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Bottom-up peace hopes?/ Netanyahu in Oman

Today's Update features two pieces suggesting there may be hopes for a different model of moving toward a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace. It also includes an analysis of the significance of Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu's surprise visit to Oman last Friday.

Coming soon – a Nuclear Middle East

A new Israeli report (February 2018) reveals a dramatic trend of expanding nuclear capabilities among Arab countries over the next few years... Dozens of nuclear reactors are in various stages of planning in the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and even Sudan (led by the wanted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir).

Behind the News – October 2017

The United Nations Security Council voted to renew the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year, one day before its mandate was set to expire. The UNIFIL force... is supposed to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which among things, bars all forces other than the Lebanese Army from southern Lebanon. However, Israel says UNIFIL has increasingly turned a blind eye to a massive Hezbollah presence in the area.

What’s happening in the Qatar Crisis – and what is Israel’s...

Israeli officials have generally stayed out of the fray since the crisis began. One exception is comments from Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman in early June that the crisis "opens many opportunities for cooperation in the war against terror" and that "the State of Israel is more than open to such cooperation.".

The Palestinian Arena and Qatar Crisis

The foreign policy of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman - has never been a model of cooperation and unity. Even the dramatic severing of relations with Qatar and closing the aerial, territorial, and naval spheres to it - as initiated by Saudi Arabia and the UAE - is not indicative of a change.

Qatar and the Mideast “Game of Camps”

In the Middle East "game of camps", the Qataris have been playing a dangerous game for years. They have provocatively supported the Muslim Brotherhood and actively promoted the destabilisation of existing regimes, using huge sums of money as well as the pernicious influence of Al Jazeera TV. The dramatic steps taken against them over recent weeks are thus hardly surprising, but they shed some light on the present stage in the struggle for regional hegemony.

Cold War over Qatar

In a region where inter-Arab politics is frequently described as a zero-sum game, Qatar suddenly finds itself on the outside looking in. Recent analysis has tended to over-focus on the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, but a closer look reveals that the camel has suffered from chronic illness for years. It was only a matter of time before its health became critical.

Gulf splits with Qatar: What this means for the region –...

In a dramatic move, on June 5 Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and the Maldives announced they were all severing diplomatic relations with Qatar over its support for terrorist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, as well as for its close ties to Iran, with which it co-owns the largest natural gas field in the world.

Video/Audio: Colin Rubenstein on Qatar/Arab States row and use of Al-Jazeera...

Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein appeared on The Bolt Report on Sky News Australia, discussing why seven Arab countries to have cut ties with Qatar and why the ABC and SBS are wrong to use content sourced from Al-Jazeera, among other topics.

This post contains two short video excerpts and audio of the entire segment.

Behind the News – June 2017

Several thousand Palestinians participated in riots to mark May 15's Nakba Day (the "catastrophe" of Israel's establishment) with rock-throwing and Molotov cocktails prevalent.