News Archive – 2019

Egypt joins Arab Charter of Human Rights per presidential decree
‘Part of a larger process’ including Arab Parliament, Peace and Security Council
Egypt Today, June 14, 2019 – Egypt’s official Gazette published Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s decree approving Egypt’s acceptance of the Arab Charter on Human Rights adopted at a summit of the League of Arab States in May 2004….
Mervat Rishmawi, a legal advisor at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, said that the charter is “part of a larger process of modernization of the Arab League, which includes the creation of a Peace and Security Council as well as the establishment of an interim Arab Parliament,” according to an article published in Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Ecowas launches Regional Competition Authority
Would ‘promote adherence to the ECOWAS Competition Law in our region’
The Point (Gambia), May 30, 2019 – The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) has a core mandate of keeping under review commercial activities in the community market with a view to ascertaining practices which may distort the efficient operations of the market conduct or which may adversely affect the economic interest of consumers.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ebrima Drammeh, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration, recalled that the supplementary protocol establishing the ECRA defined it as a specialised, autonomous and quasi-judicial body mandated to implement the Regional Competition Rules, thus contributing towards the promotion of economic growth and competitiveness in the ECOWAS common market.

What Is ‘Europe’s Destiny’? Why EU’s Right Turn Points to Stalingrad-Style Shutdown
Stalingrad was turning point where the Germans were stopped in WWII
CBN News, May 29, 2019 – After a strong showing by Eurosceptic parties in last week’s elections, European leaders are now worried about their future….
In Britain, where many expect the Trump-like Boris Johnson to take over from Theresa May, Farage is warning against any further delay on Brexit.
“If we do not leave the European Union on October 31st, then just as we’ve surprised people in these European elections we will go forward and absolutely stun them in the next general election. There’s a big wake-up call here to Westminster. Let’s see whether they listen,” Farage said.

Continental free trade pact comes into effect June
In theory, Africans will be free to trade, work and move all over within the continent without restrictions
Business Daily (Kenya), May 5, 2019 – This in theory implies that from July, Africans will be free to trade, work and move all over within the continent without restrictions as it is the case now….
All that is now left is for the African Union and African Ministers of Trade to finalise work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during an Extra-Ordinary heads of state and government summit slated for July 7.
African Continental Free Trade Area
‘All these borders will become meaningless, will become ficticious….This will take time’
Single African passport
African Union, April 27, 2019, YouTube
Following the path of the European Union from its beginnings as the European Common Market

Time to say goodbye to NAFTA’s replacement?
By David Olive, Business Columnist, Toronto Star, May 5, 2019 – It might be that U.S. President Donald Trump has reverted to his years-long preference to simply kill NAFTA without replacing it.
Trump won’t budge on the reasonable changes that Congressional Democrats seek to make to the USMCA agreement.
He also seems determined to keep in place the steel and aluminum tariffs he applied against Canada and Mexico about a year ago. And that alone pretty much guarantees that all three national legislatures will reject USMCA….
But the odds of NAFTA’s demise are also low. Only Capitol Hill, not the president, can kill a treaty.

East African nations mull referenda on political confederation
Xinhua (China), April 29, 2019 – The East African Community (EAC) member states each plan to hold national referenda to decide whether to have a political confederation or not, officials said on Monday.
Alice Yalla, acting integration secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development told Xinhua in Nairobi that a committee of experts, three from each of the six partner states is currently developing a draft constitution for governing the political confederation….
EAC member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

European Union to create central biometrics database
Computer Weekly, April 25, 2019 – The European Parliament has agreed to build a single biometric database that will weave various border control, security and migration systems across the European Union (EU).
Called the Common Identity Repository, the system will provide law enforcement agencies with facial recognition data and fingerprints, as well as personal information, such as passport numbers and birth dates of more than 350 million citizens.
Vatican Proposes European Union as Example of ‘a Supranational State’
Breitbart, April 26, 2019 – The European Union (EU) is “an example of what could become a supranational state,” according to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the lead-up to a major conference against nationalism.
In its full-court press for globalism and international migration, the Vatican insists on describing nationalism in exclusively negative terms, opening its “Concept Note” for its May 1-3 conference by saying that the world “is facing today a growing threat of nationalist revival,” which “leads to mutual rejection and enduring conflicts.”….
“Globalization and migrations inspire the fear that nations could lose their cultural identity and their political independence.”

