Islamic State Launches New Attacks Against Kurdish Towns
The Islamic State has renewed fighting against two Kurdish towns. This morning, Islamic State forces stormed the city of Hassakeh, a Kurdish town held by Assad regime forces and Kurdish militias located in Syria’s northeast. According to an officer in one of the Kurdish militias, the Islamic State has seized some southern neighborhoods and fighting ...
The Islamic State has renewed fighting against two Kurdish towns. This morning, Islamic State forces stormed the city of Hassakeh, a Kurdish town held by Assad regime forces and Kurdish militias located in Syria’s northeast. According to an officer in one of the Kurdish militias, the Islamic State has seized some southern neighborhoods and fighting is continuing. It is the second time this month that the Islamic State has tried to take Hassakeh.
Farther west, along the Turkish border, the Islamic State has also launched new attacks against Kobane, where Kurdish forces previously rebuffed the Islamic State after a long siege. An Islamic State car bombing near the border crossing in Kobane wounded more than 40 people and has been followed by attacks by gunmen. “A group of fighters deployed in some areas of Kobani. We are defending a position now,” a Kurdish militia fighter told the Associated Press this morning.
Yemeni Groups Pursuing Other Avenues of Diplomacy after U.N. Talks
After U.N. talks failed to reach a ceasefire in Yemen last week, Houthi rebels and Southern separatist leaders are reportedly meeting in Oman to discuss a truce. Another delegation affiliated with ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in Moscow. Violence has continued in all of Yemen’s major cities, with small arms skirmishes, Saudi airstrikes, and back-and-forth artillery shelling. Houthi fighters have killed three Saudi soldiers and an Emirati soldier in recent days, as the Houthis have intensified their attacks along the border.
- A bombing in Mogadishu targeting a motorcade transporting a delegation from the United Arab Emirates killed nine people, though none of the Emiratis; al-Shebab is suspected to have conducted the attack.
- The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister is at the Hague today to deliver the Palestinians’ files as part of the International Criminal Court’s preliminary review of legal issues to decide whether it will press charges for crimes committed in the West Bank and Gaza.
- A U.S. drone strike hit a car at a military camp near the al-Qaeda controlled city of Mukalla, Yemen, killing four suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as the other foreign ministers of the P5+1, will join the ongoing nuclear negotiations in Vienna tomorrow as talks close in on the June 30 deadline.
- Egypt is presently imprisoning more journalists than at any other point since records have been kept, according to a new prison census conducted by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Arguments and Analysis
“Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country” (Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution)
“Counterintuitively, the only credible path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria. A comprehensive, national-level solution is too hard even to specify at this stage, much less achieve. Instead, the international community should work to create pockets of more viable security and governance within Syria over time. With initial footholds in place, the strategy could develop further in a type of ‘ink-spot’ campaign that eventually sought to join the various local initiatives into a broader and more integrated effort. This approach builds on the idea of classic counterinsurgency efforts but has a much different application in this case — because in this case, the United States and foreign partners are taking the side of the insurgents rather than the government, and the goal is not to defeat the insurgency but to support and empower it.”
“Tensions in the Golan” (Geoffrey Aronson, Middle East Institute)
“Given Assad’s inability to prevail over his Syrian opponents, Israel, in the Golan no less than in Gaza, is looking for a responsible address — an enemy to be sure, but one that can be held responsible for actions on its side of the fence. To that end, there are reports that Israel has established contacts with elements of the motley force operating within sight of its own forces. But there is no reliable evidence to implicate Israel directly in the military support of jihadi efforts to oust the regime from locations across the border — or to suggest that there is some grand Israeli design to destabilize the Golan front, not to mention the revival of Yigal Alon’s (and the Mandatory French) dream of a Syria divided into sectarian statelets.”
-J. Dana Stuster
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