These are some of the headlines we are tracking for you in this episode of On the News Line:
Trump & the Pentagon
Less than six weeks left to the inauguration of the new US president, the country's military is preparing to take a more aggressive approach in the fight against militant groups oversees. According to US military officials, the Pentagon is drawing up new proposals to offer to the Donald Trump administration. The plans are said to be particularly aimed at intensifying the US campaign against the Daesh terrorist group. The proposals will see White House oversight shrink and will give the military more tactical independence. Trump has already pledged to take a tough military campaign against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.
Obama's last strike
US President Barack Obama has in a memo waived prohibitions on giving arms to what he calls irregular armies fighting terrorism in Syria. The move came as Syrian government troops and allied forces have scored a series of highly strategic victories in the northern city of Aleppo in recent days. The army is now in control of nearly all of eastern Aleppo and there are only pockets of fighters from a small number of foreign-backed militant groups still in the area. In a memo for the State and Defense Departments, Obama said the provision of arms to those groups is essential to national security interests. The memo did not specify what types of weapons Obama had in mind, but nearly all observers agree that the US president has given the green light to authorities to provide the militants with anti-aircraft missiles known as MANPADs.
Challenge to Israel
A worldwide movement to ban Israeli goods is one of the tools that certain rights groups have launched to press the Israelis over their anti-Palestinian policies. It’s called the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It has now received a new momentum. Some 200 leading legal experts from 15 countries have signed a statement defending the BDS as a lawful exercise of freedom of expression. They say the BDS movement should be legally protected and should be treated the same way as the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa. Rights groups are already saying that this would help quell attempts by pro-Israel groups to proscribe the movement.