News Roundup for March 15, 2018

March 15, 2018

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

Top News and Analysis

The Rise of Right-Wing Foreign Policy in America, The Atlantic

Peter Beinart argues, “ If Tillerson’s departure heralds the demise of one Republican foreign-policy establishment, Pompeo’s ascension may herald the rise of another. Pompeo’s legitimacy does not only derive from the job he will now hold. It also derives from his credentials. Like Cotton, Pompeo had a distinguished military career. Like Cotton and Cruz, he graduated from Harvard. While his worldview overlaps heavily with those of Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Mike Flynn, Pompeo enjoys a prestige they never did. His rise offers a glimpse into a Trumpism that can outlast Trump, and gives new respectability to a strain of foreign-policy thinking that has generally lacked it in the past.”

Tillerson’s Ouster Could Kill the Iran Nuclear Deal, Politico

Michael Crowley writes, “The Iran nuclear deal might have died Tuesday. That, at least, is one potential upshot of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s ouster and likely replacement by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Friends and foes alike of the nuclear deal say the switch might clear the path for President Donald Trump to act on his oft-expressed desire to abandon the July 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, a signature achievement of President Barack Obama that Trump has called ‘the worst deal ever.’”


Bombs set off along Gaza fence, causing no injury; IDF tanks, aircraft retaliate, Times of Israel

Two improvised explosive devices were detonated as a military patrol vehicle drove by the security fence surrounding the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to retaliate with tank fire, the army said.

Rand Paul Goes to War against Pompeo and Haspel, Yahoo News

Sen. Rand Paul appeared on the Hill Wednesday to hold an extraordinary press conference. Not only would Paul announce his opposition to Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and Gina Haspel as CIA director, but he also attacked their selections in the most specific terms possible.

Mike Pompeo could create a ‘bad cop, worse cop’ scenario as secretary of state, raising uncertainty in the Middle East, Business Insider

With President Donald Trump’s decision to swap out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for CIA director Mike Pompeo, the status quo in the Middle East could quickly disappear. Tillerson had been known to tow a cautious line in his foreign policy approach, leading many to criticize his ineffectiveness, but Pompeo has been much more vocal on his hardline approach to global policies, particularly regarding Iran.

Hamas claims to know who tried to assassinate Palestinian PM, Times of Israel

A Hamas official said Wednesday that the terror group knows the identities of perpetrators of the attempted assassination of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza a day prior.

Military court sends leading Palestinian nonviolent activist to prison, +972

An Israeli military court sentenced Munther Amirah, one of the leading figures in the Palestinian popular struggle in the West Bank, to six months in prison on Wednesday. Amira was arrested in Bethlehem on December 27, 2017, during a demonstration against Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and in support of Ahed Tamimi.

After Tillerson ousted, PM says he is ‘very impressed’ with replacement, Times of Israel

In his first public comment on Mike Pompeo’s appointment as US Secretary of State, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he has been “very impressed” by the former congressman, who is currently heading the CIA.

Israel Ranks 11th in UN 2018 World Happiness Report, Palestinian Territories at 114, Haaretz

Israel was slated number eleven in the 2018 Happiness Report released Wednesday, the same ranking it was given in 2017. The Palestinian territories ranked 104 out of the total 156 countries.

Netanyahu jettisoned snap vote bid after Labor withdrew its support – report, Times of Israel

Two days after early elections were averted with a compromise agreement over an ultra-Orthodox conscription bill, the opposition Labor party has emerged as a possible cause for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apparent about-face on the matter.

Opinions and Analysis

The Real Costs Of Moving The U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem, LobeLog

Zaha Hassan writes, “The president has indicated that he may attend the ribbon-cutting for the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a date meant to coincide with Israel’s seventieth anniversary but is also the anniversary of when the state of Israel forced 750,000 Muslim and Christian Palestinians from their homes and villages to create a Jewish majority in the new country. To add insult to injury, the opening is likely to coincide as well with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Though Trump may think he got the US embassy in Jerusalem for a steal, the price in terms of US credibility, Israel-Palestine peace, and regional stability couldn’t be higher.”

Palestinians pin hopes on Pompeo, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar writes, “Faraj and Pompeo’s relationship was based on common interest. The head of Palestinian intelligence convinced his American colleague that the Palestinian security forces play an important role in the region by cooperating with Israel, but also by keeping Abbas — who plays an active role in keeping violence and radical Islam out of the Palestinian territories — in power. The Palestinians now hope that Pompeo will take steps to strengthen their security forces, especially after the assassination attempt in Gaza. Ramallah also hopes that Pompeo in his new position will be able to keep the promise that he made to Abbas while still head of the CIA: If the Palestinians keep the peace, the Americans will keep them involved in the diplomatic process.”

What does Mike Pompeo as secretary of state mean for Israel and the Jews? JTA

Ron Kampeas writes, “Tillerson was one of the Cabinet-level officials staying Trump’s hand on the Iran deal, advising him to stick with what he saw as a bad agreement and amend it. Iran is hewing to the narrow parameters of the agreement, and the thinking by Tillerson and others, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, was that the United States would lose the leverage to persuade allies to pressure Iran by other means should Trump seek to kill the deal. Pompeo, a Republican congressman from Kansas before assuming his CIA role, opposed the deal, which trades sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program… Pompeo as a congressman once said that a military strike was doable.”