Six peacekeeping troops, including four Americans, were wounded in two roadside bomb attacks in the Sinai Peninsula. The American soldiers were wounded in the second attack, as they were responding to assist the two wounded international peacekeepers injured by the first bomb. U.S. Defense Department officials reiterated that the United States is considering options to adjust its peacekeeping force in the Sinai, where approximately 650 U.S. soldiers are presently deployed. “We are considering what, if any, additional measures might be needed to ensure force protection,” Maj. Roger M. Cabiness II said. “This includes bringing in additional equipment if necessary.”
The attacks are the first in the recent spate of violence to target the Multinational Force and Observer peacekeepers, but part of a growing trend of attacks. Egyptian troops in the Sinai have been targeted frequently in recent months and extremists have begun an assassination campaign in Cairo. The Washington Post reports that analysts are worried that competition among jihadi groups within this growing insurgency will exacerbate the scale and frequency of attacks.
Emirati Soldiers Killed in Yemen in Deadly Attack
At least 22 Emirati soldiers were killed at a base in Mareb, Yemen, this morning. Though Emirati officials have not confirmed how they died, Houthi forces claim the deaths occurred when one of their rockets struck an Emirati munitions depot.
- Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will meet with President Barack Obama today at the White House to discuss U.S. and Saudi policy in the region and finalize a large arms deal.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is prepared to hold snap elections and share power with opposition parties, telling reporters, “In general, the understanding is that this uniting of efforts in fighting terrorism should go in parallel to some political process in Syria itself.”
- The Turkish government has released two British journalists for Vice News who were being held on terrorism charges; their fixer, an Iraqi national, remains in custody.
- After Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the country’s parliament would vote on the nuclear agreement, Majlis speaker Ali Larijani announced his support for the deal while in New York.
- The British government is considering increasing the number of Syrian refugees it allows to enter the country; the shift comes after Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “deeply moved” by a photo of a Syrian boy who drowned trying to reach Europe.
Arguments and Analysis
“The Race to Replace Mahmoud Abbas: Understanding and Shaping Palestinian Succession” (Grant Rumley, Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
“As of August 2015, assessing the likely successors from among that aristocracy is a straightforward project. Familiar names such as Saeb Erekat (the longtime negotiator), Nabil Shaath (the head of Fatah’s foreign- relations team), and Hanan Ashrawi (a member of the negotiating delegation at the 1991 Madrid peace talks and longtime prominent face of the Palestinian movement), all likely see themselves as potential successors to Abbas. But while they occupy seats in the highest bodies of leadership, their support from others within the political elite is far from certain, and their popularity on the street is low. Their chances are therefore minimal, though not impossible. Hardline Palestinian leaders may be loath to support the longtime negotiator Erekat as successor to Abbas, but the prospect of leadership gridlock — or alternatively, unrest on the streets — is a powerful incentive for a smooth transition. Still, a smooth transition is not guaranteed. If the status quo were to change in the West Bank, if the political system experienced some type of reformation, or if no figure among the aristocracy separates him or herself as the clear front-runner, a free-for-all may ensue.”
“Why 100,000s of Syrian refugees are fleeing to Europe” (Kemal Kirisci, Order from Chaos)
“The EU refugee crisis needs to be seen against the background of the failure of the international community to help share the burden with these neighboring countries that are hosting the bulk of the Syrian refugees. After all, the international refugee system was set up on the shared understanding that refugees are an international responsibility, not just the responsibility of the country where they happen to arrive. Resettlement of refugees to third countries is one widely recognized manifestation of burden-sharing. In spite of numerous appeals by Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, to the EU and the United States to make resettlement available, as of August 2015 there were only about 100,000 spots available, which is less than 3 percent of the overall number of Syrian refugees. The EU and the United States have resettled fewer than 9,000 Syrians since 2011, a truly miniscule number compared to the burden carried by Syria’s neighbors.”
-J. Dana Stuster
David Degner/Getty Images