Report

Netanyahu Meets with Obama at the White House

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met privately for two hours yesterday at the White House. The meeting was the first face-to-face discussion for the leaders in more than a year, during which time tensions were strained by Israeli lobbying against the Iran nuclear agreement reached in July. During public remarks after the ...

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President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met privately for two hours yesterday at the White House. The meeting was the first face-to-face discussion for the leaders in more than a year, during which time tensions were strained by Israeli lobbying against the Iran nuclear agreement reached in July. During public remarks after the meeting, Netanyahu reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution and reportedly discussed confidence-building measures that could be taken with Palestinians, including “easing restrictions on communications, water usage and work permits in Israel and on Palestinian development in the West Bank,” the Associated Press reports. Obama called policy disagreements between his administration and Netanyahu’s on Iran’s nuclear program a “narrow issue” and stressed that the United States and Israel would try to “find common ground” on policies to address Iran’s other destabilizing activities. Obama and Netanyahu also began planning discussions for the renewal of a 10-year security agreement; U.S. diplomats will travel to Israel next month to hold talks on the deal, which is due for renewal in 2017.

Last night, Netanyahu was presented with an award at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC. This morning, he will speak at liberal think tank Center for American Progress, where the decision to host Netanyahu has garnered internal criticism.

Five People, Including Two Americans, Killed in Shooting in Jordan

Reports have established more information about the shooting in the cafeteria at the International Police Training Center, a U.S.-supported facility in Amman, Jordan, on Monday. A Jordanian police captain shot and killed five people, including two Americans contractors, a South African, and two Jordanians working at the facility. Six others were wounded. The assailant, who was shot and killed at the scene, has been identified as 29-year-old Anwar Abu Zaid. His motive is still unknown.

New from FP: Check out this week’s new Editor’s Roundtable (The E.R.) podcast. In this episode, David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, Kori Schake, and Ed Luce discuss the inevitable shift in the global affair’s infrastructure from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and why old alliances and “special” relationships are going to have to change accordingly. Listen and subscribe to The E.R. on iTunes and Stitcher: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI

Headlines

  • U.S. citizen John Hamen died in Yemen, according to the State Department; the circumstances of Hamen’s death are unclear, but reports speculated he could have been one of two U.S. contractors detained in Sanaa by Houthi rebels on October 20.

 

  • Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi congratulated the country’s National Dialogue Quartet on their recent Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Tunis; the recipients were “able to save the country from the spectre of civil war and from chaos,” he said.

 

  • U.S. citizen Sharif Mobley could receive a death sentence at a hearing in Sanaa, Yemen, on Wednesday, according to his lawyers who spoke to him recently; Mobley, who has previously been arrested for ties to al-Qaeda, is being tried for murder without a lawyer and said the prison in which he is being held has been bombed twice during the country’s current war.

 

  • Russia has finalized a deal to deliver S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran, fulfilling a contract that was suspended in 2010.

 

  • In its annual report on the potential for Turkish accession, the European Union criticized Turkey’s renewed conflict with its Kurdish population and noted that “significant shortcomings affected the independence of the judiciary as well as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.”

Arguments and Analysis

Proxies Aside: A closer look at the war in Yemen” (Michael Bronner interviewing Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Warscapes)

“In other words, the problem was not in the fact that the central government was weak. The problem was in the fact that the government was too centralized and too corrupt. What Yemen needed was strong local security. Yemen needed local police. Yemen needed local institutions that are accountable and transparent, that can provide services to the people. Because local institutions were underdeveloped and often hijacked by the central government, corruption prevailed and grievances increased. It’s because of corruption that unemployment and poverty increased, and people grew very frustrated with the government. A lot of these young people who have no jobs have fought: Some of them joined al-Qaeda and other armed groups, not because they believe in the ideology, but because they’re too frustrated with the government. The same thing was true, for example, in the South, when the government fought al-Qaeda in early 2014. Some members of the Southern Movement [who support a dissolution of the single state into the pre-1990 South and North Yemen] fought with al-Qaeda. These are secular people. But they fought with al-Qaeda because they’re fighting a common enemy, which is a Yemeni government that they see as illegitimate.”

 

ISIS and Israel” (Will McCants, Jihadica)

“Despite its threats, ISIS tanks won’t be rolling into the Holy Land anytime soon. Overthrowing the Israeli government is not a pressing priority for the ISIS high command. It’s more interested in taking over Sunni lands where state authority has broken down. Dabiq, ISIS’s English-language magazine, summarizes its strategy: weaken Muslim governments through terrorism, thereby creating security vacuums (literally, “chaos” or tawahhush). ISIS fighters will move in and  establish new state-like structures (idarat). So far, ISIS has stuck to this plan; its fighters are most active and successful in areas where there is a security void. Israel, which has one of the mightiest militaries in the Middle East, is the opposite of a security void. Theologically, the defeat of Israel is also a low priority. Unusual for a Sunni group, ISIS is motivated by Islamic prophecies of the End Times—or at least pays a lot of lip service to them. Those prophecies envisage the conquest of Jerusalem and a war with the Jews as the final act in the End Times drama. ISIS is still in the first act, the reestablishment of the caliphate. It still has to spread the caliphate throughout the world and defeat the Christian infidels.”

-J. Dana Stuster

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

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