Report

Two Car Bombs Kill 25 People in Yemen

Among the dead included at least 15 students, reportedly young girls, who were traveling in a school bus as the first bomb exploded near a checkpoint run by Houthi rebels.

YEMEN-POLITICS-UNREST
A Yemeni gunmen loyal to the Shiite Houthi movement mans a checkpoint in Sanaa on October 30, 2014. Yemen has fallen deeper into turmoil since an uprising ousted strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012 after a year of unrest, with rivals, including the Huthi rebels and Al-Qaeda, battling each other. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Two car bombings killed at least 25 people in the city of Radaa Tuesday in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda. Among the dead included at least 15 students, reportedly young girls, who were traveling in a school bus as the first bomb exploded near a checkpoint run by Houthi rebels. The second bomb exploded near the home of local political leader Abdullah Idris, who has allegedly supported the Houthis, killing 10 Houthi fighters, according to officials. No group has taken responsibility for the bombing, however, Radaa is a stronghold for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has been fighting the Houthis. Idris has been a target of multiple attacks since Houthi rebels overtook the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in September. Meanwhile, Yemeni officials reported Houthi rebels stormed the headquarters of the main state newspaper, al-Thawra, and shut down the country’s second largest port, Hodeida port.

Syria-Iraq

Kurdish security officials reported Kurdish forces launched an offensive Wednesday to retake the northwestern Iraqi town of Sinjar from Islamic State militants. The move has followed heavy U.S.-led airstrikes targeting Islamic State positions. On Wednesday, Germany’s cabinet agreed to send up to 100 troops to train Kurdish forces to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq. The parliament is expected to approve the mission in January. Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council will vote Wednesday on a draft resolution to extend cross-border aid delivery to Syrians until January 2016, without approval from the government.

Headlines

Arguments and Analysis

Another Turkish witch hunt begins’ (Mustafa Akyol, Al Monitor)

“In August, some members of the Tahsiyeciler, who believed that they were victims of a conspiracy, went to a prosecutor to complain about the ‘parallel structure‘ — or the alleged Gulen movement network and the judiciary, about which Erdogan has been calling for complaints. The prosecutor who ordered the Dec. 14 arrests based his accusations on this complaint. The detained policemen are blamed for conspiring against Tahsiyeciler by putting weapons in their homes just to ‘find’ them.

But what about the journalists? That is where things get tricky. The journalists are accused by the prosecutor of arranging the ‘propaganda side‘ of the scheme against Tahsiyeciler. Some of them are even accused of writing the script for a TV series on STV, titled ‘Tek Türkiye’ (‘One Turkey’), in which the Tahsiyeciler group is depicted as a terror group controlled by an evil cabal that tries to destabilize Turkey. The prosecutor argues that Gulen followers within the media and security forces worked hand in hand, in a hierarchy, to cook up a conspiracy.”

Managing a Transnational Insurgency: The Islamic State of Iraq’s “Paper Trail,” 2005-2010’ (Danielle F. Jung et al, Combating Terrorism Center)

“Captured documents such as the examples shown here can provide a perspective on terrorist and insurgent organizations, and how they operate that cannot be gained through any other type or source of information. They are ‘honest’ in the sense that they were constructed for purposes very far divorced from public relations, recruiting concerns, or similar public‐facing considerations. The documents may reflect internal conflicts, dissembling, and deception, but they are informative in their own right. Moreover, the simple fact that the group kept such records highlights its need for control and a lack of trust in its own members. The group was, after all, an insurgent group, and at least during the period when these documents were produced, it needed to maintain a good measure of secrecy to survive in the face of aggressive Iraqi Army and Coalition operations, with the latter assisted at some points by local Sunni militias. This level of record keeping only makes sense if leaders have concerns about how members are behaving.”

Egypt and Israel: Sinai Heat Thaws the Cold Peace’ (Zack Gold, Middle East Institute)

“The continuity of Egypt’s Sinai policy from late 2012 to today is likely the influence of Sisi, who was appointed defense chief by Morsi, served in an outsized role in the interim government that followed, and now leads Egypt outright. Unlike his predecessor, Sisi also publicly talks about Israeli security and is open about discussions he has with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Sisi likely mentions Israeli security for the same reasons Morsi spoke of the peace treaty: to gain U.S. support for, or at least quiet acquiescence of, his domestic policies and actions. It bears repeating that—to the contrary of propaganda from both the Muslim Brotherhood and Sinai-based jihadis—the Egyptian military operates to protect sovereign national interests. As outlined in the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, Egypt does coordinate with Israel in carrying out operations in Sinai, but whether these operations also serve Israeli interests is entirely irrelevant to decision-makers in Cairo.”

Mary Casey-Baker

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

<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