Report

U.S. Congress and Iranian Majlis Prepare for Votes on Nuclear Deal

On Tuesday, the last remaining members of the U.S. Senate declared whether or not they support the Iran nuclear agreement. With 42 senators supporting the deal, President Obama will have enough votes to sustain a veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval, allowing the deal to move forward. Congress is now weighing other parliamentary options, ...

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On Tuesday, the last remaining members of the U.S. Senate declared whether or not they support the Iran nuclear agreement. With 42 senators supporting the deal, President Obama will have enough votes to sustain a veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval, allowing the deal to move forward. Congress is now weighing other parliamentary options, such as a filibuster, that would prevent the legislation from coming to a vote.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran will not be negotiating with the United States on non-nuclear issues, saying, “In other areas, we did not allow talks with the U.S. and we will not negotiate with them.” This stance could interfere with overtures from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to meet with Western officials to negotiate an end to the Syrian civil war. Khamenei’s speech comes in advance of a Majlis vote on the nuclear agreement.

Deadly Sandstorm Covers the Levant

A severe dust storm exacerbated by drought in Syria has enveloped much of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. At least eight people have died of respiratory problems and hundreds have been hospitalized. Commercial flights have been canceled and the pace of coalition airstrikes in Syria have slowed. The storm is expected to begin to abate this afternoon.

New from FP: Today, Foreign Policy introduces FP Podcasts, an innovative series of programs featuring insightful, witty, and uniquely informed conversations with the brightest minds in Washington and the world. The first episode from The Editor’s Roundtable has David Rothkopf discussing the implications of the Iran deal with Rosa Brooks, Kori Schake, and Robert Kagan. We’d love to have you listen, and we’d love to have you subscribe: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI

Headlines

  • The Turkish government confirmed that 150 soldiers entered Iraqi Kurdistan to pursue militants after a recent attack; “This is a short-term measure intended to prevent the terrorists’ escape,” a Turkish official said.

 

  • Syrian rebels, including Jabhat al-Nusra forces, captured Abu al-Duhur airbase from Assad regime troops after a two-year siege; the airbase was the regime’s last stronghold in Idlib province.

 

  • Saudi forces mistakenly bombed two vessels off the coast of Yemen, killing 20 Indian crew members, according to the Indian government.

 

  • The U.S. Defense Department is expected to conclude that civilian casualties occurred in a March 13 airstrike in Iraq; so far the United States has only admitted to two civilian deaths in the year-long air campaign, though monitoring and human rights groups allege higher numbers.

 

  • With new deployments from its international partners, the number of troops in the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen has risen to 10,000, according to Saudi officials.

Arguments and Analysis

The Unbearable Lightness of Blaming Erdogan: What Turkey Experts Are Not Telling You” (Burak Kadercan, War on the Rocks)

“In so many ways, discussions about Turkish politics are starting to resemble a blame game with a twist, where an overwhelming majority of analysts blame Erdogan for all that troubles Turkey. “Blaming Erdogan” takes three forms, First, if Erdogan did something, anything, it must either be a bad, self-serving, or both. Second, if something is going wrong in Turkish politics, the immediate or underlying cause is, one way or another, Erdogan. If you challenge some of these ‘explanations,’ then, well, you must be either be a secret sympathizer, a hired hand, or, at best, a fool. This is in fact the one “insight” that you do not get from most Turkish experts: Blaming Erdogan as the main and sole culprit of all that is wrong about Turkey is the current state of the art in analyses of Turkish politics.”

 

Haidar al-’Abadi’s first year in offices: What prospects for Iraq?” (Yezid Sayigh, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre)

“The ‘Abadi government needs to put down real political, civic and institutional roots in Sunni areas if it is to consolidate gains against the IS. It cannot risk disappointing Sunni expectations once again, as they were under Maliki, and must forge new relations even as combat continues. But reintegrating Sunni towns and provinces will require immediate and massive investment in the repair and reconstruction of physical infrastructure and housing, social rehabilitation, and the empowerment of local and provincial authorities. Nor can Baghdad continue to ignore the development needs of Iraq’s poorest provinces, most of them in the Shii south, if it is to ensure both equity and political buy-in to its vision of national reconciliation and integration.”

-J. Dana Stuster

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

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