An Upcoming Summit in Bahrain May Not Be a Harbinger of Peace but Is Nonetheless a Welcome Sign

At an economic conference in the Bahraini capital of Manama taking place on June 25 and 26, the White House intends to roll out the first half of its much-anticipated plan for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian officials have already announced that they will not attend. While it would be foolish to pin high hopes on the conference, writes Raphael Ahren, it would likewise be wrong to dismiss its significance:

Bahrain co-issued an official statement [with the U.S.], saying next month’s “Peace to Prosperity workshop” will focus on an “achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region.” . . . [T]hat an Arab country, which has no formal ties with Israel and continues to pledge allegiance to the Palestinian cause, has agreed to put its name to the first part of the administration’s two-part peace plan is astonishing. . . .

Worth highlighting, too, is that Israel’s finance minister, Moshe Kahlon, is likely to be among the guests welcomed to this Arab capital. It’s not unprecedented for senior members of the Israeli cabinet to pay official visits to Arab countries. . . . But while [previous] ministerial visits were trailblazing, it bears noting that they took place in the context of events hosted by international organizations that may have punished [the respective hosts] had they excluded representatives of member states.

Kahlon’s expected participation in the Manama workshop would be of an entirely different nature. He would be welcomed in an Arab country not because its government would face sanctions otherwise, but with the explicit purpose of discussing the Trump administration’s peace efforts. . . . Bahrain’s willingness to host the “Peace to Prosperity” summit strongly indicates that the Arab world is more inclined to normalize ties with Israel than some may think. Even in the absence of the ultimate deal.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Bahrain, Israel-Arab relations, Peace Process

 

Don’t Expect the Jerusalem Summit to Drive a Wedge between Russia and Iran

June 14 2019

Later this month, an unprecedented meeting will take place in Jerusalem among the top national-security officials of the U.S., Israel, and Russia to discuss the situation in Syria. Moscow is likely to seek financial aid for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, or at the very least an easing of sanctions on Bashar al-Assad. Washington and Jerusalem are likely to pressure the Russian government to reduce the presence of Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias in Syria, or at the very least to keep them away from the Israeli border. But to Anna Borshchevskaya, any promises made by Vladimir Putin’s representatives are not to be trusted:

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war