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Bahrain To Normalise Ties With Israel

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 14 September 2020

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L-R: Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: REUTERS)

Bahrain follows the United Arab Emirates in normalising ties with Israel.

Political, Security // BLUF: Bahrain has agreed to normalise ties with Israel.

Bahrain follows the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the second Arab nation to take such steps.

US President Donald Trump posted the announcement to Twitter after speaking with the leaders of both countries, and spoke of the agreement to reporters in the Oval Office, going on to comment that he believed other Arab countries would soon follow.

(See Point 4 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 14 September 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES - Political: Billionaire Bloomberg to spend $100 million in Florida to help Biden

FYSA: Michael Bloomberg, who spent $1 billion of his own money on a failed 2020 presidential bid, will inject at least $100 million to help Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign against President Donald Trump in Florida. The billionaire’s decision comes at a critical moment in the final 51 days of the race, with polls showing a close race in the battleground state and no financial advantage for the sitting president. Trump’s initial financial supremacy over former Vice President Biden has evaporated after the Republican’s campaign spent freely and Democratic fundraising surged once the party’s divisive primary ended. “Mike Bloomberg is committed to helping defeat Trump, and that is going to happen in the battleground states,” said Bloomberg adviser Kevin Sheekey, who added that the spending “will mean Democrats and the Biden campaign can invest even more heavily in other key states like Pennsylvania, which will be critical to a Biden victory.” Even before Bloomberg’s spending, both campaigns were expecting Florida to be the most expensive state in which to campaign. It will be the biggest prize among competitive states on Election Day, offering 29 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win. Voting by mail in the state starts on Sept. 24, and Biden is planning his first in-person visit to Florida of the general election season on Tuesday. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. BELARUS - Security, Political: At least 100,000 Belarus protesters flood streets to demand end of Lukashenko

FYSA: At least 100,000 Belarusian protesters took to the streets of Minsk on Sunday in one of the biggest demonstrations yet against President Alexander Lukashenko after he claimed a landslide victory in an election his opponents say was rigged. As public anger continued to build against Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet nation for 26 years, Moscow offered him support by saying it would send paratroopers to Belarus for “Slavic Brotherhood” joint drills. A wave of protests has swept Belarus since the Aug. 9 presidential election, which demonstrators say was actually won by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Key opposition figures have since either been jailed or fled the country, with Tsikhanouskaya now in Lithuania. Lukashenko denies the election was rigged and has said foreign powers are behind the protests. A vast column protesters marched through the capital Minsk towards a government district on Sunday, chanting “Long live Belarus” and “You’re a rat,” a taunt that has frequently been used against Lukashenko during demonstrations.They came to a halt and chanted “fascists” as hundreds of riot police with shields blocked off the road. Meanwhile in the city of Brest, police used water cannons on protesters, according to the Nexta Live channel. Police said they had detained over 400 people in Minsk alone. A Reuters witness said that detentions were continuing on Sunday evening. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

3. ISRAEL - Security (Health): Israeli government to impose second Covid-19 national lockdown

FYSA: Israel’s government has decided to impose a lockdown lasting three weeks, the first country to reimpose such severe restrictions on a national scale, after a dramatic resurgence in coronavirus cases. Fearing mass gatherings during a string of national holidays over the next month, the cabinet decided to shut down the country as of Friday, the Jewish new year, until 9 October. Speaking at a press conference shortly after the vote, the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said hospital heads had warned the healthcare system would be overburdened if infection rates continue to rise. “They raised a red flag,” he said. Netanyahu said people will be forced to remain within 500 metres from their homes, with exceptions for lone exercise. Schools and all but essential shops will be shuttered. A gradual loosening of the rules would only be implemented if the rate of infection drops. “I know these steps are a heavy price for us all,” he said. “These are not the holiday we are used to. We certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.” With the country already hit by a deep, pandemic-induced recession, the decision to reinstate lockdown has divided the government and the nation. (The Guardian. See link in heading for further reading)

4. BAHRAIN, ISRAEL, UNITED STATES - Political, Security: Bahrain agrees to normalize relations with Israel, Trump announces

FYSA: Bahrain agreed to establish formal relations with Israel in advance of Tuesday’s anticipated historic signing in Washington of an accord to normalize ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. It is likely that a second accord could be signed Tuesday between Israel and Bahrain. US President Donald Trump tweeted the news Friday after he spoke by phone to both Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said. “Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!,” Trump tweeted. Israel is now “working toward the opening of an Israeli embassy in Bahrain,” according to a Foreign Ministry official. Already on Saturday Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke with his Bahrain counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid al Zayani. “I look forward to deepening and strengthening the relations between our two countries. Together we will work towards peace and stability in the Middle East,” Ashkenazi tweeted. (Jerusalem Post. See link in heading for further reading)

5. AUSTRALIA - Security (Health): Coronavirus: Melbourne police arrest 74 anti-lockdown protesters

FYSA: More than 70 people have been arrested in Melbourne, Australia, for flouting the state's stay-at-home orders to attend an anti-lockdown protest. About 250 people went to the illegal protest - the second one this weekend. Police said "many protestors were aggressive and threatened violence towards officers". The demonstrations come as the state of Victoria prepares to ease its lockdown restrictions, which have been in place since early July. Victoria has been the epicentre of Australia's Covid-19 outbreak, accounting for 75% of cases and 90% of deaths. The state has extended a state of disaster for another month, giving the police extra powers to enforce public health orders. Victoria's State Parliament building has also been forced to close "until further notice" after a security guard tested positive for the virus. Australia has had a total of 26,600 confirmed cases and more than 800 deaths from the virus. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

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