Signing of Abraham Accords Is ‘Paradigm Shift’ for Israel-Gulf Relations, Sen. Blackburn Says

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) applauded the signing Tuesday of the Abraham Accords, calling it a “paradigm shift.”

Blackburn on Tuesday tweeted, “Today, we are witnessing history at the @WhiteHouse. 27 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain have achieved monumental peace. This deal brings great potential and opportunity to the region and is a paradigm shift in Israel-Gulf state relations.”

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Bahrain Becomes Latest Arab Nation to Recognize Israel

Bahrain has become the latest Arab nation to agree to normalize ties with Israel as part of a broader diplomatic push by President Donald Trump and his administration to fully integrate the Jewish state into the Middle East.

Trump announced the agreement on Friday, following a three-way phone call he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The three leaders also issued a brief six-paragraph joint statement, attesting to the deal.

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Biden Says He Won’t Completely Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday that if he wins the election in November, he will not fully withdraw American troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Biden told Stars and Stripes Thursday he supported a continued presence of up to 2,000 ground troops throughout the region for executing operations against ISIS and other terror threats.

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UAE Formally Ends Israel Boycott Amid US-Brokered Deal

The ruler of the United Arab Emirates issued a decree Saturday formally ending the country’s boycott of Israel amid a U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the two countries.

The announcement now allows trade and commerce between the UAE, home to oil-rich Abu Dhabi and skyscraper-studded Dubai, and Israel, home to a thriving diamond trade, pharmaceutical companies and tech start-ups.

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Commentary: Trump’s Huge Middle East Win

Even The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had to admit President Trump hit a home run with the deal he helped negotiate for Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic relations.

“This was, as he tweeted, a ‘HUGE’ achievement,” Ignatius wrote. It is viewed as an “’icebreaker” that could open the door to other countries, such as Bahrain, Omar and Morocco, opening diplomatic relations with Israel.

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Trump Says UAE to Open Diplomatic Ties with Israel

The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

The announcement makes the UAE the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel.

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US Says Iran Briefly Seizes Oil Tanker Near Strait of Hormuz

The Iranian navy boarded and briefly seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S., the American military said Thursday.

The U.S. military’s Central Command published a black-and-white video showing what appeared to be special forces fast-roping down from a helicopter onto the MT Wila, whose last position appeared to be off the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates near the city of Khorfakkan.

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Iran Declines to Disclose Cause of Mysterious Nuke Site Fire

An online video and messages purportedly claiming responsibility for a fire that analysts say damaged a centrifuge assembly plant at Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear site deepened the mystery Friday around the incident — even as Tehran insisted it knew the cause but would not make it public due to “security reasons.”

The multiple, different claims by a self-described group called the “Cheetahs of the Homeland” included language used by several exiled Iranian opposition organizations. They also focused almost entirely on Iran’s nuclear program, viewed by Israel as a danger to its very existence.

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US Begins Troop Drawdown Amid Deepening Afghan Political Crisis

ISLAMABAD – Officials in Afghanistan say a presidential decree is expected to be issued Tuesday that would set in motion the process of releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners as the U.S. military begins a troop drawdown in the country—steps outlined in a deal with the Islamist insurgent group aimed at ending the nearly 19-year-old war.

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Trump De-escalates: Says ‘Iran Appears to be Standing Down,’ U.S. ‘Ready to Embrace Peace’

President Trump made it abundantly clear in his address to the nation Wednesday morning that Iran’s free reign of terror throughout the Middle East was over, but the United States would not be retaliating militarily against the Islamic Republic following their missile strikes on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

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The Battleground State Report Discusses Foreign Policy and the Unpredictability of Trump

  The Battleground State Report, airing Fridays at 8 am CST with Steve Gill, Michael Patrick Leahy, and Doug Kellett is a one-hour radio show from Star News Digital Media in the early stages of a national weekend syndication roll out. Gill, Leahy, and Kellett talked about the constant tinderbox that is the Middle…

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US Sending More Military Power to Counter Iranian Threat

  The United States military is once again increasing its arsenal in the Middle East to counter Iranian threats, announcing Friday the movement of a Patriot missile battery and the USS Arlington landing platform dock ship used in amphibious assaults. The move comes a day after The USS Abraham Lincoln…

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Trump Unilaterally Declares Islamic State in Syria ‘100 Percent Eliminated’

U.S. President Donald Trump declared the end of the Islamic State terror group’s self-declared caliphate Friday, saying the terror group had been “100 percent defeated” —a claim that was quickly refuted by U.S.-backed forces on the ground. Trump made the announcement following a briefing from Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan…

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Last Defenders of Islamic State’s Caliphate Surrounded

by Jeff Seldin   The last defenders of the Islamic State terror group’s self-proclaimed caliphate are surrounded in a small neighborhood in the eastern Syrian village of Baghuz, facing imminent defeat. The assessment Saturday, from a commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, follows days of slow and difficult fighting…

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Trump Plans to Declare ‘100 Percent’ Victory Over Islamic State Caliphate

by Jeff Seldin   U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he expected to formally declare victory over the Islamic State terror group’s self-declared caliphate in the next week. “Nobody thought it was possible to do it this quickly,” Trump told members of the global coalition to defeat the Islamic…

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Commentary: Better Ways to Fight Extremism in Syria Than Endless War

by Austin Mulka   Yesterday I posted a status in unequivocal support of President Trump’s recent decision to pull out of Syria. The post elicited the abhorrent wails of the president’s purported supporters, one of whom denounced me as a supporter of “child killers.” As baseless as the claim was,…

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Commentary: Anti-Semitism Just Gained a New Foothold in Congress

by Joel Griffith   In 1948, the Jewish people secured sovereignty over their ancestral homeland for the first time in nearly 2,000 years. Once again, they could thrive—religiously, economically, culturally—in the home their ancestors were forced to flee. But more than 70 years after the rebirth of the Jewish nation,…

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White House Says US Will Start Withdrawing Troops From Syria

by Wayne Lee   The White House said Wednesday the United States has begun withdrawing troops from Syria, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted the U.S. has defeated the Islamic State terror group there. “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase…

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Top US Navy Admiral in the Middle East Found Dead in ‘Apparent Suicide’

by Evie Fordham   A replacement has been named for Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, the top Navy admiral in the Middle East, after he was found dead in his residence in Bahrain Saturday. Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, will take Stearney’s…

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Commentary: Big Media’s Power Games and the Khashoggi Affair

by Joseph Duggan   Jamal Khashoggi was a thoroughly charming and charismatic person. In March 2012, I took the last available seat at a luncheon table at the 20th Public Relations World Congress in Dubai. By sheer accident I found myself sitting next to Khashoggi and conversing with him for…

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