The Islamic State has claimed a car bombing targeting Houthi leaders in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. The explosion on Monday killed 28 people, many of whom were gathering for a memorial. It is the third attack by the Islamic State in Yemen in the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Saudi intervention in Yemen is creating political and military blowback. On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a full investigation into a Saudi airstrike that hit the Aden office of the U.N. Development Programme. Houthi rebels responded to recent airstrikes by launching a Scud missile at a Saudi military base near Riyadh.
Iran Talks Expected to Continue Past Deadline
Though today is the deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, negotiators are expected to continue talks to resolve remaining issues. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is returning to Vienna today after a brief trip to Tehran to consult with other government officials.
- Egypt’s top public prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, who was initially reported injured after a bomb was detonated alongside his motorcade in Cairo yesterday, has died of wounds sustained in the blast.
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations in Vienna today to discuss Syria’s civil war and terrorist attacks by the Islamic State.
- The United States has lifted a hold on security assistance to Bahrain that has been in place since 2011; human rights groups condemned the move, citing a lack of progress in addressing the reasons why the hold was put in place after a government crackdown.
- Khader Adnan, a leader of Islamic Jihad currently in prison in Israel, has agreed to end a 56-day hunger strike after Israel pledged to release him next month.
- The U.N. envoy to Libya says progress is being made in political reconciliation talks and that he hopes that an initial deal can be signed when discussions resume on Thursday.
Arguments and Analysis
“A Former Israeli Ambassador Takes Aim at Obama — and American Jewry” (Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic)
“Oren has created a new role for himself: acid critic of the Obama administration and of left-leaning American Jews (especially in the press and in the White House) who, he believes, are trading on their Jewishness when they criticize Israel. Oren’s critique, at its heart, is simple: Obama, in part because he wanted to reconcile the U.S. with the ‘Muslim world’ (a very large, ill-defined, and politically complicated concept, in Oren’s mind), decided to distance the United States from Israel; to surprise Israel by altering U.S. Middle East policy without prior notice; and to negotiate with Israel’s most potent enemy without alerting Israeli leaders.”
“Obituary: Barakat’s polarizing tenure as top prosecutor” (Mada Masr)
“After decades of working in the judiciary, Barakat became a lightning rod for controversy during his short time as top prosecutor. His tenure began in a politically fractious environment after former President Mohamed Morsi’s military-mandated ouster on July 3, 2013, when a wave of violence was surging across the nation. While he was in office, the Muslim Brotherhood was officially designated a terrorist organization, and hundreds of its members were imprisoned and sentenced to death. Barakat was responsible for referring Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and many other Brotherhood leaders and members to trial — resulting in the death penalty for many of them. He also spearheaded the prosecution of several journalists and opposition activists affiliated with the 2011 revolution.”
-J. Dana Stuster
MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images