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Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet tomorrow in Abu Dhabi with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, sources familiar with the matter tell me.

Why it matters: Netanyahu will use the trip — which comes less than two weeks before the Israeli elections — to rally his base and stress his foreign policy advantage over his less experienced rivals.

  • This will be the first-ever official trip by an Israeli prime minister to the UAE and the first trip for Netanyahu since the signing of the Abraham Accords with the UAE and Bahrain at the White House.

The state of play: Netanyahu is in need of a boost. His right-wing bloc is short of the 61 seats needed for a majority in the latest polls.

Behind the scenes: Netanyahu raised the possibility of the visit in a phone call with the crown prince 10 days ago, but the Emiratis hesitated due to concerns about perceived interference in the Israeli elections.

  • Netanyahu sent Yossi Cohen, director of the Mossad intelligence agency, to press his Emirati counterparts, sources familiar with the matter tell me.
  • The Emiratis sent signals that they'd rather postpone the visit until after the elections, but Netanyahu and Cohen pressed hard until the Emiratis agreed.

Worth noting: Netanyahu will spend only a few hours on the ground. It's unclear whether he gave the Emiratis anything in return for the visit.

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The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

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Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

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A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.