Report

Obama Says Stalled Peace Process Damages Credibility

President Obama said that it is has become difficult to defend Israel at the United Nations without the credible prospect of peace talks. “Up until this point we have pushed away against European efforts for example, or other efforts. Because we’ve said, the only way this gets resolved is if the two parties worked together,” ...

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President Obama said that it is has become difficult to defend Israel at the United Nations without the credible prospect of peace talks. “Up until this point we have pushed away against European efforts for example, or other efforts. Because we’ve said, the only way this gets resolved is if the two parties worked together,” he told an Israeli television show. “Well, here’s the challenge. If in fact, there’s no prospect of an actual peace process, if nobody believes there’s a peace process, then it becomes more difficult, to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation, it’s more difficult for me to say to them, ‘Be patient. Wait, because we have a process here,’ because all they need to do is to point to the statements that have been made to say, ‘There is no process.'”

The comments come amid discussion of a potential U.N. resolution proposed by France; the resolution would have France and potentially other countries unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state if peace talks are not concluded within 18 months. Obama’s comments could signal that the United States would allow a vote on the resolution rather than exercise its Security Council veto.

Assad Regime Supporters Prepare for Counteroffensive in Idlib

Supporters of the Assad regime, including foreign fighters and Shia militias, are preparing for a counteroffensive after hard losses to the Islamic State. Reports claim that possibly 20,000 fighters are moving to retake positions in Idlib province. The shift comes amid new rumors that Iran is reemphasizing its efforts to protect the Assad regime, possibly even calling for fighters to leave Iraq to fight in Syria.

Headlines

  • The Islamic State shut the gates of a dam on the Euphrates River near Ramadi, cutting off critical water supplies to pro-government towns to the east.

 

  • The United States and other coalition partners assured the Iraqi government of their security cooperation and pledged to expedite arms shipments to Baghdad at a conference in Paris.

 

  • With elections just four days away, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is looking increasingly threatened, with implications that could derail President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s career, pending constitutional reforms, and Kurdish reconciliation.

 

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Hamas’ killing of an Islamist in Gaza suspected of being a member of the Islamic State.

 

  • French police cleared 350 refugees from an encampment in northern Paris, including people who had fled Egypt, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan.

Arguments and Analysis

The ‘Islamic State’ Crisis and U.S. Policy” (Christopher M. Blanchard, Carla E. Humud, Kenneth Katzman, and Matthew C. Weed, Congressional Research Service)

“Prior to the Islamic State capture of Ramadi, U.S. officials and outside experts had publicly speculated about next steps in the Iraq campaign, with the underlying assumption that existing strategy and resource levels would eventually defeat the Islamic State in Iraq. There had been a debate over whether Iraq and the coalition should focus on liberating Mosul, or instead on expelling the Islamic State from Anbar Province. The Islamic State capture of Ramadi has prompted speculation that, to accomplish the stated objective of defeating the Islamic State, U.S. strategy and resource levels might change, even though White House spokesman Josh Earnest indicated following a May 19, 2015 meeting of the U.S. national security leadership team that U.S. strategy was still succeeding and would not change.”

 

Algeria’s Cabinet Reshuffle” (Abdallah Brahimi, Sada Journal)

“On the surface, these personnel adjustments signal the government’s desire to reform these sectors amid persistently low oil prices. Indeed, the government has tried to ration public expenditures and introduce austerity measures while also struggling to attract more foreign companies to its energy sector to help offset declining oil and gas production. But ongoing and high-profile corruption trials in the energy sector have caused Algeria’s political class to remain skeptical about whether the government is capable of reforming itself at all. They view the reshuffle as a politically convenient measure to sack ministers involved in recent corruption trials while ensuring the cabinet remains loyal to the Bouteflika clan.”

 

-J. Dana Stuster

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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