Before his stunning defeat, Majority Leader Eric Cantor didn’t just believe he would be the next speaker of the House. He also believed he would be a thought leader in the Republican Party. In 2011, Cantor dispatched a top aide to build a network of high-profile outside groups to cement his place in a GOP shaped in his own image and set the agenda for the party as a whole. Now, rejected by Virginia Republican primary voters, Cantor is reeling personally from the loss, of both his seat and his leadership ambition. But the groups he helped build to promote his ideology are in flux, too. Donors and establishment Republicans who once poured millions of dollars into them must decide whether it’s still a good investment to fund organizations that advocate for policies and candidates reflective of Cantor’s vision for the party’s future.
Nine days after Eric Cantor’s shocking primary loss, House Republicans will gather on Thursday behind closed doors to elect new leaders in the congressional equivalent of a papal conclave. And while such an event seems, on its surface, to be the sort of political sport that engages only the inside-the-Beltway class, it also has potential ramifications for the larger GOP moving forward, as conservatives and establishment members square off over the future of their party. The secret-ballot election, which will take place at 2 p.m. in the Longworth House Office Building’s ornate Ways and Means Committee room, could last for hours. Members are at a minimum choosing a new majority leader, replacing Cantor, and most likely also voting in a three-way race for majority whip. Though leadership elections are often messy affairs, this particular election seems especially fraught, as the conference’s insurgent conservatives hope not to squander the political window opened by Cantor’s upset loss at the hands of a tea party challenger.
Israel fears that a jihadist offensive that has swept up swathes of Iraq may prompt concessions to arch-foe Iran from its longtime ally the United States. "If Washington needs Tehran's help to solve the Iraq crisis, the United States will need to be more flexible in negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme," public radio cited a senior official as saying. Tourism Minister Uzi Landau warned: "We're in a situation where, to confront the threat from the global jihad, we rely on Iran and its allies." The rise of the jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has seized Iraq's second city Mosul and a swathe of its north and centre over the past 10 days, has prompted talk of possible cooperation between Washington and Tehran to help stop the insurgency.
The man who led the US troop surge that preceded Washington's exit from Iraq after a costly eight-year war says there should not even be US air support without major change in Baghdad. The comments from General David Petraeus, who commanded US troops in Mosul -- Iraq's second city which fell to jihadists last week -- during a long military and intelligence career, came as the Shiite-led government in Baghdad formally asked for air support. Petraeus made a name for himself during the Sunni Arab insurgency that followed the US-led invasion of 2003 for questioning policies that he said risked fanning the resentment of the minority community that dominated Saddam Hussein's regime and all previous governments in Baghdad.
Iran's position in critical nuclear talks is "worrying", with no change on most issues, a Western diplomat said Thursday on the sidelines of negotiations in Vienna. "It is worrying that there is no evolution on the part of the Iranians on most subjects, including sanctions," the diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.