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World War 3 memes as therapy: Coping with war and crisis through memes – Vox.com

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:23 am

After the news broke the first week of January that President Trump had ordered the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, one of the most rapid reactions to emerge amid the surprise and confusion was the memes.

Jokes about the possible fallout of Soleimanis death were instantly everywhere. They especially proliferated on TikTok and Twitter, where hashtags like #WW3 drove major trends for several days. A member of the subreddit r/ww3memes, created over two years ago, announced on January 3, Its time for this sub to rise. Its currently got over 43,000 subscribers.

You might think this type of reaction is juvenile or dismissive, but its really just human. Memes frequently operate as exemplars of larger trends, as well as stand-ins for cultural anxieties and ways to express and alleviate fears or other emotions through humor. The collectivism of memes, too, is a crucial part of their popularity, because their rapid and visible spread helps us all figure out how were feeling about some news trend or other issue.

So what were the memes telling us, if anything, about how teenage meme makers are perceiving the Iranian conflict and the larger, more abstract idea of a third World War?

Surprisingly, many of them seem to demonstrate far less fear than you might expect. In fact, the overall tone of the memes boiled down to a kind of cheerful ambivalence about the prospect of war.

There are definite gaps in the tone and subject of the memes from platform to platform. And they may already be part of a larger tonal shift away from the wholesome meme toward something a bit more suited to an era of apocalypse: a determination to party through the hard times to come.

After the news broke of Soleimanis assassination on January 2, memes about the turn of events exploded across Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms. The memes proliferated ideas about the prospect of World War III; about Iran and its culture; and about the hilarity and absurdity of sending a modern generation of teens and young adults off to war.

Despite having some universal themes across platforms, most memes about the war looked and felt much, much different from platform to platform. But the vast majority of them joked about people getting drafted to fight the war.

The American government eliminated the draft in 1973, but that didnt matter to the meme makers which makes sense, because fears about the draft being reinstated have always circulated among teens and young adults. In 2016, a false claim that Trump wanted to bring back the draft circulated around the internet as a part of the larger cultural anxiety over his campaign.

As it often does, Black Twitter was the first community to drive this meme. That also makes sense, given that a recurrent fear of the draft has been especially prevalent in black culture since the Vietnam War, when black men were disproportionately affected by the draft.

In other words, despite fears of a possible draft temporarily crashing the Selective Service website, the meme makers probably werent proliferating the idea that the draft still exists out of ignorance, but out of a sense of anxiety about the country fighting another war.

That ironic sense of merriment was a crucial component in all the memes. One thing that immediately struck me about the World War III memes on both Twitter and TikTok was how lighthearted their tone was despite the seriousness of the subject matter.

What was that about?

Again and again, the predominant theme associated with the World War III memes was the idea of Gen Zs general unpreparedness to fight in a war of any kind.

This humorous anxiety took the form of jokes framing normal millennials and Gen Z-ers showing up to the war just to party, or approaching it like a typical game of Fortnite or Call of Duty:

Do you have zero skills that can prepare you for battle? Are you learning Persian via Google? The memes tell you youre not alone in being hilariously underprepared for a real global emergency.

Theres another recurring theme that accompanies all this comedic haplessness in the face of an impending global crisis. On TikTok especially, theres a subset of memes that seem to relish the excitement and pure adrenaline of going to war.

Its rare to see any TikToks of the meme that say something serious about the war they do exist, but theyre far outnumbered by attempts to represent WWIII as a party.

As CNNs Fernando Alfonso III pointed out, World War III memes have been a thing on the internet for a while, particularly as conflict escalated between Trump and North Korea in 2017. And as the Atlantics Ian Bogost pointed out, the idea of World War III itself has been a looming specter since the Cold War, along with its threat of impending nuclear disaster.

The apocryphal nature of the next world war might help explain why so many of the memes are ambivalent about whether the war itself would be a good or bad thing for the country. But theres probably a simpler reason behind the ambivalence: When we make these jokes, were not thinking too deeply about what they all mean.

