Netanyahu’s fourth Premiership

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The new Israeli government contains extremist elements. Unlikely to survive long. Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in putting together an Israeli coalition government with less than two hours to spare before a constitutional deadline at midnight on 6 May, commanding sixty-one seats in the one hundred twenty-seat Knesset. The New York Times quotes an Israeli commentator: “Nobody in his right mind believes that this will hold for even a short time.” According to a Reuters report the door is open to a “national unity” government bringing in …

Russia and the Middle East

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As sometimes in Cold War days, the congruence between Russian and Western interests in the Middle East is so close as to be almost embarrassing. But the Russian style has changed; asked by a listener how he got such a nice tan the Russian Foreign Minister replied "Just dark complexion, I take after my mother …

Turkey and Saudi Arabia

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Erdoğan visits Riyadh immediately after al-Sisi of Egypt and before Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan. A thaw, but Egypt remains a point of difference. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was among the leaders attending the funeral of King Abdullah last month, has paid a second visit to Saudi Arabia arriving in Jedda to perform …

UAE feud with Qatar: beware of spin

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Among various lobbyists the Norway-based GNRD has been particularly active in praising the UAE and its friends and in criticising Qatar. Its website claim to use "out of the ordinary and unique approaches" says it all. The UAE and Qatar have both been criticised for their use of spin doctors. Qatar has …

China and the Middle East

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Are linked by large and growing economic interests. China is developing its military, political and economic outreach. But Chinese entry into the region is hesitant for two reasons: the disorganisation and complications of the Middle East, and reluctance to mount yet another challenge to America. The Middle East is the …

Syrian dilemmas

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The US-led alliance has not found a convincing military and political strategy to deal with IS and the governments of Syria and Iraq. Time to reassess priorities and come to terms with the Asad regime? The declared military and political objectives of the US led alliance against IS do not correspond to reality in Syria today. In …

The Middle East: Russian views

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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 …