[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials related to other countries` foreign policies toward the Middle East. It does not reflect the views of the Foreign Policies Roundup Editors of Jadaliyya. You may send recommendations for inclusion in the Foreign Policies Media Roundup to firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning "Foreign Policies Roundup" in the subject line.]
Japan still has no Iran sanctions waiver after talks with U.S. officials (1 November 2018) Japan announced that it had not yet been granted a waiver a US plan to re-impose sanctions aimed at cutting Iran out of international markets.
Trump, Erdogan discuss northern Syria (1 November 2018) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump discussed Manbij and Idlib in northern Syria, and stressed their determination to strengthen ties.
Pompeo says “handful more weeks” before U.S. responds to Khashoggi killing (1 November 2018) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that it will be a “handful more weeks” before the United States had enough evidence to impose sanctions in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
U.S., Turkey begin joint patrols around Syria’s Manbij (2 November 2018) Turkish and US troops began joint patrols in the northern Syrian city of Manbij.
U.S., Turkey lift sanctions imposed in case of detained pastor (2 November 2018) Turkey and the United States. announced that they have lifted sanctions on senior government officials that had been imposed during the diplomatic standoff over the arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
Baghdad rejects U.S. interference in its affairs after U.S. Twitter comments (3 November 2018) The Iraqi Foreign Ministry rejected what it called US interference in its affairs after the US embassy issued a statement telling Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty in the demobilization of Shi’i militias.
U.S. renews Iran sanctions, grants waivers to China, seven others (5 November 2018) The United States has snapped sanctions back in place to choke Iran’s oil and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top customers such as China and India to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic.
Turkey’s Erdogan says joint U.S.-Kurdish patrols near Syria border unacceptable (6 November 2018) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that joint US-Kurdish patrols along the Turkish border with Syria were unacceptable and he expected US President Donald Trump to stop them.
U.S. halting refueling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen’s war (9 November 2018) The United States announced that it is halting refueling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen, ending one of the most divisive aspects of US assistance to the Saudi war effort.
Trump to nominate retired Army general as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia (13 November 2018) US President Donald Trump nominated John Abizaid, a retired four-star army general, to be the country’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
U.S. sanctions 17 Saudis over killing of journalist Khashoggi (15 November 2018) The US Treasury imposed sanctions on seventeen Saudi officials for their role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, representing the first concrete US response to the journalist’s death.
CIA believes Saudi crown prince ordered journalist’s killing (16 November 2018) The CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
Trump does not want to hear tape of “vicious” Khashoggi murder (18 November 2018) US President Donald Trump said he does not want to listen to an audio recording of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite facing mounting pressure to punish Saudi Arabia.
Trump stands by Saudi prince despite journalist Khashoggi’s murder (20 November 2018) President Donald Trump vowed to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have known about the plan to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
U.S targets Iran-Russia network over oil sent to Syria (20 November 2018) The United States has moved to disrupt an Iranian-Russian network that it said had sent millions of barrels of oil to Syria and hundreds of millions of dollars to indirectly fund militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
U.S. setting up “observation posts” along Turkey-Syria border (21 November 2018) The United States announced that it is setting up “observation posts” along parts of the border between Turkey and Syria to help keep the focus on defeating ISIS militants in Syria.
Saudi Arabia inks deal for Lockheed’s missile defense system (28 November 2018) Saudi Arabia will buy Lockheed Martin’s fifteen-billion-dollar missile defense system after aggressively lobbying the Trump administration to close the deal that included a personal phone call between President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman.
Norway summons Iranian ambassador over alleged plot in Denmark (1 November 2018) Norway summoned the Iranian ambassador to the country over a suspected assassination plot against an Iranian Arab opposition figure in Denmark involving a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background.
Iran seeks European assurances as U.S. oil sanctions loom (3 November 2018) Iran called for European assurances of support in the face of Washington’s intent to re-impose sanctions on Iranian oil sales.
Swiss talk with U.S., Iran about humanitarian payment channel for food, drugs (5 November 2018) Switzerland is holding talks with the United States and Iran about launching a humanitarian payment channel to help ensure food and drugs keep flowing to the Islamic Republic amid tightened US sanctions.
