An Arab League videoconference, attended by member states' foreign ministers, published a statement rejecting a "continuation of military action that alters existing front lines." Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who supports Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army, requested the Arab League meeting last week after the Government of National Accord (GNA) and its Turkish patron rejected his June 6 ceasefire proposal and peace plan on the grounds that talks can only resume when Sirte and al-Jufra airbase are in GNA hands. The Arab League's demand for an immediate ceasefire to avert any movement of the frontlines accords with President Sisi's warning Saturday that the fall of Sirte or al-Jufra airbase would be a "red line" for Egypt that could trigger direct military intervention. Dismissing the Arab League statement and Sisi's threat, GNA spokesman Mustafa al-Mujie proclaimed Tuesday, "All of our forces are working hard at preparations for the operation to liberate Sirte." The GNA boycotted the Arab League videoconference and intends to reduce its involvement with the organization, accusing it of double standards.
Some are interpreting Defense Minister Benny Gantz's comments during a briefing to military reporters Tuesday as an endorsement of annexing some West Bank territory if the Palestinians refuse to negotiate. He said, "We won't continue to wait for the Palestinians. If they say no forever to everything, then we'll be forced to move forward without them." However, Gantz qualified his remarks with the usual caveat about needing to coordinate with regional powers, a condition precluding annexation since the Arab League issued a unanimous and categorical statement last April opposing annexation. Gantz's reservations about annexing parts of the West Bank were even more obviously displayed during the briefing when he stated, "There is a security challenge in the Judea and Samaria [West Bank] area, and it may be a greater challenge as a result of applying the law." Meanwhile, an anonymous United Nations official told Army Radio on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a member of Gantz's Blue and White Party, is moving behind the scenes to stop annexation.
116 out of the 198 congressional Republicans – including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and Chair of the House Republican Conference Liz Cheney – sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu "to emphasize that Israel has the right to make sovereign decisions independent of outside pressure" and to express how they are "deeply concerned by threats being expressed by some to retaliate against Israel as it makes decisions to ensure defensible borders."
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a report released Tuesday pressed Israel to cancel plans to annex parts of the West Bank. He argued that, "if implemented, this would constitute a most serious violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations."
The Houthi movement Tuesday claimed to have hit with missiles and drones the Saudi defense and intelligence ministry buildings and King Salman Air Base, all in Riyadh, as well as military sites in the cities of Jazan and Najran. Turki al-Malki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, on the other hand, maintained the kingdom intercepted the attack, the first on the Saudi capital since March. As of Tuesday night, the targets that the Houthis purportedly struck appeared undamaged.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Asma Abdalla disclosed Tuesday that Khartoum is finalizing a deal to compensate the victims of the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. A Sudanese delegation is negotiating in Washington with the victims' lawyers and State Department officials. While Sudan has always denied involvement in the attacks, having expelled Osama bin Laden in 1996, the Sudanese government says it agreed to a settlement in the embassy bombings case and to compensate the victims of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole as part of an effort to remove itself from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.
According to the Syrian government, airstrikes, almost certainly carried out by Israel, in Syria's southern Sweida province Tuesday killed two regime soldiers and wounded four. Also on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Israel killing five pro-Iranian militiamen on al-Sukhna-Deir ez-Zour road in eastern Syria.
Micah Levinson is the Washington, DC Resident Fellow at the Middle East Forum