The Cable

FP’s Situation Report: Iran and world powers agree to a tentative nuclear deal; Middle East nations now worry about the rise of Tehran; Al-Shabab massacres students in Kenya; and much more from around the world.

By David Francis with Sabine Muscat Iran and the P5+1 allies strike a tentative nuclear deal. Each side made deep concessions to reach an accord. Now, the United States and Iran appear ready to set aside years of mistrust in an attempt to resolve their differences through diplomacy. FP’s Colum Lynch and John Hudson: “In ...

By David Francis with Sabine Muscat

Iran and the P5+1 allies strike a tentative nuclear deal. Each side made deep concessions to reach an accord. Now, the United States and Iran appear ready to set aside years of mistrust in an attempt to resolve their differences through diplomacy. FP’s Colum Lynch and John Hudson: “In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama said the accord, if followed, would ‘cut off every pathway’ that Iran could take to develop a nuclear bomb.”

The deal could upset the balance of power in the Middle East. Across the region concerns about Iran’s rise to power are growing. FP’s David Kenner: “Depending on which side of the conflict the regional leaders stand on, they either hope or fear that Iran will be enriched by the lifting of economic sanctions and empowered by its integration as a respected member of the international order.”

FP’s Lynch and Hudson outline the terms of the deal here.

More on Iran below.

Al-Shabab slaughters at least 147 at a Kenyan university. Days after Obama announced a summer trip to Nairobi, the terror group carries out another large-scale terror attack in Kenya. FP’s David Francis: “As Thursday’s university attack proves, the group is resilient and killing its leadership has done little to deter it.”

More on Kenya below.

PRESS PACK: A historic day as Iran and world powers reach a tentative nuclear deal.

FP’s Elias Groll with what you need to know about the deal: “The terms of the interim agreement are bound to be picked over in coming days, but the information that has so far been released provides a surprisingly comprehensive picture of what we can expect from a final agreement.”

FP’s David Francis on a bill that could give Congress the chance to reject an agreement: “Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said soon after Obama’s remarks that he still plans to bring the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 to a committee vote on April 14.”

FP’s Keith Johnson and Jamila Trindle: “Unwinding the web of overlapping financial and energy-related sanctions will take months after the deal’s full implementation — meaning it’s unlikely that a huge flood of extra Iranian oil will flow into the market this year.”

FP’s Justine Drennan collected global social media reactions to the deal.

The Wall Street Journal’s Laurence Norman and Jay Solomon: One unanswered question was when exactly sanctions would be eased, and the other was how quickly Iran would be able to scale up its nuclear activities after the first decade.”

The Washington Post’s William Booth: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the framework agreement announced Thursday by six world powers and Iran to curtail the latter’s nuclear ambitions ‘would threaten the survival of Israel’ and pave the way to an Iranian nuclear bomb.”

Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Situation Report, where I’m handing the reins over to FP’s Paul McLeary starting Monday. You can reach Paul at and follow him on Twitter at @paulmcleary.

Contact me at and follow me @davidcfrancis, and spread the word about SitRep — your destination for global security news and Washington whatnot. Like what you see? Tell a friend. Tell your colleagues. Don’t like what you see? Tell me. Or holler with tips, reports, or anything else the world needs to know, and I’ll try to include it.


9:00 a.m. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta S. Jacobson speaks on Cuba, immigration reform, and drug policy at a Brookings Institution event on the Summit of the Americas. 9:30 a.m. The Stimson Center hosts an event on the U.S. defense budget. 1:00 p.m. Obama speaks on the economy at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.


The BBC interviews former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso: “Greece’s demands were ‘completely unacceptable to other countries,’ he told the BBC’s Business Live programme.”

Reuters’s Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets: “Ukraine has signed an interim deal for cheaper supplies of gas from Russia for the next three months, providing a breathing space for both sides in their protracted wrangle over pricing.”

The Financial Times’ Farhan Bokhari and Charles Clover: “The most expensive Chinese arms export deal in history appeared set to go ahead on Wednesday after Pakistan’s government approved a deal to buy eight submarines from Beijing.“

TERROR IN KENYA: Attacks in the Kenyan capital are al-Shabab’s ultimate goal.

