The Cosmopolitan Globalist
The Cosmopolicast
The No-Name-yet Podcast with Claire and John

The No-Name-yet Podcast with Claire and John

Ep.3: Should we worry about Transnistria? (Can we even pronounce it?) What's up with Benny Gantz? Why would Biden imagine that the deal he's offering Israel is plausible?

We still have no name. I’m getting worried about this.

Sorry, Scott! Not only did I blank on your last name—it came back to me, at least!—we just didn’t love the name you suggested. We’re looking for something that clearly explains what it is and why you should listen to it in about two catchy and clever words. (I like the name “GLOBAL EYES,” for example, because it tells you what it is and it’s a pun.)


(Say it three times fast: I challenge you.)

  • WARNING: Transnistria may organize a referendum on annexation to Russia to support Russian hybrid operation against Moldova.

  • Transnistria appeals to Russia for “protection,” reviving fears for Moldova breakaway region. US says it is closely watching situation in key region on Ukraine border after officials asked Moscow for help against the government in Moldova.

  • Is Putin opening a second front in Europe? The chaos in Transnistria is ripe for exploitation.

  • Moldova rebuffs Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement on Transnistria, says it has no right to lecture anybody on democracy.

  • Russia can’t reach a pro-Russian region in Moldova easily—but there are ways it can cause trouble. “They could disrupt power from Transnistria to the rest of Moldova (that already happened at one point last year). Further, gas transit from Russia to Transnistria via Ukraine is up in the air because there’s a good chance a Gazprom-Naftogaz transit deal doesn’t get renewed when it expires at the end of the year. So there’s reason to put pressure on. With Moldovan pro-Western President Maia Sandu facing re-election later this year, Putin sees an opportunity to make the regime maximally uncomfortable.”


See also:

Gaza residents turn on Sinwar:

Despite fear of Hamas reprisals among Gaza Strip residents, unusual criticism has emerged on social media in response to a video published by the IDF on Tuesday evening, showing the terrorist group's leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar fleeing with his children through an underground tunnel under the city of Khan Younis in the territory’s south.

“This rat, Yahya Sinwar, quickly ran to hide underground,” wrote Mustafa Asfur, a resident of the Strip, on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). Asfur has a significant number of followers on the platform, and the IDF Arabic spokesperson’s account was quick to share his comments. “He built tunnels to hide in for him, his children, his wife and those who surround them. He left the men, women and children of his people to struggle with death above ground, while he enjoyed himself with his family below.

… “Didn’t you say that one day you would go home on foot, without guards, and challenge the occupation to assassinate you? Where are you today? The occupation is at your doorstep—so go out and confront them, instead of dying while you’re underground like a rat. Hell, you are a cowardly leader who sacrifices his country and his people for himself.”

Another reaction to the video that generated much attention on X came from a Gaza resident named Ghassan. “My dear Sinwar, you and your family are hiding while the rest of the people are dying as usual. Oh right, I forgot that UNRWA is the one who is required to protect the people. Curse be upon the cleanest among you,” he wrote, referring to an interview senior Hamas figure Musa Abu Marzouk gave to Russian network RT in Arabic in late October in which he said that the elaborate subterranean tunnel system the group constructed under Gaza was meant to protect its fighters—and not the residents of the Strip. “It is the responsibility of the UN to protect them,” Abu Marzouk told the interviewer.

Wissam Al-Khalidi, a member of the Palestinian National Council, also expressed his dismay at the video. “This psychopath, called Sinwar, is hiding in the tunnels with his family while there are over 2 million innocent souls above the surface of the destroyed earth. Does this satisfy Allah, Sinwar?” he wrote.

  • “Go away, Sinwar!” Gaza protests swell as crowds rally against Hamas. During a protest in Jabaliya in northern Gaza, demonstrators voiced anger against Hamas’ political chief Ismail Haniyeh and terror leader Yahya Sinwar. While Palestinian media is trying to hush the growing popular resentment against Hamas and its leader Yahya Sinwar in the Gaza Strip, footage of desperate Gazans calling for the downfall of the terrorist organization continues to surface. In one clip from the protest in Jabaliya, protesters can be heard calling out, “Sinwar, Haniyeh, the people are the victims. Down with Hamas! Down with Hamas!”

While Hamas leader is deciding on hostage deal, his niece gave birth in Israeli hospital.

Whoever controls aid to Gaza undermines Hamas’s rule, so why is Netanyahu dragging his feet?

Could October 7 have been prevented? The head of the research division of the Intelligence Branch of the IDF, Amit Sa’ar, said in an interview with KAN news that just before the attack, he wrote an emergency letter warning that Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah saw it as an opportune moment to attack because of the internal conflict in Israel and the IDF’s readiness level. He also said that senior Iranian officials had been pressuring Hamas and telling them the moment to attack Israel had arrived. After reading the letter, the head of the Intelligence Branch and the chief of staff gave Saar permission to send the letter to Netanyahu. Then the massacre occurred. The letter was never sent.

