What we’re watching: October 16 to October 22, 2017

♦ A very large naval exercise in the waters around the Korean peninsula being conducted this week by the US and South Korean navies. There are some 40 ships involved including the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan, which is home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan. The North Koreans have called the exercise “a rehearsal for war” — so they are taking notice.
♦ The Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza signed a cooperation agreement in which Hamas appears to have promised not to conduct attacks on Israel from the West Bank (sic). This is substantially less than the complete ceasefire and dismantling of Hamas’ 25,000 armed force which the Egyptians who were brokering the deal had wanted. The Palestinians’ overall objective is declared to be a state “on all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital”.
♦ The Germans will try to form a coalition government this week. The Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) will hold separate talks with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens on Oct 18. The FDP and the Greens will then hold talks together on Oct 19. Then all the parties will meet on Oct 20.


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