France issues arrest warrants for senior Syrian officials (5 November 2018) French prosecutors have issued international arrest warrants for three Syrian intelligence and government officials for alleged collusion in war crimes.
In Saudi, Britain’s Hunt calls for end to Yemen war, Khashoggi justice (11 November 2018) British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to press for an end to the war in Yemen and call on Saudi leaders to cooperate with an investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Italy’s Prime Minister expects Libyan commander Haftar to join Palermo conference (12 November 2018) Italy’s P.M. Giuseppe Conte announced that he expects Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar to join a two-day conference in Palermo to push forward a new UN plan to stabilize Libya.
France says to decide soon on sanctions over Khashoggi killing (19 November 2018) French Foreign Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that France will decide very soon on whether to impose sanctions on individuals linked to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
E.U open to Iran sanctions after foiled France, Denmark plots (19 November 2018) European Union foreign ministers showed cautious support for possible new economic sanctions on Iran in a shift of policy after accusations of Iranian attack ploys in France and Denmark.
European court says Turkey holding Kurdish politician too long without trial (20 November 2018) The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) urged Turkey to swiftly process the legal case of the ex-head of the pro-Kurdish opposition, saying his pre-trial detention had gone on longer than could be justified.
Turkey’s Erdogan says ECHR ruling on jailed politician supports terrorism (21 November 2018) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) ruling on the jailed former leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition, Selahattin Demirtas, amounted to support of terrorism.
Iran welcomes new “European initiatives” for non-dollar trade (21 November 2018) Iran praised European efforts to maintain business with Tehran despite US sanctions, citing “constructive meetings” with British and French officials in Tehran.
Denmark suspends Saudi weapon export approvals over Khashoggi, Yemen concerns (22 November 2018) Denmark has suspended future approvals of weapons and military equipment exports to Saudi Arabia in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Vinci denies new allegations of forced labor in Qatar (22 November 2018) French construction firm Vinci denied new allegations by human rights group Sherpa that it had violated the rights of migrant workers employed to build sites in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
At tense Ankara news conference, E.U. rebukes Turkey over detentions (22 November 2018) Top EU officials rebuked Turkey over its arrests of journalists and academics and the long pre-trial detention of a Kurdish politician.
France imposes sanctions on 18 Saudi citizens over Khashoggi killing (22 November 2018) France announced that it had imposed sanctions, including travel bans, on eighteen Saudi citizens linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and said more could follow depending on results of an investigation.
Macron tells Saudi prince international experts needed in Khashoggi investigation (30 November 2018) French President Emmanuel Macron told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that Europe would insist on international experts being part of the investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Russia says militants trying to wreck deal over Syria’s Idlib (1 November 2018) Russia accused rebels in Syria’s Idlib province of trying to wreck a Russian-Turkish initiative to create a demilitarized zone in the insurgent-held region.
Russia sends new frigate with cruise missiles onboard to Mediterranean (5 November 2018) Russia said it deployed its new frigate with long-range Kalibr cruise missiles to the Mediterranean Sea, a few months after Moscow had reinforces its naval forces off the Syrian coast.
U.S. hopes Russia will continue to let Israel hit Iran in Syria (7 November 2018) The United states announced that it hoped Russia would continue to allow Israel to strike Iranian targets in Syria, despite Moscow’s supplying of the S-300 air defense system to the Syrian government.
Russian military veterans seek ICC investigation of mercenary deployments (9 November 2018) Groups representing Russian military veterans plan to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Russia’s secret deployment of civilian contractors in Syria, Ukraine, and Africa.
Turkey indicts 28 people, including cleric Gulen, for 2016 assassination of Russian envoy (23 November 2018) Turkey has charged twenty-eight people in relation to the 2016 assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara, naming the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen as the prime suspect in the case.
Hariri office denies Lebanon turned down Russian aid (26 November 2018) Lebanon has accepted a Russian aid offer comprising millions of bullets that will be given to its police force.
