Here are a couple of articles I found fascinating. Most news of foreign affairs is the same story told endlessly. And then there are exceptions:
It was Jerusalem, not Casablanca. Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu are unlikely to be the next Rick Blaine and Captain Louis Renault; however this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Iran’s nuclear facilities or the civil war in Syria might have been the cause for Vladimir Putin’s visit to Israel, but neither was. Departing Israel, Putin said that Russia and Israel will strengthen cooperation in the fields of gas, space exploration, medicine, and pharmaceuticals.
Days later Russia and Israel signed an offshore gas agreement. Gazprom plans to launch an Israeli subsidiary that will help develop Israel’s vast offshore gas reserves, focusing on drilling and on gas transmission.
Two recent developments — Vladimir Putin’s recent trip to the Middle East and the Chinese government’s financing of an Israeli cargo railway — hint at a reshufffling of alliances in the region.
The Middle East’s most consequential divide is no longer the Arab/Israeli one but the Islamist/non-Islamist one, with Iran in one corner, Israel in the other, and other states somewhere in between. It’s far from a linear alignment, with plenty of incongruities; the revolutionary Islamists in Tehran and the evolutionary ones in Ankara, for example, increasingly are at odds, while the Tehran-Damascus axis flourishes as never before.