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 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.