India claims it shot down a satellite
On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that the country successfully test-fired an anti-satellite weapon. Modi announced the test in a public address that came only weeks before a major election. According to multiple experts, this is a major development along India’s path to becoming a global power. Only the U.S., Russia and China were known to have anti-satellite weaponry before the test. Just a few weeks ago, doubt had been cast on India’s military might after a Soviet-era jet of its own was shot down over Pakistan, but Modi said that despite the test, India does not necessarily intend to use the weapon against a specific country.
Boeing crashes, sparks halt of use
In response to two recent crashes involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, Indonesian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Singapore, Indian, European and other regulatory agencies and airlines suspended the operation of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in early March. The aircraft was grounded in the European Union on March 12, 2019, and by the Federal Aviation Administration and President Trump in the United States. There have been two crashes involving the 737 MAX, the newest variant of the Boeing 737 aircraft in the past six months.
On Oct. 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff. The accident is still under investigation, and the final report not expected to be released until September 2019. On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff. A common trait in the disasters were the aircraft: the Boeing planes were the new 737 MAX — both only four months old. The planes are now undergoing a series of safety inspections, and early indicators place blame on a digital malfunction that was reworked heavily and lauded as innovative and groundbreaking. Instead, the feature is potentially to blame for hundreds of deaths.
Trump and Golan Heights
On Monday, President Trump formally declared the Golan Heights as a territory of Israel. This goes against more than half a century of United States foreign policy and means that America is the first country to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian region. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that, “We are simply recognizing facts on the ground and the reality and doing the right thing.” However, Syrian officials claim that Israel has forcefully settled the area without permission.
Ambassadors from Germany, France, Poland, Belgium and Britain issued a joint statement reaffirming that the region is in fact not Israel’s, saying, “Annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law.” These events have led to mass protests in the Syrian capital of Damascus and come the same week that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu attends the yearly policy conference hosted by AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).