surviving the siege. Further slow reform. A useful mediator.
Floods throughout the region this month causing death and destruction.
Syria – Idlib ceasefire holds. Turkey/Russia/Germany/France summit. Political agreement still elusive, many local problems.
Khashoggi – basic facts now accepted by Saudi Arabia and MBS himself. Strong words from Europe, somewhat stronger than before from Trump. Consequences still uncertain, but MBS permanently tarnished.
The “creeping annexation” of Area C (the largest part of the West Bank) has accelerated in the last three years. One of the parties in Israel’s coalition government openly advocates annexing it.
Erdoğan on murder of Khashoggi calm and careful but dismisses cover-up and calls for criminals to be brought to trial – some evidence of understanding with Salman.
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?
Saudi responsibility for killing Khashoggi seems to go to the top. Trump seeking to avoid commitment to protect arms sales, Kushner’s peace deal, and the oil price with his eye on the 6 November midterms. Turkey the key.
Egypt – more death sentences – action against Muslim Brotherhood – agreements with Russia, UK and EU.
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.