Putin warmly greets Saudi crown prince at G20 summit (30 November 2018) Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman exchanged a high-five and laughed heartily together as they took seats next to each other at a plenary session of the Group of Twenty Summit.
China promises Pakistan support as Khan tells of “very difficult” economy (2 November 2018) China has promised to support Pakistan’s economy as new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke of his country’s “very difficult” economic situation amid a burgeoning financial crisis.
Gunmen attack China’s consulate in Pakistan as violence flares across region (23 November 2018) Three suicide bombers stormed the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi, but were killed before they could force their way in with a car packed with explosives.
China will retaliate “in proportion” to any U.S. sanction over Muslim Uighurs (27 November 2018) China’s ambassador to the United States announced that China will retaliate “in proportion” if the United States sanctions its top official in the restive region of Xinjiang over alleged human rights abuses, adding that Beijing’s policies in the region are to “re-educate terrorists.”
Xi: China supports Saudi Arabia in economic and social change (30 November 2018) President Xi Jinping told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that stability in Saudi Arabia is the cornerstone of prosperity and progress in the Gulf, and China firmly supports Riyadh in its drive for economic diversification and social reform.
Other Countries/Middle East
Turkey says 260,000 Syrians have returned to “Euphrates Shield” operation area (1 November 2018) A total of 260,000 Syrian nationals have returned to a swathe of land in northern Syria where Turkey carried out a cross-border operation dubbed “Euphrates Shield.”
Saudi coalition in Yemen attacks Sanaa sites, clashes in Hodeidah (1 November 2018) The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said it attacked Sanaa International Airport and an adjoining airbase being used by Houthi insurgents.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince hosts Christian evangelical leaders (2 November 2018) Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosted a rare meeting with American evangelical Christians.
Netanyahu condemns killing of Saudi journalist but keeps focus on Iran (2 November 2018) Israel condemned the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but said cooperating with Riyadh against Iran was a greater priority.
Gaza border protest more subdued as Egypt pushes for calm (2 November 2018) Crowds of Palestinians resumed protests along the Gaza-Israel border but in fewer numbers than has been seen in the past several months as Egyptian mediators worked to lower tensions.
Turkish president: Khashoggi killing ordered by “highest levels” of Saudi government (2 November 2018) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the order to kill US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.
Saudi king to make week-long domestic tour amid Khashoggi crisis (4 November 2018) Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will embark on a week-long domestic tour as the monarchy faces its worst political crisis in a generation.
Jordan says Israel wants to discuss border land deals (4 November 2018) Jordan announced that Israel has asked for consultations on a special land deal agreed upon in their peace treaty that the Jordanian government wants to end.
Iran will defy U.S. sanctions and sell oil, President Rouhani says (5 November 2018) Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran plans to defy newly imposed US sanctions and continue to sell oil.
Egypt shelves Brazil visit as Bolsonaro’s Israel decision sours ties (5 November 2018) Egypt has postponed a visit by Brazil’s top diplomat due to the President-elect’s vow to relocate the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Egypt’s Sisi says army will defend Gulf Arabs in case of direct threat (6 November 2018) Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated that the army will come to the defense of Gulf Arabs if they face any direct threats.
Turkey says it will not abide by renewed sanctions on Iran (6 November 2018) Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would not abide by the renewed US sanctions on Iranian oil and shipping industries, which he claimed was aimed at “unbalancing the world.”
Saudi king shows support for heir on public tour despite Khashoggi crisis (7 November 2018) Saudi King Salman embarked on a domestic tour with his favorite son, demonstrating his support for his chosen heir despite the crisis spawned by the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi makes $1 billion bid for partnership with South Africa defense group Denel (8 November 2018) Saudi Arabia has made a one-billion-dollar bid for a broad partnership with South African state-owned defense group Denel.
Israeli intelligence minister calls for Gulf cooperation on aviation security, other areas (8 November 2018) Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz announced that Israel and the Gulf Arab states should cooperate on aviation security and other civilian areas such as transportation, commercial aviation, and tourism.
Jordan says in talks with U.S. and Russia to dismantle Syria camp (8 November 2018) Jordan announced that it was in talks with Washington and Moscow to empty a desert camp used by 50,000 displaced Syrians along its border.