Believe It Or Not, Brexit Is Actually Helping The European Union
Whole process of Brexit being so complicated, so difficult, made people realize that you don’t leave the EU so easily
Morning Edition, National Public Radio (transcript), April 22, 2019 – ….Euroskeptic parties in France, the Netherlands and Sweden have since backed off calls for Frexit, Nexit (ph) or Swexit (ph) referenda and focused on changing the EU from inside. In the last decade, the EU has weathered an immigration and a financial crisis.

College students are told 18 states offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. Check out how they react
The Blaze, April 18, 2019 – At least 18 states offer in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Armed with those facts, Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips recently teamed up with itsmikeaye_ to ask University of Nevada, Las Vegas, students their opinions concerning illegal immigrant students getting in-state tuition. The reactions were unanimous: Not cool.
‘Free flow of goods, services, and people’ would include access for education

Trump says Mexico auto tariff threat supersedes new NAFTA pact
‘This will supersede USMCA’ if ‘for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from’
Politico, April 5, 2019 – President Donald Trump said Friday that the deal his administration struck with Mexico on its auto exports won’t count if the country fails to stop Central American migrants from illegally crossing the border to enter the United States.
If “for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the U.S. will be forced to Tariff at 25 percent all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the Border to us. If that doesn’t work, which it will, I will close the Border,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“This will supersede USMCA,” Trump continued, referring to the new North American trade deal, which has yet to be ratified in the U.S., Mexico or Canada. “Likewise I am looking at an economic penalty for the 500 Billion Dollars in illegal DRUGS that are shipped and smuggled through Mexico and across our Southern Border. Over 100,00 Americans die each year, sooo many families destroyed!”

UK removes words ‘European Union’ from British passports
Old blue British passport emblem of government’s promise to ‘take back control’ from EU
The Guardian (London, UK), April 5, 2019 – The UK government has started issuing British passports without the words “European Union” even though the UK remains a full member of the bloc. It removed the two words from passport covers issued this week on the working assumption that Brexit day would have been 29 March….
The Home Office said the inclusion of the words “European Union” was part of the policy of the EU but was not legally binding, and consumers who receive the new-look passports in the coming months have nothing to worry about. “They are perfectly legal,” it said.

Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area takes effect
North Africa Post (Morocco), April 5, 2019 – Gambia’s National Assembly has ratified the agreement that seeks to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
With Gambia’s ratification, the continent’s free trade agreement has drawn enough signatures to go into operation….
Once in place, the trade agreement will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion—making it the world’s largest free-trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

Qatar Is the Weakest Link in an ‘Arab NATO’
National Review, April 4, 2019 – It is a good idea in theory: Assemble a coalition of Sunni Arab states, call it the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), and create a multinational military force meant to serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, and extremism….The latest iteration of MESA is supposed to be an amalgamation of Sunni Muslim forces, including the six Gulf Cooperation Council members — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman — in addition to Egypt and Jordan.
When President Trump visited Riyadh in May 2017, he implored the dozens of Muslim leaders gathered at the Arab Islamic American Summit to “drive out” the terrorists in their midst and unite to push back on Iran. Those in attendance understood the reference to the Qatari elephant in the room and shortly thereafter acted to bring the emirate in line with the priorities they share with the United States. Rather than changing its behavior, Qatar widened the scope of its relations with the other regional, non-Arab, Muslim Brotherhood–boosting regime in Turkey, posing additional challenges to America’s interests in the Middle East.

