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Why is Mike Pompeo in the Middle East?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on a very important mission right now. This week he is visiting four countries in the Middle East and Africa. Two of them, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, have recently moved to normalize ties in a historic deal recently brokered by the Trump administration. The other two — Sudan and Bahrain — are rumored to be looking at forming closer ties with Jerusalem as well.

What is it that each country involved wants out of Pompeo's trip? Is this really just about building a united Israeli-Arab front against Iran or are there other interests at work? Here's a look at the key players.

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What We're Watching: Uproar in the Ivory Coast, AMLO's brother in hot water, Pompeo's roadtrip

Ivory Coast president sparks uproar: Violence has broken out across major cities in the Ivory Coast in recent days after President Alassane Ouattara announced that he would seek a third presidential term, a move that would involve challenging the constitution, which does not allow for three consecutive terms. (Ouattara's ruling RHDP party says that this rule doesn't apply because of a technicality dating back to 2016.) Ouattara's bid to stay on comes after Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly — whom Ouattara tapped earlier this year to succeed him — died of heart failure last month. Protesters say that Ouattara's move is unconstitutional and that he should step aside after two terms in the job marked by ongoing ethnic violence amid a decade-long civil war that has killed some 3,000 people. Further exacerbating tensions, the country's former president Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro have been barred from running this October.

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All the President's Generals

President Trump used to love a man in uniform but these days he's soured on his generals. This week, Ian looks at how the President's cooling relationship with his top brass has affected U.S. foreign policy and then he'll talk to Michèle Flournoy, who was the highest-ranking woman at the Pentagon. And on Puppet Regime we find out what keeps Trump up at night.

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