Najib Mikati becomes Lebanese PM designate
Lebanon has another PM-designate: Lebanese Sunni businessman Najib Mikati has been named the country’s new prime minister-designate — the country’s third since the Beirut port explosion last August — after winning a majority of parliamentary votes, according to Reuters. Mikati will now be tasked with forming a government able to undertake serious reforms to steer the country away from an economic collapse.
Biden announces Iraq military pullback: President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi said yesterday that the US would end its combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year, Bloomberg reports.
It’s not immediately clear what difference on the ground: There won’t be a significant reduction in American troops, which will remain in the country to assist the Iraqi government’s fight against Daesh by providing training and assistance to security forces. The announcement comes a few weeks after Washington ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan, and began pulling thousands of troops out of the country.
The UAE is at the center of a new lobbying scandal in the US: The former chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that he had illegally lobbied for the UAE and lied about his ties to the Gulf country, Reuters reports. Federal prosecutors have accused three people of illegally using their influence in Washington to promote Abu Dhabi’s foreign policy interests.
Jordanian FM Ayman Safadi was in Cairo yesterday for talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The meeting addressed recent moves by Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq to strengthen diplomatic ties, and comes less than a month after the three countries agreed to deepen security and economic cooperation during a summit in Baghdad. The three countries are planning to work together to establish new industrial complexes, and power and electricity projects, the statement said.