Theyre not very exciting to look at, to tell you frankly, Dr. Saleem Alhabash told me in a phone interview when I asked him if hed seen the World War III memes. Alhabash, a professor at Michigan State Universitys media psychology department, studies social media and the way people use memes as intercultural communication. Part of the meme response is about glorifying the war for sure, he told me, but also not realizing what war really is and what it means. So dealing with it in a laissez-faire kind of way.

Alhabashs research shows that whenever social media users participate online, often people arent thinking too deeply about what to post or share.

None of us would see something online and look at it for five, 10, or 20 or 30 minutes and discuss what the ramifications are of posting this or not, he explained.

Were also driven to make content based on what we think other people want to see on social media which might explain why memes themselves get reified so easily: They show us what we think people want to see, so we make more of them. Alhabashs point, however, is that this can be a very knee-jerk experience, which doesnt really lend itself to reflective war memes.

Theres also an issue of jumping on the wagon the feeling that I have to be part of the conversation, I have to remain relevant on social media and be part of the general discussion at times without really understanding the issue in depth, he said.

To Alhabash, the non-linear nature of memes in spaces like TikTok has a huge role to play in shaping public discourse. Think of TikTok as a place where memes arent so much purely copied like a straightforward retweet as they are shared with additional commentary. Only the share usually involves the next user adding new personal imprints to the original footage, usually either new music to existing footage or new footage to existing music.

Theres a certain level of originality [on TikTok] and putting yourself within the narrative of that particular team, Alhabash said. You become part of the narrative and it becomes part of you.

So a meme that might start out calling attention to one idea in one way might wind up calling attention to a completely different idea in another way. By the time a meme has been shared numerous times, it might have a completely different meaning in a completely different context.

Take this changing perspective on the dancer in the memes below. In both memes, the main joke is about assimilation into the war. But in the first meme, the memes point of view is from the dancer; in the second, its from the kidnapped men around her.

These are significantly different ways of framing our relationship to Iran and its people, but theyre both equally important examples of how people are thinking about the war. Because as the memes and their narratives travel and spread, they help shape the larger cultural narrative about Iran itself just as all memes, from toxic to wholesome, help create cultural narratives.

Things just unfold and keep on unfolding. And then [the topic] becomes so dynamic that theres no way to pinpoint what is the cause of someone thinking in a particular way about the world in 2020, Alhabash said. Because, after all, theyre part of making that narrative and influencing how it evolves over time.

Despite Alhabashs reservations about how effective the WWIII memes were at making salient political points, he pointed out that the anxiety the memes expressed is real. These memes, the way that people are communicating, could be a reflection of the general feeling that people are having this uncertainty about what is going to happen, and how severe this trend is. So while they might appear humorous or [dismissive] of the seriousness, they can reflect [public] sentiment.

The memes seem to follow a recent trend of viral internet humor as a coping mechanism memes that are more overtly psychological than the usual wholesome meme, and more upfront about the touch of nihilism that drives them. There are two obvious recent references for this self-aware state of mind. The first is the are you in the right headspace? meme, which spawned last month as a deeply sarcastic response to a Twitter thread inviting people to ask their friends if theyre in the right headspace to receive information that can possibly hurt you. The resulting meme has been frequently used to ironically frame its subjects as overblown drama. World War III? No exception:

The second example is the do what you need to cope meme, which emerged near the end of 2019 and has been hugely popular into the beginning of 2020. The format usually involves a fictional character and starts with the banal canceling plans is okay only to then rapidly escalate through overdramatic plot points before coming to rest at do what you need to cope.

There are WWIII variants of this meme as well, though theyre a bit bleaker than the norm.

