Jun 23 2014

Daily News Flash with Courtney Morris on Kerry’s Visit to Iraq, Israeli Strikes on Syria, and California Dockworkers Union Contract

Uprising’s guest expert Courtney Morris, assistant professor of African American and women’s Studies at Penn State University, analyzes today’s news headlines:

US Secretary of State John Kerry visits the embattled nation of Iraq, as Sunni militants march toward a major dam. Kerry plans to push Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki to diversify his cabinet, which is dominated by Shia representatives, leaving the country’s Sunni minority feeling left out. The Sunni group, ISIS (or ISIL), has continued its take over with three Anbar Province cities now under its control. ISIS appears to be heading toward the Haditha Dam, which, if damaged, could cause serious flooding and disrupt a major electrical grid. In an interview on CBS yesterday, President Obama said his administration would remain “vigilant” but would not “play whack-a-mole and send U.S. troops … wherever these organizations pop up.” Click here for an Al Jazeera article about the story.

Israel launched air strikes against Syria on Sunday, claiming it was in retaliation for the killing of a 15 year old boy in the occupied Golan Heights near the Syrian border. The boy in question was an Arab citizen of Israel. His father, who is an Israeli defense contractor, was with him and injured along with one other person when their vehicle was struck by an explosion. Israel claims its strikes were aimed at military installations in Syria and that it was able to confirm “direct hits.” The Golan Heights were “seized by Israel from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Middle East War.” (BBC). Meanwhile 3 kidnapped Jewish Israeli teenagers are still missing and Israel has arrested hundreds of Palestinians in its campaign to find them. Click here for a BBC article about the story.

Here in California, a union contract covering 20,000 dockworkers will expire at the end of this month. The specter of work stoppage at one of the world’s busiest trade ports, which handles hundreds of billions of dollars of goods each year, is looming. According to the Guardian, “On one side is the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, with its tradition of fierce activism dating back to the Great Depression, when two of its members were killed during a strike. On the other is the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents shipping lines and operators of terminals at 29 West Coast ports.” The ILWU controls the entire workforce on West Coast docks, giving it the kind of leverage other unions can only dream of. Click here for a Guardian newspaper article about the story.

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