Netanyahu and Abbas face off at the United Nations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will face off at the U.N. General Assembly. Abbas will appeal for an elevated non-member observer status at the United Nations, a year after a bid for statehood stalled. A U.S. State Department official said, "We have made very clear that our goal is to ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will face off at the U.N. General Assembly. Abbas will appeal for an elevated non-member observer status at the United Nations, a year after a bid for statehood stalled. A U.S. State Department official said, "We have made very clear that our goal is to resume direct talks and that the idea of going to the U.N. is not the road that takes us there." Shortly afterward, Netanyahu will focus his speech on "red lines" on Iran's nuclear development program. Israel has long been pushing the United States to impose an ultimatum on Iran to address suspicions it is seeking weaponization of its nuclear program. According to an Israeli official, "The prime minister will set a clear red line in his speech that will not contradict Obama's remarks. Obama said Iran won't have nuclear weapons. The prime minister will clarify the way in which Iran won't have nuclear arms." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also addressed the assembly on Wednesday in an atypical toned-down speech. However, he did slam capitalist policies and accused world powers of holding a double standard in pursing an arms race. In a news conference following the speech, he expressed internal political divisions citing disapproval of the Iranian government's economic policies.

Syria

The United Nations' refugee agency, UNHCR, has warned that up to 700,000 refugees might flee Syria by the end of the year. This number is dramatically larger than the previously estimated 100,000, which has already been surpassed. About 294,000 Syrians have already left. According to the agency, between 2,000 and 3,000 people a day are fleeing the civil war in Syria, seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Meanwhile the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has estimated more than 305 people died in clashes on Wednesday in one of the deadliest days in the 18 month conflict. The group estimates more than 27,000 people have died since fighting began in March 2011. In rural areas outside of Damascus, 55 people were reported killed, 40 who appeared to have been shot in cold blood in the town of al-Dhiyabia. Opposition forces have made gains in the two month long battle for Aleppo, forcing Syrian forces to curtail flights to and from the Abu Duhur Air Base after they shot down at least two MIG attack jets.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will face off at the U.N. General Assembly. Abbas will appeal for an elevated non-member observer status at the United Nations, a year after a bid for statehood stalled. A U.S. State Department official said, "We have made very clear that our goal is to resume direct talks and that the idea of going to the U.N. is not the road that takes us there." Shortly afterward, Netanyahu will focus his speech on "red lines" on Iran’s nuclear development program. Israel has long been pushing the United States to impose an ultimatum on Iran to address suspicions it is seeking weaponization of its nuclear program. According to an Israeli official, "The prime minister will set a clear red line in his speech that will not contradict Obama’s remarks. Obama said Iran won’t have nuclear weapons. The prime minister will clarify the way in which Iran won’t have nuclear arms." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also addressed the assembly on Wednesday in an atypical toned-down speech. However, he did slam capitalist policies and accused world powers of holding a double standard in pursing an arms race. In a news conference following the speech, he expressed internal political divisions citing disapproval of the Iranian government’s economic policies.

Syria

The United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, has warned that up to 700,000 refugees might flee Syria by the end of the year. This number is dramatically larger than the previously estimated 100,000, which has already been surpassed. About 294,000 Syrians have already left. According to the agency, between 2,000 and 3,000 people a day are fleeing the civil war in Syria, seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Meanwhile the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has estimated more than 305 people died in clashes on Wednesday in one of the deadliest days in the 18 month conflict. The group estimates more than 27,000 people have died since fighting began in March 2011. In rural areas outside of Damascus, 55 people were reported killed, 40 who appeared to have been shot in cold blood in the town of al-Dhiyabia. Opposition forces have made gains in the two month long battle for Aleppo, forcing Syrian forces to curtail flights to and from the Abu Duhur Air Base after they shot down at least two MIG attack jets.

Headlines  

  • At the U.N. General Assembly, new Egyptian and Yemeni presidents countered President Obama’s address and urged restrictions on free speech.
  • Iran jailed Ali Akbar Javanfekr, top press advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for publishing "offensive" material, in a political feud between the president and the Supreme Leader.
  • Turkey’s Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan said he might be open to talks with the Kurdish militant group, PKK, as the southeast has seen a spike in violence.

Arguments and Analysis

5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now‘ (Michael Doran and Max Boot, The New York Times)

"First, American intervention would diminish Iran’s influence in the Arab world. Second, a more muscular American policy could keep the conflict from spreading. Third, by training and equipping reliable partners within Syria’s internal opposition, America could create a bulwark against extremist groups like Al Qaeda, which are present and are seeking safe havens in ungoverned corners of Syria. Fourth, American leadership on Syria could improve relations with key allies like Turkey and Qatar. Finally, American action could end a terrible human-rights disaster within Syria and stop the exodus of refugees, which is creating a burden on neighboring states."

Imagining a post two-state solution for Israel and Palestine‘ (Antony Loewenstein, The Guardian)

"There has never been serious international pressure to implement a two-state solution; instead, Israeli settlement has been indulged. But moving the one-state idea from the fringes to the mainstream obliges defenders of the current situation to explain their reasoning behind endorsing a so-called solution that entrenches discrimination against Arabs. Now is the time to break open the debate."

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey 

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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