The basic idea here, as Alhabash points out, is that the World War III meme itself isnt just about war. Its about the larger cultural mood and the ways in which we receive, express, and amplify that mood. Alhabash expressed doubts about how self-aware this process was. But for a subset of the meme makers and their audience, the war jokes are helping quell anxiety and keep things lighthearted.

In other words, the making of memes is a form of doing what you need to cope.

Its worth noting, however, that some situations do seem to be utterly too dark to meme there are virtually no memes about the Australian bushfires, for example and that ironically might be cause for hope. If the potential global conflict is something we can joke about, then it might mean that our prevailing emotion is still hope that it wont happen.

Still, Alhabash cautioned that the memes are a kind of canary in the coal mine for a larger social media response to future emergent political situations.

In any kind of political tension, whether it is local, regional, national or global, social media is part of the warfare, he said. And this is something to look for in any future crisis.

In other words, keep your eye on the memes and not just because they might help you figure out how you feel about an increasingly complicated world.

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World War 3 predictions: Where would WW3 be fought? Is there going to be a WW3? – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 10:23 am

Iran has accused the European nations of abusing the process.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: The usage of the dispute mechanism is legally baseless and a strategic mistake from a political standpoint.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the Iran nuclear deal should be replaced.

Mr Johnson has recognised US concerns that the 2015 deal was flawed, but has underlined the need for a solution to preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast he said: If were going to get rid of it then we need a replacement. Lets replace it with the Trump deal.

However, Irans President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed the proposed new Trump deal aimed at resolving the growing nuclear conflict.

He has said it was a strange offer and has criticised President Trump for breaking promises.

In a televised speech, the Iranian President told Washington to return to the 2015 nuclear pact between Tehran and world powers, adding that Iran could reverse its moves to scale back its commitments under the pact.

Given the escalated tensions between Iran, the US and Europe, it seems likely World War 3 would break out between these countries.

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WW3 chaos: Iran releases terrifying video showing Trump being assassinated and US attacked – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 10:23 am

The horrific clip was released by the state-controlled Fars News Agency on January 10, and shows officials from Iran plotting their revenge following the killing of top general and Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. The Middle East Media Research Institute TV Monitor Project posted a transcript of the video. It begins with a group of men hearing of the assassination of Soleimani, whose vehicle was hit during an air strike by US forces near Baghdad Airport on earlier this month.

They can be seen gathering around a board which has a hit list and pictures of possible targets, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Bin Salman.

One Iranian officialssaid: We are going for the big fish. A fish rots from the head down.

Another said: We should target his head.

They then discuss a possible attack, before agreeing to it after one of the men says: Lets do it.

The men can be seen meeting and talking about the attack, with one says: Take note - we will not be using walkie-talkies.

I know that this will make coordination more difficult.

Our cue will be the firing of an RPG? Are we clear?

The remaining men in the room then voice their approval to this.

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Armed men target and surround the Capitol Building in Washington before it bursts into flames amid loud screaming.

Several of the men then rush into the building and shoot hundreds of bullets at it from a distance, shouting: Go, go, go, go, go, go!

The men, still armed, are then seen walking over the fake blood-stained and lifeless bodies, including that of Donald Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which are surrounded by flames.

A voice clip of Mr Trump confirming the killing of Soleimani can then be heard, in which the US President labelled him the number one terrorist in the world.

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The shocking video comes as Iran announced it had made arrests over the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane.

Irans judiciary last night claimed several people have been detained over the accidental shooting down of the passenger plane with a missile.

Spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said investigations into the incident were continuing, while President Hassan Rouhani said the probe would be overseen by a special court.

He told a news conference in Tehran: We will investigate the extent to which US warmongering caused this event. Several people have been detained and the investigation continues.

President Rouhani said the judiciary would assemble a special court with a high-ranking judge and dozens of experts to oversee the investigation.

He said in a televised speech: This will not be a regular and usual case. The whole world will be watching this court.

Irans President also stressed the tragic event should not be blamed on one individual.

