“National Reconciliation” between West Bank and Gaza
The internationally recognised Palestinian government headed by President Mahmoud Abbas has sent a delegation to Gaza – a first since 2014 – in a bid to establish a national unity government that would see the Palestinian Authority take over administration of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, defeated Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party during the parliamentary elections. Following bloody clashes, Hamas and Fatah ruled Gaza and the West Bank respectively ever since.
In Historic Visit, Saudi Arabia and Russia Look to Reset Relations
A first by a reigning Saudi monarch, King Salman’s visit to Moscow points to converging interests between the decades-long rivals.
Both countries have been at odds over oil policies and Syria. But this visit promises reconciliation over clashes in Syria, a toning down of Russian criticism of Saudi offensive in Yemen, cooperation related to oil prices, and the signing of an arms deal.
Iraqi Forces Capture ISIS’ Stronghold in Northern Iraq
On Thursday, Iraqi forces reported that they have wrested control of Hawija, one of the more strategic areas in Iraq.
With this, what remains of ISIS’ territories in Iraq is a stretch along Iraq’s western border with Syria.
Watchdog Confirms Use of Sarin in Syria Attack
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found sarin in samples obtained from an opposition-held town in Syria.
OPCW is only responsible for ascertaining if chemical weapons had been used in the March 30 air strike in the northern Syrian town of Latamneh. A joint United Nations and OPCW body will determine who is to blame.
After Kurdish Referendum? More Elections and Sanctions.
On Tuesday, Iraq’s Kurdistan announced that it was calling presidential and parliamentary elections for November 1, a move that would take advantage of the popular mandate for independence and solidify the legitimacy of the Kurdish leadership prior to negotiations with Baghdad.
Following the controversial referendum, Baghdad’s central bank has frozen all currency transfers to Kurdistan and ceased sales of dollars to prominent Kurdish banks.
Calling the referendum “illegitimate” and a “foreign sectarian plot” respectively, Turkey and Iran have also promised “more decisive action” in response to the referendum.