Aug 24, 2017

Qatar reopening diplomatic ties with Iran amid Saudi standoff

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Qatar has reopened diplomatic relations with Iran and will be sending a diplomat to Tehran, the AP reports. Qatar had originally pulled its ambassador out in early 2016 when there were two attacks on Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran.

This comes amid the months-old Saudi-led blockade against Qatar, and flies in the face of Saudi Arabia's demand that Qatar restrict its ties with Iran before the blockade be lifted. Although Qatar had already been receiving shipments of food from Iran, this is likely to further entrench the blockade.

Why it matters: The blockade, which Trump has appeared to tacitly back, has brought Qatar and Iran closer together — not a desirable outcome for either Washington or Riyadh. The U.S. has its largest military base of the region in Qatar.

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DOJ to treat antifa involvement in protests as domestic terrorism

Barr and Trump. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement Sunday that the Justice Department will use its network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to identify the "criminal organizers and instigators" of violence during the George Floyd protests, including antifa and similar groups.

Why it matters: Barr, President Trump and other members of the administration have pinned the blame for riots and looting over the past few days of protests against police brutality on antifa, a loosely defined far-left movement that uses violence and direct-action protest tactics.

2 hours ago - Technology

Trump and Zuckerberg share phone call amid social media furor

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the week that President Trump took on social media, Axios has learned that he had a call Friday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was described by both sides as productive.

Why it matters: With the White House and Twitter at war, Facebook has managed to keep diplomatic relations with the world's most powerful social-media devotee.

Twitter, Google lead chorus of brands backing George Floyd protests

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter and Google are among the dozens of brands over the past 24 hours that have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial equality. Some companies have changed their logos in solidarity with the movement, while others have pledged money in support of efforts to address social injustice.

Why it matters: The pressure that companies feel to speak out on issues has increased during the Trump era, as businesses have sought to fill a trust void left by the government. Now, some of the biggest companies are quickly taking a public stand on the protests, pressuring all other brands to do the same.