Morocco’s right to exploit the resources of the Western Sahara is contested by Polisario and its supporters. Elsewhere on the Atlantic littoral, Mauritania has cooperated successfully with Senegal over shared water and gas resources.
A proposed cable-car line to the Old City of Jerusalem is facing multiple objections but may still get approval. The opening of tunnels under the Old City and the construction of a second tram line are also controversial.
Libya – Haftar strengthens his position, especially in the south, but faces opposition of uncertain strength. UN continues to work for elections.
Saudi Arabia shoots itself in the foot, bringing 10 women to trial for promoting lifting the ban on women driving.
Saudi Arabia – unrelenting international criticism even from those normally most friendly. Unconfirmed reports of goings-on in the family.
US/Polish proposal for a ministerial on the Middle East, but mainly on Iran. No takers so far.
Jordan – continuing protests over austerity and corruption. Remains a significant regional player. MBS doesn’t come.
Europe’s dilemma in the Middle East – its interests differ from those of the US but it bears some of the cost of US policies decided regardless of its interests, Palestine, Iraq, Iran. Khashoggi may be another example?
Khashoggi – murder evidence accumulates, but Saudi Arabia still in denial. Cautious reaction in the Middle East. Trump ambiguous, but strong reaction from Congress and from international finance.
Khashoggi murdered or renditioned to Saudi Arabia. Will international concern be enough to change policy towards the kingdom? There is now convincing evidence, short of absolute proof, that the prominent Saudi journalist and commentator Jamal Khashoggi (our posting of 3 October) was detained in the Saudi consulate general in Istanbul on 2 October and taken either dead or alive to Saudi Arabia. There is no evidence to support the Saudi claim that he left the building freely. In what follows we assume, like virtually all other commentators, that the Saudi …