Stories We’re Watching
US, UN Calls for Ceasefire in Yemen
On Tuesday, while speaking at the Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called for a ceasefire in Yemen within 30 days. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed this call in a press statement released earlier this week. The statement reads, in part, “It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction.” Both appear to support the UN resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the war-torn country. The US-supported, Saudi-led bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels has claimed thousands of civilian lives. UK Prime Minister Theresa May was expected to join the US in calls for a ceasefire but has only supported calls for “de-escalation”, citing the oficial government’s position that “a ceasefire would only work if there is a political deal between the conflict parties.”
• Defense One: Mattis Sets 30-Day Deadline for Yemen Ceasefire
• US Dept of State: Ending the Conflict in Yemen Official
• The Independent: Theresa May fails to back US calls for Saudi Arabia to stop bombing Yemen
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Pittsburgh Terror Attack exposes rifts within the Israeli and US Jewish communities
The terror attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday has exposed rifts within the Israeli and US Jewish communities. Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett is in the US to represent the Israeli government following the Pittsburgh terror attack. Bennett defended President Trump against widespread condemnation of his rhetoric. Bennett also stated that the attack “should have no bearing on the internal Israeli debate over whether Israel should recognize non-Orthodox Jewish movements.” Meanwhile, many members of the Jewish community in the US have expressed outrage over President Trump’s divisive, discriminatory rhetoric. Two public letters published immediately after the terror attack highlight two main perspectives. In a letter to the Jewish community of Pittsburgh (which has been taken down), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises President Trump’s reaction to the mass shooting. A letter to President Trump from Pittsburgh Jewish Leaders condemns the President’s actions and explicitly states that he is not welcome to Pittsburgh. Many analysts cite Palestine and Israeli statehood as two dominant issues between the communities.
• Al Jazeera: Why Israel does not mind Trump’s anti-Semitic supporters
NATO-Russia Talks Address Military Drills, INF Missile Treaty
For the first time since May, the NATO-Russia Council (made up of the 29 Allies and Russia) met in Brussels yesterday. A NATO statement said the sides openly discussed “the situation in and around Ukraine; issues related to military activities, reciprocal transparency and risk reduction; Afghanistan; and hybrid challenges”. Ambassadors also discussed NATO’s ongoing Trident Juncture 18 exercise (the largest since the end of the cold war) Russia’s Vostok military exercises. The meeting comes amid increased US-Russia tension. Among the most contentious issues are the INF treaty, eastern Ukraine interference, and the annexation of Crimea. The US maintains that Russian deployment of a cruise missile violates the INF treaty, and President Trump has vowed to withdraw from it. NATO has denounced Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the Russian government’s role in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, but now urges Russia to continue to honor the INF treaty despite President Trump’s remarks. Russia has accused NATO of provocative behavior, especially near its borders.
• NATO: NATO-Russia Council meets in Brussels official official NATO press statement
• Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty: NATO Urges Russia To Honor INF Treaty Amid U.S. Threat To Withdraw
• The New York Times: On a Tiny Finnish Island, a Helipad, 9 Piers — and the Russian Military?
Spain’s Santiago Abascal vows to ‘make Spain great again’
Santiago Abascal, the leader of Spain’s relatively-new political party, Vox, is seeing an uptick in popularity. Abascal has called for tougher immigration policies and a weaker EU, and his party is one of Spain’s first far-right, anti-immigration, and anti-Islam parties. Vox’s biggest gains in support were prompted by a nationalist backlash over this year’s Catalonia secessionist campaign. Analysts are alarmed by Santiago’s (and Vox’s) sudden surge in popularity given the rise of hard-right parties throughout Europe. Local polls give Vox up to a 5% electorate share (about a million votes) and predict that VOX could win seats in the 2020 national election, which would make it the Spanish parliament’s first far-right party since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975.
• Channel News Asia: A populist makes waves in Spain – and he’s proving popular
US Midterm election updates: President Trump Continues ‘Fear-mongering’ Campaign
President Trump tweeted a campaign ad yesterday afternoon which appears to blame an entire political party for the murder of US police officers. The ad has since gone viral and has sparked outcry just days after President Trump’s announcement to revoke the 14th amendment and to send more troops to the southern US border. Such statements appear to be part of a larger strategy to influence the outcome of next week’s midterm elections by zeroing in on immigration. Many have attributed the recent surge in domestic right-wing violence to the president’s blatant falsehoods and violent rhetoric.In an interview with Axios President Trump claims his approval rating is positively affected by his “enemy of the people” rhetoric. Earlier this year, three men Kansas men were found guilty for the attempted bombing of a Somali apartment complex. A lawyer for one of the men has requested leniency for the hate crime, arguing that his client was inspired by then-candidate Trump’s anti-muslim rhetoric.
• Axios: Exclusive: Trump says supporters demand his red-hot rhetoric
From Deep State Radio
TRUMP TWO YEARS AFTER HIS ELECTION: WHO GETS THE LOWER GRADE, THE PRESIDENT OR THE PEOPLE?
With the midterm elections days away, our experts discuss just what the past two years have taught us about Trump, about the American electorate, and about the world. We also talk about where we are headed and what we can expect from the next two years of Trump’s term…if he makes it all the way through them. Bow your heads and pray to the deity of your choice for the outcome we need. Then tune in to join Rosa Brooks of Georgetown University, Kori Schake of IISS, Evelyn Farkas of the Atlantic Council and Ed Luce of the Financial Times for an essential pre-Election Day Discussion. Tune in
1-ON-1 WITH NORMAN ORNSTEIN: AMERICA’S FIRST POST-MIDTERM ELECTION TAKE
Average Americans will have to wait until the results are in to understand America’s verdict in next Tuesday’s midterm elections. But our Deep State nerds don’t want to wait. So we’ve had a conversation with one of America’s premier political observers, Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute in which we discuss the likely highs… Tune in