Congress manifesto positive on Saarc, Kashmir
Dawn (Pakistan), April 3, 2019 – India’s Congress party announced its election manifesto here on Tuesday, which revealed an indirect connect with Pakistan through the Saarc template.
The party appeared contrite on Kashmir, making particular references to human rights and anti-torture steps. The manifesto drew instant criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which described it as appeasement of terrorists and separatists.
The promise of quietly positive turn of events between the neighbours hinges on the party supplanting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rightwing government in the April-May elections.
The Congress offered clear hopes of working with Saarc to improve regional ties, something the Modi government was averse to.

New ECOWAS Travel Card and Nigeria’s economy
Unhindered movement of persons and goods within regional bloc modeled after NAFTA Free Movement of Persons Protocol
Daily Trust (Nigeria), April 1, 2019 – The implementation of the ECOWAS Travel Card by some member countries has been hailed as the right decision to facilitate the unhindered movement of persons and goods within the regional bloc….For Nigerian businessmen and women and for travelers within the region, the ECOWAS Travel Card is easy to obtain and has two-year validity.  The travel is card synchronized with the digital features in the National Identity Management documents and is fashioned after the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Free Movement of Persons Protocol.

Too early to discuss single Eurasian Economic Union currency, warns official
‘We have just began taking steps in this direction’
TASS (Russia), March 20, 2019 – Introducing a single currency within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is possible in future, but its member states are not ready yet, Assistant Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Fedor Chernitsyn said.

Regional leaders convene in Santiago to kick off PROSUR initiative
‘Pragmatic integration’ a ‘new stage in the integration of South America’
‘Opportunities for regional integration’ to focus on health, social security, energy, defense, natural disasters and the environment   

Buenos Aires Times, March 22, 2019 – Prosur has been born amid the resurgence of the conservative right in Latin America….
The new agreement would take the place of UNASUR, which was promoted by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and has been inactive for more than three years. The countries plan to model their forum on the successful Pacific Alliance, according to reports, which is made up of Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia…
Over the course of the discussions, the group of South American leaders will “appreciate, assess and sort out the experiences of the past,” as well as look at “what comes next,” said Piñera. They also plan to address “challenges and opportunities for regional integration,” with a focus on issues such as health, social security, energy, defense, natural disasters and the environment.
South American nations form new regional group
Prosur to replace Unasur
UPI, March 22, 2019 – Several South American leaders met Friday to create a new regional group after a previous decade-old attempt to achieve broader regional integration failed to achieve unity.
Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Colombia’s Ivan Duque, Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, Paraguay’s Mario Abdo and Peru’s Martin Vizcarra met Friday with [Chilean President] Pinera in Santiago to start a new regional organization named Prosur and replace Unasur as the biggest regional group, Chile’s La Tercera reported….
The Unasur separation occurred as countries within the organization had disagreements about issues in Venezuela that deepened in recent years.

Euroskeptics to gain seats as EU Parliament tug of war escalates
Daily Sabah (Turkey), March 11, 2019 – Polls suggest that nationalistic and euroskeptic parties will make considerable gains at the expense of the center and far left groups in the upcoming May elections….
The European Parliament is the only body within the European Union to be directly elected, and even so, while it’s been given the right to either pass or reject laws handed down to it by the unelected European Commission, it does not possess any form of legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of the European Union do.
Merkel protege warns against centralised European Union – The National (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Reuters, March 9, 2019 – “Our Europe needs to become stronger,” Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel as party leader in December, wrote in an opinion piece for the Welt am Sonntag weekly newspaper.
But she added: “European centralism, European statism, the collectivisation of debts, a Europeanisation of social systems and the minimum wage would be the wrong way.”

