Middle East

Israel to attend U.S.-led maritime security meeting in Bahrain

Participants are seen gathering ahead of the group photo shoot at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland on Feb. 14, 2019 during the Middle East summit.
Participants seen gathering ahead of a group photo shoot at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland on Feb. 14, during the Middle East summit. Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor/ Getty Images

An official Israeli delegation will attend a U.S.-led maritime security meeting to be held Sunday in Bahrain, intended to focus on countering Iranian threats against shipping routes in the Gulf, Western diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israel and Bahrain do not have full and official diplomatic relations. The Israeli participation in the conference, which will be attended by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman, is another example of the Iranian threat that is bringing Israel and the Gulf states closer together and allowing their government officials to be seen publicly around the same table.

Pompeo defends Turkey negotiations amid claims U.S. sold out the Kurds

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) announce a ceasefire in Syria between Kurdish fighters and Turkish soldiers on Oct. 17, 2019. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pushing back on allegations the U.S. hung its Kurdish allies out to dry in ceasefire negotiations with Turkey, and that violence is continuing despite the deal, reports Politico.

"Our sense is, the political commitments that were made yesterday will end up being successful. We also have reporting that... the [Syrian Defense Forces] are actually beginning their departure. So key elements of the ceasefire look to be taking effect."
— Sec. Pompeo, per Politico