Deadly Attacks Hit Yemen’s Defense Ministry

A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked Yemen’s Defense Ministry in the capital of Sanaa Thursday in one of the most deadliest assaults in the past 18 months. Shortly after the start of working hours, a suicide car bomber hit one part of the complex, while gunmen opened fire on another area. The attack and gunfight ...

-/AFP/Getty Images
-/AFP/Getty Images
-/AFP/Getty Images

A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked Yemen's Defense Ministry in the capital of Sanaa Thursday in one of the most deadliest assaults in the past 18 months. Shortly after the start of working hours, a suicide car bomber hit one part of the complex, while gunmen opened fire on another area. The attack and gunfight that ensued killed between 20 and 30 people and wounded dozens of others, including Yemeni soldiers, most of the militants, and medical staff from a hospital within the compound that took the brunt of the assault. According to a statement from the ministry, the situation is now under control. No group has taken responsibility for the attack, although some analysts have said it bears the hallmarks of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Syria

Rocket attacks on government-controlled areas of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo have killed at least 17 people on Wednesday, according to the Syrian state news agency, SANA. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that 18 people were killed in the attacks on the Meridien and Furqan neighborhoods, including nine civilians and five Syrian soldiers. The SOHR additionally reported that fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have abducted 51 Kurds in the past three days from the towns of Minbej and Jarablus in Aleppo province. The kidnappings have come after recent gains by Kurdish fighters further east, where they have expelled Islamist forces after several months of clashes. In July, ISIL abducted an estimated 200 Kurdish civilians from Aleppo province. Meanwhile, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said President Bashar al-Assad should lead any transition government agreed upon at a peace conference planned for January in Geneva. The opposition has maintained that Assad can play no role in a future Syrian government.

A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked Yemen’s Defense Ministry in the capital of Sanaa Thursday in one of the most deadliest assaults in the past 18 months. Shortly after the start of working hours, a suicide car bomber hit one part of the complex, while gunmen opened fire on another area. The attack and gunfight that ensued killed between 20 and 30 people and wounded dozens of others, including Yemeni soldiers, most of the militants, and medical staff from a hospital within the compound that took the brunt of the assault. According to a statement from the ministry, the situation is now under control. No group has taken responsibility for the attack, although some analysts have said it bears the hallmarks of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Syria

Rocket attacks on government-controlled areas of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo have killed at least 17 people on Wednesday, according to the Syrian state news agency, SANA. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that 18 people were killed in the attacks on the Meridien and Furqan neighborhoods, including nine civilians and five Syrian soldiers. The SOHR additionally reported that fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have abducted 51 Kurds in the past three days from the towns of Minbej and Jarablus in Aleppo province. The kidnappings have come after recent gains by Kurdish fighters further east, where they have expelled Islamist forces after several months of clashes. In July, ISIL abducted an estimated 200 Kurdish civilians from Aleppo province. Meanwhile, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said President Bashar al-Assad should lead any transition government agreed upon at a peace conference planned for January in Geneva. The opposition has maintained that Assad can play no role in a future Syrian government.

Headlines

  • Gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a shopping mall and a police intelligence headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk killing an estimated 11 people and injuring 70 others.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is holding meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Thursday in efforts to revive the peace process and will present the outlines of a West Bank security plan.
  • A report on human trafficking presented to the European parliament says that up to 30,000 Eritreans have been abducted since 2007 and taken to Egypt’s Sinai where they have been tortured and held for ransom.

Arguments and Analysis

Yemen’s Economic Agenda: Beyond Short-Term Survival‘ (Danya Greenfield, Atlantic Council)

"With Yemen’s National Dialogue process approaching completion, the nation is poised to move to the next stage of its transition. Now is the time for the government to address not only demands for more inclusive political participation, but also the economic aspirations of most Yemenis who have not experienced any improvement in their standard of living since the 2011 popular revolution. Without making progress on the economic front a priority, the democratic transition process risks derailment and its leadership a complete loss of credibility, which could result in renewed conflict. For too long, taking tough economic decisions has been postponed because of political uncertainty, but the status quo can no longer continue if the country is to emerge from its near failed-state status.

Two and half years after youth demonstrators sparked a popular uprising that ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, incremental progress has been made by President Abdrabo Mansour Hadi since he assumed the presidency in February 2012, but little headway has been made to address the underlying objectives of the revolution, many of which were economic in nature. The political class in Sana’a has been entirely consumed with the National Dialogue, a six-month plus process to address the most pressing issues left unresolved by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-supported transition plan, including southern demands for secession, the Houthi conflict in the north, and the system of government and prospects for a federal state. While a necessary and positive part of the process, the Dialogue also had the unfortunate consequence of sucking the oxygen out of the political space and policymaking environment, thus leaving a great deal of urgent work unfinished."

What the Prawer Plan Says About Israel’s Character‘ (Emily Hauser, Daily Beast – Open Zion)

"Many Israeli Jews are actively engaged in the anti-Prawer struggle, but most see only what the government and the media provide — and what they’re seeing this week is pictures of burning tires and reports of ‘rioting’ Arabs.

Little context is provided, there’s almost no mention of police brutality, and the images and words fit very neatly into pre-existing Israeli Jewish narratives concerning the Arab Other and decades of Palestinian resistance in the occupied territories. In short, slowly but surely (and despite a tradition of volunteering to serve in the Israeli armed forces), Israel’s Bedouin citizens are being framed not just as second-class citizens, but as enemies of the state.

And so: What is the character of the state of Israel?

In its Declaration of Independence, the country’s founders appealed to Arab residents to ‘participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.’ Most Jews around the world want to believe that these words represent Israel’s character.

But if Prawer is implemented, we’ll be forced to admit that the current government of Israel sees the country quite differently."

–Mary Casey & Joshua Haber

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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