LIVE TODAY at 7:45pm ET: State of the World with Ian Bremmer
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Thick smoke rises from buildings after an Israeli air strike on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Abed Rahim Khatib, Reuters

War has resumed in Gaza following the end of the seven-day ceasefire between Hamas and the state of Israel, with each side claiming the other caused the collapse. Beyond the blame game, however, where do things go from here?

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Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas expired, as seen from Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel, December 1, 2023

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

7: The pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas collapsed after seven days, but Qatar says negotiations to implement a new pause are ongoing even as combat resumes. Israeli society was also rocked by a bombshell report indicating the government was aware of Hamas’ plan for an Oct. 7 style attack for over a year .

23: How hard is it to get 23 countries to agree on something? Ask the coalition of 23 OPEC+ countries, which are struggling to agree on how much crude oil production to cut to keep prices up in 2024. The deadlock has already forced the group to push back a meeting set for this weekend. One key question is whether production leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia will extend their current cuts into next year. Both countries are counting their halalahs / kopeks carefully – Riyadh is attempting a major overhaul of its economy while Moscow is financing its ongoing war in Ukraine.

40: The government of Germany, the EU member that takes on the largest number of migrants, has proposed a new law including more than 40 measures that would make it easier to deport asylum-seekers. View from the far right (AfD Party): “only brings tiny micro changes.” View from the left (Green Party): “a massive encroachment on fundamental rights.”

4,700: Meta is seeing a surge in fake and misleading Facebook accounts based in China ahead of America’s 2024 elections. Facebook’s parent company wrote in a recent quarterly threat report that they foiled a network of more than 4,700 China-based accounts that were posing as Americans while spreading polarizing content about American politics and US/China relations. China is now the third-largest home of such fake accounts, behind Russia and Iran.

2.4: The EU says annual inflation across the Eurozone will come in at 2.4%, down half a point since October, a faster drop than markets expected. Importantly, the new mark is getting closer to the European Central Bank’s 2% inflation target, showing that the bank’s interest rate hikes since July 2022 are working to tamp down inflation, even as they also raise concerns about slowing economic growth.
Luisa Vieira

After weeks of devastating fighting, Qatar helped mediate a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas that opened the door for exchanges of hostages and prisoners. So how has Qatar, a nation that doesn’t have official diplomatic relations with Israel, played such an outsized role in this process?

Why Qatar: The Gulf state has repeatedly served as a mediator in conflicts across the Middle East and beyond, offering itself as a bridge of communication between historic, bitter adversaries like the US and Iran , the US and the Taliban , Ukraine and Russia , and Israel and Hamas. The tiny, gas-rich, wealthy nation has sought to boost its global profile over the past decade or so by serving in this capacity – and it’s had help from the US government along the way.

Qatar is home to the largest US military base in the Middle East – Al Udeid Air Base, which the US has been operating out of since 2001 – and its role as a mediator has “been largely a strategy pursued in coordination with Washington to deal with different regional issues,” says Ayham Kamel, head of Eurasia Group’s Middle East and North Africa research team.

But it’s also in Qatar’s DNA. Mediating conflict, says Patrick Theros, former US ambassador to Qatar, is “quite literally in Qatar’s Constitution,” and it’s seen as a key part of the country’s national security strategy.

Stability starts at home. Qatar views mediation as a vital means of maintaining regional stability and reducing its own security risks. “Qatar is, by citizen population, the smallest state in the Gulf region and, per capita, the richest in the Gulf and arguably the world. It is surrounded by predatory larger and stronger neighbors,” Theros notes.

Qatar was blockaded from 2017 to 2021 by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries that accused Doha of supporting terror groups and of being too close to Iran. This episode highlighted the risks that Qatar’s approach to foreign affairs can pose, but those risks have also paid off in big ways.

The US, which played a role in ending the blockade, clearly sees Qatar’s desire to be a peacemaker in a prickly region as advantageous to its interests. In October, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lauded Qatar as a “close partner” to the US on a range of crucial issues.

