With talks in Geneva set to begin within the week, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi is managing expectations for diplomatic efforts. “These are not talks,” he told Al-Arabiya, “it is only a discussion to implement U.N. Security Council resolution 2216, how to implement it on the ground.” Resolution 2216 called for the Houthis to withdraw from major cities where they remain firmly in control. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, was much more optimistic in an interview yesterday. “Geneva is a breakthrough, if it happens, it can lead to a new dynamic, an end to this conflict,” he told Al-Jazeera yesterday. He said that there are no preconditions for the talks and that discussions will revisit plans to decentralize power to six confederated provinces.
Hadi and Ahmed’s comments come after Saudi Arabia intercepted a Scud missile launched from Yemen over the weekend. Saudi forces responded by bombing the military headquarters in Sanaa and other targets, killing at least 44 people.
U.N. Proposes Peace Plan for Libya
The United Nations presented negotiators representing Libya’s two rival governments with a draft of a political transition agreement at peace talks in Morocco yesterday. The proposal calls for a year-long government of national accord based in Tripoli, combining the feuding executive branches. The Tobruk-based parliament, elected in 2014, would be the only legislative body with recognized power, but elements of the Libya Dawn parliament would be incorporated in a 120-member State Council consultative body. It also sets terms for a ceasefire, withdrawal from critical infrastructure, and disarmament. “What I can say is at the end of this week, we will have a very clear idea on who is for peace and who is not,” U.S. ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said.
- Syrian rebels operating in the country’s south have begun a new offensive against the Assad regime’s second largest southern military base, near Deraa and the Jordanian border.
- The families of two Yemeni men killed in an August 2012 drone strike have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States; the families have already received $155,000 in compensation from the Yemeni government and are instead asking for acknowledgement of the men’s good standing as Yemeni citizens.
- Syrian opposition groups met in Cairo yesterday to discuss forming a new umbrella organization as an alternative to the National Coalition.
- The Obama Administration quietly issued a formal report to Congress sharply criticizing the Egyptian government’s shift away from democratic freedoms; Human Rights Watch issued a separate critical report assessing the first year of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s term.
- The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the executive branch’s authority on foreign policy disputes in a case that centered on whether U.S. passports could list Israel as the country of birth for children born in Jerusalem; Israeli reports see the decision as a blow to efforts to secure international recognition of Jerusalem as the national capital.
Arguments and Analysis
“Turkish voters send a strong message” (Kemal Kirişci and Melis Cengiz, Brookings Institution)
“Leading up to this year’s election, Erdoğan brazenly violated Turkey’s constitution — which mandates the president stay neutral during parliamentary elections — by using state resources to campaign for the AK Party, by denying airtime access to opposition party representatives on state media, and by slamming the opposition at every opportunity. The final straw seems to have been Erdoğan’s interest in transforming Turkey‘s almost seven decades-old parliamentary system into a presidential regime with reduced separation of powers. This brings us to the electorate’s second clear message, which is that Turkish institutions — such as the judiciary, police, state media organizations, and economic regulatory bodies, including the central bank — should have better stood their ground and resisted Erdoğan’s bullying.”
“Welcome to Tunisia’s Resource Wars” (Allison Good, National Interest)
“Given the magnitude of Tunisia’s economic crisis, it is no surprise that resource-related grievances are no longer limited to a specific sector and region. In early June, Serinus Energy announced the shut-in of its Sabria Field in central Tunisia due to local protests blocking roads to the Central Processing Facility. After initially targeting the nearby Perenco-owned and operated El Franig field, the protesters moved on to Sabria and ‘insisted that most … personnel stop work and leave the CPF.’ The Serinus announcement states that the protests are ‘against the lack of development, investment and job creation in the area,’ rather than directed at the company itself.”
-J. Dana Stuster
SALEH AL-OBEIDI/AFP/Getty Images