New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs, 10-16-17

Iran critics give Trump’s JCPOA decertification mixed reviews, while Russia rewards Saudi Arabia for warming relations. To subscribe to this daily roundup by Mideast specialist Joseph Braude, click here. The new White House strategy on Tehran is more savvy than its critics claim, writes Amir Taheri in Asharq Alawsat …: “Had he renounced the JCPOA in a formal way, Iran’s leaders could have cast themselves as victims of ‘imperialist bullying’ and deployed the Europeans . . . to fight in their corner. Now they cannot do that because all that Trump is demanding is a stricter application of the measures that the EU and others say they mean to defend. … [The measures, he writes, amount to a more holistic view of relations with Iran, to include accountability on support for terror, human rights violations, and hostage-taking.] But Eli Lake at Bloomberg sees a betrayal of Trump’s promise to nix the JCPOA: “Trump fails to address the greatest threat the rogue regime poses: its expansion in Syria and Iraq. … In some ways Trump’s decisions to Continue Reading…

New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs, 9-10-17

A fuzzy encounter between the U.S. Navy and Iran, an intra-Jewish spat over relations with Qatar, and scrappy decisions in Algiers. To subscribe to this daily roundup, click here. Iran claims it confronted a U.S. Navy vessel and the U.S. issues a denial. Reuters cites Tasnim News Agency as saying an “Iranian military vessel confronted an American warship in the Gulf and warned it to stay away from a damaged Iranian fishing boat.” U.S. Naval Central Command acknowledged it heard a small boat’s distress call 75 miles away but “at no time was there any direct contact between the U.S. and Iranian maritime forces.” Qatar pays a Jewish-owned PR firm to court American Jews, but a Chabad rabbi warns Jews that Doha has blood on its hands. Times of Israel: “Qatar is paying $50,000 a month for outreach to the Jewish community to a prominent Jewish Republican operative at a time when the Persian Gulf nation is facing calls for isolation from other moderate Arabs and by conservatives in Washington, DC.” Full page ad in the New Continue Reading…

Joseph Braude’s New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs, 9-7-17

Gulf states receive an offer of mediation from France and relay an offer of normalization to Israel. A German outlet signals a parting of the ways with Washington on Iran. To subscribe to this daily roundup by Joseph Braude, click here. French foreign ministry wades into the intra-GCC dispute: Paris announced the appointment of Bertrand Besancenot, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as special envoy to media the dispute between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt on the other. Reuters notes that France has close ties with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia. By comparison with the U.S., the French government has issued few and muted public statements about the crisis. Gulf states offer Israel an interim arrangement: The Wall Street Journal has reported that several Gulf states are offering to set up phone lines with Israel, permit Israeli businesses to engage in open commerce, and grant Continue Reading…