Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told me in an exclusive interview for Channel 13 news and Axios that the Palestinians made a mistake not showing up to the U.S.-led conference in Manama, where the Trump administration is launching the economic portion of its peace plan.

Why it matters: This is one of the first times that an official from a Gulf state that doesn't have diplomatic relations with Israel has given an interview to an Israeli media outlet. The interview in itself is a sign of warming relations between Israel and the Gulf states. Sheikh Khalid said he wanted to speak directly to the Israeli public through the Israeli media as a means of easing tensions in the region and to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Highlights

On why he accepted an interview with an Israeli journalist: "It should have happened a long time ago. Talking with people you differ with is always a step that would lead to easing up any tension. We have always wanted to solve the Arab-Israeli dispute or the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. But we have always missed the communication. We've always talked to the whole people around the world except talking directly to the Israeli public and through their own ... media. ... And we didn't want to miss this opportunity here since we have this workshop."

  • On normalization with Israel, he added: "Yes, you do have a peace agreement with Egypt. You do have a peace agreement with Jordan, and ... some kind of understandings with the Palestinians. ... But this is not the limit of the scope of where you belong. Israel is a country in the Middle East. Israel is part of this heritage of this whole region historically. So the Jewish people have a place amongst us. So communication needs to be a prerequisite for solving all the dispute. We should talk."

On the Bahrain conference: Sheikh Khalid said the Bahraini government tried to convince the Palestinians not to boycott the conference. "It is always a mistake to miss an opportunity to achieve peace. … This was an opportunity that we wanted to see them here, but they chose not to come."

On the White House peace plan: Sheikh Khalid said he was not privy to the details of the political part of the plan, but said: "We do trust the U.S. that they will be able to reach an agreement." He added in a message to the Palestinians: "It will not be a good idea to shun the role of the U.S. in the peace process." The foreign minister also said he thinks the Israeli government made a mistake by not responding positively to the Arab Peace Initiative when it was first announced in 2002.

On Iran: "Iran is a major threat to the security and stability of the region. I don’t want to use the word Iran. It’s the Islamic Republic. It's this regime that changed all the dynamics." Sheikh Khalid said that Iran is exacerbating the Arab-Israeli conflict by transferring money and weapons to its proxies in the region, and he stressed that Israel had every right to act militarily against Iranian forces in Syria out of self-defense.

On the threat of a U.S.-Iran war: The Bahraini foreign minister said the Iranian regime was pushing for war by attacking ships and oil tankers, drone attacks from Yemen, and other provocations. He added: "This regime only survives with aggression. Only survives with exporting the Revolution. Only survives by taking control. So I think the restraint of the U.S. is very wise."

Read the full transcript here

Go deeper

Pentagon approves request for 100 National Guard troops for "Justice for J6" rally

Security fencing has been reinstalled around the Capitol. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from Capitol Police to provide 100 D.C. National Guard troops in case law enforcement requires additional support at Saturday's "Justice for J6" rally at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Security preparations have ramped up ahead of the pro-Trump demonstration, where hundreds of protesters sympathetic to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are expected to gather.

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.