Monday Briefing - The New York Times

Monday Briefing – The New York Times

By Oghale Apr22,2024

After a week of tense internal deliberation and international appeals for calm, Israel struck an air defense system in Iran on Friday, according to Western and Iranian officials. Israel’s airstrike was the latest in an exchange of attacks between the countries.

I spoke about Iran and Israel with my colleague Farnaz Fassihi, the U.N. bureau chief, who covers the shadow war between the countries.

What does this attack mean for the conflict between Iran and Israel?

I think it marks a new chapter in their yearslong adversarial relationship because, despite fighting each other covertly, and through proxies, and through shadow operations, it’s the first time in 45 years that they’ve attacked each other directly. So it’s a turning point in the relationship that sort of upends all the previous rules.

They’ve really both taken things up a notch significantly, and I think it remains to be seen whether this latest tit-for-tat will create some sort of deterrence for both sides.

How are people reacting in Iran?

In Iran, people are very anxious about a war with Israel, but this comes on top of many other problems that Iranians have.

The government has started a very aggressive campaign in the streets, cracking down on women who are not observing the hijab law. The government is summoning activists and journalists or anybody who criticizes their Israel policy. They’re issuing gag orders. So people in Iran feel like they’re being squeezed from many different sides.

And the economy is terrible. It’s a sanctioned economy, there’s a lot of corruption, and since this skirmish with Israel, the Iranian currency has been plunging against the dollar. So they’re seeing already the real impacts of this in prices.

What do you think will happen next?

I think it seems as if both sides are standing down. And there was also a lot of diplomatic pressure and messaging going to both Iran and to Israel — from the U.S., from regional countries, from European countries, African countries, China, Russia, everybody — calling Israel and Iran and saying the region just cannot handle another massive war, just stand down.

Even the Biden administration has told Israel repeatedly that they’re not interested in a war with Iran. The U.S. doesn’t want a war in Iran and has told Netanyahu that the U.S. will help defend Israel, as it did when Iran attacked, but will not participate in attacking Iran. And I think that was calculated into Israel’s decision to scale down because they realized that they would have to fight Iran alone.

I think people feel like maybe the threat of war has passed, like we went to the brink of war and pulled back.

But this is a volatile situation. It’s far from settled — because another miscalculation, another attack, another assassination, and it could blow up again.

The House voted to approve $95 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as Speaker Mike Johnson marshaled support from both parties to advance the long-stalled aid package.

Since the junta in Myanmar staged its coup in February 2021, ending a brief period of democratic reform, much of the country has turned against the military.

Recent books and shows are taking a more positive approach to the climate crisis, a kind of “apocalyptic optimism,” to borrow a phrase from the sociologist Dana Fisher.

In confronting the apocalypse, these works all insist that hope matters. They believe that optimism, however qualified or hard-won, may be what finally moves us to action.

Pivoting from Princess Diana to Vladimir Putin might be difficult for some writers. Not Peter Morgan.

After six seasons of the Netflix drama “The Crown,” Morgan has turned to a different form of royalty: the oligarchs who helped empower Putin. In his play, “Patriots,” which opens on Broadway today after a successful London run, he creates a jigsaw of four Russian men whose fates intertwined in the post-Soviet era.

My colleague Maureen Dowd asked Morgan if news about the British royal family inspired him to write more about the contemporary monarchy. “Not even for a split second,” he said.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thank you for spending part of your morning with us, and see you tomorrow. — Dan

P.S. Can you place these eight events in chronological order?

You can reach Dan and the team at

Thanks to Farnaz Fassihi.

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By Oghale

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