Arab countries attend White House Gaza crisis meeting

Tuesday's White House meeting on the Gaza crisis included Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. The Palestinian Authority decided not to attend.

Why it matters: It's rare for representatives from Israel and Arab countries like Saudi Arabia to come together in the same room.

Special envoy Jason Greenblatt said in his opening remarks: "We regret that the Palestinian Authority is not here with us today. This is not about politics. This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza, and of all Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians."

  • He added, "Today's terrible attack on the convoy of Prime Minister Hamdallah demonstrates there will always be real risks associated with this endeavor. But the risks justify the potential benefits."
Khorri Atkinson 4 hours ago
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NYT: Mueller witness tried to influence White House on Gulf states

Interviews and previously undisclosed documents revealed that a witness in Robert Mueller's probe had worked for over a year to convert a Republican fundraiser into a White House influencer to help usher in deals on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times reports.

The backdrop: George Nader, a political adviser of the U.A.E. and Elliott Broidy, the RNC's deputy finance chair, reportedly urged the White House to dismiss Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's support of combative approaches to Iran and Qatar. In another case, Nader promised Broidy over a $1 billion in contracts for his private security company in exchange for deals.

David Philips 7 hours ago
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Russian obstruction on Syria at UN Security Council demands response

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein speaking during a press conference at the UN Offices in Geneva.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

Russia used a procedural vote on Monday to prevent UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein from presenting on human rights conditions in Syria to the UN Security Council (UNSC).

Why it matters: To date, Russia has vetoed nine resolutions aimed at intensifying pressure on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, moves that not only counter U.S. interests but undermine the international system.