He added: Its not only the person who pulled the trigger, but also others who are responsible.

Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down by a missile shortly after taking off from Tehran last Wednesday.

It killed all 176 people on board, most of whom were Iranian and Canadian citizens.

Iran had initially denied had shot down the Boeing 737-800, instead blaming the crash on a technical failure.

But as evidence and suggestions of a cover-up mounted, the Revolutionary Guards claimed the operator of a missile defence system had mistaken the aircraft for a US cruise missile, and shot it down.

Tensions had been mounting significantly since the killing of Soleimani, with Iran then firing ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq in retaliation.

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WW3 news: Rockets fired at US base – Is World War 3 about to happen? – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 10:23 am

Rockets have been fired at a US air base in Iraq, according to reports. Sky News has reported a missile landed near Camp Taji, north of Baghdad in Iraq.

Unconfirmed reports say at least three people have been injured, including one member of the Iraqi security forces.

Danny Makki, a freelance journalist based in the Middle East tweeted the injured security member is reportedly Iraqi".

He added: One of the Katyusha rockets landed near one of the gates, with a member of security forces apparently wounded. 2 katyusha rockets have reportedly hit Camp Taji.

The BBC's correspondent covering Iraq, Nafiseh Kohnavard, says no rocket hit the base itself.

Heightened tensions between Iran and the US has sparked fears World War 3 is on the horizon.

In response to the killing of General Soleimani, Iranian leaders and politicians issued fiery statements promising revenge.

The Iranian retaliation saw two precise missile strikes on military bases in Iraq where US and allied troops were stationed.

Irans foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted after the strikes: We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.

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WW3 fears: Rockets fired from Gaza at Israel – Is the world on brink of war? – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 10:23 am

At least four rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday according to the Israeli military. Israel then responded with airstrikes against facilities belonging to the Hamas militant group.

Despite the tit-for-tat attacks, no one was injured on either side of the Israel-Gaza border.

The Israeli military said in a statement their Iron Dome air defence system had shot down two of the rockets.

Israel's Channel 13 television said the other two struck uninhabited areas.

Warning sirens sounded in Israeli communities close to Gaza, pre-empting the rocket impacts.

Read More:US President's fury with UK after Middle East intervention revealed

Israel's Magen David Adom ambulance service said no injuries or damage were reported in the first such attack in three weeks.

The Gaza Strip did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.

Israel keeps the Strip under blockade stating this is due to security concerns over Hamas - the dominant armed movement in the Palestinian territory.

The Israeli military said in response to the rocket attack, its warplanes struck several "Hamas terror targets" in the northern Gaza Strip, including a weapons manufacturing facility and an armed compound.

Ehud Yaari, an Israel-based fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told the New York Times: They have a tendency to try and stretch the terms and improve what theyre getting by flexing their muscles.

However, it could be a stray rocket killing innocent civilians or political changes could trigger all-out conflict.

Elsewhere, tensions have grown of late following the US assassination of a top Iranian general and the retaliation against US airbases in Iraq.

However, the conflict between the US and Iran has appeared to have eased, despite harsh sanctions imposed on the Middle Eastern country by President Donald Trump.

Now attentions have turned to Iran withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal - which has resulted in the UK, Germany and France accusing the country of breaking the agreement or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as it is known.

The 2015 nuclear accord limits Irans nuclear capabilities but a statement released from Tehran on January 5 read: From here on, Iran's nuclear program will be developed solely based on its technical needs.

Now a joint statement from Britain, France and Germany threatened action against Iran for this move away from compliance.

The statement said they had warned Iran on December 6 unless it reversed course, we would have no choice but to take action, but Iran has chosen to further reduce compliance.

On Tuesday, the countries set in motion the nuclear deals dispute resolution process, stating, in good faith, with the overarching objective of preserving the JCPOA and in the sincere hope of finding a way forward through constructive diplomatic dialogue.

