CIA director pushes big hostage deal in secret meeting with Mossad chief
    The Washington Post

    WORLD  28 November 2023 - 19:07

    The Washington Post has published an article claiming that the meeting in Qatar comes as CIA Director William Burns takes on a central role navigating the crisis for President Biden. Caliber.Az reprints the article.

    CIA Director William J. Burns arrived in Qatar on Tuesday for secret meetings with Israel’s spy chief and Qatar’s prime minister aimed at brokering an expansive deal between Israel and Hamas, said three people familiar with the visit.

    Burns is pushing for Hamas and Israel to broaden the focus of their ongoing hostage negotiations, thus far limited to women and children, to encompass the release of men and military personnel, too.

    He is also seeking a longer multiday pause in fighting while taking into account the Israeli demand that Hamas release at least 10 people for every day there is a break in the war, those familiar with the matter said on the condition of anonymity to detail sensitive discussions.

    Crucially, Burns is pushing for the immediate release of American hostages held by Hamas, a figure U.S. officials put at eight or nine people.

    The CIA declined to comment on the director’s travel, which is kept classified. A U.S. official said “Director Burns traveled to Doha for meetings about the Israel-Hamas conflict including continued discussion on hostages.”

    Burns has emerged as the main U.S. negotiator in the hostage crisis, valued by President Biden for his broad array of contacts across the Middle East and, in particular, within Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.

    “They listen to him and highly respect him,” said a person familiar with the negotiations.

    Burns, a veteran diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, is often tapped by Biden to handle the administration’s most vexing challenges, from warning Russia not to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to negotiating with the Taliban amid the U.S. evacuation crisis in Afghanistan.

    His role in the Israel-Gaza war is particularly prominent given Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reliance on Mossad chief David Barnea.

    “Barnea is the key Israeli person for these negotiations,” said Natan Sachs, an Israel scholar at the Brookings Institution, a think tank. “He’s the one authorized to speak on behalf of the prime minister.”

    Far outside of Netanyahu’s circle of trust is Israel’s intelligence minister, Gila Gamliel, and foreign minister, Eli Cohen, observers say, making Burns’s meetings with his counterpart a focal point for dealmaking. “Secretary of State Antony Blinken would be the counterpart if the Israeli foreign minister held any sway in the Cabinet, but he does not,” Sachs said.

    The channel between Burns and Barnea was put to use earlier this month when the two met in Qatar to discuss a pause in fighting and the outlines of a hostage release with Qatar’s prime minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, on Nov. 9.

    Hours after the meeting concluded, the White House announced that Israel will begin four-hour pauses in northern Gaza to allow Palestinians to flee hostilities — a welcome step in the eyes of the White House but which fell short of U.S. requests of multiday pauses.

    Qatar, a gas-rich peninsula in the Persian Gulf, has mediated talks between Israel and Hamas since the start of the conflict.

    U.S. officials are pushing for a longer string of days without fighting to release hostages and allow humanitarian aid into the enclave. Israeli officials have told counterparts the maximum number of extra days they are willing to allow is 10 before they seek to resume military operations, said people familiar with the matter. Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas, and officials are uncertain whether Israel can be convinced to back off its 10-day threshold amid the push to release as many hostages as possible.

    Netanyahu, speaking over the weekend, vowed to continue fighting after the current phase of hostage negotiations. “We will return with full force to achieve our goals: the elimination of Hamas; ensuring that Gaza does not return to what it was,” he said.

    The latest round of releases Monday brought the number of hostages freed to 50, including 19 hostages of other nationalities such as Thailand and the Philippines, while Israel has released 117 imprisoned Palestinian women and teenagers.

    The truce agreed to last week was the first pause in hostilities since the conflict began Oct. 7, when Hamas gunmen waged a brutal cross-border assault that killed 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostages.

    Israel responded with a massive bombing campaign and ground offensive that has killed more than 15,000 Palestinians, many of them children, according to health officials in Gaza. Huge sections of the densely populated enclave have been leveled by Israeli bombs and artillery, and Israeli restrictions on food, fuel and drinking water have created a humanitarian catastrophe.

    While fighting has been paused as a part of the truce, aid agencies have raced to boost deliveries to Gaza.

    U.S. officials are concerned that if Hamas and Israel fail to negotiate a continuation, aid deliveries will again falter. One objective Burns has in Qatar is to explore what kind of format or mechanism can be established to secure the flow of aid outside of the hostage negotiations framework, said people familiar with the matter.

    There is agreement among all sides that the flow of aid into Gaza is not sufficient, but U.S. officials say the main challenge is security and logistical issues that don’t allow for more than 200 trucks per day. One potential solution is to enhance capacity at the Rafah border crossing, which separates Gaza and Egypt, by replacing outdated security equipment.

