A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
The situation in Israel following the unprecedented Hamas attack last weekend will dominate news next week amid the increasing likelihood of a ground operation in Gaza following days of intense air strikes in the densely populated Palestinian enclave and fears of a wider regional conflict. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who landed in Israel yesterday and has been in Jordan today, widened his trip to include stops in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt this weekend.
As Blinken left, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, and the German, Italian and Canadian foreign ministers all descended on Tel Aviv today, as the UN announced that Israel has given 1.1 million Gazans 24 hours to evacuate south of the Wadi Gaza river. Washington is hoping that the diplomatic blitz can help secure the release of Israeli hostages and prevent the conflict from escalating further, and any developments after today’s Hamas ‘Day of Rage’ or this weekend’s talks will help set the course for events next week.
The war will likely be front and center of discussions at the confirmation hearing for former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, the Biden administration’s nominee to be Ambassador to Israel, which is set for Wednesday (October 18). The failure to fill the post follows a campaign from several Republican Senators, including Ted Cruz, to hold up key nominees in a bid to extract concessions on unrelated matters from the Biden administration. Even if Lew’s nomination is confirmed quickly, as now seems likely, a number of other important posts – including the would-be Ambassadors to Lebanon, Oman, and Kuwait, as well as the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism – remain vacant as the nominees await votes in the Senate. In another sign that the crisis has focused minds, the committee will now consider the nominee to be US Ambassador to Egypt, Herro Mustafa Garg, as part of a previously scheduled session on Thursday (October 19).
The conflict is likely to feature prominently in talks between Biden and EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, set to take place on Friday (October 20). The discussions are also set to include the conflict in Ukraine, as well as trade issues ahead of the October 31 deadline in the long-running transatlantic dispute over steel and aluminum.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will host representatives from over 130 nations for a two-day summit in Beijing starting on Tuesday (October 17). The gathering, formally titled the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, is China’s biggest diplomatic event this year. It comes as the Belt and Road Initiative (formerly known as the One Belt, One Road initiative) marks its 10th anniversary. The project’s massive infrastructure investments, mostly in Asia and Africa, are viewed as part of China’s efforts to challenge America’s global dominance. Although a final list of which countries plan to send leaders has yet to be announced, Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly accepted his invitation, and a bilateral meeting with Xi is likely.
Argentina holds presidential and legislative elections on Sunday (October 22) with all eyes on right-wing libertarian candidate Javier Milei, who has described himself as an ‘anarcho-capitalist’ and surprised many by winning the most votes in the open primary in August. The prospect of a Milei presidency has rattled markets, and in recent weeks the value of the country’s currency has fallen sharply as Milei continues to tout his plan to dollarize the economy as a solution the country’s chronic inflation. Earlier this week, the country’s current president, Alberto Fernández, filed a judicial complaint against Milei after he described the peso as ‘worth less than excrement’, accusing Milei of ‘public intimidation’. As it stands, the election looks likely to head to a November 19 runoff, with current Economy Minister Sergio Massa and former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich leading among rival candidates.