The countries said they did not agree with Mr Trump withdrawing from the JCPOA in 2018 and added they would not be adding to his campaign of maximum pressure to the detriment of Irans economy.

They said: Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance.

As yet there has been no response from Iran on the statement.

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WW3: Is World War 3 about to happen? Will there be another war? – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 10:23 am

On Friday, January 3, a US drone strike killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani - triggering outrage and pledges for retaliation from Iran. World leaders called for de-escalations following the assassination US PresidentDonald Trump sanctioned, but Iran responded on Wedensday with 20 rockets hitting US bases in Iraq.

The attack - carried out on Wednesday morning - saw Iran send around 20 ballistic missiles to airbases housing US troops in Iraq.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said the attack was in retaliation for the death of General Soleimani on Friday.

Soleimani was regarded as the second-most important person in Iran, behind only Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah.

Now, following his death,Iran has said it will not be respecting the restrictions laid out in the 2015 nuclear accord.

A statement released last Sunday said: Iran will continue its nuclear enrichment with no limitations and based on its technical needs.

Read More:WATCH Iran plane crash: Unseen footage shows moment of fiery blast

The head of the European Commission said on Monday that Iran must comply with the 2015 nuclear deal adding her voice to international calls for Iran to help salvage the pact that US PresidentDonald Trumpwithdrew from in 2018.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement: We are deeply concerned by Iran's announcement that it will not respect the limit set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) any longer,"

"From a European viewpoint, it is important for Iran to return to the nuclear deal. We have to convince Iran that it's also in its own interest.

Ms Von der Leyen confirmed EU foreign ministers will hold a special session on Friday.

All eyes are on the promised retaliation from Iran, who has vowed severe revenge against the US.

But after the Iranian missile attacks, the nation's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter: Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.

We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.

There has as of yet been no declaration of war between the US and Iran.

Many fear the recent attacks could be the start ofWorld War 3with the hashtags #WW3 and #WorldWar3 trending on Twitter shortly after Soleimani's death was announced.

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Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington said: "Iran has no choice but to strike back and retaliate for the assassination of Major General Soleimani.

"But the Islamic Republic is patient and the timing and nature of that strike is not yet known to us."

US President Donald Trump has published a series of tweets following Irans decision to not respect the 2015 accord.

In his tweets, he spoke of the US military being by far the BEST in the World and vowing to return any attack Iran made against the US.

Mr Trump wrote: The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World!

If Iran attacks an American Base or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!

He later tweeted: They [Iran] attacked us, & we hit back.

If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!

He also tweeted in entirely capital letters: IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!

Mr Trump reiterated this in an address from the White House on Wednesday, saying while he was in office he would make sure Iran would never possess nuclear weapons.

He called on the UK, Germany, France, Greece, China and Russia to abandon the Nuclear accord which the US withdrew from in 2018.

The US President said:"Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism.The time has come for the United Kingdom,Germany,France, Russia and China to recognize this reality.

"They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal -- or JCPOA -- and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place."

Iran has now announced its military "unintentionally" shot down the Ukrainian jetliner which crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 aboard.

The Iranian government had previously repeatedly denied Western accusations that it was responsible.

The plane was shot down early on Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad. No-one was wounded in the attack on the bases.

A military statement carried by state media said the plane was mistaken for a "hostile target" after it turned towards a "sensitive military centre" of the Revolutionary Guard.

The military was at its "highest level of readiness," it said, amid the heightened tensions with the US.

"In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit," the military said. It apologised and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.

Allies of both Iran and the US have weighed in on the conflict, calling for a de-escalation.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab became the latest Government figure to distance the UK from US President Donald Trump's suggestion that Iranian cultural sites could be targeted.

He said: "We have been very clear that cultural sites are protected under international law and we would expect that to be respected."

Speaking after a meeting of senior ministers to discuss the crisis, Mr Raab said: "Clearly our first priority is to make sure that UK nationals, citizens, shipping, diplomatic missions and military personnel are safe.