Gulf countries mull regional water grid to boost ties
Gulf News (Dubai, UAE), March 10, 2019 – Gulf countries are considering a regional water grid on the lines of electricity grid to meet the growing demand for water, a senior official from Kuwait’s ministry of electricity and water said in Abu Dhabi.
“The idea is to have all GCC countries connected with a grid. Kuwait is ready, Bahrain is ready and also Saudi Arabia,” said Iqbal Al Tayyar, director of technical supervision department at the Kuwait’s ministry of electricity and water.
Gulf rift seems to ease as Qatar takes part in GCC military meeting in Riyadh
Daily Sabah (Turkey), March 7, 2019 – Qatar on Thursday took part in a Riyadh-hosted meeting of ground forces commanders from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states…. Participants also reportedly discussed proposals for establishing a unified GCC military command.

ECOWAS Single Currency to debut in 2020 with select countries
Recommended that member states ‘….promote regional integration through the free movement of factors of production. Create a permanent integration framework among the ECOWAS commission, WAMA, WAMI and the ECOWAS parliament’
Vanguard (Nigeria), March 9, 2019 – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through its parliament has reaffirmed its commitment to introducing the community’s unified monetary unit by next year….
According to the forum, “to ensure the sustainability of the ECOWAS single currency, it is key to continue efforts to harmonize monetary and budgetary policies. This requires the strengthening of the multilateral surveillance mechanism through greater involvement of Central Banks and Finance Ministries.”

SAARC: A defunct organization
Fancies European Union, but little motivation for transforming into such ‘cohesive entity’
The Nation (Pakistan), March 8, 2019 – Regretfully, the achievements of the organization are far below its potential thus far. At the moment, it has been on the point of being defunct for several years….
Although a South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) came into force in 2006 but that was only limited to goods with no place for investments and services like information technology etc. It envisioned a duty free area between members by 2016, but nothing happened on the ground. If we had acted on Vision for SAARC (1998) there would have been a Customs Union by 2015 and an Economic Union by 2020. Majority of us fancy workings of the European Union but, strangely enough, when it comes to SAARC little motivation is found for transforming it into such a cohesive entity.
Sub-regionalism is superseding a stagnant SAARC
East Asia Forum (Australia), Feb 23, 2019 – India recently acknowledged the long-standing demands of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan to remove non-tariff barriers to trade and liberalise the energy sector. The three countries of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) initiative have tremendous hydropower potential waiting to be harnessed by an energy-starved India. New guidelines will allow cross-border trade in energy through multi-country public-private partnerships and the creation of a robust regional power market.
While India continues to outflank Islamabad by investing in sub-regional initiatives like the BBIN and BIMSTEC, Pakistan is similarly looking beyond the SAARC for regional camaraderie with China.

Iran Says Grounds Prepared for Its Membership in Eurasian Union
Meeting in the next three months to discuss Iran’s membership
IFP News (Iran), Feb 20, 2019 – Despite sanctions imposed on and restrictions created for Iran’s economy, arrangements for membership of the Islamic Republic in the Eurasian Economic Union have been made, said Iran’s Energy Minister.
According to [Reza] Ardakanian, with the arrangements made so far, Iran and the union will hold a meeting in the next three months to discuss Iran’s membership….
Back in December 2018, member states of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union formed a Free Trade Zone with Iran, preparing the grounds for Tehran’s long-awaited accession to the EEU.

EU Elections ‘Last Chance to End Nationalist Nightmare’ – Verhofstadt
MEP, EU Brexit coordinator wants to shut down opposition to federal EU superstate
Breitbart, March 6, 2019 – This year’s EU election will be the “last chance” to kill populism, Guy Verhofstadt has warned, calling for sovereignty-destroying “reform” which would transfer national powers to Brussels….
Asked why he believes populist sentiment has been strengthening across the bloc, the former Belgian prime minister blamed the internet, before going on to echo Macron in endorsing an EU-wide purging the internet of so-called “hate”.
Socialist European Union insider and Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has long had a radical vision for an EU superstate within a New World Order framework of similar regional blocs. When he was prime minister of Belgium in 2001, Verhofstadt revealed the following framework model:

In Arab world, a new alliance is on the rise
Christian Science Monitor, Feb 13, 2019 – The grouping has no official name – people refer to them verbally as “the six states” or the “big states” or the “six big states.” Let’s call them the Big 6. On the surface, it is the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, minus Qatar and Oman but with the addition of Jordan and Egypt….
The Big 6 is first and foremost a Sunni Arab coalition that seeks to act as a bulwark against Iran, coordinate Arab foreign policy, and prevent the encroaching influence of non-Arab regional actors such as Turkey…. The bloc also supports the ongoing blockade of Qatar over what they claim is an unwillingness to take stances against Iran and Turkey.
What brings Israeli and Arab leaders together in Warsaw? – TRT World, Feb 13, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first raised the idea last month ahead of his 8-nation tour of the Middle East where he tried to gather support for President Donald Trump’s containment policy for Iran. At the time, the initiative was seen as a prelude to forming the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) – a proposed regional security alliance comprising members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), plus Egypt and Jordan….
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to insist the meeting is mainly about the Islamic republic of Iran.
Israel Says It Wants ‘War with Iran’ and Is Meeting with Arab Countries to ‘Advance’ It – News week, Feb 13, 2019 – The United States has rallied countries from across the world, especially from Europe and the Middle East, to attend a summit in Warsaw in a bid to form a united front against revolutionary Shiite Muslim Iran….
“What is important about this meeting. and it is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,” [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] added.

We need to restructure SAARC
SAARC could benefit from China’s economic growth (Sri Lanka), Feb 8, 2019 – The move to promote China’s entry as a full member was seen by Indian analysts as an attempt to challenge India’s dominance within SAARC. Pakistan fully supported the move. Of course, Sri Lanka, too, appeared supportive of the proposal then.
However, for China to enter SAARC, the consensus of all member states is required. If India can work with China within BRICS and become a partner in the China-led Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank, there is no reason other than India’s ambitions to be South Asia’s big brother for it to oppose China’s membership.
SAARC could benefit from China’s economic growth and the grouping could extend its trade links to Central Asia and the Asia Pacific region via China, especially in view of China’s Belt-and-Road initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Also if China is given full membership, the India-Pakistan issues that stymie SAARC’s growth can be overlooked and the South Asian grouping could make progress.

You say you want a federation
A political union for east Africa?
Regional leaders have big ambitions but short tempers

The Economist (London, UK), Feb  7, 2019 (Google link) – Africa’s regional institutions do not lack ambition. The African Union’s master plan promises a rich, peaceful continent criss-crossed by high-speed trains. Eventually. Its target is 2063, a date well past the likely retirement date of all the bigwigs who signed the plan.
The East African Community (EAC), by contrast, has no time to waste. It wants to form a single currency by 2024. At a recent summit, heads of state discussed drafting an east African constitution, with the ultimate goal of political federation. The EAC is the most successful of Africa’s regional blocs. Since its revival in 2000 it has established a customs union and the rudiments of a common market. But its leaders are getting ahead of themselves: deepening rifts have put the project in jeopardy.

Chile organizes a meeting of presidents to promote the creation of Prosur, replacing Unasur
Will be attended by ‘practically all’ the leaders of the region
To ‘strengthen the democratic institutions that govern all of South America’
Infobae (Argentina), Feb 5, 2019 – The Chilean government is organizing a meeting for March in which it is intended to give impetus to a new international institution to replace Unasur, an organization formed in the boom of the leftist wave in Latin America and which today suffers from strong discrepancies and little weight in the region….
The Foreign Minister of Paraguay, Luis Alberto Castiglioni,…. added that, ” since we all share the same principles and values, ” Prosur must serve to ” strengthen the democratic institutions that govern all of South America….”

Time for Humility for Davos Elite
By Michael Barone, RealClear Politics, Feb 1, 2019 – So the political, financial and media elites have taken beatings at the ballot box — Brexit, Trump, anti-establishment European rebellion parties. The 1990s elite projects and policies were not crazy, but their failures to make course corrections and their lack of respect for decent nationalism have been costly. Something to talk about if they slink back to Davos next year.