Doha has secured the “protection of powerful outside powers” like the US by making itself “indispensable” with its mediation efforts, Theros said.

Elements of leverage: Qatar has been engaging with Israel since the 1990s, and since 2012, it has also hosted a political office for Hamas, which Doha says was opened at the request of the US. This gives Qatar a degree of influence over the militant group, and some exiled senior Hamas officials live in Qatar, which has also poured hundreds of millions of dollars of aid into Gaza.

Doha maintains “good credible relations with a lot of less than nice parties” that Washington can’t engage with directly and has hosted groups like Hamas and the Taliban “at the express request of the US,” says Theros.

Some prominent Israeli politicians are not thrilled that Qatar has been tapped as a peacemaker in the conflict given its relationship with Hamas. There has also been some pushback regarding Qatar’s ties to Hamas from pro-Israel politicians in the US . But Doha maintains that keeping the Hamas office open allows Qatar to be a channel of communication, which benefits the US and Israel, as we’ve seen this past week.

“In the Israel-Hamas conflict, Qatar has proven itself to be one of the few viable channels to pressure Hamas to conduct deals on releasing Israeli hostages,” Kamel says. “At this point, the US is leveraging Qatar's influence to release as many hostages as possible while still maintaining support for Israel's objective of eliminating the Hamas threat.”

Jess Framptom

‘Tis the Spotify Wrapped season! (Or Apple Music replay season, for those of us out of step with the cultural zeitgeist). In the spirit of everyone sharing their most-played tracks of the year, the GZERO team decided to look back at some of our top-viewed articles of 2023. You’ll never guess who wrote our top pick …

Plus, check out GZERO’s totally real and definitely not photoshopped 2023 Spotify Wrapped playlists from some of your favorite politicians.

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REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Top US officials are in the Middle East this week to try to prolong the fragile, temporary truce between Israel and Hamas made possible by the exchange of hostages and prisoners.

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COP28: Oil-rich UAE and the dilemma of hosting a global climate summit | World In: 60 | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Will the UAE’s pursuit of oil deals during COP28 undermine the summit's climate goals?

Well, it certainly doesn't make it any easier. I mean, this is the time when the world comes together and tries to reduce the level of carbon in the atmosphere, and the fact that it's being hosted by one of the world's largest oil producers and by the chairman, the CEO of one of the world's largest oil companies, who also is driving his country's sustainability goals. Well, I mean, I guess you can say he's hedged. You can definitely say that but you can also say it's challenging and problematic. Look, there was a chance that COP was going to fall apart completely and you were just going to have fragmented bilateral deals. The Chinese, for example, get much more influence giving out money directly in return for things with countries than being a part of a multilateral group. Having said that, US and China recently have come together on climate in advance, specifically of COP28, and there is more movement on methane emissions from the two largest emitters in the world. There's more movement on carbon capture and storage than we've seen before. Look, I'm glad the meetings happened. It is happening. It's going to be more successful than it not showing up. But there are big challenges and you're going to hear those frustrations loudly from the developing world who are taking climate on the chin.

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Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release doesn't mean the end is near | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. And yes, we are back to the Israel-Gaza war and it is at least a little bit of good news with some hostages finally being released over a month and a half from when they were originally taken. That has gotten us some Palestinian prisoners released, some humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza and a ceasefire for a few days. And indeed, looks like it will now plausibly be extended for another day or two as more hostages are being let go.

Got to give Qatar a lot of credit here for playing a role in negotiating between Israel and Hamas. Not an easy thing to do. Qatar, an ally of the United States, the biggest military base on the ground, but also a government that has allowed the political leadership of Hamas to live inside their territory in peace and security as they have Taliban leadership for years. And that proves to be useful for both the Americans and the Israelis, more on that later. But is this potentially the beginning of the end of the war? And on that front, I think we have to say absolutely not for a few reasons.

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