Syria – is there a role for Asad? US, Russia etc have not found a compromise
Rumours of a truce deal between Hamas and Israel denied by Netanyahu. But more than rumours.
Syrian Foreign Minister visits Oman, a possible mediator. US/Russian agreement on a Security Council resolution for debate today on chemical weapons in Syria.
Europe including Russia is moving to profit from the deal; what happens if it works, what happens if it doesn’t?
Saudi and Russian reports of a $10bn Saudi investment programme. Russian roads to be paved with Saudi gold.
Deputy crown prince Muhammad bin Salman’s visit to Paris maintains his high profile. Valuable contracts signed or under negotiation.
“The Russians are coming” says a Saudi newspaper. Plenty of hype, some substance.
Russian views on the IS are largely identical with western views. The Moscow Times of 25 August quotes Ilya Rogachyov, head of the Foreign Ministry’s department on new and arising threats. The Islamic State, a radical militant group terrorizing Iraq and Syria, also poses a threat to Russia. Fighters affiliated with the Islamic State could return home to Russia after having fought alongside the group in Syria. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov warned of such an outcome in December, as did the Federal Security Service …
Developments in Ukraine and Crimea have so far had no direct impact on the Middle East. Comment has been limited, mainly criticism of Moscow or Washington, more or less on cold war lines. There is recognition that if the crisis continues and sanctions increase, with Russia excluded from the G8 and possible cancellation of an EU-Russian summit planned for June, there could be a serious impact on those negotiations in which Russia has an inescapable role as a permanent member of the Security Concil, …