Eurasian Economic Commission Prepares Report on Cryptocurrencies
Crypto Digest, Feb 1, 2019 – The Commission’s minister for integration and macroeconomics, Tatyana Valovaya, said that the EEU aims to create a consolidated financial market by 2025, as the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries are becoming more robust, the EEU has to study them. And accordingly, Russia’s Ministry of Finance is considering launching a digital currency backed by the countries in the EAEU by 2020 or 2021.
Eurasian Economic (dis)Union
The bloc has not ‘re-Sovietised’ the region and is stretched by competing priorities
Financial Times (London), Jan 29, 2019 (Google link) – A popular conception about the EAEU is that it is Russia’s attempt to “re-Sovietise” the region (in then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s phrase), if not as a political force then at least as an economic one. Indeed, to some western observers, the EAEU has been a successful vehicle for Russian interests: only four years after inception, it has made impressive strides towards economic integration, achieving the free movement of goods, capital and people faster than its model and rival, the European Union….
Despite such successes, recent internal challenges to Russian leadership have dispelled any fears that the EAEU is becoming a neo-USSR. While the member states share a post-Soviet legacy, they have little else in common (apart from Kazakhstan’s and Russia’s reliance on hydrocarbons), while closer ties to Russia are not a priority for most of the other members.

Pakistan blocks South Asia’s trade growth
New Indian Express, Jan 27, 2019 – The one stumbling block in this effort has been Pakistan, which has not implemented the SAARC Free Trade Agreement, signed in 2006. This agreement was part of a larger vision to make SAARC a Customs Union and then an Economic Union by 2020.

Trump duped, globalists love new NAFTA/TPP agreement
By Dr. Harold W. Pease, Journal Tribune (Biddeford, Maine), Jan 25, 2019 – No one has been more outspoken against the globalist agenda than President Donald Trump.  His “America First” platform is the very antithesis of their plans for world government.  This is primarily the reason all globalists, Democrat and Republican, and all globalist mediums, have come out of the closet to oppose him at all costs.  Hence the shock when globalists are now praising his newly negotiated and rolled out Oct. I, 2018 USMCA (United States/Mexico/Canada) sovereignty destroying replacement of NAFTA—seemingly a merged agreement of the worst parts of NAFTA and TPP.

Brazil eliminates Mercosur symbol from new passports
New Brazilian passports to strengthen national identity
Merco Press, Jan 25, 2019 – The purpose of the new Brazilian passports is to strengthen national identity and love for the motherland, explained Lorenzini.
“We are going to eliminate from Brazilian passports the Mercosur identification; we are going to return the symbol of the Republic to the document”, underlined the cabinet chief.
….However in a recent meeting between Bolsonaro and his Argentine peer, Mauricio Macri, the two leaders did point out the importance or reaching a trade agreement with the European Union, a deal that has been on the negotiations table for almost two decades.

Pompeo calls for Gulf unity to fight Iranian influence
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Jan 14, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Sunday for greater unity among the Arabian Gulf states to combat Iran’s malign influence in the region. Pompeo arrived in Riyadh on Sunday evening on the latest leg of his nine-nation tour of the Middle East…. Pompeo said Gulf unity was essential for a planned Middle East Strategic Alliance that would also include Jordan and Egypt.

Pompeo heading to Middle East to shore up US alliances
Daily Mail, (London, UK), Jan 4, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will tour eight Middle East capitals next week in an effort to shore up crucial alliances strained by the Yemen war, US plans to exit Syria and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
State Department officials say Pompeo also hopes to fortify the alliance of the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The group was weakened in 2017 after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sought to isolate GCC member Qatar from other countries in the region, over its alleged support for extremist groups. The rift is “unhelpful,” another US official said, opening a cleavage that Iran could exploit. To strengthen the group, the US is hoping a GCC summit can be arranged as early as the first quarter of this year, the official said.

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