BURMA/ROHINGYA – Burma’s government says it has evacuated at least 4,000 non-Muslim villagers amid ongoing clashes in north-western Rakhine state. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims are trying to escape across the border to Bangladesh and the death toll from violence that erupted on Friday after coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents has risen to 104 people. Thousands of Rohingya are attempting to cross the Naf River into Bangladesh.

SYRIA/LEBANON – A cease-fire has been declared in offensives against the Islamic State on the Syrian/Lebanon border. ISIS has been fighting the Lebanese army on one front, and Hezbollah+ the Syrian army on the other. The Syrian media reports that ISIS has agreed to withdraw to eastern Syria. This is unconfirmed.

IRAN/ISRAEL – Iran’s new Army chief says Israel will cease to exist within the next 25 years.   Speaking in the holy city of Qom Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi name checked a Revolutionary Guard member called Mohsen Hojjaji who was recently beheaded by ISIS and said “As a result of the determination of holy warriors such as martyred Hojjaji, the Zionist regime will not exist in 25 years.”

SAUDI/IRAQ – After years of mutual hostility the ice seems to be melting between the two countries. There have been many signals over the past year, another came late last month when the Saudis invited the Iraqi Shia leader Moqtada Al-Sadr to visit. Now the Saudis have opened a land border crossing for Iraqi pilgrims to visit Mecca and Medina.

VENEZUELA/SANCTIONS – President Trump has issued an executive order imposing additional sanctions on the South American country. It prohibits various transactions and dealings between American persons or companies and Venezuela. The intention is to further hinder the Venezuelan government’s ability to finance itself.

COMING UP –

The annual BRICS summit is usually worth watching, not because the BRICS as a group is that important, but because individually each member comprises an important country. This year it’s in the Chinese city of Xiamen, 16 other countries have been invited. The most pressing issue is probably the India-China military standoff in the Doklam Plateau. Indian PM Modi has yet to confirm he will show up.

What is President Putin doing in Budapest? Officially he’s there to attend a judo championship. Really, he’s there to talk with PM Orban about supplying Hungary with natural gas.

Mecca.

The Hajj begins today. The Saudis are smoothing the way for Iraqi pilgrims (see above) but will they, and the Qataris, cooperate to get to get Qatari pilgrims to Mecca and Medina?

DIARY –

Mon – President Putin in Hungary to attend the World Judo Championship.

Mon – Leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Chad, Libya, and Niger meet with the EU high commissioner for foreign policy to discuss the migration crisis.

Mon – 3rd round of Brexit negotiations begins.

Mon – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Turkey to discuss Al-Aqsa Compound. (See below)

Tues – Israeli Knesset members may try to enter the Al-Aqsa compound. If so, demonstrations are expected.

Thurs – The annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises between S Korea and the USA end. With a bang from N Korea?

Thurs – Japan hosts UK PM Theresa May for 2 day visit. This is not entirely unrelated to the Brexit negotiations…

Thurs – Hajj pilgrimage begins. (To Sept 4th)

Fri –  Deadline for the USA to ‘expel’ 755 embassy and diplomatic employees in Russia.

Sun –  China hosts the 3 day 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian.

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