Russian jets bombed a encampment of refugees waiting to cross the closed Jordanian border yesterday, according to rebels in the Free Syrian Army. The attack occurred near the Hadalat refugee camp and at least 40 people were wounded in the attack, including members of the Asoud al Sharqiya rebel militia, which has participated in the campaign against the Islamic State. The strikes have not been confirmed and Russia has not commented on reports. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow to discuss cooperating on targeting jihadist groups in Syria. The proposed arrangement has drawn criticism from U.S. diplomats and defense planners.
The Assad regime’s recent advances in Aleppo have effectively besieged and estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people in rebel-held districts of the city. The United Nations said today that its reserve of emergency food supplies in Aleppo is only sufficient to feed 145,000 people for one month. Residents in besieged neighborhoods are trying to stockpile staples but are already reporting skyrocketing prices for food.
Following diplomatic overtures to Israel and Russia, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said today that Turkey will seek to warm relations with Iraq and Syria. “We normalised relations with Russia and Israel. I’m sure we will normalise relations with Syria as well. For the fight against terrorism to succeed stability needs to return to Syria and Iraq,” he said. After Yildirim’s remarks, a Turkish official stressed that his comments did not signal a shift in Turkey’s policy towards Syria and its opposition to the Assad regime.
Rouhani Praises Nuclear Deal but Says Iran Can Restore Program If It Fails
Speaking ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised the agreement today in a speech, saying that it promotes peace and stability. However, Rouhani said that Iran was capable of quickly restoring its nuclear program should the agreement collapse. Representatives of Iran’s central bank, the U.S. Treasury, and several banks based in Britain were scheduled to meet in London yesterday to discuss the implementation of the agreement and limited sanctions relief, but the meeting was postponed. No reason was given for the delay.
- Libyan forces aligned with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord are bombarding Islamic State militants at the center of Sirte with shelling and airstrikes but have been prevented from advancing by Islamic State snipers and mortar fire.
- A car bomb killed eight people and wounded at least 11 others at a police checkpoint in al-Rashidiya, a predominantly Shia neighborhood of Baghdad; a car bomb struck a market in the same neighborhood yesterday, killing 12 people.
- French diplomatic missions in Turkey canceled plans for celebrations scheduled for tomorrow in observance of France’s National Day holiday citing credible threats.
- Israeli security forces shot and killed the Palestinian driver of a car who was accelerating toward them during an operation in the West Bank to confiscate weapons-making materials; the incident is under review by the Israeli military.
- The Kuwaiti government is considering privatizing the country’s oil services sector, though not the state-owned oil production sector, a government official said yesterday.
Arguments and Analysis
“‘Officially, You Do Not Exist’: Disappeared and Tortured in the Name of Counter-Terrorism” (Amnesty International)
“Despite the mounting evidence of abuse, the Egyptian government continues to deny that its forces commit enforced disappearances, torture and other serious human rights violations. Instead of acknowledging and addressing these violations, the government prefers to dismiss the evidence as propaganda put out by the MB and its supporters. The government’s denials, however, do not stand up to scrutiny, as the case examples cited in the report illustrate. Given the number, range and diversity of victims; the broad consistency of their testimonies and of their families’ accounts of their efforts to obtain official acknowledgement of detainees’ arrests and learn where they were held, there can be no doubt that enforced disappearances are now being used as an element of state policy in Egypt, irrespective of the government’s denials. The repeated failure of prosecutors to investigate detainees’ allegations of torture together with their ready acceptance of allegedly coerced “confessions” and their failure to address the falsification of arrest dates by NSA officers to conceal the duration of detention indicates too that Egypt’s judicial authorities are complicit in these serious human rights violations.”
“Israel-Turkey: Where to from Now?” (Gabriel Mitchell, Middle East Institute)
“Forging a new narrative requires the implementation of a multi-tier process that includes the diversification of official channels that enhance Israeli-Turkish strategic, economic, and humanitarian cooperation. Civil society actors will play an important role in bolstering these efforts and increasing people-to-people dialogue. Each country’s business community, indirectly responsible for keeping the possibility of reconciliation alive during this period of diplomatic tension, must also be vocal partners in defining the future of the relationship. Most importantly, Israeli and Turkish leaderships must create a mechanism that will allow them to effectively manage future conflicts. Throughout the decades, Israel-Turkey ties have often been impacted by developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But whereas previous Turkish support for the Palestinian cause was limited to diplomatic rhetoric, patronage under Erdogan and the A.K.P. became increasingly proactive, particularly in Gaza, necessitating a reevaluation of the relationship between Turkey and Israel.”
-J. Dana Stuster
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images