Biden aides tell Gantz that the Gaza aid convoy disaster shows why Israel needs viable postwar plans:

Top aides to US President Joe Biden told visiting war cabinet minister Benny Gantz during meetings this week that the recent disaster in northern Gaza in which dozens of desperate Palestinians were killed while rushing a convoy of humanitarian aid highlighted for Washington how Israel has failed to properly plan for the war, two US officials told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

Last Thursday’s incident would not have happened if Israel were doing more to ensure humanitarian aid was reaching civilians, according to the US officials. The pair spoke on condition of anonymity regarding the messages that US Vice President Kamala Harris, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, White House Mideast czar Brett McGurk, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stressed to Gantz during closed-door meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

The US officials argued Tuesday that the administrative vacuum in northern Gaza that was exposed by the deadly stampede offers a window into what the entire Strip will look like after the war, if Israel won’t put forward a viable alternative to the Hamas rule it’s seeking to dismantle.

The Biden administration has sought to advance a broader regional initiative that would see Gaza rehabilitated by neighboring Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, which would also normalize relations with Israel on the condition that Jerusalem take steps to establish a time-bound, irreversible pathway for a Palestinian state led by a reformed Palestinian Authority governing over both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has all but rejected the proposal, declaring that he will not allow Gaza to become “Fatahstan” — a reference to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s political party and highlighting his long-held effort to buck international efforts to establish a Palestinian state. Instead, he is seeking to install local clan leaders unaffiliated with Hamas or Fatah to provide services for Gazans instead of the terror group, while leaving Gaza politically cut off from the West Bank.

Israel has been engaging in discussions with clan leaders in Gaza, proposing that they assume administrative responsibilities and manage aid distribution. But the leaders in question aren’t keen:

Arab media sources reveal that only a select few leaders were open to considering the IDF’s proposal for aid management. Among them, two prominent clans have acknowledged some level of contact with Israeli authorities. “We are not willing to cooperate with the occupation on any issue,” said a member of one of the clans. Another clan member, who did not deny that his family had contact with the IDF, was concerned about potential Hamas reprisals against families accused of collaborating with Israel. “Some families are worried that the cease-fire will allow Hamas to settle scores with them.”

Hezbollah is getting stronger and its threat is growing: What can Israel do? Israel embraced diplomacy and the “reward” was thousands of rockets fired at northern Israel, 500 homes damaged, 80,000 people evacuated and a dozen people murdered by Hezbollah in the North:

An attack in northern Israel on Monday killed Patnibin Maxwell, a thirty-one year old from India working in Israel with a wife seven-months pregnant, India Today reported. Nine others were wounded. “The incident happened near Margaliot, targeting agricultural workers, Israel confirmed,” the report said. It’s not known if they were the target, but Hezbollah’s attacks are calculating.  In addition to thousands of unguided rockets, it has also used anti-tank guided missiles to target many specific locations on the border. It has damaged 500 buildings in this war, since October 8 in support of the Hamas massacre the day before.

IDF general outraged over safety failures. Maj.-Gen. (res) Itzhak Brik excoriated the IDF’s performance after Israeli soldiers were killed by the detonation of explosive charges while performing a search operation. The knives are clearly out for Netanyahu and the IDF command—as they should be. I have no way to assess what he’s saying here, but it doesn’t sound good at all:

“The IDF went into combat without pre-planned operations, creating an absurd situation where each unit decides for itself how to enter suspected houses. This happens frequently and there’s no learning from mistakes. The events keep repeating, and apparently, there hasn’t been practice for safe entry.

“This is an unprecedented scandal in Israel’s wars, a complete neglect in operational discipline. Every company commander does as he chooses when the higher ranks are disconnected time after time. This is happening because of the malicious negligence of the army’s senior command, a disgrace and a shame. This is not how you win a war.

“Today we are losing assets in the northern Gaza Strip that we only gained two months ago at the heavy price of casualties and injuries. Hamas fighters have returned in droves. The public doesn’t understand that if this continues, we will not achieve the suppression of Hamas, we will not secure the safe return of our captives, and hundreds of people will be killed. I have been in the wars of Israel and have not encountered such a severe organizational failure. This cannot go on.

“Since the IDF entered combat without pre-prepared plans, with reserve units that haven’t trained for years, on an urban terrain that they are not familiar with ... an absurd situation was created. Each unit decided on its own procedure of how to clear urban areas, how to enter houses suspected of being booby-trapped, and there are many units that do not adhere to basic safety guidelines.

“These incidents repeat themselves. Just on Friday, IDF troops entered a booby-trapped building, and apparently no safety procedure was carried out. Three dead and 14 wounded, five of them seriously. Commanders decide for themselves how to act according to their understandings without any briefing from their superiors, while the upper ranks are completely disconnected, allowing this to happen again and again.

