Report

European Union Approves Preliminary Plan to Stem Flow of Migrants

The European Union has approved a preliminary plan for a naval mission to stem the influx of migrants trying to reach Europe through human trafficking and smuggling operations in Libya. At least 51,000 migrants have reached Europe this year and more than 1,800 have died trying to transit the Mediterranean. The new EU plan will ...

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The European Union has approved a preliminary plan for a naval mission to stem the influx of migrants trying to reach Europe through human trafficking and smuggling operations in Libya. At least 51,000 migrants have reached Europe this year and more than 1,800 have died trying to transit the Mediterranean. The new EU plan will use ships, helicopters, and drones over the Mediterranean to gather intelligence about smuggling operations, with direct action in Libya possible pending approval by the U.N. Security Council. “This is just the beginning,” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s top diplomat, said yesterday. “Now the planning starts.”

At the meeting on Monday, EU diplomats stressed the urgency of establishing a response. “As summer comes, more people are traveling, and I would like to have this operation in place as soon as possible,” Mogherini said. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also participated in the meeting and warned of the potential for terrorists to exploit border insecurity. “One of the problems also is that there might be foreign fighters, there might be terrorists trying to hide, trying to blend in among the migrants,” he said.

Saudi Airstrikes Hit Targets across Yemen as U.N. Issues New Report

Since the resumption of airstrikes on Monday, Saudi fighter jets have bombed targets across the country, including the presidential palace and a weapons depot in Sanaa, Houthi fighters in Aden, and coast guard bases in Hodeida, where an Iranian ship is expected to try to dock later this week. The United Nations has released new figures on the toll of the war, noting that 1,849 people had died in the conflict and an additional 7, 394 had been wounded as of May 15. A new U.N. report warns that the crisis in Yemen could “further destabilize the region and open a corridor for jihadist movements through Somalia.”

Headlines

  • Turkish F-16s shot down a Syrian helicopter that ventured into Turkish airspace on Saturday.

 

  • Lebanese security forces coordinating with Saudi authorities busted a major Syrian drug smuggling operation distributing Captagon, an amphetamine popular among fighters in the Syrian civil war.

 

  • Iraqi government forces and local tribal militias in Khaldiya, Iraq — near Ramadi, which fell over the weekend — repelled a new attack by the Islamic State.

 

  • A suicide car bombing against a Derna-government military checkpoint in Qubbah, Libya, killed one and wounded seven.

 

  • Saudi Arabia is seeking applicants for executioners, which some reports have connected to the increased frequency of executions this year.

Arguments and Analysis

Sinai Tribes: Between the Egyptian State and the Islamic State” (Zack Gold, Institute for National Security Studies)

“The jihadist insurgency in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is taking an increasing toll on the local population and its tribal society. To confront this challenge, leaders of tribes from across the peninsula met on May 10, 2015 to discuss a plan of action. The resulting statement from the “Sinai Tribal Union” was not a declaration of war against the Islamic State-affiliated “State of Sinai.” However, its recommendations for action have significant implications for the Egyptian military campaign in the North Sinai governorate and for Egyptian policymakers looking to separate the general population from the area’s militants. In addition, any effort to help Egypt confront the State of Sinai and bring stability to the peninsula will have a positive impact on Israeli security, as the Sinai-based jihadis fighting the Egyptian government are also a threat to Israel.”

 

The ISIS Defense in Iraq and Syria: Countering an Adaptive Enemy” (Jessica Lewis McFate, Institute for the Study of War)

“The U.S. must recognize that its policy of defeating ISIS is insufficient. The U.S. and other anti-ISIS actors are facing a new environment in 2015 in which the underlying assumptions that allowed the U.S. to promote limited wars and surgical counter-terrorism strategies are no longer valid. Policymakers must now make strategic planning decisions assuming that disorder in Syria and the fragility of Iraq’s security will continue into the future. This strategic inflection requires that the U.S. reconcile its policy of defeating ISIS with the absence of a regional policy to stabilize the Middle East region.”

 

-J. Dana Stuster

GIOVANNI ISOLINO/AFP/Getty Images

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