THIS WEEK

This is a busy week for the Middle East, with some important milestones.  We have already seen that Secretary Kerry is attempting to close the rift between Washington and Cairo, on the eve of the Morsi trial.  But hopefully there will be some movement on Syria on Tuesday, followed by movement on Iran on Wednesday.  Geneva is becoming a very busy place since the onset of the Arab Spring.  Thursday sees a continuation of Kerry’s tour, which by now it is clear should be called “the security and stability” tour.

Monday

Morsi faces judiciary
Islamists were planning huge protests at the scheduled start in Cairo of the trial of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohammed Morsi, on charges of inciting the murder of protesters. About 20,000 police officers and soldiers will stand guard.  — The trail has now been adjourned until January 2014.

Tuesday

Meeting on Syria 
US and Russian officials are to meet international special representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva, as part of efforts to prepare the way for a full Syria peace conference later in November.

Wednesday

Iran nuclear talks
Tehran and the six major powers return to Geneva for detailed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme following last month’s discussions, which both sides called “positive”.

Thursday

Kerry visits Maghreb 
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, is to visit Algeria and Morocco as part of a tour of the region, continuing a strategic dialogue with a focus on security and counterterrorism, economics and civil society.

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