- By David KennerDavid Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Saudi King Salman and Gulf foreign ministers in Riyadh today to brief them on the U.S.-led negotiations with Iran. The meetings came one day after Kerry wrapped up the latest round of talks with Iranian officials, and only weeks before a deadline to reach the political framework for a deal. Kerry reportedly attempted to reassure the Gulf officials that any agreement would stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and that the United States had not wavered in its commitment to confront Iranian expansionism across the Middle East.
The next round of talks is scheduled to begin on March 15, when Kerry will meet Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Washington increasingly relying on Iran to fight its battles in Iraq
While the United States says it is not coordinating with Iran in the struggle against the Islamic State, it finds itself in an implicit alliance with Tehran and its allies in Iraq. U.S. war planners are monitoring radio frequencies to better understand the Iranian war effort, while both sides discuss their plans with Iraqi command centers to ensure that their efforts do not conflict.
- At least 18 Syrian civilians were killed after President Bashar al-Assad’s regime dropped a barrel bomb on the northern city of Aleppo.
- An Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped in Yemen in July 2013 was freed and returned to Tehran.
- The United States is relocating the staff from its embassy in Yemen to the Saudi city of Jeddah.
- The United Nations invited Libyan officials to reconciliation talks in Algeria next week.
- Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that his movement was ready to mend ties with Egypt.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images