Saudi Troops Mass at Yemeni Border as Houthis Near Aden
With Houthi forces pushing farther south toward Aden, President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi may have fled the city and Saudi Arabia has begun massing artillery and other heavy military equipment near the Yemeni border. The Saudis’ move comes a day after Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen called on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to intervene ...
With Houthi forces pushing farther south toward Aden, President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi may have fled the city and Saudi Arabia has begun massing artillery and other heavy military equipment near the Yemeni border. The Saudis’ move comes a day after Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen called on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to intervene in Yemen “to stop this Iranian-backed Houthi expansion” and as Yemen’s mission to the United Nations called on the U.N. Security Council to allow “willing countries that wish to help Yemen to provide immediate support for the legitimate authority by all means and measures to protect Yemen and deter the Houthi aggression.” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal said that the Kingdom “will take the necessary measures for this crisis to protect the region.” A Houthi commander responded by saying that if Saudi Arabia intervenes, Houthi troops “wouldn’t stop our expansion at Mecca but rather Riyadh.”
The Houthis seized Sanaa in January and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to Aden last month. Several Gulf nations have subsequently relocated their embassies to follow Hadi. Tensions in Yemen’s second city escalated last week as Hadi’s troops clashed with military units loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has thrown his support behind the Houthis. The Houthis have responded to the clashes in Aden with a new push southward. Over the weekend, they took the city of Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city. Protesters have revolted in the days since and been put down by force, resulting in at least eight deaths, according to reports. Yesterday, Houthi forces continued south into Lahj and al-Dali provinces, and this morning seized an airbase just 35 miles from Aden. This morning Yemeni media reported that Hadi had fled the city, though presidential aides disputed those reports.
Last-Minute Diplomacy Ahead of Deadline for Iran Nuclear Talks
With a self-imposed deadline for a framework agreement days away, P5+1 and Iranian diplomats reportedly still disagree over whether such a deal should be a signed document or a statement of understanding. “The politics in America demand specificity, and an Iranian commitment,” a European diplomat told the New York Times. “And the politics in Iran demand vagueness.” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif yesterday to encourage Iran to come to an accord, saying it is “is the trend of the times and the will of the people.” At a U.N. Security Council meeting on sanctions yesterday, French and British officials stressed that Iran will have to make greater concessions to reach a deal. The European Union is reportedly moving to reauthorize shipping sanctions against Iran that were overturned in court, and the U.S. Congress is discussing a “symbolic” vote this week to authorize new sanctions.
- With Iraqi forces supported by Iranian advisors and Shia militias stalled in retaking the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State, the United States has begun providing intelligence and aerial reconnaissance.
- The Islamic State claimed a car bomb attack against a military checkpoint in Benghazi, Libya, that killed seven soldiers.
- Syrian rebels captured the southern city of Bosra, 12 miles from the Jordanian border.
- Moroccan officials said they had arrested an Islamic State cell operating in Marrakesh and Agadir.
- Lebanese Member of Parliament Fouad Siniora testified to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the international investigation into the 2005 assassination of President Rafik Hariri, that Hariri was aware of Hezbollah plots against his life.
-J. Dana Stuster