One major story appears to be headline news across the western world right now, though it is not entirely without its own merits: the Oscars. This is the first time in history that all of the relevant acting categories feature at least one black nominee, compared to recent previous years in which all nominees were white.
While there is something to said for this story (and for those film buffs out there, the Oscars in and of itself is big news), it remains that it is just one story out of a plethora of monumental news stories. As such, the ceremony — and the widely discussed snafu toward the end — should not be prioritized over some of the more important news stories.
Here are five major ongoing stories you may have missed while the media obsessed over the Oscars over the last few days:
1. Coming War on Iran
Barely two days ago, Iran held “massive” military drills over a 2 million square kilometer area. The Islamic Republic is also now reportedly holding its annual navy drill near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic area the Iranians demonstrated they are more than capable of closing off.
The military drills come in response to U.S. and U.K. military drills, which were simulated with the express intent of practicing a confrontation with Iran. Iran’s preparations are also likely in response to Trump’s travel ban that targeted Iran, America’s renewed sanctions against Iran, and the United States’ decision to put Iran “on notice” — all moves that likely contributed to Iran’s decision to drop the United States’ dollar, a move that cost Iraq dearly in the early 2000s.
2. Trump considering “long-term commitment to Iraq”
It makes sense that Iraq, a country that borders Iran and Syria,will not be free of the U.S. military any time soon given America’s alleged plans to free the region from Iranian influence. Supposedly, the Pentagon is considering a “long-term commitment” to operations in Iraq even after ISIS has been defeated, with an eye toward bolstering Iraq’s military.
From a military standpoint, the move would make sense; many reports suggest that if ISIS is defeated, something just as terrifying will spring up in its place. However, from a realistic perspective, if groups like ISIS originate initially because of American occupations in the first place, when will the U.S. military ever withdraw from the region for good?
3. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence says no contact between Russia and Trump campaign
Out of all the stories currently being covered by the mainstream media, the most overhyped one designed at delegitimizing the recently appointed Trump administration is the notion that Russia compromised the Trump campaign. However, Devin Nunes, head of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has seen no evidence of contact between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.
The real beneficiary of the Trump government is not Russia, but Israel. Incidentally, Israel was caught red-handed attempting to interfere in the United Kingdom’s internal politics, yet the media has barely even touched on the subject.
The Trump administration is reportedly considering sending troops to Syria, as is Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudi Arabia is offering to send Special Forces into Syria to assist in the fight against ISIS. These announcements come in tandem with a secret visit to Syria by avid anti-Assad Senator John McCain.
However, Saudi Arabia has no intention of defeating ISIS, given Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails revealed she was well aware that Saudi Arabia was providing all manner of support to the terror group. Instead, the aim of their deployment is to ensure that “liberated areas [do] not fall under the control of Hizballah, Iran or the regime.”
What is the legal basis for one country to invade another country and insist that the country who owns the land cannot reclaim its liberated territories?
Last year, Syria warned that any foreign invader would be sent home in a coffin. To what extent would Saudi Arabia go to ensure that Syrian troops do not retake liberated areas? Given the Syrian regime is defended staunchly by Russia and Iran, this is a recipe for a disaster.
5. Four Top Russian diplomats have died in the past 60 days
Since late December, four top Russian diplomats, including three ambassadors, have died under controversial circumstances. Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, was gunned down in Ankara. A few weeks later, Andrey Malanin, a senior diplomat at Russia’s embassy in the Greek capital, was found dead in his apartment. Russia’s ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, died at a hospital in India in late January following a brief unspecified illness. And lastly, on February 20, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., died abruptly at work in New York.
At least two of the aforementioned held very important roles in mitigating the Syrian conflict. Karlov was gunned down in Turkey almost in tandem with Turkey, Iran, and Russia’s decision to put together a peace deal of their own without help from the U.S. Similarly, Churkin had an integral role in the Syrian conflict, and the exact cause of his death remains unknown.
Are these deaths a mere coincidence or is something more sinister at play?
While the Oscars are a notable event, ultimately, many global developments have far deeper implications than the feeding frenzy currently surrounding the Hollywood award ceremony — and we would be wise to expand our focus.