Yemen government announces new push to seize key port (9 November 2018) Yemini forces backed by the Arab coalition launched a new offensive to take full control of the port city of Hodeida.
Qatar pays Gaza salaries to ease tensions; Israel says money’s not for Hamas (9 November 2018) A fifteen-million-dollar Qatari cash infusion was paid out to impoverished Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip, though Israel said the money would not go to the Islamist group Hamas.
Israeli fire kills seven during Gaza raid, Israeli officer killed (11 November 2018) Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in air strikes and an undercover raid. One Israeli officer was also killed.
Trudeau: Canada has heard Turkish recordings of Khashoggi killing (12 November 2018) Canadian intelligence officers have listened to Turkish recordings of what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Israel-Gaza border ignites after botched incursion; four dead (12 November 2018) Palestinian militants carried out their most intensive shelling of Israel since the 2014 Gaza war in retaliation for a botched cross-border raid, drawing Israeli airstrikes.
Israeli defense minister quits over Gaza truce in blow to Netanyahu (14 November 2018) Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation in protest at a Gaza ceasefire that he called a “capitulation to terror.”
Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty in Khashoggi murder case (15 November 2018) Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five suspects charged in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Netanyahu faces snap election calls after defense minister quits (15 November 2018) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced calls from his coalition partners to hold an early election, a day after the defense minister’s resignation left the government with a razor-thin majority.
Israel’s Netanyahu takes over defense job as coalition falters (16 November 2018) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take over the defense portfolio in his government after his defense minister resigned.
Rebels says Syrian Army steps up attacks in Idlib (17 November 2018) Syrian rebels announced that the Syrian Army and their allies were intensifying attacks on a demilitarized zone in the northwest in an attempt to undermine a Russian-Turkish deal that has averted a major offensive on their last stronghold.
Netanyahu urges coalition partners not to bring down government (18 November 2018) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged his coalition partners not to bring down the government, citing security challenges ahead and hinting at future Israeli military action against its enemies.
After Khashoggi murder, some Saudi royals turn against king’s favorite son (19 November 2018) Amid international uproar over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, some members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are agitating to prevent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from becoming king.
Airbnb to remove listings in Israel’s West Bank settlements (19 November 2018) Home-renting company Airbnb announced that it would remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move Israel called a “wretched capitulation” to boycotters and Palestinians hailed as a step toward peace.
Iran says U.S. bases and aircraft carriers within missile range (21 November 2018) A commander within the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that US bases and aircraft carriers in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar were within range of Iranian missiles.
Saudi crown prince goes on tour of Arab states amid Khashoggi storm (22 November 2018) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in the United Arab Emirates at the start of a tour of several Arab countries in his first trip abroad since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Chad president to make first Israel visit, focus on security (25 November 2018) Chadian President Idriss Deby will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the first such visit by a leader of the central African nation since the severing of ties in 1972.
Egypt and Sudan set up joint patrols against cross-border threats (25 November 2018) Egypt and Sudan, which both face cross-border threats from militias operating in Libya, have agreed to set up joint military patrols on their border.
Israeli minister says he’s invited to 2019 conference in Bahrain (26 November 2018) An Israeli cabinet minister announced that he had been invited to attend a conference next year in Bahrain, in what he described as part of Israel’s emerging relations with Arab and Muslim countries that do not formally recognize it.
Turkey says Saudi prince has asked to meet Erdogan at G20 (27 November 2018) Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced in an interview that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had asked for a meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
Tunisians stage first Arab protests against visiting Saudi crown prince (27 November 2018) Hundreds of Tunisians staged the first protests of the Arab world against Saudi Arabia’s crown prince as he arrived for a visit to the country as part of his regional tour.
As rift lingers with neighbors, Qatar ramps up air and sea power (29 November 2018) Qatar will more than double its naval forces by 2025 as a massive new base comes online and it expands a national service program amid a protracted dispute with neighbors.
Saudi crown prince meets India’s Modi in Argentina, plans to ramp up investments (29 November 2018) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and spoke about plans to scale up investments in India’s tech, farm, and energy sector.
