US defense budget; UN investigates Israel, Hamas; Syria’s contested elections

In today’s episode, we will examine US President Joe Biden’s defence budget, look into a UN investigation on Israel and Hamas over last month’s violence, and discuss Syria’s recently conducted elections.

Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • The $715 Billion budget that US President Joe Biden unveiled last week aims to address escalating tension due to alleged Chinese military aggression in the Indo-Pacific. Congress has been divided with one group made up of progressives calling for a 10% cut in military spending and another arguing for an increase in defence spending, particularly due to increasing threats from China and Russia. In sharp contrast to his predecessor, Mr Biden plans to increase the military budget by a mere 1.7% to $753 billion. 

  • The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed last week, to launch an investigation probing whether Israel and Islamist group Hamas has conducted any crimes during the 11-day conflict last month. Violence erupted in Israel during Ramadan festivities after Palestine’s Hamas group launched rockets targeting Israel in retaliation to clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Over 230 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes following the attack. At at least 60 of them were children.
     
  • Protests erupted in Idlib after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad secured a fourth term with an improbable 95.1% vote share. However, the country’s opposition in exile along with the international community have strongly contested the poll results. The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States put out a joint statement, saying that the polls were “neither free nor fair” as they were held without UN supervision. 

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