Imagine one of the poorest areas of Syria, namely the east of the country where for years very few if any could afford foreign-made products.
Now imagine one of the most fundamentalist and puritanical movements in the world, namely ISIS living there.
Recently, demand for the latest technological products such as the iphone6 and western snacks such as Red Bull and Pringles have shot up in that part of Syria.
How does that work?
The podcast below from the Financial Times asks Erika Solomon, the FT correspondent in Beirut about this interesting phenomenon.
You can listen here
Last week a Swiss court ruled that Israel owes Iran $100 million dollars.
Because Iran and Israel owned a joint pipeline inside Israel, which was set up during the Shah. Then the revolution happened and Iran’s new rulers severed ties with Israel. This decision left Iranian oil in the possession of Israel and now Swiss arbitrators have decided that Israel should pay for them.
according to the terms of the contract which was drawn up in 1968:
The joint-venture agreement states that in the event of a dispute, the arbitration would be conducted in Tehran by a two-person panel consisting of an Iranian High Court judge and an Israeli counterpart. If the two failed to reach a decision, the International Chamber of Commerce would pick a third arbitrator to settle the matter.
Iran refuses flat out to negotiate directly with Israel to resolve this dispute, as the contract demands. Israel tried to do this before. According to Alice Speri of VICE news:
In the mid 1980s, when Iran first started its attempt to recoup the money, then minister of energy Moshe Shahal agreed that Israel should pay its debt, and suggested sending a representative to Iran — an unheard-of proposal.
Had Iran agreed to direct negotiations and then should such negotiations have failed to produce a result, then both sides according to the contract could move to the arbitration stage.
But as Alice Speri points out, Iranian authorities skipped the first part, and moved straight to the arbitration part of the contract.
Also, breaking a contract because a new government decides that the other party to the contract should not exist also carries some penalties and compensations.
But a deal is a deal. Both sides deserve to be compensated.
And the best way? direct negotiations between them.
Naftali Bennet is the head of the right-wing Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party. He was also a member of the security cabinet and the recent coalition as the minister of Economy. His party is so against the peace process that in the past he has advocated annexing 60% of the West Bank. I have written about him before.
At the same time, he is someone who is a real competitor to Benjamin Netanyahu. He is someone who could one day lead Israel’s right. Why do I think that? because I sincerely believe that he truly represents the aspirations and world view of a major part of Israel’s pro-settlement movement.
Do I agree with their world view? no. But this is a part of Israeli society which can not and must not be ignored. We are all part of the same country, and we must listen to each other.
I strongly recommend watching and listening to Naftali Bennet’s conversation with former US ambassador to Israel Martyn Indyk at the recent Saban Forum.
With thanks to my student Joshua Rodin for alerting me about this interview.
Israel accuses Iran of having expansionist ambitions, Iran accuses Israel of the same.
Meanwhile the Arab world accuses both Israel and Iran of having expansionist ambitions, at the expense of the Arab world.
During the last two weeks:
The Iranian air force attacks ISIS forces inside the territory of an Arab country, namely Iraq.
The Israeli air force reportedly attacks ammunition stores inside the territory of an Arab country, namely Syria.
Maybe the Arab world has a point?
Next to him is Vladimir Putin, with lipstick.
Obviously the two are bringing customers because I saw them at the same store in Dizengoff Center about 6 months ago. Only this time I decided to take a photo.
And thats not all. I have seen Israelis wearing Iran Air and Iranian Atomic Energy Agency (AEOI) T-shirts as well. All made locally.
God knows what would happen to a store at a middle class shopping center in Tehran with an Ahmadinejad mannequin.
The only way such a store would make money would be by installing a swear jar outside its window.