Morning Brief: A boost for Bibi

Top Story Binyamin Netanyahu’s bid to become Israel’s prime minister received a major boost after far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman pledged his support. Lieberman crucially conditioned his support on Netanyahu’s Kadima rival Tzipi Livni being brought into a governing coalition. Livni responded to the news by saying she would not participate in a government that did ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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588388_090219_liberman5.jpg

Top Story

Top Story

Binyamin Netanyahu’s bid to become Israel’s prime minister received a major boost after far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman pledged his support. Lieberman crucially conditioned his support on Netanyahu’s Kadima rival Tzipi Livni being brought into a governing coalition.

Livni responded to the news by saying she would not participate in a government that did not advance the peace process. “Kadima won’t provide cover for a government of paralysis,” she said.

President Shimon Peres is expected to meet with both leaders on Friday to discuss which one will be tasked with forming a government. A Netanyahu-Livni meeting is expected to take place soon as well.

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer told Haaretz that a government including Netanyahu and Lieberman would be a “bad combination” for U.S. interests and that advancing the peace process would now be “not impossible, but very difficult.”

Middle East

Egyptian political dissident and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour was unexpectedly released from prison. FP‘s Blake Hounshell and Marc Lynch comment.

Israel’s cabinet has made the lifting of the Gaza blockade contingent upon the release of imprisoned IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

A senior al Qaeda leader released a tape urging Yemenis to rise up against their government.

Asia

Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted to close the U.S. military base in the country. The law must now be signed by the president.

While visiting Indonesia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of the need for closer ties with the Islamic world.

As Clinton headed to Seoul, North Korea warned of war.

Americas

Barack Obama will address the topic of protectionism when he travels to Canada today.

A U.S. court ruled that 17 Chinese Uighurs, currently held in Guantanamo Bay, could not be released on U.S. soil.

Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius is reportedly the new favorite to take over the department of health and human services.

Europe

Russia and Georgia agreed on a legal framework intended to prevent future violence between the two countries.

In an historic break with past practice, Swiss bank UBS will cooperate with a U.S. Justice Department investigation and reveal the names of some clients.

Under pressure from labor unions, French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed to a package of welfare payments and tax cuts for the poor.

Africa

Despite still being held in prison, opposition politician Roy Bennett is due to be sworn in as a junior minister in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s stock market resumed trading after a three-month hiatus but is now using U.S. dollars.

Two Italian nuns who were captured in Kenya four months ago and held in Somalia have been freed.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Israel

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