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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November, 11, 2023.

Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Saudis in a tight spot

In Riyadh, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (widely known as MBS) hosted a joint Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit, whose leaders on Saturday called for an immediate halt to Israel’s “barbaric” military assault in Gaza — stopping short of imposing political or economic sanctions on Israel.

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Is the Middle East becoming the "new Europe”?
Is Middle East becoming the "new Europe”? | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Is the Middle East becoming the "new Europe”?

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

First, will there be long-term regional consequences following the devastating Moroccan earthquake?

I hopefully I think the answer to that is, no. I mean, the response from the government was relatively, it wasn't immediate. And it wasn't great to begin with, in part, because the king, I guess, was in Paris. And it's very vertical. Nothing happens without the king. But now they're moving. There's a lot of international humanitarian aid going in. And as devastating as it is in terms of human lives, the ability to keep Marrakech going is pretty high. Even the IMF annual meeting in a few weeks’ time should still be there. So on balance, I think this is one where the consequences are borne by all of the families, but not on Morocco more broadly.

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Saudi-led peace talks on Ukraine
Saudi-led peace talks on Ukraine | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Saudi-led peace talks on Ukraine

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. A Quick Take to kick off your week hot summer week.

And the Saudis are saying that they are going to host a broad peace conference on Ukraine this weekend. Lots to unpack here. First of all, the Ukrainians are going. It looks like the Americans are sending Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor. He's been back and forth to the kingdom a fair bit of late. And the Ukrainians are saying that these talks will be on the basis of the ten-point peace plan that they rolled out last year. Nothing particularly earth-shattering about that plan. Not a surprise they'd be okay with it. It is the Russians returning all the land.It is war reparations being paid by Russia. It is war crimes being fully investigated, prosecuted. None of which is acceptable to the Kremlin. But if the Saudis are hosting it, the Ukrainians are part of it, and everyone is invited - the Chinese, the Indians, the Brazilians, the Europeans, but not the Russians. And what we seem to see is that the Russians haven't had communications directly with the Saudis on this, and instead you have the Kremlin spokesperson saying they're studying it. You know, they're of course, they want to be constructive. That's the official position. So we're going to see where this is going. It's pretty interesting.

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Syria'n President Bashar Assad


Once frozen out, Bashar Assad is back in

Over the past decade, few Arab leaders have been willing to go anywhere near Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Sure, he managed to hold on to a few friends – like Iran and Russia – but for the most part, the Syrian president, broadly dubbed “The Butcher” for waging a war on his own people, has been considered persona non grata by regional bigwigs.

But Assad is now being embraced by many who had once vowed to continue treating him as a pariah. In recent weeks, Assad enjoyed the royal treatment when he attended an Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the first time in over a decade, while a top Syrian official also rubbed shoulders with international diplomats at a World Health Organization summit in Geneva last week.

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Luisa Vieira

OPEC+ vs. the US

Oil prices soared Monday — and continued rising Tuesday — after a group of OPEC+ members (unexpectedly) announced that they'd slash production voluntarily by more than 1 million barrels per day. It’s the crude cartel’s response to expected sluggish demand for crude triggered by the recent financial turmoil in the US and Europe as well as China’s weak economic recovery.

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, after his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City, U.S April 3, 2023.

REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

What We’re Watching: Trump’s day in court, Turkey stuffing Sweden, Egypt buddying up

Trump’s arraignment

Donald Trump has a busy day ahead of him Tuesday. He returned to the Big Apple Monday night and, after getting some shut-eye in Trump Tower, the former president will head to the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday for his indictment. After his court appearance and a quick photo-op, he’ll jet back to Mar-a-Lago before an evening news conference.

Sound like an orchestrated plan? That’s because Trump’s team wants to capitalize on the publicity blitz around his arrest to bolster his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. There’s reason to believe this is working: Since the news of his indictment dropped, his campaign claims to have raised $7 million, and his polling numbers have soared above other Republican candidates.

On March 30, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought the results of his investigation before a Manhattan grand jury, which voted to indict the former president. Trump is expected to plead not guilty on Tuesday.

While the charges against him have not been revealed, they likely involve Trump's reimbursement to his former attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, who paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence ahead of the 2016 election. The Trump Organization then filed Cohen’s $420,000 reimbursement and bonus as a “legal expense.”

Falsifying business records is only a misdemeanor in New York, but if it is done with the intent to commit or cover up another crime – namely, violating campaign finance laws – then Trump could be looking at a Class E felony and a minimum of one year in prison.

Trump will be the first former US president to be indicted on criminal charges. But whether his indictment will push the GOP to jump ship in favor of another candidate, or what it means for the campaign if they don’t, remains unclear.

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Annie Gugliotta

World leaders: Thanks for nothing!

This Thursday, many of our readers — particularly in the US — will celebrate Thanksgiving.

At worst, it’s a day to argue with your relatives about super-chill topics like climate change, racism, abortion, or cancel culture (here’s a useful guide for that.)

But at best, it’s an opportunity to take a moment, look around, and recognize the things you’re grateful for in this life.

And it’s not just you — our world leaders have much to be thankful for as well. Here, then, is a partial list of global gratitude:

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Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates scoring Saudi Arabia's second goal against Argentina.

REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Saudi shocker is a victory for all Arabs — and a PR coup for MBS

Saudi Arabia's stunning victory over Argentina on Tuesday was one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history. The lowly Saudis defeated the mighty Argentines, overcoming odds so great that if you'd bet $100 on the Saudis, you'd have walked out with more than $2,200 in beer money. (Oops, you can't actually buy any beer at Qatar 2022.)

More importantly, it made the kingdom proud — and sent long-awaited ripples of soccer joy throughout the Arab world. Why?

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