"We've changed our travel advice, we are going to be reinforcing in due course the Royal Navy protection for shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

"On a diplomatic front our overwhelming message that the Prime Minister and I are conveying to our European and American counterparts, and also critically our partners in the Middle East, is the importance of deescalating the tensions and finding a diplomatic way through this crisis."

However, Mr Trump has been adamant the US took action to stop a war, not to start one.

However Iranian general Esmail Ghaani, who has taken Soleimanis place as head of Irans Quds Force, has stated Iran will be taking actions against the US as revenge for the death of Soleimani.

Ghaani told Iranian state television on Monday: God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly, actions will be taken.

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World War 3 MAPPED: The SIX places where WW3 could break out in 2020 – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 10:23 am

World War 3 concerns have been triggered worldwide following the death of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in a US airstrike. In response, Iran has sworn to exact harsh revenge, promising Iran and the other free nations of the region will take revenge for this gruesome crime from criminal America. Express.co.uk has compiled a guide for the flashpoints where World War 3 is most likely to erupt in 2020.

On Friday, January 3, the USA undertook a drone airstrike following a series of orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the past few months and attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad, all of which was done on the orders of General Soleimani.

US President Donald Trump approved of the assault on General Soleimani claiming the action was undertaken to make the world a safer place.

In a statement, the Pentagon said: At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qassem Soleimani.

It added: This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.

The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.

Now Iran has sworn harsh revenge and promised to turn day into night.

This assassination has been dubbed by many high-ranking Iranians a declaration of war.

Donald Trump has warned the US could act disproportionately if Iran targets any American person or target in revenge for the killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Since that time, Iran "unintentionally" shot down a Ukranian passenger jet which saw 176 people killed.

READ MORE:Iran attack: Ukranian plane shot down accidentally, says US

Tensions between Iran and Israel have been frustrated for a while with low-intensity warfare raging across the Middle East as a result.

The former nation supports anti-Israel groups in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon in particular, while Israel often strikes at Iranian forces across the region.

Overall, Israel has endeavoured to create an anti-Iran coalition at a diplomatic level, while Iran has invested in cultivating ties with militias and non-state actors.

While it may be difficult to claim these nations will launch into a wider war if Iran is determined to restart its nuclear program, Israel may choose to engage in wider strikes hitting the Iranian homeland directly.

This type of assault could have wider implications as it could prove to be a threat to global oil supplies which would inevitably cause more nations to intercede.

Tensions between the US and Turkey has heightened over the past year, initially as a result of the US providing authorisation to Turkey to clear the Syrian border of US-supported Kurds.

However, immediately afterwards, the US threatened Ankara with sanctions, causing tensions to rise.

Additionally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested he has aspirations for Turkey which could involve nuclear weapons.

As a result, the state of the US-Turkey relationship has worsened, causing fear about the subsequent impact on the NATO alliance.

President Erdogan is known for being passionate about his plan which could force Washington and Ankara to the very edge and have a result on Russia who is a neighbouring nation.

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In the past 10 years, the relationship between India and Pakistan has worsened, bringing the countries to the brink of war.

Since the partition of British India in 1947 and the subsequent creation of India and Pakistan, the two countries have been involved in a number of wars, conflicts and military stand-offs interspersed with periods of harmony and peace.

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempted to reduce the autonomy of Kashmir and to change citizenship policies within the rest of India.

These steps have caused some unrest within India and highlighted the long-standing tensions between Delhi and Islamabad.

Further domestic disturbances in India and Pakistan could lead to World War 3.

While this is unlikely, it could lead to terrorist attacks internationally or in Kashmir.

President Modi might then feel forced to bring on a more serious conflict and given Chinas vicinity, and the growing relationship between Delhi and Washington could lead to more disastrous international implications.

Fundamental tensions at the heart of the US-North Korea relationship could result in combative action.

