Discussions Around Potential Saudi-Israeli Normalization
On Tuesday, September 19, anonymous U.S. officials relayed that “the Biden Administration is discussing the terms of a mutual defense treaty with Saudi officials in an attempt to create a military pact… and normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.” The deal is expected to guarantee military support if Saudi Arabia or the U.S. is attacked in the Kingdom or the region. Further, the agreement may outline U.S. support in developing a civilian nuclear program for Riyadh.
Israel released a statement describing a Biden-Netanyahu meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly as mostly dealing “with ways to establish an historic peace agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”
A Middle East Policy article by Bilal Y. Saab examines Saudi Arabia’s transformation of its defense capabilities and the significant role of the U.S. in its national security.
Qatar Holds U.S.-Iran Talks
On Wednesday, September 20, sources informed Reuters that Qatar has held separate talks with the U.S. and Iran regarding Tehran’s nuclear program and drone transfers to Russia. Rather than “the kind of shuttle diplomacy Qatar conducted in Doha this year in which Qatari diplomats went back and forth between the two sides,” these meetings were described as “talks for talks,” or preparatory conversations for future indirect discussions.
The development has not been acknowledged by Qatari, Iranian, or U.S. spokespeople.
An article in Middle East Policy by Saoud Al-Eshaq and Amjed Rasheed evaluates Qatar’s foreign policy strategy in navigating the 2017 Gulf Crisis.
Iran Passes Hijab Bill
On Wednesday, September 20, Iran’s parliament passed the “Bill to Support the Family by Promoting the Culture of Chastity and Hijab” on a three-year trial basis. The legislation must next be approved by Iran's Guardian Council.
According to this bill, women guilty of breaking the Islamic dress code may face 5-10 years of prison time, and “women found guilty of ‘nudity, lack of chastity, lack of hijab, improper dressing and acts against public decency leading to disturbance of peace’ face severe punishments such as 60 lashes as well as prison time.”
A Middle East Policy article by Vahid Yucesoy analyzes the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s domestic politics and society.
On Friday, September 22, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad participated in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hangzhou, China. This engagement, which marked Assad’s first official trip to China in almost 20 years, announced “the establishment of the China-Syria strategic partnership.”
Xi noted the countries’ mutual opposition to foreign interference and conveyed Chinese plans to support Syrian reconstruction through infrastructure development.
An article in Middle East Policy by Saban Kardas and Bulent Aras studies the process of Syria’s recent normalization with the Arab League.
Foiled Terrorist Attack in Tehran
On Sunday, September 24, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced that authorities arrested 28 people for plotting to "carry out 30 simultaneous terrorist explosions in densely populated centers of Tehran to undermine security and incite riots and protests on the anniversary of last year's riots." The individuals were reportedly linked to the Islamic State, and several Iranian security personnel were injured during arrest operations.
A Middle East Policy article by Ali Akbar explains Iran’s approach to guaranteeing its security in the region.
Also Check Out
An article in Middle East Policy by Ioannis N. Grigoriadis and Olgu Dervişler explores the potential for innovation cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Morocco's royal palace announces $11.7bn post-earthquake reconstruction plan.
U.S. Ambassador the UN shares news of an additional $73 million in funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
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