Churches for Middle East Peace
trump distance

Trump Tries to Distance Himself from Chaos in Syria as Tensions with Lawmakers in Both Parties Escalate
A look at escalating violence in Syria, continuing talks of peace, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: President Trump speaks during a news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the White House on October 16, 2019. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

trump distance

Trump tries to distance himself from chaos in Syria as tensions with lawmakers in both parties escalate
Washington Post

“President Trump on Wednesday attempted to distance himself from the escalating chaos in northern Syria following his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region and lashed out at lawmakers critical of the decision, including during an extraordinary White House meeting that ended in acrimony. In remarks in the Oval Office early in the day, Trump insisted that the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the Kurds was ‘over land that has nothing to do with us’ and that the Kurds, who served as a U.S. ally against the Islamic State, were ‘no angels.’ ‘There’s a lot of sand that they can play with,’ Trump said as he sat alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whom the White House was hosting for a visit Wednesday. ‘. . . It’s possibly never going to be very stable.’” 

Image: President Trump speaks during a news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the White House on October 16, 2019. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

syrian christians

Christians killed on Syria’s front lines
Christianity Today

“Three Christians have been killed in Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria, reported In Defense of Christians (IDC), citing their sources on the ground. In Qamishli, a Syriac Christian and his wife died, while in Ras al-Ain an additional Syriac Christian civilian was killed. Ten civilians were injured in the attacks. ‘People were so scared, they were telling me, ‘They are bombing us right now!’’ Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told NPR. “We think this is a message to the Kurds and Christians there to leave, so Turkey can move refugees there. We think it’s a form of ethnic cleansing."

Image: Ras al-Ain, Syria. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

pence turkey

Pence announces Syria ceasefire deal with Turkey

“President Donald Trump placed a dangerous bet this week: He sent his vice president and secretary of state — the two most public-facing figures in American government -- here to the Turkish capital to try to cinch a ceasefire in a war that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan started, and said he has shown no interest in ending. Many administration officials were concerned Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would leave this city empty-handed. But, this time, at least in the immediate, Trump got what he wanted: a five-day pause in violence in Syria. And, most notably, the United States agreed to back off on new and withdraw previously instituted sanctions on Turkey.” 

Image: US Vice President Mike Pence, from a screengrab of Politico video. (Politico)

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Jordan-Israel peace treaty under threat - Jordanian parliament speaker

“Speaker of the Jordanian House of Representatives and the President of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union Atef Tarawneh stated that the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel is ‘under threat’ due to Israeli ‘violations’ against Jerusalem, according to Jordan's government news agency. Tarawneh spoke at the 141st International Parliamentary Union Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia on Monday. ‘We in Jordan, who are signatory to a peace treaty with the Israeli occupation government, see today that this peace is under threat, in light of the blatant violation of its terms, especially with the issue of Jerusalem,’ said Tarawneh, adding that UN institutions cannot implement their decisions or authority in countries that don't abide by international law, like Israel.” 

Image: Atef Tarawneh, speaker of the Jordanian parliament, speaks during an emergency meeting to discuss a potential announcement by the US. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

netamnyahu rivlin

Rivlin unlikely to extend Netanyahu's deadline to form government, sources say

“With one week left until the expiration of the 28-day period given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government, the general assessment is that President Reuven Rivlin will not give the prime minister a two-week extension, but instead transfer the mandate to Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz, who would then have 28 days to try to form a coalition. Although Netanyahu told Rivlin when they met three weeks ago that he planned to return the mandate to the president within days if talks reached a dead end, he hasn’t done so. Likud sources weren’t sure whether Netanyahu would drag things out until the last minute or return the mandate to Rivlin in the coming days.”

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to President Reuven Rivlin at the Hall of Remembrance on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on October 10, 2019. (AFP)

putin saudi arabia

U.S. allies in the Mideast consider their options as Russia’s Putin visits the Gulf
The Washington Post

“Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Riyadh on Monday for his first state visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in more than a decade, emphasizing not only coordination between three of the biggest oil producers in the world but also Moscow’s growing influence in the Middle East. The timing may be especially fortuitous for Putin. President Trump’s announcement last week that the United States would be pulling out of northeast Syria, as well as his equivocation over the conflict with Iran, has left many traditional U.S. allies in the region nervous.”

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, right, meet at the Saudi Royal palace in Riyadh on October 14, 2019. (Alexey Nikolsky /Sputnik /Kremlin /Pool /EPA-EFE /REX /Shutterstock)


CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

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