U.S. and Israeli Officials Prepare for Meeting Next Week
Israeli and U.S. officials are staking out the subjects that will be discussed when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington, DC, next week. It will be the first time President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in person in more than a year. Israeli officials say they are hoping to use the trip to secure ...
Israeli and U.S. officials are staking out the subjects that will be discussed when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington, DC, next week. It will be the first time President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in person in more than a year. Israeli officials say they are hoping to use the trip to secure a new military aid package worth $5 billion annually, taking effect in 2017; Israel’s current aid package is worth $3 billion. Obama administration officials say that they have accepted there are no realistic options for reaching a two-state solution during the remainder of President Obama’s term and that his concern in the meeting will be to push for policies that preserve a two-state option at some point in the future.
Political tensions between the United States and Israel were strained again this week when Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed Ran Baratz as his new government spokesman. Reports of Baratz’ Facebook posts calling President Obama anti-semitic and insulting Secretary of State John Kerry surfaced shortly after the appointment. Baratz has apologized for his comments and will not be part of the delegation traveling to Washington.
Britain Struggling to Return Thousands Stranded in Sharm El-Sheikh
An international team of forensic investigators from Russia, France, and Ireland is working to determine whether the Metrojet plane that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula last Saturday was brought down by a bomb. Concerns about a bomb attack led British officials to suspend flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, but now thousands of British tourists are struggling to get home. EasyJet, which was supposed to evacuate British citizens, say their efforts have been halted by the Egyptian government, a charge the Egyptian government denies.
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- Turkey is considering escalating against the Islamic State, with options including new military strikes, Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu said at a press conference in Erbil, Iraq.
- The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a U.N. group, has concluded that mustard gas was used in an August 21 attack in Marea, Syria, where rebels were fighting against the Islamic State.
- Turkish police raided houses and arrested 20 people suspected of ties to the Islamic State in the city of Antalya; the raids come a week before the city is due to host a summit of G20 leaders.
- The United States charged four men of conducting an eight-year effort to raise money for al-Qaeda that culminated in the transfer of $22,000 to an associate of Anwar al-Awlaqi in 2012.
- Russian officials say they have delivered “23 tonnes of humanitarian aid,” including tents and food, to the Houthi rebel-held capital of Yemen; Russia previously delivered aid to Yemen in July.
Arguments and Analysis
“Moscow Looks for Phase Two in Syria” (Nikolay Kozhanov, Carnegie Moscow Center)
“On the one hand, Moscow and Tehran will have to work on Bashar al-Assad, who is well known for his obstinacy and political inflexibility. On the other hand, the standard Russian line is that it’s not obvious who Assad will need to negotiate with. The Syrian opposition is fragmented and it will take a lot of effort to form a group that can be a viable negotiating partner. Russia’s invitation to Assad to visit Moscow on October 20 appears to have had two goals. While discussing the strategic parameters of military cooperation between Moscow and Damascus, Putin also wanted to check whether Assad would agree to stick to Moscow’s plan for a political settlement. That would involve the gradual transformation of the Syrian regime by making it more inclusive, something that Assad might be inclined to reject.”
“Unraveling Yemen’s Civil War” (Adam Baron, Cairo Review of Global Affairs)
“Meeting with Yemeni politicians during a recent trip to Riyadh — ostensibly all supporters of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government — it was remarkable how harsh criticisms of Hadi, his closest allies, and their leadership capacity dominated the discussion. Such criticisms even outnumbered expressions of disdain for the rebels who had forced their flight from Yemen to Saudi Arabia in the first place. It is a testament to the deep fissures long underlining Yemen’s political scene: trust between various sides has collapsed. A casual reading of the political roadmap suggests a war being waged by two sides — that is, the country’s Saudi-backed government and the rebels who overthrew them in a coup. The reality is far more complicated. Both factions may allege that they constitute ‘one hand’ against their opponents, but any look below surface level only underlines the extent to which Yemen’s political scene remains riddled by divides, new and old. This is the case both within and without the country’s political establishment.”
-J. Dana Stuster
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images