    Caliber.Az

    Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Read also

Egypt studies plan to expand Suez Canal

04 March 2024 - 20:57

President Biden sure of victory in coming US presidential election

04 March 2024 - 20:37

Shahbaz Sharif takes oath as 24th prime minister of Pakistan

04 March 2024 - 20:20

More than 6 in 10 US adults doubt Biden’s mental capability

04 March 2024 - 20:53

Bitcoin smashes through $65,000

04 March 2024 - 20:46

Reuters: EU wants fossil fuel sector to help pay to combat climate change

04 March 2024 - 19:05
ADVERTS
Video
Latest news

    How trade can help US beat China?

    04 March 2024 - 22:00

    Azerbaijan signs up to Global Methane Pledge

    04 March 2024 - 21:10

    Austrian MPs updated on prospects for Azerbaijan-Armenia peace process

    04 March 2024 - 21:05

    Egypt studies plan to expand Suez Canal

    04 March 2024 - 20:57

    More than 6 in 10 US adults doubt Biden’s mental capability

    04 March 2024 - 20:53

    Bitcoin smashes through $65,000

    04 March 2024 - 20:46

    Azerbaijan establishes Ski Journalists Club

    PHOTO

    04 March 2024 - 20:41

    President Biden sure of victory in coming US presidential election

    04 March 2024 - 20:37

    In search of mutual trust: What can be done?

    Contemplations with Orkhan Amashov

    04 March 2024 - 20:29

    Shahbaz Sharif takes oath as 24th prime minister of Pakistan

    04 March 2024 - 20:20

    16 candidates go to run off in Tehran parl. elections

    04 March 2024 - 20:17

    Cambodian People’s Party: Azerbaijan to play even greater role in regional, global affairs

    04 March 2024 - 20:05

    Azerbaijan, Pakistan intensify military cooperation

    PHOTO

    04 March 2024 - 20:05

    Azerbaijan, Bulgaria hail successful energy cooperation

    PHOTO

    04 March 2024 - 19:53

    Azerbaijan to host first meeting of BSEC tourism educational institutions

    04 March 2024 - 19:41

    Lowest voter turnout in Iran's parliamentary polls stuns ruling regime

    Azerbaijanis opposing Kurds' land claims in Iran

    04 March 2024 - 19:35

    Khankendi-Baku Ultramarathon wraps up in Azerbaijan

    PHOTO

    04 March 2024 - 19:29

    Türkiye unveils AZAT FPV kamikaze drone

    PHOTO

    04 March 2024 - 19:21

    Turkmenistan could join Organisation of Turkic States in 2024

    04 March 2024 - 19:13

    Reuters: EU wants fossil fuel sector to help pay to combat climate change

    04 March 2024 - 19:05

    Azerbaijan, Bulgaria eying development of interstate, interparliamentary cooperation

    PHOTO

    04 March 2024 - 18:57

    Azerbaijan, Qatar discuss current financial situation

    04 March 2024 - 18:45

    Turkish COBRA-II armoured tactical vehicles spotted in Kazakhstan

    PHOTO/VIDEO

    04 March 2024 - 18:37

    Palestinian president set to visit Türkiye

    Meeting with Erdoğan scheduled

    04 March 2024 - 18:25

    Algerian president's security officers block Iranian leader's guards

    VIDEO

    04 March 2024 - 18:13

    Turkish trainer aircraft “HÜRJET” accomplishes another test

    VIDEO

    04 March 2024 - 18:01

    Pundit warns against overestimating Armenia's importance in regional dynamics

    04 March 2024 - 17:54

    Baku's former train station makes way for "hybrid green corridor"

    From rails to trails/VIDEO

    04 March 2024 - 17:46

    Italian warship forced to shoot down Houthi missile in Red Sea

    04 March 2024 - 17:37

    Hungarian PM: West misses opportunity to conclude peace agreement on Ukraine

    04 March 2024 - 17:29

    Expert: Europeans unwilling to die for Armenia

    04 March 2024 - 17:20

    Iran to hold second round of elections as results of first round announced

    04 March 2024 - 17:12

    Death toll in Israel’s war on Gaza rises to 30,534

    04 March 2024 - 17:03

    Azerbaijan, Iran discuss Aghband-Julfa road construction

    04 March 2024 - 16:56

    Armenia, Greece bolstering military-technical cooperation

    04 March 2024 - 16:47

    Azerbaijani Mine Action Agency defuses over 580 munitions in liberated lands

    04 March 2024 - 16:38

    Türkiye's annual inflation climbs to over 67% in February

    04 March 2024 - 16:30

    President Aliyev reaffirms Azerbaijan's commitment to boost ties with Pakistan

    04 March 2024 - 16:29

    Russian journalist proposes to attack bridges in Germany

    04 March 2024 - 16:21

    Three-year hold-up on French military aid to Ukraine and Armenia sparks doubts

    Empty promises?

    04 March 2024 - 16:13

All news