A version of this story first appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile in the Middle East newsletter, a three-times-a-week look inside the region’s biggest stories. Teken hier in.
Londen Clocks stopped when one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history ripped through Beirut. Inside wrecked homes and shops, the force of the shockwaves froze the dials of timepieces, some vintage, others sleek and modern.
- Agtergrond: Appearing at an event to mark a change of leadership at the country’s Atomic Energy Commission, Yair Lapid spoke of Israel’s defensive and offensive capabilities, as well as what he called its “other capabilities” — understood to be a reference to nuclear weapons. “The operational arena in the invisible dome above us is built on defensive capabilities and offensive capabilities, and what the foreign media tends to call ‘other capabilities.’ These other capabilities keep us alive and will keep us alive so long as we and our children are here,” Lapid said.
- Why it matters: Israel is widely believed to possess a few hundred nuclear weapons, having developed the technology in the 1960s. Unlike most assumed nuclear weapons states, Israel has never formally declared possession. In plaas daarvan, it pursues a policy of ‘opacity’ — meaning Israeli leaders, when pushed, have preferred to make only oblique or ambiguous reference to nukes.
- Agtergrond: “I am pleased to announce that the parties have agreed to extend the truce, under the same terms, for an additional two months, van 2 Augustus 2022 tot 2 October 2022,” said Grundberg in a statement, adding that the extension includes commitment to “intensify negotiations to reach an expanded truce agreement as soon as possible.”
- Why it matters: Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition have been at war for the past seven years, but on April 2 agreed to a two-month truce brokered by the United Nations, which was set to expire on Tuesday. Rival parties are yet to agree on a permanent ceasefire.
- Agtergrond: The US State Department has approved a possible sale of PATRIOT MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical Ballistic Missiles (GEM-T) and related equipment to Saudi Arabia for an estimated $ 3.05 miljard. The US government also approved the potential sale of “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) System Missiles, THAAD Fire Control and Communication Stations, and related equipment for an estimated cost of $ 2.245 miljard” to the UAE.
- Why it matters: The notice of the approval comes just weeks after President Joe Biden met with the leaders of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Saudi city of Jeddah last month. It also comes amid US efforts to drive the oil-rich countries to increase oil production, and as allies in the Gulf express concern over what is perceived as a waning US security presence in the region. The approval was also notified on the same day that the United Nations announced a two-month extension of the truce in Yemen.