by Jane Young

The so-called Islamic State is playing us with a sophisticated propaganda machine designed to terrify the West and recruit young Muslims from all around the globe. We don't need to see James Foley's actual execution to believe IS means business...so what next?  

The horrific beheading of American journalist James Foley, at the hands of a so-called Islamic State (IS) militant with a British accent, has caused an earthquake on the mainstream and social media platforms.

It was at once a video of a barbaric cold blooded murder, and also a masterful challenge to the United States’ bombing of IS forces in Iraq.

As of writing the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas holds. It is now up to the negotiations in Cairo to produce something that allows both sides to save face by going home with 'Wins'. Possible? Sure. Likely? Worth holding your breath for. 

The Obama Administration is reportedly seething at the snook Israel is currently cocking its way.

Already Secretary of State John Kerry has been openly ridiculed by senior members of Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing coalition cabinet.

It is now incumbent on the world outside the horror of Gaza to prevent the status quo ante from being reinstated once Israel determines that it has bombed enough tunnels....let alone actual people who have nothing to do with its military ambitions.

When Palestinina parents ask of their flayed, dismembered, burned, shrapnel riddled babies, toddlers or adolescents "are these the children of the resistance?"...and plead for "peace or you will make terrorists of all our children", you would have to be extremely callous or an idiot to dismiss them.

At last some high level acknowledgement that a ceasfire between Israel and Hamas has to be more than a return to the status quo...but don't hold your breath. 

The mounting death toll in Gaza has spurred an intensified flurry of diplomacy (again), and finally a stated acknowledgement that this time the terms of any ceasefire (which will eventually come) need to differ from those of the past three Israeli-Hamas wars.

More than 400 lives for 14 tunnels. It is not worth it. As the world watches in horror at the slaughter of Palestinians trapped in Gaza, it becomes even more evident that lopsided as they are, military assaults from Hamas or Israeli will never bring peace to either the occupied or the occupier.   

Yet another bloody day in Gaza.

Yet another day of occupation.

Yet another scripted justification from Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu...although perhaps a slight shift ...”as I said when this action began there is no guarantee of success, but results have so far exceeded expectation”.

Israel's massive bombardment of Gaza and Hamas firing rockets into Israel will never solve the political disaster that is the continued illegal occupation of Palestine. Indeed as the Palestinian death toll mounts, resistance to occupation will only become more entrenched and that means peace for neither side.  

Repeating an action or a behaviour over and over and expecting a different outcome is supposed to be the definition of madness.

Applied to the current disaster in the Middle East - the Palestinian/Israeli part of that troubled arena - madness is fast becoming the dominant theme.

If the murders of teenagers on both sides of the deadly dispute over Palestine doesn't spur the international community to force an end to the unlawful occupation, what on earth will?  

The justice that is sought following the abduction and murder of three teenage Israeli settlers will not be found in retribution.

The justice for the teenage Palestinian abducted and murdered in an apparent revenge attack will not be found in more abductions or murders.

The outrageous sham that Egypt's President calls independent justice should stand as a warning not just to journalists working in the country, but to Egyptians themselves. If Sisi can stare down world-wide condemnation, think how little thought he will give to anyone who has no international voice

Politicians can not function without media exposure - whether that be fair or propaganda.

Political journalists can not function without politicians - be they democratic, autocratic or anywhere in between.

The symbiosis of these two spheres legitimizes the respective worlds of voters and audience/readers.

America and Iran appear poised to co-operate in order to stymie the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from taking over war torn Iraq and establishing a Sunni Caliphate which stretches across the border into Syria. It is a complicated mess. 

Is the enemy of my enemy my friend in 21st century war? 

Well possibly ‘frenemy’ would be more accurate, and yes, it does look as if the United States and Iran can talk Iraq alongside what is acceptable in terms of an Iranian nuclear programme.

Obama critics are disingenuous when they imply the Taliban would not have been fussy about which Guantanamo prisoners released in exchange for a US soldier they have held for five years. Their real issue is Obama succeeded - albeit with some questions stil to answer.

All week North American news, ‘news’ and satire has been drenched in vacillating glorification and demonization of the now released US soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

Is he hero or deserter?

It may take ages to clarify that, but one thing is for sure - he is fresh political fodder.