Tensions between the two countries now stand as high as at any time since 2017, and the impending US election could imperil relations further.

President Trumps administration appears to hold out hope a deal with North Korea could improve its electoral prospects in November.

But North Korea has little to no interest in Mr Trumps offering.

Recently, North Korea promised a Christmas present that many in the United States worried would be a nuclear or ballistic missile test.

However, this was not the case, but if the country did undertake a nuclear test, the US might be forced to intervene.

The US-China relationship has been particularly tense in recent years.

A trade deal between the two countries would seem to alleviate some tensions but implementation remains in question.

Currently, the worlds two largest economies are locked in a bitter trade battle.

The dispute, which has simmered for nearly 18 months, has seen the US and China impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of one anothers goods.

President Trump has long accused China of unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft, while in China, there is a perception that the US is endeavouring to curb its rise as a global economic power.

At the same time, China has worked defiantly to assure its relations with Russia, while the US has sparked controversies with both South Korea and Japan, its two closest allies in the region.

Donald Trump and President Xi have staked much of their political reputations on the trade situations in each country and therefore both have incentives for diplomatic and economic escalation.

If the situation were to escalate, it could lead to military confrontation in areas such as the South or East China Seas.

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World War 3: Is World War 3 official? Will WW3 happen and will the UK get involved? – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 10:23 am

In the aftermath of the drone strike, World War 3 has been trending across social media.

Millions have expressed concern about the assassination and whether it could become the trigger for World War 3.

General Soleimani. 62, was responsible for commanding the Quds Force and attained celebrity status as a military mastermind for Irans war efforts in Syria and Iraq.

Since his death, several high-ranking Iranians have condemned the execution of General Soleimani.

The countrys President, Hassan Rouhani, promised Iran would continue to resist American expansionism and take revenge on the dead generals behalf.

Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami said: A crushing revenge will be taken for Soleimanis unjust assassination... We will take revenge from all those involved and responsible for his assassination.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: The US act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani... is extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation. The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.

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World War 3: Is World War 3 official? Will WW3 happen and will the UK get involved? - Express.co.uk

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How Americans and Iranians are using memes and hashtags to cope with conflict – CNN

Posted: at 10:23 am

That's right, memes, those images you see on social media that are created, shared, remixed and shared again.

A cursory glance at any of the content posted there is sure to leave the impression of a disingenuous and foolhardy person. But a deeper look reveals a far more complex portrait of a people using humor to mask their deep sense of dread.

One person familiar with the feeling is Kate Hewitt, a federal contractor and adviser at Girl Security, a nonprofit organization that educates girls in middle and high school on national security. She has authored several articles on Iran and researched the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"People are certainly afraid and sometimes pictures, GIFs, memes and tweets can express what you either don't know how to or don't want to fully articulate," she told CNN.

"It's certainly easier for some people to see a meme that takes a serious issue, like what's happening with rising US-Iranian tensions, and makes you laugh either because it is absurd or you're afraid or you don't fully understand the issue," Hewitt said.

The threat of "WWIII" has loomed large on the internet for years

The subreddit languished for more than two years until a week ago. The forum's growth has been extraordinary, Price said.

"It was a huge shock. I actually completely forgot about the subreddit until it started growing last week," Price told CNN. "I think memes just happen whenever there's a big cultural event, regardless of the nature of it. A few years ago, a movement seemed to start where the darker the joke was, the more popular the meme was and I guess these new ww3 memes are just an extension of that."

Withorne cited the overuse of "the draft," instead of "conscription" or "selective service" on Twitter, and how people feared getting called up to serve in the US military.

"I think the language used specifically in the memes is particularly interesting and perhaps indicates that the people making them are not familiar with international conflict," Withorne told CNN via email. "I think this unawareness of the linguistics they are using is indicative of an unawareness about the nature of conflict itself and could be potentially dangerous as tensions continue to rise."

