Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

A win for Trump and embattled Mideast leaders

International | The normalizing of Arab-Israeli relations is a big deal
by Mindy Belz
Posted 9/15/20, 11:32 am

UNITED STATES: The leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are signing a peace accord with Israel on Tuesday at a White House ceremony. Bahrain joined UAE on Friday in agreeing to normalize relations with the Jewish state, long a pariah in the Arab world for its treatment of Palestinians.

The text of the “Abraham Accord” won’t be public until after the event, but the signing marks a foreign policy and campaign victory for President Donald Trump and a diplomatic gift to Middle East leaders embattled at home, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Gulf sheikhs. Contra The New York Times’ coverage, the “normalizing” of Arab relations with Israel is a big deal.

MYANMAR: In the ongoing war against civilians in Rakhine state, an army attack has killed two children and two adults, according to documentation from Free Burma Rangers (warning: graphic images). Thousands have fled similar attacks on the Rakhine people as guerrillas in the area fight for more autonomy for ethnic groups. UN Security Council members called for an immediate halt to fighting with the surge in coronavirus cases. The Myanmar (or Burma) army has blocked humanitarian access and communication in Rakhine (also Arakan) state.

AFGHANISTAN: The Afghan government has begun historic peace talks with the Taliban aimed at ending decades of war. Negotiations began Saturday in Qatar following independent talks between the Taliban and the United States against the backdrop of a U.S. troop pullout and ongoing violence.

GLOBAL: Here’s a rundown of the coronavirus vaccine initiatives worldwide (in words I can understand).

CHINA: A dramatic diplomatic standoff has ended with China showing the door to the last two Australian journalists there. Communist authorities have expelled at least 17 foreign correspondents this year, including leading reporters for major U.S. media outlets. The crackdown limits coverage of ongoing abuses as Chinese journalists work under strict government controls.

MALI: The military junta that staged a coup last month agreed to an 18-month transition government led by a military or civilian leader. But leading opposition groups and the 15-nation West African regional bloc (ECOWAS) have warned military leaders to designate a civilian head of a one-year transition period or else the country could face further sanctions.

BELARUS: The Interior Ministry has barred the Catholic archbishop of Minsk and Mahilyow from reentering the country and annulled his passport. Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, 74, was denied entry after a one-week trip to Poland that coincided with rising protests. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, pledging financial and military support against protesters who say the Aug. 9 presidential election was rigged.

IRAN: A new survey of 50,000 Iranians by a Netherlands-based secular research group found 1.5 percent identified as Christians. That extrapolates to about 750,000 believers in the Islamic-led country, well beyond the 117,700 traditional Armenian and Assyrian believers—suggesting explosive growth and conversions. The Iranian church for a decade has been ranked the fastest-growing church in the world, owing in part to its small size.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Wed, 09/16/2020 02:36 pm

    I like what Jared Kushner said when challenged that Bahrain dragged its feet and that the accords didn't address the Palestinians.  He said, "Everyone is a no until they are a yes".  Just because the Palestinians are stonewalling doesn't mean we can't make progress.

    There are doers and there are critics.  It is so much easier to be a critic than to actually accomplish positive results.  Nancy Pelosi's response to the peace agreements was, "Good for him to have a distraction on a day when the numbers of people who are affected and the numbers of the people that are dying from this virus only increases."

    Nothing but ire from critics who do nothing constructive.


  • MJ
    Posted: Sat, 09/26/2020 06:26 pm

    THe United States has historically sought a two-State solution.  This in the midst of Israeli's occupying more and more land.  And insisting East Jerusalem is a part of Jerusalem when it is outside of the historic Jerusalem of Jesus Christ (which was destroyed by the Romans when the Jewish leaders said let the blood of Jesus fall on our heads). I'm all for the continuence of Israel and a fair portion of Jerusalem.  But the Palestrinians in Gaza need to be let of of the jail imposed on them.  Land needs to be returned in East Jerusalem and the majority of the West Bank.  The Arabs never murdered every Jewish person in Jerusalem - the Christians did.  And yet we put all the blame on rthe Arabs (some Christian) and refuse to admit some of the Palistinians have ancestors as far back as the Christians in Iraq (which we deserted during the Iraq wars).  And Jewish people have lived peacibly in Palistine from the end of the Crusades until the Balfor Accord after WWI.  This whole history is hugely sactimonious to me.