iran

President Trump set off a firestorm Tuesday when he conducted diplomacy-by-tweet. The President took credit for the decision by Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries to cut off ties with Qatar, an ally that is home to a large base with as many as 10,000 U.S. military personnel. The tweets were a huge surprise given that a day earlier, top U.S. officials had sought to downplay the dispute. “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Moscow Reza Maleki stressed the need to further promote relations between the Islamic Republic and the Russian Federation, saying enhanced cultural ties between the two nations will pave the ground for closer political relations. “Relations between Iran and Russia should not be confined to the level of the governments,” Maleki said in a meeting about cultural relations and their impact on political ties held at the University of Tehran’s Faculty of World Studies.

Any peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require dialogue, mutual trust, and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. The "Palestine in Hebrew" Facebook channel demonstrates that the Palestinian government in the West Bank is attempting to foster such dialogue and understating with Israeli citizens. While the profile is but one element in a larger Palestinian outreach initiative, it exemplifies how digital tools, and social media, can be used by governments to overcome the limitations of traditional diplomacy and practice public diplomacy. 

At the stringing table, most of the women wear hijabs. Natives of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, they have been in the U.S. less than two years, arriving in Houston through Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston's refugee services program. They speak Arabic, Farsi, Pashto or Dari. Which is to say, they sometimes speak with each other only slightly better than they can talk with me.

In the meeting, also attended by deputy culture ministers of Iran and Slovokia, Salehi Amiri said agreement to hold cultural week, active participation in art and book fairs, cinematic cooperation and cultural diplomacy are among the provisions of the MoU signed between the two countries.

Could the missile strikes on Syria enhance U.S. soft power? Philip Seib considers the possibility at the CPD Blog.

All told, the Kingdom’s prioritization of its economic reform agenda, its interdependence with regional trade partners, and political uncertainty in the United States point to a period of heightened focus on Asia ties in the immediate future. However, Vision 2030’s dizzying ambition of overhauling subsidies and public sector reliance, coupled with channeling a massive, increasingly well-educated youth population into a fledgling knowledge economy, will necessitate that the Saudis cast a wide net to capture as much foreign investment and diversified revenue as possible. 

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