Treaties, Agreements, United Nations, and Statistics
Yemen government says it is ready to resume peace efforts, coalition silent (1 November 2018) The Saudi-backed Yemini government announced that it was ready to work on confidence-building measures under UN-led peace efforts as the United States pressed for an end to the war.
U.N. chief appeals for end to Yemen war, outlines next steps (2 November 2018) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for an end to the war in Yemen and laid out steps the parties in the conflict must take moving forward.
UNICEF: Yemini children die as warring sides block aid deliveries (2 November 2018) A senior UN official announced that Yemini children are dying from starvation and disease as trucks with life-saving supplies are blocked in port, leaving medical staff and desperate mothers imploring aid workers to do more.
U.N. aid trucks reach remote Rukban camp in Syria (3 November 2018) A United Nations convoy has reached the Rukban refugee camp in Syria where thousands of people are stranded in the desert close to the border with Jordan.
Saudi Arabia tells U.S. it will prosecute Khashoggi killers (5 November 2018) Saudi Arabia told the United Nations it would prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
U.N. completes food distribution in remote Syria camp near Jordan (7 November 2018) The United Nations has completed the distribution of aid to thousands of Syrians, mostly women and children, stranded in the desert close to the border with Jordan.
U.N., Western powers quietly bury December plan for Libya election (7 November 2018) The United Nations and Western powers have given up hope that Libya will hold elections in the immediate future, focusing first on reconciliation among rival factions locked in a cycle of conflict.
Amnesty says executions of Saudi Shi’ite prisoners imminent (7 November 2018) Amnesty International warned that the executions of twelve Saudi Shi’i prisoners could be imminent, after they were sent to a secretive state security body that reports directly to the king.
WFP to double food aid to Yemen, says 14 million risk starvation (8 November 2018) The World Food Programme plans to double plans to double its food assistance program for Yemen, aiming to reach up to fourteen million “to avert mass starvation.”
U.N. aims for Yemen talks by year-end, not end of the month (8 November 2018) UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths is aiming to convene the country’s warring parties for peace talks by the end of the year.
Libya rivals arrive for Italy summit after December election shelved (11 November 2018) The rulers of Libya’s east and west gathered for a summit for a first time in more than five months in Italy.
U.N. envoy wants Libya election by June after Libyans decide format (12 November 2018) The UN envoy for Libya hopes another attempt to hold an election will take place by June after the December plan was scrapped.
Iran honoring nuclear deal as new sanctions hit, IAEA report shows (12 November 2018) The International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran has continued to implement the main nuclear restrictions set by its 2015 deal with major powers.
U.S. opposes U.N. Golan resolution, wins Israeli praise (16 November 2018) The United States opposed for the first time an annual draft resolution at the United Nations calling on Israel to rescind its authority in the occupied Golan Heights.
Turkey may seek U.N. inquiry if Saudi cooperation reaches impasse (20 November 2018) Turkey announced that it is not entirely satisfied with the level of cooperation it is receiving from Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and may seek a formal United Nations inquiry if its liaising with Riyadh comes to an impasse.
Rights group: Activists held in Saudi Arabia tortured, Riyadh denies charge (20 November 2018) Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused Saudi Arabia of subjecting several activists, including some female human rights defenders detained since May, to torture and sexual harassment.
U.N. ready to help run vital Yemen port in danger of destruction (23 November 2018) The United Nations announced that it was ready to help supervise Yemen’s vital Hodeidah port to protect it from “potential destruction”.
HRW asks Argentina to probe Saudi crown prince over Yemen, Khashoggi (26 November 2018) Human Rights Watch has asked Argentina to use a war crimes clause in its constitution to investigate the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in possible crimes against humanity in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Israel’s U.N. envoy: U.S. could unveil peace plan at start of 2019 (27 November 2018) Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon stated that the United States has spoken with Israel about possibly presenting a long-awaited Middle East peace plan at the start of next year.
U.N.: Syria must account for thousands of detainees who died in custody (28 November 2018) UN war crimes investigators called on Syria to tell families what happened to their relatives who disappeared and provide the medical records and remains of those who died or were executed in custody.