The New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman, Isma’il Kushkush, and Rukmini Callimachi: “Despite new security laws, significant Western help and a heightened state of vigilance that has already put police officers on almost every major street corner in the capital, Nairobi, Kenya remains squarely in the cross hairs of the Shabab, the Somali terrorist group that immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday.”

YEMEN: Saudi airstrikes can’t halt a Houthi advance into Aden as al Qaeda gains strength.

The Washington Post’s Ali al-Mujahed and Brian Murphy: “Shiite rebel forces and their allies pushed into the heart of Yemen’s second-largest city and seized the presidential palace Thursday, scoring another major advance and exposing the apparent limitations of Saudi-led airstrikes seeking to restore the country’s president.”

The New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim: “[For] Washington, which has provided logistical and intelligence support for the Saudi offensive, the widening civil war is already strengthening the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda, a prime target of its counterterrorism strategy. But analysts say it also risks destabilizing Saudi Arabia, a crucial ally in the region, and increasing the Houthis’ reliance on Iran.”

ISLAMIC STATE: Iraqis dismiss American airpower in Tikrit as two women in New York are charged with aiding the Islamic State. Meanwhile, the number of foreign fighters rises.

The New York Times’ Rod Nordland: “To hear some of the Iraqi forces here tell it, the Americans deserve little or no credit. And many of the Shiite militiamen involved in the fight say the international coalition’s air campaign actually impeded their victory — even though beforehand they had spent weeks in a stalemate with militants holed up in Tikrit.”

USA Today’s Kevin Johnson: Two New York women have been charged in an alleged effort to acquire components for an explosive device that would be detonated in the U.S. to further the cause of the Islamic State in Iraq, also known as ISIL, federal prosecutors said Thursday.”

The BBC on the increase in foreign fighters: “More than 25,000 foreign fighters from 100 nations have travelled to join militant groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS), a U.N. report says. It said the number of foreign fighters worldwide had soared by 71% between the middle of 2014 and March 2015.”

AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban expands its spring offensive with deadly results.

AFP: “A suicide bomber killed at least 16 people Thursday and wounded 40 others, including a prominent lawmaker, at an anti-corruption rally in eastern Afghanistan.”

EGYPT: New violence erupts.

The New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick: “Militants in North Sinai simultaneously attacked two army checkpoints before dawn on Thursday, killing at least 13 Egyptian soldiers and two civilians, security officials said.”

TAIWAN/CHINA: The emergency landings of two U.S. Marine F-18s in Taiwan caused anger in Beijing and speculation in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Taiwan commissions a powerful new missile ship to defend the island against China.

The Taipei Times’ Jason Pan: “The unexpected landing of two F/A-18 jets belonging to U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 has prompted much discussion and response in public and political circles, with some people suggesting the U.S. government is sending Taiwan a message.”

The Diplomat’s Franz-Stefan Gady: “The 500-ton Tuo Chiang-class multi-mission warship, dubbed the ‘carrier killer’ by Taiwanese media, will be the prototype for up to a dozen such vessels as part of a 25 billion New Taiwan dollar (about $791 million) naval expansion program approved by the Taiwanese legislature in 2011.”

MENENDEZ: The New Jersey lawmaker pleads not guilty as his successor on the Foreign Relations Committee emerges.

Reuters’s Sebastien Malo: “U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a leading foreign policy voice in Congress, entered a not guilty plea on corruption charges during a federal court appearance on Thursday and was released without bail.”

Defense News’ John T. Bennett: “The path is clear for Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin to become the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee as the incumbent battles federal corruption charges.”

SECRET SERVICE: Congressional oversight of the agency gets personal.

The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak: “House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who oversees the Secret Service, never disclosed that he had applied for and was rejected from the agency in the early 2000s.”


The Center for Strategic and International Studies announced Retired Marine Col. Mark Cancian is now a senior adviser in the International Security Program.

AND FINALLY, thanks to all SitRep readers for allowing me to land in your inbox each morning for the last six months. It’s been a privilege. You can now find me over at FP’s The Cable, which I’ll be taking over full time.


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