Report

Yemeni Government Celebrates Victory Aided by Gulf, al-Qaeda

As the exiled Yemeni government celebrates the successes of anti-Houthi forces in Aden this week, new reports suggest an escalation of the Gulf’s intervention. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that commandos from the United Arab Emirates assisted in pushing Houthi forces out of the city — at least one Emirati soldier was killed ...

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As the exiled Yemeni government celebrates the successes of anti-Houthi forces in Aden this week, new reports suggest an escalation of the Gulf’s intervention. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that commandos from the United Arab Emirates assisted in pushing Houthi forces out of the city — at least one Emirati soldier was killed and Houthi forces claim they captured several others. Elements of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) also participated in the anti-Houthi offensive, possibly with Saudi support. On Monday, “AQAP militants celebrated the victory alongside the militias, parading cadavers of Houthis on a main commercial street in the city to a cheering crowd,” WSJ reports.

The exiled government has declared victory in Aden, with Vice President Khaled Bahah posting on Facebook today, “The government announces the liberation of the province of Aden on the first day of Eid al-Fitr which falls on July 17.” Some reports note that there are still Houthi fighters resisting in some Aden neighborhoods. Today would have been the conclusion of a planned humanitarian ceasefire negotiated by the United Nations, but that failed to take hold when it was implemented last week.

British Pilots Participated in Syria Airstrikes

British parliamentarians are bracing for renewed political debate after a freedom of information request showed that British pilots embedded with coalition forces are conducting airstrikes in Syria. The British government has previously only conducted strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Parliament has been reticent to expand strikes to Syria. “The U.K. itself is not conducting airstrikes in Syria,” the British Ministry of Defense said in response to the reports.

Headlines

  • At least six people were killed when police clashed with an Islamist protest march in the Talibiya neighborhood of Cairo.

 

  • King Salman of Saudi Arabia held a rare meeting with Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal today to discuss Palestinian and regional politics; Hamas has demanded Israel release 54 prisoners before the resumption of peace talks.

 

  • Iran is moving to bolster its tourism industry with new hotels and relaxed visa requirements in anticipation of a new inflow of tourists after the nuclear agreement.

 

  • The Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate claimed credit for a rocket attack against an Egyptian coast guard vessel.

 

  • Residents of the town of Treviso, Italy, rioted in response to plans to accommodate around a hundred African and Middle Eastern migrants in the town.

Arguments and Analysis

The Libyan Political Dialogue: An Incomplete Consensus” (International Crisis Group)

“In light of Libya’s growing chaos and fragmentation, even the incomplete consensus secured in Skhirat is an achievement, although a very limited one: it gives Libyans hope that a year-long conflict could be coming to an end. The presence of six mayors, including from the country’s three main cities (Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata), and representatives of two main political parties, the liberal-leaning National Forces Alliance (Tahaluf al-Quwwat al-Wataniya) and the Muslim Brotherhood-led Justice & Construction Party (Adala wa Binaa), at the signing ceremony was further evidence that many constituencies support the deal. Other negotiating tracks, representing municipal councils, political parties and women, also signalled their backing, as did Libya’s neighbours and the wider international community. Despite this building consensus, however, the GNC’s objections must be taken seriously ­– both because the GNC represents a significant constituency with understandable concerns and because it has the power to derail the agreement’s implementation.”

 

Don’t Call It a Shakeup: Why the Nuclear Deal Won’t Change U.S. Regional Politics” (Dalia Dassa Kaye, RAND)

“To begin with, the United States will likely pursue post-deal policies that contradict broader engagement with Iran. It is nearly a given that the United States will want to give a number of ‘assurances’ — increased security assistance and cooperation (especially on missile defense) — to close partners. Reports suggest that Israel may be expecting U.S. pledges to protect Israel’s own nuclear deterrence capabilities. This will be tricky, since the Saudis will likely press the United States to do the opposite: build a nuclear-free Middle East by insisting that Israel get rid of its own capabilities. The United States won’t be able to do both. Meanwhile, stepped up U.S. security cooperation with its Arab allies in the region could lead Iran to feel encircled, which could embolden the hardliners who argue against expanding cooperation with Washington.”

-J. Dana Stuster

SALEH AL-OBEIDI/AFP/Getty Images

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