Report

Iraqi Military Clearing Last Neighborhoods of Fallujah

The Iraqi military is clearing the last two neighborhoods of Fallujah occupied by the Islamic State, according to the Iraqi commander in charge of the operation. The only resistance the Iraqi troops are still encountering is in the neighborhoods of Jolan and Al-Muallemin. A senior Iraqi counterterrorism official told AFP that civilians who fled Fallujah ...

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The Iraqi military is clearing the last two neighborhoods of Fallujah occupied by the Islamic State, according to the Iraqi commander in charge of the operation. The only resistance the Iraqi troops are still encountering is in the neighborhoods of Jolan and Al-Muallemin. A senior Iraqi counterterrorism official told AFP that civilians who fled Fallujah will be allowed to reenter the city soon. “In the next few days or weeks, families should return, once their cases have been approved by the city council,” he said.

As operations in Fallujah wind down, attention is shifting to preparations for the operation to retake Mosul. Though Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the top U.S. military official in Iraq, has not requested more U.S. troops, discussions among military planners are underway to determine whether more U.S. forces will be necessary. There are currently 3,600 U.S. troops in Iraq and up to 4,087 are authorized to operate in the country.

Bahrain Summons Shia Clerics for Questioning as Crackdown Continues

Days after stripping the country’s most prominent Shia cleric of his citizenship, the government of Bahrain summoned five Shia clerics for questioning. A Bahraini court also began a hearing to dissolve al-Wefaq, the country’s largest political opposition group, this week, but the judicial proceedings were suspended until September to allow al-Wefaq to prepare a defense. Bahraini authorities also sentenced 24 people of plotting to establish an Islamic State cell and facilitating travel to fight in Syria. Thirteen of the defendants were stripped of their citizenship, though only eight of the defendants are held by the Bahraini government and the remaining 16 were tried in absentia.

Headlines

  • The black boxes recovered from EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed on May 19, are being sent to France to undergo repairs but will then be transferred back to Egypt for analysis.

 

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Sunday, where he is expected to try to convince Netanyahu to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

 

  • The Turkish parliament passed legislation last night granting Turkish troops conducting counterterrorism operations against the PKK in southeastern Turkey immunity from prosecution, making it difficult to investigate and prosecute rights abusers.

 

  • The Egyptian Supreme Court will hold a special session on Sunday to consider an appeal of a decision that determined that President Abdul Fatteh el-Sisi does not have the authority to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

 

  • Seven Egyptian workers have been kidnapped in Misrata, Libya, and remain missing; the identity of the kidnappers is unknown but the Egyptian government says it is in contact with authorities in Tripoli and contacts in Misrata.

Arguments and Analysis

Jihadist Violence in Tunisia: The Urgent Need for a National Strategy” (International Crisis Group)

“Jihadist violence in Tunisia has expanded and diversified since the 2010-2011 uprising against the regime of then President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. While the government is determined to tackle this security challenge, it has yet to implement a multidimensional strategy that would enable it to address the root causes of violence thereby preventing it and appropriately increase the capacity of security forces to anticipate the threat, react quickly and coordinate and adapt their responses. Releasing a national strategy would clarify the requirements and priorities for a fight of this kind, and would enable a public debate, encouraging popular buy-in and thus pre-empting resistance to its application. It would also improve security collaboration between Tunisia and its regional and international partners, which are keen to see their financial and technical support integrated into a clear strategic vision. Political actors agree more or less on the strategic direction needed to tackle the problem, despite some divergence on the level of control over spaces of religious teaching and the balance between prevention and repression. The main problem is that the government has not yet published or implemented a responsive strategy — one whose operational components can evolve to become more effective. The context is unfavourable: Tunisia’s security challenges are urgent and tend to provoke a repressive response; coordination between the heads of state and government is poor; numerous administrative obstacles remain between and within ministries; and the multiple ad-hoc counter-terrorism commissions often underperform and even fragment policymaking.”

 

Iran’s Foreign Policy Is in Chaos. How Should America Respond?” (John Allen Gay, The National Interest)

“How should America react to all this? On the one hand, Arab-Iranian tensions are harmful to the United States, and U.S.-Iranian tensions are even more harmful. Actions to ease conditions for pro-rapprochement elements in Iran would follow from this approach. Yet on the other hand, a senior Iranian official has issued a barely concealed threat of violence against Bahrain, which hosts a major U.S. military base and is more or less an ally. (To make it a little more complicated, Washington is also unhappy with how Manama has handled its domestic discord, including in the case of the cleric; Bahrain and its GCC allies, in turn, fear so much that America is abandoning them to Iran that they are lashing out in the region in ways highly detrimental to American interests.) When we focus on one side of the political equation in Iran, one set of U.S. policies would seem to follow; when we focus on the other, a different set of policies follows.”

-J. Dana Stuster

HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images

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