The News January 3-8: Sectarianism? Maybe. Squalor? Yes.

Stories of the Week

Iran v. Saudi Arabia. Two of the MENA region's greatest powers faced off this week (see below under Regional Updates for links.) Following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric in majority-Sunni Saudi Arabia, majority-Shia Iran reacted violently, with protesters setting fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran. The Saudis responded by expelling all Iranian diplomats, and were quickly joined by several regional allies (most loudly: Bahrain.) All of this spells nothing good for the Syria talks, which in turn benefits the Islamic State, so...this is not good (Of note, though, the Iran-Saudi drama is not necessarily a giant sectarian split.) Later in the week, Iran claimed the Saudis had bombed their embassy in Yemen.

North Korea says it detonated a hydrogen bomb. The severely isolated nation claims it has detonated a bomb unlike any it has attempted before. But not so fast - South Korean officials are skeptical that it was a hydrogen bomb, and it's hard to verify just how successful the detonation even was (as the North Korean government is hardly a reliable source.)

Standoff in Oregon. A group of armed men (white Americans, by all accounts) took hold of a government building over the weekend. Among them are the sons of notorious Nevada anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy. Their demands? A bit sweeping, but a lot of it is wrapped up in 1) a defense of the Hammond brothers, two ranchers accused of arson on federal lands, and 2) an overarching sentiment that the government should not be overseeing the swathes of land it oversees to begin with. 

Flickr: rabinal

Flickr: rabinal


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