US/Polish conference in Warsaw shifts focus from Iran to a wider agenda. “A new era” (Mike Pence) – not
Eight years after the Arab Spring and overthrow of Mubarak human rights abuses in Egypt by most measures worse than before. Macron dares to criticise.
IS all but defeated in Syria, reduced to guerrilla tactics as in Iraq and elsewhere. Remains a terrorist threat along with al-Qa’ida and other fragments.
Stagnation in Libya but action by Haftar in the south may bring on a crisis. Paris and Rome at odds.
Khashoggi – Turkey keeps up the pressure. Saudi Arabia on the back foot. Congress and media want action. US and other governments face a dilemma.
Syria – Idlib ceasefire holds. Turkey/Russia/Germany/France summit. Political agreement still elusive, many local problems.
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.
Syria – military action reduced, some practical normalisation. Idlib quiet but remains a massive unsolved problem.
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 …
Putin and Erdoğan agree a plan to avoid military action in Idlib, but the Idlib problem remains unsolved. Russian plane shot down by Asad forces, Putin cools it.