Airstrikes Continue in Yemen with Ceasefire Set to Begin Tomorrow
Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi movement, which have been fighting for nearly two months, have reached a plan for a five-day ceasefire, set to begin on Tuesday. A Houthi official posted on social media that they will accept the ceasefire if it proves to be “real and serious.” The pause will allow the delivery of ...
Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi movement, which have been fighting for nearly two months, have reached a plan for a five-day ceasefire, set to begin on Tuesday. A Houthi official posted on social media that they will accept the ceasefire if it proves to be “real and serious.” The pause will allow the delivery of critical humanitarian aid, but it is unclear whether the agreement will hold as neither side has strong control of its forces. In the meantime, though, Saudi airstrikes have continued, including strikes targeting the estate of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and more than a dozen Houthi leaders. Houthi forces have reportedly claimed responsibility for shooting down a Moroccan F-16 participating in the Saudi bombing campaign.
The United Nations has expressed its support for the planned pause in the conflict, but chafed at Saudi Arabia’s insistence on mediating humanitarian aid. U.N. policy states that the delivery of humanitarian aid should not be governed by a belligerent in a conflict. “The active engagement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is appreciated,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Johannes Van Der Klaauw said. “However, in all crises, the emergency relief coordinator is mandated to lead the coordination of international relief activities and emergency response.” Some humanitarian organizations said they did not think sufficient aid could be delivered in five days to alleviate crises that include medicine, food, water, and fuel shortages.
Assad Regime Arrests Intel Chief for Coup Plot
The Assad regime has placed Ali Mamlouk, head of the country’s National Security Bureau, under house arrest amid accusations that he was plotting a coup. Mamlouk was reportedly communicating with Turkish intelligence to try to arrange the return of Rifaat al-Assad, who has lived abroad since plotting to overthrow his brother Hafez in the 1980s. Last month, two other security chiefs were taken out of power in mysterious circumstances: Gen. Rafiq Shehadeh, head of military intelligence, was fired after his supporters attacked and killed Rustum Ghazaleh, the head of the Political Security Directorate. The internal conflict is said to be a reaction to overbearing Iranian influence on the regime.
- The Saudi government confirmed that King Salman will not attend the Gulf summit hosted by President Obama at Camp David this week and will send Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his stead; other Gulf nations will also be sending diplomatic delegations instead of their monarchs.
- Libyan forces attacked a Turkish cargo ship carrying construction materials; Libyan officials said the ship was approaching rebel-held Derna, violating an embargo of the city, while Turkish officials say it was trying to reach Tobruk.
- European Union efforts to establish a quota system to distribute the burden of resettling migrants transiting the Mediterranean to Europe from North Africa have run into opposition from Slovakia and Estonia, possibly blocking its approval.
- Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davetoglu crossed into Syria to visit the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a figure from early Ottoman history, and said the Turkish flag “will fly over Suleyman Shah forever,” drawing criticism from the Assad regime for “a clear aggression.”
- An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons to three years in prison on corruption charges, reaffirming a previous ruling; Mubarak was previously acquitted of murder charges for deaths during the 2011 uprising against his rule.
-J. Dana Stuster
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