Weekend long read

1) At the INSS Orna Mizrahi and Yoel Guzansky analyse ‘The Crisis in Lebanese-Saudi Relations’.

“The acute political crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, joined by Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, is more bad news for the collapsing Lebanese state. Saudi Arabia initiated the crisis following a statement by the Lebanese Minister of Information, who is from the Hezbollah camp, opposing its war against the Houthis in Yemen, and Riyadh seems to have used this as an excuse to take action against Hezbollah and the new Lebanese government, which it controls. Saudi Arabia’s full disengagement from Lebanon, if the crisis is not resolved, will severely damage the collapsing Lebanese economy, completely paralyze government activity, and perhaps even lead to its disintegration, thereby strengthening Hezbollah and pushing Lebanon further into Iran’s arms.”

2) The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov reports on a new agreement between Israel and Jordan.

“The agreement states that Israel and Jordan will help each other deal with the challenges of climate change.

Israel agreed to examine the possible construction of a designated desalination plant to export more water to Jordan at full price, and Jordan will consider building a solar field in the desert in Jordan to export clean energy to Israel, which lacks open space, and to test solar energy storage solutions.”

3) At the JISS Yaakov Amidror asks ‘Why is Iran returning to the negotiating table?’.

“After several months in which Iran perplexed the American negotiators, it announced its return to talks in late November.

This is an unconditional return, contrary to the position previously expressed by Iran, which demanded an easing of the sanctions imposed on them before any talks could take place.

Thus, the Iranian concession is an apparent American success. Still, it is unclear whether this indeed will be the case since Iranian stubbornness in the negotiations could drag talks out again, and things could end back at square one.

Moreover, Iran now openly threatens that the talks will fail unless the US offers guarantees that would bind future administrations’ behavior. However, any such attempt to enshrine the agreement as a formal treaty would require ratification by the Senate; the necessary two-thirds majority is nowhere in sight.”

4) At the JCPA, Dore Gold analyses recent steps relating to Algeria’s foreign and security policy.

“Since the removal of Algeria’s late president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in 2019, there has been a notable radicalization of Algerian foreign and security policy, expressed in its approach to its Middle Eastern neighbors, France, and the rest of Europe.

The most dramatic development in this area was Algeria’s decision on Oct. 31 to halt all gas exports to Spain and Portugal through the Maghreb-Europe pipeline that crosses Morocco. Two months earlier, Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco.”


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1 Comment

  1. says: Grimey

    Lebanon – Saudi Crisis. Writing as a conspiracy theorist, one could argue that Iran instructed its puppet, Hezbollah, to criticise Saudi over the Houthis specifically to anger Saudi and so bring about an earlier Lebanon collapse. Simples !

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