Good evening and welcome back to Axios World. We've got 1,500 words (6 minutes) to get you up to speed on the week's biggest global stories.
Netanyahu campaigns in Tel Aviv, Feb. 29. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party is projected to win the most seats in Israel's election, according to exit polls.
Why it matters: The exit polls are not official results, but they project a strong performance from Netanyahu in Israel's third elections in 10 months despite a looming corruption trial.
By the numbers: All three exit polls show Netanyahu's Likud party winning 36–37 seats, to 32–34 for Gantz's Blue and White.
Where things stand: There were no signs of voter fatigue in this rerun election. Turnout was 71%, an increase from the past two contests.
What to watch: Netanyahu is now serving as caretaker prime minister, but he hopes to form a new right-wing government that will derail the legal proceedings against him.
The bottom line: No Israeli prime minister has governed while defending himself against criminal charges. But to paraphrase Netanyahu's campaign slogan, there’s no one else like him.
Taliban fighters celebrate the deal. Photo: Wali Sabawoon/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Today offered an immediate reminder that while a deal was struck Saturday for the U.S. to begin to leave Afghanistan, peace remains elusive.
Driving the news: The Taliban said it had resumed offensive operations against Afghan forces following a "reduction in violence" during negotiations.
What they're saying:
"This is going to be a long, windy, bumpy road. That’s going to be the nature of this over the next days, weeks and months. ... We’re just going to deal with each situation as it arises and make sure we stay focused on the mission.”— Defense Secretary Mark Esper
The big picture: America has wanted out of Afghanistan for at least a decade. The deal signed in Doha could accomplish that.
The big picture: Since the American invasion in the wake of 9/11, 3,500 U.S. and allied troops have been killed, tens of thousands of Afghans have lost their lives, and the U.S. has spent $2 trillion.
Heading toward Greece, in Edirne, Turkey. Photo: Osman Orsal/Getty Images
There is war on Turkey’s border with Syria and chaos on its borders with Europe.
Driving the news: Turkey launched an offensive against Syrian government troops after at least 36 of its soldiers were killed in an airstrike last Thursday. It shot down two Syrian aircraft and claims to have killed hundreds of Syrian forces.
Simultaneously, Turkey announced that it was opening its borders to allow Syrian refugees to cross into Europe. Turkey hosts 3.7 million Syrians but — with up to a million people displaced by recent fighting in Idlib expected to attempt to cross into Turkey —says the situation is no longer sustainable.
On the scene: “Thousands of migrants have gathered near Greece's Kastanies border crossing, some getting there by taking free rides on buses organized by the Turkish government. Turkey’s state-owned Arabic-language broadcasting channel ... provided maps for migrants showing various routes to reach the border,” per Al-Monitor.
The EU insists its gates remain closed.
In Syria, meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has focused his ire on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and not Syria’s ally, Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis in Idlib continues.
Waiting for the good life, in Georgetown, Guyana. Photo: Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty
Guyana goes to the polls today a relatively poor nation, but the winner of the election could soon be leading a very rich one.
Why it matters: A massive oil find has led the IMF to project the economy will grow a whopping 85% in 2020. Zoom out further, and estimates get truly stratospheric for the South American country of 780,000.
State of play, from the Economist:
The question is whether newfound oil wealth will make life significantly better.
Raise your hand if you're Malaysia's new prime minister. Photo: Ore Huiying/Getty Images
1. Malaysia’s king picked a new prime minister to replace Mahathir Mohamad, who resigned last Monday but was expected to either hold on to power while a political crisis played out, or hand it to his ally-turned-foe-turned-ally-turned-foe, Anwar Ibrahim (it’s a long story).
2. One of two men claiming to be Guinea-Bissau’s president has resigned after just one day in office.
3. Iraq’s prime minister-designate, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, has withdrawn his candidacy, blaming obstructionist political factions.
4. Slovakia’s governing party was soundly defeated on Saturday.
Update: The Organization of American States issued a blistering response to the MIT research I mentioned Thursday on Bolivia’s election. They write that the article ignores unequivocal evidence of fraud.
Australian PM Scott Morrison (center) with his mate Donald. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/The Sydney Morning Herald via Getty
I spent part of the weekend flipping through a new edition of Australian Foreign Affairs centered around the question, "Can we trust America?"
Why it matters: With China rising and America's strategy and reliability in question, experts debated how Australia should balance relations with its largest trading partner (China) and its American allies.
Michael Wesley of the University of Melbourne writes that the U.S.-Australia partnership grew in the early 20th century during another great power shift in Asia, as the U.K. pulled back and Japan rose.
His bottom line: Australia should partner with the U.S. where interests align, but not simply follow America into a showdown with China.
On the edge of Europe, hoping for a way in. Photo: Osman Orsal/Getty Images
"We don't want him in Israel. Anyone who calls our prime minister a 'racist' is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both!”— Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the UN, on Bernie Sanders