Weekend Roundup Nov. 16-18

1.     Netanyahu invites Abbas to address Knesset

  • The Israeli Prime Minister called "on President Abbas to come here to the Knesset and recognize the relationship between the Jews and the Land of Israel.”
  • This announcement comes following French President Francois Hollande's visit to Israel, where he called for an end of settlements, a shared Jerusalem, an end of the status quo between Israelis and Palestinians and a recommitment to the peace process.
  • President Hollande also reiterated that that France has no problem with Iran and acknowledges its right to "peaceful nuclear energy." However, he asserted that the idea of Iran attaining nuclear weapons was "unacceptable," adding, “in light of negotiations between the six world powers and Iran over its nuclear program, that Iran needs to answer with deeds, not words."

2.     Iran has developed a new nuclear site, dissidents say

  • "According to specific information obtained by the Iranian resistance, the clerical regime is establishing or completing parallel secret and undeclared sites for its nuclear project," Mehdi Abrichamtchi, an official with the National Council of Resistance of Iran, told reporters in Paris
  • The new site is believed to be inside an 1,800-foot tunnel complex beneath mountains six miles from the town of Mobarekeh, adjacent to a highway and within the Haft-e Tir military industrial complex, according to the same official.
  • If this recent announcement is proved to be factual, what will this mean for the nuclear negotiation efforts?

3.     West Faces Challenge in Moving Syrian Chemical Arms Through Battlefields

  • The plan to move the Syrian chemical arsenal is being questioned as it relies heavily on moving through highly dangerous zones and onto a ship that has no final set destination.
  • On Friday, the Albania turned down the United States’s request to “destroy the weapons on its territory after thousands of Albanians took to the street in protest.” Earlier this month, Norway rejected a similar request.
  • Read more about the complications that have or might arise amidst the weapons transport here.

4.     Palestine casts first vote at UN

  • Palestine's delegation to the United Nations “has cast a ballot for the first time in a routine General Assembly vote, an act the envoy said brought his nation a step closer to full UN membership.”
  • The chief Palestinian UN observer, Riyad Mansour, participated in the 193-nation assembly's election of a judge for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on Monday in which Koffi Kumelio Afande of Togo was elected to the court.

5.     With The Middle East In Crisis, U.S. and Turkey Must Deepen Alliance

  • In the Middle East and North Africa, both Turkey and the United States face an increasingly chaotic geopolitical environment. The tensions we are witnessing in this region -- which is overwhelmingly identified with human suffering, political and sectarian conflicts, and threats to global order -- initially grew out of popular uprisings for dignity, legitimacy, and prosperity. 
  • On that ground, the United States and Turkey do not have the luxury of remaining aloof or apart from each other; our joint work has proven indispensable to regional security and stability. As a result, we have diversified our cooperation with the United States in areas ranging from counter-terrorism and non-proliferation to defense cooperation, energy security, know-how transfer, and more.