The simmering tension in the Middle East hits close to home for Iranians

While many Americas are using memes to filter their fears, Reza Akbari, a 22-year-old from Mashhad, Iran, used his Twitter account to share his unadulterated feelings.

Many of Akbari's other tweets include anger over the airstrikes that killed Qasem Soleimani, a revered and powerful figure. Soleimani loomed large in Iran as the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps elite Quds Force and the leader of the country's overseas operations.

"Still tears streaming down our eyes with his name and his memory ... and only with a vengeance on his killers Iran will lose a bit of our sadness ...Iran have nothing to do with the common people of US. Iran is taking revenge on US politicians," Reza told CNN through a Twitter message after the funeral.

Hannah Kaviani, a journalist at Radio Farda, the Iranian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, believes that recent history may explain why Iranians have responded on social media in their own way.

Iran, no stranger to military conflicts, has lived under the threat of war before.

"There are still pictures of soldiers of that war on the walls of cities and many streets around town bear their names. The state media is also very much trying to keep that memory alive through its own propaganda tools. But then I also think youth in Iran, due to so many different reasons, get involved in socio-political matters much sooner than in the West," Kaviani said.

"You see jokes going around on social media and messaging apps, about all sort of heavy news coming from inside and outside of the country," Kaviani told CNN.

"Obviously the talk of heightened tension between Iran and the US in the past days is the number one topic being discussed among Persian-speaking users on all platforms, and it has caused hot debates among those who believe a confrontation with the US can rid Iran from its current regime, those who are against war, and others who think Islamic Republic should confront the US."

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Zachary B. Wolf, Amir Vera and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this story.

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How Americans and Iranians are using memes and hashtags to cope with conflict - CNN

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WW3: Britons in this country urged to leave immediately as FCO issue new travel warning – Express

Posted: at 10:23 am

World War Three is alarmingly seeming more likely than ever as Iran/USA tensions boil. The Iranian crisis escalated after the USA killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike. Iran threatened severe revenge in response and on Tuesday Tehran fired ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases home to American troops.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard went on to warn the USA and its allies against responding militarily to any Iranian retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani.

The Guard issued the warning via a statement: We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted, reported Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.

As tensions rise, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have updated their travel advice to affected areas.

A number of countries in the Middle East now come with travel warnings, including Dubai, Turkey and Egypt.

READ MORE:World War Three: Safest countries in the world mapped

Today, the FCO issued an urgent warning to Britons in Iran and urged them to return home.

They now warn against travelling to the country. The FCO said: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to Iran.

Additionally, the FCO advise against all air travel to, from and within Iran. If youre in Iran, you should review your departure options and consider leaving the country.

There are heightened tensions in the region. On 8 January 2020, Iran fired missiles against two military bases in Iraq containing US personnel.

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Tensions between Iran and other countries could escalate rapidly. Anger inside Iran is high, following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on 3 January.

There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests and the security situation could worsen with little warning.

To add to the escalating tensions, a Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed moments after it left Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran at 6.10am local time (2.40am GMT) on Wednesday, bound for the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. There were 176 passengers on board flight PS752, all of whom died.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has since said he has "a body of information" that shows Iran is to blame for the crash.

However, Irans government spokesperson Ali Rabiei has since denied the country is responsible for the crash.

He said reports that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane is a psychological warfare against Tehran.

The FCO said of the tragedy: There is uncertainty surrounding the crash on 8 January of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight shortly after take-off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran.

If you decide to travel by air against FCO advice, contact your airline or travel company for the latest information before travelling.

Flight schedules may be subject to cancellation at short notice. There are alternative land and sea-based routes to leave Iran.

The Foreign Office issued advice to anyone still in Iran at this time. In the event of a sudden deterioration in the security station, there may be limits to the assistance the FCO can provide, depending on the security and transport situation, said the FCO.

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