Rest O’ the Roundup
• Feeling unheard and worried, Saudi Arabia’s seeking a greater role in the international nuclear talks with Iran. But according to the Times of London, that’s easier said than done:
Involving Gulf states in the nuclear talks presents huge difficulties, however. Israel, which is also concerned about a long-term deal with Tehran, would certainly demand a seat at the negotiating table if Saudi Arabia or the GCC were granted a place. Iran has overcome its long-standing hostility with America to sit down with US diplomats but would draw the line at Israel.
A senior Western diplomat to the Gulf said it might be possible to establish a “parallel structure” to give Israel and Arab states a voice in future talks, but that bringing new countries to the negotiations would cause chaos.
• The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards slammed Hassan Rouhani’s government, saying it is “unfortunately infected by Western doctrine, and a fundamental change must occur.” According to Reuters, Mohammad Ali Jafari’s comments are the most cutting criticism of Rouhani’s government yet.
• Lebanon is banning Syrian refugees from living in bare box shelters made out of plywood and corrugated metal roofing. The NY Times explains why:
In the eyes of the Lebanese, the box shelters, made by the Danish Refugee Council, look too permanent and could encourage the Syrians to stay.
“The fear of permanence is very embedded in the Lebanese political psyche,” said Makram Malaeb, a manager in the Syrian refugee crisis unit at the Ministry of Social Affairs. “We had Palestinian refugees who were supposed to stay here for a month in 1948, and now they are a population of 500,000. And we went through a 15-year civil war where the Palestinians were a large player.”
This will provide fresh ammo to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which takes care of Palestinian refugees. The world’s other displaced persons fall under the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has a far better record of resettling refugees. Unfortunately, it’s not obvious to everybody at the UN that ending the UNRWA might advance peace.
(Image of tents via YouTube/Doctors Without Borders / MSF-USA)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.