting, and then left.”

The news feed remained secret through eight rounds of generally constructive dialogue, which represented the longest and most sustained cooperation between Iranian and U.S. officials since 1979.

Host opponents

During the thaw between the US and Iran it didn’t lastan Omani news channel highlighted several aspects crucial to the success of any try and ease tensions between seemingly irreconcilable adversaries.

The trust that either side had in Omani officials was extremely essential, and the positive consequence of the meetings built confidence in either side’s use of Omani communication channels.

Oman’s role as a facilitator of indirect U.S.-Iran engagement has gained additional importance with Donald Trump’s presidency decision to withdraw The US left the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and failure the Biden administration to re-enter the agreement.

Seemingly the only time Oman was not willing to play this role was when tensions rose over the US the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani in January 2020 – was brought on by the critical illness of Sultan Qaboos. In the absence of Oman the Swiss ran the back channel.

Easing tensions

Amid heightened tensions since the Oct. 7 attack in Israel, Oman relayed messages between Iranian and U.S. officials. In January 2024, Omani officials hosted delegations of senior negotiators from each countries, transferring between representatives in separate rooms.

Even as a broader regional conflict emerged in the Middle East after Israel apparently bombed the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus on April 1, Oman was readily available to attempt to ease tensions.

April 7, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian visited Oman – providing Omani officials with a possibility to clarify to US and other Western officials about Iran’s pondering as Tehran she planned her response to attack in Damascus.

And while the current crisis in the Middle East is on a scale that Oman cannot deal with by itself, the ability of trusted intermediaries like Oman – together with Qatar and Switzerland – to maintain channels of communication open is crucial to minimizing the possibility of accidental escalation on the Iranian side and to enhance the American and European dialogue with Israeli leaders in pursuit of a peaceful solution to the conflict.

This article was originally published on : theconversation.com
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Will there be another devastating regional war after Iran’s attack on Israel?

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After almost two weeks of waiting, Tehran took revenge on Israel April 1, bomb attack on the consulate in Damascusin Syria, firing multiple waves of drones and cruise missiles towards Israel.

More than 300 weapons were reportedly fired from Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Iran alone, marking the primary time the Islamic Republic directly hit the territory of Israel.



Shortly after the attack began The Iranian government said it was overhowever the world is waiting to see how Israel and the United States will respond.

The current crisis

For greater than six months, Iran has tried to avoid direct involvement within the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. It has expressed support for Hamas while Hezbollah, Tehran’s fundamental ally within the region, has engaged in limited battles with Israel along Lebanon’s southern border.



The bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus resulted within the death of several high-ranking members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), including Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi — there was a major escalation of violence.

The bombing was characterised as a direct attack on territory of Iran by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, who promised severe revenge.

Since then, Israel, the United States and other Western countries have remained on high alert, preparing their armed forces to attack and, in some cases, evacuation of personnel from the region.

Emergency services work in a damaged constructing hit by an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, 2024. An Israeli airstrike destroyed the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing or injuring everyone inside.
(AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)

History of Tehran

Most observers before the April 13 attack he believed that Tehran’s response would be limitedperhaps even simply symbolic. They argued that Iran would likely not attack directly but would delegate the duty to certainly one of its regional allies, comparable to Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen or Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.

This pondering was based on Iran’s past behavior. Tehran told each Hamas and Washington about this isn’t desirous about regional war. The last time Israel assassinated an IRGC officer, the response was limited to a rocket attack in Iraq that resulted within the death of: Kurdish businessman with alleged connections Down Israeli Mossad.

A more limited strike also appeared to make sense from a balance of power perspective. The Islamic Republic has a strong army, with huge supplies of drones and rockets able to hitting targets throughout Israel. The arsenal becomes much more impressive once you add the capabilities of Hezbollah and other Iranian allies.

However, the Islamic Republic he can be defenselessespecially against American or Israeli airstrikes.

The Iranian Air Force is in dire need of modernization and its surface-to-air missile defense is suspect. Perhaps more importantly, the regime continues to face significant opposition at home following the Mahsa Amini hijab protests. Its involvement within the Arab-Israeli conflict is questioned by a big a part of society.

Instead of getting a rally across the flag effect, a painful war on behalf of Hamas could spark further internal unrest.

Planes fly over large explosions
This photo, published in July on the official website of the Iranian army, shows the Iranian Air Force exercising within the central a part of the country.
(Iranian army via AP)

Iran escalation

So why did Iran break with precedent and expose itself to such risks?

The answer is twofold.

First, Tehran has to fret about its popularity. The regime’s latest response to the assassination of a senior IRGC official apparently did nothing to discourage Israel from killing another. Showing weakness within the face of enemy aggression undermines Iran’s position because the leader of the “Axis of Resistance,” a bunch of state and non-state actors centered in Iran that opposes Israel and the American presence within the region.



This is not only a matter of bragging. Tehran depends on this network for its defense, which suggests goals to spread chaos throughout the region to discourage an American or Israeli attack. The weapons and training it provides to its allies are at the center of this alliance, but when Tehran is afraid of confrontation with the Israelis, how can it ask its allies to accomplish that?

The second reason for Iran’s actions is internal. While supporting the Palestinians may not be popular with all residents, it will be significant to the inspiration of the regime. The ideology that justifies the Islamic Republic’s involvement within the Palestinian cause is the glue that holds the present regime together.

Iran’s ideology is characterised by great flexibility allowed Tehran to stay pragmatic faced with external challenges prior to now.

At some point, nevertheless, Tehran must live as much as its espoused virtues. If it doesn’t do that, it risks losing support amongst the general public and fueling internal fights among the many elites. Khamenei, who’s 84 years old and already attempting to manage delicacy succession processI am unable to afford it either.

Having it each ways

Tehran appears to be still attempting to avoid escalation and a bigger regional war.

A tweet sent by Iran after the attack seemed geared toward containing the crisis, claiming that “the matter can be considered he stated

As he speaks, a bearded man in a blue jacket and white collarless shirt gestures.
Coming to America? There were rumors that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, seen here on the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Switzerland in January 2024, was scheduled to reach within the United States ahead of the attack on Israel.
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Even before the attack, there were rumors that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was planning to travel to America through Iran’s diplomatic mission to the United Nations to assist manage the crisis.

However, it’s unclear how Tehran can maintain its ideological credentials at home and abroad without getting drawn into the war in Gaza. Some of the Iranian fire missed Israeli defenses, even though it caused little damage or fatalities.

From the standpoint of US President Joe Biden, this implies getting out of the best way. Despite swearing “shod in iron“support for Israel against Iran, According to reports, the Biden administration urged Israel to retaliate immediately and he stated The US doesn’t need a regional war.

However, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government probably sees things otherwise. Regardless of the damage or lack thereof, Israel will do it I would like to take revenge. There can be widespread speculation that Israel decided this summer to launch an invasion of southern Lebanon by force. UN Resolution 1701 this calls on Hezbollah to withdraw 20 miles from the Lebanese-Israeli border.

The Lebanese powder keg

Even if this doesn’t occur, the situation on the border is getting dangerously worse.

Over 300 Lebanese civilians were killed in the world and roughly 90,000 were displaced. Five Israeli civilians killed and over 100,000 displaced.

The intensity of violence in the world has been increasing since January and appears to be gaining momentum whatever the fighting in Gaza.

If this happens, it should likely drag Israel, Hezbollah, and ultimately Iran back into another escalation spiral.


This article was originally published on : theconversation.com
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