Welcome back for a Thursday edition of Axios World. We've got the 1,685 words (6 minutes) you need to catch up on this week's global news.
A child's shoe among the wreckage. Photo: Borna Ghassemi/ISNA/AFP via Getty
Iran faced a growing chorus of international accusations today that it shot down Ukraine Airlines Flight 752 over Tehran early Wednesday morning, killing all 167 passengers and nine crew members in the process.
Why it matters: A tragedy that was initially overshadowed in the U.S. by Iran's ballistic missile strikes on Iraqi bases just a few hours earlier has now become a massive international incident.
What they’re saying: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference today that Canada, which lost 63 citizens in the crash, has “intelligence from multiple sources … that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.”
There were 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons on the flight, which was bound for Kiev. Many of the passengers planned to travel on to Canada.
As it happens, the U.S. and Iran appear to have stepped back from the ledge after Trump’s White House address yesterday, in which he said Americans should be "extremely grateful and happy" that Iran’s strikes resulted in no casualties, and that Iran was “standing down.”
Driving the news: The House passed a symbolic war powers resolution tonight, by a 224-194 vote, calling on Trump to halt the use of military force against Iran unless he obtains approval from Congress.
Trump's White House address on Iran. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
President Trump has shrunk America's global presence in many ways, but he has also at times placed high-risk bets on its superpower status.
Driving the news: Trump didn't want war with Iran, yet he ordered the killing of Iran's top commander. That requires enormous faith in the shield of American military superiority.
The results of Trump’s geopolitical muscle-flexing are uneven.
Closer to home, Trump’s threats yielded significant tweaks to NAFTA and a pledge from Mexico to hold tens of thousands of U.S.-bound asylum-seekers.
The bottom line: Trump's America isn't much liked, and it certainly isn't trusted, as new Pew data shows. But it can't be ignored.
Brother and sister in a Nuba Mountains village in 2018. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty
Today was a remarkable day in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, with senior officials including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visiting the rebel stronghold for the first time in a decade alongside officials from the UN, which was itself forced out of the area in 2011.
The big picture: The region remained a part of Sudan after South Sudan broke away in 2011. That led to a rebellion that was put down through a relentless bombing campaign. The war-ravaged area remained almost entirely cut off from international aid until now.
What they're saying: David Beasley, chief of the UN’s World Food Program and a former South Carolina governor, helped facilitate dialogue between that government and rebel leader Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, who joined Hamdok today for a meeting that was rich in symbolism and hope.
Where things stand: The political situation remains precarious, as does access to food and other resources.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
1. Confidence in Trump to "do the right thing regarding world affairs" sits at 13% in Germany, 20% in France, 20% in Russia, 28% in Canada and just 8% in Mexico, per a Pew survey.
2. More than 1 billion mammals, birds and reptiles have died in Australia's horrific bushfires, according to a University of Sydney estimate.
3. War is horrible for the world. But it just may be good for the U.S. stock markets, Axios' Felix Salmon writes:
4. Average U.S. gas prices remained under $3 a gallon as war with Iran loomed over the past week, Axios' Amy Harder writes:
Angela Merkel meets Epiphany singers in Berlin. Photo: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images
1. Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called during a summit yesterday for a ceasefire in Libya, a conflict in which they’ve found themselves on opposite sides.
2. Putin is set to host Merkel this weekend, having invited her to Russia to discuss the Iran crisis.
Elsewhere in Europe...
Raise your hand if you hate political Islam. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images
Robert Worth portrays UAE ruler Mohammed bin Zayed as silent, cunning and extraordinarily powerful in a fascinating NYT Magazine profile out today.
The big picture: MBZ's campaign against Islamists has in the past several years brought him into an alliance with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, conflict with the Obama administration, enmity with Qatar and wars in Yemen and Libya.
An almost mythical scene in the ancient city of Bagan, Myanmar. Photo: Shwe Paw Mya Tin/NurPhoto via Getty
“They plan to shoot the camels from helicopters, and have promised they’ll be killed humanely.”— BBC World Service radio on Australia's plan to cull animals due to the fire crisis