By Carol Morello The Washington Post Wed., Feb. 13, 2019 WARSAW, POLAND—Arriving in Poland to host an international conference on Middle East peace and security, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that more than 30 foreign ministers would attend. As a measure of its prospects, however, many countries have signalled that they will not be sending their top diplomats to the meeting — possibly nearly half. As Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence prepare to welcome representatives of about 60 nations to Poland, co-host of the event, it is unclear what can be accomplished in a day of meetings over conflicts that have roiled the region for many years. What Pompeo originally billed as a major conference to pressure Iran on its regional influence, missile testing and terrorism is now as likely to be defined by what it is not — and who is not coming. Several key countries appear to be engaging in a subtle diplomatic snub to protest the Trump … [Read more...] about Pompeo shrugs off expected no-shows ahead of U.S.-hosted conference on Middle East
Instability in the middle east
RIYADH: A murdered Saudi journalist. A scrapped Iran nuclear deal. The two events alone have undone years of diplomacy in the Middle East, testing old alliances and shaking up the regional balance of power, analysts say. In another turbulent year for the tinderbox region, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad appeared ever more powerful and Washington’s promised Israeli-Palestinian peace plan seemed ever more elusive. Meanwhile, Russia — buoyed by its 2015 intervention in Syria to prop up Assad — has steadily asserted itself as a key powerbroker in the Middle East, stepping into a diplomatic void left by what observers see as a partial US retreat. US President Donald Trump, however, has staunchly backed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a key regional ally who has faced intense global criticism over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in Istanbul’s Saudi consulate in October. Trump has asserted the petro-state’s importance as a lucrative buyer of US … [Read more...] about Iran deal, Saudi murder: Turbulent year shakes up Middle East
It is true that the one thing we know nothing about is the future. It is also true that of all the regions of the world, that which is most unstable and thus unpredictable is the Middle East. What is true today was not true yesterday and will very likely not be true tomorrow. An illustrative case study is Syria. Trying to make sense of the kaleidoscope of organizations, factions, armies, religions and ideologies is a game for fools. Constant interference and intervention with the already sufficiently complex domestic forces on the part of outside states and organizations, especially Iran, Turkey, Russia, the United States, Israel, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and others turn analysis into necromancy. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox In the region as a whole, ranging from Egypt to Iran and from Turkey to Oman, there are very few constants, and the constants that do exist have to do with chaos and conspiracy – they indeed are always present. … [Read more...] about Will there be a sea change in the Middle East?
Japan should help to ease regional tensions by continuing to contribute through economic cooperation and confidence-building among relevant countries. Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a trip to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. It was his first visit to the UAE since 2013, and his first visit to Jordan and the other places since 2015. It is hoped his return there will help strengthen ties between Japan and the region. Regarding the Middle East peace issue, Abe announced anew Tokyo’s support for a “two-state solution”, in which Israel and Palestine coexist. The path toward attaining the solution is rocky. The administration of US President Donald Trump is pushing a pro-Israel policy, which includes the planned relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem. That has sparked a strong backlash from Palestinians, who are refusing peace negotiations mediated by the United States. Abe told Palestinian Authority … [Read more...] about Japan’s interests will be served by peace in the Middle East
FAREED ZAKARIA NEW YORK: There’s a lot to be optimistic about today. In almost every part of the world, economies are growing and war, poverty and disease are receding. But then there is the Middle East. Syria remains a collapsed country; more than five million of its people have already fled. Yemen is now the site of the world’s worst famine, and the war there seems unlikely to end anytime soon. Iraq, barely recovered from its own civil war and battle with the Islamic State, estimates it needs around $100 billion for reconstruction—money it does not have. And the danger of greater conflict in the region seems ever-present. We are now seeing fighting between Turkey and American proxies, and fire exchanged between Israel and Syria. Recently, US airstrikes killed perhaps dozens of Russian mercenaries in Syria, a worrisome escalation for the former Cold War adversaries. In dealing with the volatile situation, the Trump administration seems largely disengaged. Its … [Read more...] about America withdraws as the Middle East burns