“Soldiers are killed and severely wounded wholesale; this is not a twist of fate. This happens because of the criminal negligence and laziness of the senior military echelon. For example, 21 soldiers were killed inside a house while engineering troops prepared the house for detonation. This happened several other times. In two words: shame and disgrace! This is not how you win a war!

“Today, we are losing assets in the northern Gaza Strip, areas that just two months ago the IDF captured at a heavy cost. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant already declared two months ago that we have absolute control over these territories, above ground and in the tunnels beneath. Only two months have passed, and we are losing complete control in northern Gaza.

“Hamas terrorists have returned en masse through the tunnels to the north of the Strip where the IDF evacuated all its soldiers from and did not replace them with reinforcements due to lack of standard operating procedures. Hamas is again controlling Gazans, rebuilding its capabilities in the area. Our soldiers conduct raids on them, and they get killed and wounded by explosives and traps that Hamas had prepared. The majority of our dead and seriously wounded are not wounded from face-to-face combat with Hamas but from explosives and traps. In other words: Months after we captured the northern Strip, we are losing it again.

“The public does not understand that if this continues, we will reach a terrible and menacing situation: We will not dismantle of Hamas, we will not safely return the hostages, and hundreds more of our people will be killed. Every day we go to the cemetery, every day there are people seriously wounded, who have lost their legs and eyes.

“For 20 years, the Iranians and their proxies Hezbollah, in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, have been building an envelope of 250,000 missiles and rockets around the State of Israel. We’re talking about a regional war on a scale of 3,000-4,000 rockets and missiles per day, including missiles aimed at population centers, water infrastructure, power lines, and economic centers in the heart of the country: the Gush Dan area, Haifa Bay, Beersheba, and Jerusalem. Since 2002, our chiefs of staff have decided that the major wars are over, we have peace with Egypt and Jordan, and there is no need for a large army, so they cut the army by six divisions and basically brought it down to almost nothing.

“They talk about a small and hi-tech army, but it isn't even hi-tech, because they didn’t implement the technology. The reservists were not trained, and they also didn’t maintain the equipment depots ... The next regional war, if it breaks out against Hezbollah, will be in five arenas simultaneously ... and we are a tiny army incapable of being in two places at once.

“We can’t wait for the day after. The day after is a war that could last months and years. We need to enlarge the IDF now, and no one is dealing with it. The same political and military leadership that led to this terrible chaos are the ones not dealing with what will happen in the future.”

We’re living in the most worrying period for Jews since World War II, yet Netanyahu is politicking while Israel burns.

Opinion: The condemnation of Israel for the deadly stampede that killed multiple Palestinians illustrates the selective fact-checking by world leaders, revealing attempts to turn Hamas’ actions into a narrative of Palestinian victimhood:

… Incredibly, a surreal scene eluded the eyes of the critics: IDF tanks and troops safeguarded the Palestinian civilians while Hamas did everything it could to prevent the movement, fearing it would compromise its fighting against the IDF. Hamas used roadblocks to stop the movement, and its snipers and operatives even targeted their own population with fire and IEDs. Hamas’ Ministry of Communication accused fleeing Gazans of “colluding with a second Nakba.”

Disinformation attempting to sabotage Israel’s war on terrorism is nothing new in this war: the same goes for the claim that 30,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel in Gaza, of which 70 percent are women and children, widely echoed by the UN, the EU and some media outlets—only these figures are provided by Hamas’ fictitious “Ministry of Health.”

… This pattern simply keeps repeating, yet those of us who don’t usually keep track or pay close attention might get lost in the daily spiral of news to be able to detect it. The “100 UN aid workers” killed by Israel were, in fact, Hamas operatives in disguise; many of the claimed “94 journalists” turned out to be known Hamas or PIJ affiliates and operatives, such as Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Washah and the senior PIJ operatives whose salary slips were published by the IDF.

Hamas savvily identifies golden PR opportunities and leverages them, knowing which strings to pluck, and the receiving end of that music happily resonates its tune. …

Every world leader, journalist and social media user needs to be acutely aware of Hamas’ and Iran’s clever disinformation methods, and take caution. The easy choice is to ride on the already-provided track. The less-than-obvious choice, however, happens to be the right one: the choice to seriously question information coming out of Gaza, and recognize the real danger to the safety and security of the democratic world – terrorism and the Russia-China-Iran axis. Extra fact-checking and caution against disinformation are of the essence in this war—even when it comes to Israel.

Yahya Sinwar and his brother, Muhammad, military leader Muhammad Deif, and Marwan Issa, Hamas’s deputy military commander, seem to have made the decision to launch the attack without consulting other Hamas leaders or the political bureau, leaving the rest of the leadership uninformed. This has led to internal discord within Hamas.

On social media, there has been a 1,200 percent surge over the past year in posts with antisemitic content. In November-December 2023, most were detected on Twitter (68 percent). On TikTok, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram there were far fewer cases of antisemitism. 

The Cosmopolitan Globalist
The Cosmopolicast
We invite our writers to discuss their essays, their travels, or anything else on their minds.