In Brief: Revolutionary Guards tighten grip as Iran looks to elections

A number of potential presidential candidates in Iran have emerged out of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), raising concerns regarding the further militarisation of the country’s politics. Hopefuls have until Saturday to formally register their status as a candidate ahead of the election on 18 June. Their names will then be handed to the[…]

In Brief: Israel and Lebanon move towards gas row agreement

  Israeli and Lebanese negotiators have restarted talks over disputed offshore gas reserves in the Mediterranean sea. Previous talks over the maritime border dispute  collapsed in October 2020 following an attempt by Beirut to extend its claims deep into what Israel considers its exclusive economic zone. Israel pushed back in November, with energy minister Yuval Steinitz[…]

Analysis: Hamas rockets reach Tel Aviv as tensions reach boiling point

  The past week has seen a major escalation of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, as confrontations and violence in Jerusalem have been followed by more than 1,000 rockets being fired indiscriminately into Israel by Gaza-based terror groups. Israel has responded with strikes targeted at Hamas in Gaza. What happened Tensions and low-level violence had[…]

In Brief: Biden endorses Arab normalisation with Israel

US president Joe Biden has expressed his support for the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Arab countries and Israel that has developed out of last year’s Abraham Accords. In a phone call with the UAE’s crown prince Mohamad bin Zayed Al Nahyen on Tuesday, Biden “underlined the strategic importance of the normalisation of relations between[…]

Analysis: First Palestinian elections since 2006 postponed once again

Elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council and presidency, respectively scheduled for 22 May and 31 July, have been postponed indefinitely – and effectively cancelled. What happened Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas announced on Thursday that the elections, which would have been the first to take place since 2006, would be postponed. Most observers see the indefinite delay[…]

In Brief: Largest ever Israel-UAE commercial deal agreed

Israeli energy company Delek Drilling has signed an agreement to sell its 22 percent share in the offshore Tamar natural gas field to Abu Dhabi’s Mubdala Petroleum Company for $1.1 billion. The deal represents the largest and most significant commercial agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates since the two countries established diplomatic relations[…]

In Brief: Iranian foreign minister laments IRGC influence

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has offered a glimpse into Iran’s internal power struggles in a leaked recording, claiming that the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) dominates governmental decision-making. Zarif claimed that IRGC commander Qassim Suleimani, who was killed by the United States in January 2020, had consistently undermined him, working with Russia to[…]

Analysis: Weekend of violence and rockets amid election uncertainty

Following several nights of rocket fire from Gaza, Israel has warned Hamas that it will face major retaliation should the attacks continue. Gaza-based armed factions launched more than 40 rockets into Israel over the weekend, against a background of continued unrest in Jerusalem and electoral uncertainty in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories. What happened Israel’s[…]

In Brief: Sudan ends 63-year Israeli boycott law

The Sudanese government voted to annul its so-called Israel boycott law on Monday, in the latest development in the two countries’ diplomatic normalisation process. The decision to scrap the law, dating from 1958, was confirmed earlier this month by the Sudanese prime minister’s office, which also affirmed Sudan’s support for a two-state solution between Israelis[…]

Rosie Cooper pushes FCDO on International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

LFI vice-chair Rosie Cooper today pushed Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly on potential UK membership of the international board of the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. “It is now five months since the US Congress passed a $250 million Act to create the international fund for Israeli-Palestinian peace,[…]

In Brief: Biden to reverse Trump’s Palestinian aid cut

The Biden administration has announced plans to restore $235m (£171m) of aid to Palestinians, in a reversal of a cut made by Donald Trump. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, will receive two-thirds of the aid. UNRWA experienced a sharp financial crisis when the Trump administration slashed $360m in US funding. A spokesperson said that Biden[…]