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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
July 22, 2014

Top of the Agenda

Israel-Hamas Conflict Continues Despite International Pressure

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas entered its third week, fighting continued unabated despite mounting international pressure for the two sides to arrive at a cease-fire (Reuters). UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is expected to arrive in Jerusalem on Tuesday to meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while U.S. secretary of state John Kerry is set to hold meetings in Egypt (Haaretz). Palestinian fatalities have surpassed six hundred (WSJ), according to health officials; Israel reported one of its soldiers missing in action, as its forces continue to target tunnels that could be used in an infiltration (NYT).


"Such tactical achievements should not be minimized. But they do not equal a strategic victory. War, as Clausewitz famously taught, is the continuation of politics by other means. Wars are fought to realign politics in a way that benefits the victor and is detrimental to the loser. But the Israelis have lost sight of this distinction," writes Ariel Ilan Roth in Foreign Affairs.

"For many Gazans, and not just Hamas supporters, it's worth risking more bombardment and now the ground incursion, for a chance to change that unacceptable status quo. A cease-fire that fails to resolve the salary crisis and open Gaza's border with Egypt will not last. It is unsustainable for Gaza to remain cut off from the world and administered by employees working without pay," writes the International Crisis Group's Nathan Thrall in the New York Times.

"Depending on whom one asks, Egypt's failure so far to mediate a cease-fire is either a function of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's perfidy or incompetence, or Egypt's diminished status among Muslim countries. But there's another explanation: The Egyptians seem to believe that a continuation of the fighting—for now—best serves their interests," writes CFR's Steven Cook in Foreign Policy.



Widodo Declared Indonesia's Next President

Jakarta governor Joko Widodo won Indonesia's tightly contested presidential election, the electoral commission announced Tuesday (AP). His opponent, ex-general Prabowo Subianto cited massive fraud as he withdrew from the race, prompting the government to warn against unrest (Jakarta Post).

CHINA: Beijing ordered nationwide inspections on restaurants that source meat from a U.S.-owned supplier implicated in distributing tainted meat (Bloomberg).



Indian Concerns Jeopardize Bali Trade Pact

India could block a deal to streamline global trade by seeking a rule change from the World Trade Organization to protect its food subsidies for the poor (Reuters). Prime Minister Narendra Modi could announce his government's stance on ongoing trade talks as early as Tuesday (Times of India).

The United States should integrate India in the Asian trade tent, writes CFR's Alyssa Ayres.

AFGHANISTAN: A suicide bomber killed four foreign national and injured dozens at a security compound in Kabul on Tuesday. The Taliban claimed responsibility (WaPo).



Syria Rebels Press ISIS as Coalition Dissolved

Syrian rebels have expelled jihadis from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria from the Damascus suburbs (Daily Star). Meanwhile, the Western-backed opposition coalition dissolved its interim government on Tuesday, and pledged to form a new one within a month (Reuters).

A new Thirty Years' War is brewing in the Middle East, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.



Nigeria's Jonathan to Meet Parents of Abducted Girls

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan is set to meet for the first time with parents of the more than two hundred schoolgirls abducted from Nigeria's northeast in April (This Day). The meeting, in Abuja, comes as militant group Boko Haram consolidates control over the northeastern town of Damboa (NYT).

SOUTH SUDAN: Ugandan authorities failed to receive (Sudan Tribune) a South Sudanese rebel delegation that sought to mend ties with Uganda and discuss the withdrawal of Ugandan troops (WSJ).



EU Mulls New Russia Sanctions

The UK is pushing for aggressive new sanctions against Russia as EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Tuesday, while France came under fire for its sale of warships to Russia (FT). In Ukraine, a refrigerated train carried victims' remains to forensic specialists in Kharkiv (WSJ).

CFR's Janine Davidson discusses the geopolitical ramifications of MH17.

UNITED KINGDOM: The British government on Tuesday announced a public inquiry into the 2006 death of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko (Independent).



China Inks Trade Deals with Venezuela

Chinese president Xi Jinping signed oil and mineral deals with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, on Monday, as part of a four-nation Latin America tour (AFP).

UNITED STATES: Texas governor Rick Perry on Monday announced plans to deploy up to one thousand National Guard troops to the Mexico border (LAT).



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