For decades, Saudi Arabia has positioned itself as the leading champion of Sunni Islam. One way they've done that is by bankrolling Palestinian causes, including funding the Palestinian Authority to the tune of $20 million a month. Yet Saudi efforts in the West Bank pose a problem for President Erdogan. He's made it no secret that he wants to restore Turkey to what he views as its rightful place atop Sunni Islam. Yet so long as the Saudis are viewed as the defenders of the Palestinians, that's not a mantle he can steal. That's why Erdogan is cultivating support within East Jerusalem—and why the Palestinian Authority is pushing back.
The ceasefire shows yet again the leverage the Taliban now has thanks to its recent attacks. What’s most interesting is that the ceasefire doesn’t apply to the Islamic State. Whereas the Taliban have primarily attacked security forces, the Islamic State’s violence has much been much less selective, and has killed far more civilians. The Taliban’s strategy appears to have paid off— there’s popular support for a ceasefire with the Taliban, but not for one with the Islamic State.
We have a system that was designed in 1975 to work, and security was an afterthought. The security flaws have been known for a long time. They’ve never really been addressed because the underlying technology is so useful.
Israel and Iran were on a collision course even without the JCPOA following apart. Now that Iran is rebuilding its nuclear infrastructure, it's difficult to see how conflict can be avoided—Israel has made it clear that a nuclear Iran is not an option, and Iran is all but daring Israel to stop it.
The attack on the interior ministry is just the latest in a long string of brazen and high profile attacks in Kabul this year. This winter the Taliban carried out an ambulance bombing that killed over 100, while the Islamic State killed over ten soldiers in an attack on an Afghan army base. Afghan security forces have long struggled with how to defeat the Taliban alone. Now that the Taliban are competing with the Islamic State for resources and recruits, the challenge has grown even more daunting—the two groups are now locked in a race to see who can launch bigger and more devastating attacks.
The border with Egypt has always been a kind of safety valve for Gaza—any time the humanitarian crisis reaches a boiling point and tensions get too high, Egypt will open the border to alleviate the pressure. What’s interesting this time is how long the border will be open—not just a few days, but the whole of Ramadan. Normally the Egyptians might be reluctant to open the border that long, for fear that it would empower Hamas. However, the outrage in the Arab world over the plight of Gaza is now so high that the Sisi regime is willing to bear the risk. Since Hamas ceded control of the crossing to the Palestinian Authority last year, the Egyptians are also more confident that the humanitarian aid will get to where it needs to go.
The SDC has a much broader banner that includes, at least nominally, Syrian Arabs too. That should provide enough cover for the Trump administration to accept the application. They can argue they’re officially recognizing a pro-democracy ally, not a Kurdish militant group.
Hamza [bin Laden] is going back to the tried-and-true playbook his father pioneered. The Saudi royal family rules over the two holiest cities in Islam and enjoys tremendous legitimacy among Muslims. As Osama bin Laden discovered, the best way to attack them was thus to tie them to the United States, which is often seen as an enemy of Islam. Now that [Mohammad bin Salman] has cozied up to the Trump administration, Hamza’s doing his dad proud by trying to use the Saudi-U.S. relationship against him.