U.N. Postpones Yemen Peace Talks
A U.N. spokesman announced on Sunday that peace talks between the warring parties in Yemen — set to be held later this week — have been postponed. No new date was mentioned. It had been unclear who would attend the talks, which were only set last week, but the postponement is a serious blow to ...
A U.N. spokesman announced on Sunday that peace talks between the warring parties in Yemen — set to be held later this week — have been postponed. No new date was mentioned. It had been unclear who would attend the talks, which were only set last week, but the postponement is a serious blow to chances of resolving the conflict, say analysts.
Fighting has continued across the country. The Houthis suffered their biggest military setback in the conflict so far over the weekend, when local militias supported by Gulf coalition airstrikes captured government buildings in the southern city of Dhalea. In Taiz, the Houthis have intensified their offensive, backed by soldiers loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. “There’s a real massacre going on in [Taiz], the city that spearheaded the revolt,” one resident told AFP. “Saleh has aligned himself with the rebels to take revenge.”
U.S. Reassures Iraq after Criticisms, Iraq Begins New Offensive
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday to discuss security cooperation to combat the Islamic State after comments from Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter drew criticism from Baghdad. Carter said on Sunday that “the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight” before withdrawing from Ramadi. Abadi responded by saying that Carter has been “very supportive” and suggested that he was misinformed about the retreat from Ramadi. The Iraqi government announced today that it is beginning a new military offensive with support from Shia and Sunni militias to retake Ramadi.
- The trial of jailed U.S. journalist Jason Rezaian begins today in Iran; only his attorney and no family or reporters will be allowed to attend the proceedings.
- A Tunisian soldier turned on his comrades, killing seven and injuring ten at a military base in Tunis on Monday.
- The United Nations urged Lebanon to select a president, arguing that leaving the position vacant for the past year has hindered its ability to assist in diplomacy relating to Syria’s civil war.
- Egypt will open the Rafah border crossing for two days to allow entry into Gaza after a nearly month-long closure; the crossing has been closed frequently amid terror attacks in the Sinai Peninsula.
- The United States, Britain, and Canada blocked the conclusions of a U.N. review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty over concerns that it would be used to pressure Israel to participate in a regional conference on disarmament.
Arguments and Analysis
“Iran will need to spend most of any post-sanctions windfall at home” (Lesley Wroughton and Sam Wilkin, Reuters)
“Within months of financial sanctions being lifted, Iran will be able to collect debts from overseas banks that may exceed $100 billion, mostly from oil importers whose payments have been blocked, diplomats and analysts said. But with the budget strained by last year’s heavy fall in oil prices, and public expectations of improved socio-economic conditions in the event of a deal, the authorities will face pressure to invest new funds at home.”
“For an IS fighter, a paid honeymoon in caliphate’s heart” (Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press)
“’It has everything one would want for a wedding,’ al-Homsi said of Raqqa — a riverside provincial capital that in the 18 months since IS took control has seen militants beheading opponents and stoning accused adulteresses in its main square. Gunmen at checkpoints in the city scrutinize passers-by for signs of anything they see as a violation of Shariah, or Islamic law, as slight as a hint of hair gel or an improperly kept beard. In the homes of some of the [Islamic State] commanders in the city are women and girls from the Yazidi religious sect, abducted in Iraq and now kept as sex slaves.”
-J. Dana Stuster